Friday, January 06, 2006

Friday Fancies

Friday Fancies

Taking a break from world building today to turn attention to a couple of books I read recently. Probably do something like this every Friday, just for a change of pace and to take a moment and see what’s happening out in the other worlds.

Both of these books come from the new line Realms fiction an imprint of Strang Communications.

Daughter of Prophecy
Miles Owens

Daughter of Prophecy (DoP) is a fantasy tale that centers around a young maiden named Rhiannon, who was prophesied to be the Protectoress of the Covenant, the binding agreement that keeps evil out of the lands of the Faber Dynasty. Sixteen years after her birth and the prophecy a group of winged horrors, creatures of darkness, attack Rhiannon. This attack signals a weakening of the covenant, and Rhiannon must discover just what it means for her to be the Protectoress of the Covenant.

This is a fine first novel for Owens, and he does a good job of keeping this story from falling into just another warrior maiden tale or other clichés of the fantasy genre. He also weaves in strong Christian elements, especially with an emphasis on the importance and power of prayer and confession.

The forces of evil must be confronted on both the physical and the Spiritual planes if they are to be defeated. And for the prayers to be effective, a clear and unhindered connection with God is essential. Which leads the main characters to face their pasts, relinquish their dreams, and make hard decisions about their dealings. There are times when this can make the spiritual lessons a bit heavy handed, and one character's "breaking" felt a bit too abrupt, but it worked for the most part.

On the downside, I found this book's pace to be far slower than I would have liked. Much of the conflict is based on Clan politics, especially a controversial wool sale. Not exactly exciting stuff, and it dragged the story down for me early on. However, once the sale is over, the pace picks back up. There is also a tad too much telling, and I found the plot a bit to predictable at times.

Still, the action is well written, and Owens has opened the portal to a world ripe for exploring. I look forward to the sequel and discovering how Rhiannon adjusts to the path she has been set upon.

Buy Daughter of Prophecy from Amazon.com

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The Personifid Project
R. E. Bartlett

The Personifid Project is a Science Fiction novel with a most interesting premise. In the distant future, science has discovered the means to not only detect souls, but encase them in artificial bodies, Personifids, to stave off death.

When Aphra, a secretary at the Sevig Empire Corporation, overhears a sinister conversation, she fears for her life. Her fears are confirmed when she witnesses the "discontinuation" of a fellow employee. Soon she is fleeing assassins, reliant on the help of strangers, and desperately trying to find out what is going on.

This is a story much in the tradition of films such as I, Robot, Blade Runner, Minority Report, or Equilibrium, though without the detective angle. A vision of the future where society seeks to stave off death through aritficial means, and keep the "bad parts" of human nature suppressed with drugs and virtual reality. And ask the question, "Can we really separate our evil nature from our good?"

The Personifid Project is a briskly paced story, with lots of action, and a few good twists. Also the vision of a post-apocalyptic earth, where people must live in shielded cities or underground, is well realized. With a good array of believable technology that bridges the gap from present to future.

However, a few things really irked me. For one, the reader is forcibly kept out of hearing the sinister conversation that Aphra overhears at the start of the book, even though we are in her point of view. This creates a bit of a false feeling suspense as we have Aphra thinking about how horrible what she heard was and how she races to cover it up through the rest of the chapter, until she finally confides to her home computer. It made me feel a bit cheated.

Bartlett also falls into the pitfall of a bit too much telling when describing certain technologies or cultural bits of the story. Perhaps just a stylistic irk for me, but I prefer these things to be blended a bit better then have the story stop for a paragraph explaining why Cantabrian security is different than other places (as just one example).

I also had a real hard time connecting with Aphra. I never really felt sorry for her or like rooting for her. She was too whiney, oblivious and self-centered, and never really seemed to grow out of it.

Still there were plenty of other interesting characters, such as the minor but fun Chickenwing. And Aphra's bounty hunter brother, with his penchant for odd computers.

Overall the book rose above the irks for me and I enjoyed the tale. Bartlett has created a fun futuristic world full of wild possibilities. If you like futuristic Sci-fi be sure to give this one a go.

Buy The Personifid Project at Amazon.com

2 Comments:

Blogger Camy Tang said...

Nice reviews. I esp liked the premise of the Personifid Project.
Camy

3:02 PM, January 08, 2006  
Blogger Tiff/Amber Miller said...

Thanks for the reviews. Fantasy and sci-fi for me are usually better enjoyed in movies, but I have read a few of them in my time. :)

Just remind me to never give you a book of mine to review. (grins) Painfully honest...but with a high percentage of fru-fru reviews out there, that's a welcome change.

3:00 PM, March 12, 2006  

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