Book Review: Soul Swallowers

Last year, I read one of D. Wallace Peach’s earlier works and ended up choosing it as my favorite indie book of the year. Excited by the prospect of truly enjoying an author’s work, I wanted to continue reading some of her repertoire and moved to one of her newest series – The Shattered Sea books.

And where else to start except the beginning? I present to you now my review of Soul Swallowers.

The Book

51n4vq2bfuylSoul Swallowers
Author: D. Wallace Peach
2018
Amazon Link

I saw this on D. Wallace Peach’s website/blog. The Amazon review touts it as a fantasy New Adult novel. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel explicitly targeted to New Adult audiences, so I’m interested to see how this goes.

Non-Spoiler Review

Wow.

This book was everything I’d want, indie book or not. The characters were complex, the twists reasonable yet unexpected, and the political situation was at the forefront. The fantasy elements of literal soul swallowing was fit perfectly in with the way the politics worked. Peach’s writing style has always been one of my favorites, and I’m thrilled to say that her word choice, sentence structure, formatting, and paragraph breaks all pleased me.

Basically, I loved this book. I haven’t read The Game of Thrones, but I get the feeling the politics and build of Soul Swallowers would please fans of that more famous book. This book does contain some rather hard subjects (slavery and abuse being primary among these), so it may not be for everyone. Even despite the difficult subjects, Peach does an excellent job qualifying the characters’ experiences to show the evils within the world.

I recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy and doesn’t think the slavery and abuse pieces of the book will get to them.

Biggest complaint: Not a fan of the title. I know it’s just a personal opinion, but that’s really all I can say that I truly disliked.

5/5 Discoball Snowcones

5 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

Usually, I’m not a fan of character driven stories, but I’d have to say this was one of the most enjoyable character driven stories I’ve read. The book makes you become invested in Raze’s well-being as well as his quest to free slaves and see lasting change in his world, even if it’s through humble and slow means.

The political saga of Azalus, Laddon, and Nallea was exciting, and that was probably the story that had the greatest semblance of a plot. Laddon’s fate (dying without a soulstone) was especially important, as it allowed us a sneak peak into the fate of unbound souls. I enjoyed that, because it helped explain the world in a way that cleared so many issues up.

By the end, Azalus and Nallea married. It’s not as exciting now, when I type it, than it felt when I read it. Even though that plot seems tied neatly with a bow, there’s much left to find out, what with the slaver Sajem still at large and bondage still occuring throughout the Vales and Ezar. I’m looking forward to book 2.

Next week:

I’m reading Kevin Parish’s book of poetry, What Words May Come!

Book Review: The Alienist

I was flipping through some of the audiobook selections at my library, and I came across a curious book that had a sci-fi sounding title and a –

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD IS THIS A THEODORE ROOSEVELT FANFIC

Renting the shit out of this.

The Book

51jxil0exalThe Aleinist
Author: Caleb Carr
1994
Amazon Link

I hadn’t heard about this book, but I was pretty little when it debuted in ’94 (which means I’m older now, btw).  Regardless, I was looking for sci-fi about aliens and stupid computers thought this was what I meant.  I was disappointed to see it was about the 1800’s.

But then I saw it was supposed to have Theodore Roosevelt as a character.

Y’all know I’m a complete and total sucker for presidents.  I had to read this thing.  I checked that audiobook out, regardless of any regret I may later feel.

Non-Spoiler Review

I really enjoyed this book, though at times it got a bit graphic for my rather tender tastes.  I think what kept me engaged was their interesting techniques, not all of which worked (and some of which I found absolutely ludicrous from a technology perspective).  The main character, John Malone, was really a good perspective to write the book from.

One thing that I found very satisfying was the representation of characters that weren’t white men.  While it was apparent that white men were the power brokers in the world, the agency of boys, women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals was not overlooked.  The character of Sarah, especially, was done so very well.  I think Carr did great with characters from a wide swath of backgrounds, and I think people should read this book for that reason if nothing else.

Also, the historical elements were fantastic.  Sometimes it felt like Carr put things in just to include historical references (for example, the characters ate at Delmonico’s and described the restaurant in detail like 5 times).  They met people like Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, and Jake Rhiis. It felt a bit forced at times, but still it added to the overall effect of the book.

Overall, I would recommend, but there are some rough places that aren’t really for the faint of heart (and probably surpassed my own abilities).

5/5 Discoball Snowcones

5 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

The story was really good.  The main characters used psychology – at least what was available in 1896, with a little help from having an author in 1994, to determine the characteristics of a murderer, find him, and stop him from continuing his spree.  It was deeply complex, intriguing, and full of action.  The emotional twists and turns were astounding.

The only low point in the book was, if you ask me, a bit at the climax. Kreizler, the titular alienist, quit the investigation when his girlfriend was killed by a mob boss.  He then came back at the end, almost deus ex machina, and solved the case.  As well, the mob boss was following him and ended up being important in the final showdown. To me, that final coincidence felt a bit too large, and it ignored a lot of the contributions of Sarah and the Isaacsons.  It wasn’t a bad way to do the climax, but it didn’t quite feel satisfying to me.

Supposedly there are follow up books, and I’m intrigued enough by this one to think they might be worth reading.

Next week:

This is a 5-Monday month, and what timing!  Next week, the 30th, I’ll be making a post describing my reading journey.  And what a journey!  I’m excited to share what may be my most successful reading year in a LONG time.

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 is one of those “Classic” books I’ve never read. Most classes in my high school read it, but since I was in the honors’ section, my teacher said, “You all have probably read 451 because you’re smart, so we’re going to do Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.” Well, guess I showed her! (Though I must admit that teacher is/was brilliant).

The Book

51vsfbzlu2blFahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury
1953
Amazon Link

I’ve never really been interested in this book. I know it’s about censorship, and I know the premise is that the book is about a man who burns seditious material for a living. Something about it has just made me never care to read it before.

Also, just as a note, I got a copy from the library and the cover looked terrible. I liked the HBO-film inspired cover they have on Amazon, so that’s what I put here.

Non-Spoiler Review

At least now I understand why this book is so popular among English classes. With an English professor as part of the hero team and with literary and appreciation of artistic talent a major portion of the message, this novel is a fantastic, ego-stroking, self-serving kind of book for anyone who wants to feel good about being an artist.

And that made me mad at most high-school teachers but very proud of mine.

First, I found the premise entirely untenable. A society in which education is limited will not advance, and societies that don’t advance in this day and age will fall behind and be obliterated either by revolution or outside intervention. Even North Korea, which lags behind because of terrible abuses of power, can boast of inventions and efforts to modernize in some (crazy and terrifying) aspects. The society in 451 seems so ridiculous to me.

As well, the female characters were vapid, useless objects. I tell myself, “Oh, that was a product of the times,” but then I look at my review of Twain’s works and realize that he was more reasonable in the 1800’s than Bradbury was in 1953. I also thought Montag’s weird attraction to 16-year old Clarisse a bit… disconcerting.

When I think about the theme of censorship, I find this book a reasonable example of an anti-censorship book. That being said, it was ad absurdum, and I usually don’t like that sort of thing.

1/5 Discoball Snowcones

1 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

The story as a whole was rather plain. It was about a guy who did something illegal, then ran away and found company with others who were like him. There wasn’t much to it, really. I’d never read the book, but I still could predict every single plotline and didn’t care when the next chapter was revealed.

This book should be read almost exclusively for its themes and metaphors. That is where this book shines. That being said, I didn’t enjoy it, and I’m glad I don’t have to read it again.

Oh, another thing: mine had an afterword from Bradbury where he complained about efforts to censor Fahrenheit 451. It was incredibly insensitive and made me question the value of the intent behind 451. I suggest not reading it.

Next week:

I’m very hype to get to The Alienist. I’d never heard of it before this month, and I can’t imagine something with that premise could suck. Tally ho!

Book Review: The Robots of Dawn

Because everything written after this book gets the Robot series involved with Asimov’s weird, canon crossover with the Foundation series (which I love and also do not wish to destroy), this is the last of the Robots books I will be reading and reviewing for at least some time. Strap in for this classic review!

The Book

51p4stbegul._sx301_bo1204203200_The Robots of Dawn
Author: Isaac Asimov
1983
Amazon Link

This book, as well as many of the sequels that I don’t plan on reading, was at my library, so I snagged a copy.  I’ve genuinely enjoyed, at least to some extent, all of the series’ previous installations.

Just so you have a short version of the review, I’ll tell you now that this 4th book in the series was a massive disappointment, but still far from the worst thing I’ve ever read.

Non-Spoiler Review

I was only disappointed in this book because the previous two installations were quite enjoyable.  I would say this one wasn’t awful, but some of the parts fell pretty flat for me.

First, let me admit that I don’t like romance or even romantic subplots.  This is probably one of the reasons I like Asimov’s earlier work – he knew he sucked at romance and avoided it.  Well, when he got older, he also got bolder, and I get the distinct feeling he still sucked at writing romance anyway.  Associated with the romance, as well, were clear and open references to what may be my least favorite book of all time, Stranger in a Strange Land.  Complete with sexual awakening and a hint at ‘teach them real sex and make a sex cult.’

Beyond that, Asimov still does a marvelous job with consistency in his worldbuilding.  The world in which Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun took place was still vivid, vibrant, and present in this installation.  Baley’s agoraphobia (fear of outside, so you don’t have to look it up) was still ever-present.  I relish reading about the Baley character, and I enjoyed learning about the new planet of Aurora.

Still… the final solution to the murder mystery, as well, made me groan.  I’ll talk about that more in the spoilers review, but it was bad.  It made me groan to the point that I almost put the book down with only 6 pages to go.  After I ate supper, however, I was able to come back and gag myself through to the end.

2/5 Discoball Snowcones

2 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

The mystery of the book wasn’t done very well, at least in comparison to the earlier works.  Thanks to things like the romantic subplot got in the way, and the lengthened status of the book made the singular offending sentence – the one which Baley’s entire theory hinged on – easy to forget after another 100 pages of reading.  It wasn’t pointed out at the time of the offending interview, either, which made it feel less impressive a stunt.

Still, the part that got me was the very ending, where Baley actually solved the crime, not the one where he satisfied political needs.  In it, he reveals that the murder was committed by a psychic robot.  Wat.  WAT.  This was 7 pages from the end of the 500 page book and you’re going to bring in PSYCHIC ROBOTS now?!  Horse hockey.

Yes, he called back to that one episode in i, Robot wherein there was a legendary, psychic robot, and made it happen.  Simultaneously, he revealed all sorts of what I found to be BS motives, crossovers with his Foundation series and Empire series, and just altogether destroyed the entire book.  I had suspected that particular robot of the crime due to some of the facts, but the way Asimov had Baley solve the problem was so dissatisfying.

Next week:

I’ll be re-reading one of my favorites, The Remains of the Day.  You should stay tuned, and READ THE DAMN BOOK too!

Book Review: The Lost World

After finishing Dracula on audiobook from my library, I immediately sought out another audiobook to listen to.  Why not, after all?

Since my library’s audiobook selections tend to have enormous waiting lists, I found that my best option was to continue through another classic.  Thus, I went for some very classic sci-fi, The Lost World.  

The Book

51k2nege9hlThe Lost World
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
1912
Amazon Link (Free edition for Kindle!  It’s public domain!)

Sometimes I’ll enjoy a good classic, and other times I won’t.  This may be the first classic I’ve read in a long time that I’ve felt extremely ‘meh’ about.  It had a nice, wonderfully romping plot wherein the characters went on a marvelous adventure.  At the same time, it was moderately childish, had little unexpected development, was poor scientifically (Twain supplied better approximations of evolution in Connecticut Yankee), and next to the film Endless Summer was one of the most casually racist things I’ve ever experienced.  That being said, it had an enjoyable tone, and wasn’t altogether terrible, but it certainly wasn’t good.

Non-Spoiler Review

The best part of the book was how it was written as a nearly real-time journal.  It made the whole thing seem even more adventurous, even more a part of the time it was written.  I enjoyed the English-ness of the thing, and it hearkened to some of the aspects of English society that I find so odd.  The society of professors, as well, reminded me of today’s professors, their jealousies, and their eccentricities, and I found that an interesting part of the book.

Another part of the book I liked was Conan Doyle’s style.  It was understandable, and he used understatement with perfect aplomb.  I thought the characters voices fantastically distinct.  All this came together to make a rich book full of exciting adventure with dinosaurs and ape-men that really was fun (even if his ideas on evolution were garbage, even for his time frame).

But then, every once in a while, they’d remorselessly kill an Indian (native South American, for those of us who now know better) or speculate on the closeness to monkeys of the various actual races of people.  Sometimes this would catch me off guard and I would laugh because, from a modern perspective, it was so insipid.  Because of the day and culture in which it was written, I’m willing to forgive Conan Doyle for some of the awful racism, but it still drew away from my experience.

Worse, it drew away from the majority of the book’s characters.  From Zambo to the half-breeds to the Indians to the ‘ape-men,’ all of them were stupid and either hateful or completely innocent.  Of those that were hateful, it was only the half-breeds, which reminded me of stuff I read during my most recent Andrew Jackson phase.  Remember, Andrew Jackson was something on the order of 100 years before this book.  Anyway, it felt like Conan Doyle took the easy route out and made some flat-as-a-pancake non-white characters, and that REALLY sucked for the book.

Because the racism and flat characters constantly irked me, I could not suggest this book to anyone even despite the good sentence structures and interesting white characters. It’s pretty much straight-up offensive and doesn’t really have enough going for it to save it.

2/5 Discoball Snowcones

2 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

Most of this book is spoiled by its summary, but there are a couple things I’m going to just wreck for you.

First, the reason the narrator – Malone – goes on the adventure is to win his dearly beloved Gladys.  While he is gone to South America, however, Gladys marries a clerk and moves on.  From the tone, Gladys is blamed, and Malone gets upset.  I found this ridiculous; it felt like such a forced romantic tension in the first place.  I just laughed when Malone found out he’d been defeated.

At the very end of the book, Malone asks Roxton, the hardass adventurer who loved guns and saved their butts a few times in the book, to take him on another adventure.  I thought this was a great ending, and it prodded me to look for sequels.  There were sequels.

About the intolerable Professor Challenger.

Challenger, who had made the initial discovery, was always a character I rather loathed.  Bullish, hateful, violent, and yet deemed inexhaustibly intelligent by author and narrator, he was everything I hate in a character.  I thought I was supposed to hate him, but apparently he was the entire point of the book!  I was shocked and appalled, and I will not read another book in the Professor Challenger series!

Next week:

 

Book Review: The War of the Worlds

I’ve read The Time Machine before, and H.G. Wells has an amazingly British outlook on the future. I also enjoy sci-fi from a perspective that can’t be like our own, simply because it was from a different time and era of technological advancement. So I’m excited to read another bit of old-school sci-fi from the original master!

The Book

51qfskhy-yl._sx331_bo1204203200_

The War of the Worlds
Author: H.G. Wells
1898
Get it for Free on Gutenberg Project

I love that the Gutenberg Project has typed this bad-boy up. I can read it whenever, wherever, with little load time. Classic books such as these definitely are on my list so that I can catch up with those people who have more impressive arts degrees. I’m very excited to try this one out!

Non-Spoiler Review

I expected more after The Time Machine. The main character in Time Machine was compelling, and his discoveries were intertwined with emotional responses. I found the narrating character of War of the Worlds to be dull, and sometimes – such as the chapter where his brother helped the ladies in the wagon – he felt in the way. He nonchalantly described everything despite the horrifying civilian death counts and desperate battles.

In a similar vein, the battles themselves were dull and impersonal because the characters focused upon kept changing.  The main character didn’t always take center stage, and often described the world around him without making anything feel very personally important. I am already not great at audiobooks, and this one failed to keep my attention very well.

A positive about thus book is the creativity with the design of the martians and their goals. The science, despite obvious flaws due to its era, was actually pretty good. It’s obvious how War of the Worlds has influenced literally every alien-containing story since its inception. Even if you find the book boring like I did, its influence on science fiction absolutely makes it a must read. I don’t regret reading this book because of its importance in the genre.

3/5 Discoball Snowcones

3 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

The story contained altogether more running and descriptions of human death by Martian machine than I found either necessary or desirable. Most of the book was about the main character’s flight, subsequent holing up in a house, then escape once the Martians succumbed to Earthen bacteria.

I did like the solution.  I remember having heard about people complaining that this felt like a cop-out, but the whole point of the book was to talk about evolution and how it proceeded differently on Mars.  With that being the case, the solution being entirely out of the main characters hands felt right to me.

The problem was that everything was out of the main characters hands. To me, that meant the story lacked a lot of tension and felt something like a snuff book. Like I said earlier, read this because it’s important, not because it’s actually good.

Next week:

Another classic is up next week! The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!

Book Review: Dracula

I’ll be honest – I saw this review done by Robbie Eaton, and I thought, “You know, I should actually read that book and not just rely on retellings and various elements of pop culture.”  What’s more, she used an audiobook, and I found easily at my library an audiobook that seemed to have good production value.

The Book

dracula1stDracula
Author: Bram Stoker
1897
I’m not giving you an Amazon link because I don’t want you to feed the monstrous, bloodsucking company for a book that’s way past its copyright date.  Your library probably has an audiobook edition.

I got this from my library.  I first tried to find a free version on Kindle, but let’s be honest – I’m not paying them a damn cent for a book that they shouldn’t have control over.  I suggest you to look at your library rather thank Amazon.  That being said, this was a surprisingly good Victorian-era book.  I don’t like a lot of the books written in the 1800’s, which is probably why I hadn’t fully read this one yet, but I found Dracula to be pretty good.  Definitely suggest it if you want to read a classic.

Non-Spoiler Review

I was pleased by the story.  Though I’d read bits of Dracula for classes in high school, and though I’d heard bits and retellings here and there, I’d never heard all of the original story at once. I have to say it was a rather readable, well-told Victorian tale.

There was a transition part where Jonathan Harker was going back to England and Dracula came with him (though secretly) that didn’t make quite as much sense to me as I wish it would have.  I caught back up rather quickly, and it may have been my fault for listening while I was doing some boring things at work.  Other than that, the book was surprisingly understandable for something of its era.  I had initially feared its epistolary nature would have made it difficult to understand, but it actually worked rather well and added to the horrifying nature.

One of the things I liked from the book was the surreal horror.  It reminded me somewhat of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell in this aspect, wherein it had English sensibilities cloud the supernatural elements.

5/5 Discoball Snowcones

5 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

One of the characters I hadn’t known much about prior to reading this book was Quincy Morris.  I don’t even think I knew he existed in the first place before reading Dracula in one sitting.  Anyway, I was pretty happy/excited to see an American in the book, and I was even more excited to see him as a Bowie-knife wielding, gun-happy badass who totally ran into the thick of trouble when it needed to be done.

Van Helsing was as interesting as I expected he would be, and Mina Harker was surprisingly well fleshed-out throughout the book.  Some of the stuff Stoker said about her wouldn’t have flown in a modern context, but it was really good given the time it was written.  The multinational flavor of the characters was also interesting, and I think it suited the day it was written.

Next week:

 

Book Review: Fairies, Myths, and Magic

I’ve followed Colleen Chesebro for a while and (except when I’ve been in DISSERTATION OVERLOAD mode) truly enjoyed learning from Tanka Tuesday about the niceties of poetry.

It was also short, which was important because I defend my PhD on October 29th. Which is tomorrow. 🙂

The Book

51kgbxbmpflFairies, Myths, and Magic
Author: Colleen M. Chesebro
2018
Amazon Link

I actually won this in a giveaway (first time ever to succeed at one! I was super hyped!), and then pretty much immediately felt guilty that I hadn’t bought it because Colleen is SUPER SWEET. Just look over her blog/website and bathe in the kindness. I’m so much more the asshole.

Anyway, looking forward to this collection!

Non-Spoiler Review

As expected, this book is full of sugary sweetness and seasonally inspired poetry and shorts. The haibuns, as a whole, were really thoughtful and calming.

Another reason I was interested in this book has an interesting take on the world, cultures, and human relationships with nature. Written with a loving outlook on magic and paganism, its messages are a far cry from my own upbringing and beliefs, but I still very much enjoyed the educational/learning aspect. Colleen included several mythological teaching moments that makes the book rather accessible to a wide audience. Regardless of your own faith or lack thereof, her book is a gentle way to imbibe a different world view.

Speaking of gentle, the general tone was gentle and relaxing. The hotness and splendor of summer was definitely the star of the show, and the inclusion of many fairies was adorable.

The issue I had with the overall book was simply that I didn’t feel much tension. Most stories and poems were soothing, but I didn’t get that “I need to read more NOW” feeling. I usually read one story or one poem just before bed, and I did enjoy going to sleep feeling like all was right in the world. It was a good book for me right now, when my life is tense, but it may not be for me when I want to really get into something meaty.

5/5 Discoball Snowcones

5 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

Like I did last week with Stories In Between, I’m going to talk about my favorite story/poem, a standout that was memorable (even if not my favorite), and my least favorite one.

Favorite: The Healer
This story was about a dragon, Drac, who has been poisoned and is looking for healing. A young witch helps him find inner and outer peace. I liked this story because the potion was also metaphorical for internal trasformation and healing, which can only be achieved when one wants to. It also had the patented sweetness and kindness I love from Colleen.

Standout: The Litha Celebration
Whenever I’ve attempted a Garland Cinquain, I’ve always found it incredibly difficult. Chesebro, however, seamlessly weaves all the requirements of the cinquain together with such beautiful word choice and heartfelt praise for the summer celebration that I couldn’t help but remember this poem.

Least Favorite: Halloween Havoc
This story was about an absent-minded witch who makes some mistakes when casting spells to reduce her workload. While I can see the attempt at cuteness, to me the main character came off as somewhat inconsiderate. She seemed to know there were risks involved but chose to ignore them at the risk of other people’s feelings and well-being. It was also about Halloween, which I find squarely in the middle of fall, not summer. The story didn’t feel like it fit with the otherwise on-theme poems and stories.

Next week:

It’s November, and I’ve got a new stock of books to reveal! Stay tuned for next week.

Book Review: The Stories In Between

I enjoy the poetry on River Dixon’s blog, and I saw he had short story collection coming out. I pre-ordered the book and read it for this indie month!

The Book

tsib-cover-promo-smallThe Stories In Between
Author: River Dixon
2019
Amazon Link

I really enjoy River Dixon’s poetry. Even though I’m not a very good at judging poetry, I can feel the emotion from his words. I haven’t read much of his prose, though, so I’m excited to see what this book holds!

Non-Spoiler Review

One thing I like about short story collections is the variety of tales you can find. One thing I don’t like about short story collections is the variety, since some are inevitably not as good/favorite as others.

Overall, Dixon’s collection is spooky, twisted, and murderous. There’s a lot of curious events and unexplained occurrences. Overall, there were stories I liked and stories I didn’t like, but most of them lay somewhere in between. The stories often had some humorous elements that I liked, and some were spine-chllingly creepy.

There were several sentences with poor grammar or typos that caused me to draw out of the narrative. The other issue I had was that most of the stories (Not “Last Wednesday at Sue’s Place”) had a narrator that seemed like the same person. In “Last Wednesday at Sue’s Place,” the third person narrator examined a lot of characters, one of which was similar to the usual character of “crass, somewhat unsuccessful white man with a few psychological issues.”

4/5 Discoball Snowcones

4 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

Herein, I’m going to talk about a selection of 3 stories from the book: My favorite, one that stood out, and one that I explicitly didn’t like.

Favorite: The Example
Definitely my favorite story! The two brothers who were main characters in this story were hilarious. Even though they were evil, they didn’t appreciate how bad their actions were for most of the story, and that led to some fantastic horror comedy. The backdrop of Christmas in the story added another layer of flavor and established the most definitive setting of any story within the collection.

Standout: The Diner 
This story stood out to me because of its repetition, because of its interesting theme (descent into madness), and metaphysical appreciation of itself. Cathy, the waitress at the diner, was a great secondary character.

Least Favorite: The Case of the Missing Pillow
This story’s theme didn’t strike me as making up for the needlessly gruesome murder of a prostitute. Killing women is a common (and now disdained) story mechanism, and to me this story felt like a dried husk of a worn-out trope. Several stories used violence against women or children, but this one had the least justification by far.

Next week:

I will be reading Colleen Chesebro’s Fairies, Myths, and Magic collection. I’m a huge fan of her Tanka Tuesday and other posts, so I’m looking forward to seeing what her book has in store!

Book Review: Deep Space Accountant

I surf Amazon’s Kindle books every so often, just looking for interesting sci-fi to take advantage of.  Though I’ve found more communities of writers online and am trying to support people I see and know, sometimes there are indie books I see and just can’t ignore.

This is one of those books.

The Book

51lxmz6vanlDeep Space Accountant
Author: Mjke Wood, ACRA
2016
Amazon Link

What the hell.  This book just looked super fun.  With its pulpy cover, crazy idea (I mean, accountants in deep space?!  Nuts!), and what seemed to be a well-edited sample, I was bound to jump for this one.

I’m hoping for something humorous, and I’m hoping for a good reason to be reading about an accountant!

Non-Spoiler Review

Deep Space Accountant has a lot of humorous elements packed into a neat little story with high stakes and larger-than-life conspiracies. Mjke Wood has done an excellent job editing the story and making sure you won’t come head to head with many typos or difficult sentences. Also, clever man, he explains the “ACRA” at the end of his name on the front cover as well as the importance of accountants for deep space travel.

My favorite part was Philpotts’s superpower – it wasn’t overpowered at all! When I read about a lot of superheroes or badass space marines, they often feel like they’ve been given abilities that make the story’s end results a foregone conclusion.  Philpotts’s powers? Just lame enough that anything could happen. That allowed Philpotts’s character and drive to shine through.

The reason this isn’t five stars is because 1) The humor and tone doesn’t stay consistent throughout – the story becomes more serious the further it goes and 2) Some pretty serious male gaze shows up in places.

4/5 Discoball Snowcones

4 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

The story was just ok.  There were several plot holes, the big one of which was the way gates opened.  It seemed, through most of the book, that you opened dimensional gates/faster than light travel and flew your ship through them, but at the end it seems you could open a gate from the exiting side.  I guess that makes sense enough, but there was literally no reason to do that due to safety and timing issues.  As well, I never quite understood why the Big Bad Evil Guy needed to use Philpotts as a scapegoat.  It seemed like his plan would have worked out better without his newest employee.

Despite these issues, it was the romping fun and worldbuilding that impressed me here.  I rather enjoyed most of the humor, and the good front end made it such that I got through the more serious back end without many issues.

Next week:

Stay tuned for next week when I read River Dixon’s short story collection, Stories In Between. He’s a fellow WordPress blogger, which is super cool!