Analysis, Reading, Reviews

Book Review: Nophek Gloss

Nophek Gloss is a young adult space opera action adventure. It doesn’t say it’s young adult, but trust me, it is. It’s fast paced and imaginative and boy-howdy have I got opinions and feelings about it.

Taitn continued sailing the Azura straight into the roiling surface of the star’s skin. Burning fusion bit aginst the resplendent rind but didn’t pass through and inside. The ship sang serenly, muting the violent view. The windows sparked with glitches as they shielded the intensity bleeding through.

Nophek Gloss by Essa Hansen

Part 1: Who’s going to love it?

If you want flashy action and vibrant descriptions, if you want flashy fun young adult space opera, then you are in for a treat. If the pacing can’t be too fast for you, the descriptions can’t be too vibrant. If your idea of great writing is action verbs everywhere. Then you’ll love Nophek Gloss.

This is Fifth Element action and Mos Eisly Cantina settings.

And if that’s the book you want to read, space scifi young adult action adventure, then stop here and read Nophek Gloss.

Seriously, stop now. Don’t read the rest of this review.

…because if you keep watching, you’re going to hear me criticize Nophek Gloss for things that maybe you wouldn’t even notice, things that might not spoil your enjoyment of the book if you didn’t know to look for them. I’m not going to spoil the plot, but I’m going to point out flaws.

Part 2: Who’s going to hate it?

This book’s pacing is overwhelming and virtually never slows down. If you like a little bit of meditation in your books, time for emotional weight to sink in, then skip Nophek Gloss.

If the idea of an angry young hot headed protagonists sounds dull and been done before to you, then you’re not going to like this.

Even the language is exhausting. Like seriously, it’s okay to not ALWAYS use action verbs.

Part 3: What did I think of it?

Sigh. I’m not angry at you, Nophek Gloss. I’m just disappointed.

It pains me to read this book because the little boy inside me loves it to pieces and wants nothing more than to write a story just like this one, but the old man inside me looks at Nophek Gloss and asks, is this the future of publishing? Aping vacuous Hollywood spectacle, forgetting how to be honest and true with painful emotions and real relationships?

Is that all the kids want these days?

The pacing is way too fast and way too focused on spectacle to achieve any sort of emotional connection, which might thrill a childish young reader, but won’t make you happy if you appreciate pacing that isn’t pedal to the floor the whole time.

There’s no time to establish the importance of anything to the characters before those so-called important things are ripped away in the name of drama.

It is inconceivable to me how a book this good can fall short of greatness on something as simple as pacing. You’re telling me that between the author, agent, editor, and publisher, nobody read a draft of this book and pointed out the flaws in the pacing?
Pedal to the metal is not thrilling unless it contrasts with moments of reflection. Pumping the brakes can be as exciting as accelerating.

Take the scene with the fancy futuristic scifi shower. There’s a moment when the character is getting all the filth washed from their outsides (and insides) and the character makes a connection between the washing and their experience. There’s a line about how much the character has lost. But instead of dwelling on this moment, instead of letting the emotion sink in and have any sort of impact at all, the spectacle of the future shower is brought to the forefront and the narrative whisks us away to a fancy scifi dining experience in which token words are devoted to “fitting in” and “family”, but it’s all so fucking rushed.

This book is modern Hollywood, smartphone-induced ADHD, executives terrified that if every frame isn’t filled with spectacle, then audience members are going to start browsing Twitter in the middle of the theater.

It moves so damned fast that there’s no time for the relationships lost or gained to hold any meaning. The moments of reflection that are present feel like they were inserted as afterthoughts and get glossed over so quickly as to lose all meaning. Is that what the title refers to? Nophek gloss? More like glosses over the emotions and trauma of this main character without ever pausing to let it sink in.

The book is packed with complex descriptions and an obsession with using action verbs, which makes it feel fresh and exciting at first, but is merely tiring and needlessly confusing after a short time.

Imagine the cantina from Star Wars: A New Hope, but in writing. What the viewer’s eyes and ears pick up in seconds would take paragraphs if not pages of writing, and it does, and it’s cool the first couple times, but then it gets old.

I love action verbs. I love pre-norman invasion english, those hard hitting anglo saxon sounds. That’s how I strive to write, but it’s nothing without an emotional core.

Let’s talk about the novelization of Revenge of the Sith. It has the same hard-hitting language, but it also does a BETTER job at dramatizing emotion than Nophek Gloss or the film that it’s based on.

If you want emotionally shallow action, just watch a Michael Bay movie, just rewatch the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

Part 4: What does it mean to dramatize emotion and how do we do it?

Nophek Gloss doesn’t establish/emphasize trauma, it repeats/reminds the reader about it, but that’s not the same thing.

But what does it mean to dramatize emotion?

Dramatizing emotion involves showing through the character’s words and actions what is important to the character so that later on, when they gain or lose what is important, their emotions are believable and relatable.

Pacing is also important. The reader needs to see the character’s wants, and desires in actions over time, not once and done.

Comparing the character’s emotional reaction to that of others can also be a valuable tool.

Lastly, the character should act on their emotions in ways that affect the plot, otherwise what’s the point?

The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference, and I am not indifferent to Nophek Gloss.

If you have a son or daughter, niece or nephew, if you know a 10 to 14 year old who loves Star Wars, who loves action, get them this book. They will flip their shit! But if you wake up and your back hurts then forget it, you’re too old.


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