DL Morrese manages to make a living despite a degree in philosophy and spends his free time thinking and writing, although not necessarily in that order. He currently hangs out around Orlando, Florida because he got sick of shoveling snow but sort of misses watching it from a safe distance inside, by a fireplace, with a cup of hot chocolate. He has long been a fan of speculative fiction and one day, while not shoveling snow, figured he should try writing some. He’s still trying to decide if this was a good idea.
Where to find David Morrese online
by David Morrese
Price: $1.75 USD. 76800 words.
Published on March 11, 2013. Fiction.
The antique pendant Amy receives for her fourteenth birthday unlocks an ancient mystery and traps her inside an alien labyrinth populated with strange robots, android animals, and a central intelligence that does not want her to leave.
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Smashwords book reviews by David Morrese
- Hunting The Five
on Nov. 28, 2011
I should first point out that this is not the type of story I normally read. It starts with action and it barely takes a breath before there is more. It is about a gun-toting, formerly human demon who serves as a mercenary and assassin at the pleasure of a group that are called, logically enough, angels. This would normally put it on my “not my kind of thing” list because I tend to not like tales in which the protagonists use violence as their primary means of resolving conflicts. I don’t find anything admirable about such characters or anything interesting in that kind of conflict. It is normally simplistic and, quite frankly, uninteresting.
Hunting for the Five may be a rare exception because of how well written it is. The prose is succinct and fresh, almost poetic in places. The descriptions are vivid but not graphic. I saw only two or three typos in this self published novella, which are fewer than I would normally expect to see in a professionally edited and traditionally published book.
From the beginning I got the impression that the lead character, De la Roca, is a reluctant token in someone else’s game. I read on wondering who the players were and what the object of that game was. That question is not answered in this short novella. It seems to mainly serve to introduce us to the protagonist.
I can’t say I admire or identify with De la Roca. She is interesting though and I can sympathize with her. She has lost her memory and she finds herself in the middle of a conflict she does not fully understand, manipulated and blackmailed by one side of some grand conflict to seek out and kill agents from the other side. Her motivation is selfish though. She is hunting down and killing demons not to save the world or free mankind; she is doing it so that she can be released from Hell.
Her direct contact with whomever or whatever uses her in its game is simply called the Angel. It seems to be almost like her parole officer. It is an enigmatic but obviously magically powerful creature that shows up after each kill she makes to emotionlessly inform her of her next target. It never shows any personality and one wonders what this thing really is that has such power over her and is it really all that much different than the demons she is contracted to kill?
Of course a novella is far too short a work to do the kind of world building necessary to fully develop the obviously complex mythos behind this story. It is rich with magic and mythical creatures. Most are fairly interesting but we don’t get the chance to understand any of them well. One of the most interesting is De la Roca’s trusted companion throughout the tale, her horse, which is also presumably some kind of demon and can change between various equine forms at will.
I can see this story developing further. There are many questions implied in our introduction to this fantasy world. Will De la Roca free herself? Will she regain her memory? What is this cosmic conflict and who are the opposing forces? Will De la Roca ultimately rebel against those who have been using her or will she continue to serve them willingly? There is a lot of potential here.
If you like an action packed fantasy adventure with a strong female antihero, then I think you will really like this first episode of the De la Roca Chronicles. It is a real bargain as well for only 99¢ from Smashwords or Amazon.
- Crystal Eyes
on Dec. 19, 2011
The people of Earth have achieved, if not a utopia, then at least a reasonably comfortable existence. There is still a great divide between rich and poor but no one starves. Everyone can get medical attention. No one has to live on the streets. Humans are just beginning to break their ties with Earth and establish a foothold in space. But then a massive and inexplicable solar flare erupts, destroying all electrical equipment out to the farthest reaches of the solar system and irradiating the Earth, causing mutations both hideous and fantastic.
But life is tenacious and humanity goes on. A new religion is born, the Solanists, worshipers of the Sun that has wreaked its vengeance upon mankind. They become dominant, at least in the portion of North America in which the story is set. They impose order and, with a religious fervor not seen since the Inquisition, seek to cleanse the world of evil.
It is in this post-apocalyptic, Wild West world that Christine is born. She’s a demon. At least that is what the Solanists call her and the other mutants. Unlike many others, Christine’s deformities are not immediately obvious. Other than a ghostly pale complexion, one would not know she is a demon - that is, not until she opens her eyes of dark, faceted crystal.
And that is all I will say about the plot to avoid spoilers. Now I’ll talk about what I liked about the book and what I think might be seen as detractors.
First of all, the characters are wonderful. You immediately feel sympathy with the main character, Christine, who will eventually be known as Crystal or Crystal Eyes. She is the heroine of the story and becomes almost a mythic and inspirational figure to those oppressed by the rigid Solanists. She has amazing abilities but she is not invincible. To compare her to comic book heroes, she is more Spiderman than Superman. She is a loner until she meets up with two companions, a relatively suave but impetuous rogue named Drake and a quiet and thoughtful giant of a man named Tarak. They remind me of Inigo and Fezzik from The Princess Bride.
The prose style is remarkably good with just enough description to convey the look and feel of the setting without going overboard into literary extremes. This is an action adventure but the author wisely avoids graphic descriptions of the violence. He is not out to shock or disgust his readers. There are several scenes of violent and deadly confrontation but he does not dwell on the dripping blood and gore that result. There is no need. The story is more than strong enough to hold your attention without urging you to toss your cookies.
Which brings me to the plot once again. This is your basic good, oppressed minority fighting against a strong, oppressive majority kind of story. Yeah, that’s been done thousands of times but when the story is imaginative, when it has likeable characters, when the setting is believable, then it’s the kind of story we enjoy reading. This one is.
Okay, now for the stuff that might be considered detractors. The book begins with a prologue that provides the backstory of what human civilization was like before the solar flare. This is seldom advisable but I think it may have been necessary for this story. It heightens the reader’s appreciation for what has been lost. Still, there is a fair amount of backstory, interesting though it may be, to slog through before chapter one.
At the beginning, the Solanists are almost too evil. They seem to have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. But as the story progresses, the author starts to humanize them. They are no longer cookie cutter bad guys.
The only other thing of note on the negative side that I saw was a few typos that escaped the editing process. There were not enough to detract from the story and, given that this is a self published novel and that it carries an extremely low price because of that, I find these easy to forgive.
I am not normally a big fan of post-apocalyptic fiction because it is often fairly depressing. This is not. Yes, there has been a catastrophe and humanity is being held under the thumb of small minded and often sadistic zealots but there is resistance and most people are portrayed, realistically, as fairly decent folks just trying to get by. When the last page is read, you feel hopeful that the world described in the prologue can eventually be reborn.
My overall rating for this book is 4.8 stars and I recommend it.
Full disclosure: I was given a free download of this book by the author with no strings attached. I am doing this review because it is a damn good story. I hope he writes more.