Bob Craton

Biography

Fantasy & Sci-Fi Fans:

I actually would rather have people enjoy my stories than make money. That is why I write. Therefore, you can get "The High Duties of Pacia," "A Princess of Fae," and "Jesika's Angel" all for 'reader sets the price.' Naturally, I would love reviews but you have no obligation to write one if you don't want to.

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When he was a child, Bob Craton’s teachers often remarked (not always favorably) about his day-dreaming. He spent much of his time lost in his own imagination, often creating elaborate elementary school tall-tales, and the habit never went away as he grew up. Coming of age in the 1960s filled his head with dreams of saving the world and having a career in academia. Then the real world closed in. With a family to support, he took a job at the corporate grindstone, just temporarily until he could get back to grad school and earn the PhD he desired. Somehow ‘temporarily’ turned into thirty-three years of stress and boredom but he kept entertaining himself by creating stories inside his head. Interestingly (well, he hopes it’s interesting anyway), his best ideas came to him while he was stuck in rush-hour traffic during his daily commute.

At age fifty-seven, he retired early (a euphemism for ‘got laid off) and had time to put his tales on ‘paper’ (an ancient product now replaced by digital electronics). The ideas in his head were all visual, like scenes from a movie, and as he began writing, he learned to translate visual into verbal and improve his skills. Or at least, that’s what he says. He admits that sometimes minor characters – or some who weren’t included in the original plan at all – demand attention. Frequently, he agrees with them and expands their roles. Many people believe he is bonkers for believing that fictional characters talk to him, but he calls it creativity and remains unrepentant.

Where to find Bob Craton online


Books

The High Duties of Pacia: The Complete Saga
By
You set the price! Words: 220,270. Language: English. Published: January 2, 2014. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(4.33)
In a land threatened by evil, four special people (man, woman, boy, and girl) unite. Each has a unique power but all are committed to a millennia-old tradition of peace. How can such gentle survive and prevail against vicious brutality?
Pentagonal: A Guide to Geometry for Students of Wizardry
By
Price: Free! Words: 1,360. Language: English. Published: August 10, 2013. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
(5.00)
Why should geometry be an important subject at a school for wizards? Pentagon, pentagram, what's the difference?
A Princess of Fae
By
You set the price! Words: 29,210. Language: English. Published: October 1, 2012. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » General
(5.00)
"If Douglas Adams had a love-child with J.R.R. Tolkien, and the child was raised by the creators of Monty Python...you'd end up with 'A Princess of Fae'," wrote a reviewer on Goodreads.
And the Young Shall Lead You Home: Part III of The High Duties of Pacia
By
You set the price! Words: 79,080. Language: English. Published: April 26, 2012. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(4.80)
Nothing can stop the Zafiri from conquering the land – or so it seems until four heroes and heroines appear. The only people who can save the world from terror and slavery, they unite and strengthen their power. Can they end a war, vanquish an enemy without resorting to violence, and free the white city of Abbelôn? Yes, they can in the dramatic conclusion of The High Duties of Pacia.
Return of the High Protector: Part II of The High Duties of Pacia
By
You set the price! Words: 65,210. Language: English. Published: April 25, 2012. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(4.67)
The story of Graice, Holder, Caelia and the boy with many names continues. In a world where brutal power is destroying peace and tranquility, two pairs of special people – man and woman, boy and girl – journey toward a common goal. Will the secrets they carry and the strengths they have be enough to free the world from evil?
Journey To Light: Part I of the High Duties of Pacia
By
Price: Free! Words: 77,730. Language: English. Published: April 24, 2012. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(4.30)
In another world, the beautiful city Abbelôn has fallen and a brutal enemy threatens more war and destruction. Rulers of great cities are useless and smaller towns are weak. Then an extraordinary young woman crosses paths with a man unlike any she has met before. Elsewhere, a boy and a girl move separately toward their own destiny. Do these four hold the key to restoring peace to the world?
Jesika's Angel
By
You set the price! Words: 68,570. Language: English. Published: April 10, 2012. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » General
(4.40)
Ages ago, an apocalypse isolated a remote world from the rest of the galaxy. Now nations and cities are re-building, growing, and re-discovering technology. Except, that is, in a fringe area where people live happily and peacefully despite poverty. There,a little girl is protected by her 'guardian angel,' a man with super-human abilities, lost memory, and a deep dark secret.

Bob Craton’s tag cloud


Bob Craton's favorite authors on Smashwords


Smashwords book reviews by Bob Craton

  • The Hunt on May 04, 2012
    (no rating)
    Excellent. Makes a real impact in relatively few words.
  • Gravity, Restraint, and the Reason Icarus Fell on May 04, 2012

    Intriguing story - and well written.
  • The Hunt on May 14, 2012

    I'm not sure why my rating did not show on my comment below. Hopefully, this will correct that.
  • The Incarnator on May 14, 2012

    Excellent - original and very well written.
  • Squatter's Rights on May 28, 2012

    Some people may complain that this story doesn't have enough 'action' but I'm not one of them. I like the pacing, characters, and details -- and the excellent ending.
  • We Stand at the Gate on May 28, 2012

    This feels like the beginning of a novel that could be quite good. I'm not a real fan of the 'Lovecraft genre' but this is well written and very effective.
  • The War of Civlar on May 28, 2012

    This story has some interesting and thought-provoking ideas although the ending seemed incomplete to me. There are some typos and grammar errors, and the frequent change of verb tense (from past tense to present and back again)is distracting. Still this could be a good start towards a longer work with more character development and plot clarity.
  • The Pluck of O'Reilly on May 28, 2012

    Clever and funny.
  • Captain Cee's Last Stand on May 29, 2012

    Very good. Packs a lot of character and emotion in a short package.
  • x0 on June 03, 2012

    This book is a marvelous mixture of real life and fantasy for adults. The 'magical realism' approach is intriguing. I highly recommend it.
  • Forgotten Battles on June 20, 2012

    The title of this book seems very appropriate since good old-fashioned military sci-fi has nearly become a lost art form. The book has space battles, time travel (accidental), and lots of action. Those who yearn for the glory years of sci-fi will do well to check out this author. This book is more serious/ less frivolous than your average Star Trek script, but fans of that genre should like this too.
  • Jolly Roger on June 21, 2012

    Calling this a sci-fi comedy is no lie. It is FUNNY. Time-travelling special agents (one of them transformed into the body of a parrot), a villain, drunken pirates, and a pretty girl who kicks ass. Sounds like the recipe for a Hollywood blockbuster. This is a very entertaining little story.
  • Ruin on June 21, 2012

    I like this book a lot. I agree completely with the positive comments made in earlier reviews regarding the author's creation of characters. The transition of the protagonist, Paula, from terrified girl to capable young women is exceptional. I recommend the book highly.
  • Heibai and Huckleberry on June 24, 2012

    When I read this, I realized it had a back-story and thought it could easily be expanded into a novel. Then I discovered this is a sequel to at least one other of the author's stories, Captain Cee's Last Stand, which I also liked. Although far from young myself, I've created some young characters in my own writing and I especially appreciate Hannah/Huckleberry in this story.
  • The Jester and Other Stories on July 11, 2012

    The author calls these miniatures 'prose poems' rather than short stories and it is an accurate name. Very well written, they invoke a mood, a feeling, or an idea in very few words.
  • Shakespeare's Monkeys on July 18, 2012

    This story provides a different approach to the apocalypse, angels and demons, the end of the universe and everything. Consider the plethora of books already existing about those subjects, 'different' is a good thing. Clever, witty, and nicely written, this is definitely worth reading.
  • Space Crazy on July 18, 2012

    It's nice to find a good sci-fi story after the inundation of the fantasy genre by teenage vampire and angel/demon schlock. Fans of Star Trek should enjoy this.
  • THE EYE OF THE LION -GENESIS- on July 18, 2012

    Something of a high-tech version of The Da Vinci Code or Angels & Demons but with a more stunning conclusion.
  • Metamor City: The Sentinel on July 24, 2012

    This isn't really a short story but one chapter in a longer work. Rather than starting at the beginning, it seems to start in the middle and ends, well, a little later in the middle. I presume this is offered as a free tidbit to entice readers to buy other segments of the story. As such, it does an excellent job since it is very well written and quite interesting. The wraith in the opening pages sounds annoyingly like Gollum, but other than that minor criticism, I enjoyed this. I recommend that fans of this genre download this and then decide how much of the rest of the story they want to read.
  • Beautiful Deception on Sep. 07, 2012

    This is eloquently written. Very impressive.
  • Pre-TerraFae on Sep. 07, 2012

    This isn't actually a short story but a tidbit offered as encouragement to buy the author's book. It should work very well because this is intriguing, well written, clever, and a lot of other favorable adjectives.
  • All Souls on Sep. 10, 2012

    An entertaining story with demonic elemental powers running amok. I admit being a little confused at the end but this is well written with nice touches of humor. I recommend it.
  • A Question of Spin on Sep. 10, 2012

    This is delightful. Instead of spinning straw to gold, a modern day Rumpelstiltskin spins 'official government papers so the public can read them but not really understand them.' I love good sarcastic humor and this has it.
  • Gnome Jelly on Sep. 10, 2012

    I hope the word charming has not gone out of favor as a descriptive term because this story is exactly that. Well written and amusing.
  • Runner on Sep. 10, 2012

    This feels like an introduction to the author's longer works rather than a stand-alone short story. As such, it works very well since it is well written. Some people may think this is too short to go anywhere and wish this story was longer. That actually is the whole point, I think. It makes me want to read more.
  • The Roxolan Princess on Sep. 10, 2012

    The comment in the previous review is apt. Succinct and to the point, this story makes a real impact on a reader. Good job.
  • The Troll under the Eighth Street Bridge on Sep. 10, 2012

    This is clever and entertaining. Although I'm far from being a young adult, I enjoyed this.
  • Dimension Shifter on Oct. 02, 2012

    I found this book because a reader who was good enough to review one of mine also liked it. I'm glad I did and spent all day reading it. The beginning contained a little more explanatory dialogue than I like; a short prologue covering Kyrin's escape at age 11 as 'live action' rather than narration might be nice. But that's just my opinion and then I moved on the chapter 2 and found the marvelous dialog sequence between Kyrin and Alric, which does a great job of defining the characters. I did have some critiques, especially the use of modern phrases in dialog, but I don't want to detract from the overall positive response I had to the book. This is a type of story I like, a long complex fantasy. I don't mind trilogy-length stories, especially if they release details about the characters and plot gradually. I disagree with an earlier comment about the 'lack of an ending' because this is clearly the first volume of three and I'm patient.
  • Dimension Shifter on Oct. 02, 2012
    (no rating)
    An added comment to my review below - Regarding remarks made earlier about Kyrin's failure to adapt quickly to the pleasant environment of Paragoy, it seems to me that her psychiatric condition was an expected result of her earlier life. Anyone who suffered that much abuse would be traumatized to the point of insanity, and it would take years before she could trust anyone or even believe the good things she sees with her own eyes. I haven't gotten to volume 2 yet so I don't know if Kyrin's condition improves then, but I agree with the author that at the end of volume 1, Kyrin's mental state should be just as it's written.
  • [I][Froxxe's Plummet] on Oct. 03, 2012

    Clearly, this is the beginning of a longer story. It's nicely written and entertaining.
  • Decision Maker (Anniversary of the Veil, Book 2) on Jan. 02, 2013

    I loved this author’s first book ‘Protector’ so I snapped up volume 2 of this series as soon as it became available. If possible, this book is even better than the first. At the beginning, we learn Issa’s true identity, but she can’t remember her past or her real nature while here in the Lesser World. We also find out about her ‘Forever-Husband’ – but who is he exactly? In part 1, I became attached to the young protagonists Issa and Kae. I spent most of part 2 worrying about what would happen to them. I don’t give spoilers, so you’ll have to read to find out. I will just say that the mystery and tension kept me reading all day long. Ms. Smythe’s ability to create characters fascinates me. All of them, not just Issa and Kae, are fully formed multi-dimensional people. Even many of those among the seemingly bad characters have good qualities, and the apparent good guys really aren’t so good. After all, they plan to use Issa in a very harsh way. In fact, are there any true heroes other than Kae? Or for that matter, any real villains except High Priest Rhaldan? The combination of characters is marvelous, and the richness of the world the author has created is fantastic. The number of superlatives I have used in this review may make some skeptics think I am a relative or friend of the author’s. I am not. I’m just someone who loves this sub-genre of fantasies and who is (obviously) impressed with this author’s talent. Incidentally, the ending left me eagerly anticipating the next book in this series.
  • The Cripple and the Staff on May 26, 2013

    I like this book - quite a lot actually. It takes its own special approach and stays away from many of the tired clichés of the fantasy genre. No demons, elves, or vampires. Sorcerers and magic are essential to the story and yet the author also creates a very believable medieval society. I particularly like the description of the villagers in the first part of the book. They aren't good people but they are definitely believable. More importantly, the characters are well developed. They are neither generic nor wooden. You actually care what happens to them, a quality which I appreciate. The plot is intriguing and keeps you reading. You constantly want to find out what happens next. I don't like spoilers so I avoid putting summaries of books in my reviews, but I should point out that this is a complex and lengthy story. That makes it my kind of book but I'm aware that some people only want short and simple tales - and this isn't. Clearly, it is the opening part of a trilogy-length work. It has a bit of a cliff-hanger ending. I already have volume II and will read it now, and I hope the author finishes volume III soon.
  • The Raven and the Plague on May 30, 2013

    I enjoyed the first book in this series and started this volume as soon as I finished part I. It's actually a little better than the first. Part I had two story lines which centered on the characters Shale (a young apprentice magician) and Olivinia (a powerful Seer). When those two met, the story lines merged into one. Part II is more complex with multiple story lines told from the POVs of different characters. Despite the complexity and number of characters, I had no trouble following the plot. And the plot is exciting and keeps you reading, with lots of old secrets which are gradually revealed. As before, this volume is a 'to-be-continued' tale with a cliffhanger ending which left me eager for part III. The characters are well developed and each is a unique individual (just like in real life - well, except for their magical talents). I admit that I like lengthy tales of this type. There is more violence than in part I, mostly in the form of a plague. I hate spoilers but I don't think I'm giving anything away since plague is part of the title. I still don't think anything in it would be disturbing to teens and would rate it as a PG-13 movie - meaning it qualifies for the young adult genre as well as adult. The plot and characters are excellent. I will say that I found some typos and format errors (line spacing, etc.) of the type which can occur when you upload an eBook. However, the number was not large and did not distract my attention from the story in any way.
  • Anniversary of the Veil Series Book 1 and 2 Boxed Set: Protector; Decision Maker on May 30, 2013

    I read these two volumes several months ago when they first came out. Now that they are available on Smashwords, I paid for a copy just so I could post my reviews here alsos. (I think that proves I like the books.) Volime I: Protector I enjoy lengthy fantasies with many characters and complex plots. Therefore, it is no surprise that I love this book. The premises is intriguing and the world-building part of the story is well done. In a crowded genre, it isn't easy to create a fresh and rich fantasy world, but the author has done exactly that. The characters are complicated people -- no black and white cookie-cutter characters here -- which are developed gradually. These are not people who are all good or all bad, except for one high priest (hey, every story needs a good villain). I like that a lot. All real people have both positive and negative qualities and those in this story seem very real. Plus, the main protagonists are very appealing. I won't summarize it to avoid giving spoilers, but following the plot was great fun for me. Yes, the prologue left me a bit confused but that's a good thing. If a prologue explained everything, why would we need the rest of the book? And yes, this book is the first part of a longer story which obviously is not finished at the end of volume one. As I said, that makes it my kind of book. To other readers who may think they won't like such length, I encourage you to try this. It's well worth anyone's time. I will definitely be buying volume two as soon as it becomes available. Volume II: Decision Maker I loved this author's first book `Protector' so I snapped up volume 2 of this series as soon as it became available. If possible, this book is even better than the first. At the beginning, we learn Issa's true identity, but she can't remember her past or her real nature while here in the Lesser World. We also find out about her `Forever-Husband' - but who is he exactly? In part 1, I became attached to the young protagonists Issa and Kae. I spent most of part 2 worrying about what would happen to them. I don't give spoilers, so you'll have to read to find out. I will just say that the mystery and tension kept me reading all day long. Ms. Smythe's ability to create characters fascinates me. All of them, not just Issa and Kae, are fully formed multi-dimensional people. Even many of those among the seemingly bad characters have good qualities, and the apparent good guys really aren't so good. After all, they plan to use Issa in a very harsh way. In fact, are there any true heroes other than Kae? Or for that matter, any real villains except High Priest Rhaldan? The combination of characters is marvelous, and the richness of the world the author has created is fantastic. The number of superlatives I have used in this review may make some skeptics think I am a relative or friend of the author's. I am not. I'm just someone who loves this sub-genre of fantasies and who is (obviously) impressed with this author's talent. Incidentally, the ending left me eagerly anticipating the next book in this series.
  • Anniversary of the Veil-Beginnings: The Beacon on May 30, 2013

    Although this download is just the first portion of the story offered as an introduction to the series, I wanted to post my reviews of the complete first two volumes. I read these two volumes several months ago when they first came out. Now that they are available on Smashwords, I paid for a copy of the boxed set just so I could post my reviews here also. (I think that proves I like the books.) Volime I: Protector I enjoy lengthy fantasies with many characters and complex plots. Therefore, it is no surprise that I love this book. The premises is intriguing and the world-building part of the story is well done. In a crowded genre, it isn't easy to create a fresh and rich fantasy world, but the author has done exactly that. The characters are complicated people -- no black and white cookie-cutter characters here -- which are developed gradually. These are not people who are all good or all bad, except for one high priest (hey, every story needs a good villain). I like that a lot. All real people have both positive and negative qualities and those in this story seem very real. Plus, the main protagonists are very appealing. I won't summarize it to avoid giving spoilers, but following the plot was great fun for me. Yes, the prologue left me a bit confused but that's a good thing. If a prologue explained everything, why would we need the rest of the book? And yes, this book is the first part of a longer story which obviously is not finished at the end of volume one. As I said, that makes it my kind of book. To other readers who may think they won't like such length, I encourage you to try this. It's well worth anyone's time. I will definitely be buying volume two as soon as it becomes available. Volume II: Decision Maker I loved this author's first book `Protector' so I snapped up volume 2 of this series as soon as it became available. If possible, this book is even better than the first. At the beginning, we learn Issa's true identity, but she can't remember her past or her real nature while here in the Lesser World. We also find out about her `Forever-Husband' - but who is he exactly? In part 1, I became attached to the young protagonists Issa and Kae. I spent most of part 2 worrying about what would happen to them. I don't give spoilers, so you'll have to read to find out. I will just say that the mystery and tension kept me reading all day long. Ms. Smythe's ability to create characters fascinates me. All of them, not just Issa and Kae, are fully formed multi-dimensional people. Even many of those among the seemingly bad characters have good qualities, and the apparent good guys really aren't so good. After all, they plan to use Issa in a very harsh way. In fact, are there any true heroes other than Kae? Or for that matter, any real villains except High Priest Rhaldan? The combination of characters is marvelous, and the richness of the world the author has created is fantastic. The number of superlatives I have used in this review may make some skeptics think I am a relative or friend of the author's. I am not. I'm just someone who loves this sub-genre of fantasies and who is (obviously) impressed with this author's talent. Incidentally, the ending left me eagerly anticipating the next book in this series. (reviewed the day of purchase)
  • y1 on June 05, 2013

    Having read Ms. Cronin's previous novel x0, I had high expectations for this book and I was not disappointed. This is a marvelously complex tale combining a credible murder mystery with South Seas romance and corporate intrigue. Filled with a cast of real and likeable characters, plus a few bad ones too, it tackles major social and ethical issues without being preachy and it's all wrapped up in a highly entertaining story that grabs your attention and keeps it. Plus, I love books with multiple intertwined story lines which all merge together before the end. Ms. Cronin clearly does a great deal of research to ensure that the realism part of her magical realism is in fact accurate, and the fantasy elements are very well done. I don't want to give spoilers so just take my word for it - this book is excellent. No wait; don't take my word for it. Read it yourself.
  • z2 on June 05, 2013
    (no rating)
    I'm a big fan of this author's first two books, 'x0' and 'y1', so it is no surprise that I love this third volume of the series. Once again she has put together a marvelous tale. I don't know of anyone doing better in the genre of magical realism than she does. All of the books involve the fictional Zeitman family with a different member featured in each volume -- Lola (wife/mother) in the first, Zane (son) in the second, and now Alex (husband/father). Each character is a very real and believable person who just happens to have a special ability. The author is unafraid of tackling serious social problems, in this case racism, and she does so without being preachy. She also does a lot of research so the facts in the 'realism' part of magical realism are always accurate. (That makes those of us who just make stuff up as we go along feel lazy.) I don't give spoilers so all I will say about the story is that there are two subplots, each with its own set of characters, and that the story-lines merge and the characters meet each other. As before, the ending is very upbeat and optimistic. As a skeptic, I would not expect such happy endings in the real world. In the Zeitman family's world, however, the conclusion shows the way things could be -- and should be. I find this approach very encouraging. Note: Each book is a stand-alone story, but 'z2' makes enough references to events in 'x0' and 'y1' that it would help if they are read in order. Believe me, all three volumes are definitely worth reading.
  • Imperfect on Aug. 16, 2013

    It has been a long time since I was a young adult and my interest now is mostly based on a desire to write something in this genre. I am, however, very well versed in the dystopian genre. Admittedly, I am just estimating (rather than knowing) what young people like, but it seems to me that they will enjoy this book, especially those in the 12-16 category. Two things kept me turning pages, the characters and the mysteries. As other reviewers have already said, the characters are likable and I really wanted to find out what happened to them. Also, the book has lots of secrets which are revealed gradually. I like that. (I don't give spoilers so don't expect me to tell what those secrets are.) The world of the story is well-drawn. It has a nice balance of similarities and differences to our world. Overall, I believe this will do well with its target audience.
  • Forever Husband (Anniversary of the Veil, Book 3) on Oct. 15, 2013

    I've raved about the first two volumes of the series and I'm happy to say that the final volume is just as outstanding. We learn more about the realm of the Highers where Rhyssa was linked with Kraytan, her Forever Husband. When they move to the Lower world, they are mortal humans named Issa and Kae -- and they have no memory of their existence as Highers. You'll have to read the first two volumes to get the whole story, but at the end of part 2, Issa returns to the Higher world and become Rhyssa again. Her mindless body remains alive below and the heart-broken Kae loves her as much as always. Rhyssa longs for Kraytan to return to her -- but that can't happen until Kae dies in the Lower world. I can't adequately describe the situation in a paragraph but after reading the book it will all be clear to you. I don't give spoilers, but even if I did, I could never give justice to this marvelous complex plot. As before, the characters are exceptionally well drawn and once again I found myself reacting to characters as if they were real people I know and care about. The ending is not what you expect but it fascinated me. It's powerful, bittersweet and emotional. As I presume is obviously, I recommend this series highly. Read it and you won't forget it.
  • In the Beginning on Oct. 26, 2013

    As other reviews have mentioned, this book is a mystery which combines Biblical history with science fiction. If that's not original, I don't know what is.The plot is intriguing but the characters caught my attention the most. They are so well drawn that they seem like real people and not fictional characters. The main protagonist, a woman named Justin, is a Biblical archaeologist who (as you would expect) is very religious. For example, she adamantly refuses to believe in evolution. She also suffers from depression and anxiety and has major doubts about herself. That makes her very sympathetic to me. All members of her very large family (eight siblings including her) come across as individuals rather than just background figures. Her brilliant but slightly daffy sister Claire is the most appealing of the bunch, and Justin's husband comes across as someone you would like having live next door. In other words, these are the opposite of action-figure cookie-cutout characters and you can really relate to them. At one point, I was more concerned about Justin's mental health than about whether she discovered the answer to the mysterious secret. She does figure out the secret, of course, but I don't give spoilers so I'm avoiding giving clues. Anyone who enjoys good stories will like this book but those who prefer good stories about real people will be even more impressed.
  • The Colors of Passion and Love on Jan. 19, 2014

    I like this book. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review but that fact does not affect my opinion in any way. I hate spoilers and so do not give summaries of books when I write reviews. I prefer getting straight to the things I like or dislike. First, the characters are very well drawn – and not just the two main leads. Daina and Jode are also appealing individuals who seem like real people. Second, the love story is well done. Let me mention that I am old and curmudgeonly and never ever read romance novels. This book is NOT one of those tired stereotyped stories. The wedding night scene especially is both sweet and sexy. Admittedly, this is one of those true-love-at-first-sight tales but the author gives a fresh take with an explanation of how it happened. Technically it’s a ‘scientific’ explanation within the framework of this fantasy world although we would call it magic here in the mundane real world. Other reviewers have commented about some overly detailed descriptions of the land and about a somewhat abrupt ending. I agree with them, but that does not stop this book from being an enjoyable tale worthy of praise.
  • z2 on July 24, 2014

    I'm a big fan of this author's first two books, 'x0' and 'y1', so it is no surprise that I love this third volume of the series. Once again she has put together a marvelous tale. I don't know of anyone doing better in the genre of magical realism than she does. All of the books involve the fictional Zeitman family with a different member featured in each volume -- Lola (wife/mother) in the first, Zane (son) in the second, and now Alex (husband/father). Each character is a very real and believable person who just happens to have a special ability. The author is unafraid of tackling serious social problems, in this case racism, and she does so without being preachy. She also does a lot of research so the facts in the 'realism' part of magical realism are always accurate. (That makes those of us who just make stuff up as we go along feel lazy.) I don't give spoilers so all I will say about the story is that there are two subplots, each with its own set of characters, and that the story-lines merge and the characters meet each other. As before, the ending is very upbeat and optimistic. As a skeptic, I would not expect such happy endings in the real world. In the Zeitman family's world, however, the conclusion shows the way things could be -- and should be. I find this approach very encouraging. Note: Each book is a stand-alone story, but 'z2' makes enough references to events in 'x0' and 'y1' that it would help if they are read in order. Believe me, all three volumes are definitely worth reading.
  • c3 on July 24, 2014

    I loved the first three books in Ms. Cronin's "46. Ascending" series, and if this review seems similar to those I wrote for "x0," "z1," and "y2," it should not be a surprise. Each book features one member of the fictional Zeitman family (in this case teenage daughter Teddy). The genre is 'magical realism' which isn't exactly fantasy and not exactly science fiction either. The main characters are real, believable people who just happen to have a special power. Once again the author tackles a very serious and harsh subject, in this case the sex trade. I don't give spoilers so I won't give a lot of plot details -- I suggest you read the author's summary instead. Despite certain similarities among the four books in the series, none of them are repetitive. Like the others, "c3" is a unique story. I like books with multiple plot-lines and those here are easy to follow. Some of the scenes are severe -- as I said, this is about the sex trade -- but I think anyone from the late teens to adults would benefit from reading this. Anyone who has read "x0" will understand what I mean. As are the other volumes, this is a stand-alone story but if you are new to the series, I do suggest reading "x0" first. That way, the 'sudden' appearance of Teddy's mother's special talent won't be a surprise. (It really wasn't sudden.) I remain very impressed with Ms. Cronin's talents and have thoroughly enjoyed each book. I did receive a free copy of 'C3" but was under no obligation to write a review for it. In fact, I purchased a copy on Smashwords just so I could post this review here.