Half Brains, Sacred Water book 1

Rated 4.00/5 based on 4 reviews
“Half Brains” the first book of the Sacred Water trilogy, is set in a pre-industrial world. The people face extinction because their only source of iodine, the Sacred Water, is being stolen by an unknown enemy. My story opens with Daniel, the young Healer from the Forest, knocking timidly on a door in the Northern Palace. He had been summoned to evaluate the king’s daughter who More
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About Charles Kaluza

I am a retired ENT, Head and Neck Surgeon with a love of Science Fiction. The science and medicine in my books is based on reality with some room for growth.

I was forced to retire because of medical problems but still enjoy life with a little fishing, flying and sailing to supplement the joy of my wife, children and grandchildren.

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Review by: Stephen1966 on Sep. 17, 2016 :
This was one of a series of three books that captivated me from the start. I am usually a science fiction reader, although it was suggested that I read this trilogy and I have enjoyed every minute. The writing style is clear and although alternative, it suits the earlier era and timeline. An interesting read, with embedded knowledge about how our ancestors might have thought and reacted in the past. I have added Doc Kaluza as a favorite author and look forward to many more of his books ... hopefully of the sci-fi genre. Thanks Doc. [this review is the same for each of the trilogy books]
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Review by: MattPearson on Dec. 9, 2014 :
I very much enjoyed this series. The characters: Daniel, Heather, Jeremy, Betty and others were admirable, and I grew attached to them. The plot was good. the challenges and adventures presented to the characters were suspenseful and the scientific/mechanical explanations were interesting. I looked forward to reading a chapter each night during the last quiet minutes of my day.
My thanks to the author.
(review of free book)
Review by: Dean Thompson on April 8, 2014 :
I have struggled with how to rate this series. On the whole I enjoyed it, and so have given it a positive score, but like Heidi I did struggle with the writing style.

The storyline, characters and some of the issues and prejudices covered are very good, and by the end of the series the major characters have been developed pretty well. There is plenty of action, which is for the most part beleivable, and the scientific tidbits (hyperthyroidism, gunpowder, steam cannons, various medical operations - including their effect on bystanders! ) are also sufficiently accurate.

The writing style clearly shows that the author is a science rather than english major. Sometimes it reads more like a documentary rather than a novel. Also there are some editing issues (for example 'princes' rather than 'princess' and 'of' instead of 'off') but generally ones own brain corrects these on the fly.

Also, this is a fantasy book, not science fiction.

And for the interested readers, Iodine deficiency can cause goitre, hypothoiroidism, and cretinisim, involving both physical and mental retardation. So symptoms shown in the book are accurate in that respect.

I was a bit disappointed though in the importance placed on simple iodine in the book. I know it was critical to the plot (and close to the authors experience), but it is only one of many such critical elements/compounds, and it was a bit unreal that all societies understood and placed great importance on the need for iodine but for example would happily go on long sea voyages without fresh fruit and suffer no consequences.

While I appreciate the attempt to show different language behaviour I found that the constant generation of negative constructs by simply placing the word "not" after the verb (and in many cases after a phrase) made these sections difficult to read (I suspect especially so for younger readers). At times it was difficult to determine what the 'not' was referring. Here is an example from book 3. "He should take not such a great risk". He means "should not take" but it could easily be read as "not such a great risk". With multiple languages used by the characters within the book there was scope for some variation in speech to show which language was being used, rather than simply one size (which is different than our english) fits all.

On the whole though, I found it to be an enjoyable series.
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Review by: Heidi C. Vlach on Nov. 15, 2010 :
I was distracted from Sacred Water's story by its amateurish writing. Nearly every sentence is in simple subject-verb-object formation. "Daniel does this. Daniel does that. He then started doing something else". This repetitive structure makes the writing sound clunky. Description is often skipped over in favour of stark "telling" (ie. "The royal physicians were obviously becoming concerned", instead of noting their facial expressions or other indicators of concern). Tired cliches such as "limp as a rag doll" are used. Because of the simplistic writing style and distant POV, the characters don't seem have any emotions -- they're just doing tasks and speaking words.

It's a shame, because the vocabulary and customs are mostly believeable in their setting. The ailing royals and their medical drama has the potential for an interesting plot, with the mystery and drama established early on. But I felt like I was reading a synopsis instead of a finished piece of prose. Development of the characters and refinement of the writing style would improve this story greatly.
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