My immediate impression after reading the first few chapters of Augustus Baltazar was that Neil Burnsnoll writes really well. He definitely knows how to string a story together, and a lot of times I was impressed that a debut novel was so well written. But a well written story doesn’t necessarily mean a good read, as this book proves. I’m just going to come out and say it; this book was extremely difficult to get through. It didn’t grab me in the beginning, but, ever the optimist, I was hoping that things would pick up the further I got into the book. That was not the case. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I was even more disinterested the more I read.
Now this is where I would tell you something about the book. Give you a little background so that you can determine if this is something you might to pick up. Unfortunately, I was completely lost throughout the book. In the beginning of the book we meet the MC, Augustus, or Stu who’s a paranormal investigator. There’s also his best friend Mike, who I really liked immediately upon meeting him. Then there’s Jenny, the girl who evokes feelings Stu has felt with only one other person. So of course he’s intrigued. Finally, Stu keeps seeing shadows everywhere he goes and he’s not sure what to make of it. All of that you knew from reading the blurb, you didn’t need me to state the obvious. The thing is, the blurb does a very good job of telling some stuff about the book, but the book does nothing to add on to that information. So, yes, I’m still lost.
It didn’t help that the book dragged on a lot, especially during the fight scenes that went on forever. Couple that with the fact that I couldn’t keep up with the book and you have a bored reader out of her mind. I just couldn’t stay focus on the story at all, which might explain why I didn’t learn much beyond the blurb. I wasn’t confused, just not sure what the story was about or where it was going. As I said above, the author writes really well, but the book skims the surface of things. I will admit that my lack of focus was partly due to the subject of the book. I love paranormal, for a while that’s all I read. But, as much as I love paranormal, any book that I read has to have a strong romantic plot, Augustus Baltazar didn’t have that. Yes, there was a bit of romance but I didn’t connect with it or the people involved.
The sad thing about all of this is that the book has a great premise, something that was more clear at the end of the book. There is a very nice twist at the end that I believe will keep anyone who loved the first book on the edge for the second. There’s a bit of mystery there and a lot of questions arise that I myself want answers to. My hope is that the author will learn from this and make the second book even better because he definitely has potential.