The Event by Ude Walter Uchenna

The Event

Genre Fiction: Thriller

Blurb “The tale brings about a myriad of characters, each interwoven with the others in a story of suspense, betrayal, lust, love and, at times, humour.

Nobel laureate Frederick Ekene is going to be honoured at a gala in the city of Abuja, an event that will herald his climb from disgrace back up into the public eye. The event is slated to be a grand one attended by the important and not-so-important of the city, many of whom plan to attend with other intentions aside celebrating Frederick Ekene.”

Dialogue Mostly believable with the occasional complex word seemingly from a thesaurus. Smattering of Yoruba, Nigerian Pidgin and lingo.

Themes Power and Corruption, Good vs Evil, Mental illness, Betrayal, Love, Family and Ambition.   

Editing Mostly well edited, a few errors (copy editing).

Plot The Event, as aptly titled, is a fast-paced thriller about an event (duh) gone awry. The Symposium of Authors, Readers and Thespians (a mouthful right?) is scheduled to take place in Abuja in honour of disgraced Nobel laureate, Frederick Ekene. Frederick is trying to get his life back and reintegrate with the literary world. Several interesting characters have been invited to the event, each one with a different agenda. A day to the event, there’s a murder in the hotel which is the venue of the event. And so, begins the story of intrigue and suspense with many backdrops around all the characters (including the minor characters) connected to the event. It is split into 3 books, books 1 and 2 are about events in a 24-hour period, and book 3 is about events which take place 6 months later.

What worked?

Mo How do you read a 1800 pages novel?  (I’m guessing the numbering is because of Okadabook’s smaller interface, paperback is 905 pages). Fret not, Lady B has it figured out; you read 229 pages per day and then you die! Okay, you don’t die but you want to die. This is the story of my life and this book. “Mo versus The Event”- a tale to be retold.

Lady B Reading The Event is like watching a TV series like “24” where things happen in minutes and hours. Most of this book is about events which occurred in a 48-hour period. It’s narrated complete with locations and timestamps which injects a sense of urgency to the narration but may also wear you down as there are just too many things to remember.

Book 1 introduces us to our key characters, like a gazillion of them (we’re kidding, about 40 characters). You would have read over 100 pages of Book 1 before characters are repeated. You will struggle to keep track of who is who and at a point, Lady B had to do a list of characters to help us remember as we would see a name and would have completely forgotten about the character’s back story.

We thought Fred was the protagonist so imagine our surprise when we read nothing about him after the first few pages until page 700 or so. The blurb, prologue and first few pages deceived us into thinking this was Fred’s story. This was the author’s plan, right?

On characters, our opinions are slightly different.

Lady B The Event is an intriguing look at a mixed bag of characters; mainly the rich and powerful and the working class. The characters are multi-dimensional and believable yet there was something which prevented them from being relatable. I can’t really pinpoint why. Consequently, I found that I was not actively rooting for or sympathetic towards particular characters. My least favourite character was Alicia, I couldn’t relate with her sense of morality at all. The book is however, a plot-driven story with everything happening building up to a climax at the event in Abuja.

Mo One thing this book had going for it is the characters. Each major character could have gotten a stand-alone novel and it would still work. Emem is my favorite character.  The story is thrilling, there’s murder, there’s a vendetta, there’s love, there’s an axe to grind, and it’s also a story about family. The perfect cocktail for a good TV series.

Walter’s creativity and imagination are evident in this book, he crafts stories around characters which suck you in. The narration is detailed (sometimes, too detailed) and creates vivid pictures in your mind’s eye. To write about so many different characters in a book and still tie it into one engaging storyline shows talent. If you like dramatic stories, The Event will appeal to you. This is a book you read when you are on vacation.

The Event is Walter’s debut novel.

What didn’t work?

Mo The story could have been two books or one. It was a long ass book. And you have moments where you ask yourself “what are the odds?” Not saying interwoven characters are a bad thing but it sometimes, read like a Mexican soap opera.

Lady B The main flaw in this book is the length of the book. The substantive editor should have done a better job in trimming the book, there were scenes which if excluded, would have enhanced the book. But if you are someone who complains about how short a book is, then this 1807 page 3-in-1 book is for you.

Some back stories were unnecessary, like those of Chizara, the receptionist at Oasis Hotel and Ijeoma, CEO of H2O television, to mention a couple. Additionally, the development of some minor characters like Jumoke did nothing to move the plot further.

There should have been a glossary at the end of the book to explain acronyms like NNPC and EFCC. Also, not sure how the threat of EFCC would be a valid one for a VP with immunity against prosecution.

The final scene at The Event wasn’t properly executed. What happened to all the policemen and bodyguards? It’s like solving a mathematical problem using the correct formula only to arrive at an incorrect answer.

The concluding part of this book, Book 3, left a lot to be desired. It would have sufficed to show what happened to the characters after The Event but Walter again goes into too much detail and even fleshes out on unimportant characters like Enomfom in a cringe worthy scene that was just out of place in the story.

Page numbers 1807.

Publisher Xlibris UK.

Damage N1,000 on Okadabooks.

Rating 6.8/10.

You can buy The Event on Amazon and Okadabooks.

Categories: Fiction, Thriller

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