A story worth reading.
Great characters and an interesting plot. It's well written with many good scenes. Really, what more do you want?
There are problems with some of the baseball sequences, from subtle to glaring. I'm a nerd and not a baseball fan, and I noticed several. There some ninor to moderate continuity issues.
The Last Call:
You MUST read the Outsider first -- I did not the first time I read this (not realizing it was a sequel) and was so very confused. If you are picky about your baseball, you might want to skip this. Otherwise, it's a good read.
Reviewed: 2015-06-02 - (Review Updated: 2015-06-02)
A couple of days went by since I finished "The Outsider", the prequel to "A Flawed Diamond". Today, The story of Brock Miller is definitely concluded.
There are two kinds of good stories : the kind which leaves you asking for more and the kind which gives you a sense of fulfillment and peace. "A Flawed Diamond" is obviously the second kind.
As I said when I was typing about the outsider, I couldn't bring myself to read "A Flawed Diamond" because of a single sentence beginning by : "The angry boy has become...". I explained why I couldn't and how Jay Cantrell proved me wrong. Thank you very much for that. I had even finished my review by saying Brock Miller's anger was used as a tool instead of a shield against his suffering. In "A Flawed Diamond", his anger become almost secondary. It didn't disappear, but his growth was shown in a very different way.
I've never played baseball. I know very little about the rules. I never saw any reason too push myself to follow it. Once again, Jay Cantrell proved his talent by spinning a story... non, two incredibles stories : Brock Miller and his career in baseball and I loved it from the beginning to the end. While "The Outsider" was pretty much only about Brock Miller as an individual, "A Flawed Diamond was about his growth as a part of something bigger than himself : his growth with his friend, but also with his team.
I find myself lacking the necessary words to explain how glad I am for taking a leap of faith the day I chose to follow Brock Miller's life for a little while. Knowing what the story was about, I would never have expected such joy from that kind of subject. Usually, I'm always dreading endings because most of them don't bring the closure I need and the closure I feel the characters need. Here, it's not the case. Even though life will go on for Brock, his extended family and his teammates, the story stops at a point where I feel as fulfilled as I am thankful. Life will go on, and it will be with the knowledge that all is well.
Now, for the marks, two things (Yep, that's a copy/cut, get used to it) :
- I'm a french reader. You won't see me give a Technical Quality rating. It would be preposterous.
- I don't use 10. 9 is the greatest compliment I can give. There is no enjoyment in perfection. It's in flaws that I thrive; flaws that give me the height of a person's talent. Jay Cantrell definitely has some.
About the story plot, the change in length compared to "The Outsider" was something I was cautious about, fearing that the story would get repetitive too fast. That didn't happen. While time skips are usually a bad idea, its use by Jay Cantrell was just what was needed to take his characters in a really different and enjoyable setting. Of course, having half the cast as rich as Croesus helps not to make the characters entangled in petty concerns but doesn't affect the plausibility of the plot, allowing the author to let his characters fly in all their splendor. One might argue that Brock Miller and his friends have too easy a life to make it believable but the story is not devoid of conflicts either. Although, you can be sure that, when it happens, you'll get another shot of his anger which allow him to get more and more in the mold of a protector and a figurehead. No longer anger is about him. It's about protecting those he deem worthy. Seeing how I'm giving it a 9, I almost regret giving "The Outsider" a 9 too. Almost.
Oh, and as a bonus, I read about Adam ! Give "Daze in the Valley" a shot too !
Still nothing on Technical Quality.
Appeal to reviewer : I think I made my point above : I got out of "A Flawed Diamond" happier than I was when I began to read it. If you like Jay Cantrell's storytelling, you won't regret giving this one a shot either.