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Smashwords book reviews by Ken
- Future Wasn't
on Sep. 24, 2010
A good short story about a man's quest to change the present as we know it. Would like to see this idea expanded a bit more and go deeper into the consequences of altering reality.
on Sep. 27, 2010
A gripping horror short story. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
- The Tear Thief
on Sep. 30, 2010
The author has created a rich world but the novella only touches a small part of it. The story starts off well with gentle introduction of its characters, but the finale which brings all the characters together seemed a bit rushed.
- Sage: Tales from a Magical Kingdom
on Oct. 01, 2010
This is a collection of three fantasy stories around a group of characters. What makes this fantasy refreshing is that the protagonist is a grandmother magician. The stories are about her quest to help protect not only her kingdom but also her family. I would love to see more stories with these characters.
- Spirits Of Glory
on April 23, 2012
Spirits of Glory is a short yet interesting and thought provoking science fiction story about a young girl's quest to discover why people disappeared from her planet. Initially the girl Hawkeye is a little timid and is reluctant to go on this journey with the mysterious Neighbors. However as the story progresses Hawkeye grows more confident and learns to handle herself better in different circumstances.
In Spirits of Glory, Devenport has created an intriguing world that I very much enjoyed. The planet that Hawkeye lives on is called Jigsaw because it suffers from a number of Time Fractures. A Time Fracture is basically a time bubble that traps everyone within it in the present, which means that everything takes longer to complete in the bubble than outside of it. This also has the side effect where people on Jigsaw are more mature than their appearance.
As for the general theme of the book, I couldn't help but feel a sense of eeriness throughout the story. You know something had happened on Jigsaw and caused the disappearance of half the planet but you're not quite sure what. There are also talks of spirits and gods that punished the inhabitants for the wrongdoings and yet you never quite see them. Devenport does a great job in conveying these points in her writing and helps the readers become familiar with them at a steady pace.
Devenport writes with wonderful and compelling prose that keeps you hooked on the story but I felt the pacing is a little slow for my liking. However the story as a whole more than makes up for this minor complaint.
Spirits of Glory is a YA novel that is different from what's currently popular on the market. It is a coming of age story that focuses on self-discovery through knowledge rather than physical/supernatural power or through beauty. A recommended read if you are looking for a unique YA novel with deep meaning.
on April 24, 2012
I find it hard to articulate my thoughts for Hoodie because it is such a realistic portrayal of youths of today. Reviewing this story is like commenting on someone’s life choices, you can say all you want but would you have done so differently if you were in his shoes? Hoodie may not suit everyone’s tastes but it is a poignant story offering deep insights into the hardships that modern teenagers face.
Hoodie is essentially a coming of age story about a young man, Ben or better known as Hoodie and his misspent summer. Ben like most boys at the age of 15 turning 16 likes to hang out with his mates, have a few drinks and maybe smoke a little weed. He has just finished his GCSEs and thinks he is now ready to enter into a world filled with opportunities and achieve anything he sets his mind to, be it a job or a girl. Sadly the real world doesn’t work like that and he faces one disappointment after another as the story progresses.
To make matters worse, a divide is appearing among his mates now that everyone has different goals in their lives. One wants to continue with his education while another wants to continue their business in wheeling and dealing drugs. What can Ben do to keep the group together?
Ben is not a bad kid, he is smart and sensitive. He is just missing a figure to guide him in the right direction. Coming from a broken family and lacking a father figure means he had to grow up much quicker than he was ready for.
Hoodie is an interesting story that I find a lot of resonance with. The writing is spot on for describing emotions such as the loneliness inside, where you can be in a room full of people you care the most yet still feel so alienated.
I think it’s this frightening sense of vivid realness that put some people off this book. It is a book that deals with real life issues, and not a rose-tinted version of it. Everyday many people are going through the things described in this book. I think more adults should read this to get a better understanding of what is happening to their children.
There are some scenes that I feel are over the top, but I believe they are needed and suited the nature of the book. They offer a fitting finish to a story that I could not imagine ending any other way.
While reading this book, I can’t help but draw comparison to Kes or A Kestrel for a Knave. Both books deal with a young working class boy and the very real troubles that they face. I feel Hoodie is an updated version depicting what life is like in the early twenty first century. I hope this story will make its way into more young adults’ hands. Maybe one day the examination board will assign this book as one of the reading books for GCSE.
- Jack Hunter Secret of the King
on April 26, 2012
If you loved National Treasure then you will definitely love Jack Hunter - Secret of the King. There is excitement, adventure, horrible villains and treasure, pretty much everything you ever wanted in a children's novel.
The story of Jack's adventure begins with a gold coin and a mystery from his grandfather. Being 12 years of age and having too much spare time, Jack quickly begins to unravel the mystery behind the gold coin and its secret treasure. However Jack is not the only one who is interested in finding the treasure. Can Jack and his friends get to it before the other person does?
Jack Hunter reminds me of the classic adventure stories that I used to read when I was younger. It is fast paced and well written novel with a fine cast of engaging characters. Each member of the group has their own strengths and brings a good balance to the dynamics of the group. I also enjoyed how the book mixes history and myths together to add a bit of extra depth to this highly imaginative story.
You should also pay attention to the little clues found in the book as they help reveal the secret to unlocking the puzzle on the author's website.
Jack Hunter - Secret of the King is a fun and exciting start to an adventure series for young readers.
- Feng Shui Assassin
on Aug. 08, 2012
Feng Shui and Assassin are not two words that you would normally associate with each other but the book Feng Shui Assassin gives this concept a good go and brings a new angle to the ancient Chinese believe of Feng Shui. This book is essentially a tale of revenge and reminds me of those classic Hong Kong Wuxia movies, a little silly at times but extremely entertaining to read.
Harvey Barker is the aforementioned assassin in the book and he is killing off the people who are responsible for his sister's death by using Feng Shui. The idea of using Feng Shui to cause death is a neat idea but my only gripe is that the effects happened too damn fast. Harvey managed to cause one of his targets to commit suicide in the space of a few minutes just by offsetting some pictures and paperwork. If Feng Shui is so powerful then there would be many more people winning the lottery instantly because of how they dressed or how their rooms are laid out.
Anyway, Harvey is not the only supernatural killer out there and soon he faces a Yoga master, a hitman with the ability to kill people with his origami objects as well as others. The abilities sound funny but the fight between the Feng Shui assassin and the Yoga master was pretty exciting to read. If you've ever read any Naruto then you definitely have an idea how Chakra is used in the fight scene.
This was a fun read and Hall has done a wonderful job combining mystical arts from a number of different cultures into a highly imaginative story. The story has excellent pacing and never a dull moment. The story is a refreshing change from the magic spells, vampires or werewolves that we see so often in urban fantasy.
I don't know if the author is planning to write any more stories but I'm definitely looking forward to some more.