J.L. Low

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Smashwords book reviews by J.L. Low

  • Uprising on Feb. 08, 2013

    I liked the pace of this book - it wasn't exactly action-packed and fast but it did not drag on forever and was never boring. There're no fluffs either, which is great because I hate fluffs. It's one of the few books that I did not feel the urge to skip to the end right away and trust me, I've been skipping a lot recently. Besides, the plot was awesome. This book has some serious world building going on in there that can fill a whole codex of its own. I hope Jayne will get about explaining more about the system in later books. It's just so fascinating! As of now, I'm just glad that she didn't choose to ditch one whole chunk of information in my face. I just got a ton piled gently on my lap for me to sort through. I liked the characters, though at times I wished that I feel for them a little more. It's like I can relate to them yet I don't connect with them. I guess it's because I read the excerpt and fell in love with Tyre... Only to find out that he really wasn't the highlight of the story. A big wth in my face, especially since I really, really loved Tyre. I kept thinking he'll be back as some badass villain somewhere in the book. It's stupid, really, considering that this book had been on my want-to-read list since before it was published and I had read the blurb a thousand times. That said, there were some pretty touching moments when I really felt sad for the characters and some really hilarious ones too. Things always get sensitive when dealing with angels, especially when it comes to religion - atheists will get offended if the concept about God was forced too strongly on them, those who are devoted to their religion will feel repulsed if anything overly sacrilegious was spilled. Uprising did a good job of dancing around the whole religious thing, making Chinese zodiac, horoscopes and not to mention various religions work in tandem. I mean, I guess religious fanatics will still have a word or two to say but for the majority of the population, it doesn't get to the point where it is offensive. If you need something to measure against, I found the movie Legion (2008) offensive, and I wasn't even brought up in a devoted family. The whole the human soul can choose to be a girl/boy thing made me feel a little uncomfortable, so to speak, but it was really fun in a crazy manner. Disturbing but interesting. Despite all the good stuff in this book, I can't deny that it has its weaknesses too. For instance, I got the feeling that the referencing to all the astronomy lacked deep, detailed research work and Jayne was trying to make do with brushing over the surface. There's really nothing wrong to it since it's not the main focus of the story but stronger referencing that can give readers some insight to astronomy would have been a major WOW factor. There's also a few things that I didn't quite understand. Plots that didn't quite make sense. The whole "surrender" reasoning feels a little forced, to me, but I can live with it. Overall, it's an awesome read and I would really recommend people to try it.
  • Dawn of Spears on July 08, 2013

    So there was this army. And there was war. And there were dragons and wolves and princesses. And somehow, in the midst of all that, there was a happily ever after. Um... Okay, wait, what? Honestly, for a book this short, it did well. What I would have appreciated was a little conversation. If this was a work written for some one-shot fiction competition, it would have been good. As it is, giving it 4 stars would be doing an injustice to the other story that I gave 4 stars to but were really much better.
  • Sword of the Gods: The Chosen One on July 26, 2013

    Erishkigal is nothing if not a master at writing characters. With her characters, it's as if all of them were actually my friends in real life and I can actually feel their joy, sorrow, pain and remorse as the story progresses. I particularly enjoyed reading about a Lucifer who is not a downright evil reincarnated for once. The awesome thing about Erishkigal is, she manages to make readers sympathize with her villains while still root for her heroes. The world that she created was interesting to read but I'm not sure how well first time readers would take it. For me, I entered the world without problem because I read Angel of Death first, so I already knew who the true villains were. Overall, it's an enjoyable read and I certainly recommend this book for anyone looking for a good epic fantasy about angels.
  • Serving Time on Sep. 12, 2013

    I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review. To be honest, there were so many reasons for me not to want to read this book. For a start, I made a vow never to read anything from the science fantasy genre years ago because my first encounter with one was absolutely horrible. Also, I'm guilty of judging a book by its cover and this book's cover certainly isn't all that breathtaking. On top of all that, the blurb wasn't all that fascinating. Getting the book from the giveaway was a complete accident. The next thing I knew, Ducca sent me a coupon code to get the book for free from Smashwords. Somehow, that got to me in a way that she wouldn't have if she had simply attached a pdf file in her email so I decided to give the book a go. I certainly did not regret it. Reading "Serving Time" felt very much like playing a game of "Tag" - you run round and round in circles, not really knowing what you're doing but having a great time all the same. Before you start reading this book, I must first warn you that the Prologue simply isn't the most impressive beginning that you can encounter in a book. In fact, you'd be thinking that it's one of those cliché stories you've spent your entire childhood reading. I can't guarantee that you will love the book, but I can certainly guarantee that it's not going to be the most cliché thing you've ever read, either. I love how Ducca decided to skip the whole lovey-dovey teenage romance angst crap and give us a story of two brothers instead. Two brothers who happen to be in two different sort of mess and very much require one another to stay sane. The only problem is, I don't feel emotionally connected to either of them. I don't feel the brotherly love between them. There were so many scenes which have so much potential to be heartwarming and yet they merely made me feel like, "meh". In many ways, the two of them merely felt like two long lost friends and I had to be reminded over and over again that they were indeed siblings. Robert and Seth had a lot of potential to be great and yet I felt like both their characters fell flat. The other supporting characters weren't much better, even though I did like the rat quite a bit. The world setting was fairly interesting, even if most of everything did not get sorted out properly. The whole concept about how Logos (the Creator of the universe) went MIA, leaving Time, Lucifer and his cronies to run the world was fun and interesting. I especially liked the part with the Triangulate Sisters. Also, I hope that we get to see more of the Cloud Stone and Imagine people in the future. The plot was interesting but as I mentioned earlier, left me feeling like I was running around in meaningless circles. The ending made me feel betrayed, angry, sad, happy, relieved and confused all at once, if that was even remotely possible.. Long story short, this is one of those stories that have a lot of potential to be great. We'll just have to stay tuned to find out how the sequel turned out to be.