Contests: Talisman Of El ARC Bonanza | Centrinian
A group on GoodReads told me about this contest: a giveaway to promote the debut of Al Stone's first novel. Its gone on for almost eight weeks now. Because I was late to the draw I almost missed it. Anyway, the contest includes a preview for the prologue and first chapter so I thought I'd take a look.
The prologue stars the protagonist and his dad. The two throw around plot threads like his missing mom, a medallion that's connected to some placed called "Arcadia", which is implied not to exist on Earth is also somehow connected to said mom, and some apparently invisible creatures that kill his dad but for some reason don't kill him. Its a fairly interesting start but that drops in the first chapter.
Flash forward a bit. The protagonist (Charlie) lives with adoptive parents in a different town. As opposed to the compact and otherworldly prologue this chapter is drawn-out mundane life. Charlie starts his first day at a new school with barely a hint of what happened in the first chapter. At this point Miss.Stone invokes Audience Surrogate: shy, a target of bullying, 'new kid' awkwardness' etc. Usually when I see this device its before the 'specialness' of the protagonist is made known, but than again I still don't really know.
Now to my favorite part of the preview: Alex. Alex is a girl introduced on the bus ride to school that stands up to the bullies and later befriends Charlie with great persistence. He's very shy, after all. Between their contrasting lives (she's confident, bored in the small town, and has two overprotective parents) and the promise they make at the end of the chapter, I presume she's a love interest. In which case I can safely say that Charlie has at least one thing going for him into the adventures ahead.
Bottom Line: I would enter the contest.