Shearwater by D.S. Murphy
(Ocean Depths #1)
Published: January 19th, 2016 by Urban Epics
Genres: Paranormal, fantasy, young adult, contemporary, mythology, romance
Trigger Warnings: Car accidents, death, stabbing, drowning, MOTHERFUCKING PLAGIARISM
Pages: 290 pgs.
Edit: A prior version of this review was posted; a few things have come to light in terms of ownership, but, unfortunately, I did find another instance of plagiarism. The amended review is below.
Shearwater is a young adult mermaid novel that will appeal to lovers of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, witches, Irish mythology, and supernatural folklore.
After her parents die in a car accident, 15-year old Clara Clark is shipped off to live with a grandfather she never knew existed… in Ireland. Once there, she discovers that her mother’s past is filled with secrets. Determined to discover the truth about her mother, a string of strange incidents cause her to question her sanity. As the mystery deepens, she begins going through changes of her own, until she’s not sure just who – or what – she is anymore.
Then she meets the charming Sebastian, who won’t leave her alone, and the brooding Ethan, who can’t stand to be around her. Both of them seem to have supernatural powers, and she’s not quite sure whether they want to kiss her or kill her. When a shocking revelation destroys everything she thought she knew, she’s forced to choose… whether to cling to the last of her humanity, or venture into the deep abyss in search of her true identity.
Yeah, this isn’t going to be your standard review, because this is complete and total buffoonery. When I first downloaded this book, I was expecting a dark and intriguing mermaid romance. What I got, however, was 290 pages of plagiarized material.
That’s right. D.S. Murphy, who also writes under the name Derek Murphy, is a god damn plagiarist. I. Am. Incensed.
This trend started earlier on in the book – about 36% in. At this point, the main character Clara and a few of her friends end up exploring some of the coastal features of Northern Ireland, with the Giant’s Causeway being one of them. As I’m a naturally inquisitive person, I wanted to know a little bit more about the Causeway and what it looked like; however, I was extremely alarmed to notice that what I was reading on the Wikipedia page was almost exactly word-for-word of what I just read moments prior in the book.
I’ve taken some screenshots of the plagiarized passages in this book as receipts. The first section, highlighted in blue, was plagiarized from the Wikipedia article about the Giant’s Causeway. Here, Murphy swapped a few words out for his own, but the majority of this passage is lifted straight from the Wikipedia page.
On the same page as this particular section, there’s yet another plagiarized passage from a website called Voices from the Dawn, a database of different pieces of Irish folklore. Oh my god, this is absolutely abhorrent. This is just straight up copied from the page.
Later, the topic of Halloween comes up and Clara’s friends dump a truckload of exposition onto her about the way the Irish perform the holiday, as well as some of its origins. This gives him yet another opportunity to pass someone else’s work as his own. Does he take that opportunity? Absolutely.
Within this passage, there is a very minimal amount of paraphrasing, but there was still enough plagiarism that this website came up first in Google results. Furthermore, even though the example I pointed out earlier ended up being Murphy’s, I shouldn’t be able to find yet another example of plagiarized writing so soon. I’m sure there’s more throughout the book, but, honestly, three documented instances is enough to prove that there’s a problem here. The more I find, the more angry I get.
As a writer, there’s nothing that pisses me off more than people attempting to use others’ works for their own personal gain. Fellow writers will know exactly how much hard work, creativity, and effort goes into writing a novel, a short story, an article; to see someone ripping others off in such a detached manner gets my blood boiling. There’s a difference between rewriting stories and myths that are in the public domain into something that’s completely composed of your own words, and literally lifting passages from other people’s efforts. It doesn’t matter if the plagiarized source is a scholarly journal or a Buzzfeed article. Those are not your words.
I can’t even bring myself to comment on the rest of the writing and the story itself because at this point, how can I trust that this is all coming from Murphy himself? Who else has he stolen from? I can’t make comments on what’s essentially franken-fiction. It wouldn’t be fair to the original owners of the content that’s been stolen.
It really is a shame, too, because at the time of writing this, Murphy has this book available for free but intends on monetizing it later on. He fully intends on profiting from other people’s work. I’m disgusted. If you value the craft and art of writing so much, then you should recognize how valuable the satisfaction is of producing something that’s wholly your own and putting it out for others to enjoy. You should be able to sit back after finishing your piece and feel proud of the accomplishment of reaching the finish line on something that’s really hard to do. Plagiarizing isn’t only unethical — it’s just fucking lazy.
Shearwater, ultimately, is the product of a man who is too lazy to actually dedicate time into a work to be proud of. Mic drop.
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