The Buried Life - Carrie Patel
This is the edited version of the full review which can be found at If These Books Could Talk

I always feel that reading a book should feel like a marathon, not a sprint; you want to set off at a nice leisurely pace, settling down into a deep narrative and plot that will keep you going for the 3-400 pages. What you don’t want is the equivalent of Usain Bolt, zooming off at the sound of the starter’s pistol, and getting exhausted by the first turn. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what you get with Carrie Patel’s début novel ‘The Buried Life’.

Patel starts off right in the middle of the action, and it really doesn’t let up, which makes the slump it hits about half-way even more annoying; it’s almost as if she had all the ideas, World-building, and characterisation (which are all superb) mapped out, but only for the first half, after which she completely loses momentum. Characters start making stupid decisions that make no sense and go against what’s been established, the World building suffers from too much superlative descriptions and the plot seems to just go off on a tangent.

Patel also falls foul of way too many narrative tropes – ‘What-If?’ scenarios, shock silly reveals, and an open ending (naturally paving the way for the second book) that really make you wonder how much of a hand the editor had in this. Along with the constant superlatives (honestly, sometimes less is more) and the forced, unnatural language style it’s hard to believe that someone at some point didn’t say “Look…You’re suffocating the characters and diluting the plot!”

The second book in the ‘Buried Life’ series is due out in July 2015 (yes…that quickly) and I will probably give it a look as I was genuinely fascinated by the world Patel had created, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I find that the two books together, if edited down, made one really good book. I really wanted to like this, but it ended up being just incredibly frustrating.