google-site-verification: google935433b691795853.html KRISTY BERRIDGE: Book Review: Sin by Shaun Allan

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Book Review: Sin by Shaun Allan

This is without a doubt the most difficult book review I've ever had to write. I've even had sleepless nights over it, wondering how best to phrase my opinions without overly swaying the thoughts of other readers. So here I go ...
Sin, aptly named after the decidedly self-depreciating and clearly troubled protagonist, Sin Matthews - walks the fine line between sanity and the musings of a mentally unbalanced character. Chained by the oppressive nature of his ability, Sin is convinced that his darker nature controls the fate of those around him. A mere flip of a coin shows the troubled past of sinners and his unleashed ideals rock the boat between life and death - death almost always the punishment befitting the crime.
Sin despises his lack of control and the ever expanding weight of responsibility that rests upon his shoulders. So he seeks solitude in a mental institution under the care of Doctor Connors, a man driven by power and an underlying desire to control Sin and his credible ability. With brief appearances from minor characters and a deluge into teleportation, the basis of this story does not spread its wings particularly far.
For me, Shaun Allan is an exceptional writer - witty, creatively descriptive and blooming with insane but aptly collated analogies that often left me with 'laugh out loud' moments. However, it was hard for me to weigh up the brilliant word-smithing versus the deathly sedate pace of the somewhat lackluster story line.
At 25% into the story we were still extensively and excessively rehashing some relative points of interest in the past, consistently interspersed with random ramblings. At 50% I seriously considered not finishing, wondering in retrospect what the point of the story was and how the plot-to-date had not progressed spectacularly. This was where I warred within. As 'Sin' is written from the perspective of an insane man, I could appreciate the constant deviation in plot as a true reflection of character, but as a reader it drove me absolutely insane and I coincidentally found myself skipping whole paragraphs in favour of getting back on point.
At about 75% I was finally drawn into the culminating story, the web of deceit and the climatic ending that left me breathing a sigh of relief and silently applauding Sin's personal growth and wicked retribution.
As I've said before I've been very torn with this read - enamoured with the author's writing style, sense of humour and original idea, but unfortunately the constant deviation from point infuriated me as a reader intent on purpose. Therefore, I can only rate this novel two out of five fangs despite my admiration for the author's obvious skill and writing passion.
Dead, dead, dead. Say it enough times and it becomes just another word.
What would you do? Could you kill a killer? Does the death of one appease the deaths of a hundred? What about that hundred against a thousand?
What if you had no choice?
Meet Sin. No, not that sort of sin, but Sin, crazy as a loon (you ask Sister Moon), and proud of it. Sin locks himself away in a mental home and, every so often, gets violent. That’s only so they’ll give him those nice drugs, though. The ones that help him forget.
It’s a pity they don’t work.
Sin, you see, has a serious problem. Well, it’s not so much his problem, as ours – yours, mine and everyone else’s. People die around him. He doesn't like it and he can't help it. But someone else knows, and he has to stop them... and himself...
Flip and catch...

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