I was intrigued by the idea of My Trickster, I had never read anything with a Russian setting before and the blurb seemed mysterious. I wasn’t sure which genre the book was going to be, romance, thriller or adventure so I was interested to get started. Unfortunately my hopeful interest for the book soon faded and by the end of the third chapter I was wincing.
Ohh dear, ohh dear… this is the first one star review I have done on my blog and I do not do it lightly. I tried so hard to get into this book, I kept waiting for it to get better but it just didn’t and I struggled to finish it.
My Trickster was kindly offered to me in exchange for an author interview, book giveaway and an honest review.
When enigmatic Angela Moreaux, a woman he thought he had exorcised from his brain, calls and asks for his help, reluctant, but unable to resist, a hedge fund owner and an expert in stock market manipulation, Juan MacBride flies out to Moscow. On his arrival a bitter disappointment awaits him as he finds out that Angela fails to show up for their meeting in the Ritz. Instead, Juan is greeted by an elderly Swiss gentleman, who passes a mysterious note to him embarking Juan on a journey of discoveries that he wishes he never made…
My main problem with this novel is that I was utterly confused from start to finish and I have never really encountered this before. I couldn’t expand on the blurb because I have mostly no clue what went on in any detail, which probably sounds weird. I never thought it was possible to have a novel too fast paced, but this is the case with My Trickster. It has a weird structure that reminded me more of a TV show. You have the main chapters and then within those small subsections, each of these lasts on average a page and a half, sometimes less. It conjured the image in my head of a director saying ‘annnddd scene’ every five seconds which was quite annoying. Before I could understand what was going on in one scene or get my bearings it had moved onto the next. There is such minimal amounts of description in terms of setting that it is completely disorientating the majority of the time. There were so many scenes where I was just baffled and in the end I gave up trying to work it out. It shouldn’t be that hard for a reader to understand what is going on, and if it is, you know you have a serious problem.
I was equally confused by some of the characters, I didn’t get on with the leading lady, La. She didn’t seem to care about any of the people around her, least of all Juan who she supposedly had a complex and messy past with. Her only noticeable feature seemed to be that every man she met was instantly attracted to her. This is not a flaw on its own, there are many characters like this in literature but you have to give the reader a reason to believe it. If she had ridiculously good looks or a flair for flirting and an impressive knack for manipulation it would work, but none of this comes across in the prose, which may just be an issue of practice.
In comparison, I was quite interested in Juan’s character and the mystery of why he was willing to risk his life for a past lover he hadn’t seen in years. I was curious to know what had happened and why they had parted on what seemed to be such negative terms and this kept me reading. I think the main issue I had with the characters didn’t actually stem from them but the layout of the book. My Trickster would often switch perspectives – a cool idea but unfortunately they were not sign posted well enough and I kept getting confused as to who was speaking – I often thought it was one character and then right at the end of the section found out it was a different one, and this made it hard for me to get to grips with them and their individual personalities.
What’s most frustrating about this book though is that the writing has some real potential, but there are so many other issues with clarity and basic writing rules that it gets lost in translation. The author is great at putting a seductive edge on scenes for instance and her writing really flows well, but at the end of the day if you can’t follow the storyline it kind of becomes mute. Personally there was one particular aspect that grated on me, see if you can spot it:
“Stop! If you want to help me then help me! I am here to share only the information that matters! The rest’s none of your fucking business!”
“Well then why are you so protective of Kazimir? According to Pavel he’s a very bad guy tied up in all kinds of scams. Scams that lead to murder!”
“Perhaps he is, but I honestly don’t believe he did it! I have a good reason for thinking so… Trust me on this!”
“La…” Pavel begins.
“No, Pavel! You’re barking up the wrong tree!”
“La, to rule out Kazimir…” Pavel tries again.
“That is enough!” La says and marches out of the room. “Give me a damn chance will you!” Pavel shouts after her.
Anyone else notice the excessive use of exclamation marks? I don’t know about you, but it instantly drew my eye. Most speech in the book was like this which to me, suggests the author needs to pick up a few more writing books because I have only ever read two, and both of them mention that exclamation marks should be used sparingly. Here’s the thing, if you need to use that many of them even during a characters fight it shows that your prose are not working hard enough to show your characters anger. The last line ‘Give me a damn chance will you! Pavel shouts’ – is a good example because the reader has already been told they are shouting, so the exclamation mark is pretty pointless. Simple little mistakes like this mean My Trickster reads more like a first draft than a finished novel.
I wouldn’t recommend this book but if you are looking for something a little different with a Russian setting then this one might be for you if you are female and 16+. I would like to say thank you to the author for giving me the opportunity to read her book and I’m just sorry I couldn’t give it a more positive review.
Writing Style: 1/5
Character Development: 1/5
Would I recommend this book? No.
Book Cover: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13631915-my-trickster