A Darker Shade of Sorcery, The Realmers Series

A Darker Shade of Sorcery, The Realmers Series, an e-book by the intriguingly imaginative author, William Collins.

Plot: First presented to the reader is a welcome note from Master of Illusion, Padrake Pontiferous: “To whichever race you belong, orc, elf, djinn, human or other: You are now a Venator. Welcome to Veneseron Fortress, school for Demon Hunters. Your job is to travel through the many realms on missions we assign you. …Of course, your most important purpose will be battling demons and the Dark-Venators. Here at Veneseran we will train you to use enchanted weaponry, from Spellzookas to elemental grenades (grenades that actually employ the elements). And wield whatever form of sorcery you possess, from Curse-breaking to Creature Summoning. All so you may save countless lives against the eternal evil. Enjoy your stay. (P.S. Please specify at the front desk whether you’re arriving by Airship, Alien craft, Bubble-sphere or other means.) From this most enlightening introduction the story moves to introduce two humans, Evan, a young London orphan beset by bullies, and Brooke, a young girl living with a family who almost completely ignores her. Each arrives at the Fortress by a different route and means and the plot proceeds to develop as they settle in, make new friends, and enemies, from among an assortment of elves, Halflings, members of alien races and others while living in a city inhabited by these and other strange creatures. They develop their skills with all types of strange weaponry and engage in deadly combat with all manner of demons. AND, the reader discovers that these two humans share an unknown and only ultimately discovered trait from a most powerful source that can provide chaotic results. The attempts to manage and possibly use these traits to combat the abilities of the powerful source will be told in the succeeding volumes.

Discussion: This is a most intriguing tale for young readers that, because of the author’s engaging imagination, may offer some degree of interesting amusement to the more mature reader IF he/she still retains a bit of their earlier appreciation for fantasy. It moves well and the supporting, as well as main characters, equate well with their surroundings and activities.

4* Fantasy tale for the young that certain mature readers also might find amusingly readable.

A Christmas Tartan

A Christmas Tartan
ISBN: 9781250132659 Minotaur Books, a mystery e-book by Paige Shelton.

Delaney Nichols is a former museum curator from Kansas and now in Scotland hired by Edwin McAlister, the remarkable owner of an unusual book store. One morning he discovers a box containing an odd collection of items on his doorstep and asks Delaney to investigate the possible origin of the collection. The story evolves from this starting point and proceeds into the body of a mystery/fantasy.

Discussion: This purchase was made because the reviewer had a short space of time between review requests. Enjoying mysteries, he noticed this title in the genre, that the author had been recognized for previous work and that it was of novella length. After reading the synopsis, he made the purchase and proceeded to read the book. Reaction was dichotomous. The story evolved into an interesting and well-designed mystery/fantasy. However he was a little chagrined to discover that the already short story actually consumed only 64 % of the purported novella length book. The rest of the ‘novella length’, roughly ONE THIRD, was consumed by an excerpt from the author’s NEXT book. It is granted that the author in her introduction mentioned that it was a “mini mystery”, BUT the prospective reader has no way of learning this fact before purchasing it. It also is granted that the price is nominal. However, it appears that this annoying habit is insidiously and increasingly invading publishing. A sad commentary on a once proud and trustworthy industry and one incidentally that does NOT add appreciably to an author’s reputation.

2 ½*      4* brief mystery/fantasy; 1* for ‘lack of disclosure’.