Category: Scifi/Fantasy

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.

 


Dystopia

Posted December 11, 2014

There are elements of 1984 in here, and earlier chapters reminded me a little of the City of Ember, but I persevered and was able to engage with events a little easier after Dana’s arrival at the Waste Management Plant. Her character begins to develop a little as she finds her way around this prison camp styled facility, making both friends and enemies, but a lot of the secondary characters did seem a little flat.

There are a few issues with the plot in this book, minor details that could be fixed by developing the characters a bit more. Overall though, I really enjoyed Dystopia, although I believe it is better suited to younger readers in the young adult age group. It was a quick read, but there were a lot of interesting dilemma’s for the young protagonist to work her way through. I would certainly be interested in reading more from this author.


Death’s Keep

Posted December 11, 2014


The Book of Lokk: Death’s Keep tells the story of a young thief. Lokk lives in Kartos, a bustling city that lies beneath the shadow of the Dark Temple. The priests rarely pass beyond its high walls, and when they do, it is only to collect the dead and escort the condemned to the dungeons. It is a cruel, harsh life, and Lokk somehow manages to survive from day to day, but he is about to ‘enter a world where evil knows no bounds…’

It was the book’s description that attracted me to The Book of Lokk: Death’s Keep and I wasn’t disappointed. It begins with a very short prologue, which I didn’t feel aided me in any way. The story would begin just as well without it – the first chapter is where this story begins.

The reader is orientated with the story as early as page one, with scene descriptions and character introductions taking place as Lokk does what Lokk does best. Everything is told from the protagonist’s perspective, guiding the reader into the story at a steady pace, without overwhelming them with a stream of unusual names of people and places. Every paragraph moves the story forward with a good balance of action, internal thoughts and descriptions.

I found Lokk to be a very likable and well-developed character, a feeling that strengthened as the story progressed. Without giving any of the story away, I did find some of the scenes quite vivid (I must have missed the ‘horror‘ part of the genre listing). It is a dark story, and it is a very good read. There is an ample supply of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing.

The writing is of a high standard and has been very well edited. The narrative voice entices the reader to engage with the story. The level of foreshadowing is very good and I able to work out where the story was going just prior to it being revealed. There was one sudden surprise that I don’t believe was foreshadowed, but it didn’t spoil the book as a whole.

Overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable read, and fully intend to buy the second book: The Book of Lokk: Sons of Stone: 2