Anna Fantabulous

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Smashwords book reviews by Anna Fantabulous

  • Train to Nowhere on Feb. 01, 2015

    A sci-fi with trains and horses - in exactly that order - about a dystopian society created by humans when they saw our world at a crossroads of shrinking population. The new world order is run by Admin (part machine, part-human) and consists of 3 groups of people with unclear functions: ‘Orphans’ who ride a self-propelled train for eternity, only seeing simulations of land. Some of them are groomed to take over as Admin staff. We are introduced to the hero Garland who is an Orphan, a singing artist with a female partner Little Byte. He is also student of Dos who is a librarian and fitness guru. He dreams of jumping off the train and seeing the world. He can’t. The second group of people are called ‘Landed’ (who ride trains that are pulled by 21 horses but they get off and hold jobs as farmers, shopkeepers, solar energy workers etc.). Hedge is the villain, and at 19 he is 6 months younger to Garland. He is an excellent performer (who cheats his way up the ranks), has a solo act dancing and playing violin, and is part of prestigious Golden Performers Guild. He is happy where he is. The third group is that of ‘Nomads’ (who live in the wild - think the Wild West and Native Americans). Orphans and Landed are ‘scored’ by Admin and take orders from computers ‘Mentor’ and ‘Landed Authority’ respectively which hand out rewards and punishments while Nomads have to fend for themselves and have their own spiritual guide / Authority called ‘That-Who-Knows’. Admin lives in a hidden city beneath them all in an underground station. The conflict in the story arises when Admin finds out the truth about Hedge: that his Landed parents were given a child to raise and that child was Garland and that the parents did not accept this decision. They procreated to have Hedge and when he turned three they bribed some record keeper into changing the fate of Garland: who was thrown on the Orphan train. So technically, Hedge is living a life not meant for him and not ordained by the Admin. The Authority sets out to ‘right the wrong’ and banishes Hedge to Orphan train and replaces him in Landed with Garland. This makes Hedge angry, resentful and vengeful - he wants nothing more than to get his place in the Guild back, even if he has to kill a few people on the way. Garland, however, is happy because he gets to breathe in open air for once and not just that - he soon runs off to be with Nomads, enter into a marriage of convenience with Mystery Rider, falls for her and the Nomad way of life. The showdown between the two seemed whimsical to me - instead of guns, swords, blows or even mental gimmickry, Garland and Hedge have a duel of songs and violin-playing! But it’s Piper’s world and it’s original. I received a free copy of the book in exchange for a fair, unbiased and non-reciprocal review.
  • Broken Blades Don't Sing (Tales of Ashkar Book One) on Oct. 26, 2015

    Interesting fantasy adventure set in a galaxy far far away! There are creatures on the planet who have their own inner plus-one: i.e. beings that give them the power over one of the 8 elements: Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Ice, Lightning, Time, and Space. The main hero is Serraemas, whose elemental being is Zaranet, giving him the power over Ice. Raxxil, whose elemental essence is Vrand, giving him the power of Fire. Erendil, whose elemental being is Akaba, giving him the power of Space (or at least sensing the outlines of shapes and things). The three are either the followers or graduates of The School of Eight founded by elementalists including Masters Wu and Graeme Warren. Samantha Kell, whose elemental being is Kavem - controls Air and heads a regiment of eleven men as Lieutenant of the 11th battalion of the Order of the Faith - basically working for the bureaucracy / king. The paths of all four converge when they must fight the rising demonic force that threatens to annihilate the planet’s creatures. That demon, Orbo, is residing within swashbuckling cynical do-no-gooder Aramal because he carries a grimoire (book, which he found). Karadjian has clearly conceived this as a trilogy, so readers can look forward to more action and mysteries. I had a bit of trouble following the timeline: Serraemas is first introduced as an 8-year old boy in ‘176th Dusk of the 4907th Age of Rimas’; most of the action takes place during ‘347th Dawn of the 4999th Age of Rimas’ with the climax occurring in ‘4th Dusk of the 5000th Age of Lion’ and the book ends at ‘34th Dawn of the 5000th Age of Lion’ when Serraemas is still alive - so how old is the dude? 100? 150? 10,000? Love the nerdy ‘comic book’ cover. I received a free copy of the book in exchange for a fair, unbiased and non-reciprocal review.