Deceiving Noone by Mike Moreking is a self-published Kindle novel. The main character is Nathan Noone, a student who falls in love with the beautiful Cali only to have his heart broken. However when war breaks out in Europe and Cali is caught up in it, he sets out with his friends on a dangerous journey to rescue her.
While there is plenty of action in Deceiving Noone once Nathan sets out across Europe, it took me quite some time to really get into the novel. For more than half of it I felt like I was waiting for something to happen, waiting for things to get going, despite the fact that Nathan was already wandering through a war zone. At some point I did begin to feel like the story had properly got going, and it was quite exciting, wondering what on earth could happen to Nathan next.
This may have had something to do with what may be best described as the disjointed nature of the story. Things seemed to change in the blink of an eye, and while that may not sound a strange thing for an action novel, there was something disconcerting about how Moreking managed the twists and turns of the story. Sometimes I felt like the story was thrown around a right angled corner, with no warning, no explanation, no build up or breaking you in to the new situation.
The characters are the usual mix of love ’em and hate ’em. Nathan seems like a decent sort, if a bit naive and with somewhat improbable ideas. His best friend Colin (who seems to be cool despite being lumbered with the perennially middle aged name of Colin) is bit of a lad, doesn’t really get deep feelings but not terribly annoying. Andrew is unpleasant and rude, and I couldn’t quite understand why Nathan was friends with him. Cali, the main female character, seems shifty right from the outset. The other female character, Terry, is really quite unbelievable.
The character of Terry brings me on to another issue with the story. As a character, she just didn’t work – an army Major who feels up her lover in front of her squad? And said squad were far too casual with her – the more senior soldiers might be on first name terms with their major, but not in front of the whole squad. It all just seemed rather improbable, as did other elements of the story – I suppose it all boils down to me finding it highly unlikely that not only would someone decide it was good idea to go traipsing off into a war zone in the vague hope of finding an ex-girlfriend, but also that he actually managed to get quite far into that warzone without too many serious problems. Of course, it is fiction, and technically that means anything goes.
However, these would all be reasonably ignorable faults if they weren’t highlighted by the very stilted writing style of Deceiving Noone. As I was reading I knew I was picking up on story and character flaws simply because the writing was irritating me. It is stilted, not just the dialogue but the narrative too. These are twenty something students, they’re not going to say “I do not” or “I will” every time they speak, they would use “don’t” and “I’ll”, as would most of us to be honest. Another point was the repeated use of the word “lied” when it should be “lay”, as in “he lay down”.
Rather unfortunately, it is difficult to look past the stilted nature of Moreking’s writing. I say unfortunately because despite its faults, there is a good story in Deceiving Noone. It is exciting, and the war situation is intriguing, although the reasons for the war are not explored as fully as they could be. With some more polish and proofreading, Deceiving Noone could be an enjoyable novel.
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