Sim

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Smashwords book reviews by Sim

  • Sunset: Pact Arcanum: Book One on July 24, 2011

    4.5 stars! Wow! This is a really difficult book to categorize or define, but I loved it just the same! Ahsanuddin's world building is amazing - very detailed and complete. It's based on the world as we know it, until a terrorist attack causes the magical world, until now hidden from mortal eyes, to be suddenly and shockingly unveiled. This world is based on vampires - Nightwalkers; Sentinals - mortals genetically programmed to become supernatural hunters of vampires/defenders of humanity upon first contact with a nightwalker; and Daywalkers - former nightwalkers who have regained their souls (the process of which shall remain undisclosed in this review). All three of these races have access to magic and some form of psychic ability. They are also technologically advanced - AI's, teleportation and space travel in particular - way beyond humanity's progress in the same areas. Ahsanuddin's science/physician's background obviously shows through here as everything is neat and logical without (well, for me anyway) glaring inconsistencies. The main characters, on the whole, are somewhat on the dark side, with tortured pasts for many of them. One of the key themes throughout this novel is 'Magic requires sacrifice' and that is certainly reflected in many of the characters. Many have painful pasts with heavy emotional or personal losses. Yet there is also a hope for redemption and a hope for love, despite all the struggles, for many of them too. In many ways, the bare glimmer of hope is all they have to continue the struggle through dark times. For me, this is one area I could use a little more emotional connection to the characters. For me, Ahsanuddin's writing left me a little detached from all the turmoil and I personally would prefer a bit more involvement with the characters. Others, indeed, may find they prefer the small distancing effect. One small quibble - at times I found that significant time had passed from one paragraph to the next (say, for example, 6 months), but the time lapse is not apparent till a few more paragraphs later. I then needed to go back a bit to make sure I hadn't missed something, throwing me out of the story for a time. This may be due to the particular file format I read it in, or it just be the way it was written; either way I found it a little disconcerting. I recommend this novel for readers who love fantasy and sci-fi, and also those who like non-traditional M/M romance. Personally, i really enjoyed this novel, and I'm looking forward to the next novel by this author.
  • Storm of Passion on July 27, 2011

    Storm of Passion, set in deep in the heart of the American south, is a heartwarming story of two men, best friends  since childhood, who after 10 years apart,  finally reunite. One is gay (Jaime), one is straight (Parker) but that had never interfered with their friendship in the past. The reunion brings fond memories of their shared past, but it also sparks something new... The author's own southern roots are clearly heard in this story - the narrative and dialogue are filled with the charm, wisdom and humor characteristic of the south.  Rhodes manages to fit a lifetime of emotion into the few days over which this story (mostly) takes place. His characters are clear individuals, defined by some interesting quirks, while humor and compassion underly the story with a dose of sexual tension on the side.This was a fun read that also made me warm inside.
  • Sunrise: Pact Arcanum: Book Two on Aug. 07, 2011

    4.5 stars Sunrise is the second novel in Arshad Ahsanuddin's Pact Arcanum series, although by time sequence, it actually serves as a prequel. Again, Ahsanuddin's world building is excellent, remaining neat and logical, with the origins of quite a few of the technological advances explained (well, sort of - it is fiction after all) . Indeed, other origins are also explained, particularly that of the Sentinels through the Pact Arcanum, and Rory's conversion to the Redeemer.   The novel also details many of the memory/dream/flashback sequences from the first novel, Sunset, as they happened, with much greater depth, successfully giving the reader a much deeper appreciation of the events, and making the depth of not only Nick's  suffering clearer, but also of those around him, particularly Rory and Scott. Oddly though, despite all the pain clearly detailed, I remained slightly distant from the characters - I have yet to decide whether this is a good or bad thing, as some of the events are truly dark and bleak (continuing the theme of 'Magic requires Sacrifice') and I suspect I might have been overwhelmed by it at times, if not for the distancing effect. It is also odd, that although I knew what the end result of many of the scenes would be from having read Sunset, Ahsanuddin's  writing still drew me into the story, keeping me enthralled, as each scene still somehow felt fresh or new. I would definitely recommend this novel to those who enjoyed the first, as I found the details and explanations of events found in Sunset to be very satisfying. In fact, I think I will actually  re-read Sunset before tackling the third novel in the series, Moonlight.
  • Moonlight: Pact Arcanum: Book Three on Oct. 12, 2011

    4.5 stars. I must admit to being hesitant to read this third installment of the Pact Arcanum series, as in this novel, the focus of the story shifts from Nick's love triangle, the Triumvirate and Nick's close friends who are the Winds, to a slightly younger generation of leaders; I love the characters of Nick and his cronies, so I was rather reluctant to leave them behind... In Moonlight, it is Nick's younger brother, Tobias who assumes the lead character, and unsurprisingly, his friends also become more important within this story. Ahsanuddin's world building has always been mind-blowingly impressive; detailed, complex, and logical; and in this novel, his record remains unblemished. As the story evolves, new elements are required in his world, and these new elements fit seamlessly into the existing infrastructure. The plot, again unsurprisingly, remains on the dark side, with the cruel realities and sacrifices of war and politics once again very apparent. The change of focus away from Nick and his friends is also reflected in a small change of genre; moving from a sci-fi/fantasy-romance to being a straight sci-fi/fantasy. The few love and sex scenes found in the previous two novels are non-existent in this novel, except by inference and for the characters' motivations for their actions. Previously, I had commented that I remained a little emotionally detached from Ahsanuddin's characters, and while this remained unchanged for me, the impact was of a much lesser consequence given the shift away from romance. The gap left by the removal of the romance was filled instead by even greater complexity of storyline, some threads of which fully developed, while other threads remained to hint of things to come in future novels. While I personally mourn the distancing of Nick and the loss of romance, I also still really enjoyed this novel for what it is - a highly developed sci-fi/fantasy novel, and would happily recommend it to those who love reading the genre.
  • Moonlight: Pact Arcanum: Book Three on Oct. 12, 2011

    4.5 stars. I must admit to being hesitant to read this third installment of the Pact Arcanum series, as in this novel, the focus of the story shifts from Nick's love triangle, the Triumvirate and Nick's close friends who are the Winds, to a slightly younger generation of leaders; I love the characters of Nick and his cronies, so I was rather reluctant to leave them behind... In Moonlight, it is Nick's younger brother, Tobias who assumes the lead character, and unsurprisingly, his friends also become more important within this story. Ahsanuddin's world building has always been mind-blowingly impressive; detailed, complex, and logical; and in this novel, his record remains unblemished. As the story evolves, new elements are required in his world, and these new elements fit seamlessly into the existing infrastructure. The plot, again unsurprisingly, remains on the dark side, with the cruel realities and sacrifices of war and politics once again very apparent. The change of focus away from Nick and his friends is also reflected in a small change of genre; moving from a sci-fi/fantasy-romance to being a straight sci-fi/fantasy. The few love and sex scenes found in the previous two novels are non-existent in this novel, except by inference and for the characters' motivations for their actions. Previously, I had commented that I remained a little emotionally detached from Ahsanuddin's characters, and while this remained unchanged for me, the impact was of a much lesser consequence given the shift away from romance. The gap left by the removal of the romance was filled instead by even greater complexity of storyline, some threads of which fully developed, while other threads remained to hint of things to come in future novels. While I personally mourn the distancing of Nick and the loss of romance, I also still really enjoyed this novel for what it is - a highly developed sci-fi/fantasy novel, and would happily recommend it to those who love reading the genre.