Friday, January 6, 2012

Kathy Reviews: Lisa's Way by Robert Collins

ISBN #: 978-1463777395
Page Count: 212
Copyright: November 21, 2011
Publisher: CreateSpace

Book Summary:
(Taken from author's Smashwords' site)

Lisa Herbert lives in on the planet Fairfield. The "Savage Rain" decades earlier isolated her world. a remark from her sister gets Lisa to ask, "If life was better before the 'Savage Rain,' why couldn't it be better again?" Lisa travels to three planets, using wits, compassion, and a little sneakiness to rebuild civilization.

Kathy's Review:

Here's what I like about Lisa's Way: the message. One girl, one person, can make a difference.

Now, for the bad news.

Remember early RPG video games where your character had a very linear plotline, a set list of tasks to accomplish before moving on to the next area? A list of quests, that would later be solved by finding an item, or having a conversation with a key person in an area? That's what this book feels like. And I don't mean that as a compliment. Lisa, a young girl, I think she's only seventeen (I tried to find her age and was unable to), leaves home via a portal that takes her to another town. Most towns are in ruin after something called the Savage Rain, which apparently leveled the world, including Earth, which is mentioned a few times as a distant planet that no longer exists. Her own town of Fairfield is lacking in opportunities, and often endures attacks and raids from outlaws. She leaves to explore the world and find her place in it. Sounds like the typical coming-of-age story, right?

Here are just a few things that bother me about Lisa leaving her town:
  • Her father just let her do it. He is the mayor of her town; you'd think he would be more protective of her
  • Didn't seem like she packed a bag. How long was she planning on traveling? Was she going to wear the same smelly clothes? The author mentions Lisa's "regular rough patch" - meaning her monthly period - hope she packed supplies, because these worlds don't have drugstores.
  • Money. How was she going to pay for food, clothing, lodging, etc.?
Each town Lisa encounters needs help in some way, and Lisa is a miracle worker of sorts, showing grown adult men how to rotate crops (really?), solving a murder in a day (really?), finding a match for a young spinster, outsmarting criminals, taking people hostage without resistance ... the list goes on. She is seemingly wise beyond her years as she plods from town to town. You wonder how these people managed not to die off without the guidance of Lisa.

As the story continues on, Lisa's character becomes more and more unlikable. She leads a group of people who share her vision of doing good in the worlds they visit, but I finally realized that the title - Lisa's Way - may just be because she rules with a "My way ... or the highway" mentality. If I were in her group, I might be considering a mutiny. I was hoping they would turn against her by the end.

Her journey is not all that exciting, the dialogue is pretty flat, and I don't really know who Lisa is other than a genius/rocket scientist/CSI whiz - completely unrealistic for someone her age.

I noticed that the author plans to continue Lisa's story in further books. I urge the author to try and make Lisa a more realistic, likable character before proceeding. I would have no interest in reading more about her, or any of her travels.

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