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Sweet dreams on offer

Even a dash of Homer could be made to appeal to youngsters

Gulf News


By Amanda Hocking

St Martin’s Griffin, 304 pages, $17.99

The e-publishing phenomenon is back. Amanda Hocking, who has sold more a million novels online without the backing of any big companies, has been hailed as the future of digital publishing. It is, indeed, good news especially for the thousands of writers who have lived with the rejection of pink slips that arrive in the mail at an alarming rate.

No more hoping that a book editor chances upon your august work and turns you into the next J.K. Rowling, along with an advance more than enough to let you to quit your day job and flounce around the garden looking artistic. Perhaps, I am being a tad facetious — my heartfelt apologies to all aspiring writers.

However, the ironic reality of e-publishing is that Hocking has found her way into print and appears to be getting a lot more “real estate” publicity based on this hard fact. So it is great that digital self-publishing is coming of age but just like all self-starters, it is a bit of a shot in the dark, especially when the giant publicity machines of book houses are not backing you.

Hocking is one of the lucky few. I hope there are many more, pushing for greater competition.

“Lullaby” is the second in her “Watersong” series. The first, titled “Wake”, was not bad — a young-adult novel with a smattering of first romances, dialogues in hyperbole and a whole lot of magic. This book, too, follows in the same vein but attempts to bring in Homer and Ovid into the mix. Before the smirk starts, let me add that it is not too convoluted an attempt, so tends to hold.

Will it send young people rushing to discover the “Odyssey” or “Metamorphoses”? Perhaps not. But, it will pique their interest. In this day and age when most young people only appear to communicate in acronyms, a dash of Homer is always welcome.

The “Lullaby” storyline continues with the “Wake” plot involving two sisters who have fallen into bad times because of some mythological creatures invading their home and peace of mind. Will they survive the onslaught?

The book was a light and easy read for an evening break of a couple of hours. The story flows in a relatively linear fashion — it does not require much mental gymnastics.