Review of Maya Motayne’s NOCTURNA

Nocturna by Maya Motayne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Picking up a new author is always a 50:50 chance. Will you discover someone new to follow and populate your shelves with? Or will you regret the purchase and slog through endless pages, wincing at sentence after sentence? Then there’s the chance you’ll end up somewhere in the middle, uncertain of what to do with the book when you reach the end.

(And in case you couldn’t tell, that’s where I find myself this time)

Ms. Motayne developed deliciously complex characters, rife with faults and intriguing backstories a reader wants to dive in and explore for volumes and volumes. Even while tackling the overplayed trope of light versus dark, none of her protagonists fall into the trap of pure and virtuous. (I won’t touch on the antagonist who fails that test spectacularly) And their personality quirks endear them from the beginning. And the world they inhabit’s rich enough in description and history to warrant a lengthy visit.

But the constant word repetition grates on the nerves. Instead of getting lost in the conspiracy and action, you find yourself itching to count how many times “maldito” appears in every chapter. Or finding yourself thrown from a paragraph because one word appears FIVE times. While I don’t believe in excessive use of a thesaurus, a solid author needs to achieve some kind of balance. And introducing another language to a reader? You can’t attach yourself to ONE word. It doesn’t encourage someone to explore another culture (the opposite, actually). The writing erodes so much solid foundation. And the blame lies as much with the editing teams as the author (couldn’t you see it?).

Interesting? Certainly. Better than other new authors I’ve risked? Without a doubt. But worth a second shot? No. I can’t slog through a second round of maldito paragraphs.

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