Heidi C. Vlach
Heidi C. Vlach is a chef training graduate from Ontario, Canada. Since she was a teenager, she has been working on fantasy worlds populated by non-humans, believing that this niche is capable of more than just "talking animals".
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Smashwords book reviews by Heidi C. Vlach
Half Brains, Sacred Water book 1
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.
on Feb. 14, 2011
This story has a staged, deliberately theatrical quality that I thought fit very well with the ancient Greek subject matter. Interesting follow-up to the classical myths.
Till Human Voices Wake Us
on May 13, 2014
Many human cultures and races appear in this collection, represented by lots of resilient female characters. Always nice to see in speculative fiction! The stories tend to start with numerous small details about the setting and the culture, which is probably helpful if you’re the type of reader who likes a crisp sense of place.
Out of all the stories, I really liked Crawlies (pretty much entirely for the Teutheids, squid-like aliens who are commendably patient with the frustratingly ignorant human POV) and No Gift Of Word (a story of an African woman overcoming a curse, predictable in the good way where the characters got what I was rooting for). I also thought the two stories involving rusalka were particularly well done.
Throughout the collection, I saw some minor niggles — a few homophone and tense errors; an occasional description or detail that didn’t seem to fit no matter how I considered it; endings that fit thematically but seemed abrupt, prose-wise. But these things weren’t numerous or grievous enough to keep me from enjoying all the stories. For the sheer variety of influences, and the presence of things sci-fi/fantasy could use more of, I’d say this short story collection is definitely worth reading.
I received this book for free from LibraryThing's Member Giveaway program, in exchange for an honest review.