The Iron Gods

Download eBook This review may contain some spoilers. This is an intriguing fantasy novella crafted by an author obviously full of passion for the genre. It’s rough around its edges and reads like an early draft in places, but there is something here. We’re thrust into a fantasy world tempered with science fiction elements. Although nothing in this book struck me as being daringly original or unique, it carries a certain charm that helps get the ball over the net in so many places. The journey feels rushed. Character exploration is fleeting. We head-hop between characters endlessly, and while there is great care undertaken to consider a larger fantasy world at play here, we are merely flung from one stage to the next. The villain is passable, the writing ranges from striking to tepid, and then back again. Yet despite its shortcomings, there is talent here that will only bloom with the right practice, care and attention. Action is plentiful, and the dialogue shines in places. There are some twists and turns to keep you turning the pages. As for presentation, the cover is well illustrated, but needs color to capture the eyes of buyers. There were a handful of typos, but they did not ruin my reading. This snack should satisfy the appetite of fantasy fans between their main-course tomes. This is just one opinion. Don’t forget to leave your own rating below! The Iron Gods 6.5 Total Score Users Score - (0 votes) Leave your rating Pros * Full of passion* Rough stone that needs polishing Cons * Pacing needs work* Suffers from head hopping Story Characters Writing Presentation Story...

Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop

Download eBook This review may contain some spoilers. There are some wonderful short story ideas at work here that are sure to satisfy fans of the occult. Dr. Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop is the epicenter of this work, where all of the short story threads begin. A clever idea, linking dark items from the store to each of the stories. However, the book falls short technically and suffers from sinister examples of telling and not showing. Sharp, fascinating ideas fuel these short stories. There’s a sewing machine that designs you a garment aligned to your destiny, or fertility dolls that can’t be sated. The supplier of these items, the mysterious Dr. Marvelry, is a quirky character whose motives are not entirely apparent, lending him a veil of mysteriousness. Unfortunately, the supporting characters who carry their respective short stories prove difficult to care for. The authors have chosen an omniscient point of view writing style; I’d have preferred living each short story through the eyes of one character. It would allow me to get closer to that character, and so I’d really care about the stakes that they’re up against. Unfortunately, I remained a spectator only in the hopes of finding out what misfortune would befoul them. In the technical department, the authors’ reliance on descriptive sentences to tell character emotions grew tired fast. The best writing lets the character actions speak volumes. It’s amazing how such missteps can quickly drain the tension or suspense. Another round of editing could catch these offenders, and help tighten up this ship because the foundations and pillars are there. I wager a sharp edit would help open...

Fine People

Download eBook This review may contain some spoilers. Largely, this short fiction collection seems to focus on stories of people whose beliefs and actions are challenged. At times this can lead them to an awakening of some kind. The writing style is good, the scenarios are fresh and considered, but I feel that this book lacks the sparkle of great character and dialogue. There are eleven stories in total, with ideas ranging from a woman who falsely accuses a man of rape in order to ingratiate herself into her desired society, to a man with a fear of people with mental illnesses, who is forced to welcome his fiancee’s schizophrenic uncle for dinner. The author’s strength lies in dreaming up these intriguing situations, but at times the characters can feel like vessels, their dialogue in service to the story, moving the plot from point A to B. For example, in a scene where a woman dives into a meeting with the man she’s accused of rape, and his wife, the dialogue felt flat and hurried – the resolution with it. The situations that these characters find themselves in feel bigger than the people themselves. However, there is still much to enjoy here; the author has a fine writing style, and the stories are mostly to the point. One of my favorite stories was ‘Farewell, Dr. Bradigan’, about a young drunk who ends up on the doorstep of a girls’ sorority house. One girl brings him inside, to help him recover, and soon learns of his upcoming duty overseas. The author did a good job of capturing the nervous energy,...

Einsteins Beach House

Download eBook This review contains some spoilers. It is difficult to read a book such as Einstein’s Beach House and know exactly what to say in order to recommend it to a friend. More so than any book I’ve read in a long time, it leaves you with a mood, a feeling. Often there are no resolutions in the strict sense of the word, and yet the author gives you just enough room into his characters’ lives to understand where they are going. It’s a testament to the work that the author has managed to evoke such real emotion. This is, at times, a dark exploration into humanity, covering death and loss, be it metaphysical or real. In ‘Limerence’, my personal favorite, a judge muses over his childhood, when he met his first great love. He’s proven powerless to forget her, and yet he’s lost her to time and circumstance. The author captures that spark of emotion we all understand; our past so vivid and real, and in the blink of an eye perhaps we could be back there again. Yet, it’s funny how we always romanticize what we lost, rarely considering if it was in our best interests. In ‘The Rod of Asclepius’, a young girl accompanies her father to the hospital where he works. However, she is soon forced to contend with our father’s power over life and death. And in ‘La Tristesse des Herissons’, something of a dark comedy, a man is locked into a nightmare relationship with a woman who drives him further and further to the edge. As one might expect from a short...

Through the Eyes of a Child

Download eBook This review contains some spoilers. Children will find lessons of value in ‘Through the Eyes of a Child’, a short story collection featuring a range of characters that each encounter God on some level. The lessons concern faith, learning to value yourself, focusing on your strengths, rather than your weaknesses, and that what makes you different from others can also be what makes you special. Although all of the stories are connected to God, largely these are not strictly faith based lessons, but truths that can be communicated to anyone, regardless of religious beliefs. Author Pam Funke begins and ends her novel with a story of a little girl, Bella, who is visiting the beach with her mother. Bella has many questions about the world, and through a series of stories, Mom explains how God affects and works in the lives of four creatures: a beetle, a lizard, a seagull and a mamba. They are simple tales, but each with a clear message. The stories, characters and dialogue do feel a little flat at times, subservient to the overlying messages. The strongest tale involves a seagull who becomes stranded from his friends after a brutal storm. He’s taken in by a young girl who wants to help to nurse him back to health. The seagull, who is initially afraid of humans, learns not to tarnish all with the same brush. The weakest story offering concerns a lizard who meets a human; both have a conversation in which the human shows the lizard an example of how God is everywhere. Because the book lacks that excitement factor at times, there is always that danger...

He Who Wields The Sun

Download eBook This review contains some spoilers. A short fantasy story telling one man’s quest to obtain a legendary sword that he will use to preserve peace throughout the world. Told by the protagonist himself, the book moves at a swift pace, hitting the necessary story beats in quick succession. In short, man learns of sword, man hunts sword, and man … well you’ll have to read the book. It’s a simple tale, but I’ve seen other authors extend such a yarn over 500 plus pages, relying on environmental descriptions and meandering side stories to fill out their paper. What this author does well is work with the plot that he has, and then delivers it in a swift and succinct style. Character exploration is thin, but the author still manages to make our main character and narrator, Jal’Derren, a force of his own. While he is the typical rogue you’d expect to find in such a daring adventure, his absence of humbleness at times still does bring a smile to the face. After all, it’s usually a winning formula. Yet, we do not get to see the cracks, the darkness, or what truly makes the man tick. But, again, another curse of the short tale. In the case of Derren, such a character works well here because he is also telling this tale, and of course we wonder how much of it is accurate. What scenes has he manipulated to paint himself in a good light? Indeed, this unreliable narrator opens the story with a creed, promising that what he says is the truth, and the whole truth. Well, words to...