Almost Review: “The Rifters” by M. Pax

rifters_mpaxFinal Rating: onecupcroppedOne cup of WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON

Available On: AmazonGoodreads

This book is a hot mess.

Reading the description, you might be fooled into thinking that this book is about a man living in 1888 unexpectedly getting pulled through a rift in time into our modern day. You might expect the book to focus on how this was for him, or what he did after it happened, or how his life changed. Maybe even a feeling or two.


Not only does the author gut this experience by, of all things, using a tiny paragraph of exposition to explain Earl’s step through time, she shoves the reader off a literary cliff into a neverending parade of absolute nonsense. I was expecting a bit of time travel and maybe a few cowboy shoot-outs–not quicksilver metahumans, showdowns inside lava-filled caves, people with names like Charming Moon Knight, (YES THAT IS AN ACTUAL CHARACTER’S ACTUAL NAME) glowing purple aviators and laser bracelets.

I am not shitting you when I say that this is the most confusing and scattershot book I have ever read. Don’t believe me? Here’s the Storify to prove it. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

As you might expect with a story which is pure mind-vomit, there’s zero pacing. Everything happens at once. Call me slow if you want, but being introduced to Earl, Earl’s past, Earl’s Tru Wuv, a big evil time portal, a big evil monster (which was never described or explained, it was simply “gray”), an alien(???) with chrome for skin, prophecies (I think they were prophecies???), alien technology, angry mailmen/rogue time traveler hunters, and people experiencing excruciating pain for no apparent reason WAS A LITTLE TOO MUCH FOR ME TO FOLLOW.

One of my friends pointed out that the book sounds a lot like it was written by a random fantasy word generator, and I’m inclined to agree.

To make matters worse, the writing itself is terrible. Not only are the first four chapters of this book littered with dry exposition, (usually when we’re supposed to be making an emotional connection with a character) but there are also several As You Know, Bob! moments and physical descriptions that sound like they came out of some 16-year-old boy’s RPG character notebook. Hair does not flirt. Chuckles do not curve. Eyes are not inky. STOP THAT SHIT. It’s like this author took every piece of writing advice and knowledge in the world and did the exact opposite. I’m all for a bit of rule-breaking, but there are limits.

Nothing that happened in this book made any sense. And I don’t mean that in the cool way. The entire time I was reading, I kept having to backtrack and reread in order to even get an inkling of who was doing what or why. Most of the time, it didn’t work. For instance: I’m still not sure if those T-rex roars Earl hears in Chapter Three (yes, T-rex roars, you read that right) were from an actual T-rex, or a cellphone ringtone. I genuinely don’t know! Since this book kicks off with quicksilver people and lasers I feel like pretty much anything is possible? But again, not in the cool way.

I made it four chapters into this book. I couldn’t take anymore after that. If you’re the kind of person who really gets a kick out of reading things which don’t make a damn bit of sense, get this book immediately! You’ll love it. Same goes for if you want something utterly absurd to laugh at, because I have to admit, this book was pretty entertaining to livetweet. Sort of like watching a trainwreck. If, however, you prefer a bit more structure and skill in your books…give it a miss.


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