Last week Marilyn Dahl in a special edition of Shelf Awareness wrote a long piece about MATTERHORN by Karl Marlantes. Here are the first two paragraphs.
Once in a while, a wondrous and remarkable book comes along, written from the deep places of the heart with passion and courage. Matterhorn is that book. Karl Marlantes's timeless tale of bravery, misery, stupidity and love is nothing short of a hero's journey, a quest for meaning. If I had any reservations about reading another novel about the Vietnam War, I soon abandoned them in this mesmerizing, heart-pounding ride through three months of combat, where the rhythm of war gripped me relentlessly.
Matterhorn begins in 1969, during the winter monsoon season in Quang-Tri province, where 2nd Lt. Waino Mellas is assigned to a fire support base with the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines. Commanding a rifle platoon of 40 Marines was not what he had in mind when he joined the reserves nor was actual combat part of the plan, but the shortage of infantry officers has changed that. Still, Mellas is ambitious and is soon trying to work the system to get ahead, take over the company, win a medal and save his own skin. At the same time, he fears he's too chickenshit to lead. He'll find out immediately, since the three platoons of Bravo Company have an assignment--occupy the hill dubbed Matterhorn.
This post is not about MATTERHORN although I did order a copy after reading Shelf Awareness.
Look at the first paragraph again. It's well written. There's nothing overtly wrong with it.
Now look at the second paragraph. Also well-written. Nothing wrong with it.
Which one is the better paragraph to answer the question: what is this book about?
I think it's the second one, hands down.
I see a lot of queries that sound like the first paragraph. What I want to see are queries that sound like the second.