Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Shimmering New Zealand

The Dreamtime (Guardians of the Shimmer Part 1)The Dreamtime by Garth LAWLESS

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This story has a strange sci-fi feel that, for some reason, puts me in mind of the sci-fi movies of the 80s - the ones with the really cheesy special effects and light shows. I suspect part of the reason is the monochromatic colours the characters wear - since they are divided up into Guardian groups known as "Ghosts" and their job is to protect the dreams of people from the evil spread of darkness, and the influence of the VELI. This is one of those books that looks and feels self-published. And it is. Despite belong published in 2012, it feels dated. The combining words together and internally capitalising them added to the 80s vibe (at least in my brain).

That's not to say it isn't a good book but it could do with a bit of a polish and another edit or two. Overall, it was an interesting read with an original plot. However, the ending left rather a lot of the plot hanging. Also, it felt a little rushed at times, as it thrust us into this strange and otherworldly realm, with Guardians, the Shimmer, where you can enter into SingleView and ActionView to help you fight... There was a lot of jargon, and it felt somewhat like the author was so familiar with his world that he had neglected to fully explain it to the reader. Plenty of potential, and I'm sure the world will be further explained in the sequels.

The main character is twelve, but given the complexity of the world, I would say it is more suited for the teenage market. However, it is an accepted fact that youngsters prefer their protagonists to be older than they are. Therefore, it would be more suitable for Cole to be fourteen or fifteen. (The amazon site says Cole is thirteen, I could have sworn he was 12 in the text. I shall have to double check).

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A debut with potential

Rise of the Fallen (Andrew and the Quest of Orion's Belt, #1)Rise of the Fallen by Ivory Autumn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fun read with potential, but one that requires work to make it flow smoothly. The plot seemed rather disjointed, with some very fast paced moments where a lot of action occured in very little period of time, vs long periods where nothing happened at all. The characterisation was awkward. Hero, Andrew, seemed to be the main character, but it also seemed that Ivory (the author) was scheduled to fill that position. At one point, they've just rescued Ivory from one danger (the Fog Locker) and not many minutes later she gets bored of the boys tomfoolery, wanders off by herself and is immediately in a situation in which she needs to be rescued from again. And the other two boys (Freddie and whats-his-name) seemed largely redundant to the plot. Overall, it could have benefitted rather from a professional edit.

In other editting news, I am happy to report that there were no misspelt words. However, Ms Autumn just suffer somewhat from comma overload and, whilst it was clearly spell-checked, in many situations the wrong word had been used - I started making note of it partway through and discovered: "Now give me your best shot. I promise I'll be fare." (she did spell "fair" correctly earlier on in the book); "...gazing at her with a mesmerizing glair." (A "glair" is a bonding agent made from egg white); and finally "The close they wore was softer than sealskin." There were several more earlier on too.

Overall, the plot has promise, and the premise is interesting. The illustrations are a delight. However, it needs another edit or two and a bit of a polish before it is to the standard of a traditionally polished novel.

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