"A Luminous Future” starts off in a small village named Lupoaia with the Securitate (police) coming to take Flonta Pavel away as his young son and wife watch helplessly. The mom unfortunately suffers a miscarriage, and it is noted that the phrase “you are coming with us” will become a recurring theme in this book. As it was, and the father is deemed a CHIABUR, an “enemy of the people”. No, he wasn’t killing people or even hurting them…under the communist regime he was considered an enemy because he was “rich” (rich being used very loosely here). He had 2 people that worked for him a few months of the year, therefore in the eyes of the communist government he was some sort of tycoon. Crazy! So many times while reading this book I found myself shaking my head in disbelief or lifting my jaw up off the floor because it was so incredible. But there were also times that I laughed and smiled and genuinely felt the emotions of the characters. I think the grandpa Toderea was my favorite, but they were all amazing and wonderfully drawn. I am very pleased that their story was told and I hope others read and find enjoyment in it like I have.
Just when I’ve thought I’d read it all, something comes along and totally blows my socks off! It isn’t often that I am genuinely impressed by an Indie author, as so many of them make the same mistakes over and over (too much ‘telling’, info dumps, poor editing…) but this was not the case with “Blood Skies” by Steven Montano. Right away I was pulled into this dark and twisted future/fantasy world he created (set in the time “AB”—“After the Black”) when the world is nothing like we know it to be, dark and evil creatures rule the lands, magic is everywhere, and humans are at the bottom of the food chain. It was absolute gripping storytelling and I am really excited to read the rest of the “Blood Skies” series!!
Apparently “Angel’s Gate” by Andrew J. Rafkin is based on a true story…well, I don’t know if that is true or not, but nevertheless it is a darn fine book! Of course having the element of it being “true” definitely adds some panache to the story. The plot, one of some ordinary Joes pulling off a HUGE financial heist is one we all can relate to. But what made this book really special in my mind was the various narration tracts the author used, showing different perspectives of the characters and what they were thinking, and occasionally pulling away to give an overview of the story at large, like detailing other crimes (the Luftansa Heist), or murders, or events of the day…almost docu-style, full of facts and informative, but not as dry. Very, very good.
I’m really picky about books that I give five stars to and this one hovered around a four for me until the end… and the fact that even a week later (when writing this review) I’m still thinking about it and told my mom she had to read it. So I think I’ll be giving it a five! I looked over the review I wrote for this author’s other book “Along the Watchtower” and was pleasantly surprised to see that many of the elements I was so impressed with in that one were clearly present in “Daughter of Sea and Sky”: mainly his ability to create emotion without writing overly emotional or sappy scenes. Just genuine reflection. There is a sense of gentle restraint, not the overly dramatic and contrived antics of someone trying to “create” a reaction or emotion. Everything that happens feels real and authentic, even if it bordered on a tinge to ‘sweet’ at times. It was balanced nicely by darker elements. I’m glad I read this one and will know to be on the lookout for more David Litwack in the future!
Each of these stories, although all different in regards to the plot, they were all very, very good. The writing is top notch, and the editing nearly flawless, but I was surprised to see several instances of two speakers in one paragraph. But the details Mr. Parsons uses in his writing… they are just great and really show the characters (and their motivations) and the dialogues were some of the best I’ve read. Very natural and authentic. The tales range from being light and humorous to unexpectedly dark, even painful at times. But they all share an element of the human condition that is fascinating and heart-warming. Well done.