Review: DiSemblance by Shanae Branham #2016HW

DiSemblance by Shanae BranhamUnder normal circumstances I make myself finish each and every title I read, especially those books that I have agreed to review. I have had this book for at least a couple of years, so I really needed to check this one off my to do list. Unfortunately, as it became a perfect storm of writing pet peeves, I had to hang this one up.

Son Jason Tanner is the older son of father Lloyd Tanner, the inventor of a holographic system that they have in their house. Lloyd left MIT because his plans for the system were mocked by friends and colleagues (it was hard to tell if he was a student or teacher at the time). He and his wife had two boys who they homeschooled and discouraged from making friends or leaving the house because Lloyd didn’t want anyone to steal his invention. So the boys did what their dad asked. Mmkay.

Neighbor Boston Komen (in my ARC) lives across the street. Jason is attracted to her. His brother, Isaac, makes a hologram of her in one of the many programs in the system. (The creepiest program one is where his mom, who died of cancer when Jason was 11, is alive and her dad can hold hands with her and talk to her.) So Boston has been following Jason recently as he goes to an wooded park area near his home to feed a mother fox who broke her leg. That’s how Boston knows that Jason is gentle and sweet and loving and caring and awesome and she is soooo attracted to him and he to her and it’s all perfect except she has a boyfriend. The star of the football team, of course, and even though Jason doesn’t go to school (he got his GED), everyone’s heard of Superstar Ricky Stedman.

So there’s all this going on – holograms, homeschooling, dead mom, isolated kids, attraction to neighbor with reciprocation, neighbor’s boyfriend, blah blah blah…let’s drop in a serial killer! And a cop who’s been married to a tv reporter for only nine months and they are already having huge problems! And so much description and explanations and narration and detail that your head might explode (or, at the very least, not keep up). It seems like the author was loathe to part with any of her words. Plus Jason is apparently some kind of secret stud who saves Boston one night, further cementing their starry-eyed insta-love.

So the Comfort Killer is the most amazing of serial killers. He kills the terminally ill, puts them in a casket (a nice one, and at his expense!) and then puts a lot of cash in there, too, to cover the pain and suffering of the family, the burial, etc. What a nice guy!

All of the characters are introduced with their full names (and title, if they have one) and the cops talk like they are in an episode of CSI: Miami. “We’ll do it <i>my</i> way.” (Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!) The characters are stereotypes (the overworked detective, the husband and wife fighting, the girl reporter, the mom who wants her daughter to marry money, etc.) And the over-describing makes the book sound like an instruction manual rather than a story with real humans (well, mostly humans). People do not sound like this in real life.

Then my other biggest peeve. I do get annoyed if something, no matter how small, is just wrong. Especially if it is not important in the story. For example, when Jason grabs a couple of Eggos out of the freezer – and NUKES them? And the time he hops on Boston’s motorcycle and has no trouble starting it or driving it or anything – just because he rode one virtually a few times? And what is a wooden brick? And how did his dad push the still-working (I assume) stove into the corner of the kitchen? And then there’s misuse of words, like “a blithering mess of emotions” and something “beguiling his face.” And apparently, our hero is such a heavy sleeper that he doesn’t hear the walk-in freezer being inserted into the kitchen (where the pantry was). An elaborate frame-up, for sure. (Oh, and I did something that I NEVER do: I read the last couple of chapters (they’re usually very short) to see whodunit. It was someone that I hadn’t even heard of yet.

All of these things happen in the first 62 pages (eleven chapters) of book that still has 200 pages to go. I am not sure I could fit any more of it in my head.

Bottom line? I had to stop. I couldn’t continue. I came, I tried, I DNFd.

DiSemblance by Shanae Branham was published August 20, 2012 by CreateSpace. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Thank you to the Publisher and the Author.

Rating: 1

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction Mystery Romance
Ages: 13 and up

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