I read Kathy Steffen's First, There Is A River about a month ago and thought it was one of the most well-written books I've read in a long while. I th...moreI read Kathy Steffen's First, There Is A River about a month ago and thought it was one of the most well-written books I've read in a long while. I thoroughly enjoyed the way Steffen tells a story and bought her other two books, this one and Jasper Mountain. Steffen didn't let me down this go-round, not that I expected her to. Theater of Illusion is a great, well-written story that follows up a decade after First, There Is A River, with Emma Perkin's children now playing a larger role in the story. I've got to tell you, (view spoiler)[at first, I thought the 'bad guy' causing all the problems was Emma's son, Tobias. I was thrown for a loop when we find out that it was actually his best friend, Charlie. Then to discover the reasons he had his heart set on blowing up the Spirit and Briggs...maybe not thrilling, per se, but definitely not what I had expected. (hide spoiler)] All in all, I would highly recommend this book to just about anyone. This one has a handful of borderline R-rated scenes, but nothing I felt was too graphic for most.(less)
I actually had some decently high hopes that I'd enjoy this book when I first started. There were some good reviews for it here on Goodreads and elsew...moreI actually had some decently high hopes that I'd enjoy this book when I first started. There were some good reviews for it here on Goodreads and elsewhere that caused that. However, after getting into the story, I was quick to realize this book was going to be a tough one to finish willingly.
I think the main character is Nikander, a Khalakovan prince, but with some many of the characters in this book getting a large chunk of the spotlight, it's difficult to say for sure if he was. The story jumps around way too much. For a few chapters, you'll be progressing further through the story from the point of view of Nikander, for instance, and then you're caught off-guard in the next chapter when you're now reliving the last two or three chapters through a different character. I didn't like how this was done at all.
Throughout the entire book, the characters are English-speaking, with the exception of some Russian words being thrown in for "yes", "no", "greetings"(?), etc. Instead the characters say "da", "nyet" or "privyet", etc. I failed to see how the author was trying to add anything to the characters or the story as a whole by substituting such a small number of words with their Russian translation.
A few of the characters experience out-of-body experiences or dreams and the author chose to tell us about them in a very odd and confusing way. The first few times you read about these experiences, the author fails to lead you into them. He simply goes from writing in past tense to immediately writing in present tense to describe the out-of-body experience. More than once, I thought I had skipped over something and had to go back and read that part again before realizing the character is dreaming. In later chapters, the author leads you into these experiences, but only by simply saying "And then..." or "And soon... SOON..." C'mon man, you've got to give me more lead-in than that!
It appears that there will be two more books in this series, with this one being the first. I don't think I'll be reading them if this book is any indication of how the next two will be written.(less)
I thought I'd go back through my list of read books that I had given lower than three-star ratings and provide a written review explaining the reasons...moreI thought I'd go back through my list of read books that I had given lower than three-star ratings and provide a written review explaining the reasons for the low rating. I think it's only fair to the author and any readers who might be considering the rated/reviewed book.
The Shift Of Numbers was a freebie that I found on Barnes & Noble and downloaded the ebook. I enjoy comical novels a bit and thought, after reading the summary, of this one, that it would be an enjoyable read.
Bits of this book were found to be funny. The plot centered primarily around carrots was a double-edged sword, if you will. On one hand, this is what brought out a few laughs, but on the other hand, it's just too crazy for my liking.
Some readers may find this extremely funny and an interesting take on various parts of our real society. I just didn't care much for it after reading it, but it was OK, hence the two-star review.(less)