The Destiny of Shaitan, or TDOS in short is the first science fiction and fantasy combination I have read which builds on Indian mythology. This, by i...moreThe Destiny of Shaitan, or TDOS in short is the first science fiction and fantasy combination I have read which builds on Indian mythology. This, by itself is a big draw for me. However, I’ll try to not let my review be coloured by this fact too much. Also, like most fantasy stories, this one too is a fight between good and evil.
The story of TDOS is set in the year 3000 and beyond, where the solar system as we know it has been restructured. There are a few new planets which have come into the picture, and all the planets in the solar system are now habitable with species of all kinds. Earth is still considered to be the mother planet, and humans have mated with the sentient beings of other planets to create genetically mixed Halfings. This is the story of four of these Halflings, and how they impact the future of the universe.
This might be an epic story, but the beauty of the book is in the characters. There are four main characters, and a number of side characters in the book. Each of the four main characters’ lives is explored over a period of time. A sequence of events brings them together, and then tears them apart. Each of these characters’ lives is defined by their painful loss of a loved one. This loss is what pushes them to the brink from which they are able to come back. They all go through life alone, not knowing true love. I am amazed by how the author is able to bring out perfectly how these defining moments tie the entire story together. Just for this perfection, I would recommend this book.
Among the characters, I really liked Tiina and Rai’s characters. However, I could not really stand Yudi’s character. He is extremely selfish and does not care about anyone but himself. Shaitan comes across as more human than I expected. He has his own flaws, which, in the end result in his downfall. All the characters grow immensely during the story, which I think is a standard feature in most YA novels.
The author explores a number of issues, some of which are a staple in YA novels. Friendship, love, hate and betrayal are all part of the story. They permeate every aspect of the relationships between the characters. One interesting thing was that the author decided to make one of the characters gay. This however does not impact the story one bit. I don’t know the reasoning behind the decision for this, but it is something which I find unique and nice.
There are a couple of things which made it difficult for me to enjoy the story as much as I could have. The author has written a part of the book in present tense, and another part in past tense. The past tense makes sense when the author is narrating the history of each character, but I did not find this consistent. There were sentences in past tense even when we are at a point in the story which is happening right now, in the present. These kinds of tense changes, sometimes within the same paragraph, threw me off. I really believe that better editing and consistency would have helped me enjoy the book a lot more.
There is a huge build up to the entire showdown with Shaitan. And there is a lot of action towards the end of the book. These are both really well executed. But, when it comes to a one-on-one fight, it ends without so much as a whimper. This results in all those expectations of an epic battle to be dashed. I think that part of the book could be better than what it is at present.
Overall, this is a great start to the series, and I am really looking forward to reading the second installment. I would recommend the Destiny of Shaitan to anyone who likes the fantasy and/or SF genre.(less)
I loved the idea behind the series and was really excited to get to read this book. I can say that the story definitely does not disappoint. The story runs along in two timelines, as all the characters in the present day are reincarnates from 1870 who knew each other back then and were somehow intimately connected. They were all part of a society of “super-humans” who had certain abilities which made them special. Each of the characters seems to have retained their special abilities in the present day. In the beginning, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the two roles played by each character, past and present, but it became easier to follow as the story continued.
The author has done a wonderful job of delineating and describing each timeline beautifully. The historic timeline is quite suitably described, which I consider a big achievement, as any discrepancy here would throw the reader off the story. I have not read any Victorian era dramas and so, have no idea about that world, but the world which the author describes here, just seems perfect. There are elements of steam punk in this book as technology from the past is brought out wonderfully.
The magic in the book may be quite familiar to a lot of readers. Telepaths, telekinetics and pyrokinetics all make an appearance and seem to be a big part of the series. I expect them to make a continued appearance in all the remaining books in the series. With such a vast array of super-human characters, I expected a lot of action sequences and I was not disappointed. The action is fast paced and at times, breath-taking. I just loved it as magic and action intertwined in a beautiful symphony!
The book is quite short, and I consider it to be a novella rather than a full blown novel. Would it have been better to extend the book, and reduce the series from six books to just three? I think so. I definitely think this book was missing some much needed background on both the past and present characters. A little more information for readers to go on and really get into the mystery would have been nice. However, the author has left enough hints to be able to guess the direction the series is taking. In fact, I see a much, much bigger story unfolding as the series continues. This, atleast for now, will keep my anticipation levels high for the next book in the series.
The book works as it is right now, but I would have liked for the story to continue rather than wait a few months for the next instalment. After the amount of time it has taken longer series like Harry Potter and Inheritance Cycle, not to even mention Game of Thrones to complete, I have become really wary of long series. It may so happen that a number of readers may get tired of waiting and lose interest. Maybe, the author will look at this and consider changing the format? Besides this aspect, I have to say that I love this introduction and am looking forward to getting the next book in my hands!(less)
Blind Sight is a unique set of books, as this set contains the same story written from different main characters’ points of view by two different authors. I was really intrigued by this, and wanted to know how this experiment played out, if the stories would be different enough to justify reading both books and if I’d like the idea. I am going to review both books together as, that is how they work best, and as I don’t really have any complaints with the writing style or flow of either of the books.
My initial reaction on reading the book blurb was that this would be a book filled with supernatural abilities or gifts. But, I was disappointed in this regard. The gifts are there as just a background to the story. They do not really play an important part in the books and the books read more like a mystery than fantasy. I know this is just the first book in a long series, so I am going to let this slide as I anticipate these to play a bigger role in the coming books.
I did find the books to be a bit slow to read and the real action comes right at the end of the books. There is a lot of description about the relationships between all the characters in both the books. I have no idea if all these secondary characters will play an important role going forward, so I can’t really comment on whether this space was really wasted. But, if this is not part of the character and world building for the series, I will be really turned off! This being a fantasy series, where this is a necessity, I am going to let this slide as well right now.
The authors say that people can read one of the books and still get the complete story. While true to a certain extent, I am not fully convinced. I read “Through the eyes of Aniela” first and there were parts where I felt lost and did not really understand why certain things were happening. This became clearer after I read the second book. I would recommend readers to start reading the books with “Through the eyes of Leocardo”. This will remove a lot of frustration from not understanding Leocardo’s behaviour in “Through the eyes of Aniela”.
Leocardo and Aniela have two very different ideas of what is happening with Odette. If I decide to read just one book, will I still be able to get both, Aniela and Leocardo’s reasoning and ideas? What if I back the wrong idea? Will I have to go back and read the other books, as things become clearer? For now, I would suggest reading both books. But as the series progresses, I have my doubts about a lot of readers sticking with both books, or sticking with the series itself. This is one experiment which is going to be really interesting.
Both authors end the books on an extremely interesting note. I would certainly like to know what happens next as I can see a really big story arc developing. There is a lot of mystery and intrigue still left to unravel in this world. So, I say, bring it on! Even with the issues I have I highly recommend this new series. I just hope the authors take note and truly try to make both the books work individually as I’d hate to see people not reading this series due to this.(less)
Spoiler Warning: If you’ve not read the first book, 'Water', you may be seeing some spoilers. You been forewarned!
Air is the second book in the Akasha series and is a more than worthy follow-up to Water. The book starts off with Kaitlin’s pregnancy having progressed along. Also, Micah and the others are in hot pursuit of Shawn to shut down his rogue organisation. With no one other than Susan knowing about the pregnancy, Kaitlyn gets sent on the missions as well. These missions are action packed and extremely interesting, but they are just the prologue to what is coming next. As the book progresses and both Shawn and Micah come to know of Kaitlyn’s pregnancy, they are left dumbfounded not knowing whose baby it is. I just loved the scene where this happens. I could literally see the looks on their faces. This is the talent of Terra. She can bring the characters to life, living and breathing right before us.
Kaitlyn now gets left behind with Alex to do research on Shawn’s whereabouts and support the team remotely while the others keep looking for Shawn. With idle time, we know what Kaitlyn will be upto, getting in trouble of course! I’ll try to not give out spoilers, but during her research, she stumbles on a way to learn about her powers and to control all the other elements. There is an extremely unique way in which this is accomplished. No way could I have imagined this! But this is also the place where the story slows down quite a bit. Both Kaitlyn and Alex spend a lot of time (and a lot of words) researching, learning and preparing for the showdown with Shawn.
But, Air is not perfect, like Water was. I generally expect the first book in a fantasy series to be big on character development. But Terra has taken an unusual route, and it is the second book where we see how Kaitlyn develops her powers as a Gaia. This is what made the first book big on action, but I knew the character development was coming. But still, the sudden drop in pace due to this left me a bit underwhelmed. This is the small gripe I have with the book. The pacing of the book was a bit too slow for me. I had to get through quite a bit if the book to really get to the action. I think Water created some unrealistic expectations with its edge-of-the-seat action throughout. Now, I can totally understand having to develop a character in fantasy books, showing us just how the person became who she is. But, certain parts felt dragged out, and could have been pruned a bit.
This is definitely not something which will deter me from loving this instalment of the series. Why? Because the action in the final part left me breathless. It was a culmination of EPIC proportions. That part of the book more than redeemed the slowness of the build-up. I can’t just give the ending away, but I am really tempted to. Oh well, maybe just one line. We know that battle lines had been drawn. This book ends with one instalment of that on-going battle between Shawn and the Seven.
So, here’s the final word. This is one of the best new fantasy series I have read. You would be missing out on an awesome experience if my small rant stops you from reading the series. I am sure that all this preparation will tie into the series and will seem necessary when the next book comes out. So go ahead, dive into both the books in the series, you will definitely not regret it.(less)
The Chosen One revolves around a young autistic boy named Gage, who does not have friends and feels isolated because of his autism. All this changes when he meets Eve and comes to know about another world called Grimsley Hollow where all the magical beings we read in books about, reside. This is the start of an adventure which involves witches, werewolves, vampires, pixies and dragons. This is a classic good vs. evil story as Gage and all his new friends unite to fight against an evil witch Inari, who has captured their parents.
I loved the world which the author has created. The beauty of the descriptions had me stunned. I could see myself walking through these woods and actually meeting all these magical beings I’ve read about. The idea that all these creatures can live together in peace somehow was quite intriguing. In this world, each of the magical beings has a separate area in which they reside, which is attuned to their needs. This leaves a huge amount of scope for the next books in the series. I can expect to meet new beings and see the different areas in which they reside in the coming books in the series. I would love to visit the areas in which the vampires, werewolves and dragons stay. That would be amazing. I could also relate to each and every character in the book. They may be so different, but they each have similar problems. They’re each looking to be accepted and be loved. This is why Gage was able to feel right at home with them, I think.
I was truly amazed at the transformation that Gage undergoes through the course of the book from the lonely boy without any friends into someone willing to risk it all for the sake of his new friends. His character really shines through in the end when it is time for him to step up.
I have to say, somewhat shamefully, that having never experienced autism first-hand, I had the same impression about people suffering from it, that the author here is trying to battle. I did think of them as somewhat quirky, somewhat eccentric and at times ‘crazy’. But, this book has changed that completely. I now understand that they’re just like us and have the same wishes, to be understood, to be loved, to have friends and to not be treated differently. I really commend the author for having opened my eyes.
Even if I were to ignore the amazing message this book is trying to get through, I would still rate this book as 5 stars. The story, by itself is engaging and really fun. There were times when I could not read fast enough to be able to see what happens next in the story. At other times, I dreaded moving on, as the feeling of the coming trouble crept over me. Don’t get me wrong, this is a middle-grade book and the violence is not something that you need to be wary of, per se. It was just the suspense and the great build-up to all the critical parts of the book that had me on this roller-coaster.
This book can be the perfect introduction for children to the world of fantasy, a world I wish someone would have introduced me to sooner. All I can now say is, I want to get to the next book in this series sooner to know what happened after the cliff-hanger the author left us with.(less)
**spoiler alert** Water is the first book in the Akasha series by Terra Harmony and it is a huge… massive… humungous first book! Well, you now know th...more**spoiler alert** Water is the first book in the Akasha series by Terra Harmony and it is a huge… massive… humungous first book! Well, you now know the direction in which this review is headed.
The action in the book starts right on the first page, with the protagonist, Kaitlyn caught in an avalanche. She is rescued by the Seven, but finds herself captive in an unknown location. She is soon given the reason of her abduction and that is where the book turns from a mystery to an eco-fantasy. Kaitin is a Gaia or ‘Mother of the Earth’ with powers over all four basic elements of nature, water, air, earth and fire. She soon realises that escape is impossible and reluctantly starts her training to become ‘the Gaia’. A romance is thrown in the mix, as Kaitlyn starts falling for her trainer and a whirlwind relationship begins.
The Seven is an organisation which is trying to save the environment and takes it on itself, the responsibility to train the next Gaia. There is a mystery surrounding them and I can’t make up my mind yet, whether they will be the good guys or will turn rogue in the next books. They want to save the earth, but their actions seem to put them in the extremist category, what with the abducting and killing people. To what lengths will they go to achieve their mission? I don’t know and I’ll reserve my judgement till I know more.
Coming back from this digression, Kaitlyn is soon sent on her first mission, along with her team. The mission is you every day ‘save the environment’ kind of mission. Everything seems to be going along smoothly, when BAM! The biggest twist in the plot. I did not see this coming and was beginning to imagine the book being only about environmental do-goodness. I can’t give out a spoiler here, but I am really tempted! All I can say is, Kaitlyn has to find an inner strength to get through what comes for her next. This is the part which had my stomach in turns. But I still could not stop reading. I wanted to know what happened and how Kaitlyn would get out of the mess of epic proportions she found herself in.
Initially, I found Kaitlyn to be someone who took too many risks, without really thinking about the consequences. Right from the start she seemed to have an inner strength, but it seemed misdirected. As the book progressed, I began to see her as someone who fought for herself and her beliefs. She has got some of the best dialogues in the books and her comebacks are awesome at times, and fall flat at others. This made her really adorable. All the other characters are really well developed as well. I have to say that I wanted to know more about Micah’s history, his back story. I hope there is much more of that in the books to come. Shawn’s character was terrifically developed. We can feel a pure hatred for him right till the end, when we get a little back-story, and begin to have doubts. However, I cannot see him as anything but the bad guy in the series.
There are a couple of very steamy scenes in the book. There are also a couple of scenes which involve non-consensual sex which a very subtle way of saying that there are scenes where the protagonist is r*ped. But, I have to commend to author for describing these scenes in a way which did not turn this book into a pseudo-erotic romp. The description is just enough to get the impact of the act though. There were parts which had me cringing and afraid to continue reading. I think this shows that the author succeeded in getting the ‘image’ she was trying to portray, across. Consider this my disclaimer! If you can handle it, stay away!!
This may be an eco-fantasy, but the author, for most part, refrains from preaching to us on how to help the environment. The awareness about the environment she tries to create comes through as being intricately woven into the story. Just the way I like it!
I was somehow disappointed by the ending and it all happened too abruptly for me. I wanted some more action! And … the author has chosen the ‘worst’ moment to end the book. It is a cliff-hanger which will leave readers waiting in anticipation for the next book. All I can say is, get the next book out faster!(less)
‘The World among Us’ at first glance seems to be seeped in mythology and urban fantasy. There is the entire gamut of Greek Gods here, right from Gaia...more‘The World among Us’ at first glance seems to be seeped in mythology and urban fantasy. There is the entire gamut of Greek Gods here, right from Gaia going all the way ‘down’ to Hades. They all play their traditional roles as well. Besides the horde of Greek Gods, there are the usual urban fantasy characters consisting of werewolves, vampires and wizards. When such a cast of characters is assembled, it is obvious that a war will be brewing and who better than Hades, the God of the underworld to start it in his attempts to take over and rule the world?
This all, of course has no bearing upon the wonderful story which the author has created. It is a time tested formula of two people who can never be together, but yet fall in love. Complicating their relationship is their families who are ready to go to war.
Hades is bent on world domination and to set his plan rolling, he puts his only son and heir, Damien in a position, where he has to kill his one true love Selene. Selene being a Goddess is reincarnated and Damien realizing his mistake leaves his father’s side and his twisted plans behind. He vows to protect Selene from his father and switches sides in the coming war. Being a demon, he is now shunned by Hell and is distrusted by the Gods. Caught in the middle, we can see him treading a fine line as the creatures of Hell try to lure him, but his love for Selene holds him back. Much of the remaining book is dedicated to Selene growing up and we see little glimpses of the plans afoot to start the war between the good and evil sides.
All the Gods in the story are wonderfully adapted to the modern world. They are portrayed as being almost human, who use cell phones to communicate (albeit ones which can cross the boundaries of the mortal world and make calls to ‘heaven and hell’). They also live in the mortal world at times and are seen having relationships with mortals. They have all the fallibilities of humans even though they have some superpowers. They have emotions like love and hate, jealousy and pride and can be injured and killed. They are quick to judge and quicker to react. They have wants and desires and they are willing to work towards making them come true.
Even the urban fantasy characters are adapted to this ‘divine’ tale. The vampires are demons from hell, while the Gods look to create werewolves to fight them. The wizards are the only humans playing a role in the story.
I was quite disappointed at the place at which the story in this book ended. The book feels like one long prologue to the actual story. There are huge indications of the coming war between good and evil right from the first page. However, we never get to it till the end. In this book, just the ‘warning shots’ have been fired and the book ends right before an actual war is declared, and that just seems wrong. I would have the author to commit to the war in this book, rather than leaving it to the reader’s imagination and asking them to wait for the next book to find out how and when it all starts. This by far is my biggest gripe against the book, one which takes it away from a five star read. It is like hanging the proverbial fruit right before us, but keeping it just out of reach. I can understand the need to set up a series with the backstory and help readers understand the ‘why, when and what’ to give depth to the series, but devoting the entire first book to this resulted in it ending in a frustrating note for me.
I am sure the remaining book(s) will continue this wonderful story, and for that I give it four stars.(less)
The Riyria Revelations follows the exploits of a unique couple of friends. They are unique in the sense, that one of them is a talented thief while the other is a former mercenary adept at warfare. They are famous (or notorious, as the case may be) for taking on the toughest jobs, which no one else will touch, and succeeding at them. Both the books in the Theft of Swords omnibus have such jobs as the starting point. Their reputation of being invincible has been carefully developed by the author. It really seems that this reputation is well-deserved as we see them getting out of impossibly difficult situations with skill and a lot of luck.
Both the books have an amazing adventure, which in itself would make a great story. But, what improves both of them further is the numerous threads which start off from the stories and paint a picture of the direction in which the series will run. In the first book, Royce and Hadrian take a job and step into a trap. They end up getting blamed for the king’s assassination, but somehow escape. This is where their adventure begins which takes them on a journey which ends right back where they started. In the second book, they go to help a young girl save her father from a monster. This again takes them on an adventure where a lot of the characters from the previous book return and they finally end up defeating the monster with their friends’ help.
There are quite a few points I love about the books. One is that even though Royce and Hadrian are on the ‘wrong’ side, being thieves, they always end up doing the right thing, to a great extent due to Hadrian’s conscience. Another great thing is all the fight sequences in the books. Swordplay can be extremely difficult to get right, and an author can end up describing too much or too little of it. But, here Michael Sullivan gets the balance just right and these are a pleasure to read. Hadrian’s skill shines through in oodles of grace and talent. But by far the best thing about the book is the relationship of Hadrian and Royce. I really liked the banter they have and the jabs they keep taking at each other which makes them immensely likable. They both complement each other beautifully and together they make a really scary duo against whom few could stand a chance. Their relationship has been nurtured and developed over years of knowing and trusting each other. They both share a will to survive and a murky past. The mystery behind their pasts has been kept rigorously under wraps, and this is one revelation that could really charge up the series.
Personally, I believe that Orbit has got it absolutely right in creating this omnibus. As a standalone story, the first book, ‘The Crown Conspiracy’ is very interesting but does little to introduce the reader to the story arc of the series. Although the main characters get defined here, there isn’t enough there to judge what role they will play in the series, or how important they will be. The first book, to me seemed more like a preamble to the series, as some of the main characters in the series get introduced in the second book of this omnibus. Also, there are not many fantasy elements in this book and it reads more like an adventure.
The second book in the omnibus, ‘Avempartha’ does more to introduce the reader to the series. It is here that the real story begins to get developed and readers start getting a sense of where the story is heading. All the fantasy elements shine through and the huge history behind the world becomes apparent. I have to say, the author refrains in overwhelming the readers with a history lesson and just enough information is given out, so that the events taking place currently can be put into perspective. We can see glimpses of how all the diverse characters with such diverse backgrounds such as a princess, a thief, a mercenary and a poor girl living in the middle of nowhere come together.
All the traditional fantasy races of elves, dwarves and wizards make an appearance in the books. As usual dwarves are highly talented at stone work, elves have their magic and really long lives, and wizards are the masters of all things magical. All the fantasy elements start to become apparent in Avempartha as the book has a number of fantasy creatures, has magic in it, we come to see some of the characters in a new light and finally get to understand how the story might progress. By the end of the second book we can hazard a guess about who will be playing crucial roles in the coming books. I can see both Arista and Thrace being a strong part of the next books. It was after I finished reading Avempartha that my mind started putting together my version of the coming story. There are a lot of amazing supporting characters in the series, but they are just too many to name, though Esrahaddon, the wizard and Myron should get a definite mention here.
The world created by the author is extremely diverse, detailed and complex. There are a large number of small and big empires all jostling for their space in the world with each following a different political system. This is where the detail of the world really shines. There are empires ruled by kings, democracies, those administered by the church and some which have no ‘government’ at all. They all do have a common history and were once part of an empire which controlled the entire world.
There are no good or bad guys in the books in the traditional sense, which may seem completely wrong to the die-hard fantasy fans. There is no evil mastermind against whom the world is rallying. No doubt, there are a lot of grey characters, and they do a lot of ‘bad’ things. But their motivations may not be all bad (atleast at this point it seems so. Of course, I do not have enough information to judge a character based on these two books alone). There is always a doubt whether to put a character in the in the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ category. I don’t think this will be cleared till the series actually ends.
It is by conscious effort that I am refraining from discussing the plots of the two books too much. All I can say is that this is a mighty fine introduction to the series. I can’t wait to get to the next book. This book does a great job at getting the readers interested in the series. With such beautiful writing and clearly defined characters, there isn’t much here that I do not love. This is definitely in five-star category and I just hope the other books, which I still have to read, are just as good.(less)
Set in a world where the Biblical prophecy of the Rapture has come true, the story follows the protagonist Sam. Sam is half-demon and-half human, having characteristics of both. He is stronger and faster than most humans, heals faster and is difficult to hurt. He of course has horns protruding from his head, which makes interacting with people a little difficult. Like a demon, he is burned by contact with anything holy and cannot venture near a church. But, he has all the emotions of a human. He is awkward and shy, gets angry and ashamed and feels loyalty and love.
Sam’s entire world revolves around Hikari, his mentor and father-figure and his daughter Aimi. Sam is mainly confined to their house and only steps outside in the dark, or when he is wearing a cap or a hood to cover his horns. Sam has been trained as a warrior right from a very young age and is extremely proficient in using various weapons as well as hand-to-hand combat aided by his inhuman strength and speed. He is portrayed as fumbling his way through almost everything else. He has difficulty expressing himself and is positively disastrous in his interactions with others his age. Sam is in love with Aimi, and she is the only person with whom he interacts somewhat freely. This love story develops throughout the book, and I suspect it will have much larger role to play in later ones.
His true destiny and the reason behind this training only come to light, when he learns about the rapture and the role he will have to play once it happens. As the story went on, I developed a liking for this ‘demon-child’, and his pain in knowing that he would lose all the he held dear in the rapture really seeps through the writing. We begin to feel sorry for him as we realise that he is expected to endanger his life for not for the people he loves but for people who have constantly feared him, ignored him and hated him for what he is, without knowing who he really is.
The post-rapture world created by the author is filled with natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, fire raining from the sky, ash pouring down continuously and infestations of innumerable demons from hell. The descriptions by the author are really vivid, and you can clearly see the morose world where one can only think of survival. In this world Sam sets out to meet his destiny to protect the innocents who have not been taken up to heaven. Sam’s strong character shines through in this world as he willingly puts himself in danger a number of times in order to save every innocent person he comes across, so much so that he is willing to follow the demons into hell to protect a friend. The number and diverse nature of the demons in the book made it really interesting. They were described well and there characteristics clearly defined.
Sam sets out to find and fight his ultimate enemy, the leader from hell. Along the way he gets help from a number of people. A couple of teenage companions also join him in this fight. He finds divine help along the way and is guided by an angel to the right path.
I have to say that the author is a master at describing Sam’s fight moves with his swords. It is easy to get into monotonous repetitions, but I never felt that happening anywhere in the book. The fight sequences have been terrifically choreographed and I just loved getting immersed in them. Another thing I really loved about the book was the alternating description of current events which we read with bated breath and the flash backs to the past where we found out how Sam ended up in the current state. The book is amazingly fast-paced and action-packed and I did not once feel the story slowing down.
I should note a couple of points which could trip up readers. Firstly, this book draws substantial parts of the story-line from the Bible. At a number of places, the sentiments of a number of people, who ignore the fictional and fantastical nature of the story, could be hurt, especially atheists and people of other religions. Try and remember that this is a fictional account and is not a philosophical statement (atleast I think it is so). In fact, initially I was feeling offended at a number of places, but as the story continued and I came to accept that this is foremost a fantasy book, I started feeling comfortable with the story and was able to really get into it and start cheering for the characters, even if one of them was half-demon. Another point of contention is the long and numerous battle scenes. Although vividly described, the detail can get overwhelming. Following all the action can get tedious and getting through the longer scenes can get boring, especially for those who do not like action sequences. Don’t get me wrong, I just loved these parts in all their detail. Personally, I would not have wanted it to be any other way. But I can see a number of people being put off by these. You have been forewarned!
Overall, I give the book four stars and want to see how the story develops in the rest of the books. I would love to see all the characters coming back and of course, for the GOOD side to win. (less)
Bleedover is a novel which has elements of both fantasy and science fiction, just the way I like it! Let me start by talking a bit about the concept of ‘Bleedover’ which the author has created. All kinds of art such as books, movies as well as company logos are starting to get altered unexplainably. For example, the text of published books is altered, or new scenes get added to movies. The book’s protagonists find a way to harness this Bleedover and end up bringing the fictional world into reality. Once this fact is accepted, the book becomes a fast paced suspense thriller.
Both the main characters subscribe to different views of what Bleedover is, how and for what it should be harnessed. Both of them live completely different lives. Dr Harriet Sterling is a tenured college professor who lives in her basement office, while Corbil Lyell is the head of a large conglomerate. This is a story about each trying to prove their worldview and their methodologies right. Their ‘war’ ends up hurting a number of people who are caught in the middle, with people ending up dead. The stark difference in attitudes of Dr Sterling and Corbin Lyell is beautifully portrayed. Dr Sterling plays by the rules mostly and is unwilling to hurt anyone in the process of proving her point. On the other end of the spectrum, Corbin Lyell is ready to do anything to prove himself right, including murders. He is so obsessed with beating Dr Sterling, that he ignores all risks and ends up paying dearly for it in the end.
As the story continues, there clashes become more intensive and the use of fictional characters in these fights was quite entertaining. It is something every boy has thought and argued about, who would win a fight between Superman and Spiderman, Fantastic Four and X-Men (Sorry, but these questions are NOT addressed in this book).
I would have given this book five stars if it was just a suspense thriller with some elements of science or fantasy. The writing is excellent for most parts, and the story is well constructed and fast paced, the way all thrillers should be. The relationship of both the main characters was developed in detail, clearly describing the history which leads them to be at loggerheads with each other. I also thought the emotions of each person came out very well (which many science fiction novels lack). The place where I found the story lacking was in the explanation of the concept of Bleedover. It remained unclear for large parts of the book, and how it went from the alterations of media works to the physical manifestation was not well brought out. This being the central idea on which the book is based, it was inexcusable. Also, I got somewhat lost in the pseudo-science as most of the science fiction parts were created rather than being based on scientific fact. I understand that the author had to develop a whole new language for the science stream he created, but here as well, better explanations would have made the story more enjoyable.
Overall, I would rate this book a solid four. However, people who cannot enjoy science fiction should stay away as they will not find this to be light reading, and would end up referencing Wikipedia repeatedly.(less)
Draykon is a story which revolves around a girl named Llandry. She is portrayed as being extremely socially awkward to the extent that she starts having panic attacks when she is among anything resembling a gathering. Llandry is a jewellery maker and is relatively unknown until she stumbles across a new stone which she calls Istore. This stone makes here instantly famous as the stone captures the imagination of the world and becomes the most sought after piece of jewellery after Eva is seen wearing it.
Eva, who is the other main character in the book, is a woman of high social standing and is a high positioned ‘government official’. She is in many ways the exact opposite of Llandry. She is charming and beautiful and knows just the right thing to say at the right moment.
The story is set in a fantasy world. This world is not like ours, where night follows day. The world is divided into Daylands and Darklands, which perpetually lie in light or darkness. This is just one of the intriguing aspects of the world. There are a number of amazing creatures throughout the book. Each of these creatures has been created beautifully and this portrayal really brings them to life. Although the author has been inspired by real world animals, she has enhanced or modified their abilities enough to create an array of creatures which is quite impressive. Oh, another thing is that some people here have wings and can fly. How cool is that!
As the book continues, it starts becoming apparent that Istore is much more than a simple popular gem. The story takes a mysterious turn when people who have Istore jewellery, start turning up dead. This is where Eva steps in to investigate and is pulled into the fantastical world which comes up next. The point at which the true nature of the ‘stone’ is revealed, the story turns into an all-out fantasy novel.
The novel ends with a cliff-hanger with a number of questions left unanswered, the answers to which, I suppose will be revealed in later books.
I did have trouble initially following the structure of the world and was expecting a map to make things clearer, but none was forthcoming. However, as the story progressed, things started to clear up, and I realised that a map would have been quite difficult to make, considering the twists the story goes through.
I really liked the story-telling style of the author and the two different story-arcs run smoothly along till almost then end when they collide magnificently and culminate in a crescendo. Now, all I can do is wait for the next instalment in the story. (less)