Monday, March 28, 2011

The Door in the Dragon's Throat by Frank Peretti

*to a tune* There's a hole in the bottom of the desert. There's a hole in the bottom of the desert. There's a hole, there's a hole. There's a hole in the bottom of the desert. And in that hole is a cavern, and in that cavern is a door, and behind that door no one knows what... *song goes on*

So, with the mystery of what is behind the door enters Dr. Jake Cooper an archeologist. Who has traveled the world with his crew Jeff, Tom, Bill and his two children, Jay and Lila.
They were asked to come explore a pit in the desert by President Al-Dallam who is looking for riches. What they find there though is utterly amazing.

In short I was pleasantly surprised, Frank Peretti wrote an entertaining book in 125 pages and with only 9 named characters. In a publishing world where everyone wants depth, lots of characters, and at least 300 page books this was a wonderful break. I loved sitting back and reading Door in the Dragon's Throat.

I read this book years ago and enjoyed it just as much now as I did then. The thrill, excitement, discovery was like when I first read it, The Door in the Dragon's Throat was so good I read it in one sitting. With my busy life I loved the fact I could sit down and read an entire book so quickly, do to its size.
Now don't get me wrong! Even though it was a short book it is by no means simple. No it is complex compared to what I see in most pre-teen books. Twists, action, insight, adventure, explosions, everything I look for in a book were here. Good enough for an older teen or even adult reader.
Peretti also filled this book with lessons of greed, revelations, trusting in God and more. These are wonderful lessons taught without over preaching.

Frank Peretti was my first “big” author I had ever read as a kid, I started with his teen books then his pre-teen. Looking back I decided to read The Cooper Kid adventure series again and see what I thought of it years later as a reviewer.  I wasn’t disappointed. This book is great.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Swords of the Six by Scott Appleton

Six masters of six swords, five turned but one stayed true. Murder has stained the clean blades designed to protect the land. When the strongest of the men fall, when there is no known hope for their world, a lone dragon and prophet are secretly hoping that the dragon's offspring will save their world.  Six dragon daughters in human flesh, who have a sixth sense, through them their world must be saved.
When I heard about this book a year ago I wanted to read it, back then the basic idea sounded cool to me. Was I ever wrong! I know as a reviewer I should stick to, "If you can't say anything nice don't say it at all", well I got this book from Living Ink Publishers so I have to write this review.
Dantress, is the youngest of the six dragon sisters. She is the special child, she is more powerful than her sisters, she is the favorite of their father, so she never got in trouble for breaking the rules, she is the only one who can save the world. This didn't flow at all, Scott, as a male, didn't write a good female main character, I didn't connect with Dantress at all.
There are also all her sisters, even at the end of the book I still didn't know who was who. I knew Carithra was the oldest and Dantress the youngest, other than that I couldn't tell you a thing about the other sisters. The only character that was okay I felt was a minor character, Specter.
Appleton did something that drove me nuts. Swords of the Six has useless information, a lot of it. I didn't need to know the seating arrangement of the room, or the family ties of people who don't show up in the book again. Or, even though I loved the fairies, that the fairy tree has four families in it and that such and such race is unique because of blah blah blah.
Also one page is repeated three times. Like Appleton literally copy and pasted one page three times. I just skipped that page after the first time. It wasn’t a publishing error, but it did save me from reading two more pages of this book.
The plot was choppy at best, the first 100 pages had no long lasting plot. A war, girls getting raised, trip to the woods ect. I felt like in the first 100 pages at least 20 could have been cut out. The next 100 pages were the best, the girls are sent on a lone mission. They meet challenges and battled, all in all it was good. Then of the last 100 pages, at least 50 of those pages could have been cut. It was a useless battle, and background information that could have waited to be learned in the next book. There was so much filler and by product in this book that I lost track of the plot idea, it was almost non-existent.
What there was of the plot was also full of mystery and prophecies. Much wasn’t clarified.  I spent pages going, "Huh? What is going on here?", "What is the point of that?", and "What just happened?". It wasn't described properly.  What needed insight was left dark, and useless info was made painfully clear. Some chapters I just gave up trying to understand.
The world was the only thing that Scott got half way right, a few neat creatures, a couple interesting lands, but it was all shadowed by the rest of the book. He also had things that made me literally stop and laugh. I think hunting with swords, waffles in a fantasy land, sword fighting in dresses, learning sword fighting with sharp swords, and birds doing the dishes are just a little out there. (even for fantasy)
This book was so hard to read that I read it in 2-10 page sittings, and then I would treat myself with dessert, or a game, or another good book before I would continue reading this book. Appleton is said to have a unique writing style. True. Unique by how bad it was. I don’t know if I am going to read the next book in this series.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Wolf of Tebron by C.S. Lakin

Thanks to Living Ink Publishers for giving me this book to review.
Joran is a simple black smith, but when his wife vanishes for apparently no reason he feels guilty. He will attempt traveling to the 4 corners of the earth to find her with only a lone wolf to guide him.   
As soon as I started reading this book I was enchanted. With bright, colorful, and diverse characters you will smile or even laugh out loud at their charisma.
Joran is realistic, he deals with the faults that everyone does, anger, loneliness, fear, despair and much more. He will connect to everyone in any part of his walk through life. Ruyah  is there to help Joran with this journey. Ruyah is a wise wolf who spouts advice that is so true it is annoying, yet at times he acts like a giant puppy.  The secondary characters were enjoyable and thought provoking. Lakin did a nice job with all of the characters in this book, making everyone special.
The plot wasn’t action packed, which I found it relaxing. Since “The Wolf of Tebron” is about 250 pages long I felt it didn’t need to have a very fast plot to get me through it. It was an enjoyable read. At times though, it did seem as if the plot was starting to feel a little repetitive. Just as I was about to really get tired of it the plot changed. I was amazed at the timing. She gave flashbacks when needed, gives insight when wanted and covered great topics in “The Wolf of Tebron”. The lessons she covered in this book are so wide that I can’t even write down most of them. I will have to re-read this book to get a better understanding of only the lessons in this book.  To me this book is more like a long parable than the title “Fairy Tale” given on the cover.
I didn’t have any problem with this but I would like to notify you that this book includes magic, and something some might miss interpret as ideas of ‘mother earth’.  The way it was done was fine, maybe a little confusing but still good. 
I really enjoyed this book, it was fresh, entertaining, humorous, thought provoking and all around great.   

Monday, March 7, 2011

Masters & Slayers by Bryan Davis

Thanks to Living Ink Books for giving me this book to review. 

Masters & Slayers is about a young-man, it is also the story of a young-woman. Together they will travel to another world to search for his missing brother who left months ago, they will search for her mother's killer after he has been loose for years. They will look for a lost population, stolen by dragons to be their slaves. Though this book is based about searching it has a lot more to it. 
I was expecting a lot from this book by Bryan Davis. I had never read one of his adult books and was ready for a grand adventure. Sadly though I had my hopes too high.

Davis starts out in a tournament ring and after the first paragraph I almost put the book down.
What he did in the first paragraph set what the rest of the book would be like. He was going to make the main character perfect and then the female characters wimps. Sadly I was right, Adrian Masters, the main character would be just like all of Davis' others. Perfect, he can’t make a mistake. I understand where Davis comes from but I just don't like it.  Everyone falls so I got tired of Adrian always making the right choice.
Mean while, Marcelle the main female character couldn’t do anything right. She is a warrior whom I grew to like. I was disappointed when I noticed that Davis would build her up to be a clever fighter, then he would throw her back down by having her make a mistake, or lose the fight, it was always her fault. She is a warrior but Davis made her seem like an inferior weakling. I do fencing so that irritated me, a lot.
While the other main female was manipulative impulsive, conniving, and self centered.

The plot was slow, an A-typical love triangle, a corrupt government, an underground group. For me the biggest problem was the beginning, like I said above Davis’ opening chapter was ok. Then he spent the next 100 pages filling you in on the characters background, I felt like he was forcing them on us. Telling us everything we would need to know for the rest of the book, if he would have taught us throughout the book it would have been an easier start and not overwhelm me so much. After the first 100 pages though it did pick up.
Now I will give Davis a pat on the back, I understood all that was going on. Davis kept things more down to earth then he normally does but still kept his “different spirit” feel throughout.
I also have to say this book is the best cover art Bryan Davis has ever had! I love the cover.

Davis doesn't write a lot of adult books, and to me this book was a lot like his teen books, just a bit more intense.  It was good but not excellent.