A Perfect Machine
A secret society wages war on the streets every night. Hidden from the populace and wiped from their memories, Hunters and Runners relentlessly chase and shoot at each other. Henry Kyllo is the first runner to achieve full body lead content–Runners absorb lead from bullets and only extreme damage can kill them. Kyllo begins a transformation and sparks a conflict that will engulf the planet.
A Perfect Machine by Brett Savory is an action-packed, non-stop adventure with a fantastic cover. Kyllo’s “ascension” begins almost immediately, and the story rockets forward from there. The story, unfortunately, has the feel of a roughly expanded short story. The only focus is Kyllo, and little to no information is provided on the secret society or why the Runners absorb lead besides “because that’s the way it is.” The fate of the secret society, Henry’s friends, and Henry himself is left vague. There is a glimmer of a great story here, but it is rushed and plagued with plot holes. It’s not a bad read; it’s fun and thumps along at a steady pace. It’s just not satisfying, and the ending doesn’t answer any questions and leaves you hoping for a sequel to explain.
Dream Waters is the first book in the series and I really hope the next one is released soon as this is a must read!
Charlie Oliver is a lifelong psychiatric patient, labelled a schizophrenic who suffers from paranoid delusions due to his visions of the people around him morphing into creatures. The nice ones he can handle, but every so often, he sees a horrific looking creature and passes out with a spine tingling scream. But what if Charlie remembers the world of our dreams and the mysterious calming waters that carry us there, and during his waking hours, he catches glimpses of the dream forms of others in this world? Who could believe something so fantastical?
When new patient, Emma Talbot, is admitted to the ward, Charlie takes an immediate like to her, and offers her a friendship she is too terrified to decline. They soon become close friends, and confide each other’s darkest secrets. On seeing the budding friendship, an elderly patient is concerned for Charlie, so confesses that she, too, has the curse of Dream Sight. This new knowledge opens Charlie’s mind to see what is actually around him, and he notices that a horrendously frightening dragon actually shadows his new friend. Charlie pursues the beast in his dreams in order to find out more about its connection with Emma. On his travels, he makes new friends and realizations about the people he knows in the real world.
Dream Waters will draw you in, and swirl you around in a whirlpool of desire, fantastical beasts, and forever friendships. I cannot wait for the next book in this series. It really is one of those books that you do not want to put down, and once you have finished it, you want to restart it. This is not a book for young readers, due to some adult content, but everyone else should certainly give this book a read.
Dreams of Distant Shores
World Fantasy Award-winning author, Patricia A. McKillip, shines in this collection of tales. Dreams of Distant Shores compiles never before released short stories that exemplify her lyrical style and poet’s ear for storytelling.
From a goddess imbued in the statue of a mermaid, to a young artist’s possession by his muse, these powerful stories are seductive and strange, a combination that makes for stories like no other. Monsters, witches, magic, and death coexist and intermingle with the everyday, with artists, sailors, and waitresses. Part fairy tale, part lucid dreams, these tales are elegant, beautiful, and heartbreakingly vivid. Reading one is like everything wonderful about a Patricia McKillip novel distilled into concise, precise bites.
Elegant and absorbing, her work never reads as stiff or formal, as some fantasy stories can lean toward, and the language, while beautiful, never loses the reader, but instead remains both lyrical and deeply visceral. There is nothing quite like the experience of reading a Patricia McKillip novel. Fans of her work will not be disappointed in this collection, and likewise new readers will find themselves enchanted.
The Light Who Shines
During the 1600s, the first Vampire was created, bringing about extreme chaos and the beginning of the Red Ages.
Over two thousand years later, Bluebell Kildare, homicide inspector for the Supernatural Investigation Bureau, is faced with solving the murder of a boy found naked, tortured, and beaten near a bar. She is able to examine the emotions and feelings left over in the area, as well as of those near her through the use of her sixth sense; she is Gifted, and very good at her job. By closing her other senses off, she can focus in on the many emotions that permeate the area, so as to center her attention in on evidence and clues that others may miss.
Sadly, despite Blues passion for her job, and the other Daylight Vampires who ensure the safety of the people around them, not everyone during this time is so understanding of sharing the world with people who have come to be so different from themselves. Extremist groups, such as the Dilectus Deo, are constantly protesting the very existence of the Gifted humans among them and the Daylight Vampires that protect them from the dangerous Dark Vampires — beings who have fallen prey to their more base natures and given up their ability to roam in daylight after killing in bloodlust. It is a dangerous world, and it takes only the best and bravest to search after criminals who would do harm to others.
Fortunately, Blue is not only a talented investigator, but she also counts on the help of her boss, Jack Tanner or as she prefers to think of him, quite possibly the sexiest man alive. He exudes danger in a quiet, stealthy sort of way. I often think I should be frightened of him quite possibly because hes a very old and incredibly strong Vampire. But I cant seem to muster any fear, even when hes in an obvious rage. That only makes me question my sanity. Its a complicated and strained relationship but the clear and palpable tension between them only makes watching them work together all the more enjoyable.
In The Light Who Shines, Lilo Abernathy has created an amazing and fantastic world in which normal humans, Gifted humans, Daylight and Dark Vampires must coexist despite the magical dangers, intolerance, and greed that run rampant on a day-to-day basis. The mystery of the tortured boy is the driving force behind this intriguing novel. As clues are discovered, witnesses questioned, and tips followed from one place to another, it becomes progressively more disturbing to get closer to the person responsible for such a heinous crime. Yet, the more we learn about Blue and her commitment to fight for those who have been victimized by this bigoted society, the more we realize she is just the investigator needed to get to the bottom of these kinds of transgressions. She proves to be not only fully dedicated to her job despite any dangers that come her way including her own safety and surprisingly strong-willed for someone whos most prominent gift is the ability to sense emotions. Still, it is her imperfections and limitations that make her an even more likable character we can all relate to especially when it comes to her weakness for Jack.
As the story unfolds, it becomes increasingly evident that there is much more at stake than meets the eye. The torture and death of this young boy leads Blue down a path of unprecedented self-discovery and a much larger role she must play not only at the Supernatural Investigation Bureau, but the world. Furthermore, it brings her and Jack much closer than theyve ever been. The Light Who Shines is a fast-paced, extraordinary, and provocative tale of high stakes and deep losses that demands to be read!
The Children of Darkness
In this case, you really cant judge a book by its cover. The Children of Darkness is not at all the post-apocalyptic tale that you might expect, based on the cover or the title. It is, in actuality, a delightful sci-fi/fantasy story about three kids trying to find themselves and achieve their potential through understanding their history and, consequently, the history of the world. While not categorized as a YA novel, I think it should be. There is probably more meat here that kids on the cusp of adulthood would find nourishing than more mature readers (although its not an unwelcome trip down memory lane).
Orah (the smart girl), Nathaniel (the strapping leader), and Thomas (the nimble artist) unwittingly embark upon a life-changing journey to find the truth after each has a teaching encounter with the vicars of the Temple of Light. In this post-post-post-modern world with little-to-no technology, defined castes, and isolation between communities, the Temple of Light controls all life functionsfrom how many children may be born to what citizens may think. These three kids bumble into a treasure hunt that will finally lead them to the truth about the darkness.
Litwack has created a gem that incorporates some of the best of the genre: Orah will likely remind many readers of J.K. Rowlings Hermoine (Harry Potter). Elements of the story arch are classic, but will seem particularly familiar to readers of Terry Goodkind (The Wizards First Rule). And while Litwack uses typical archetypes, his characters approach conflict in some ways that diverge from expectation while also providing enough of the familiar, tried and true not to disappoint.
The pacing of The Children of Darkness drags in places; all of the inner dialogue and story setup may not be appealing to every reader, and so you may feel a niggling desire to skip a few pages to get back into the action. But, in general, there is careful craftsmanship at play that endeavors to provide enough description without becoming bogged in unnecessary detailswhich could easily happen as Litwack creates an in-between world that is not quite medieval, but not modern either.
There are also seems to be a bit of a struggle with light and darkness not just in the themes but in the presentation as well; there is a tension in the novel that Im not sure is intentional. Litwack seems to want to convey the darkness of humanity but seems timid in just how much to describe, how dark to go. The story hovers in an uncomfortable realm that suggests horrors, but never truly shows them. There is order, but a sinister element bubbles just under the surface; however, Litwack never really allows us to look at it. Never giving into the grotesque or graphic for graphics sake, Litwacks restrained pen seems to be the balance to contemporary sci-fi productions (Mad Max: Road to Fury , Dredd ). There is something about the seemingly inevitable direction of the story that wants some moment of violence, something explosive in the pot that the three young adults stir.
If it is Litwacks project to complicate the notions of good and evil, he succeeds. In unexpected ways, he shows the fallibility and potential of human beings as a race and as individuals to effect changeperhaps neither for good nor ill. There is much to unpack here and a great deal worth expecting in the sequel.
A good read if you check your expectations at the door.
The Third of Seven
Abram Jacobson is a…well, he is human. He is also a…hmmm, well, he does not actually know. The Third of Seven tells the story of how Abram woke up in a strange land, surrounded by strange creatures and no memory of who he is or what he does. As the amnesia slowly clears, his predicament does not.
As he interacts with more beings, he realizes that, not only is he trapped in an alternate dimension, but there is an evil mage wanting to destroy Abram’s home world. If that is not enough for his addled mind to cope with, another mage claims that Abram is the key to saving or destroying his homeland. Which mage wishes to help and which wishes to murder is not very clear to him or to us initially. Is Abram the only human to travel to this strange land, is he the one to save all of the dimensions? You will just have to read the book and see what happens.
Author Jeremie Guy regales us with such vivid imagery, you could almost close your eyes and picture the beauty of the blue moon or hear the gushing of the wind as our hero falls from a mountain. Inhabitants of this new Earth are also quite interesting, my favorites, purely due to their name, are the Elecki of an area called Electrode. This, in short, is a tale of brilliance. There are a few grammatical errors that caused me to re-read a sentence or two to understand the meaning, but it did not deter me from enjoying the storyline at all.