Rating: One out of five stars
Attention: mild spoilers ahead.
I started reading The Helmsworth Project series last year; previously, I reviewed the first book. I avoided reviewing the rest of the series because every book declined in personal rating. I gave the first three stars, the second two stars, and the third one star. I thus gave the last installment one star. After reading the third installment, I had to take a break from the series before recently returning to finish what I started over a year ago.
The series itself is a quick read, as each installment is short. There is nothing wrong with short books (as I absolutely adore novellas!), but when no plot points are concluded in the first three books, the entire series could have been put together in one whole book with different parts for different perspectives. As I stated in my review of the first book, this is the timeline in which the series was written (information from Key’s blog, page amounts from Amazon):
- Claire: May 22, 2014-June 23, 2014, 50 pages
- Brian: Published July 3, 2014, 46 pages
- Jenna: Published July 16, 2014, 49 pages
- Prodigys Promise: Published July 31, 2014, 96 pages
This tells me that the series was published immediately after having been written. I’m all for books written in a month – it can be a great writing exercise – but books need to be edited before they hit the shelves. After reading the series, it was evident that the process of editing had been skipped.
To summarize the series, siblings Claire, Brian, and Jenna Helmsworth discover that their parents were part of an undercover group that experimented on their DNA to give them certain powers. With the help of the FBI, they confront the maniacal villain that wants to use their powers for his own malicious ends.
The very first thing I noticed about Prodigys Promise was the lack of apostrophe in the title. Throughout the reading, grammar and sentence structure errors followed:
“With the exception of Claire’s unwelcome visitor, everything was as it should be and where it was supposed to be, except for Seth.”
In the above sentence, the repetition of the word “except” indicates that the sentence could have been reworded to include the two exceptions at once, instead of splitting them throughout the sentence. Other errors include using “from” instead of “to” when describing travel, which proved to make the direction confusing. At times, dialogue became an issue, separated only by paragraphs with no dialogue tags for pages – this proved to be confusing to the reader.
Suspension of disbelief is broken, as many occurrences are simply unrealistic. The FBI would never openly tell confidential secrets on a constant basis. The siblings, after the trials they go through – including trauma and murder – they should have had some type of anxiety or PTSD. This is not the case, and nothing seems to faze them. They are plot driven characters, void of feeling realistic emotion. Other actions are unclear as well:
“A pull cord for one of the cellar light fixtures brushed across her cheek. She swatted it away, thinking it was a spider web, and the gesture switched on the light.”
According to the above quote, the light fixture cord – that needs to be pulled to be turned on – does indeed turn on from brushing it aside.
The prose is unclear, especially during action scenes. Consistent with the previous installments, the narrative is more telling than showing. Some scenes are not relevant to the story – such as the description of how two FBI agents met in the middle of a different scene.
Memorable quotes and dialogue:
“Just because you’ve known me for too damn long doesn’t mean you should remind me that you’ve known me for too damn long.”
“…You weren’t wired to be a killer.”
“You mean I’m not wired to be a killer.”
“No, I mean you weren’t wired to be a killer.”
“…the cycle was a walker and wheelchair friendly one, instead of being a sci-fi-style guillotine whoosh.”
Every character that was not one of the Helmsworth siblings – FBI agents, bad guys, etc. – had similar personalities, and it eventually became hard to tell them apart by name alone.
Even with all of the above, I was excited to find out what happens in the end. Though I was confused by the dialogue and rules of the story’s world, it was a quaint read that kept me wondering what happened next. However, by the time the book was over, I had multiple questions. The fates of three characters are unknown, including the outcome of the main villain. Overall, the series had potential, but was in need of serious editing and closure.
Review can also be found on Goodreads.
Picture from Goodreads.