The Fantastic Fable of Peter Able
By Natalie Grigson
Peter Able is an ex-boy wizard just learning the ropes of no longer having a book series. As he adjusts to his new life in the land of Fiction, his life is turned upside down when he meets Randy Potts and the mystery this man has been trying to uncover for a long time.
Like my last review, there are many things going wrong with this book, but strangely, it’s not the writing. In many parts, I enjoyed the flow and the way this author made her scenes. In the beginning, I really enjoyed everything.
‘As the genres get farther from campus, their side streets and shortcuts crisscross over and through one another, labyrinth-like, perhaps like the veins on a hand. I’m not sure about the metaphor, exactly, but I know this: it’s a great view.’
Like I said, well-written, with no errors to be found…and yet something is missing from the whole. You’ll see.
What can I say about the characters? It shows how good a book was if by the end you aren’t looking forward to seeing any of the characters again. That is how I felt here. Like the last book I read, the people populating this story either had no depth or were just plain unlikeable. Take our protagonist, for example.
Peter Able is a boy wizard who had his own series. Somehow, now, in the land of Fiction, he is incapable of any normal thought and is trumped by any and every character he comes upon. He cannot succeed anywhere, despite once being a main character. He sucks at everything—even talking. When the main character is so unlovable, it doesn’t speak much for the other characters who never really fill out.
My biggest problem with this book: Meta! I have no idea how I ended up reading two books in a row that decided to dabble in meta, but I have. It is an extremely tricky thing to do, especially if you are new to it, and yet two authors in a row have tried and—I’d have to say—failed. The botched transitions and the hyper-aware presentation to the story only pulls the reader out of what they are reading. Even if it is meta, it shouldn’t break the primary rule of fiction: suspension of disbelief.
On top of that, throughout, the author winks at us with little quips that I’ve never enjoyed in any genre or medium. Check out below.
‘Or we could be really lame and call it something like The Fantastic Fable of Peter Able.’
I don’t like this stuff, and I’m not sure who does. I hated Ocean’s Twelve for the very same reason that they made it apparent that the characters were aware of something in the real world and their world somehow overlapped. My suggestion to all future authors: DON’T DO IT!
Originally, I got this book for free because I voted for it on Amazon’s Kindle Scout. The first section was well done and unique. It showed potential. In many parts, I kept thinking to myself, if only the author had avoided that snarky tone or that bland meta-twist, and put some real plot in there instead, then this story could’ve been something. As is, the author shows potential. She has skills with words, but she needs to heed the scenes she makes so meta in her story—not to mention actually getting a plot that doesn’t evolve revealing how plot points and scenes work. When you do, you don’t have much of an audience who would understand, and the ones that do are most likely turned off by it.
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