Kent, R. (2019). Deviant king. London,UK: Blackthorn Books, LLC
Rina Kent had her first novel published in 2019. The North African writer is best known for her enemies to lovers romance series, but Kent has published twenty-two novels in the last two years.
Elsa Quinn is nicknamed Frozen for good reason. She plays pretend with others so that no one has a clue what is really going on. Every memory of her parents before their death ten years ago was wiped from her memory. She was bullied from day one at her new school, she has no idea why. To learn the answer to that question requires her to learn things about herself she has forgotten, and that is her biggest fear.
After reading Deviant King, I found myself perplexed by the writing style. There is a blur between past and present. The first paragraph was written in past tense, and the main character, Elsa was telling me her story, but in the next paragraph she switches to present tense. I understood from the opening that the story had already taken place and switching to present tense was a little odd for me. The way it is told, flipping between past and present tense, and with no separation between the two tenses, it made the story harder to follow. Elsa was telling me in past tense what was happening and then would show me in present tense – telling us everything twice. It eliminated the significance of all rising actions. I just didn’t care as to why she would be in conflict or questioned whether whatever was happening to her was deserved.
The second thing that was relevant to my own writing was the ending of the book. It was not the ending of the story, as being the first book in a series, but the main character had lost all her memories of what haunted her, so she couldn’t know she was in danger. The author, Rina Kent, inserted one answer to one overhanging question in the last two pages of the book, but nothing was solved. I was given no answers to any questions as to the external conflict, and the book was left at a terrible cliff hanger – but good because I want answers and will read the next book.
Switching between past and present tense is something that is relevant to my novel. I have dream sequences, stories and folklores being told, as well as the main story unfolding on the page. Managing the separation between those facets of the book was an issue that plagued me in the early stages of writing the manuscript. Upon reflection, and throughout the editing phases, I can now see why it is so important to make the change clear to readers. For example, the dream sequences are now all in italics, as well as any daydreams.
The manuscript is written in past tense, and so for those moments, it was going to past-past-tense. ‘Had’ is one of those words I strictly used for past-past-tense. The reader will clearly be able to define those moments that are not current to the story, i.e. referring to previous events or feelings.
From reading Deviant King I can clearly understand the importance of having a valid cliff-hanger. If I am going to leave my reader on the precipice, then I have to lead them there.
This was one of the things my mentor, Amanda Ashby, addressed right from the start. In her initial review of my manuscript, she didn’t like cliff-hanger endings, however after discussion with her, we kept the cliff-hanger because it is imperative to the story. However, I added more to the ending and left the story on a cliff-hanger but with more answers.
With guidance from Amanda, I tore apart the ending, and rewrote the final three chapters to give my readers a small sense of closure to this part of the story but not the end of series’ story arc.