The Tale of Anerudo | Shamiso Zvandasara


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Shamiso Zvandasara has given us a strong start to what already sounds like an interesting story. We are lulled by some lovely sound devices that lend a musical quality to a tale about young women who are in love with music.

“It was your idea to follow the stars underneath our feet.”

This story quickly becomes wordy and extra. It often uses synonyms right next to each other in an non-ironic, unhumorous way that weighs down the story and interrupts the flow of the plot. The Tale of Anerudo is often confusing and disjointed and the timing is too rushed which does not allow the reader to “grow” with the story and get to know the characters all that well. Most of those issues are fixed by using a good editor who has an eye and ear for story rhythms.

There were quite a few parts that could be the makings of a longer story. I wanted a longer story because we are given so many themes and plot points that could’ve been fleshed out to make a thick and thought-provoking novel.

“Some roads will never meet twice.”

Telling, not showing. Just telling, telling, telling. This point became very frustrating as there are so many parts that could’ve come alive if they were described for the reader rather than just being laid out in plain words what had occurred. The readers want to see the characters overcome their obstacles. They want to see them fall in love. They want to fall in love with the characters’ love while the characters fall in love with each other. Readers want to be in the moment and feel like they are there and with the story progressing so quickly, we are swept right along as if this is the condensed, child-friendly version of a longer, more adult story.

The dialogue could be more authentic and a few scenes could have a lot more emotional impact, especially if we had seen the father in this story earlier and used this scene to show his softness as a counterpoint to his harsher qualities. The dialogue is stilted and unemotional

Okay….so can we see the ceremony? This (and other scenes) would’ve been a perfect opportunity to show readers some beautiful cultural dances, clothing, and music and really bring alive the location that the story is set in. Every scene is also a chance to add more depth and complexity to the characters.

I think footnotes should be used for foreign words. The translations often disrupt the flow of the story, and there are also a few places where there are no translations after entire sentences of the African tongue. Another option for short words or phrases is to put a brief reference table in the front of the book which is a pretty common occurrence in fantasy books with a lot of locations. The lyrics should also be worked into the dialogue (in my opinion) as part of the scene with actions like dancing, bowing, and singing to break them up and further get the reader involved in the festivities.

This is an easy read with a very interesting story with several equally enthralling side plots, I just really wish the story was longer and more drawn out.


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