Fractured: Dereck Dillinger and the Crystal Ball

Fractured: Dereck Dillinger and the Crystal Ball ISBN: 9781543939651 assumed published copyright and written by Eddie McPherson.

Dereck constantly is baby-sitting his 6-year-old sister Jessie because his mother has had to find a second job since his father died last year. He loves her and doesn’t mind except when meeting his friends who mock him. He has taken Jessie to the carnival where she now is riding a horse on the carousel and waves every time she passes him. Two of his friends see him and begin their usual routines. While he is occupied with them, he looks back and finds that Jessie is nowhere to be seen. From this moment, he is whisked away on an incredible journey through the land in which all of the characters about whom he has been reading to Jessie, reside. It is a world in which monsters, dragons, witches, fairies, magic and more and where Little Red Ridinghood, Rumpelstiltskin, Rapunzel and other of these famous people live.

Discussion: The author has provided a second novel to accompany the first which also had deposited him in this other world for a time before returning him to his home. His creative style is one that young readers will find entertaining and adults involved may discover amusing reminiscence. It is somewhat longer than most children’s books, but its pace and frequent introduction of new scenes and players should overcome any deterrent influence.

5* Enjoyable children’s book even adults reminiscently may enjoy.

Master of the World

Master of the World Book Two of the Chelandra Trilogy, Rocanadron Press, copyright and written by Karina McRoberts.

This second book in the Chelandra series continues to follow the travels of Galla as she continues throughout her world on the only dirigible that has been built and, as explained in book one, has been given to her. Her world still is suffering from numerous devastating earthquakes and still encountering periods of plague-like disease that some finally are associating with their principle mining product ‘rockscar’ that contributes to the city/states’ wealth. She meets numerous new individuals and associates again with old acquaintances; is forced to spend time in a Muslim-like culture that appears in some ways to be even more like the old Caliph era where men’s’ and women’s quarters were separate entities with eunuchs providing security for these latter; problems of what was being done with immigrants; another war with the Qudasi again attacking Gaklari; attempting not to have anyone killed for any reason whatsoever until faced with the question when the act might be mandatory in order to save individuals important to her; suffers heartbreak and resulting despair; descends into loneliness and self-loathing and feels like a child with no one to whom she can turn until suddenly a figure appears to offer her help. The person is Vrenfru, the brilliant leader from book one who gradually deteriorated mentally until passing away. When questioned, he convinces her that although physically dead, he “just is” and will always answer her call if needed. Meanwhile, her companions Masandi and her uncle are conducting their own crusade with some not quite expected results that lead to the appearance of the first firearm with again resultant speculation about their use; and finally bittersweet termination of this volume to lead into the final book in the trilogy.

Discussion: The author has introduced an occult figure that furthers the fanciful thrust of this trilogy. No doubt this addition, as well as the rest of the story’s rambling content, will continue to have great appeal to those who enjoy pure fantasy. Galla is as headstrong as in the first volume and makes as many rash decisions, but now without the restraining influence by her uncle, so the described reactions result. Her acquaintances similarly continue in their expected paths and new villainous characters arise. The author, obviously most knowledgeable of world conditions as well as historical facts, introduces many controversial subjects that are most relevant to today’s situation throughout much of the world. She also demonstrates a thoughtful sensitivity by explaining the derivation of tunes included in the body of the work that provide sensations in accord with the music. Regrettably  therefore and with apologies to the author, this reviewer finds Galla’s continued activity as a ‘spoiled child’ in addition to the continued rambling character of the tale leading to introduction of the elements prevalent in today’s societal activity, detract from this otherwise completely fanciful tale. It also is strongly suggested that a prospective reader become acquainted with the contents of volume one before continuing with this trilogy.

3* 5* Well-written, fanciful tale; -2 for reasons provided.

Chelandra

Chelandra ISBN: 9780994596512 published by Recanadon Press, copyright with and created by Karina McRoberts.

This is Book one of the Chelandra Trilogy that opens in the area of Blya in a fantasy “world of two suns, fabulous ecologies and geologic chaos”. The reader finds young Prince Shirau Ajaner, accompanied by his 2nd in command/mentor and his small band or soldiers attempting to gain help for another war that is imminent. They are exhausted having travelled many leagues, often under attack, when they arrive at their destination. Regrettably, the inhabitants of this city/state are unfriendly because of actions in past relationships and treat them badly. During this time and the ensuing period the reader discovers that the city has become immensely wealthy from mining but are neglecting gathering the crops necessary to sustain them during the winter’s impossible times. The town’s inhabitants, the structure of government, the ruling figures and numerous others also are introduced. At this particular time, the city is experiencing a virtual take-over of governance by a brilliant man who unfortunately is experiencing a mental deterioration. Added to their problems is the fact that they are experiencing some type of strange illness that they are afraid might be some variation of a dreaded plague as well as the occurrence of some massive earthquakes. Numerous other characters are introduced with the story focused eventually on young Blyan teenager Galla Jenker, her well-travelled uncle Obronder and a strangely talented young dark-skinned Masande as they travel extensively. War does come with considerable damage to the young prince’s city/state bringing closure seemingly to this part of the trilogy while involving Galla, her uncle and Masande in a part of the unfortunate episode. The tale ends as these latter three prepare to journey on to the next episode.

Discussion: The author, who this reviewer understands participates in quite varied activities, has provided readers with a story of interesting and empathetic characters as they appear to ramble almost leisurely, but dangerously, through a land of pure fantasy where even the well-described and often referred to, seasons have unusual names – Rahber (winter), Remi (spring), Vahlande (summer), VaRemi (autumn). This is a tale replete with interesting characters, and even an animal and bird of fantasy that aficionados of the genre will find difficult to put down.

5* Fantasy aficionados should love this book.

Forlorn

Forlorn, a dark story of suspense ISBN: 9781978440180 Vinspire Publishing, an e-book copyright 2017 and written by Gina Detwiler.

A prologue describes the situation that results in Grace Fortune being pulled by her Guardian Angel when she is 6 years old from the flaming wreck of her family’s automobile that consumes her parents. The story begins as Grace, now sixteen and being raised by her aunt and uncle, is a student at the Buffalo Arts Academy, where although suffering from a degree of Attention Deficit Disorder, possesses a lovely voice and ability to play the piano. With her are her somewhat misfit friends that include scientifically inclined and quite pragmatic Ethan Ellerman who is there on full scholarship as a designer of video games, artistically inclined Brianna (Bree) Reynolds who at the moment points out a newcomer to the school who is every girl’s dream man, Jared Lorn with muscular build, almost white hair and strikingly blue penetrating eyes and his seeming attraction to Grace. Ethan points out that Jaren is a felon and was transferred here because he had stabbed another student with a fork at a different school. He heard that he moved from “Ohio or Oregon, something with an O anyway”. However he was said to play the guitar amazingly well. Only shortly thereafter Derick Holder, the boy with whom Jared had fought appeared at the lunch room and opened fire with an automatic weapon. Ethan is struck in the stomach and falls into Grace’s lap bleeding profusely. She calls out “Derick! Please stop! Stop shooting.” Her guardian cries out to Grace to sing a special song which he sings to her in the night when she has bad dreams from the Dark Ones seeking a way in. Her singing causes Derrick to hesitate and suddenly Jared moves as a blurred figure knocking the gun from his hand and literally throwing him against a large plate glass window with sufficient force to shatter the glass killing Derick. From this moment the tale becomes one of war between forces of good and evil including different levels of both with guardians, archangels, appearance of ‘the Risen One”, demons, fallen angels, the Nephilim, the importance of faith and the power of prayer per se and through music.

Discussion: The author has presented a most unusual fantasy that may well appeal to readers, especially YA who enjoy conflicts between good and evil forces as they vie for dominance in the living world. The trials and tribulations of the two protagonists are suspenseful as they engage in a series of activities that take them on remarkable journeys. Regrettably, from this reader’s perspective, the tale contains numerous hiccups that are difficult to accept and therefore may require a SPOILER ALERT. If, however a reader enjoys unusual suspenseful fantasy stories pitting the forces of good versus those of the ethereal dark side, obtain the book, enjoy and do NOT read further.

Two of the most difficult discrepancies for this reader to reconcile are: Much is made of the fact that Grace’s parents were completely destroyed by the fiery crash. Yet her mother suddenly appears with an entirely different scenario? Neither Grace nor her friends know much about Jared and seemingly nothing about Derrick yet Grace speaks to him by name and is uncertain when he left school when he is massacring the students?

Conclusion: A fascinating fantasy that should be of particular interest to younger readers and most especially to those of religious inclination. Regrettably and although having enjoyed many tales in the fantasy genre, this reviewer apologetically cannot reconcile the plot discrepancies mentioned.

3* 5* Fascinating fantasy for many; -2* for reasons described.

The Beckoning of Beguiling Things

The Beckoning of Beguiling Things Sumer McKenzie, Inc. an e-book copyright and written by Calinda B.

In this first book of a new sequence group, The Beckoning Series, Marissa Engles is in Las Vegas for a week-end with a dear friend and her two slightly older married sisters. Her sisters want her to ‘loosen up’ and enjoy a week-end fling while exercising some caution apropos secret instructions from a repressive aunt with whom she lived for some time after her parents met with a fatal airplane crash. Her close friend wants her to forget any restrictions. Marissa is a successful artist recovering from a disastrous break-up with her last boyfriend and really does not want to again be involved. However, without her knowledge, she is designated as part of a group of individuals who ‘keep the balance between good and evil within the world’. Her presence in Las Vegas actually is the result of maneuvering by this group for her to be impregnated with a special element that will ensure that she assumes her proper place within the activities of the group. The story continues as she meets a ‘surfer dude’ who teaches relaxation and also a male dancer at one of the Las Vegas clubs. It escalates with description of gradually increasing titillating activity. The finale provides a basis for the projected following episodes.

This is a fast moving, well written tale with interesting characters and an engaging fantasy plot that gradually increases in sexual involvement. This introductory volume projects interesting elements for sequential material.

5* Should have great appeal for this best-selling author’s readers.

Fractured

Fractured: Dereck Dillinger and the Shortcut to OZ ISBN: 9781483599373 apparently published copyright 2017 and written by Eddie McPherson.

Thirteen-year-old Dereck is plagued with requests from his younger sister Jessie to read and re-read stories of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel and more. If he does not she runs to their mother complaining. However, he loves his little sister and complies. His widowed mother must make a short trip leaving him to take care of Jessie. A violent storm arises during the night, she awakens him calling for help, the electricity fails, attempting to find his way he falls into the cellar and steps into a seemingly bottomless hole. Eventually he strikes bottom and discovers it to be the same rabbit hole that provided the prominent beginning of activities in The Wizard of OZ. However, here he is offered a short cut to the Wizard which will allow him to return home much more quickly to discover what has caused his sister to call him.

Discussion: The author has developed a plot woven around the basic Wizard of OZ with added fragments of other of Grimm’s Tales, additional fairies, good and bad witches and similar figures of fantasy. Fundamentally it is a well-written action packed thriller with humor and periods of suspense that provides a strong positive message of kindness, perseverance and family fidelity. It should have an appeal to children in the 6 to 12 or possibly slightly older group and as an aside, parents may find it somewhat more enjoyable to read to their younger children.

4* As described.