The series that this short is an introduction to, may be very interesting - but I'll never know, as the short bothered me on a few levels. The conceptThe series that this short is an introduction to, may be very interesting - but I'll never know, as the short bothered me on a few levels. The concept seems promising, following a girl who has lived most of her life as a prisoner in an academy for wizards. Joelle dreams of escape, but the only way to do so is to covertly study magic, knowing that death may be the penalty.
However, I feel like this book falls short in a few very important ways.
1. The reader is given very little information about Joelle's personality, other than her desire to escape. It seems to be an all consuming obsession. There were plenty of passages that simply reiterated this desire, which I felt could have been used to flesh out the character a bit.
2. The author almost immediately contradicts himself. Joelle has the ability to go on what amounts to a spirit walk, though she has little control over it. When first faced with a tense situation, the author makes a point to mention that she doesn't ever feel fear until she returns to her body, at which point she seems to feel the physical affects. I really liked this idea, but the author immediately ruined it on a later spirit walk, by detailing the panic she feels as she's fleeing back to her body.
3. The world. It's very clear that this short isn't really meant to stand on its own. The world is barely sketched out. Granted, you don't need much in a short, but if you're trying to get new readers for a series, there needs to be more that is specific to this particular world.
As it stands now, it could be just about any generic fantasy world. College of mages? Check. Faraway land filled with an aggressive army and a foreboding mage? Check. Child with innate magic who should never have been born? Check. Forest that is almost certainly full of deadly peril? Check. Kindly authority figure to stand in as a father figure? Check. Okay, that all sounds great - so what are the details? Practically non-existent.
I tend to give short stories a lot more leeway than novels, but everything about this felt bland and repetitive. ...more
Automatthew is worried about the long and perilous journey he has ahead of him, but not for obvious reasons. He's worried about the loneliness that heAutomatthew is worried about the long and perilous journey he has ahead of him, but not for obvious reasons. He's worried about the loneliness that he may suffer and longs for a friend to share his journey with. Luckily, he comes across a merchant selling just the thing to solve his troubles - a tiny companion robot. Automatthew and his new friend set off and soon find themselves the only survivors of a shipwreck on a tiny island. Automatthew is grateful to have Alfred along, but soon discovers that he may not be the best companion after all...
Automatthew's Friend is a cute sci-fi short, that I found enjoyable to read, but fairly predictable and the satire felt a little heavy handed. Certainly not the best Stanislaw Lem has to offer, but worth a read once, should you come across it. ...more
This novel arrested my attention with the first sentence and managed to keep me in suspense until the very last sentence. I'm usually not a big suspenThis novel arrested my attention with the first sentence and managed to keep me in suspense until the very last sentence. I'm usually not a big suspense fan, but every once in a while I venture from my comfort zone and books like this are the reason why.
The Day of the Jackal is the fictional story of an assassination attempt on Charles de Gaulle, the President of France. From the very first, you know that the assassin (codenamed Jackal) will not be successful, but that hardly matters. Frederick Forsyth is such a master of suspense, I was forced to take a break from this novel, to give my muscles a break. They were weak from clenching with tension. Everything seems to be quite well researched, to the point where it can be difficult to remember that this is a work of fiction.
The characters are a bit wooden, but I feel like this can be attributed to the sheer number of characters that this story involves. There are many individuals from organizations all over the world to keep track of, but don't let that scare you away. The important thing to keep in mind is that individual characters aren't as important as the wheels that are set in motion by an assassination plot of this type. Forsyth keeps you informed almost every step of the way of the movements and knowledge of all parties involved, but somehow writes his chapters in such a way, that this knowledge is what builds your suspense. I've always felt that it was a dirty trick for an author to unexpectedly blind you to new information just before resolution and luckily, Forsyth never falls into this trap.
True, this is not the most mind-blowing piece of literature you'll ever read, but if you need an easy read that'll keep you engaged, it's perfect. I'd definitely recommend anyone in the mood for a good political thriller to give this book a chance....more