On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed Thorns of a Black Rose by David Craig, which he describes as “a fully satisfying tale of thievery, assassinations, survival and vengeance”.
Seregil found Thorns of a Black Rose to be “a compelling and immersive novel that instantly caught my interest” telling an “entertaining story that will keep readers turning pages”. He praises David’s “fluent prose and well written dialogues” and “splendid and surprisingly vivid” characterisation, as well as the “rich and immersive” worldbuilding. He adds, “The author’s vision of the world is immensely vibrant, because the world is influenced by ancient Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and Middle Eastern countries. It feels as if he has taken many well known elements that are related to these countries, their myths and their cultures and has poured magic and action all over the blend to create something original and thrilling.”
Seregil enjoyed reading about the city of Mask and the bloodthirsty Cult of Hrek which he describes as “a fascinating part of the story arc, because it brings plenty of darkness to it”. But he says he was “wholly mesmerised” by David’s way of writing about The Black Rose, “an important and captivating part of the story”. The magic system is intriguing, and the politics of the magic users adds depth to the story.
Seregil awards a full five stars because it’s “wonderful entertainment from start to finish” and hopes that there will be more stories set in this world. He concludes by saying that “Thorns of a Black Rose is a slice of fantasy excellence in a single volume” which he can highly recommend “because the unfolding story is a rich and rewarding reading experience”.
You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow here.
On her blog, Jill-Elizabeth has written a review of Million Eyes: Extra Time by C.R. Berry. The book is a freely downloadable collection of twelve time-twisting short stories that manage to demonstrate how almost every conspiracy theory you’ve ever heard of has been perpetrated by a specific group of time travellers. Of course, this is an introduction to the world of Million Eyes, to whet readers’ appetites in advance of the publication of the first in the Million Eyes series in January. Jill-Elizabeth writes that it is the most excellent world-introduction she’s seen in a long time.
Featuring a dozen time-twisting short stories set in the Million Eyes universe, which Eamonn describes as “very like our own universe but with time travel and conspiracy theories added for fun”. And then he adds “All of the conspiracy theories are true! It was the time travellers what did it.”
Some of the stories have been previously published elsewhere. Having read, and praised, one of the stories when it first appeared, encouraged Eamonn to review this book. He avoids giving away any of the plots but says “if you can think of a conspiracy theory, chances are that C.R. Berry has it here”, adding that he “covers all the bases of urban legend”. He compliments Berry’s “very readable style” and the clever plots, and says it is an enjoyable read. He concludes by noting that the book is available for free download from the Elsewhen Press website, adding “Obviously, that’s a cunning ploy to get you to buy ‘Million Eyes’ the novel when it comes out but I think the ploy might work.”
You can read Eamonn’s full review on SFCrowsnest here.
Opening with “Wow, what a ride!”, Sandra clearly enjoyed the book – “It was for me like a drug” she writes – and was very taken with the whole alternative world where many of the best known urban legends and conspiracy theories are all linked to time travellers changing time to suit their own puporse. Of course we won’t know what that purpose is until Million Eyes is published – “I know I will certainly want to dive more into that world” says Sandra – but in the meantime these free short stories certainly set the scene. Describing it as “all very interesting and compelling at the same time” Sandra says she wasn’t able to put the book down and when she finally did she remembered “the conspiracies I had heard over the years and how they were so well knitted into the narrative of this book”. She said that while reading it “we forget that it is fantasy and it becomes so real”.
Her final verdict: “A true gem to read for all lovers of conspiracies that I highly recommend to all.”
You can read Sandra’s full review on the Storgy website here.
He starts by describing the book as reading “like an RPG of the Desert”. I’m guessing that’s Role-Playing Game not Rocket-Propelled Grenade 😉
He acknowledges the world’s influences from Morocco, Ancient Egypt and the Maghreb, adding that he loves “the hint of the Assassin Creed Influence”, and goes on to say that the “setting is vivid, and the description takes you back to a world where dusty deserts and camels embark on a vast sweeping epic journey. There’s bandits, assassins, empires, merchant guilds, all jostling for power”.
He writes that the characters are “finely developed” and then provides a little background to the main protagonists. He adds, “This novel has so much magic I’m flabbergasted that it is this well done”. He also liked the cover, adding in no uncertain terms “THE COVER IS THE STORY!” (his capitals), as well as the writing: “The prose is well written. The writing is on point. The dialogue is great”. His only real criticism is that it could benefit from a map – maybe in the next book (I’ll suggest it to David.)
In conclusion he gives it 5/5.
You can (should) read the full review on the Al-Alhambra site here.
On her blog The Book Dragon, book reviewer Nikki has reviewed Resurrection Men by David Craig. With 4.5 stars out of 5 (because “it is good”) she has given a very definite thumbs-up to David’s book. She writes, “In this seemingly normal story about a couple of body snatchers from Glasgow, Scotland in the late 19th century, David Craig takes us on a terrifying and unexpected journey fraught with creatures from a nightmare”.
Nikki begins the review with her impressions after just having read the first chapter. She was intrigued and wanted to know what happens next. So that was a good start!
After reading the rest of the book she wrote her full review. She admits, “This is my first real historical fantasy novels that I have actually finished. I tend to become bored with historical fantasy–especially urban–preferring instead the medieval sword-fighting kind.” But she tells us that, after chapter 3 or so, she got so engrossed in the book that she read about 40% in one sitting and only stopped when she “happened to glance at the clock!” We all know that feeling, and any author is truly gratified that their writing can have that effect on their readers. Nikki adds, “It doesn’t matter whether your’re a historical fantasy reader or a fan of vampires, even if you’re not, it’s still a great book!” She loved the elements of sarcasm in the dialogue, especially between the two eponymous Resurrection Men, it was, she wrote, “the perfect balance between mystery/suspense/horror and comedy. Rather than making the story swing to the absurd, the comedy instead strengthened the other elements and added just a bit of relief for the reader to catch their breath before diving in again.”
Nikki’s description of the ending needs to be read (you can read her whole review here), so I won’t spoil it for you except to say that she finishes her review by writing that the ending was “the perfect way to wrap up the novel.”
On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed Geoffrey Carr’s debut novel, the technothriller Genesis, describing it as “an enjoyable combination of science fiction, technology and thriller”. Seregil “enjoyed Genesis a lot” especially as it “starts slowly and then, bit by bit, gathers momentum and ends in a satisfying climax”. He says it is a well written story, where fragments and threads are at first presented that seem unconnected but “soon everything begins to make sense and the reader notices what connects everything together”. Seregil says he likes this kind of storytelling because “it requires concentration on the reader’s part and makes the reader want to find out what is happening”.
Seregil mentions that Genesis is also an interesting read for anyone with a view on AI, whether they are keen to see progress or worry about it, because “it offers readers a cautionary tale of what may happen when a powerful AI becomes alive and self-aware, and decides that it doesn’t need its makers anymore”. Geoffrey Carr, he says, writes vividly about what happens when computer systems misbehave and enjoyably about the business and political issues involved. Seregil suggests that Carr’s experiences as Science and Technology Editor of The Economist and his wide-ranging interests and knowledge is one of the main reasons why this novel is “good and intriguing”, and has “many captivating elements and a few thought-provoking moments”. Geoffrey’s writing style is easy and fast to read, gradually revealing important details with revelations that “keeps the story moving forward in a fluent way”, with welcome touches of humour.
Seregil concludes by recommending Genesis as a well-written techno-thriller that tells an intriguing, exciting and suspenseful story.
You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow.nethere.
On SFcrowsnest, David A Hardy has just reviewed Genesis by Geoffrey Carr, which he bought at Eastercon at our Genesis launch event. He starts by saying that he enjoyed the book “greatly”.
Dave describes the story as “a rollercoaster ride: it starts slowly, but builds to a fast-moving and gripping climax”. He outlines the underlying plot and the main protagonists, adding that the “manner in which all this comes together as it builds toward the climactic end of this book is masterly”.
Naturally I’ve just picked out a couple of juicy morsels from Dave’s review! But you can (and should) read his full review on SFcrowsnest here.
Seregil describes it as “an entertaining and fast-paced space opera novel that is easy to like” that he enjoyed because it approaches space opera elements “from a slightly different angle”. Peter focusses on writing about Jack Rakai, his wife Pam and their family, and how they deal with the problems and situations that unfold. As a result he “brings a fair amount of warmth to the story… something that is not often found in modern space opera novels”. Peter’s writing has a “realistic feel” to it, by paying attention to the family, how they cope with events, their alien pets, and their relationships.
Because the story is centred around Jack and Pam’s family, Seregil notes that it obviously has parallels with the classic TV series Lost in Space although there is otherwise nothing in common plot-wise. But that may also mean that it would appeal to readers who don’t normally read space opera, or who like reading about families.
Seregil says that the story is “satisfyingly exciting and intriguing” with “well-placed surprises”. The events that unfold were “fascinating” because the “dangerously escalating situation was handled well by the author”. Seregil notes that there is a good balance between excitement and entertainment, and the sparing use of humour spices up the story in a nice way.
Seregil’s conclusion is that Franchise is good, entertaining science fiction – relaxing escapism, despite the fast-paced story.
In Locus Magazine, Liz Bourke recently reviewed The Deep and Shining Dark by Juliet Kemp. Liz starts by describing Juliet’s book as “one part high fantasy, one part political fantasy, and one part old-fashioned sword-and-sorcery – without the swords or the lack of realistic diversity to which old-fashioned sword-and-sorcery was often prone”.
In a thorough review, Liz sets the scene, introducing the city-state of Marek and the main protagonists, and briefly outlines the start of the plot. Liz observes that, although it is a “a relatively compact novel, Kemp has succeeded in packing a significant amount in”, and goes on to say that it is a brisk and “well-paced story of politics, consequences, and self-redefinition” with “compelling and relatable” characters.
Noting that the setting is “effortlessly diverse” Liz finishes by saying “I really enjoyed this novel, and I look forward to seeing what Kemp does next”. Thanks Liz, so do we 😉
You can read Liz’s full review here on the Locus Magazine website, even if you’re not a subscriber (and if not, why not?).