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Monday, April 27, 2015

Prometheus Stumbles: A DNF, 2/5 Urban Fantasy

Today, I am reviewing the Urban Fantasy story Prometheus Stumbles by Ed Gosney. A regular man in a world that hosts psychic beings (known as psi-tals, or psychic talents) discovers that he’s destined to escort The Turtle, some sort of supernatural entity, and protect it from evil psi-tals who want to keep control of the world. Or something.

I did not finish this book. I got about halfway through and then had no motivation to continue.

I give this book a 2/5. Here is my breakdown.

Characters: 3/5. Not bad. The introduction of psi-tals was interesting, and I found myself intrigued by the limitations and abilities that each one had. Our protagonist, though, was a very bland presence; things kept happening TO him and AROUND him, but he didn’t seem to have very much to do with it all..

Plot/Storyline: 2.5/5. Derivative and common: chosen hero from normal society must save the day. This isn’t bad in itself, but there wasn’t much new introduced in this story. The author didn’t put his own stamp on it, and so it felt boring.

Flow: 4/5. The story moved along at a reasonable pace. If it weren’t for my other concerns (earlier), I would have been carried along fairly well. Unfortunately, once I left the story…I had no desire to return.
Spelling/Grammar: 4/5. No significant errors that I noticed.

Overall: 2/5. There wasn’t a whole lot wrong with this book…there just wasn’t much RIGHT with it either. Nothing held my interest after the premise was introduced, and trying to make myself go back to it felt like a chore, rather than entertainment.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Organ Reapers: Compelling, Intriguing, Excellently Done!

Today, I am reviewing the paranormal/sci-fi/I’m not sure exactly what story Organ Reapers by Shay West. This is a story set in the modern day AND in a parallel world. In this parallel world, people known as Harvesters cross the dimensional boundary using a “mystical” machine in order to kill humans and take their organs back to their homeland, where their high priest uses them to save the lives of their subjects. Obviously, this doesn’t sit well with everyone.

I give this book a 4.5/5. Here is my breakdown.

Characters: 4.5/5. Really solid. The characters from both worlds were believable and interesting. The culture clashes between the worlds drew me in and appealed to me, while Eli’s struggle with the fact that there was a world other than his own felt real. I wish that we had seen more of Eli’s budding feelings for his partner, though; that particular arc never really seemed to come to fruition, in any sense.

Plot/Storyline: 5/5. This was unique and interesting. Extra-dimensional terrorists on a divine mission to save their own people by killing OUR people and taking their organs? Awesome. The language conveyed the imagery and intensity of the plot very well. I loved the ending and the final reveal.

Flow: 5/5. Great. The story moved on at an excellent pace. I was never bored or feeling rushed by the flow of the novel. I also thought the cross-cutting of scenes between our protagonists was executed perfectly. Well done!
Spelling/Grammar: 4.5/5. I noted a very few spelling and/or grammar errors in this book, but nothing that I would write home about. It in no way detracted from the story.

Overall: 4.5/5. A fantastic story that I really enjoyed. I love the contrast between the worlds and how the characters in each are both very different and very similar. You can pick up your copy at the link below. Thank you so much for the read!

Blade's Edge by Virginia McClain; a Fantasy worth sinking your katana into!

Today, I am reviewing the Fantasy story Blade’s Edge by Virginia McClain. This is a story set in a pseudo-Japanese setting and utilizing many of the terms from Japan’s medieval history, but adds several different intriguing elements, like elemental magic, a council dedicated to the repression of a particular subgroup, and dragons and kami.

I give this book a 4.75/5. Here is my breakdown.

Characters: 5/5. Absolute perfection. Virginia’s two main characters, Mishi and Taka, were deep and real. I felt their pain and their triumphs, and my understanding of them grew as they did. The book spans eight years (called “cycles”), and I felt they grew believably throughout that time. I especially liked Mishi’s development from scared orphan to kick-ass Kisoshi warrior.

Plot/Storyline: 5/5. The story is as epic as they come. A sprawling conspiracy kept in line by a few oligarchs? Assassins? Intrigue and betrayal? All present in spades. Virginia wove her story deeply and well, and I felt the last few pages blaze by like they almost weren’t there. Fantastically done.

Flow: 4.5/5. The sentence flow was excellent and Virginia’s use of language keeps the story moving at an excellent pace. I felt we spent an appropriate amount of time on each of the characters (as the action cross-cuts between the two of them) and that things didn’t happen too fast or too slow.

My only issues with the flow: There were a few instances that I felt important or interesting action was glossed over to get us to the next development. This happened only a few times, but I did note it. Second, the time passage was done very well in terms of character development, but the chapter headings, being in Japanese (or pseudo-Japanese, I’m not sure) that were supposed to tell us how much time had gone by only confused me, so I had to ignore them.

Spelling/Grammar: 4.5/5. I think I counted four grammatical/typographical errors in this novel. For as many pages as it is (286, paperback version), that’s a pretty good rate (less than one error per fifty pages). I’m happy with that. Good job, Virginia!

Overall: 4.75/5. What a ride! The story starts slow, builds up quickly, and finishes with a bang. I’m hoping for a sequel to this. Thank you for the read! You can purchase Blade's Edge at the link below.