A Tale of a Rough Diamond – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

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P.J. Mann

In P. J. Mann’s A Tale of a Rough Diamond, Stephen is a troubled teenager who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. His older brother, Roger, has always been jealous of Stephen, pulling strings to turn their family against his younger brother. Left to rot in jail for his crimes, Stephen makes a few unlikely allies. A true underdog, Stephen must find the courage within himself to make the best of his circumstances and do all he can to survive.

Although it has an excellent premise, there are many areas in A Tale of a Rough Diamond that could benefit from some revision and improvement. A lot of the dialogue seems wooden and unrealistic, and many of the characters are not as well-fleshed out as they could be. There are many seemingly rambling tangents that distract from the story and constant shifts in time, point of view, etc. that can make the story confusing in places. Other scenes are just written a bit oddly. A Tale of a Rough Diamond is also in dire need of extensive editing; the plethora of errors in this book hinder its overall potential.

Despite this, A Tale of a Rough Diamond has a ton of potential. P. J. Mann’s dark and unique style of writing is captivating and the plot itself is intriguing and suspenseful. A great tale of an underdog, there are many aspects of this story that are incredibly thoughtful and relatable. Full of deceit, tragedy, and thrilling twists, this book can really keep readers on the edge of their seats. A Tale of a Rough Diamond is a bit of a rough diamond itself; it has all the potential to be a stunning literary experience, but just needs a bit of polishing to achieve that.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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