The Devil's Garden presents an extremely well drawn, richly detailed world. Ms. Kindred presents a unique skill to readers - an ability to create a be...more The Devil's Garden presents an extremely well drawn, richly detailed world. Ms. Kindred presents a unique skill to readers - an ability to create a beautiful, sensory setting in the few pages alotted to a novella. The political aspects of the plot at times felt a little familar but worked well with in the story as a whole. The characters were well drawn and their internal struggles added a layer to the book I had not expected when I began reading. At times I did struggle to follow the many characters throughout the book. The unique names, while interesting and necessary due to the setting, occasionally made it difficult to follow and I found myself backtracking more than once.
On the whole, a solid four star novella that manages to be both a quick read and a richly drawn and engaging story. A combination I wish I found more of in shorter fiction.(less)
Right off the bat I was drawn by the title of this book. The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale is just fun to say! It also stuck in my h...moreWhat worked for me:
Right off the bat I was drawn by the title of this book. The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale is just fun to say! It also stuck in my head and niggled so it was no hardship to pick it up and check it out - that's always a good sign. (The cover is beautiful as well.)
The premise was interesting. To be honest I haven't read a book based on time travel in a long time so I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy it, I'm happy to say that I did. The rules of the verse are easy to understand and straight forward, which makes for easy, light reading. The characters too present as straight forward and likeable, Stormy herself is a spitfire and her first person POV is an interesting mix of expressions and observations that span the two different time periods. In general, I find that first person POV can be a little polarizing because in my experience you either love the character or you don’t. In this case I think it really worked and that Stormy, for the most part, is easily likeable and best of all, at times she’s downright funny. For instance:
Dammit. I wasn’t even allowed to throw a decent hissy fit. With a sigh, I holstered m work pistols, packed away my puppy-kicking boots and pasted on a reassuring smile.
I laughed out loud. At the dentist. That’s an accomplishment of narrative if ever there was one.
What didn’t work for me:
The length. It bears mentioning that The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale is a novella, which I knew when I picked it up – but I couldn’t help but wish there was more to it, which I suppose is praise in and of itself. The problem was that some of things that made the book a fun, fast read (the straight forward plot, the easy to follow rules of time travel and the lack of complication between the characters) also meant that the book sometimes felt underdeveloped.
While Stormy herself was engaging and interesting I lacked the same connection to Bacon or Devlin. That’s not to say they weren’t likable, just that they were, at times, simple. Likewise, the plot moved fairly quickly but was also very straight forward and I couldn’t help but hope for complications or dire consequences as one would often suspect of a plot dealing with time t ravel. In some ways the plot didn’t feel worthy of Stormy. When presented with an engaging, spirited heroine I hope for a plot that is worthy of challenging her and in this particular instance I felt that Stormy deserved a better challenge than the plot provided.
Overall, the book delivers what it promises in a novella, a fun, fast read. I don’t think anyone looking to spend a couple of hours curled up with a quick read will be disappointed.
Should the author choose to continue to explore this universe I do hope she’ll consider longer books as I think there is a lot here worth exploring.