Time for a rant.
I have to admit, I'm a little overwhelmed by the number of positive reviews of The Door Within Trilogy books. 99% of the review have been great.
There have been a couple that hurt a bit. I've had 2-3 from Christian reviewers who, incredulously, claimed that the books were "too preachy" or that the message of Christ comes through too clearly. Uhm...okay. I can sort of understand. Christian writers don't want to beat secular readers over the head with the Bible. But to this date, out of hundreds and hundreds of reviews and personal comments, I've only had one nonChristian ever say, they felt the book was preachin' Jesus too hard. Odd, don't you think that Christians would be the ones to complain the most about Jesus' message being too clear. Hmmm...
And then there was one FLAME review that just blasted The Door Within up one side and down the other. This review gave like 3 pages worth of absolute scalding (and mostly unfounded) criticisms--using language that I suspect got the review purged from Amazon. Either that or God stepped in.
And hey, look, I realize my first book isn't perfect. Neither is my 4th book. None of them ever will be. I will write them the best I can, and my editors will help. But I'll never be Hemmingway or Tolkien. I'll just be Wayne and grateful to be able to tell my stories.
But the other day, I found a review on a prominent fantasy site that just blew my mind. It was, to my mind, the most ill-conceived and careless notion I've ever seen printed in a review of a YA book.
Here are some snippets of the comment that irked me:
"Emphasis on their physical traits, “her skin was ghostly white”, “’You! Dark Skin!’ he ridiculed”, “And through the gaping hole, like a sea of black and red, poured the armies of Paragory” unfortunately brought to mind unsettling comparisons to another self-declared supreme ruler."
Self-declared supreme ruler??? I immediately posted a reply to make sure I was reading it correctly, and this is the reviewer's clarification:
"Actually, I had some trouble articulating my feelings here and deliberately left my comment a bit ambiguous. In fact, I was hesitant to bring it up in the review because I wasn't sure that I was interpreting things the way you intended. However, it bothered me enough to finally include some comment on it.
I found the references to skin and eye color throughout the book to be uncomfortable reminders of Hitler's racial superiority/cleansing theories. I hope I'm way off base here, but, nonetheless, those are the feelings it invoked in me."
I have since posted a point by point discrediting of this suggestion and asked that all of this reviewer's offending comments be removed from the site. Who knows what will come of my request. I don't really think the reviewer has it "in" for me, but the comment--even if heartfelt--had no place in a review of a YA title. It was unintentional slander, but slander nonetheless. Imagine a parent thinking of getting The Door Within for his kid, sees this review and those comments and doesn't know any better...
I won't say I've seen it all. I'm sure there's worse to come.