|Reviews for Welcome to Wakeford|
| SpaghetCat chapter 15 . 6/1
I'll be honest. I have no idea why I read this. I knew I'd get burned since horror isn't my cup of tea, but I kept returning and reading. Maybe for the romance, maybe for the action... I don't know.
I'd like to see more of Martin and Madeline as characters, honestly, but I don't think I could handle a situation like the ending again. Shit's depressing man.
These qualms I have though are a good sign: they all arise from just how much this story was able to suck me in. Jesus Christ dude, I don't know how you haven't been published yet.
| Elizabeth Cooper chapter 15 . 12/12/2020
I finally finished the book! Yay! Sorry for taking so long to read it, but better late than never, I suppose. I know it's not exactly Halloween anymore, but I think spooky time should be year round, personally. Anyway, I really enjoyed your book! It's totally different from Peter and Tanya's adventures, but it's got a very fun feel. It reminded me a little bit of Welcome to Night Vale (originally a podcast then later a book about creepy stories happening in the tiny town of Night Vale) with a mix of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I was a little turned off by all the swearing, though I know that's just personal preference because most people wouldn't mind that. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the three adventures.
I'm not sure if you're planning to ever do rewrites, but I figured I would at least give you a more nuanced, critical review for this book if you ever decide to rewrite/publish it. I'm breaking it up into "The Good" and "The Bad." The Good is mostly the strong points of the story, and what I really loved about it. The Bad is plot holes I noticed as well as places I think the book could use more growth.
-I loved the opening of the twins visiting their grandfather in a creepy town. In fact, the ambience of creepiness pervades the entire narrative and I love it!
-I also really enjoyed the play on creepypastas and urban legends, as well as more detailed references. I have enjoyed legends like the Mothman and Candle Cove for years, and learning about cults like Heaven's Gate. Also, I'm totally taking "Eldergod" to be a reference to H.P. Lovecraft. Don't know if that's what you were going for, though.
-There are quite a few clichés throughout the book (like people warning them to stay away from the case if they value their lives), but I kind of feel like the book played on clichés as if making fun of them, which I enjoyed.
-I loved Billy's character! I think he is the strongest character, and has the strongest character arch as well. From being in such an abusive family to forgiving his parents in the end was moving! It was also interesting that he has kind of telekinetic powers.
-Random, but I love There's a Place for Us by Carrie Underwood! It was at the end of the third Chronicles of Narnia movie. Though I will say, it does not fit at all as a 1960's song. But I'm not complaining.
-Chapter 10 is perhaps my favorite, where Billy visits his father as well as the introduction of the 3rd arc. While I enjoyed all the arcs, the third is the most complicated and thus the most interesting.
-I also know that some people might be bothered by the pretty happy ending, but I actually liked it. It's a new leaf for all the characters.
-The biggest weakness in the book is the confusing age-group demographic of the book. Oh one hand, the first two cases felt fun and light, almost geared towards middle-graders (with a similar feel to Nancy Drew). The third case seemed more YA, but still relatively young. And yet, the swearing would automatically put the book into the adult range. This isn't something you need to worry about unless you want to try to publish it and market it to a certain audience, though.
-We never really find out why Maddie and Martin have such animosity in the beginning. I loved seeing their sibling relationship grow in the book, but I also never understood why Maddie hated Martin and his Youtube channel so much in the beginning.
-Chapter 9 is a one off, and it didn't really fit with the rest of the story. It felt like a teen boy's dream girl fantasy and it also does not fit at all with what we learn about Julia later.
-Maddie is kind of...crazy. Through the entire book. I don't know if this is a criticism, but it is if you're trying to make her understandable and good character. She's constantly freaking out, swearing at people, acting erratically to the point of showing psychopathic behavior (like when she pulls the gun on Julia). Don't get me wrong, this makes her an interesting character, but I'm not sure you're trying to make her come across like this.
-There are a lot of small shifts in perspective in the middle of the scenes. I don't mind if you set the book in omniscient perspective (showing all character's thoughts in every scene), and yet the book is set in third person limited (whether it's in Martin, Maddie, or Billy's heads) and yet randomly the reader will see into a head that we're currently not in.
-I did mention I liked most of the plays on clichés, but the one in Chapter 13 where the split up was annoying. Like, everyone knows you never split up in a creepy place!
-I loved the twist with Julia, but I also thought you kind of told us too early on. Maddie and Billy make the connection with her being the faceless girl early on, so not only did it make Martin look naïve (which was probably what you were going for), but it also made the twist in the broadcasting stations so obvious. If you had put in more nuanced, rare clues, I think it would have been a much more satisfying twist.
I really enjoyed reading this book! It's fun and light, especially for this being a pretty crazy year. Merry early Christmas and I hope your 2021 is better than your 2020!