*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of the KINDLE Ebook The Stargazer’s Embassy by Eleanor Lerman

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When I read the description for this one, I was intrigued enough to request the ARC (advance readers’ copy) – and was delighted when I was approved.

The Stargazer’s Embassy explores the frightening phenomenon of alien abduction from a different point of view: in this story, it is the aliens who seem fearful of Julia Glazer, the woman they are desperately trying to make contact with.

Julia is the edgy protagonist who immediately gripped me and pulled me into the start of this one, which pings off the page with tension as we begin to get to know her. The tale slowly unspools as we learn her backstory and why she is constantly alert. Lerman’s depiction of a damaged character whose trust was destroyed during her childhood is very effective. Julia, suspicious and closed off, finds it difficult to bond with anyone and prefers to work as a cleaner alone, so she is able to react quickly whenever she is visited by the things. I found her relationship with John very moving, particularly when she begins to drop her guard and strive for normality. The twist where she discovers what it is he actually does is nicely handled.

However the trouble with her attitude in denying and pushing away the peculiar beings that constantly invade her life, is that the reader is left hanging without any further information about what is actually going on until relatively near the end, which then felt a tad rushed. Julia’s attitude also means that she refuses to discuss the situation until she absolutely has to – and even then the conversations are so overlaid with her hostility that she manages to shut down any meaningful discourse, other than the one with Alice, which even then poses more questions than it answers. This means that we don’t have an opportunity to fully engage with the subject on a deeper level, other than as a prop for the story. And initially, this book seemed to promise more.

I love the premise. I thought the setup regarding The Stargazer’s Embassy bar was both plausible and quirky. However the catch in beginning a book with such a strong hook is that it has to keep delivering. If the tension and narrative pace falls away, the reader is left feeling short-changed.

Don’t get me wrong – this is a good book. There is much going for it in the description, the detailed characterisation, the strong supporting cast and atmospheric writing. But after that storming start, I was expecting a great book and because of the story structure, the pacing was too uneven and there wasn’t sufficient opportunity to fully explore the issues raised surrounding the alien abductions. That said, I am still glad I read it and I do recommend it to anyone who has an interest in this subject.
8/10

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11 responses »

      • We all have different ideas on pace though. I have reviewed some books recently that seem at odds with prevailing opinion. It’s how the books sits with you isn’t it? And one thing doesn’t have to spoil enjoying a book.

      • That’s it! I tussled quite a lot when writing the review to this one – there is so much about this book that works very well such that I nearly didn’t include my issues regarding the pacing. But I also have to be honest, otherwise what would be the point?

  1. Pardon my ignorance (remember I am a newbie at blogging), but what is an arc?
    I definitely do not enjoy being rushed into an ending. I always feel the author who does that had a word limit or just got tired of the whole project and wrapped it up in a hurry.

    • Sorry Rae – for starters, it should have been in capitals as it stands for Advance Readers’ Copy – and I SHOULD be aware that not everyone will know that. I will go back and correct that…
      Yes – it wasn’t that I felt Lerman got tired, but rather, slightly misjudged the overall pacing from just over halfway through until the end. She is clearly a talented writer with things to say, but I get the sense that she isn’t experienced at writing novels.

      • Thanks for explaining. I have had some a blogger friend who started me out brought back to me from a conference (maybe THE conference) in NY. One is by an author who is a friend, Fiona Davis. It will be out in August, and not only did the friend send a copy home with the other friend, she autographed it for me!!!! Nice friends!

  2. My first thought was: this is a very bad cover. Not only aesthetically unappealing to me, but it just looks unprofessional with the overdone filter and mismatched elements.
    Sadly, this is what drives me away from the book: if the cover is unprofessional, it makes me wonder what treatment the story got. And your review suggests, that just like the cover, the book could have been much better.
    So, I’ll stop at reading your review which was very entertaining and definitely leaves a good impression of its author. 😉

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