Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Review::C-Shapes by Matthew Fish

C-ShapesC-Shapes by Matthew Fish

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

C-Shapes by Matthew Fish

This is a sort of Dystopia novel, a genre that I'm only just warming up to. It contains many elements that look familiar to me already with the few novels I have read in this genre. I like this book a lot though, It had a character that I immediately identified with and then it had a lot of very good character development.

Ethan Chase, the protagonist and person telling the story is just an average guy who in fact prior to day of the great virus had been more of a deadbeat than anything else. Now he's decide to clean himself up and do something useful; if he can.

Imagine a world where half the population has been strricken with something that makes them all seem like a potential threat to humanity. Some suffer amnesia, some catatonia, some are mimics who drift from reality while mimicking those around them and some are downright psychotic. What they all have in common is that they are no longer able to function properly in society and eventually they all pose a threat of becoming what is called Aggro, a state of agitation where they become unstoppably aggressive and begin to kill.

This begins to sound almost like a military secret that has gone awry. An attempt at creating the perfect soldier's that is accidentally unleashed on the entire population. When they go aggro they seem to aggro together and almost seem linked somehow, again almost like the perfect army. But it's a virus and only half the population is afflicted. C-Shapes is a pharmaceutical company that has developed C-Alysium or calm as they call it. This controls the afflicted keeping them from going aggro.

Ethan has gotten the job of being the sitter for two cases of this affliction. One is a memory loss victim and the other is a mirror or mimic. We come into the story on his first day where he is expected to follow specific rules of conduct that seem quite simple and are enforced by graphic examples of what can happen when things go wrong. But imagine one of the cases being an old school friend who you once idolized and is now become debilitate and then imagine another who looks so frail and lost and becomes someone you're easily attracted to. This about sums up Ethan's first day at work. Since he is not supposed to become closely attached or emotionally involved; he's pretty much about to be blindsided.

But things aren't as they seem and Ethan is about to have rude awakening that's even worse than when his parents died from the virus. The world is poised at a moment of decision ready to kill off half of the population that poses such a threat to the rest. Ethan comes into possession of information that could change the way the world sees everything and he's not at all confident about his ability to complete the task he never signed up for.

All of that said I must once again raise a caution to those who insist on perfect grammar. This book will fail that test. My star system does not downgrade for those unless it seriously distracts me from the book. I have some friends though who will have that fingernail on chalkboard reaction too often in this book. I've marked 38 instance and there are likely more and that is more than I usually allow for, but I loved the plot and the character development I didn't feel there were any great out-in-left-field plot twists or that things were rushed along. But there are many odd sentence structures along with the 38 instances of missing words typos and incorrect words and double word that I think that mostly explains why many people didn't finish the book. If the editing had been just a bit tighter many of those people might have made it to the end and I think they would have been satisfied with the overall story.

This is a good novel for those not so picky people who love Dystopic SFF.

The first half of the book is the setup to how things look while the second is the slow reveal of how things really are and it all does fit as long as you don't get distracted by the typos. Given another thorough edit I'd have had no problem giving this a 5 star.

There are editors listed here and I hope they are reading the customer reviews carefully.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Friday, December 13, 2013

Review::Flag in Exile (Honor Harrington book 5) by David Weber

Flag in Exile (Honor Harrington, #5)Flag in Exile by David Weber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Flag in Exile (Honor Harrington book 5) by David Weber

This book is great, but I think I like the forth book better. This one we get to see another side of Honor. In a way, from her own point of view she starts to look a bit like a whiny woe is me everything I touch turns out bad. And with as many people who have died in the first four novels it's not all that hard to see why. It's a good thing that what David Weber excels at is giving the reader the other picture of Honor from the people around her. I have nothing to truly measure by but I often feel that David Weber creates military characters for both sides that are often overly honorable while they slaughter each other and I'm not sure that it is the way it is or the way many would like to believe it should be.

On half pay and in semi-retirement and shame Honor has moved to her Steadholder property Harrington on Grayson. As with the last book this book involves a lot of political intrigue on both sides of the war and some social upheaval on Grayson.It's difficult to tell sometimes if the Protector of Grayson , Benjamin Mayhew and High Admiral Wesley Mathews have Honor's best interests at heart. Sure they have enough to deal with trying to upend their own social order and religious beliefs, but they seem to have put themselves in a place where they are using Honor more than rewarding her. And though it seems we often see characters in black and white as regards Honor it is evident in this book that there are many who praise her while they hate her which seems more duplicitous and maybe greyish.

Once again I'll caution new readers do not expect a lot of space battles, start at the beginning of the series and work your way up and it will ween you into David Weber's style. We do get to see Hamish Alexander in action a bit and there is a lot of military posturing along with the politics, but the actual battle time is very short and near the end.

This story is almost written as a counterpoint to the events in the last book. Honor will have to go through a similar personal trial but the motive and method created in this book make it quite a bit different from last book.

There is almost too much time spent with the trials and tribulations of both sides political climate. Whole chapters devoted to essentially telling us that 'uneasy lies the head that wears the crown'. Both side seem to be mired in rotten politics and the inability to act decisively. The both seem to bungle along merrily heading into battles that will kill thousands.

While Honor is feeling low we get to see how the men who protect her see her and their very loyalty speaks volumes about the person she really is. The men of Grayson have to struggle with this woman who is an example of everything they've been taught a woman shouldn't be, but to their credit the ones close to her can see her for what she is. Eventually they will wise up and give her the kick she needs to get going again. In some ways though they do tend to drag her down with over-protection.

Once Honor gets back into the routine of things it's back to her cool calculated killer self again, although she does occasionally laps into self doubt based on the faces of people she's lost in previous battles.

I can honestly say that if I didn't have all the other eyes looking at her and showing me the real Honor Harrington I'm not sure how much I would like the person she kept presenting herself as in this story.

David Weber is still doing a lot of world building and because in Grayson things are poised for change it does seem critical to find out what it is that is being changed. If a reader has made it this far in the series they are used to this, or should be. And he does it so elegantly sometimes that I felt like I shouldn't interrupt and tell him to get to the point.

Once again this is a good book for those who like Military Science Fiction with heavy description in strategy and power and the political posturing that goes on beneath the whole mess. It's also a pretty good study of Honor's character if you know where to look.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Review::Becoming Human (The Exilon 5 Trilogy, Book1) By Eliza Green

Becoming Human (The Exilon 5 Trilogy, #1)Becoming Human by Eliza Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Becoming Human (The Exilon 5 Trilogy, Book1) By Eliza Green

I'm not sure exactly who or where this was recommended so I'll have to just give an obscure thanks to whoever. This is an enjoyable read despite a few road bumps some caused by my own neglect where I'd have to back track. It was a slow starter for me and it took about twenty pages or more before I was invested into the story.

Exilon 5 is a planet that was close to earth like located long before man was ready to attempt to make a journey out and to consider colonization. But it initially was not all that promising because its atmosphere was toxic to humans. In this future the future of humanity on Earth is threatened by abuse of Earth and its resources. And by the time humanity has created the ships to travel to Exilon they also have the technology to change the planet to make it habitable and it is their last best hope.

The story starts after a number of years of terra-forming and colonization and one of the main characters Bill Taggart finds himself finally on the planet. Unfortunately its to investigate the presence of an indigent population. One that might be responsible for the disappearance and maybe even death of his wife.

The story itself unfolds both on Exilon 5 and Earth through the eyes of several characters.Some of these characters are the Indigenes. There are questions about the Indigenes the reader will want to address, which I won't mention because it's a plot point and your will have to read to find out.

There is more wrong on Earth than problems with the biosphere. The citizens seem to live in the Orwellian nightmare. And there was even a scene in here that reminded me of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Characters are afraid to talk to each other for fear of those who watch and the consequences. Exchanges made in secret keep the reader cringing waiting for the participants to be caught out and worrying that someone might be drawing someone else out with ill intent.

Then there is the investigation into the Indigenes. There is something not right with all of that and it's becoming a two way street as the Indigenes begin to show greater intelligence and aptitude than everyone has been led to believe. It soon becomes a question of who is watching who and what they are up to.

Plenty of mysteries to go around and a great start to a series of books with engaging characters and insidious villains.

Lovers of SFF and even apocalyptic and dystopic tales should enjoy this book.

As always a bit of caution that I did find a handful of errors with missing words and sentences that seemed incomplete and strange splitting of words like percent into per cent. So beware you who have issues with finding such things in the reading. They did not slow me down or dissuade me.

There are some words with British English spelling and I almost think there is some colloquial terms in here. Not a problem just an observation. And a bit of playful use of Cliches.

Some interesting, potentially brave choices made with a first novel in a series. I think they work well with the writing style.
I'll be looking for the next book, because I want to know what happens.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Review::The Rat and the Serpent by Stephen Palmer (as Bryn Llewellyn)

The Rat and the SerpentThe Rat and the Serpent by Bryn Llewellyn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Rat and the Serpent by Stephen Palmer (as Bryn Llewellyn)

First of all; I enjoyed this novel, but I had to make it halfway through the book before it grabbed me. This is by far one of the most difficult reads I’ve had in a while. At some times it felt almost as painful as the poor translation of Don Quixote I’d tried to read long ago. It’s written well and for the most part well edited but there are some style choices that made it difficult for me to follow.

This novel reminded me of Thea von Harbou’s Metropolis. It’s written in a similar style. A modern critic said of Metropolis that it was full of over-the-top prose. I don’t agree because I think it was still apropos for its time though this critic cited a number contemporary works that came nowhere near the OTT of Metropolis. But Metropolis was a blend of mythology with technology in what might be described as a Dystopic environment written in a style that tried to emulate some epic classics. And that’s what you get from The Rat and the Serpent which almost becomes something of an anachronistic style of writing.

The serpent in the story gives us the only clue that might explain why this style was chosen. This serpent seems to be drawn from a description that finds it root somewhere between 1400 BCE to 1100 CE and if we used that as our measure then this could have been meant to take place at that time. In keeping with this style there are words that crop up that demanded the use of a dictionary, not so much to understand the meaning as to first find out if they exist in the sense that many were alternate spellings to other words and then after that finally ascertaining the meaning in the reference. I don’t mind because I always have a dictionary handy. What made it more difficult is that there were occasional slang terms out of modern day urbanized terms and a whole slew of created names and words that were there mostly for world building. There were times I would have been happy to know the etymology of these names although that might have slowed things down and for me slowing things down wouldn’t have helped.

There’s a certain mood and tone that goes with the world building that brings to mind Samuel Delaney’s Dhalgren which is another novel I struggled through many years ago. But the world of Ugliy is a gray world at best in many ways. It’s difficult to try to separate black and white and everything is covered constantly in soot from sootstorms that plague the region. Somehow this reflected in the style of the writing which created a sort mono paced story that dragged me though the first half of the novel.

Just like Ugliy in the novel who experience multiple times of self doubt while being told he could never be a Citidenizen I felt like giving up several times. But(just like Ugliy) I didn’t and by the time I got halfway through there were finally enough questions in my mind that I wanted answers to that I had to stick it out just a little longer. I don’t think the pace changed appreciably even in the moments that would usually be recognized as tense moments.

There are elements of this story that seem often like allegory; the never ending battle against the erosion and erasure of Mavrosopolis. The Thawers the Dessicators and the Bafflers fighting the wind the frost and the water. Each group had its tower and any of the three could be used to begin the test to rise from Nogoth to Citidenizen. In a way it was like trying to stave off the march of time using strange methods to block collect and remove the agents of erosion. But now as I think about it the whole story also seems to be an allegory of me the reader and the struggle to get through the novel as I look back at my previous paragraph.

This novel stands well as a view into world building from the ground up. Through the narrative as told by Ugliy the shaman of the BlackRat we see it unfold. It’s a rather tainted and prejudicial view, but it’s the only view we have beyond the second voice which for most of the story remains a mystery as to who they are. Each chapter has a two page entry into the thoughts of a second character. Oddly this short bit is just as engaging and informative as the longer version from Ugliy.

In the Nogoths there are several social divisions and all of those have in common the fact that they are all considered nonpersons and none seem satisfied with their lot. Since there is that carrot placed before them that invites them to join the Citidenizens they all have this idyllic notion about how those people live. Since we are not introduced directly with anyone of those who have knowledge of how the Citidenizens live who would be willing to share that experience we have only the view from below where everything up looks so much better and only the glimmer of suspicion for the reader to worry about where things are headed.

To make things interesting Citidenizens seemed to be obsessed with perfection of physical appearance and this makes it unlikely that Ugliy who is a cripple (one bad leg) deformed at birth to ever even dream of becoming Citidenizens. But Ugliy is a shaman of the BlackRat and that gives him a small edge in this world of struggle. I confess that at first I thought this BlackRat thing was just a scam he’d tried to pull to alleviate his own humiliation in front of Atavalens the shaman of the Panther when they were fighting over food. In a way though it seems that often Ugliy is congruent in his grumbling over being humiliated since all of them are at the lowest of the low in the class scale and scraping for any bits of food to sustain themselves and one would think he’d be familiar with and comfortable with humility when trying to find crumbs to satisfy his hunger.

As the story unfolds we meet Zveratu who helps Ugliy to begin the test that should lead to Citidenizenship while Ugliy is paranoid and distrustful and even knows that as a cripple it’s improbable that he’d be allowed to become Citidenizen he still allows this man to push him into this. When he joins the Dessicators he finds he’s allied to his enemy Atavalens and he meets Raknia (who in a peculiar twist to her name is the shaman of the widowspider.)At this point the characters become more caricature than real people and they seem to have some duality in their makeup although for the most part Atavalens is portrayed as just stubborn mean when it comes to Ugliy. Rakina vacillates from giving praise and encouragement to Ugliy to ranting and wanting to murder him-she has her reasons but it’s difficult to take her serious after a while.

The plot of the story or the story itself seems to be one of self discovery and improvement and the blinders that one puts on to justify never looking back. Ugliy despite being crippled becomes focused on the end and as with all the characters we seem to have an end justifies the mean mentality that permeates the story. Ultimately Ugliy’s greatest difficulty in life comes from within and is only minimally influenced by the physical deformity. In his quest he appears to try to maintain some of his humanity but one has to wonder if he ever truly had any. It’s this that makes it difficult to sympathize with any of the characters in this story.

Throughout the story there are a number of interesting things and ideas brought into the story in a sort of discovery fashion for both Ugliy and the reader. But as Ugliy struggles forward many or most seem to become disposable though there are smatterings that show up within the final parts and in all honestly there are so many of these loose pieces to the puzzle that I might easily have overlooked how they connected at the end.

Still even with some confusion there is a story with a plot that seems to thread its way into this novel and it’s enough to bring the reader to a satisfactory conclusion even if there might be some level of frustration with some of the outcome. I do enjoy a book that makes you think and takes you out of your comfort zone just a bit; though while I would have liked the climaxes to have reached a bit higher it might have been a delicate balance with trying not to become too absurd.

Though I wouldn’t recommend this solely for entertainment value If a person is a reader who likes to think and have the dictionary handy this is a fair Dystopic tale that includes shades of paranormal and a slow grinding horror that permeates the writing of such classic writers as Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review::In A Glass Darkly by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

In a Glass DarklyIn a Glass Darkly by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In A Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu

Through a glass, darkly (1 Corinthians 13)

I enjoyed these stories and of course this includes Carmilla which I've already spoken about. The other stories here often come close to making me ask what's the the point. But these are early ghost stories that set the template for many of the strange stories I read in my youth and so I think I understand a bit about the stories.

The first volume of a three volume set that I downloaded has three short stories that would each qualify as a creepy ghost story. They are told from the point of coming from the journals kept by a occult detective Dr. Martin Hesselius as edited posthumously by his medical secretary. The notion is that the doctor had explanations for the phenomenon that might include a combination of medical knowledge and metaphysics.

These are ghost stories so they end poorly for the subject and they contain all of the exciting details that lead up to thier demise with it being left to the reader to decide if this was the work of ghosts or other agencies.

Green Tea is the story of Rev. Mr. Jennings and his brush with demons.

The Familiar is the story of Captain Barton and his struggle with ghosts of his past.

Mr. Justic Harbottle is the story of a corrupt Judges judgment.

These are all also listed as mysteries, but the mystery is never really solved, which is common in ghost stories. Although the reader gets enough background to make some conclusions.

What is interesting to me about these is that they precede the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and there are enough similarities to wonder if Sir Arthur was influenced by the work of Le Fanu although I've found one reference that intimated that Sir Arthur borrowed from his work in Uncle Silas.

The only real difference as detective stories go is that the strange cases Holmes took were mostly solvable cases.

So if you enjoy those ghost stories told in front of the campfire in the dead of night you should probably enjoy these. Perhaps we could even consider Dr.Hesselius as one of the original paranormal detectives if not the original.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Review::Field of Dishonor by David Weber Book 4

Field of Dishonor (Honor Harrington, #4)Field of Dishonor by David Weber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Field of Dishonor by David Weber

This is one of my favorites and in a way it's for the reasons that ten percent of the readers dislike this one. It might be the fact that David Weber had three sure books assigned to write that led to this one or it might be that he wanted the springboard for the next couple of novels. Whichever way it might be; this one shows up almost as an experiment to see how well Honor stands without the great battle scenes at the end.

The book starts out with a long setup toward the court-martial of Pavel Young, which is a rehash of everything that happened pretty much in the last half of the half of the book prior to this: "A Short Victorious War", which is the part concerning Honor. This is all a setup for all of the political posturing that's going to occur soon.

So as with all his books, which seem like 50% Honor story 33% political posturing 17% war and instruments of war. This one cuts it 50 50 with Honor and politics. There is no great battle between ships at the end and not much talk of the armament.

What there is is an in-depth look at the characters as they are stuck in the mired political landscape. This time we get a clearer picture of the devotion all the people around Honor have for their captain.

This book can be frustrating especially to anyone skimming the pages of the previous three because there have been some political and cultural references to the story building that are peppered through those like some inane meaningless drivel that are now going to be pivotal to things that happen in this book in the world of Honor. Things the reader might have missed.

Questions of motivation and proper decorum within the universe are possibly raised here that might seem to upend everything, but it's not like you haven't been warned; if you've been able to stay awake through those passages.

That aside what hooks me with this novel is the fact that it's the one of all four so far that has moved me to feel something. Halfway through the book when politics interferes with justice and inevitable tragedy is visited on Honor there are several key scenes that struck me with some emotional impact not only garnering feelings for Honor but also those around her who want to protect her. As I've mentioned before it seems that the character building that David Weber does is more invested in the picture we receive from other characters and how they see Honor and I think that holds true for many of the main characters. I believe that might be one thing that throws people off if they are looking for the actions and narrative around the character to give them the full description. The character development is there, but the reader has to work a bit to squeeze it out of the story.

As I've mentioned, what is missing from this one is all that techno-babel that drives the other three and that's because the battle to be won is not a ship board battle. There is a lot of legalize and probably more of Honor than we see in the other books. And this is the build up for the next few novels setting the stage for where Honor will be and why.

This is again good for the SFF fan but not so much the military science fiction as it is the political. Anyone picking this one up as the first read of an Honor Harrington novel who likes space battles, is going to be disappointed. Start with On Baslisk Station.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Monday, December 2, 2013

Review::The Ripple Trilogy Books 1-3 by Cidney Swanson

The Ripple Trilogy Books 1-3The Ripple Trilogy Books 1-3 by Cidney Swanson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Ripple Trilogy Books 1-3 by Cidney Swanson
"the beautiful and the dark together"

First of all I really enjoyed this set of books; a lot. For me it took off right at the beginning and then just kept me running at a steady pace all the way through. The writing is superb, well crafted characters with an exciting though measured even pace that kept me right there with Samantha and Will.

This seems to target young adults, but I didn't let that sway me. In fact I was doing my usual cleanup of my kindle app on my PC when I recalled I hadn't downloaded this one and so I did and usually to do that the book gets opened so my eyes started scanning the page and I was hooked.

Apparently from the reviews there are some few rare people who seem to escape that hook, but I can't for the life of me see how.

In the Rippler we start with Sam our on the river rafting with her friends when the unthinkable happens. Sam has this problem where she just sort of vanishes like the invisible girl in fantastic four comics. She's been hiding it and she'd had some unusual trauma, the death of her best friend and her mother in an accident so she's been withdrawn up until now, which means that this vanishing trick is not going to help her much. Everyone except for Will has missed her vanishing act and they all somehow think she fell out of the raft so they all have a moment of panic.

With everyone running around Will talks to the invisible Sam trying to get her to make herself visible again while no one is watching. Of course it's puzzling to Sam how Will knows this and how he seems to be so calm about it. Will and Sam are already friends and this is going to bring them closer or tear them apart, but it is definitely going to have some impact.

We soon find out that Will has secrets of his own and that both of them are going to be in a lot of danger. They have special abilities that people are going to want to take advantage of.

One small comment about this story.Neo Nazi plots, characters with special abilities, siblings or parents who have passed away often under mysterious circumstances, and evil people who want to kill or control the special ability group. The themes and subplots are all familiar ones to this genre although Cidney Swanson has added a few ripples of her own to make it unique. But always with these types of stories what becomes the most important is the writing style and the crafting of characters. In those two I was extremely impressed.

The dynamic between the group around Sam and Will drive the story and the plot is driven by revelation of the evil through old journal entries present often through the eyes of the followers of the master mind of all the evil.

The Cameleon continues the story with further explanation of what is really happening and the danger that it poses to not only our main protagonists, but also to everyone they care about.

Will and Sam struggle with the best way to use their abilities to stay out of trouble and with the struggle of the growing relationship between them.

Finally Unfurl brings things all to an exciting dramatic conclusion that you will just have to read once you read the first two. At least that's how it was for me. And it doesn't disappoint. Each book builds on the previous and each one is better than the last.

Young Adults and even Adults who like the SFF should enjoy this and anyone that likes all those comic characters with their special power and angst should enjoy this. (Except they'll have to draw their own cartoon panels. And that seems to be one complaint of a fellow reader about these types of books.)

I loved it and I'll likely be reading a lot more of Cidney Swanson's work.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Review::Max and the Gatekeeper by James Todd Cochrane

Max and the GatekeeperMax and the Gatekeeper by James Todd Cochrane

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Max and the Gatekeeper by James Todd Cochrane

Max and the Gatekeeper starts out well with some bit of excitement to get the reader interested and then a slower paced mystery that stretches out only for as long as Max's Grandfather sees fit to torture him.

Max Rigdon is just an ordinary kid who is not quite so ordinary (by virtue of his connection to his grandfather) yet is quite ordinary in the world that he lives because of how things in the story work. The premise is that we have high potential for magic in our world but less inclination and thus less ability to tap into it.

Grandpa was once involved in a science program that examined certain potential and ended up opening a gateway into many dimensions where magic existed and in a way the gateway was emulating what some of the other worlds do with magic. Once the door was open Grandpa and some others were able to tap into the magic of the other worlds and learn how to use it on ours. But there is a sort of war going on and Max's Grandpa is guarding our world from the evil while helping others in other worlds to fight the evil and try to keep the gateway technology out of the hands of others. In the war Max's father was a casualty and that leaves Max as the sole heir to the task his grandfather has undertaken.

What Max doesn't realize is that he has been sent to his grandfather this year to learn all that they can teach him about the gateway and the magic. And the whole town where his grandfather lives is controlled by the evil that is trying to gain access to the Gateway.

I've already probably gone too far so I'll stop there.

There are a number of things I really liked about this novel. First off it obviously is a Young Adult or Teen novel. Max is around twelve and Max's partner in magic schooling Cindy is also of that age. I really enjoyed that Cindy was in no way ever portrayed as being helpless and in need of protecting. She's pretty level headed most of the time and even her mistakes seem to make sense and the consequences only help demonstrate her ability to fend for herself. Max too is an independent spirit and he learns quickly.

These stories-yes there are more- have the potential to be like the Harry Potter franchise. But as some others have noted the reader might get the feeling of things being rushed. The big evil is addressed right away and that helps to rush things along. I at one point was not sure there would be enough left for more story, but there really is plenty of wiggle room.

The parallel worlds or universes give this an element similar to Sliders of TV fame and open the stories for lots of possibilities. The magic rules are interesting and seemed consistent and the pace was pretty well handled to keep me interested.

I'm sure if James Todd Cochrane had decided to spend just a bit more time on developing both the good and the evil characters that this book could have been much longer. I'm not sure how much more improved it would be, but definitely longer and that might limit the age group. So I think in the long run the decision to look a bit rushed may be good for the age group this seems to target.

And the fact that there are more gives room for character development. We'll definitely have to see.

This is a good book for the Younger reader with mostly tame content to give it a wide distribution of readers. I'm well beyond that target age and really loved it.I think people interested in Fantasy and some SFF fans who aren't picky about needing adult scenes and solid science will really enjoy it.

It's a great and fun read.

I picked this up in June and notice that it was updated in November. I'm not sure what all needed fixing but I must have been mostly distracted by the story and didn't notice any problems.

J.L. Dobias

View all my reviews