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Masterful Setting – Likeable Characters – Mild Plot?!

By lifesharpener, author of Man of Last Millennium

Jun 15, 2015: A world far in the future, where Big Brother is watching and controlling . . . on a unprecedented scale. Albert is an entity that guides humankind along a path that he chooses . . . a path that leads to pacifism.

Yet the story isn’t really about this "Albert" . . . ? It’s about survival, since every year is a struggle, nations facing starvation at the appearance of crop devouring insects. . . . wait, no, it’s about a young man’s struggle to find his way back home to his fiance from a war that the very act of fighting would banish one to life imprisonment . . . ? ARRRGH, what is it about?! Somebody please tell me!!!

I’ve reviewed FarmerBob’s Symbiote, which I found very enjoyable. His writing is very well done. Set-in-Stone is an overall improvement in a couple of ways.

In his previous story, Farmerbob’s talent for setting development really shone, and it practically EXPLODES in Set In Stone. From chapter one, you are lost in a world that is new and real and interesting, yet familiar to us in a comfortable way. The character is likeable, having "strong moral fiber." He, like the main character of Symbiote, is so logical that he could be a computer, but its not mechanical, and it adds realism, instead of story elements that are hard to believe.

In spite of an awesome world setting, with complex features and unique culture . . . what falls a little flat . . . is the plot.

And it’s weird, it really is. Because it’s not like there aren’t opportunities. In fact, a LOT is going on. There’s a sinister sounding authority figure, there’s a romantic interest, there’s a nemesis, there’s a wise mentor, there’s a war going on . . . Yet in spite of all this, there just doesn’t seem to be any conflict.

It’s very interesting to read about this young boy, but we aren’t compelled to read about him. It’s just very difficult for the reader to care about anything happening, because it lacks either intensity and/or further development. For example:

-Albert is a slightly unreasonable godlike existence, but generally doesn’t seem to be that bad of a person/thing? (lack of intensity)

-There’s a war going on, but so far everything has been very dry, lots of preparation, and not very much excitement. (wants further development)

-There’s a nemesis, and the character seems to hate his guts, but how come the conflict never expands? The author hints at it several times, but nothing happens that rivets the mind of a reader. (needs intensity and further development)

Perhaps it’s just a matter of time before the author throws in some crazy twists/events, but until then, the story plot is moving pretty slowly.

This is a very odd situation that I’ve never found myself in before: a world that feels so real and immersive, but a plot that is hard to stay committed to. The setting is enough to keep reading the first 10 chapters . . . but after that something better start happening.

Good luck FarmerBob1, Your talent is definitely setting/world building. All you need is a conflict that stirs the reader’s soul.

6 of 6 members found this review helpful.
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