Update 5: 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/ and 4: https://victoriarmendes.wordpress.com/2020/09/09/update-4-the-worst-book-ive-read-in-2020/

On to Chapter G! We find MC in a trance like state, half-having a dream after the Empress’s crew decides to make a pit stop to refuel and sleep. Somehow he gets lured off of the ship via the Night Mare:

Powers like the Night Mare?” I ventured cautiously. The Queen looked off into the distance. An uncomfortable pause followed. “We share more magic than you know,” she said finally, her soft voice barely perceptible as a wistful look came into her gentle eyes. “She is my sister.”

The way the Queen’s sister is introduced feels shoehorned in, and it doesn’t really add much to the story. What this is supposed to do is provide backstory as to why the “bad guys” wouldn’t trust the Queen because she would curse her own sister, but the way it’s conveyed feels like hollow exposition. We even get a glimpse as to how the magic works (which doesn’t enhance the story either and detracts from what little social commentary was made earlier about a lack of clothing not being a sexual thing. As the Queen rescues MC she vanquishes her sister with nipple light magic…

They reminded me of the Queen’s two shining nipples, beaming with a pulsating gleam and oh-so-inviting. My body moved closer to the enchanting light, arms outstretched to embrace it. The mists continued to dance dreamily, catching the pink glow and refracting it in all directions.

In Chapter H we learn that MC was actually in a load of peril back in Chapter G, but because of the way Chapter G is written I never felt that sense of urgency. If you have to explain in a later chapter that things were a lot more dangerous then they seemed, unless it has something to do with behind the scenes intrigue that the characters wouldn’t have known about, the pacing will feel off like it did here.

I sat up straight, struck with a sudden realization. “The Horsehead Nebula!” I exclaimed. “That’s her!” The Queen nodded soberly. “Yes, from your Earth she appears in the sky as the Horsehead Nebula. And to this day, though but a shadow of her former self, she continues to revel in her dark magic, the very magic that destroyed her.” “I guess I should consider myself lucky that I survived,” I said, overwhelmed with feelings of awe and gratitude. “I definitely don’t know what I would’ve done had you not shown up when you did.”

It’s kind-of fun that we’re seeing glimpses of what things actually are in this world as compared to how they look from Earth, but this whole section feels like an awkward detour from the main story. Prepare yourself for some more juvenile humor to explain what the cosmos actually are in this world, because Orion’s belt isn’t a belt:

Well then your school must be either ignorant or quite prudish,” Qarl said with a chuckle. “That’s Orion’s penis.” “His what?” “His penis. Orion’s kind of a hotshot. He doesn’t care too much for the ‘guys can’t show their bodies’ rule. So he brazenly shows off his gigantic penis for all to see. It’s kind of his ‘fuq you’ to the Universe.”

The continuity for how people dress or don’t in this world are all over the place. At this point the whole book lost its sense of humor for me because the things that made me laugh in the beginning were being overdone:

The largest of these polite planets was Adanaq, where, I was told, frequent ceremonies were held to exchange pleasant trees and nice cities amongst the group.

And then we run into more pacing issues where plot points that would have made a lot more sense earlier are just now being discussed:

The official law says no nudity for males. The Queen only tends to enforce that in her immediate region. She can’t realistically be expected to patrol the entire Universe, prosecuting modesty offenders. Madame Stringent, on the other hand, not only wants complete rule enforcement far and wide, but insists that it is not appropriate for females to display their bodies either. You’ve seen how she and her sidekicks dress.

Why wait until this late to bring this up again? Why does Madame Stringent feel this way? We still haven’t gotten an explanation for that even though this point is originally brought up directly after establishing that in this world it is completely normal and acceptable for women not to wear clothes. Why bring this up so much later to remind me of how little sense this made in the first place? It somewhat ties in through the nebula to constellation segue, but it just doesn’t work for me. Had Chapters G and H happened right after he was introduced to the Queen it would have made much more sense.

Our merry group of characters load back up on the spaceship and make it to another planet, which as I’m writing this a few weeks after reading it isn’t all that memorable. And again we see pacing issues with how serious or not things actually are:

As we complied with Tippers’ order, I felt a lump rising in my throat. I knew that, in our situation, “touching down” meant “crashing.” Peering out the window, I could see a planet beneath us growing larger by the second. That must be Fweam, I thought, hoping Gurgatron would be able to find an ideal place on it to land the ship.

If we’re supposed to be worried that the MC is in a state of peril then why would he describe a crashing scenario as “an ideal place to LAND the ship”. Using “land” right after talking about crashing completely deescalates the scenario and makes “crashing” feel completely hollow. Why bother mentioning crashing at all if it’s not going to be a big deal?

And with that I’m leaving off halfway through page 11 of 20 of my notes. Check back later to see what happens in Chapters Aye and J.

Published by Victoria Mendes

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

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