Daniel J. Weber
I am a writer primarily. I say primarily because how can one describe themselves completely with just simple words. If anyone can describe something using words, a writer should have the right to do so... and since I'm a writer, I guess I qualify for self-description...
I write whatever comes to mind, but general enjoy delving into things of a fantastic nature. (Does that make my writing fantastic? I will leave that to your discernment.) I like to write about topics and themes concerning self-discovery, self-esteem, and how the world around us effects who we were, are, and will become. Where I live in particular is of little consequence, for I spend much of my time in my own imagination. If, however, you were to ask me, I would say Canada in general and Northern Ontario in particular.
I am an avid supporter of all things DRM-free. Through writing, reading, and reviewing, I seek to make the world a better place one book at a time.
Where to find Daniel J. Weber online
By Daniel J. Weber
Published: October 31, 2013.
Tune your ears to the darkness, hearing the messages therein. Turn your eyes to the pages. Watch darkened words as they seep through those cavities in your skull, fill every pore of your skin, and enliven your heart with Dark Messages. Life can be full of fear, but the emotion does not have to live in vain. Consider the messages skulking behind each dark, horrific story in this collection.
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Smashwords book reviews by Daniel J. Weber
- The Kinshield Legacy
on June 17, 2013
[Full Review at http://digerbop.ca/2013/06/the-kinshield-legacy/]
First of all… what is not good about this book? Wait… I will talk about that when I get to the bad… so… not first of all… This book is a brilliant masterpiece that any and every fan of a good epic fantasy tale would be dying to read if they knew about it. Now that you know about it, you should really go and read it. K.C. May crafts a brilliant world in the classic swords & sorcery style but stays away from the dwarfs and elves and all that. What stands out to me is the character development. May uses the third-person shifting POV style magnificently, allowing the reader to get into the head of every character. I have seen this done very poorly in the past, making the story feel disjointed and wrong, but May pulls it off well. Just as much time in spent inside of and outside of a character’s head, letting the reader in on his or her inner secrets, desires, thoughts, and feelings, developing well rounded characters with proper motivation. At no point does a character feel like it’s just thrown in to progress the story. Every character is well thought out and well crafted. I thought at first that knowing so much about every character (good guys and the bad) would take away from the on-the-edge-of-your-seat-suspense, but it does not. Sometimes suspense is actually built as the POV changes at a crucial moment in the story, leaving the reader hanging on a limb, itching to read more.
Not only are the character well crafted and set in a believably intriguing setting, but as the plot unfolds we learn that there is more to it than just a tavern grunt who doesn’t want to be king. It has been a while since I have read a book where the plot grabbed me, and I applaud The Kinshield Legacy for this. The reader truly doesn’t know all the ins and outs of the story until the very end, and even then we are left with enough questions to provide for a sequel. Though there are many things for this would-be-king and his band of followers to accomplish, by the end of the book the plot is wrapped up well. A secret plot thread is woven throughout the whole book until a tiny piece of it is revealed at the end giving the reader a dry-mouth-must-read-more feeling.
In places the book has a darker tone (which you can’t really help when dealing with evil sorcerers and demons and the like) which I really enjoyed. However, The Kinshield Legacy stays light throughout, so this point should not turn off the more squeemish readers.
At the beginning when the POV was jumping around quite a bit, I was a little bit confused and wasn’t sure how all of the story arcs tied together. Fairly quickly, however, we see the characters coming together into one succinct plot that drives the story. Not much “action-wise” happens at the very beginning of the book while characters and setting are being developed. The introduction would have potentially been aided by more draw-you-in moments.
This was “bad” for me, but other might not mind it. I was really thrown by the author’s use of words in dialogue. If someone had a slur, or a speech impediment, it came through in between the “quotes.” Someone might say, “You have bread?” instead of “Do you have any bread?” I realize that in real life (how boring! This is a fantasy novel. Let’s not talk about real life, okay?) that people actually talk like this, but I felt like it got in the way of the readability (similar to how it would get in the way of you understanding someone who is speaking like this, I suppose). One of the biggest ones that threw me was the use of “awright” instead of “alright” throughout. Based on its use this may be a “thing” that I am unaware of, but it came across to me as a typo until I had read it enough times to realise that it was done on purpose.
Another thing that I didn’t like, but might not be a problem for some, was the tavern scenes. Gavin Kinshield makes a number of rude comments, as do many of his friends, and this works to develop character. The problem I had was the women who came up to him constantly wanting to bed him. It seemed to me like every time he went for a drink someone wanted to get into his pants! Though this may be a teen-age boys paradise it isn’t very representative of reality and I felt it came across rather sexist, playing into the idea that all men are pigs and all women are whores. This was even more surprising to me coming from a female author and I was almost intrigued by the use of sexism in book realizing that it wasn’t just some guy living out his fantasy to have every woman jump him in the bar. I was pleased, however, there are a few “strong” woman in the book who did not fit this moulded stereo-type, but still even they put up with more that I thought was acceptable.
- Journey to Altmortis
on Oct. 21, 2013
Review originally posted at: http://digerbop.ca/2013/10/journey-to-altmortis/
An Epic Fantasy about a thief's journey to steal what is rightfully his
Mature-content Rating: PG-13 (moderately coarse language, mild sexual-content/mature situations & violence)
If you are Canadian, like myself, we have just come out the other end of Thanksgiving. If you are American, the holiday will soon be upon you. While I was sitting in ridiculous holiday traffic on the highway, en-route to meet family for too much turkey and pie, my mind wandered into those far reaching spaces were imagination comes alive. I was thinking back to my most recent read, Journey to Altmortis, and considering what to put it my review. Though I was not journeying to Altmortis, I felt it would be appropriate to compare my recent journeys with that of Thaddeus White's creation.
I went on a journey to acquire lots of free food.
- Thaddeus went on a journey to acquire something originally stolen from him.
I had to fight with traffic to get there.
- Thaddeus had to fight with... other things to get there.
I was travelling with my family
- Thaddeus was travelling with family (his sister) as well as some hired help.
Okay, so there are little to no similarities between our journeys, but wasn't this a creative way to start a review? Thaddeus is journeying to Altmortis, a dead city where untold treasure and dangers abound. His goal is to retrieve a family heirloom that may have more than just sentimental value going for it. I was just journeying for some Thanksgiving dinner... but I guess that's the closest my life gets to a quest of epic fantasy proportions.
The book starts out wonderfully. Right from the first chapter, the characters drew me in, to the point where I knew a plot would develop, but no matter what the characters went through, I could see myself enjoying questing vicariously through the words of Thaddeus White. The characters are well-balances and play off of each other nicely. The banter between them is both hilarious and enlightening as character development is concerned. Here is a short snippet that I find particularly amusing:
"What were you doing last night, mon ami?" Pretty Pierre asked. The Felarian’s nickname was ironic. Flames had devoured his left ear, puckered his left cheek and inflicted twisted scars upon half his skull.
"Killing my sister." He accepted Pierre’s helping hand and got to his feet. "An unpleasant dream indeed."
"Your sister, despite being dead, is enjoying dinner downstairs. It is quite late, but she suggested we let you sleep in."
"And our diminutive friend?" Roger the Goat was notorious for many things, but his skill at picking locks and his short stature had persuaded Thaddeus it would be useful to bring him along. The ruins of Altmortis were likely to offer plenty of small spaces into which the thieving dwarf might squeeze.
Pierre shrugged. "Thieving, whoring, picking pockets."
Thaddeus grinned. "Making himself at home then."
As expected, this is a story about a journey. There is not a lot of development before the characters are off on their quest, but as the story progresses, the continual character development and back-story reveals hold the reader's interest. The characters and their development are, by far, the selling feature of this book.
Not only are the characters well-done, but White has a way of crafting a scene through vivid imagery that makes his writing come alive. I can say it no better than White himself, hence thus I quote:
"The salty spray was deliciously cold on his skin. The chill wind pierced his cloak and turned his skin a bloodless white. Gusts billowed his cloak and rain lashed him, and Amoux Broussard loved every moment of it."
This is but one of many moments during the long Journey to Altmortis that I felt the need to stop and sigh, or smile at the wonderful crafting of words. I cannot and will not ruin all of these precious moments for you. All of the magic therein can only be experienced by reading this work of art, devouring the words spilling from the mind, heart, and fingers of Thaddeus White.
Point-of-view changes can often be poorly done, but, though White implements many different POVs, none of them felt sloppy. In fact, the POV changes between party members were so seamlessly implemented that the reader hardly notices them at all. With point-of-view changes comes further understanding, flavour, and believability to every character, thus enhancing the relatability of the reader to the characters immensely. The POV bounces around some, but because it mostly stays within the party that the reader has been previously introduced to, nothing ever gets confusing or muddied. Instead the reader gets treated to following this Journey to Altmortis through a variety of character's eyes.
There is explanation and character reveals throughout, and the book starts off strong, but I would have liked to see more introduction before the journey. There is not a lot of meat before the reader is thrown into the main plot, travelling toward the dead city of Altmortis, without really knowing who is travelling. The introduction to the characters that is there is quite well done, but unfortunately it just touches the tip of the iceberg. I wasn't really sure why exactly this group was travelling together, what motivated them, what was so important about Altmortis and the family heirloom they were searching for until about half way through the book. More initial development of the characters outside of the main quest would have enhanced the journey, making the reader understand more of what is going on and why, instead of just being thrown right in.
Though the POV changes are internal, making them easier to follow, because of the lack of character introductions, I often found myself confused as to who was who. There are a fair number of characters introduced all at once, and though they all have their own little quirks and reasons for tagging along, this was thrown on the back-burner, almost as if White assumed that his readers would know who the characters are. Bear in mind, that I have not read White's other book in the same world. The author stated that there is some cross-over, but it is not imperative for one to read Bane of Souls (his first book) before Journey to Altmortis. I can guess (depending on the character cross-over in Bane of Souls) that reading the first book previously to picking up the Journey might nullify this complaint, but take such surmising for what they are (opinion without any knowledge of potential rectification). Suffice it to say, as a stand-alone book, the character introduction leave much to be desired, leaving the reader confused at times and uninterested at others because of this fault.
White uses a lot of passive voice, and it seems to be his writing style. It blends fairly well with the more active sections, but fleshing out these scenes instead of just stating the facts and pressing on would have increased the enjoyability of this book as a whole. I found the ending, in particular, to be very fast-tracked with rampant use of passive voice. It was almost as if the whole book was about the Journey to Altmortis (go figure ;) ) but the return journey was so unimportant that it was barely mentioned.
Journey to Altmortis will take readers on a journey through the mind and words of Thaddeus White. Along the way, the reader is exposed to humorous characters, witty banter, and some sections of beautiful prose that make the world more alive. Clever use of point-of-view makes the characters the reader travels with more well-rounded, though the initial introduction of them may lack some meat. If you are a fan of epic fantasy and journeying through a strange and magical land, this book is for you.
- Healer (Keepers of Kwellevonne Vol. 1)
on Nov. 30, 2013
This is a good little story that keeps a fine slip throughout. Despite it's short length, there was enough world-building to make the story feel involved. I liked that the characters knew each other from previous encounters, and the reader got to learn about these engagements as they went. I feel like, perhaps, this could have been enhanced by spending more time with character development (maybe even having them live out some of these scenes) before the plot begins. Because this is a short story, perhaps a "prologue" short story that comes before this one would better engage the reader before things get too crazy for the characters. It ends on a good note, concluding the main plot of this volume and introducing what will happen next well.
on Dec. 03, 2013
Originally posted at: http://digerbop.ca/2013/12/o-b-u-by-martin-chushui/
Mature-Content Rating: A-14 (Lots of sexual content and some coarse language).
What would you do if one night changed your life? What if 15 years changed your world? What if one man could change it back? O.B.U. is a story about one man who has one horrible night, and wakes up 15 years later. The world is not what it once was, and no one is who they seem to be. What has happened to the world is yet to be discovered, and what will happen is soon to be revealed. Unlock the mystery and wonder behind the world that Martin Chushui has created.
Normally, when I review a book, I like to point out what I liked and what I didn't like. This book proved challenging for me in this respect. There are probably some things that were done well in O.B.U, but there were so many glaring obstacles to my enjoyment of the book, that it is difficult for me to identify the good.
It would be difficult to identify the number one big issue with this book, but the biggest problem that I noticed within the first couple pages is that O.B.U. needs a lot of editing. It surprised me to reach the end and see the author thanking his editor in the acknowledgements. If I had not read that, I would have thought that a spell-checker was the only editor consulted. There are missing words, incorrect verb conjugation, tense mix-ups, and everything else you can think of that a spell-checker wouldn't catch. Though I found no misspelt words, the glaring editorial errors are so prevalent (almost every page) that it was hard to even read the book.
The next biggest problem I encountered was a classic case of tell vs. show. There is a lot of tech in this book, and it can potentially be confusing to wrap your head around. In order to battle this, it is explained in such painstaking detail that you will have no doubt how everything works. At the outset, our protagonist knows nothing about this world in which he has awakened, which is a great set-up for him to learn it slowly, allowing the reader to follow along as he journeys through the world. Instead of this, extended dry dialogue sections are thrown at him (and the reader) so that he understands how things work. It is so bad that a number of times throughout the book a character might say something like, "I agree, these talks are getting a bit boring." If even the characters know that tell vs. show is boring, perhaps this glaring issue needs some attention.
The dialogue is choppy and unflavourful. It sounds like poor RPG scripting, except instead of your choice of uninteresting dialogue option, the protagonist chooses for you.
Note: Not a true representation of the dialogue, but a made up interaction to show how it flows.
"What is this place?"
"It is the place where we train with guns."
"Tell me more about guns."
"Guns are those things that shoot the enemy. You will need to learn how to use them in order to not die."
"Tell me more about this enemy."
There is no prose in this book at all. Certain scenes are introduced with a few sentences of description, and then we are thrown right into the dialogue. Some scenery is even described through dialogue, but not because the narrator is a character. There isn't really a narrator, save for the odd "he said" and "she questioned" following dialogue. This is action and dialogue on a blank slate.
I won't say that there is no character development, but it was hard to identify because I really didn't care what was happening. I could not empathize with any of the characters because they hardly seemed to care about themselves. All development is based on a single scene near the beginning that is mostly brushed over. The idea is to keep the mystery of why our protagonist was suddenly transported 15 years into the future. Because the characters hardly seemed to care about this jump in time, it was hard for me, as a reader, to care. Without internal monologue, prose, or description of any kind, it proves difficult to discern what the characters care about and what they don't.
One of the primary moral issues in this book is sexism. The world has changed for the better, and now people can experience freedom sexually. It seems like the author is trying to speak out against sexism, and in fact the main characters says that he hates sexism, but is in fact, himself, sexist (not the author. The character). On the one hand he says that he hates when women are mistreated, and then he says things like, "why can't women just remain in the kitchen." Then he switches back to telling about how his dad brought him up right, teaching him to treat women well, yet at the same time being offended when women don't act the way he wants. This glaring character discrepancy is repeated throughout the book, and even the way some of the women characters talk about themselves almost made me feel like they were being sexist toward themselves.
Sometimes when a book is written poorly, I have given it 2 stars because it had great potential, intriguing concepts, or a fresh plot. O.B.U. sadly has none of this. The plot is a classic case of "this is the prophesied one who will save the world." If you have seen The Matrix, you know the plot of this book. It follows the main plot points of that movie so closely that instead of seeing the scenes written about while I read (the lack of prose may be a contributor), my mind was replaying the parallel scenes from the Matrix. I saw Neo falling from the battery-soup when our protagonist gets introduced to O.B.U. I saw him sitting in the chair learning how to fight, fly, etc. when our protagonist did 7 years of training in one night. I saw Neo dodging bullets on a rooftop when the odds are working against him and there were too many enemies for him to face alone. (I will not spoil what the main character in O.B.U. actually does instead of dodging bullets, as it would be a spoiler. Suffice it to say, it was similar). I kept waiting for the scene where he was going to stop bullets in mid-air. Though the final encounter isn't exactly that, it is basically the same. Change some minor points, mix in some mask wearing from Mission Impossible and you have O.B.U.
I wanted this book to get better as I kept reading, and read it to the very end. Sadly, it is a carbon copy of The Matrix without all the special effects. Its only redeeming quality is that there were not too many POV changing issues, and if it weren't for the poor editing, I could almost know what was going on. If you enjoy putting your palm to forehead a lot, this book is for you.
- Blood Pact
on Dec. 09, 2013
Originally posted at: http://digerbop.ca/2013/12/venom-of-vipersblood-pact-by-k-c-may/
A science fiction medial thriller with a deadly virus and Frankensteins.
Mature Content Rating: PG-13 (Mature themes and coarse language)
Have you ever read Frankenstein? If not, chances are you have heard of it. A scientist creates a being named Frankenstein. This scientist’s name might not have been Katie Marsh, and the creation’s name might not be Frankenstein, but Venom of Vipers/Blood Pact by K. C. May holds a similar premise. These new Frankensteins are created to hopefully save humanity from the deadly Molio virus that threatens to wipe everyone out.
Non-human beings, a dystopian virus, and science: what does that equal? Venom of Vipers/Blood Pact — A science fiction medial thriller, full of thrills, science, medicine… oh and there’s some fiction in there too. ;)
The last medical mystery novel I read turned out to be surprisingly superb, and Venom of Vipers/Blood Pact is again no disappointment. The best way I can describe this book is as a roller coaster. It starts out as a slow climb, characters coming to life, the plot unfolding, the world filling out from written words. All you can see is blue sky, birds flitting in tunes of their own between God’s wispy breaths above. And then… the bottom falls out. Sky turns to ground. Air rushes by in a cacophonous torrent. Heart racing. Skin breaks out in a sweat. The thrill breaks from your lips in a scream: mixed terror and mirth. This is the plot of Venom of Vipers/Blood Pact. All the building blocks of plot, setting, and characters balance on each other until, before you know it, a house has been built.
I was following along the story, enjoying myself, until at about 75% through, the roller-coaster rocketed forward, leaving my heart racing and mind reeling to catch up. The pacing/plot flow nicely. Like a summer’s stream, the reader remains unaware of the waterfall up ahead. All of a sudden, the water gives out, and the thrill-ride beings. The plot thickens to the point of breaking, all while the reader is still trying to recover from the thrilling fall.
This book not only offers a great plot that is beautifully paced, but point of view changes throughout are wonderfully implemented for further character development. The POV switched between various ”good guys” and “bad guys” letting the reader see the plot from all different angles. This enhances the suspense immensely. Characters are so well developed by the time the bottom falls out of the river that the reader truly cares what will happen to them. The build up is just as important for the plot as it is for the characters.
Character interactions between Ryder and Katie are pleasantly humorous at times and cute at others. I like how the fact that they grew up as childhood friends is mentioned and then expanded upon throughout to develop their characters. I really felt like these two were childhood friends, watching how they interacted. Important past events and dealt with in flashbacks instead of gratuitous tell vs. show, or being skimmed over. These aid immensely in character development, not only for Katie and Ryder, but the other characters involved in this world.
One of the characters is plagued by nightmares that feed off of his internal turmoil. A lot of this turmoil is brushed over, and mentioned in an off-hand kind of way, making it lack substance. His nightmares are told in a this-is-what-happened-point-form style instead of allowing the reader to re-living the horrors in all their realism.
The prose were not very full or flavourful. I love scene crafting, and this book missed the opportunities that the plot and characters opened for it. More investment in world description could have potentially enhanced the emotional impact of the scenes.
The ending comes a little fast. I like the drop that leaves the reader breathless, but once the bottom of that hill is reached, the bottom out is short, followed by screeching brakes. The pacing is good up until the final couple chapters, where I felt not enough justice was given to one of the major plot points in order to wrap it up well.
Venom of Vipers/Blood Pact is an enjoyable romp through a near-future, potentially dystopian world. The character interaction are wonderful, and the plot flows like a river followed by a waterfall (in a good way). The thrills are heart-pounding, and the character are pleasant to travel with through the words, phrases, pages, and chapters. If you enjoy getting to know the characters of a story, all while the world and plot form around you, this book is for you.