First Impression of Jill Williamson’s Captives
The cover is blah. I think Zondervan could have done much better on the art. It strikes me as a few stock photos strategically placed. They are well-placed, and the composition is interesting, but I’m seeing better covers on self-pubbed books these days. I think Zondervan dropped the ball on this one. Luckily, a cover is easily changed.
From a writing front, I immediately found Captives more compelling than the YA book featured in the last CSFF blog tour. Not that it’s a competition. These are just my opinions.
The detailed map in the front of the book was a nice indication that Williamson spent much time dreaming up the dystopian world featured in her story. Williamson introduces a lot of characters up front, and she does so in a way that’s easy to follow, despite the POV shifts. The village atmosphere she creates is believable and compelling.
A Review of the Reviews
About a quarter way through the book (that’s a SWAG), I hopped over to Goodreads to see what others were saying. Only two of the reviews remain in my memory these many weeks later. One reviewer complained that Captives is Christian fiction, and as such they felt the characters were one-dimensional, and that all the Christian characters were portrayed as good people in the book whereas the non-Christian characters were the bad ones. First of all, to clarify, the Christianity in Captives is not overt. At least not yet. (Did I mention I stalled out at 2/3 of the way through the book? I’ve got a lot of reading to do tomorrow.) Secondly, I think the reviewer is wrong. I felt the characters were multi-dimensional. And also, the primary antagonist in the first 2/3 of the book is from the (symbolic) Christian clan. This character makes some very flawed decisions that eventually lead to the main story problem.
A second review that stuck with me was from a gentleman who thought Williamson’s prose was choppy. I disagree for the most part, although (perhaps because he planted the thought in my brain), as I continued reading, I began to notice places where the prose could have been more lyrical. I’ll re-evaluate this when I’ve read the entire book.
My Main Criticism of Captives (thus far)
At this point, my main criticism is one of believability. For the most part, I think Williamson has created a cohesive dystopian society, and some of the technologies she presents are quite intriguing. However, as I read about these intriguing technologies, I find myself asking…where is this stuff manufactured? The residents of the Safe Lands have lots of neat gizmos, but so far there’s been no mention of a sophisticated manufacturing district. Where are they getting their raw materials, and where are these high tech gadgets being built?
Does it matter? Probably not. I’m likely more critical than most regarding the world building aspect of Captives because my dystopian scifi novel is coming out this November. (Yep. Shameless plug.) But seriously, writers tend to notice “flaws” that the general reading public doesn’t because we are overly analytical toward our own work. It becomes a nasty habit that we project onto other writers.
I’m going to wrap this up for today because I have some reading to do!
To find out what others are saying about Jill Williamson’s Captives, check out the links below.
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Morgan L. Busse
Emma or Audrey Engel
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Asha Marie Pena