The Nth Day, by Jonathan Huls: A Review

A new virgin birth, and the son of God is reborn into the USA in all its early twenty-first century dysfunctional glory. A premise worth exploring, and a book with quite interesting characters: Justin, the newest regeneration of the Messiah; Cassie, a neglected, abused child on the run; Theodore, a rich-beyond-belief man who lives on the streets; Nick, a drug dealer who has suffered through flames.

My scoring rubric gave this book 3 stars. For once, I’ll give the breakdown. These are my scoring criteria: writing style, dialogue quality, plot development and believability, character depth and development, world-building, spelling and grammar, and production quality. The Nth Day scored well in some of these, and badly in others. Let me explain.

I found the character depth and development the strongest quality of the book. The major characters were than outlines, more than stereotypes. I liked them, and I cared about most of them. The world they inhabited – twenty-first century America, after some rather world-shaking changes – was for the reasonably believable, although I found the effect of the changes perhaps somewhat understated.

Where the book failed for me was in the actual writing. Poorly structured sentences, extremely long paragraphs (which should have been broken up into multiple paragraphs in most cases), and too many word errors – either plain mis-spellings or homophones which spell-check didn’t catch – were a large part of the problem. But along with those issues, some of the content of some of those long paragraphs was gratuitous descriptions of bodily functions in excruciating detail. I’m not turned off by these sort of descriptions when there is a valid, plot or setting driven reason for them – but in The Nth Day, I could never quite work out what the purpose was. Unfortunately, to me, they came across more like the foul-mouth bluster of an adolescent trying to impress or rebel than descriptive detail with a purpose in this narrative.

The author reinterpreted biblical events and stories into the setting and story quite effectively. The major characters were appealing, or at least held my attention (I can’t say Nick was appealing), the premise interesting and the conclusion suitably enigmatic. Further editing would have benefited the novel greatly, in my opinion.

The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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