Amazon Breakthrough Expert Review

This is the review of the beginning of my novel Black Earth. It’s all here, the good and the bad.

ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

The strongest aspect of this is its originality. I felt like the author did a great job of capturing the reader’s interest and holding it through the entire excerpt.

What aspect needs the most work?

I would have liked a little more explanation as to how Earth was destroyed. But I do realize that this may come later on in the story.
What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?
It constantly kept my attention and I could not wait to turn the page from start to finish. I felt like this story is original and would appeal to a broad audience.

ABNA Expert Reviewer

What is the strongest aspect of this excerpt?

By far, the strongest aspect of this piece is that of the Carrier. This is a creative idea, a beautiful concept, and the voice of Mephael is very strong and compelling.

The descripton of her existence in and then her birth from her mother was well done. Such descriptive phrases like, “Her skin is tested and strengthened with the pulls and turns of her mother’s dizzying movements as she launches, flies and lands” just grabbed my imagination.

And after she is born, “A song of lament grows, high and resonant, as her mother’s mindvoice flows through the feeding port. Amalef sings fast words, teaching Mephael all she can about her destiny.” That’s just beautiful…and so sad. The idea that a mother dies as her offspring comes to life, that she desperately tries to pass on all she can before she is destroyed…

Even though the story opens with Lea and it appears she will be the main character, the concept of her just being a creating force for this being, seems much more imaginative and much stronger. “The Maker Lea designed it this way, refined the process so the Lifecode Carrier would never remember the moment her mother dies and she inherits the promise and the pain of Black Earth.” Stories about the end of the human race have been done before, but this idea of a Lifecode Carrier is fascinating and new.

What aspect needs the most work?

Where the being that is the Carrier/Mephael is strong and creates a high level of reader interest, the character of Lea is not as interesting.

The reader sees a great deal of what she does, but not enough of who she is or what she thinks and feels. Not only has she lived through (or I suppose, lived after) the destruction of almost all other human beings, but now her life is threatened and she has to fight to survive while also being concerned about the Carrier. The reader knows this, but doesn’t feel it.

With thoughts like this, “She huffed and blinked deeply (?), ruing the loss of her chance to live for at lease a few more hours.” That seems such a detached and cold way to think about the nearly certain end of one’s life.

And she seems to care very little about others, “But there was nothing she could do to help them. She couldn’t make herself look. She didn’t want to see them suffering. It would probably just cripple her racing mind.” Lea hasn’t even tried to save these few remaining humans and she gives up and then decides to not care about them.

As the piece comes to an end, I found myself caring far more about what happened to Mephael than Lea. While it seems clear that the Carrier will be a major focus of the story, this main character with whom the reader is introduced to this world should be more believable and accesible.

What is your overall opinion of this excerpt?

This is a very imaginative story – one that has great potential as it details the end of most of humankind…and what this “Carrier” means to life in general.

The scenes that involve the being Mephael are very well written, are very descriptive and absolutely pull the reader in. While the reader may not fully understand how the Earth has come to this point or what exactly the Carrier is – there is something about this concept of this new form of life that goes beyond any confusion. It’s like going back to the beginning of creation itself, to see the primal thoughts and feelings. The reader is born into this world as Mephael is and seeing the world through fresh eyes.

I would be very curious to see where this story leads and commend the author on some beautiful prose and a very creative vision.

(End of review)

I am delighted that the story communicates Mephael so well, and also with the comments about Lea, as that’s something I can work on. Having critique like this from an expert is gold.

I really hope the rest of the novel delivers on the promises of the first 5000 words.

Here is the link to Amazon if you’d like to read the exerpt. I’d love more reviews or likes.



2 thoughts on “Amazon Breakthrough Expert Review

  1. Being familiar with your whole Black Earth story, Helen, I feel this is an accurate and truly helpful review. Your characterisation of Mephael absolutely shines. Well done!!

  2. What a great review. Considered and highly complementary. We expect many more will follow… Great statistics – 500 out of 5000 – well done


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