Monday, December 01, 2008

Ruins by Lazette Gifford

So, today I finished my very first eBook novel.

That sounds silly and archaic I suppose, but I do have an excuse. I got my first Palm from work in the mid-90s. For me, it was a work object, and when I got a new one years later, I used it for editing and critiquing. That little screen had a purpose. I've read some great novels and short stories, but always in their raw form. I could see what they would become but I approached them with an editor's perspective.

However, a while back, a very talented writer I know let me critique one of her novels. I enjoyed the story a lot and could see what I'd always suspected was true...that she has an incredible way with words.

So, though I have yet to read any of the other eBooks I've been carrying around in my palm, when I needed something to test Holly's store (I do dev work for her), I took the opportunity to help a friend and bought Ruins even though it hadn't yet become available in paperback (which I'd been waiting for). I always figured if it turned out that I couldn't read an eBook, I could give it to my sister who reads eBooks like nothing else and go back to waiting for the hardback.

Well, at first it looked like that's what would happen.

But the day came that I didn't have anything to work on when I was stuck in a line. I had the choice of a number of Baen novels by authors I really wanted to check out. Instead, I opened Ruins.

Now I wasn't an instant convert. I only read Ruins in bits and pieces when I didn't have the brain to crit or edit. And honestly, it was hard to turn off my editor brain. Like most books nowadays, Ruins in the version I bought could have used another pass through the copyeditor, something that didn't help my instinct to work as opposed to enjoying.

But here's the thing. I didn't give up and give the book away. My sister had to buy her own copy :).

Every time I had a spare moment, I opened Ruins.

Every time I opened Ruins, I knew exactly where I was and what was going on no matter how much time had passed. That to me is the sign of a strong novel--when your mind puts you back into that space as soon as you open the page...or in this case, click the button.

Last night, I couldn't sleep.

I didn't want to keep my husband up, so out came my Palm and I started reading. Wonderful invention the eBook. I feel stupid for waiting this long to really *grok* it.

There were moments when I felt tired, but I wasn't at the end of the chapter, so kept going. And when I got to the end of a chapter, I just wasn't tired enough to stop.

I did eventually, but I'd gotten to the point where everything that had been building through the book was coming to a head and I didn't want to stop at all.

Morning came without that changing significantly and I managed to find time to finish the story off.

This is a long tale, but it's an important one for me. There are two key elements:

First, I have successfully read and enjoyed an eBook novel. Maybe this will start a transition for me to be less dependent on paper for long works. I've read many short stories, and even whole magazines, electronically, but never before something that takes a lot of time to consume and digest.

Second, Ruins is a wonderful story. It's strong enough to keep my interest despite long breaks and strong enough to hold my interest despite a form that is alien to me. The story focuses primarily on two characters, Lee and Chev. They both start at somewhat of a transition point, and by the end, through violence, mystery, and wonder, they manage to move to the next stage of their lives. It's a wild ride to get there, but if you like archeology, if you like mystery, if you like thrillers all wrapped up in serious people stories, Ruins is definitely worth the run.

Oh, and this is the same Lazette Gifford who will benefit from any sales made from the page accessed through the Pssst... icon on the left sidebar. So, if you want to check out her writing for yourself, just click the button. It'll be worth your time.


David & Elizabeth said...

Speaking of another pass through the copy editor - I think you meant 'time passed', not 'time past'. You tempt me to read the book (and I don't need persuasion to read an e-book.)

Margaret said...

*blush* And so I did. That's what I get for writing a blog entry so late at night, but I had to accomplish something yesterday, and this came easily to mind.

elizabeth said...

"Ruins" was such a good read. I finished it late last night. And you're right--I just have to think of it and I'm right back there with that situation and those characters (and a great longing to visit the site). Even the minor characters--the several cops, for example--are beautifully drawn. Each is an individual. So I'm going to Psssst for more. Elizabeth