Update 4: The Worst Book I’ve Read in 2020

Cover Art for How I Saved a Planet by Stephen Quatro

If you’ve missed the original post, check this out first: https://victoriarmendes.wordpress.com/2020/08/30/the-worst-book-ive-read-in-2020/

Also here’s Update 1: https://victoriarmendes.wordpress.com/2020/08/31/update-1-the-worst-book-ive-read-in-2020/ and 2: https://victoriarmendes.wordpress.com/2020/09/01/update-2-the-worst-book-ive-read-in-2020/ and 3: https://victoriarmendes.wordpress.com/2020/09/02/update-3-the-worst-book-ive-read-in-2020/

Did I say check back tomorrow? I meant check back when my wrist decides to get its sh*t back together and I can use my right hand like normal again. Gotta love waking up to random subluxations thanks to EDS. Yayyyyyyyy.

The first notes that I have on Chapter F are from things not making sense about a statement the MC makes:

After all, this voyage had the potential to change all of our lives…irrevocably.

Up until this point the MC has been talking about how little impact this whole shindig is having on him (which is why he didn’t bother to pick up anything from the gift shop in a previous chapter), so why would he now want to stress how life changing this is? If he said something along the lines of “I didn’t realize earlier how life changing this experience would be” then it would make more sense, but there’s nothing leading up to this to see that shift in the MC’s thinking — so this line feels completely out of character. Don’t worry, the next few things he says makes even less sense.

I had been rather surprised when I found out that she was taking this journey with us. Being the Queen of the Cosmos, she was a valuable entity, and I thought it rather reckless of her to be taking part in such a dangerous mission involving extremely unpredictable results. But she had insisted that her presence was necessary, and so I dared not question her.

This is where a content and line editor should have picked up on this and reworked it. By phrasing things this way the MC is clearly questioning the Queen’s judgement, and if the Queen felt the need to explain that her presence was necessary she must have been questioned or noticed some discontent amongst the crew. With a little bit of rephrasing this passage could convey the undertones effectively, but in its current state it’s just confusing. Next we begin to get a picture of who all is a part of this crew:

…the Queen, Qarl, Bobby, Gurgatron, the copilot Tippers, the first mate Quadrell, six alien members of the Empress’s crew, six human members of the Queen’s military (three male and three female), and yours truly. It was an eclectic bunch, one that was sure to bring variety to the trip.

For a sci-fi book, I don’t feel like it’s necessary to stress that a group is eclectic unless there’s some underlying element that would make it a clearly unusual grouping of characters. Because of the way the world has already been introduced, this doesn’t remotely feel out of the ordinary. I view this more as a an out-of-place statement or a missed opportunity. It would have been a perfect segue to include some LGBT+ representation, disabled representation, or just something not previously introduced as totally normal for this world. Strap in, the next quote doesn’t make any sense either.

Tippers was the lone human member of the Empress’s crew. A spunky young woman, she had proven herself as one of the brightest and most skilled space pilots in the region. I learned from Bobby that she was one of the youngest pilots to ever pass through the Academy. She had been personally selected by Gurgatron to help helm the brand-new ship and transport us all safely to Hob.

Why would Empress be italicized earlier but not now? Why is this the only female I’ve heard described by her ability to do things instead of by her body? Why can’t all of the females in this book have been introduced like Tippers? Is she really a member of Gurgatron’s crew since she’s been selected specifically for this mission? Is this the first time any of this crew have been together? Based on this description I would think so, but it’s hard to tell since we don’t really get a look at how the crew interact with each other. Why bother including a detail about a specific crew member at all if being a crew member doesn’t really impact the story at all? Why bother telling me that she’s one of the best pilots around when she isn’t actually about to do any dangerous piloting when that’s Gurgatron’s job as we see next:

… there is always the chance that the craft won’t have enough momentum to break through the atmosphere. If that were to happen, X@X’s gravitational pull would take hold of us the moment we dropped off the edge, whipping us around and smashing us into the underside of the planet. But that won’t happen. Gurgatron is the best pilot around. Don’t worry. … Behind us, X@X grew smaller and smaller until it was only a wedge in our trail.

If X@X is a wedge and they need enough momentum to either leave or be smashed, then would they be smashing into the side of the wedge instead of the underside of the wedge? Is X@X actually a three dimensional wedge or is it a two dimensional triangle? These are the questions my brain gets sidetracked by. In case you didn’t already hate the MC for being physically abusive, you can add mental abuse to that list too:

“Knock off the drama, Qarl.” I scolded him. “I didn’t stop you to talk about this. I wanted to ask you about what the Queen was telling Quadrell.”

For a bit of background, Qarl had been talking about something that was very important to him, and this was the MC’s response. I’m not OK with phrasing like this in a book that is classified as comedy. This language belittle’s the other person’s feelings and is a standard gaslighting tactic. There are much better ways to get a conversation back on track when you’re looking for specific information without gaslighting people. And just a bit after this passage was where I started having immense hatred for Qarl as well — you know how earlier I mentioned there was drugging that’s highly reminiscent of a date rape scenario? That takes place in this chapter too.

Turning back to the window, I was startled by a long blue arm thrusting a vial under me nose. I jerked back with a little gasp. Qarl popped his head up from behind the seat in front of me, a mischievous grin on his face.

The substance being thrust upon the MC is known as “chill-out gas” which the MC has stated he has no interest in partaking. Qarl seems to think he’s playing a harmless prank because it’s just chill-out gas and they’re there to have a fun time. Do I need to go into detail about why this is so many levels of wrong? SOMEONE IS BEING DRUGGED AGAINST THEIR WILL AND THE PERSON FORCING THE DRUGGING THINKS IT’S COMPLETELY FINE BECAUSE THEY WANT TO HAVE A FUN TIME.

And that’s the end of my notes for Chapter F. Check back eventually for more updates as long as my hands decide to function enough for me to type.

Published by Victoria Mendes

I'm just a house-wife trying to cook good meals on a budget.

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