Sunday, June 6, 2010

Review - The Line by Teri Hall

The Line by Teri Hall (2010 Debut Author!)
Bookdepository / Amazon UK / Amazon US
Librarything / Goodreads

Rating: 2.5 stars
Pages: 220

Summary: An invisible, uncrossable physical barrier encloses the Unified States. The Line is the part of the border that lopped off part of the country, dooming the inhabitants to an unknown fate when the enemy used a banned weapon. It’s said that bizarre creatures and superhumans live on the other side, in Away. Nobody except tough old Ms. Moore would ever live next to the Line.
Nobody but Rachel and her mother, who went to live there after Rachel’s dad died in the last war. It’s a safe, quiet life. Until Rachel finds a mysterious recorded message that can only have come from Away. The voice is asking for help.

Who sent the message? Why is her mother so protective? And to what lengths is Rachel willing to go in order to do what she thinks is right?

Thoughts: The Line is an odd book.  It has a universe with real potential, filled with political, social and (perhaps) magical intrigue.  There's no zombie apocalypse, but something peculiar sure is going on.

But The Line also has some rather significant problems.

For starters, the writing just wasn't that great.  I had to reread chunks of text just to work out what was supposed to be going on.  As for the story, it featured a lot of telling and little showing.  The characters were little more than plot devices - albeit a very interesting plot.  Without exception, I found them extremely one-dimensional and often outright illogical.  *Spoilers*  There was a scene where Rachel starts screaming at her mother - calling her a coward - because she didn't try to help some woman being arrested by the police.  There was nothing her mother could have done, and even trying to help would have gotten them both thrown into workhouses.  Rachel knew this.  Still, Mum's a coward.  Bizarre?  I think so.  *End of spoilers*

But despite my rather take-it-or-leave-it opinion of the characters, I enjoyed the politics enough to continue reading.  Luckily, Hall dials up the tension for the last 1/4 of the novel.  The action started rolling, whole new mysteries were presented, and the characters started seeming less like plot devices - I actually wanted to find out what happened next!

And then it was over, and I went back to being rather blasé about the whole thing.

Bottom line?  Not the best book, but it is set in a fascinating universe.  Hall's writing is less than stellar, but I genuinely believe it will improve with her next novel.  I will be picking up the sequel, Away, when it comes out next year.

Cover Note:  This book is gorgeous and has a relevant cover.  Honest!  That beautiful greenhouse on the cover?  It actually exists in the novel.  Hell, if you need reason to get this book after reading my review: Get it for the cover!


  1. I'll be reading this at some point, but I won't be expecting anything amazing. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews for it, most of them on the more negative side. Thanks for the honest review!

  2. Oh dear, I was hoping that you were going to say that it was amazing or at least good. Hmmm... that's a shame. At least the setting is interesting.



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