Book of the Month Review: The Collective by R.S. Williams

Well, I was planning on having this showcase the best thing I’d read this month, but The Collective was so bad I had to feature it instead. I started marking it up about halfway through and it’s now covered in red ink.

The Collective is a historical fiction/sci-fi following two main characters who go back in time to the 1700s to stop time from being altered. In theory this would make an interesting book, but in reality it was severely underwhelming.

The first issue with The Collective is that the relationships don’t make sense. Everyone falls in love instantly (something I’ll cover in the next point), and even the friendships make very little sense. The main characters, Tilly and Jenny, supposedly become great friends over the course of the book, but it comes across forced and artificial because for one thing they’re not even together for half the book, and then they just suddenly are great friends. I get that people sometimes bond together because of dangerous circumstances in which they need to get along to survive or get something done, but this took it too far. And both of them set my teeth on edge with romantic relationships. Each one supposedly falls in love with one of these two guys, one of which is the villain and the other of which doesn’t have the greatest moral compass (no pun intended). It just irked me that they have such poor judgement.

Next comes “instalove.” Jenny and Tilly both fell in love with their respective gentlemen almost instantly, and then those relationships weren’t even well fleshed-out later in the book, so they were both shallow, surface-level relationships. Everything was focused on the guys being physically attractive, not their personalities or character traits (which makes sense because one was entirely immoral and the other had questionable morals). I personally cannot stand romances in books that never go more than surface-deep. It irks me to no end. I like deep, meaningful relationships built on trust and actual love for the other person, not shallow, vain relationships built on how hot the other person is.

This next point was one of the biggest turn-offs. If this hadn’t been an issue I might not have judged the overall poor writing quite as harshly. The grammar was atrocious. There was an overabundance of commas, most dialogue was formatted incorrectly, and there were so many lines that just didn’t make sense the way they were written. I actually laughed at one point because I came to this line: “Jenny could hear his boots walk down the hall.” So his boots were walking all by themselves? I literally laughed out loud when I read that. And then again on that same page, “She heard his voice speaking to his crew.” There were so many more spots I could mention, but then this post would be far too long.

The characters also weren’t interesting. They felt flat and annoying. I wanted to slap them numerous times throughout the book for making stupid decisions (like falling in love with jerks), and there wasn’t much character to them. Tilly was constantly melodramatic about everything and Jenny was made out to be critical but then wasn’t in some areas. Like guys. She wasn’t critical at all of any of the cute guys in her life, pretty much. And then when she found out who was masquerading as another character she was entirely too emotional for the circumstances. Now, I don’t mean to say that critical characters can’t be emotional. I don’t mean that at all. Jenny just wasn’t executed well. She came across as a character who was supposed to be critical and just wasn’t. Both main characters were weakly written, and the majority of the other characters were, as well. Roger and Joseph were better-written, and they’re the only characters in the book I remotely liked, and I still wanted to slap them numerous times.

Overall I thought this was a very poorly-written book and it took me four months to struggle through it to the end. I barely give it one star.


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