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The Puzzle Box

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  16 reviews
An intriguing anthology where reality is transient and the puzzle box holds the key to the meaning of life.
Archeology Professor Albert Mallory understands reality. He knows the way the world works. When he steals an ancient puzzle box to pay off gambling debts, he thinks the only mysterious thing about the artifact is how to get it open. But when a stranger appears at Albe
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 28th 2013 by Hades Publications
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  37 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Nicole Luiken
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Four fantasy novellas about a puzzle box, all with different takes, but fit into a framing story.
The Awakening of Master March - A would-be musician gets involved with a giggling coven. Good opening and some nice humourous moments. (Holy. Serious. Crap.)
Autumn Unbound - Interesting take on the Pandora myth. Sadly, I had trouble connecting to the main character in this one.
Angela and Her Three Wishes - Twentysomething video store clerk gets three wishes, but things prove more complicated when the
Oct 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I'm very happy to have received this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program. I would like to thank the authors for sending an autographed copy to me.

For the review, I have to divide the book it its 5 parts, because they are quite different.

Albert - The wrapping story - 4 stars
It grips the reader and although it was not really necessary to the book, it adds a special flavour to it. I liked the character and his change during the five pieces of puzzle.

The awakening of Master March - 4 stars
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
“The Puzzle Box” consisted of a main story threaded throughout the book of a broken depressed man who needed to learn how he was controlled by forces within him. As he stepped further into discovery the despair and trappings placed around him were removed piece by piece. Albert Mallory learned to believe in himself, not to fear the past, to deal with the past released the pain sheltered within him, understood he was not the cause for everything in his life, and healed the memories of his childho ...more
Sep 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I won The Puzzle Box in a first reads give-away, such an exciting novel. The four stories from Eileen Bell, Randy McCharles, Billie Milholland and Ryan T. McFaddenare each original and propelling, and are wound together into one solid whole with a separate inter-weaving story.I really enjoyed this book and the different perspectives and ideas explored by the writers; believing in oneself, immortality, family secrets,and a tragic love infused with the Judgement of Solomon. Overall the multiple st ...more
Lisa Cobb Sabatini
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Delighted to have won The Puzzle Box by The Apocalyptic Four from the Goodreads, I found the book an enjoyable, quick read. The book is made up of four novellas, each written by one of the four writers, Eileen Bell, Randy McCharles, Ryan T. McFadden, and Billie Milholland, and tied together by a central theme: the puzzle box. The stories are further linked by a story that is interspaced between the novellas. As each novella has characters, settings, and plots that involve the fantastical and myt ...more
Beverley Albright
Dec 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Most books which try to 'teach' you a lesson or inspire you are preachy, dull and boring. This book is anything but. I loved the stories in this book. They were unique and crafted in such a way that you came away with a life lesson, but didn't feel as though you were expected to. Using these unusual tales of witches, puzzle boxes, old Gods and Goddesses etc... was a surprising and fresh approach to helping us mere mortals find some meaning to life. Bravo..... ...more
Virginia Carraway-Stark
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This complex set if four stories all work together to give more pieces in a puzzle. It's a unique and fun way to read four extremely different stories from four brilliant authors. ...more
Billie Milholland
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote one of the Novellas in this book.
It's not one of my favourite novellas.
It's okay.
Jun 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book shows that reality is not what we think it is, and the key is a puzzle box.

Professor Albert Mallory has stolen an ancient puzzle box, and plans to sell it to pay gambling debts. The night before the debt comes due, a man named The Chronicler visits Mallory and demands to see the box. From the open box, Mallory watches the stories of four other people who opened the box.

Warlock is a roadie for a rock band. He falls for a woman who really is part of a coven of witches, which he is all se
Jennifer Rahn
Sep 13, 2013 rated it liked it
This book claimed to have been written by the Apocalyptic Four (Four!), thus, I expected to be blasted by the saline, garlic-scented, brimstone-laced breath of the Horsemen from its very pages. After reading it, I gave it three stars, because while the stories are indeed well-written and entertaining, three out of four did not live up to the cover that promised doom, despair, devilry and demolition. I had no choice but to conclude that it was, in fact, not written by the Apocalyptic Four, but by ...more
Misty Ray
Oct 10, 2013 rated it it was ok Written as four unrelated short stories interspaced by a fifth. This tenuous connection hinges exclusively on a single box. On further review, none of the individual boxes in each story have the slightest resemblance to each other, in any possible fashion. As a whole, there is no cohesive balance, no correlation. Individually, they are distinctly sub-par. Two stories attempt humour with distastrous results; they try too hard, resulting in punchlines which are forced and smug. One story ...more
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
I did enjoy a few of the stories or at least the premise if not the execution of some of them. The ending didn't endear me. Must confess that this isn't a genre I read so take my comments with a grain of salt. ...more
Lou Sytsma
Oct 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting collection of 4 short stories built around a central conceit.

The cool thing about this collection is that each story is very different from each other ranging from comedy to straight out horror.

It leaves me wondering who wrote the connective narrative that frames each story.
Randy Mccharles
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I greatly enjoyed writing The Awakening of Master March for this 4-author novella anthology.
Edwin Downward
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
A surreal series of adventures adding up to a head scratching answer.
Karen Bainbridge
rated it it was amazing
Sep 14, 2013
rated it really liked it
Nov 27, 2013
rated it it was ok
Sep 17, 2013
Mia Redgrave
rated it it was amazing
Dec 16, 2013
Caroline Anastasia Mccaskill
rated it it was amazing
Oct 14, 2013
Robert Bose
rated it really liked it
Sep 25, 2014
Aaron Humphrey
rated it liked it
Oct 26, 2013
L.T. Getty
rated it really liked it
Oct 05, 2013
Kari-lynn Mcfadden
rated it really liked it
Oct 12, 2015
Maria Cavaco
rated it it was ok
Sep 11, 2019
Ashley Palacios
rated it it was amazing
Jan 08, 2015
Johnson Tran
rated it it was amazing
Jan 12, 2014
rated it really liked it
Sep 17, 2013
May 06, 2015 rated it liked it
In compliance with FTC guidelines, I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
Halli Lilburn
rated it really liked it
Dec 13, 2013
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Creative Reviews: The Puzzle Box (Speculative Anthology) 1 6 Sep 03, 2013 09:41PM  
Eileen Bell has has had fiction and creative nonfiction published in On Spec Magazine, and on CBC's Alberta Anthology. She’s won a handful of Aurora awards for her work in Women of the Apocalypse and Bourbon and Eggnog.

Her debut paranormal mystery novel, Seeing the Light, is the first in the Marie Jenner Mystery series. It won the BPAA Best Speculative Fiction Book of the year, and was shortliste


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