Short Review: And They Called Her Spider

And They Called Her Spider
And They Called Her Spider by Michael Coorlim
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What if Holmes’ friend was an engineer, they both lived in a steampunk England, and their story told in a witty style in a fantasy?

They would be Bartleby and James, the fun couple in this steampunk story.

Well written and a light read, the story has been a surprise. I found myself smiling at the tribulations of the engineer, enjoying his use of the detoxification apparatus, in a world excellently sketched with all its steampunk flavor.

This story is now for free on Smashwords, and it makes a good read for steampunk fans, and also an easy introductory read for those curious to try steampunk.

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Review: My Name Is Michael Bishop

My Name Is Michael Bishop
My Name Is Michael Bishop by T.R. Goodman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This fantasy is a RPG-like delightful episode.

The world in which we’re invited is immediately engrossing, we’re in a rich setting with a familiar and yet original feeling. We have sages and priestesses, dark magic and technological contraptions, apothecaries who sell plants for spells, we have lords at their manor, and we have picturesque carriages, and scientific endeavors. We have power of magic and fear and disdain for it. The characters and the world are familiar, they share many elements with the collective imaginary of every well written fantasy story, but the writer adds unique bits: he brings steampunkish golems, creates a distinctive magic system, and a poignant plot, with carefully prepared twists.

The world feels like a role-playing game universe, where immersion is how you step in and stay in all the way.

There are many things done well, the plot matters, characters are believable and likeable, the bad guy will surprise, and the writing flows just right. Sometimes the writing feels almost musical, in its rhythm. Most of all, the world building is exquisitely done, to the point where immersion in the world (more than in the plot) is how the book reads.

This book feels like a RPG. One for which you don’t need instructions, you’re in the middle of it. I almost have on the tip of my fingers the need to type the next scene, move a character, re-enter the manor and reach for the moondrop dew in the sage’s cabinet. In case I’d need it for the spell I will – I mean, my character will, learn. From the spell book, you know. OK. Turn the corner. The two stupid and hilarious guardians are not here yet, psst, I know when I’ll hear them coming, because they never stop talking…

I’m a sucker for RPGs, and My Name is Michael Bishop is an episode set in RPGish world, a well written scenario set in a world I wish it didn’t end.

I recommend this book for any fantasy/steampunk fans, and anyone looking for a great book.


Note: I received a copy for free, for the purpose of an honest review.

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Review: The Secret Lab

The Secret Lab
The Secret Lab by Steven M. Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I will disclose this: I picked up The Secret Lab because of Mr. Paws, the intelligent cat. Yes, I could not resist the temptation to read the adventure of a sentient, mathematics inclined cat, told by Steven M. Moore. It exceeded my expectations.

Mr. Paws is the result of a genetics experiment aboard a facility orbiting Earth in 2147. The cat and his newly found friends, a group of four smart teenagers, find themselves in an intrigue with corporate agendas, young curiosity, dangerous and ethically problematic research, relationships and their difficulties when coming of age. The complexity is enthralling, but the author also makes it easy to follow, using a light, natural style to tell us their story.

This is what Mr. Moore does at his best. Tell us a story, a cozy story, a story that makes me smile and enjoy comfortably the cat-like analysis on those humans, as it unfolds. Along with their obvious, though understandable, limitations.

At its core a young adult fantasy, the story takes place in a science fiction context, extrapolated from the physics and genetics of our time. The artificial intelligence dubbed “the AI” is very advanced, but you still know it’s a programmed entity, bound to its programming. The formation of mathematician and physicist of the writer shows in his brilliant and understandable description of the life in a space station.

All in one, the book is a very enjoyable read, appealing to all ages.

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