Book Review – Kingdom City: Resurrection

KC

Kingdom City: Resurrection

by Ben Ireland

Back in February, I had the privilege of eating waffles and frites with Ben Ireland at the LTUE Writers Symposium. As a friend, I wanted to know more about his writing style and complicated mind. We share space in the Fantasy Anthology MOMENTS IN MILLENNIA, but his gentle story FAIRYKIN did not prepare me for the action-packed adrenaline high I would receive with KINGDOM CITY: RESURRECTION.

This book is a lot of fun! It read like anime, like I was reading Miyazaki or binge-watching Full Metal Alchemist – so visual in description I could see it when I closed my eyes. It’s Urban, Dystopian, Super-Hero Action, Horror, Zombie lit – all packed into one series. But at its core, it is tender – about love and trust amid a world in chaos.

A terrorist attack buries most of the police force, including the Chief of Police, killing them all – six months later they all return with no memory of what happened. Now the mystery of what happens begins to be reveals in intense layered action.

Awesome. And the sequence of events after kept me awake at night, effecting my dreams, until I got up and finished the book.

Characters rule RESURRECTION. Plenty of rich, complex characters, sub-cultured within their surrounding mountain city, where no one leaves or questions, just co-exist.

I love that the main character is a bad-ass chick, Autumn Stevens, Kingdom City’s Whisper, which makes her the toughest ninja assassin on the planet – total Linda Hamilton type from Terminator 2. I’m all in for tough women leads. Her hollowness at the beginning grasps me with both hands. I was immediately drawn to her. She only bugged me when she was too motherly. Me, “Stop worrying about their veggies and go kill some bad guys.” But, how can she help it? She’s there to protect her family in every way – EVERY WAY.

Really enjoyed the pace. It’s sliced into scenes, revealing like a graphic novel, so the reader gets more of the plot than the players. I love reads like this. When the story wound back to the planning in the gymnasium, I thought of screaming at the characters, blowing the whole plot… “Listen, guys, stop talking about it. The city is in riots. There are hostages. Stop being so smart and go ninja kick them in the face!”

The tone and emotion is vital to the story. Through out there is a crafted balance of emotion is every scene, playing delicately with the environment, so to not overwhelm the reader, which is not easy for a writer to do.

RESURRECTION is really fun. If you like high-intensity thrillers, this won’t disappoint you.

And I want to thank Ben for introducing me to his intense style of writing, helping me understand a little more of how he thinks. And a gentle reminder that he still owes me that Hot Cocoa.

Book Review – Fangirl

FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell hit dangerously close to my fanatica. I understood Cath’s character TOO well, as many fangirls would. This was a lot of fun to read, an escape from my normal adrenaline fueled YA fantasy. I was surprised at at the real story – a heart-aching family drama, the first taste of college, a delicate romance, and the different threads that makes us who we are.

It was a fun read, a little young for me, but still fun. Cather is a writer of fan fiction, playing in a world of Simon Snow magical mage extraordinaire. I could feel the author Rainbow Rowell’s fan love drip in nearly every mention of the orphan boy with magical gifts. This part was extremely enjoyable for me, a borderline spastic HP geekgirl. The voicing of both the book from “Gemma T. Lesley” and “Magicath” we different enough I could tell when I was reading the real books and Cather’s fan fiction creation. I think that is tremendously tricky and commend the author for it. The excerpts from the books were fun and my inner nerd wanted these books to be real, a fun tidbit that helped the book move.

I gave it four stars, not because the writing a characters weren’t awesome, just because it typically was not my kind of read and I don’t have much to compare it to.

(For my conservative friends, there is language, but harmless in every other respect.)

Book Review – Mistborn: The Final Empire

The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1)The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I gave this five stars for a few reasons…

First, this book tricked me. If an author can trick me, where I can’t predict what was about to happen, then I love you. You are what I wish to be.

Second, sheer charm. I thought it was funny and the characters were well crafted. I enjoyed each character and felt they had their own story and individuality. Also, the story was so well-crafted that it wouldn’t be complete without all the characters. Each had a role and a decision.

And speaking of story-craft, this is impeccably-designed storytelling – a lost art. Starting with flawless world building all the way to the ingenious magic system, this book had everything I look for in books. The magic system was so concise, so well-planned, so individualized that I can vision it, feel it, smell it. THAT’S what a magic system should do – make you feel that it’s real.

Sanderson’s writing is easy to conceive and visualize. This world is painful and deep with heart-wrenching realism. It’s complicated and perplexing, but yet so freely expressed that anyone could understand it. For an author, this is not easy to teach, this is talent.

I weep with jealousy. Good job!

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Book Review – On the Isle of Sound and Wonder

On the Isle of Sound and Wonder

Alyson Grauer 

I will admit Steampunk intimidates me. I’m afraid of gadgetry and mechanization that is, basically, over my head. My imagination is so fanciful I need magic in my stories. So, I was slightly intimidated when I picked up On the Isle of Sound and Wonder. But I’m a sucker for covers and LOOK AT THE COVER!! I’m in AWE!

My fears quickly vanished. Grauer marries both magic and mechanics into an intelligent, well-crafted, seamless retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. I was immediately drawn into a vivid world of mysterious voodoo magic, flying airships, and intellectual automatons, who if I can say this, reminding me a lot of adorable Baymax.

In comparing the Shakespearean work, Grauer’s love and understanding of the original text shines through with her careful crafting and storytelling. There is more intensity with both relationships, depth of characters, and heightened danger among the island that cannot be translated to the stage. As a novel, the back stories of several characters can come to light, which I really enjoyed and kept the action and story moving. She didn’t veer so far from the play that you wouldn’t recognize it, but highlighted its potential, pleasing the Shakespearean connoisseur in me.

Grauer’s clever play with names, places, and features complement the original text. Mira (modern Miranda) proved a strong interpretation of a growing young woman facing the harsh island life, and is a valiant example of a sacrificial heroine any girl could aspire to.

I had the delightful pleasure of meeting Alyson Grauer at Salt City Steamfest last July and she is just as colorful and lively as her book. I loved… LOVED this book!