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on Sep. 27, 2013 :
I try to keep up with what my son is reading, but since he has much more time than I have this has become an impossible task. Well, he ran out of books, so I downloaded The Slayer and the Sphinx on my Kindle for him - he read it in one night and the next morning he was saying that it was his favorite book, and that he hoped 'They' would make a movie out of it.
It took me a while to find the time to finish it, but when I read it I definitely understood why my son liked it so much. It is a very unique fantasy story set in modern times in our own world rather than in ancient times in a fantastic world. The story moves fast from the very first page and never really slows down. The battle scenes are described clearly, and it is never hard to picture what is happening. The characters are well-developed and themes about trust and honesty give the story more depth than it would have as just a simple adventure story. There is one particular 'white lie' that, I am sure, will have some interesting consequences for the heroes in future books.
This is definitely a great book for older kids and young teens. There is nothing offensive or smutty in it. There is some mild violence in the book, but nothing gross or graphic.
Lastly, I think it is quite impressive how Bolander manages to make an interesting story using such obscure creatures as Sphinxes, Banshees and Chimeras etc. He definitely challenged himself in choosing to write about such creatures instead of focusing on the more traditional goblins, dwarves and elves
(reviewed the day of purchase)
K R Morrison
on Aug. 22, 2013 :
Rarely am I tempted to call in sick to work to finish a book. This was one of those books. (Not that I did.)
Readers who like “epic journey” or “quest” books, along the lines of “The Lord of the Rings”, would love this story. But it is so different from the usual cast of characters. And the reason behind the journey they embark upon is one that I haven’t seen before, at least not exactly with the same background.
Porter Collins is a young man who was taken in as a young child by the Slayers, and raised by the party line: all Mythics are bad, violent, out to destroy all humans, and must be destroyed at every chance.
Hidden elsewhere, Sarah Heisen is a Sphinx who wants nothing more than to see the world. Her parents know the dangers outside of their mansion’s walls, and keep her close.
But the safety net breaks, and Porter and Sarah meet under the worst of circumstances. When Sarah teleports out of the danger zone, she inadvertently takes an unconscious Porter with her. He wakes up with no memory of who he is or why he is with Sarah. All he remembers is his name.
Sarah, for her part, has no idea where she is. Emergency teleportation can do that to a person. She considers killing Porter; after all, those humans were so horrible and nasty–or so she’d been brought up to believe. But she decides against it, hoping she doesn’t regret her decision later on. It seems to her that she is safe as long as his memory doesn’t return.
They set out on their journey to find a hidden Mythic center, hoping to find a way back to Sarah’s parents. On the way, they meet elves, goblins, a Soul Smith named Droma, a chimera by the name of Tick, and a tower full of Mythics and humans living happily together.
All along the way, Porter is trying to remember his past, while Droma and Sarah hope that he does not. Neither knows what will happen if he does. But when Sarah is captured, and Porter shows his cold-blooded Slayer’s talents to rescue her, it becomes imperative that his memory remains hidden - if only for his own safety in that land of mythical creatures.
But their concern becomes moot when they are suddenly attacked by other Slayers, who have found their way there through the forced cooperation of the inhabitants of the forest that Porter and Sarah have wandered through. We leave our heroes fleeing the murderers, with Sarah having learned the full history of the war between the Mythics and the Slayers.
This story, as I mentioned above, was so captivating that nothing else seemed important. The characters were so vivid, and the growing relationship between Sarah and Porter was just right. And the companionship grows into friendship very slowly, as one would expect from the way they originally met.
The lesson is plainly seen, through deftly written words: that every individual should be accepted as who he or she is–not because of background or gender, or nationality. To pre-judge someone because of his/her ancestry is just wrong. Prejudice bred by generations of people adding rumor to half-truths has destroyed so many lives and relationships, and has no place in a world that has enough room for everyone.
Droma’s words to his fellow adventurers ring true, and is prevalent throughout the book: “All creatures are placed on earth for a purpose, even if we cannot see that purpose. To say otherwise is to say that their purpose is inadequate.”
I have to agree one-hundred percent. Thanks for a great story, Mr. Bolander!
(reviewed 7 months after purchase)
on March 07, 2013 :
An unexpectedly delightful read!
So, I went in to reading this particular book (Slayer and the Sphinx) with the mindset that I wasn’t in the mood for a YA novel right now. I just got done reading and reviewing one and, to be quite honest, the plethora that is currently bogging down the market has me kinda set against them.
So it was that I started reading The Slayer and the Sphinx with a closed, perhaps even antagonistic viewpoint.
So it was that the writer was able to surmount such a start – certainly there are aspects of the story that one must stretch one’s imagination when it comes to believability and character interaction (SPOILER: I hate any and all amnesia stories, especially my own), but what do you expect? This is a freakin’ YA novel.
The action is fair, the background and environments are fairly well-written, and the worldbuilding is kinda impressive. With ALL THAT stated, I find that it’s the honesty of the quest itself that impresses me, and while the situation itself may be slightly forced it’s what the characters DO with it that kept me reading, even after I was ready to hurl my smartphone into the fire during that first chapter.
NOW, a powerful con in my book - using the autospellcheck is all good and gravy, but "wad" and "had" are two different words. This happened at several occasions in my reading of the book, and is exactly why a proofreader can save ya the time of doing it yourself...but even if you HAVE to do it yourself, at least it gets done. :3 Despite the VERY few instances this happened, the read was still groovy.
Did you see what I did there? Yup. I meant to do that though...
Yeap, S&S gets a solid 4/5. I WOULD have rated it a 3/5, except the story…man, the story IS pretty good! Good enough that I’m going to get my hands on the sequel (ugh, sequel hook) once I hear that it’s out and, to be quite honest, so should you. :3
~Thomas Duder, Author of the Things
(reviewed 76 days after purchase)
on March 07, 2013 :
The Slayer and the Sphinx is a nice story, short, listed as a novel but the length would make me consider it a novella. It took me less than a day to read, the pacing quick and the prose very easy to get into and flowed really well.
The style reminds me of the classic children’s stories, not patronizing to the young readers, but not above their heads. For the first in this series, I found it to be pretty well done. I liked the characters, they were strong, well fleshed out and there was enough foreshadowing to keep you interested until the next book comes out.
My critiques are that first and foremost, the chapters are often too short. There were plenty of times where the chapters could have been combined into one, and scene breaks could have been used. It was a little jarring to switch chapters after just a few paragraphs.
Also the formatting for the kindle made it difficult to read. Now, being a self-pub author I know how difficult formatting can be for kindle, and the bonus is on the device you can adjust a lot of the formatting for yourself. However, I did have trouble as there didn’t seem to be page breaks used and the chapters were just jammed together which took away from the aesthetics of the book. I imagine in the paperback version that isn’t an issue, since I know formatting is very different between the two, but some adjustments could be made. I also didn’t like the use of as scene breaks. It was a little rough and distracting. Again, these are superficial things, so it shouldn’t take enjoyment out of reading the book itself.
I’m giving the book a three stars, and I definitely think that Bolander is on to something with this book. I would definitely read his other works, and keep my eye out as this series continues.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Feb. 04, 2013 :
The Slayer and the Sphinx was given to me by Adam Bolander in exchange for an honest review.
I am not sure what I expected of this book, but I got so much more! This is an excellent book, which would be great for Middle and High School students. Young Adults, even older adults, would enjoy it!
Porter was sent to kill a family of Mythics. He did not succeed. But what happened to him and to Sarah, the sphinx he had been sent to kill, could never have been planned! They find out that they must rely on each other to stay alive!
I liked this story because it is well-written, and suspenseful. The action began almost from the first word and did not stop until the end.
This story of enemies turned friends is a must-read for everyone!
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)
Mary C. Findley
on Aug. 17, 2012 :
WARNING! This book has a cliffhanger! It's actually the first in a series, a fantasy following the adventures of a boy living in bitterness against "Mythics," creatures we think of as belonging in mythology and fairy tales, but which are real in his world. Porter has been trained, along with others, to kill on sight any of these "monsters." Sarah, by virtue of being a sphinx, falls into that category for Porter.
The theme of the book, "Who really is a monster?" is very well done. It's not just a war between humans and fantastic creatures. It's about digging down inside you and being the right person yourself, no matter what kind of craziness surrounds you. Bolander pays tribute to classic fantasy fiction. Video gamers will find he has given props to elements they love, too.
The descriptions are pretty sparse and it was hard at times to "see" where Porter and Sarah were going and what they were experiencing. Otherwise it was a well-told story and I believe Bolander's tale will grow stronger in future installments and will continue to please fans of the fantasy genre.
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)
on Aug. 11, 2012 :
The Slayer and the Sphinx is one of those books which keeps surprising you. I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading, but when the main character almost immediately got embroiled in a fight with a homeless girl for no apparent reason, I became intrigued. Turns out she was a monster in disguise, and he was sworn to hunt down and destroy such things.
The likable and realistic characters are a large part of what makes this story work so well. I think Porter (the main character) is sometimes unintentionally funny when he doesn't really mean to be, partly because he has such a theatrical streak at times. But he's also noble of heart, and I think that combination is part of what makes him so endearing. Sarah, the other main character, sometimes acts like a spoiled rich girl (which, of course, she is), but then other times she shows a level of compassion and curiosity about the world which we don't normally associate with that type of girl. Those kinds of internal contrasts make both main characters fascinating as individuals.
There were a lot of other things to like about this book; plenty of action, some good sword-play, interesting storyline, and vivid descriptive language. I read it straight through in one sitting and really would have liked to go on to Book Two immediately if it hadn't been way past bedtime already.
As for the bad? Well, not much, really. I thought the use of Elvish language in one chapter detracted from the story a bit at that point. Most of us have had the experience of standing awkwardly while other people hold a conversation in a foreign language we don't understand, and that's what that particular scene reminded me of. There were a few other minor issues like that, but nothing which kept me from enjoying the story.
I would consider the book to be in the young adult category, but I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who likes a good action-adventure story of the modern-fantasy type. It won't disappoint you!
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
on June 20, 2012 :
The Slayer and the Sphinx by Adam Bolander
Too young to travel with her parents Sarah is left at home with the maid Mrs Rasta. During the evening they hear a loud noise, rushing to see where it came from they find themselves under attack by the slayers. Sarah unable to fight well, watches as the slayers kill Mrs Rasta and in an attempt to save herself she teleports to safety accidentally taking Porter; one of the slayers, with her. The pair are lost and confused but soon learn if they are to survive they are going to have to go against all they have ever known and help each other.
The Slayer and the Sphinx is a mostly well written, imaginative read. Written from various POV’s it is sometimes a little repetitive as we get to see the same situation from different people. The protagonists are well developed and likable, even Porter with his many past misdemeanours manages to win over the hearts of the readers with his new direction. Clearly from how the book ends this is the beginning of a series and I think this instalment is a good introduction, taking us into the world of ‘Mythics’ with a balanced mixture of good and evil beings to keep the story moving along at a reasonable pace.
I’m not sure of the age range this book is aimed at, there is action and violence, but not too much so I’m thinking YA or younger, I certainly wouldn’t have any problem with my 11 year old reading this and to be honest I think she would really enjoy it.
Copy supplied for review.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)