Category: Reviews

Iris by Andrew Gates

Posted July 4, 2017

My Review

Iris is a character driven story that takes place entirely in the depths of the ocean. The last of mankind fled to the bottom of the sea after the land became too toxic for human survival. It begins with an explorative expedition with two navy personnel, charged with the task of testing out a new submarine, and I have to confess to being drawn into Iris midway through this first chapter.

Reading on, I found the pacing in the next few chapters rather slow, and very nearly put the book in my DNF (did not finish) folder. A good friend of mine loved this book though, so I persevered, skipping through the parts that I didn’t think really added anything to the story (mainly backstory and excess exposition, plus one whole chapter that could quite easily have been cut out with no detriment to the worldbuilding or characterisation). But, I’m glad I stuck with Iris because it really is a very good story.

It’s multi-pov, providing different perspectives and experiences of the people living in the underground habitat. Iris, of course, is the main pov character, and through her, our eyes are opened to the society around her (and the others). In many ways, there is little difference to the kind of society we know, but being underwater requires a more totalitarian style government. What may come across as necessary rules to some, is seen as oppression by others. As events unfold, and discoveries are made, it challenges everything these characters think they might know about their past, present. and potential future.

Iris is a page turner (once I was past the earlier chapters) and I honestly had a hard time putting it down in the latter part of the book and right up to the end. There are plenty of twists and turns and surprises, and I, for one, am looking forward to reading the second book in this series: Kholvaria

[goodreviews isbn=”B01LZA9CSN” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

 

 


Stormhaven Rising by Eric Michael Craig

Posted June 21, 2017

My Review

I should begin this review by saying that I am totally fascinated by the whole ‘asteroid heading to Earth’ concept. I’ve watched numerous films and read every work of fiction I can featuring asteroids in this very scenario, so when Stormhaven Rising was recommended to me, I jumped at the chance to read it.

Stormhaven Rising isn’t a rehashed ‘Hollywood saves the world’ type story. It has science – real science – and dispels many of the myths we have seen on the big screen. It had an interesting start and was quick to set up the basics of the story and introduce some key characters, and of course the science. I’m not very knowledgeable about advanced science (anything beyond what is taught general science in high school), so when reading a hard sci-fi, I tend to prefer the plot over the science, but in the same respect, I like to learn new things. I certainly learned a lot from reading Stormhaven Rising and for the most part, understood it.

The crux of this story is the government trying to keep knowledge of the oncoming asteroid out of the public domain, and Colton Taylor, an industrialist with seeming unlimited resources, trying to do the exact opposite. I found the character dynamics interesting for the most part. There were parts that went aover my head, or went on for a little longer than I felt necessary, but overall, I enjoyed the story.

This is the first book in the Atlas and the Winds series gives an insight into how the powers that be may react in such a situation versus those who believe people have a right to know.

If you enjoy hard sci-fi, then I would certainly recommend added Stormhaven Rising to your ‘to be read’ list.

[goodreviews isbn=”9780997470703″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

 

 

 


Fragmented by Madeline Dyer

Posted June 17, 2017

My review:

Fragmented is the second book in Madeline Dyer’s Untamed series. It picks up where the first left off, and charts the progress of Seven and Corin, amongst others.

I have to say, while I ‘liked’ Untamed, the first book in the series, I absolutely loved Fragmented. Not only do the stakes introduced in the first book continue, but Seven (and Corin) have a whole new set of problems to deal with, and it’s hard to see how they can beat any of them. Madeline Dyer, in my opinion, has a definite skill in keeping a reader on their toes. Just when I thought the book was heading in one direction, it went in another, though not without warning. The foreshadowing is very skillfully done.

I think one of the strengths of this book, is that it is ‘next’ in a series. The characters, setting, and the main conflict has already been established, which allows Dyer to build and develop on already introduced themes and relationships (which throwing more into the mix).

There are several new characters in Fragmented, a couple of whom I really didn’t like (which, I believe, was the intention), but necessary for the overall story arc. I enjoyed learning more about Seven and watching her relationship with Corin develop, though the odds were very much against them.

I would highly – highly – recommend this book (although I would advise reading Untamed so you can appreciate the depth of this world), and cannot wait to read book three.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01NAUNSE6″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


First Contact by Dawn Chapman (Review)

Posted December 24, 2016

First Contact is the second book in Dawn Chapman’s science fiction series, The Secret King and continues to chart the progress of the Aonise as they search for a new home. Their journey – so far – has been fraught with danger, and at times, some close calls, but salvation is in sight.

Planet Earth could offer the Aonise a chance to resettle and put the trauma of their escape from Lethao behind them. Their ships aren’t in the best of shape, food is running low, and as if that wasn’t enough, secrets are becoming harder to conceal.

If you’ve read Lethao and thought it a fast-paced, action-filled ‘ride’, then you had better make sure you are buckled in for First Contact. It is an exciting read, exploring not only the politics and power dynamics of the Aonise but the hierarchy of power we are more familiar with on Planet Earth.

First Contact is a soft sci-fi/space opera, focusing on the lives of the characters we met in Lethao as well as introducing some new ones. The writing, as always, moves the story at a good pace, using a balance of narration and dialogue to keep the reader up to speed with events.

Events are alternated from two perspectives in the early stages of the book. The reader is given a chance to catch-up with the Aonise’ progress while introducing Earth-based characters. The question of whether they are alone in the universe is finally answered, and more to the point, how they intend to deal with the uninvited guests.

I really enjoyed this book. For me, it had all the elements of space opera that I like – distinct characters, lots of conflicts, twists and turns, and a scenario I could never get bored of reading. My only criticism is that it does have a sharper ending than Lethao, but if I’m honest with myself, at this point, I’m wholly invested in the characters so shall await book three with eager anticipation.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01NBCKEWX” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Guilty by Association by E.A.Copen

Posted April 2, 2016

Everything’s bigger in Texas…Including the monsters. When a young werewolf is murdered on the Paint Rock Supernatural Reservation, the local cops think it’s a drug deal gone bad. BSI agent Judah Black knows better. An occult expert, she knows magick is at work from the beginning. Using only her wits, knowledge of the supernatural and her limited magickal abilities, she must untangle a web of cover-ups and lies before the killer finds his next victim.

My Review:

Guilty by Association opens at the scene of a murder of a young werewolf. Judah Black, a federal employee, newly moved onto the supernatural reservation in Texas (populated by werewolves, vampires, and other Fae), is sent to investigate. Not only does Black have a murderer to hunt down, she has to navigate the residents pre-conceptions of her, many of whom have chips on their shoulders. That doesn’t deter Judah in the slightest. She is a strong character in her own right, with her own back story, personal problems to deal with, and she just isn’t one for putting up with any nonsense.

I really enjoyed this book. The sample grabbed my attention, and as the story unfolded and I got to know the characters, I was engaged with the rest of the story. I liked the depth to this book, not only with the plot that transpired through this book, but with the promise of more in future books. Relationships were explored, challenges met head-on, and it was far from predictable. There were plenty of twists, turns, and surprises along the way.

I certainly intend to follow the rest of this series and can see myself reading a lot more urban fantasy in the future.
[goodreviews isbn=”B01BDTO16K” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

 


Review: Equivocal Destines by Raymond Clarke

Posted March 7, 2016

Equivocal Destines is one of many books I’ve listed on this website but never really found the time to read it, except now I have, and what a great little read it turned out to be, well, not so much of the little…

Equivocal_Destines_Cover_for_Kindle
In a world plagued by hordes warped by magic into creatures hell-bent on the destruction of mankind, where elemental magic holds sway and determines your lot in life, Taal is of the water, which should assure him a place among the revered rudas, protecting his city and assuring him the wealth it bestows. But centuries ago, it was a water wizard who caused The Change that precipitated all of the disasters that followed, and now, being a water wizard is the lowest of the low.

With dreams much bigger than life in Takelberorl will allow a lowly water-boy, Taal sets out on a journey that will change his world forever. In reality, he’s a typical, sixteen-year-old boy who’s only following the pretty girl, but those electric-blue eyes (and said pretty girl’s older brother) just won’t let up on the whole Destiny thing.

From the battle-scarred plains that surround the place of his birth, through regal cities and across pristine mountain wildernesses full of mysterious forces, Taal and his makeshift band of renegades search valiantly in a quest to unmask the evil forces conspiring to annihilate all races. Taking heart-pounding risks and suffering tumultuous trials, the team experiences both horrific battles and unexpected delights.

 

The Story Telling

Equivocal Destines tells the story of Taal, a fifteen, going on sixteen, year old water wizard. Life is simple. He works in the fields watering crops three times a day, lives with his mother in pitifully poor conditions, and owing to the fact he is ‘of the water,’ he gets very little respect from his fellow citizens.

This story begins with an introduction to Taal, his good friend Rah, and some of the shenanigans they get up to. These two young men may well live under the threat of hoards attacking their walled city at a moment’s notice, but they must also deal with girl problems (if only she would notice him), peer rivalry and compulsory weapon training.

The plot is weaved at a steady pace as the reader is introduced to what life is like in Takelberorl. It is a dull life, broken only by the arrival of carnival acts and a weapons fayre…and without meaning spoiling too much for you, the recent movements among the hoards.

My thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed Equivocal Destines. I couldn’t help but like Taal, although I found myself pitying his predicament, I mean, who wants to be ‘of the water’ when it was the water wizards who caused ‘The Change,’ effectively ruining the world for future generations? Despite this, Taal has strong morals, a strong bond with friends and family, and at the times that matter, he has the courage to do the right thing.

The writing is very descriptive, and the story blends through this. Although it takes a while for the physical ‘journey’ to  commence, the emotional journey begins from page one.

If you enjoy fantasy books with depth to the characters, and rich world building, then I would highly recommend Equivocal Destines, even though there is a sharp ending (cliffhanger) which leaves you yearning to read the next book in the series.

 

amazon

 

You can follow Raymond Clarke at:

Amazon

Website

Facebook

Twitter


Reviews

Posted December 5, 2015

Indiescififantasy (aka – me) isn’t very good at writing reviews, and I have therefore been talking to some up and coming reviewers who have given me permission to display snippets of their reviews. I only host the sample – any clicks on the title will take you to the reviewers website. If you are a reviewer on Indie fantasy and sci-fi books and would like to share your reviews, please contact michelle@indiescififantasy.com

 

 

 


Review: Lesser Evil by P.F.Davids

Posted November 13, 2015

Lesser Evil

P.F.Davids contacted me to ask if I would read Lesser Evil and provide an honest review in exchange for a copy, however, it is available on Kindle Unlimited so I obtained the book via this method.

Lesser EvilKester is one of the last surviving defenders of the Church of True Light. With the Serpentine Empire closing in, Kester finds himself on a desperate mission to recruit the aid of one of the Church’s greatest enemies: a man who is often called a demon. When his ideologies are tested, Kester must choose between upholding the tenants of the Church and completing his mission.

There is nothing Reis wants more than to be left alone to his research. But when the Empire comes knocking, Reis is left with no choice but to fight back. Knowing the imperials will not stop coming for him, Reis is left with one path. If his research is to continue, Marcus Serpentine must die.

Together, the two may have a chance to cripple the greatest military force the world has ever known…if their conflicting ideals don’t make them kill each other first.


The story telling

Lesser Evil begins at the heart of a conflict between Serpentine’s imperial soldiers and the Church of True Light. It begins in medias res, introducing the reader to the conflict, the stakes, and key characters while moving the story forward. The first paragraph sets the scene briefly: ‘bodies littered the room ahead,  stripped bare with faces twisted in agony,‘ while the reaction and interaction between Demos, Collette and Ottone orientates the reader with current events.The narration blends smoothly with the dialogue. The narrative voice in each of the chapters is clearly defined and where used, reads like the POV character’s natural thought process.

The environment brings to mind that of a medieval setting with its transport by horseback, sword battles, old buildings and secret passageways…

As the story progresses the reader is introduced to Kester, a young soldier in the Church of True Light, recently promoted to a position of responsibility, he devises a plan that may yet save the Church from annihilation.

My thoughts

If you enjoy a work of fantasy with a ‘light versus dark’, ‘good versus evil’ premise than I believe you will enjoy this book. The atmosphere is established early on, as are the motives of both the Church of True Light and Serpentine. The characters are multi-dimensional, with each of the key characters having shared and personal obstacles to overcome. Throw a little alchemy into the mix, a pinch of a misunderstood ability with balanced pacing and tension and you have a book promising a great read.

As I warned the author is our email exchange, I am not one of those people who can force myself to read a book that does not hold my interest (I’ve been known to give up on books after the first few pages), but with Lesser Evil I found myself orientated into the history, world and characters needs early on. The writing lured me into the tale P.F.Davids has penned and held my interest. With each page turned I found myself wanted to read and learn more and look forward to the next installment of the Lesser Evil trilogy.

Author Links:

Website: http://www.pfdavids.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PFDavids

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pfdavids

Goodreads profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14391176.P_F_Davids

 

amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Soul Conductor

Posted December 11, 2014

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows C.S.Evans that the Soul Conductor is placed in a medieval setting – except it’s not your every day, run-of-the-mill sort of medieval. From the very first page the reader becomes embroiled in the lives of the Soul Conductors; a peaceful community of people who are born with the sole purpose of guiding souls to their final destination.

‘Quinn is one such being. He is a Soul Conductor. And he’s one of the best…

He’s also a very decent sort of guy. He’s loyal to his friends and family, devoted to his work as a Conductor, and has a strong desire to see justice done.

‘So, what happens when it suddenly goes disastrously wrong?

What happens is that you get a marvellous story, entwining the livelihood and traditions of the medieval era with a dash of the fantastical and supernatural. It is the age old battle between good and evil, but there is so much more at stake than just the mere preservation of life.

‘Quinn must rely on the loyalty and strength of friends, new and old, if he is to discover what really happened to him and prevent innocent lives from being lost – along with their souls’

 ***

Evans’ debut novel was an absolute pleasure to read. I was hired as a beta-reader for The Soul Conductor (a sort of pre-reader), and charged with the task of checking the manuscript for potential structure, plot, continuity and characterisation issues. The only problem with this book however, was that I kept being drawn into the story. After resisting the lure of Evans words in the first couple of chapters, I gave up trying to make notes and read it in its entirety.

During my initial read (at least until I succumbed to the story) I notated my reaction to the events of the first two chapters – my joy, my horror, my elation – which I provided to Evans, and everything I experienced was as she intended. In my opinion, Evans has a real skill in capturing the essence of a ‘moment’ and translating it into words.

I read The Soul Conductor twice in the end – firstly to enjoy the reading experience it offered, and secondly to provide my comments on potential areas for development (although they were few and far between). Evans was quick to orientate this reader into the story. There is a good balance of narration and dialogue, with naturalistic interaction between the characters. If the fantasy/supernatural genre is of interest to you as a reader, then I am confident you will not be disappointed with Evans first offerings as an author.