Haliden’s Fire

Haliden’s Fire, A Pine Tree Book, published, copyright and written by Christopher R. Sendrowski.

The plot is centered in a time of the past in a land comprised of nine kingdoms with Circle and Tritan the governing houses. The protagonist is a particularly famous artist who has returned home while fleeing from a conflagration that is engulfing the entire collection of kingdoms. It is being accepted as the will of the gods by a cult of ‘Firestarters” who aid and abet the carnage. To act as a carrier of the entire town’s important documents, he becomes a “runner’ for them in the hope of reaching a safe place and must dispose of all of his wealth and most of his pictures to join the masses fleeing before the rapidly moving flames. He is assailed by constant thoughts of the wife he lost by neglect through his incessant need to paint, although during his flight he does experience some happiness with his very first love, whom he again encounters and also loses. The flight takes him through numerous most unappealing and perhaps even revolting, situations and places during which he is under constant threat and actual attacks by others in flight, as well as by horrendous beasts. The story eventually reaches an unpredictable but logical finale.

Discussion: Basically this book is a dark fantasy thriller and has been very well received by several reviewers and they have provided their reasons. Contrarily and most regrettably, this reviewer is far from being in accord. Although I can appreciate and enjoy selections from among fantasy tales, this one impressed me rather negatively as repetitive activity on the same theme with the only differences being in slightly different approaches in similarly unpleasant circumstances and places. Unfortunately, from my perception the author has described quite succinctly the reason for our ‘differences of opinion’. In his “About the Author” statements at the end of the book he says that writers “dig and toil among our private wastes, sifting through toxic sands and sipping swill alongside beggars and scoundrels. It’s where I’m most at home, at peace. But like all things in life, it sometimes comes from darker times, darker places. It’s a toll worth paying, though, and perhaps what’s necessary to spur my particular muse.” This reviewer has published 4 award-winning novels (plus several text books) and most fortunately has not found it necessary to delve into such depths to gain the necessary insights to compose. Neither have any of the authors of my acquaintance. However, this is not criticism per se. It simply offers an explanation for this reader’s opinion of this book.

2* Explanation for this reader’s review above.

The Prince of Manhatten

      The Prince of Manhattan an e-book assumed published, copyright and written by Alexi Iskander.

The reader is introduced to Prince Leofric, the son and heir apparent to the throne of King of Northumbria, one of the seven kingdoms existing in the northern part of Great Britain roughly in the years 600 – 900. Cedric, his father, is holding a victory dinner celebrating a huge victory over the “Howling mad Picts’ as they raided from the north and descended upon the kingdom in the early summer months. Leofric is watching his uncle Aethelred closely because he believes he will attempt to do away with his father Cedric and take over the kingdom. This is exactly what transpires when he manages to kill Cedric, place blame on the son and, with the help of Siana, the most powerful witch of the time, has him transported through time, as well as space. Leofric awakens ultimately in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Concurrently Miranda Hazelgrove, a young NYU student from Albany, has finished work at a restaurant where she works to supplement the financial support she is receiving from her parents. Deciding to take a bus rather than the subway because it is a shorter distance to manipulate her tired body, she is accosted by two killer rapists. Leofric is nearby, hears her screams and rescues her. His attire with sword and all, as well as his manner of action and speech do not cause her any unusual thoughts because there is an event taking place in the city where people are acting out their individual idiosyncrasies of thought. After expressing her thanks she discovers that he has no place to stay for the night so invites him to share her apartment. He does and from here the reader is introduced to a recounting of their activities, both individually and collectively until a finale of sorts is reached.

Discussion: The author has presented a fantasy/romance/space/time travel story that apparently a number of readers have enjoyed. Most regrettably this reader is not one of them. From this perspective the tale provides abundant physical activity but it is set forth either with little understanding of the extent of training an individual such as the prince would have received or to present him as quite incompetent, in which case it is amazing that he would have survived his life in Northumbria. Thus, much of the story seems forced. There also is abundant repetition, missed words/spelling and even usage; e.g. people do not “saddle up” to people they sidle up to them.

3* For romantic YA, Young-at-Heart or those interested, amused by era differences.