Three Thoughts on MINUTES BEFORE SUNSET

First, let’s clear the air about a few things…

1. Although I suppose I have no official deadline for this review, my sense of common human decency (limited as it might be) tells me I’m probably about two months late delivering it.

2. I’m not done with the book yet, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. Consider these my impressions on the game so far as I come out of the tunnel for the second half.

3. Because of number 1, I’m going to go ahead and share these impressions now with both my apologies (I do a lot of that on this sight, don’t I?) and the promise of a more complete review once I’m finished.

Damn. I just read back over all that, and if I were one of my students I would probably kick my ass right now.

Anyway, my *spoiler-free* impressions thus far of Shannon A. Thompson’s Minutes Before Sunset

I have a LOT of students who would get really into it

I’m not going to lie, Minutes Before Sunset really isn’t what I would normally choose for myself. But Shannon put out the call for willing critics…and I’d been looking for an opportunity to write a book review…so I figured why the hell not?.

But that’s beside the point.

The point is that I spend my days with the Shannon’s target audience and I think her novel has a lot appeal for them. It has a pair of easily relatable narrators/main characters (Eric and Jessica), it has an interesting mythology (the secret existence of “Shades” and “Lights”, supernatural beings spiraling towards a prophesied final conflict), it has multiple layers of mystery (sorry…spoilers), and it has a pretty solid twist near the end of the second act (ditto). The duel narrators provide a degree of gender balance (read: crossover appeal) often lacking in a lot of YA lit. And although there is the potential for definite sexual tension between them, it has not taken over the story.

My tardiness with this review is in no way an indictment of the material

I started reading Minutes Before Sunset just as the new semester was starting and while I was in the process of trying to finish another project. So even though I tore through the first half of the novel, mayhem started creeping into my life and eating away at my reading time. Being the selfish son-of-a-bitch that I am, I set Minutes Before Sunset on the backburner. But I’m back to it now and hoping to make short work of what’s left.

My one complaint so far…

If I had to level an indictment against Shannon’s writing, I would say it’s a little too explicit for my tastes (as in the opposite of implicit…get your mind out of the gutter). Shannon’s very detailed in her description of action and expression – sometimes jarringly so for a first-person narrative – and I’m fairly certain she hasn’t met a modifier that she doesn’t like. That’s a criticism, however, that far better writers than I have leveled against J.K. Rowling…and she did all right for herself in the end.

As it stands right now, the best words of praise I can give are these:

1. I intend to keep reading. If nothing else, that second act twist has my interest.

2. If one of students came to me looking for something to read, I’d certainly recommend it.

For more information on Shannon A. Thompson and Minutes Before Sunset, click here.

As always, thanks for reading.

CVA

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