The old adage goes that “you should not judge a book by its cover” and though it is a virtuous sentiment it is not one that is typically followed. Welcome to day eight of my 31 Days of First Impressions Challenge! In this challenge I will be reading the first entry or chapter of a different serial (or web fiction) and then give my first impressions on them be they good or bad. In short: I will be judging a book by its cover.
Today I will be reading Jim Zoetewey‘s The Legion of Nothing.
Author’s Note: Jim wrote for my serial during an April Fool’s Day swap. I tried to be as non-biased as I could.
Jim Zoetewey’s website is professional, sleek, and filled to the brim! Though I had no problem finding where I needed to go I found myself in a slight panic at first because there is not a square inch of his site that does not have a functioning link. To be clear, I do not think his site is cluttered, but the word count of his links may be on par with the word count of the first chapter. There is good reason for this, of course. Beyond the stuff he needs to build his mailing list, generate traffic…et cetera, he is writing his ninth book in the series. This site has been around for three U.S. presidents! I am a little taken aback at how well his site functions and how aesthetically pleasing it is given the sheer size of it.
“Cassie held out the latest issue of ‘Double V,’ flipping the front half of the magazine under the back to make it easier to hold. She pointed to an article titled ‘Twelve Threats: New and Notable.'”-The Legion of Nothing–Chapter One: Villains and Vigilantes.
I am not immediately compelled by this, but this is okay, as the next couple of paragraphs become more interesting. Not all fiction needs to start with a gunshot. It did take me a couple of minutes to get submerged in Mr. Zoetewey’s writing, so a hook that does that work off the bat is something this could benefit from, but I also did not hit the back button on my browser or open a new tab in the middle of it.
The prose in Legion of Nothing is more on the casual side. There were a couple of gem sentences in there that I enjoyed, but the strong suit is the author’s story telling ability. There is much history in this chapter, generations worth of it, and a good amount of world building. The chapter was also short, maybe about 800 words or so, and I felt that this was refreshing. The author knew when to cut it and move on but with just enough questions unanswered that it beckons the reader to go to the next one.
I would continue reading, though I am not completely compelled by it. Jim Zoetewey appears to be a very competent writer, and I am curious to see his writings once he is in full stride, but the first chapter does not have much momentum. I am not sure how much I would commit to reading if it does not grab me later, as nine books is a LOT to read, and honestly is a little intimidating. I get the feeling that I would need to be convinced by a really animated friend assuring me that it gets really good later on if I saw these in paperback. I prefer to read one offs over epic sagas, but as one who has read a couple in the past I know that they sometimes need time to get their motors running.
At the end of the day, my feelings about this serial were positive.
Join me tomorrow for my impressions on Shaeor’s serial Dirge, or check out my own serial: