Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bloodlines by Carl J Franklin

Amazon Description:

Join Kyle Montana, reserved humanitarian, on his journey through tribulations of his tumultuous life through self exploration and the seeking of acceptance in a loathsome society, in this eye opening self narrative novel. Being a man of several talents and touching the lives of many, Kyle struggles to find solace from nearly everything life throws at him. He stares death straight in the eye, faces rejection from every direction he turns, and bears witness to several wicked measures.  Kyle moves on to further successes after living through abhorrent conditions and finds reasoning with his life’s true purpose. This is a tender story of epic morals not only intended for simple reading pleasure, but also a profound view of real-life scenarios.

Review:  Is it better to live your life with love and compassion, or pursue morality within the strictest confines of religion?

Bloodlines, by Carl Franklin, begins with a glimpse at the end, quite literally.  In fact, the prologue describes the death of the main character, Kyle Skye Montana.  It was a shocking entry into the story, but it stood up to the rest of the novella, which chronicled the trials of its hero as he seeks his own happiness.

Kyle is a gay man living in a family that abhors his sexuality.  After his mother's death, his father and extended family make it known that they can not tolerate his preference despite the fact that he is reserved in his behavior and lives his life with love and compassion.  On top of it all, he's dealing with physical pain and trouble at work.  As a result, he becomes increasingly alienated and depressed, but all the while, he works to keep a positive attitude and a smile on his face.  One bad thing after another hits him, but he keeps on moving toward his goal of making it to Hollywood and becoming a screenwriter.

For a first effort by a self-published author, Bloodlines was a good story with potential.  However, there were a few areas that I felt were lacking and negatively affected my reading experience.

1. The language used was stilted and formal when it didn't need to be.  In some cases, the word choice pulled me so far out of the story that it was hard to keep reading.  It almost felt like the author picked up a dictionary or thesaurus and was trying to use the biggest, most formal choice possible.  While I don't think this was actually the case, I do think that further editing of the language would have benefited the story.

2. Kyle Montana lives in Colorado, and says that he's lived there most of his life, yet his dialogue is littered with British colloquialisms like "bloody hell", "posh", "sodding", and so on.  It made it extremely difficult to make a real connection with the hero, since I couldn't figure out where he was actually supposed to be from!  Not only that, the dialogue was weak in general, and didn't flow like a normal conversation, often providing way more detail than was actually necessary for the story. 

3. For a commentary on morality and what it means to find happiness, Kyle's final successes were far too focused on the material things he had acquired rather than the love of his family and final acceptance achieved.  I didn't care that he was wearing a Dolce & Gabbana shirt or that he was worth $240 million.  I didn't care that he drove an Escalade or lived in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills.  The redemption of the story should have focused on the life he had built and the relationships that were the foundation of his happiness, not the material wealth he had acquired.  It undermined the underlying meaning to all the pain he had been through.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

If you want a quick read that explores some real issues, this story is a pretty good one.  At $4 on Amazon, it's not going to break the bank, and it will support an aspiring author as well as a worthwhile charity (more on that later). 

Stay Tuned!
In a future post I will be interviewing the author, Carl Franklin, and learning more about his background, writing process, and the charity he's supporting with the sales of this book. 

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