HE WHO LEADS, an e-book by M.A.N.

Fifteen year old Amare, as the oldest son of the Akachi Clan, becomes the leader when his father insists he leave off fighting and go save the clan while he continues to battle fearsome demons who eventually kill him. He takes over his leadership role and almost immediately makes costly, leadership/political mistakes. He constantly faces tremendous odds in battling other clans with mysterious magical talents of his own and those exhibited by members of other clans and more demons who ‘cannot die’. But gradually he manages to bumble through with the help of a very intelligent warrior wife, her even more intelligent younger brother, his warrior mother, and most assuredly from his childhood friend, Ime.

Reviewing this book provides something of a challenge. The style of writing is quite unique but often confusing, especially when determining who is telling the story and the shifts that occur from the present to an earlier event, often by adding further detail. But the challenge arises largely from a section “About the author” because as just described, this book, along with others he has published all appear to offer stories in the “action-adventure fantasy” genre. I have not read any of the others but the section explains that “M.A.N. is an aspiring entrepreneur that uses his creative writing and original ideas as an outlet to express his imaginative vision. M.A.N. uses his discipline and experiences to provide a world of fun, and at times deep thought for the reader.” The provision of “fun” is evident in this offering. Additionally, the stress placed upon the importance of preparation and inclusion of mental activity in war, as well as other activities, is an obvious plus for young minds. Regrettably, I was not able to discern any ‘deeper meaning’ from the stated “(he) uses his creative writing and original ideas as an outlet to express his imaginative vision” and “ … his discipline and experiences to provide … at times deep thought for the reader.” My disappointment in not finding a deeper level may result from my misinterpretation and greater expectations or possiblely simply an inability to do so.

Conclusion: Primarily the author presents an excellent fantasy adventure with a plot that is relatively cohesive and moves at a fine pace with wildly fanciful action figures indulging in just as well-described and lengthy battle scenes. As such, it is exactly the type of story that should appeal greatly to young teens. Beyond this, the reader’s expectations raised by the author’s note may be rather disappointing.

4* Fantasy adventure for young teens; questionable for other readers as described.

The Maker

The Maker ISBN: 9780991800346, Underdog Books, written and copyright by D. F. Anderson.

Nate Smith is a young teen whose mother and father recently separated ostensibly because of his dad’s frequent absences from home. Ted, a man who is not particularly enamored of Nate’s artistic ability which consists of drawing rather weird figures, has replaced him in the mother’s affections. Unfortunately, Ted does not share the father’s appreciation for Nate’s drawing and says he can no longer do so until certain goals are reached. That night the boy is kidnapped by aliens who whisk him away to another planet. Here on Meer his drawing abilities are put to a test and he is discovered to be one of a rare breed of individuals who can make tangible objects merely by picturing and drawing them. This is a desperately needed accomplishment for the planet, because most of the planet’s objects have been designed/made by the ‘Makers’ and all but four of them have been kidnapped, brainwashed and put to work by another alien group, the Gratches and their leader, Vichous who are devising a diabolical machine. This ‘Worm’ can bore into the very core of Meer, destroying it. They already have destroyed the planet Vot, Meer is next and will be followed by Earth. Nate discovers that his father has been one of Meer’s very prominent Makers, which explains his frequent absences, and is one of those captured by the Gratches and therefore one of the most prominent in devising the Worm. The Aliens strike before they are totally prepared and they have merely an hour or two to stop the Worm from drilling into their core and devastating their planet. He, along with the Grand Scientist of Meer and the other Makers, begin desperate action to save Meer and then to follow with a very dangerous attack devised by Nate. Even further, Nate actually demonstrates an ability to actually communicate individually with the Mica, the molecular sized living elements that actually are the builders of the objects Makers draw and render useable. This is a feat previously unheard of by the inhabitants of Meer and through Nate’s incredible ability, they are able to accomplish the required task and the story continues until a conclusion is reached that provides plenty of room for additional adventures.

This is a most unusual tale written by a person with an enormous imagination. It gathers aspects of nature, science, good and bad aliens and elements of sci-fi and fancifully mixes them together. The result is an enchantingly written, delightful, action-packed amalgamation with charming characters that should have great appeal for all of its targeted teenage audience.

5* Delightful action-packed fantasy/sci-fi for targeted teenage audience.