Monthly Archive: October 2015

The Dreams of a Dying God

I got The Dreams of a Dying God (The Godlanders War Book 1) by Aaron Pogue on a special for $1.99. Based on nothing but the description, I might never have paid the normal price of $4.99. As it turns out, the other two books in the (I presume) trilogy are already out. That’s good, in that I am intrigued. That’s bad, in that I am not sure I am intrigued enough to pay $4.99 each for them. I have months of reading and rereading (to do justice in reviewing stuff I read before I launched this place) I can do before spending another dime on books. Not that I won’t. It’s a weakness. Especially when it seems to be a bargain.

When it came time to start this book, the early part of it had me going back to the description to remind myself what it was about and why a pirate was in the sands of what we might call North Africa, rescuing a slave and conducting a dig for a lost city.

Once it gets going, though, it is completely different from anything I have read. What is real? How does a god create or change reality? How does a god defend himself? How do myths and legends come about? How does reality in the past differ from how we understand it in the present?

I got a sense of quantum many worlds out of this book. That would explain the obvious match for our own world, but with different names, like Hurope. I thought the druids were a great touch. Something like them could make a fascinating story in its own right.

The more I reflect back over it, the more excited I am to read the sequels. I still think they are overpriced – I’d rather they be a buck or two lower – but at least they aren’t current paperback prices.

When I started this place, I had meant to include commentary in my reviews regarding the editing. Were their a lot of corrections needed? What made me think of it is the book I am currently reading, a favorite series, in which I am seeing regular errors. For instance, using the word raise in two different places when raze is the correct word. My inner editor cringes on hitting something like that. The Dreams of a Dying Good did not suffer from editing problems. It was solid.

Bottom line, this was a good book, a rather different fantasy, and you might enjoy it as much as I did. The discounted price I paid was a huge bargain. I’d rather not spend full price, but I lean toward it being worth rather than not worth it.

A last thought: The sequels intrigue me because I can’t begin to fathom what will take place in them. It is not that everything is neatly tied up at the end of this first book, but enough questions are answered to keep me from rushing into the next one because it’s a cliffhanger. I like that. Both the sense of relative completeness and the lack of predictability about where the story will take us subsequently.

The Fire Seekers

The Fire Seekers (The Babel Trilogy Book 1) is a hard-to-classify book by Richard Farr. I know I say this too often, but I found it hard to put down. I actually finished the last 20% of it after waking and being unable to fall back to sleep in the wee hours this morning.

You could call it science fiction. You could say it’s young adult, but it’s not really, apart from overlap. That is, readers in the YA market might also enjoy it, and appreciate the relative youth of the main character and his friends. Most of us, on the other hand, wouldn’t be able to relate to his extraordinary childhood, background, and, overt only as a plot factor at a couple of key points, wealth. More than a couple plot points, if you count some of what the ordinary-seeming protagonist knows as a result of his background. It’s definitely loaded with action, suspense, and a mystery that remains largely unsettled in the satisfying yet disturbing conclusion.

Sadly, the next book in the trilogy has not yet been published, or it would be the book I jumped into next. Which tells you just how gripping I found it. It reads a little like The Da Vinci Code, or Raiders of the Lost Ark if you imagine that as a book.

There is history, archaeology, language, mythology and religion, with accuracy beyond the call of frenetic fiction. The book really doesn’t pick on a specific religion so much as examining the history and basis of religions. Much of the plot revolves around a new religion, or perhaps anti-religion, having been founded and grown vast in record time. But why? To what end? Who are the bad guys?

Highly recommended. On Amazon, it doesn’t even have a full four stars average from reader feedback. I’m surprised. I’d expect enough five star ratings to make it four and a fraction. (No book or product is for everyone. It seems suspicious when something with more than its first few reviews has a solid five.) Oh well. I recommend it. If you like this sort of action story that falls somewhere into speculative fiction.

The Arch of Avooblis

The Arch of Avooblis (The Adventurers’ Academy Book 1) is a young adult/older children’s book by Charles Streams. I was dubious at first and at times, but overall it was an enjoyable if basic read. It is bound to make you think of Harry Potter at times, if only due to the setting and age of the main point of view character.

Dagdron is a bit of an anti-hero and can be downright unlikable at times. He reminds me somewhat of a late friend I first met at the age of 14. The academy teaches three sets of adventurer types/skills: Warriors, Enchanters, and Rogues. Our hero is a rogue, already trained from a young age by his father. Where Harry embraced Hogwarts eagerly, Dagdron goes off to school reluctantly at best. Worse, he is stuck with an effusive student warrior roommate.

I enjoyed this enough to plan to buy the second and third in the trilogy, which are bargain priced, but not free as this was. There’s no downside at all to checking it out as a free Kindle download. I also expect my eleven year old Harry Potter fanatic to enjoy it, when and if I can get her to read it.

Can a book with an unpleasant main character be worth reading, or even great? It’s been several years, but my adult reread of the Tripods Trilogy made me realize what a twerp the main character in that series was. Yet it remains a classic. YMMV.

I can’t guarantee you’ll like it, let alone love it, or even that your tween or teen will like it. It’s not a book for a rave recommendation. It is rather different, and might be worth a look.

The Time Bridge at Orion

Frugal? It’s 99ยข, but it’s also a short 55 pages/17,500 words, albeit packed with action. The Time Bridge at Orion is a sequel to One Thousand Years, also by Randolph Beck. It picks up after the events of the original book. In a way, it’s larger than its length, because setup is no longer required.

We learn more about the advanced aliens, who are, it seems, having a civil war. This makes for a dynamic three-way encounter at the point in space where the Nazi ship does not want to be seen jumping through time.

This was gripping. It took little time to read, its length compounded by the difficulty in putting it down. I’ve paid the same for far shorter works, so I can’t complain. I might have preferred a book-length sequel all at once for 3-4 times the price, but this left me more satisfied than I would have been had I been required to wait longer and remained at the previous stopping point. Perhaps there is something to say for what amounts to serialization.

You must read the first book before this, or else it will make no sense at all. So far, I recommend the whole series, unless the genre is not your thing.

Dawn of Wonder

Dawn of Wonder (The Awakening Book 1) is a coming of age fantasy, with some military and mystery/suspense elements, by Jonathan Renshaw. The author has a web site here, as well. Right up front: There are religious elements to the book. I saw a review that was disappointed by that, calling it a deus ex machina. I don’t see it that way. It was not like that element had not been built toward during the book. Further, one might consider religion itself to be fantasy, and it certainly is a valid fantasy element. At worst it was slightly heavy-handed in one aspect, but you should judge for yourself.

That said, this is one of the best fantasy novels I have ever read. That and its length make it an incredible bargain at $3.99 on Kindle. If you enjoyed works like The Wheel of Time series, this is for you. If you enjoyed Harry Potter, this is for you. It feels Potteresque in spots, but is not crazily so. Most notably, there is a character that makes me think of a cross between Hagrid and Dumbledore. I expect my Potter-obsessed eleven year old will love this when she gets around to reading it. Right now she’s interested in The Martian (which was excellent, I thought, but suffered from excess buildup or hype about how amazing it was prior to my reading it when the price dropped to a still-excessive $6.99).

It starts in the typical middle of nowhere, Shire-like or Two Rivers-like locale, shortly thrown into upheaval by events. No good deed goes unpunished, so it’s road trip time for the main character. Adventures ensue, much is learned, and I can’t wait for the sequel. Also, I am not a horse person, but there is a horse I can’t wait to see again. The author has a wonderful way of describing things, particularly when it comes to the antics or young men. I also enjoyed the political intrigue and glimpse of foreign relations.

Just buy it. Enjoy!