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
An Android Dog's Tale
By David Morrese
You set the price!
Published: November 15, 2013.
The Corporation made him to observe humans and make sure they weren’t up dangerous things like inventing, exploring, or learning to read. But as the years go by and he works with them day after day, century after century, he grows to like them. Is it right to keep them happy but ignorant? Shouldn’t this be a choice they make for themselves?
(5.00 from 1 review)
By David Morrese
Published: April 21, 2013.
Benkin, a brilliant but quirky inventor, stumbles upon something extraordinary—clockwork automatons. All he wants is to understand them. Snyde, a fugitive from the king’s justice, has other plans.
By David Morrese
Published: March 11, 2013.
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.
The Warden War
(4.00 from 1 review)
By David Morrese
Published: September 13, 2011.
The Warden War continues the adventures of Prince Donald of Westgrove and completes the lighthearted tale of looming war, subversion, and a terrible magical weapon begun in The Warden Threat.
The Warden books are a delight. They are sure to appeal to readers of fantasy and science fiction who may be looking for something fresh and different.
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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.
- Gaspar The Thief
on July 08, 2013
This is not so much a single novel as it is a series of related adventures centered on the thief, Gaspar; the lovely Marna, a fellow thief and Gaspar’s volatile love interest; and their ‘spellbroker’ associate, Hubris. Their escapades (most often not as successful as they hope) and misadventures provide the basis for the ten chapters of the book.
The characters are engaging, but not exactly likeable. Their highest goal seems to be to abscond with as much loot as safely as possible, with little compassion over the fate of the loot’s current owner. Gaspar and his companions aren’t murderous rouges, but they are clearly rogues.
Written from a limited omniscient point of view, the prose, grammar, and vocabulary in this book are a notch above the norm that I’ve personally found in light fantasy. The characters are uncomplicated but not stupid. The world building is quite good and creates a believable fantasy setting full of dirty cities, filthy gutters, crumbling castles, guilds, inns, taverns, and the occasional bawdy house.
This book is not so much comedy as it is light fantasy. The setting and characters reminded by of the Thraxas books by Martin Scott (AKA Martin Millar) — kind of a late Medieval world with personality-flawed characters, magic, and mythical creatures.
I can’t say this book is innovative in any way, but it is an enjoyable read. I recommend it for readers of light fantasy.
- Hollow Moon
on Oct. 09, 2013
Spunky kids, political intrigue, a kidnapping, spaceships, surprises, a twisted villain, clever AI, mysterious aliens... What more could you want? In this case, not much. The setting is the future a couple centuries from now. Humanity has discovered a means to get from one place to another faster than light, and people from Earth have colonized space. They’ve accomplished much, but they are far from enlightened. They still have greed, fanaticism, war, corruption, and reality shows.
Hollow Moon is an imaginative and well-told tale centering on Ravana, the daughter of a space freighter captain living in a hollow moon orbiting a distant star. When she witnesses the kidnapping of the young Raja, the heir apparent of her small, inside out world, she becomes involved in far more than she expected. What she does not know is that she was already involved.
Hollow Moon is a refreshing alternative to the bulk of Young Adult speculative fiction I’ve seen in the last several years. The story is engaging. It has well-defined and well-developed characters, a fairly intricate but easily comprehensible plot, a few smiles, and, most appreciated of all, it’s NOT fantasy! It’s science fiction, and most of the science is reasonable. Okay, there was one scene with an unbelievably strong rope and a serendipitously placed wagon, and a girl who can resist a force that several tons of stone elephant cannot but, well, that’s just details. Actually, I doubt many readers would even question something like this. And then there was the school band that played Alpha Centauri by Tangerine Dream. Um, well, yeah, that’s not a violation of the laws of physics, and it’s cool, but I can’t see a school band attempting it. It’s 22 minutes long and sounds like some kind of ethereal improvised jazz bit done on flute and synthesizer. I know; details, and this one, despite being unlikely, made me smile, so it gets a pass on credibility for the sake of subtle humor. Actually, there are several gems such as this—allusions to contemporary culture scattered about and in chapter titles.
The story is written from an omniscient point of view with numerous characters sharing the spotlight. I did not find this at all confusing because the characters are sufficiently distinct. It is clear who the camera is on at any point. There were a few places where the adults seemed slightly too juvenile, but this is a YA novel and this seems to be common for those. This book does a better job with this, in fact, than I have seen in other YA stories, and in Hollow Moon, sometimes the adults actually act and sound like adults. The pace is fast enough to keep the plot moving, but it’s not frantic.
On the more technical side, the editing is more than adequate, although comma usage may not be exactly according the Chicago Manual of Style for fiction writing. I’ve noticed this is also true of science fiction and fantasy novels from bigger publishers, which may follow their own style guides for punctuation.
I normally comment on formatting in my reviews only when it is dreadful. In this case, I’m commenting on it because it was exceptional. It is obvious that a great deal of attention was paid to formatting Hollow Moon as an eBook. I see so many digital editions, especially from older, traditional publishers where the formatting is dreadful with double spacing, no paragraph indents, or no breaks between chapters. I don’t know if this is because they regard digital books as an afterthought or if they simply aren’t good at it, but Hollow Moon had none of these flaws. It even included embedded links for previous and subsequent chapters at the start of each new chapter (unnecessary but thoughtful).
Hollow Moon has charm, intelligence, and wit, and it is one of the most enjoyable YA stories I’ve read in a while. I highly recommend it for readers of YA science fiction.