Review: ‘Brunswick’ by Ann Haines

BrunswickHow powerful is imagination? Jonathan Brunswick finds out the hard way. After falling into a cavern while on a beach trip with his family, Jonathan wakes up in a world where the people seem familiar. Surprised to learn that he was brought to the village with magic, he soon makes another discovery: this place is Brunswick and is the result of the stories that Jonathan and his dad made up. The villagers tell Jonathan about the great tower that appeared one day and the darkness that followed. Adults and children alike began disappearing into the smog, never to return.

Realizing that is more important to stay and help instead of returning to his family, Jonathan learns to fight, meets his equal in a pretty girl named Grace, and works with Gideon, Hector and other villagers to determine how to fight the unknown “It” who lives in the tower…and has a deathly army called the Volker.

Through a long, arduous journey to the Tower, this group of villagers meets other clans, forges new alliances and comes up with a plan that should not only take down It but rescue the villagers that have been taken prisoner. But what is “It” and should all of the group’s hopes be pinned on Jonathan?

I really enjoyed the framework of this story; the travel between Brunswick and the “real world;” how the ending is tied up; the basic plot line. It was an intriguing concept for a story. However, the writing did not support the story enough. While I was reading, I felt like this was a story that was written down exactly as a storyteller was uttering it. No breaths, no paragraphs, no editing. Everything running together.

I lost count of the run-on sentences, incorrect word usage and lack of punctuation. Questions had no question marks, periods were missing and commas, lacking. Apostrophes were used incorrectly. Unrelated phrases were put together to make extra long sentences.

There was a great deal of unnecessary explanation as well. When something was introduced, whether it was a person or a place, it was described in great detail, sometimes telling who someone’s parents were and what they did for a living. It did not matter whether this was important to the story or not. Just about everyone/everything got the same treatment. Usually these kinds of facts are a signal to the reader that this information is important and will be needed later in the book, but not so in many cases here. Also, the drama wasn’t very dramatic. Everything seemed to be on the same excitement level – no peaks and valleys. As the reader, I didn’t get a chance to know these people or care about them or their plight.

Lastly, and I know these things may sound petty, but the main character, Jonathan, was referred to as “Jon” in the narrative on occasion. I don’t know if this is a rule, but it seems to me that people should always be referred to the same way every time so there is no confusion as to which character is being referred to. Nicknames, etc., can be used when characters speak to each other. Also, the word “doctor” was alway written as “Dr.” That is a title, and the word should be written out otherwise. The “G” is always capitalized in the word “God” when referring to the one and only as well.

2 of 5 Stars (Based on Ink and Page’s Rating System)

Genres: Young Adult Fiction Fantasy
Ages: 12 and up
You might want to know: No bad language beyond one time use of “hell.”

Brunswick by Ann Haines was published March 1, 2012 by Ann Haines. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review.

Other Reviews:
Young Adult Novel Reader
Literary R&R

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