Rules of Engagement Book Review

Rules of Engagement Book Review

Title: Rules of Engagement
Author: Selena Montgomery (Stacey Abrams)
Published: September 6, 2022, Berkley
No. of Pages: 336
Cover Price: $27.00, $14.99 Hardcover

The old saying, "It's not what you know but who you know" is absolutely evident in Stacey Abrams' novel, Rules of Engagement . Writing as Selena Montgomery, Abrams, whose day job is a speaker and politician, illustrates the fact that her writing skills are non-existent, and that she should keep her day job. While reading this poorly written book, readers will get the feeling that Abrams slept with her thesaurus. One also gets the feeling that the romance scenes in the book are the fantasies of 10-year old boys who’ve never experienced real passion and are trying to fool everyone into thinking they know what they are talking about.

"Word Salad" comes to mind as soon as the first chapter, which will certainly appeal to those with an IQ under 50. It may be suspected that never before has a book been written with the words passion and pleasure used hundreds of times.

The plot is ridiculous, and totally implausible. The characters are shallow and selfish and it will surprise readers that they are able to carry out the story to the end which is totally predictable; there are no surprises in this stupid novel. They all have code names that are reminiscent of kids in a treehouse playing spy.

True to form, Abrams emphasizes the fact that her characters are black rather than developing their characteristics as protagonists and real people (there are plenty of excellent novels with black protagonists by viable authors such as Robert Bailey’s Bo Haynes, James Patterson’s Alex Cross). That fact doesn’t have anything to do with the plot and it doesn’t matter whether they are black, white, or yellow; the characters have only passion on their minds and barely have the skills to complete their mission, which reeks of phoniness – Abrams obviously has no knowledge of how secret government entities are run.

One positive thing: the love scenes aren’t blatantly risqué or filthy, which is a plus for someone searching for a readable novel. Actually, this novel is almost laughable, and proves that if you know someone, you can have a book published even though there is no evidence of writing skill or imagination.

Bottom Line: While the author did well in her educational pursuits and graduated at the top of her classes, it is evident that she is book-smart but lacks the skills needed to write a realistic novel. Most authors have taken classes on writing, rather than politics, and know how to make the words jump from the page; Abram obviously has not honed her writing skills and this novel is actually a piece of very poorly written garbage. This is one that will be read by those who share Abrams’ politics rather than by those who enjoy well-written novels with suspense, viable romance, and actual substance. Readers who are hung up on race, ridiculous story-lines, word salads, and weak plots should immediately pick up this stupid novel. It is the epitome of the concept of LCD (lowest common denominator). Any reader who has time to waste on this novel is in a poor spot in their existence and ought to change course to get a life.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this novel.

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