“Almost Undead” by A.L. Waith

I found this book by chance, I guess, after Googling “Jane Jones: Worst. Vampire. Ever.” because I found the book…well, I don’t remember how.

Since, I’ve not found anything on the author, and the book fits the stereotypical assumption of self-published books being of poor quality, so I’m assuming it’s their first novel—and there are not a lot of informational reviews on this thing, other than “it sucks”, “gross”/”disgusting” or other similar, non-informative comments.

Almost Undead, by A.L. Waith (book cover)So I bought it on Amazon (it was cheaper there). I read the preview via Google’s books section1 and had to buy it, because sometimes things are so bad one just can’t look away, and…that was me. I wanted to give this author the benefit of the doubt, despite the constant gay bashing even though the author has this novel listed as LGBT-friendly.

Reviewing books is not my forte, so I’m not sure how this is really supposed to go. I am, however, pleased with and proud of myself, because this is the first book2 I’ve read in a long while—about three, almost four, years.

There are potential spoilers because I can’t articulate/convey certain uncanny pieces without them.

“LGBT-friendly”

We’ll start with this, because it’s the part that pissed me off most. This is also what damages the book before the rest of it is even consumed. In my opinion, when someone publishes an LGBT-friendly anything, it is exactly that—LGBT-friendly. Literature lacks in LGBT+ diversity, but if you’re going to contribute to it by adding similes regarding how two male characters are like a heterosexual couple the entire time, that isn’t LGBT+ diversity, it’s sabotage.

This sixteen-year-old kid named Lucas fears coming out to his parents and has a best friend who, all the while knowing Lucas is gay, constantly slings around gay insults. After Lucas meets Kiran, the author constantly compares Lucas’ feelings regarding and relationship with Kiran to life with a girl:

  • The first punch was “like he would a girlfriend”, which was used to describe the way Kiran handled him. Seriously?
  • “He may as well be a girl” because he was feeling weak from Kiran’s actions. Why can’t he just feel weak because that was what Kiran made him?

I’m too lazy to search through for the rest of the things; I actually wound up ranting about it to a friend who agreed with me…and found my commentary as I continued to read it quite amusing. (Eh.)

When books are written in third-person point of view, I see the author as the narrator and the third-person perspective as that of the author. If this was how the character personally felt, it should have been in first-person POV, or it should have been clearly stated that that was how Lucas felt.

Of course, that leads me to my next point…

“Story planning”

…or the lack of it, anyway.

Chapter one is as great as the rest of the book is (which doesn’t say much), but when I made it to the second chapter, it was like an entirely new segment in this person’s life. Books are not like television series, with chapters being the episodes, unless you actually develop the characters and make your words make sense enough to adequately convey—and flow together—the same theme, or point, for a story in a way that allows each chapter to be told like that… hopefully that’s not too confusing?

Basically, the second chapter felt as if everything that happened the previous day didn’t matter anymore, because this kid just up and decided he was sixteen, so he needed a job, which… his mom hadn’t pressured him, and the only reason he seemed to need it was so he would have a way to run into Kiran again. If I’d been attacked, I wouldn’t feel confident enough to go out and get a job when that person could still be around, but… what do I know?

Beyond this, the author is constantly time traveling/jumping and just assuming the reader knows things because they should be “obvious”.

I’m assuming this author followed the “write how you talk” advice, which isn’t actually meant to be taken literally and is therefore the worst advice ever. I know how this author talks and thinks now, and it makes me never want to meet them.

Readers need details, and stories shouldn’t sound made up as one tells it. >.>

Poor grammar, improper punctuation, misspelled words

It’s really bad. Every annoying thing recent generations are doing wrong in writing happens in one book. Also, what is it that makes people scared to capitalize “the”? “The” requires it sometimes. “The Wizard of Oz” is a movie. “Wizard of Oz” is not a movie. Also, if you’re going to mention it in print, it should be italicized or in quotes or something so it stands out…and also properly mentioned.

Additionally, there are instances where sentences just don’t make sense because they’re missing one, two or three words; semicolons and commas are being used interchangeably; certain words are used in place of words that should have been used (e.g. “not” in place of “but”); and some sentences lack capital letters.

It feels like the very first draft someone creates, though I’d really like to think it’s a second draft.

Conclusion

I understand typos happen, but I expect nothing but high-quality out of published books. I also expect authors to be on their best behavior. The only parts the author excelled in (which, again, doesn’t say much) were the smutty parts. Almost Undead is like Twilight fanfiction—sort of. The idea could have been greater and might have had potential to be really superb, but everything was halted and stomped on because too little time was put into this; it feels rushed. It’s unfortunate.

I really want to write and publish fiction someday still, because I keep coming back to things I’ve written before, so I’ve been reading about how to do that. In some articles including quotes and tips by well-known authors, a few said to read a lot of books, especially those in the genre(s) in which I wish to write, even if they’re bad. I guess the bad books are supposed to make me realise what not to do and/or feel cautious of what I write, because that is literally what I’m doing now.

I read this book in four hours. It’s shorter than The 100 by Kass Morgan, but it sucks more than her book, from what I can tell.

What sucks the most about it is that it could have been a REALLY cute and great idea, but the author half-assed everything… and also, what even is with the cover?

Anyone have suggestions for really cute YA books not blatantly concerned with normalcy? BECAUSE I WANT. Also, if physical copies are available, that’s a plus… I’m not a fan of reading via my laptop and don’t have a Kindle or iPad.

  1. Google seems to have/do everything now, geez.
  2. Like, actual novel book. Cookbooks and informational eBooks do not count. This is a novel available only in eBook form, which sucks, but meh. I wouldn’t have liked the physical copy anyway.

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Comments on this post

Kya’s gravatar

Wow, that is not very good that it claimed to be LGBT friendly, but wasn’t. Maybe it was the authors idea of what that situation would be like, but not a good start. :/

It’s a shame that the book wasn’t that good. It’s annoying when you see the potential of an idea but it’s just not done right.

It would be so great if you could write and share your fiction. I am sure this will happen!

Liz’s gravatar

Sharing my fiction is so scary. :s