Dear Annemarie Musawale,
thanks for sending In the Shadow of the Styx as a booklikes giveaway. Here's some questions and musings on your book. Answers would be appreciated.
Have you ever met somebody whose dialect made them difficult to understand? And did you notice how, with time, you understood them better and better until you hardly noticed their dialect anymore? In real life, this takes a few hours or days of conversation, depending on the dialect. In fiction, it must be faster. If a secondary character speaks dialect, you can imitate it for fun. But if a main character speaks dialect, you can only imitate it in their first few lines of speech. Maybe as long as several paragraphs. After that it becomes annoying. Please don't make a protagonist "wot" and "meself" and "nufink" at the reader for 90 pages.
Who's Marcus? He shows up suddenly on page 75 and you act like the reader should know him already. Armand, on the other hand, has disappeared without a trace. Or are those two characters one and the same, and you changed the name and backstory halfway through?
Who's Josephine and what does Jones/Hitler have to do with her? Why use Hitler at all? If he had to serve a term as gatekeeper after his death, why in Le Marais of all places? In short, wouldn't it be much easier to use a different backstory for Jones?
Who's Met Kafu and what are his mercenaries, apart from some bogeymen you needed to jump-start the plot?
When exactly did Phil and Lillian meet? In the first chapter, it looks like they got to know each other on the Evans' farm where they both work. Later, Lillian says she left her mother and brother in the UK to be with Phil. Did I miss something there?
What's the prologue meant to do? And the first scene? Why doesn't the book start where it gets interesting: the moment Phil gets sick?
Who or what is Aurelia borealis?
What does the Styx have to do with this book, other than make half an interesting title?
What kind of an ending is that?
And how come the outtakes read better than the story itself?
Yours with curiosity