Indie eBook Roundup #6
This is a particularly good book drop this time around, folks. Each book on this list probably worthy of three stars (even though I gave two of them two stars ) and you won’t go wrong with any one of them. We’ve got stuff for middle grade readers, fantasy lovers, paranormal romanticists, and people looking for something new in the genre of zombie fiction. Honestly, there are people that I could very easy recommend every one of these books to and not regret it in the slightest. Take a look, see what you think, and maybe check out a few of them. I highly recommend the first and third books on this drop list
I’m a sucker for fun, engaging middle grade fiction mostly because it tends to not get quite as bogged down in romance and moves pretty quickly pace-wise. Though the main character in this story, Thomas, is a bit older this is still a pretty solid middle grade series and I’m actually really enjoyed it. I think it’s really well targeted at readers who are looking for a solid story and some pretty solid action.
Basically, this first book in the series is Thomas’s origin story as the titular Cypher. Living with his grandfather after his parents disappeared, the two are trying to keep their heads above water and find the older man a job. But after tagging along for an interview at a rather strange company called Guardians, Inc. whose ad he was some how able to read Thomas suddenly finds himself thrust into a world that he never could have imagined. The strange library where he himself gets a library assistant job has all kinds of strange books and Thomas discovers that he’s something pretty special. He’s the cypher – a sort of hero that comes around once in like a thousand generations when humanity needs them most. He has the power to read anything and only he can find the clues to track down the Book of Concord and keep evil at bay. The Guardians keep a sort of balance between technology and magic, humanity and the forces of evil. Which seems like a lot for a teenager. It turns into even more when his grandfather – his only remaining family – is kidnapped and he’s forced into this race at a mad dash in order to save him.
It’s pretty cool to see Thomas getting into everything and he’s a very likable character. Honestly, most of them are. The author does a great job at developing most of the characters which helps you keep interested in the book as you go along. “Killjoy” Kahnna was a favorite of mine and Thomas’s grandfather was pretty cool, too. I also appreciated that the author really seems to know how to keep a story going and keep the reader engaged. I’ve seen some comparisons of his work to that of Rick Riordan but I’d go with something more along the lines of Henry Neff’s Tapestry series myself. There are are some similar elements in the stories and I’ve been said to say that the Tapestry series sometimes surpasses elements of Harry Potter in my opinion so that’s pretty high praise.
One of my only complaints was the slightly awkward ending. I’m sure that I won’t care, though, when I move on to the next book at some point. But it was a sort of weird way to end something that seemed to have been wrapped up nicely. The ‘Warmaster’ was a kind of goofy name for a main bad guy. And I felt like there was some editing that could have been done to make it a smoother experience.
Basically, if you’re looking for a good indie middle grade series, this is it. You won’t be disappointed. The story will draw you in and even if you decide you don’t like it that much it’s at least I don’t think you’ll feel
Okay, so, in all fairness, I probably shouldn’t have read to review this book because it’s just not my sort of book. I thought the basic idea behind it could actually be kind of cool and I don’t think I was wrong about that. The basic plot premise was actually kind of interesting and the way it was portrayed was done well enough at some points.
In Tamed, werewolves have been discovered and ‘domesticated’ as massive like seven foot pets who are some how said to be 100% safe and docile. Despite, you know, being contagious and whatever. They seem to be everywhere despite their terribly high price tag and they become part of the way things are in the world. Christine – our main character – doesn’t have one of course. She’s just a paramedic. But she becomes something more when one night she is attacked and infected. Suddenly her life changes and she finds out a lot about the real horrors of the werewolf trade that ask a lot of very interesting questions about slavery and the vulnerability of the homeless and veterans. So the plot? Actually cool.
The story, though, itself? I was less into it. The main romance was forced and quick. A lot of inconsistencies and just… unanswered questions about the way the world got to the way it was escaped me. I still have no idea how these werepets are everywhere and how anyone was convinced they were a good idea. They cost way too much money and even though they are said to be docile there is also a market for rogue werewolf hunters so… clearly they aren’t that docile. So what’s up? None of this really gets explained and it just seems to leave a lot of plot holes.
So, basically, this is a book that’s for the hardcore paranormal romance fans out there. If you’re looking for something new in the genre you probably won’t get it with this one. But if you tend to read a lot of these books you’ll actually probably like it. I’m not the biggest fan of the genre – I try occasionally but too often it disappoints. This wasn’t exactly a disappointment but it could have been better in my opinion. I recommend checking out for yourself.
I’m not sure exactly how to rate this book because it was really good for the most part but as I said a couple book drops ago… I just hate faeries. I don’t know why. I just do. The rules never change. The backstories always the same. Not always but, you know, they can be. The rules tend to be the same in this book but the faerie market thing was new to me so that was really cool. And I really liked how they worked that into this book and transformed it from a sort of fantasy novel into a sort of science fiction novel with the passing of time.
But I’m getting ahead of myself a little.
The Seven Markets is the story of a girl named Ellie McCrae who has spent her life hearing stories about a fantastic market from her father. Unfortunately, when the market comes for real lets the allure of the market get to her and finds herself bound by a fae prince. From there she finds herself stuck in the markets, fated to reappear with them every one hundred years as the world changes over and over again. Each change in time presents a new sort of world and things shift from fantasy to science fiction as the market moves further and further into time. The Seven Markets is easily one of the best strung together stories I’ve read in a while. I was completely and totally enthralled with each and every reappearance. The characters introduced are fantastic and Ellie’s development over the centuries is great – even if you do sort of get gipped on what’s going on between them. Still, it didn’t bother me that much.
Which, again, surprised me. Because I usually don’t get into stuff based on fae stories and what not. But the story that Hoffman spins here is just so unique and fantastic that I just could not put it down. I seriously recommend this book to anyone who likes a good fantasy story and doesn’t mind a little science fiction sneaking in, too.
If any book on this list is worth checking out this one is it.
Zombie books – especially indie published ones – seem to be pretty much breeding like rabbits these days. Luckily for those people who are looking to change up their game a bit, Dead Petals is actually a rather unique take on the whole zombie genre. The zombies themselves actually very vaguely remind me of the fungus creatures in the Last of Us or maybe more like the tentacle faced Spaniards in Resident Evil 4 than anything else but there is something much more to them than that.
Ortlund takes the time to really think about his zombie origins. I don’t really know if he took his inspiration from Plants v. Zombies or not but the zombies in this particular story take on plant-like qualities. Not only that, there is a larger power at work – an intelligence that’s leading these not-so-brain obsessed, plant-like zombies. Our hero, Oz, starts to realize what’s going on and teams up with some others as they try and escape the apocalypse. But this isn’t like the sort of zombies we see in shows and games and movies. It’s not as easy as running and holing up some place. Not this time around.
What I liked about this book was the creative nature of the zombies themselves and the characters. I’m not entirely sure I bought the whole zombie origins thing the whole time but I suspended belief entirely for the sake of the book. Which wasn’t too hard. It’s a quick, easy read and you do get into it so long as you can look past some of the book’s weaker points. And while the cast of survivors wasn’t exactly unique but I always enjoy people coming together in difficult situations and sort of figuring things out as they go along. Though, the writing out their feelings or whatever might have been a bit much. I guess that comes from the fact that Oz is a professor and essentially seems like an Ortlund self-insert character. I do think that Ortlund had a really good idea here and he pulled it together fairly well, though.
The beginning of the book was a bit rough and I didn’t quite get into it at first because it starts out like so many other books. So I was honestly not sure I was going to finish this book. To be honest, looking at the cover, I wasn’t sure I was even going to begin it. It doesn’t really scream ‘Hey, read me!’ But I did and I’m glad that I did. The book is a little rough around the edges, sure, but that doesn’t distract from it much. If you’re inclined to read it, you should. Because I think it’s certainly worth it. It’s on par with any other indie zombie story you’ll come across and at least this book will give you something new in a genre that’s been desperately in need of some new ideas. It’s pretty okay. Maybe not something casual zombie fans are going to want to read but definitely something for the zombie aficionados among us.