Mark Williams


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Smashwords book reviews by Mark Williams

  • Crucible of Dust (The Clockwork Ascendancy - A Steampunk Saga) on May 17, 2012

    I thought this novella by C. James Leone was quite impressive for a debut. He shows himself to me a master wordsman who is capable of conjuring immensely appealing prose. However, as much as I enjoyed the narrative, I found the pacing to be a bit slow for my tastes, especially right off the bat. I was lulled into the story by the great writing, but I felt like I kept waiting for the characters to actually do something. Much of the most interesting parts of the story come by way of being “told” to us, either as backstory or a flashback, but what is happening in the NOW only really picks up steam towards the last quarter or so. Granted, when it does take off it really takes off, and the action and climax had me turning the pages of my kindle as fast as I possibly could. I hope there is more to this story as I was just really starting to get into it when it came to an end. Will be looking for more works by this author in the future.
  • A Luminous Future on June 02, 2012

    “A Luminous Future” is the nonfiction story by Teodor Flonta that starts in 1951 in Transylvania where his father is taken away and arrested in the middle of the night by the Securitate. His father was deemed an “enemy of the people”, and throughout the novel we see how that affects Teodor and his life. This is a powerful true tale of living under a Communist regime, and the taxing effects it has on those who dare oppose The Party. What I liked the most was the way Mr. Flonta made history come alive and eloquently express his perception of a world many of us find foreign, but fascinating. The stories made me feel like I was really there and seeing the world through his eyes, which is much better than just reading about it in a history book. It was excellently written with a graceful prose and sweeping narrative that had me totally hooked.
  • When Earthlings Weep on June 23, 2012

    I've been a huge fan of Sci-fi for over a decade and have read plenty of books in the genre. As much as I enjoy them, unfortunately after a while it starts seeming like I’m reading the same book with the same formula over and over again. This was not the case with “When Earthlings Weep” by Michael Barnett. This novel was incredibly original with a fresh twist to a familiar theme. I genuinely enjoyed being inside the craziness of Mickey Thorn’s world for a while, and was happy with the story’s conclusion. There were all the elements present that I like in my SciFi, and some that will appeal to a more “sci-fi-lite” crowd. It wasn’t a heavy space opera by any means, but there were elements of the supernatural and the extra-terrestrial that gave the book its delicious sci fi flavor. I definitely enjoyed reading it and recommend for fans of the genre who are looking for something new to read.
  • Return of the Crown on Feb. 01, 2013

    For me, this book started off kind of slow and it took a while for me to become connected to the characters. I didn’t really like the cover, and it took a while for me to figure out how old Ravyn was, and I wish I would have known this sooner so I could picture her better. But once I got into the story everything started coming together and I really liked the adventures and dangers Princess Rayvn and her friends faced. My favorite was the dragon and the Harpys. Actually, all of the magical creatures were pretty cool. I liked that they had names and actual personalities. Overall I thought this was a very good book and I really liked it. If there was a sequel I would want to read it.
  • Corkscrew Ridge on Feb. 28, 2013

    An interesting read. The author has a way with words, but sometimes it seemed like he was focusing on the wrong things. He’d wax poetic about the details of the landscape, but I was unsure about important character’s qualities and motivations, or some plot points. There were times that I felt there was too much emphasis on the mundane day-to-day actions of a farm, and wished there could have been more tension or action. But if you are into slower paced novels that are more literary in style, than this is a good book to read. I actually liked it, I just think certain points could’ve been improved upon, and the ending seemed rather rushed and neatly wrapped up for my tastes. Not too bad, but not my favorite, either.
  • Legio XVII: Roman Legion at War on June 17, 2014

    A sweeping, engaging work of historical fiction that will please any Roman history fan and especially those who enjoy an authentic voice to their military maneuverings. It is as close to being in a battle as you possible can be without actually being there. I felt like I was transported back in time and witnessing history unfolding firsthand. I know that this book was a mix of fact and fiction, and I have to say that I wasn’t always clear where that line was drawn. But I didn’t care… it was excellent. I think that a book like this would be great to be read in college class as supplemental material… I know I learned more about the time period of the Second Punic Wars reading this than I ever knew before. A book that can entertain as it educates is very rare indeed. Highly recommend.
  • The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky on July 13, 2014

    I don’t generally rehash plots (that’s what the descriptions are for) but basically the world has been split in half, with ‘soulless” reason and logic thinkers on one side, and the ‘zealot’ religious people of faith on the other. The two groups are separated by water, and one day a young girl (Kailani) shows up on the Republic side (the science people) and everything takes off from there. I particularly like this genre of fiction because it is making such a commentary on our real world, yet is portrayed in a way that makes you come to your own decisions and opinions. Its real, but it’s not real. Yet many sentiments (the us v. them, our way right, yours wrong) is something that is very real. This book delivers not only a thought-provoking and positive message, but does it in an interesting, and at times, quite profound way. Highly recommend. Ages 13 and up.