Books have changed and guided my life’s choices since I was a youngster. I’ve read hundreds (thousands?), enjoyed and then forgotten them. This one is different and not just because after two years I can’t get it out of my mind.
No, the big difference is that this one isn’t even published.
I critiqued No Rest for Marcy and was struck by the professionalism, the uniqueness of the tale, and the writing. Truly, this needs agented. It is a rare example of sci-fi that isn’t stereotypical in anyway.
I want to know why it fascinates me so.
Dissection and discovery of
No Rest by Marcy Hatch.
I paddle out, breathing evenly in the early dawn, mist rising from the water.
Action and gentle, subtle description. I cannot think of an opening sentence from a NYT bestseller or current author who can write better. This sentence places you in the moment and gives context. The room disappears and I am there.
The whole place is quiet and still except for Grandfather.
More sensory description. And we have a new character to focus on and a mental image of him. I like that he is "Grandfather" not Grandpa. It adds a formality to it and I want to know why.
He tells me to hug the shore. The oars feel light in my hands. I’ve been practicing since the ice melted and now it’s paying off. My arms are strong.
We don’t know the gender or age yet, but we know the MC is a tiny bit happy with his or her ability. It is a character trait, subtle and easy to miss when the reader begins. But your subconscious noted it and nodded.
Grandfather points and I aim for the spot, a place where the marsh grass bends to the side. The current pushes against the boat, making me work harder, and it isn’t long before I’m sweating.
The breeze waves at the grass at either side of us. It’s close enough to touch but I keep my hands on the paddle, breathing deep the mud and brine. I pull the boat into the narrow inlet.
My senses are alive with smells, sights, and sounds. Note how Marcy breathes these descriptions on to her manuscript. No gale-force wind blowing every which way.
Behind me, Grandfather is silent. I resist the urge to ask him again where we’re going even though I want to. I just keep paddling until we run aground.
Ahhh, drama and a mystery. Note the delicate touch of backstory also.
Now I’m hooked. But why?
· When the story puts you inside the scene
· when you connect with the characters
· when action moves you forward
· when you bond
I’m caught and I don’t even know it. And I don’t even know the gender or age of the MC. Probably older due to the thoughts of this person. I’m sure I’ll find out soon. *G*
Grandfather gets out first, his feet sinking into the mud as he climbs up the bank. He turns back to give me a hand, pulling me up onto dry ground. The wind is cooler here and the sky blue and immense over the long marsh.
I follow Grandfather across the spongy ground to the trees that mark the forest. There, a path leads up the steep incline, thick with cedar, oak, and pine. There are rocks, too, or boulders, if you like, which offer handholds and ledges.
Sweat trickles down my back, my breath coming hard. Soon I long for the breeze even as I remind myself that it’s good training to push myself. Still, I’m glad when the ground levels off and we come to the road above the river. It’s an old road, doesn’t lead anywhere that I know of, and I wonder why Grandfather has brought me this way.
Suddenly he stops, listening.
A second later I hear it, too, a jingling sound, and then we both see him coming, this man with bells and a box strapped to his back. He wears a patchwork jacket and a tall hat but it’s the box on his back that tells me who he is: a tinker.
We don’t see them very often anymore; they’re a dying breed according to Grandfather. Who needs a tinker when there’s a whole town just down river or a super hub an hour away?
His face brightens at the sight of us, brown eyes twinkling. He opens his jacket wide and the lining glitters with who knows what: jewelry, utensils, knives, watches, trinkets. Old stuff. He starts to pull the box off his back but Grandfather puts a hand up.
“We don’t need any pots or books,” he says.
“Something else then?” The tinker tilts his head expectantly, takes a step closer.
“Do you see anything you like, Cammi?” Grandfather asks me. “Something to take with you when you go…?”
It’s then I understand he wants to buy me something, a going away present. It isn’t like him but I think maybe he’s feeling sentimental so I take a step closer, looking hard at what the tinker’s got.
An old watch catches my eye, the sort that opens and closes and sits in your pocket. I point, and the peddler hands it over for me to look at. The bottom side is smooth and worn as if rubbed; the top is engraved with a design I cannot cipher. Flat, pearly gems mark the edge, flush with the metal, glimmering. I can hear the clock ticking inside.
Well now, Cammi sounds like a girl, older, about to leave home or at least her Grandfather.
Note again the action, the play of backstory. You WANT to know more and can not resist turning the page.
Here is the blurb of No Rest:
In the future, Corporations own everything and are constantly scouting for blah blag blah. Most people are okay with that, including Camille Zinn, who grows up on the backwater world of Cedar, the latest addition to CGE’s holdings.
In the future, Corporations own everything, including the planet Camille Zinn grows up on. But that’s okay with Cam, because the company that owns her homeworld (Carina Genetics Engineering) is going to give her the opportunity to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a scout, looking for new worlds – and new profits. But after a hazing gone wrong, Cam gets a chemical enhancement she didn’t want whose effects are permanent: Cam can’t sleep. More amazing? She finds a way to deal with not sleeping without going crazy. Bad news: the company she’s signed on with to follow her dream wants to use her to replicate the enhancement to make super workers….volunteers, among them, her boyfriend, Jin. If she doesn’t help, the volunteers won’t make it, but if she does, CGE will make more super-workers who can’t sleep, even though some of them are dying to. Literally.