Friday, February 8, 2013

INDIE BOOK REVIEW: ‘Finals’ explores the world of sociopaths



I’m always intrigued by an author that has the guts to make none of his characters likeable.

That’s exactly what Alan Weisz does in ‘Finals,’ the story of Wayne York – a college student with a sinister side.

What’s interesting about ‘Finals’ is that Wayne – who is the narrator of the story – tells you he committed a murder in the first chapter, and yet you’re still interested in his story.

Wayne is an interesting protagonist because he is entirely unlikeable. This is not a kid you would have wanted to hang around with in college

Wayne mimes being a “normal” college kid by surrounding himself with friends – and even an ex-girlfriend – but he shows no real empathy or emotion for them.

That’s not to say the classmate that he murders didn’t have it coming – because that kid was another sociopath.  The problem is, as rotten as that kid is, as a reader you never quite come to the conclusion that he deserves death.

None of the characters in ‘Finals’ are likeable. I wasn’t actively rooting for anybody – and yet I kept reading. The story is fascinating on a philosophical level. The problem is, despite the deep tone of the book, you don’t end up learning anything from it in the end.

As a reader, I think you need to approach ‘Finals’ as an experiment in understanding different people – because none of these people are individuals that I think most readers can identify with. Still, the story is poignant and interesting – so I recommend giving it a try.

Weisz does a good job trapping the reader in his world – and relentlessly holding on to him – even if the outcome isn’t what you expect.

The book is pretty well written – although typos and grammar become an increasing problem throughout the book. I’m pretty forgiving with typos – but they get really flagrant with this book at certain points. This book would be really good with a solid editor going over it.

My only quibble is that, in the end, I never got a feeling for why Wayne was doing what he was doing. There were hints. There were allusions. There was nothing I could grasp as truth, though, as far as motivation goes.

In the end, I would recommend ‘Finals’ to anyone that likes rich character studies. There’s not a lot of frivolity in the book – or mindless laughs – so if you embark on the journey be prepared for a bumpy ride.

‘Finals’ is available for $2.99 on Amazon.

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