Book Review: Flotsam by R J Theodore

 

Publisher: Parvus

Publishing Date: January 2018

ISBN: 9780997661361

Genre: Mixed but mostly Steampunk

Rating: 4.4/5

Publishers Description: Captain Talis just wants to keep her airship crew from starving, and maybe scrape up enough cash for some badly needed repairs. When an anonymous client offers a small fortune to root through a pile of atmospheric wreckage, it seems like an easy payday. The job yields an ancient ring, a forbidden secret, and a host of deadly enemies.

Review: A crazy blending of Steampunk, Fantasy and SciFi that takes you on a genre bending wild ride through the skies of Peridot.

The world building is incredibly epic for a newly minted author and hints at uncovering even more as this series evolves. The characters were not only well developed with the movement but continued to draw interest as their personal histories unfolded.  At one point I thought this novel was going to take a nose-dive into many buckles being swashed and overly elaborate descriptors on how they were dressed for battle (if hot looking sky pirates are your thing). Thankfully the instance was short lived and the novel gained in grittiness what it lost in glamour.

Although mixing genres has been done before, this author elegantly combines the visceral and fantastical into a salable whole. Well done noob.

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Review: Black Star Renegades by Michael Moreci

Publisher: St. Martins

Publishing Date: January 2018

ISBN:9781250117847

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.8/5

Publishers Description: Cade Sura holds the future of the galaxy in his hands: the ultimate weapon that will bring total peace. He didn’t ask for it, he doesn’t want it, and there’s no worse choice to wield it in all of space, but if he doesn’t, everyone’s totally screwed. The evil Praxis kingdom is on the cusp of having every star system under its control, and if that happens, there’ll be no contesting their cruel reign. Especially if its fanatical overlord, Ga Halle, manages to capture Cade and snag the all-powerful weapon for herself.

Review: This was written as an ode to Star Wars according to the author yet may have been better served as a space adventure for kids in the 8-12 yo range.

Although the premise and story line had merit, this novel was fraught with flaws in character and scene development. For instance, as Cade moves through the story line, his internal dialogue not only fills in the back story but discerns events and interactions not yet revealed but turn out to be factual. Kind of like guessing the future and having it realized. While we are constantly reminded that Cade is a misfit with self-esteem issues, he goes out of his way to be negative, obtuse, self-centered and belligerent when there is really no need to be that way. He is “disgusted” with others behaviors and wears the reluctant hero crown too well. He eventually embraces his whatever “self” and suddenly becomes super paragon galactic savior guy whom sacrifices his life for the Galaxy and others etc. etc.

The fight scenes are a big stretch of the imagination, especially the Dasher bike incident and the whole exchange between characters within culminating scenes reads like a comic hero space adventure. I get that the author wrote/writes comic books and this somehow was re-invented into a space operatic novel. It just didn’t work for me but may for others.

Review: Macro-Micro by Ishmael Carol

 

Publisher: First Design

Publishing Date: August 2017

ISBN: 9781506904573

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.7/5

Publishers Description: In a galaxy of conscious celestial beings, ex-rogue planet Chandra protects her adopted sister Gaia from enslavement by aliens and must destroy an army of macro and micro entities to break the blockade on their star system. Aided by her teacher Master Sun and the digital beings living on her planet, Chandra must make choices that will alter forever the fate of humankind – and the Galaxy herself.

Review: “It is all a bit too much”, is a quote from the first and lone reviewer of this novel and is at the story lines’ core.  It is at once compelling, drawn out, smothered, burgeoning, sublime and intriguing.

Chandra (our moon) was killed by the evil apostates and flung into the void, barely alive. The Sun (our Sun) draws her into our solar system where she collides with Gaia (earth), another celestial being. From there the Earth and Moon beings grow in consciousness and ability as they are trained by Master Sun to protect humanity and the digital beings that reside on the moon.

This was a really long novel and because of that it was hard to stay in the game. I kept reading because I needed some closure after 500 pages. This novel could have been edited for length, content and grammar. There were instances where the interchanges between scenes was so long that you lost interest and to lose interest is to lose the story line. So don’t do that. Most of the chapters jump across the time line so if you’re expecting a linear progression of events with maybe a bit of time jumping, tough luck. At times it is not real clear where or when you are in the author’s universe, but if you pay close attention you can work it out. Still, it is not for the faint of heart to follow the story line to a conclusive endpoint.

The supporting characters were well built and interesting while the main characters were a little too speshul. The evil Dyapon and his tube cell cohorts are not easily visualized as the author never really gets to a high degree of descriptive aptitude. While this lack of detail can be filled with your own imagination, it is not the readers job to develop a plethora of characters off the top of  their heads. I thought this was a major failing of the novel with most of the characters.  What was needed was a reduction in the lengthy exchanges between the speshul entities and an expansion of the descriptors in order to draw in the reader.

This was a major undertaking of what I assume is a new author or an established author using a pen name. While at times beautifully rendered this novel fell under it’s own weight. I would still keep an eye out for this author as he/she has the talent to become one of the best in the genre.

Review: Doctor Benjamin Franklin’s Dream America by Damien Lincoln Ober

Publisher: Skyhorse

Publishing Date: January 2018

ISBN:9781597809191

Genre: SciFi

Rating: DNF

Publishers Description: It is 1777, in a colonial America where the internet, social media, and ubiquitous electronic communications are fully woven into the fabric of society. Hours after a top-secret Congressional sub-committee uploads the Articles of Confederation, a mysterious internet plague breaks loose in the cloud, killing any user who accesses a networked device. Seven in ten Americans are dead, the internet is abandoned. Seizing the moment, the British take control of New York and Philadelphia, scattering what little remains of the rebellion.

Review: I just could not get into this novel. The idea that our forefathers had technology of a high order but still live in an era of mostly non-tech, is a big stretch. Besides the gaping plot hole this was really boring. Boring characterization coupled with a real lack of movement made Jack a Dull Boy. 

Review: Milijun by Clayton Graham

Publisher: Books Go Social

Publishing Date: January 2016

ISBN: 9780994495600

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 2.5/5

Publishers Description: Laura Sinclair and her son, Jason, witness aliens descend to Earth. The extraterrestrials endeavor to form a symbiotic relationship with humankind, and choose Jason as a genetic link in a bizarre trial involving the mystical impregnation of human females with hybrid embryos.

Review: This was at times really un-interesting due to Laura Sinclair’s constant refusal to recognize the reality of a multitude of situations. The only reason I can come up with as to why, is that it creates scene tension through the process of negative denial of all things evident. As a result her character halts good movement and drags the story line down to a screeching halt.

Although Laura Sinclair sucks, there are some major redeeming qualities to this novel. The question of whether the aliens are good or bad and from where they ultimately come from is tantamount to an ideal (how’s that for b.s.). This process seesaws its way through your mind from one page to the next with an ever evolving perspective. This sits right in the middle of the numerical rating. Some good characters, some bad. Great movement then derailed. Overly long scene descriptors and consistent repeated phrasing also did this novel no favors. Good aliens though.

Review: White Trash Zombie Unchained by Diana Rowland

Publisher: Berkely

Publishing Date: April 2016

ISBN:9780756408244

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.0/5

Publishers Description: Angel Crawford has finally pulled herself together (literally!) after her disastrous dismemberment on Mardi Gras. She’s putting the pieces of her life back in order and is ready to tackle whatever the future holds.

Review: Wow man. I mean really a slow, slow slog through the chasm of dialogue and stilted movement. This was an epic push to read, chapter to chapter. Forget Angel and her “zombie with a heart of gold character” while being oh so hot and productively captivating.

This was like watching two turtles fuck while eating nails. The characters are forgettable and because there is no movement you care even less what happens to them. What I was expecting was a zombiefied baddass punker gnashing her teeth while ripping out the throats of the deservedly criminal element while feasting on their brains. What I got was a co-ed hottie not-really- zombie with the perfect friends that love her so and her undying humanistic nature that bludgeons you on every page.

The writing is patterned and scripted and leaves you wanting something visceral. The ‘shivers down spines” and other phrasing fillers read like a paperback romance novel. If only the cover lived up to the content. Don’t waste your time, especially when all the 5 stars reviews out there have no written content.

Review: Alien Innkeeper by Roxanne Barbour

 

Publisher: Wild Rose

Publishing Date: may 2017

ISBN: 9781509213795

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 1.6/5

Publishers Description: Sylvestine Amera is the manager of the Mars Best-Tycho Basin Hotel. When her first alien visitors arrive on planet, Syl is faced with solving numerous challenges. Not the least of having Dedare Sath  rubbing her cheeks in a gesture she is curious to understand.  Irion customs are different than what she is used to, but when Dedare who owns a hotel on Irion asks her to leave Mars and manage his flagship hotel, she is more than ready to leave her home planet behind.

Review: This whole reading experience was just too too patterned and slick. Everything was predictably perfect, down to the characterization and story line. Almost like it was written in hopes of getting a movie deal. There is nothing close to being believable about the characters, including the the aliens.

In this novel everyone in Syl’s circle is the best of friends and everything works out wonderfully. If you’re outside this gilded circle, you are an unforgivable miscreant bent on ruining Speshul Syl’s new life on an alien planet. Really? This whole novel was really patterned after a controlling narcissist. How someone on an alien planet has three alien men that want to marry/bang her after a week, is beyond reasoning.

This novel’s main shortcoming was the lack of world building and alien development. Aliens that are really humans, only bald with blue blood and strange mannerisms does not an alien make. The one alien that was murderous had scales but was not built in any memorable way. The idea that a space fairing alien lacks the reasoning skills to disassociate criminals of his own species from a lone alien on another planet, is pretty weak.

Towards the end of this novel I really despised Syl and her band of all knowing,Uber Rich douche bags.