Heather Hayashi,
To Save the World
(Synergy, 2006)

Let me preface this piece by stating that I have never written a review for Rambles.NET without reading the book in question from cover to cover. However, I am going to make an exception for Heather Hayashi's debut novel, To Save the World. I started the book some time ago and was astounded that anyone had deemed the manuscript fit to print. It was painful to wade through the misused words, the grammatical errors, the awkward sentence structures. I barely made it through the opening 50 pages before setting the book aside and moving on to Paul Di Filippo's wonderful short-story collection, The Emperor of Gondwanaland.

However, after finishing the Di Filippo book I thought it would be irresponsible of me not to return to To Save the World and give it another chance. Needless to say, it didn't fare well in comparison to the book I'd just completed. Then I ran across the sentence, "His ears and skin were a normal color, and if it weren't for his eyes, I'd of thought him human." I threw up my hands in despair ... I'd have thought him human!!! Or even, I would've thought him human!!! Surely it's not too much to ask that an author have a basic command of the English language!

If this were a lone grammatical error one might let it slip by as sloppy copy editing. But picking up the book at this moment I see I have notes marking a dozen similarly sloppy incidents in the first four chapters alone -- the use of the word "deterred" when what is meant is detracted, the word "averted" used in place of "avoided." It's writing like this that gives science fiction and fantasy such a poor reputation in the book business.

And, the book cover declares, this is but volume one of The Arhka Chronicles.

Perhaps Hayashi has a half-decent story buried beneath all her inept writing, but for any reasonably intelligent reader it would be a painful process uncovering it. I don't recommend you try.

by Gregg Thurlbeck
10 February 2007

Buy it from Amazon.com.