Official Review: The weakest link by Fernando Neves

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Miriam Molina
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Official Review: The weakest link by Fernando Neves

Post by Miriam Molina » 28 Dec 2017, 22:32

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The weakest link" by Fernando Neves.]
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1 out of 4 stars
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Soccer is the world’s most popular sport. Brazil has won the most World Cup titles. Perhaps these were the reasons why Fernando Neves was inspired to write this short thriller, The Weakest Link: A Short Story about Conspiracy, Espionage & Sport, choosing Brazil as his milieu. (I searched the net to learn more about the author but could not pick him out from his many namesakes.)

The action revolves around the following characters: Zaur, a natural-gas tycoon from Azerbaijan and a former General of the KGB; Yulia, a KGB-trained female agent who happens to be a beauteous redhead; Elivelton, a not-so-talented player of the Brazilian soccer club Ponte Verde; and the club’s lawyer, Alirio. Zaur wants to upgrade his social status (adding to his billions is only icing on the cake, as he already has more than he could count). Yulia is working for ten million euros. Elivelton needs money to clear his escalating gambling debts. Alirio is addicted to Yulia’s charms.

The motley cast of characters makes for interesting reading, with Yulia getting the prize as the most textured of the lot. She is hired by Zaur to engineer the purchase of a soccer club (with a prestigious history) at a reasonable price. The plan is to demote the club (by foul means, if necessary) to the second division, thereby driving away its sponsors; Zaur will then come to the rescue at the right price. An added task for the redhead would be to locate sources of Brazilian sacred art which Zaur will smuggle out to sell to his fellow billionaires in Asia. Nothing works like fine art on their walls to give his rich friends the class that they presently lack.

Will Yulia deliver the goods?

The plot is cliché, and the use of a seductress to lure a man to obedience is old hat. Nevertheless, the story could have impressed me with the new learnings about soccer, a sport I am not very familiar with, and the interesting tidbits about Brazilian culture. Sadly, the book (of barely sixteen pages) never stood a chance. Only into the second paragraph, my list of grammatical errors already had ten items. By the second page, I stopped counting.

There is a lot of sexual innuendo but thankfully no explicit acts. The author attempted humor, but the grammatical errors made the jokes fall flat. For action, the story offers seduction, a killing and its cover-up, a disrupted soccer game, and heated discussions among game officials and club officers. But the scenes could not be thoroughly appreciated as the author does not use quotation marks to set off dialogue. The verbal exchanges are included in the paragraphs, thus adding to the confusion.

The book format doesn’t help, either. Each full page has close to 600 words (a standard page has 250), so the page itself looks formidable and unappealing.

The grammatical errors run the whole gamut. Proper nouns like nationalities (e.g., “mexican”), languages (e.g., “azeri”), and titles (e.g., “doctor Martim”) are not capitalized. Commas are erroneously present or absent, as if dependent on the author’s whim. The syntax is at times awkward (e.g., “at bath time we use a soap odorless she even brings because it cleans but leaves no smell”). Though Yulia’s character is bisexual (an interesting aspect of the story), I doubt whether that justifies her being called a “he” on occasion. We encounter “most purest Vanity,” “theirs true value,” “succker,” and “You'll slap in the referee's face.”

I suppose it will not come as a surprise that this book will receive 1 out of 4 stars from me. I believe the author is a non-native English speaker. This is all the more reason that a good editor should be called to make the story palatable to an English-speaking audience. Communication is key to any relationship. The relationship (also called the link) between author and reader is no exception. An author cannot afford to let that become the weakest link.

******
The weakest link
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Post by Lebs » 03 Jan 2018, 08:23

The topic of the book sounded quite intriguing and as a fan of both soccer and espionage, I thought I would enjoy it. However, from your review it sounds like the story is marred by language and grammatical errors that would make it difficult to enjoy. Thank you for writing this in detail and being honest.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 03 Jan 2018, 17:50

I also had high hopes of enjoying this short thriller. Sadly, it missed the goal by a mile. One of the Fernando Neveses I found during my internet search was a Brazilian soccer player. I wonder if he was the author.

I couldn't give the story more stars. It was too short to not have merited a thorough primping.

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Post by Kat Berg » 04 Jan 2018, 00:24

It is always disappointing to read a one star book, especially if it could have been so much better with just a little more effort. And a good editor is always worth their weight in gold. Always. Thanks for the in-depth review.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 04 Jan 2018, 02:27

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kat Berg! I feel bad about giving books such a low rating, but it would not be fair to the author if he or she is not alerted to his or her shortcomings.

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Post by Hildah Mose » 04 Jan 2018, 04:17

There's nothing as disturbing as reading a book full of errors. Sorry you had to endure that. You review is great. Thanks for your honesty. Please check my review as well. I'd love to know your thoughts about my writing since I am getting started.

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Post by kandscreeley » 04 Jan 2018, 09:04

Wow! 16 pages of 600 words on each page? I think the author could have used less words on the page and more pages. I think I'll be avoiding this one due to the numerous grammatical errors. Thanks for the review, though.
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Post by Miriam Molina » 04 Jan 2018, 10:52

Hildah Mose wrote:
04 Jan 2018, 04:17
There's nothing as disturbing as reading a book full of errors. Sorry you had to endure that. You review is great. Thanks for your honesty. Please check my review as well. I'd love to know your thoughts about my writing since I am getting started.
Thanks for reading and commenting, Hildah Mose! I hope the author can strengthen The Weakest Link. It's a shame to waste it.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 04 Jan 2018, 11:02

kandscreeley wrote:
04 Jan 2018, 09:04
Wow! 16 pages of 600 words on each page? I think the author could have used less words on the page and more pages. I think I'll be avoiding this one due to the numerous grammatical errors. Thanks for the review, though.
I can't figure out why the author had to cram the story into 16 pages.

Thanks for the visit, Kandscreely!

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Post by ButterscotchCherrie » 05 Jan 2018, 06:22

I didn't look at your star rating at first and thought that this might be a good political thriller with Yulia as a strong female character. It's too bad that she ended up relegated (pun not intended!) to a seductress role. It sounds as if the many errors just made matters worse. Independent publishing is a wonderful thing in ways, but it shouldn't be understood to mean that editing is optional!

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Post by Miriam Molina » 05 Jan 2018, 13:46

Thanks, ButterscotchCherrie! Editing can really make or break a book.

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Post by CatInTheHat » 05 Jan 2018, 16:15

I was so hoping to find this one was a good one, as I have a sports addict in my home that loves sports crimes in his reading. Too bad it didn't make the grade.
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Post by CommMayo » 05 Jan 2018, 17:14

I think this may be the first review I have read where the book got only one star. I'm sorry that it was such a disappointment, but I agree that a lack of editing is unforgivable.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 06 Jan 2018, 01:17

CatInTheHat wrote:
05 Jan 2018, 16:15
I was so hoping to find this one was a good one, as I have a sports addict in my home that loves sports crimes in his reading. Too bad it didn't make the grade.
I only wish that Fernando will make his next one much better. Based on my research, he has written other books, some in Portuguese. That's why I said he is an ESL author.

By the way, I'd like to mention that I really like his main character's name: Yulia.

Glad to have you here, CatInTheHat!
Last edited by Miriam Molina on 06 Jan 2018, 01:28, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 06 Jan 2018, 01:25

CommMayo wrote:
05 Jan 2018, 17:14
I think this may be the first review I have read where the book got only one star. I'm sorry that it was such a disappointment, but I agree that a lack of editing is unforgivable.
Hi, CommMayo! It was too short to not have been thoroughly polished.

Thanks for visiting and commenting!

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