Afterimage (The Enertia Trials, #1) by J. Kowallis

Reggie’s dreams aren’t what one would call normal dreams.

Each night, visions of the future flit through her mind like pieces of a puzzle. And every morning the pieces are pulled forcefully from her memory through drugs and torture by Public One.

Then one night Reggie’s dreams change. The future she sees in her dreams is never about her, until it is. She knows they are coming for her, whether they are aware of that fact yet or not. She knows they will take her away but she doesn’t know how she will convince them to keep her alive.

Public One will do anything to keep her. Reggie will have to make the decision if she is willing to do the same to stay out.

Afterimage is one of the many ‘apocalyptic type event occurred and now society is trying to rebuild itself’ kind of stories one sees floating around these days. There’s the ‘perfect society’ – in this case Public One; and there’s those who refuse to conform – in this book referred to as Nomads. Neither side can stand the thought of the other and as so often happens, skirmishes do occur.

Reggie is a member (or more accurately, a prisoner) of Public One. She is a precognitive, or precog, and through her dreams can see the future. Those in charge at Public One use her dreams as a way to keep one step ahead of the Nomads and to keep the peace inside the city.

The characters in Afterimage, while varied, tend to fall a bit flat in my opinion. There’s no real in depth description behind any one person’s background. We don’t get a real feel of why any of them act or react they way they do. It would be easy to argue that many of them suffer from PTSD in one shape or another, but the question would then be ‘Why?’. What happened during the war and its aftermath? Why would that event and not this other one make this person act this way?

Unfortunately, we are not given these answers in this first book.

Another think that threw me out of the story were the number of spelling and grammatical errors I encountered throughout. The errors weren’t glaringly obvious, nor were they constant; but they were enough to interrupt the flow of the narrative. I cannot say whose fault it was these tiny errors got through, but a good proofreader should have caught them.

As this is the first book in a series, the ending was left open for the next book. The immediate problems were resolved but the overall story arc was left incomplete. As dissatisfied as I was with this book, it is unlikely I will be looking for the second or third books.

On a last side note, is ‘enertia’ a real word or was it made up for this story? I’m afraid Google failed me as all I found were references to corporations and computer software. It is something I shall have to ponder and perhaps look more in to.

The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor, Vampire Slayer by Lucy Weston

On the eve of her coronation, Elizabeth Tudor is summoned to the grave of her mother – Anne Boleyn. That night she has a vision and learns the truth of her great bloodline; she is a Slayer. Born to battle those who walk in darkness and ravage the night, to protect the people of her beloved realm from those who would destroy it either from within or without.

Too soon Elizabeth discovers that she is not just a hunter, but prey herself when the vampire Mordred comes to call. King Arthur’s bastard son, he sold his soul to defeat his father and now he wants what he believes is rightfully his; the throne. Tempted by his promises of everlasting beauty and life, Elizabeth is torn between duty and her own heart.

If the basic premise of Elizabeth Tudor, Vampire Slayer sounds familiar dear reader, you are not alone. Upon reading the book I found the back story quite similar to the movie and TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The basic plot is the same: young woman is born and lives her early life not knowing of her great destiny. At a certain point she learns of her powers and what she is expected to do with them. She vacillates between wanting to right the wrongs around her and wanting to have a “normal” life.

In this sense, both book and show are much the same. The difference though is while Buffy was good, Elizabeth Tudor is more ‘meh’.

That isn’t to say that the author, Lucy Weston, doesn’t try to make the book interesting and good. She does and at times she seems to try a little too hard. Trying to combine truth and fantasy can be tricky and while I have seen books where it worked well, it can also fall flat.

The language is sometimes overly flowery and certain scenes just plod along. It certainly wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read but neither was it the best.

Readers who enjoyed the Buffy series might want to give this one a try. There are quite a few parallels readers will likely enjoy. Gothic romance fans also might want to read this one as it has several of the hallmarks. Personally, I don’t think I’ll be looking for anything else from this author.

Doctor Who: Deep Time by Trevor Baxendale

Long ago, the Phaeron were a race of explorers; travelling through the stars via roads made from time and space. And then one day, a million years ago, they mysteriously disappeared – leaving only a handful of relics behind.

What happened to the Phaeron is a mystery that has been debated for years. Yet when the last of the Phaeron “roads” is discovered, the mystery could finally have an answer. A human crew is on their way and the Doctor and Clara have joined the voyage.

Every person on the crew believes they know what awaits them, but only the Doctor truly knows what they will find.

I admit, dear Readers, to being a Doctor Who fan for quite some time. I remember watching the old episodes on my local public television station and being thrilled by the new episodes as they have aired.

Alas after 50 plus years, Doctor Who has become a bit formulaic and unfortunately Deep Time succumbs to that pitfall. The plot follows what many episodes and novels have done – the current Doctor and companion join a human crew who are on some kind of mission to some mysterious new place. Some time during the journey a catastrophe of some sort happens, placing the crew in danger. The Doctor saves the day, or at least points out what needs to be done and someone else does it. Repeat – sometimes ad nauseum – until the final climax where everything is wrapped up.

The basic premise behind Deep Time is something that’s been done before but the resolution to the final problem was a new twist. I was a bit disappointed with characterization, especially with the Doctor and Clara; who I found out of character at times. The rest of the human crew were interesting however and I found myself liking several of them.

Deep Time is supposedly part of a series and is the third and final book. I didn’t know this but that didn’t detract from my reading enjoyment. The thread that ties the three books together is so minor a point it fades in to the background.

This is a book for fans of the series Doctor Who. Those who don’t have at least some knowledge of the series will likely not enjoy this book. Those who DO know the series should at least give this one a try, if only as a way to spend time with old friends.

Theatre of the Gods by Matt Suddain

This is the tale of an explorer, a philosopher, and a heretic; who all happen to be the same person.

M. Francisco Fabrigas leads a ship in a daring voyage to the next dimension with a seventeen year old Captain, a young boy who is a walking computer, a blind girl who knows more than she lets on, and a botanist who has more than a few secrets of her own. All this while being chased by the Pope of the Universe and a Well Dressed Man.

Several reviewers have compared Theatre of the Gods to the series Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and I could not agree more. Epic in scope with a wry sense of humor, Theatre of the Gods is an enjoyable read.

If I had any issues with Theatre of the Gods, it would be with how long the book is. At just over 600 pages, even in paperback form it is a thick book to carry around. It could have easily been split in to two (or even three) books to make for easier reading. I have seen other long books given such treatment and believe Theatre of the Gods could use it as well.

Personally, I would like to see more from this author as Theatre of the Gods is the kind of book that is perfect for a sequel or two.

Fans of dry, British humor will likely enjoy Suddain’s novel. Those who enjoyed Hitchhiker’s Guide should try to find this one and give it a read.