Review: The Puppet Record ~ M.L. Candelario

The Puppet Record
In the distant future, humans have spread to multiple planets and have discovered a conscious alien race. Yawmkind and humankind exist peacefully under a joint government called the Bastion, but this unity is tested when groups of human children simultaneously vanish on every human settlement. Stowed away on the ship sent out to investigate the disappearances, Joey Omaha must battle his addictions or risk ruining the mission.

5 Thumbs-UpOnce in a while there comes a debut piece of fictional writing that has me wanting to tell anyone who will listen how good it is; this is one of those times.  From the very first page, I was sucked into this highly believable and well thought-out futuristic world and this made this a novella that was very hard to put down.

Despite it being only 199 pages in length, this Author manages to produce a well-rounded piece of writing that leaves the reader wanting more.  This is a book that is not to be taken at face value, with an intricate and intriguing plot line, including plenty of twists and turns that would keep even the most diehard of adventure readers hooked to the end.

The main protagonist is the character that really made me think.  At first I couldn’t bring myself to even remotely like him, but as the book progressed the Author developed him in such a way that he wormed his way into my affections.  He is a young man who is battling demons in the form of an addiction, whilst trying to do the right and moral thing concerning those he works with.  I have never suffered from an addiction, apart from reading, but the Author has apparently done a great deal of research into this area, and this shines through when they write about the trials and tribulations the main character goes through to hopefully triumph.  Using a mix of human and alien characters in this book, the Author is also able to convey through their writing, in a non-preaching way, that everyone is connected and similar in some way, whether it is through a way of thinking or a gesture.  This made one of the alien characters particularly likeable, and very much a person I would like to have as a family member, but as to which one that would be, you would just have to read the book.  Although I did not agree with some of the points of view put across by the characters, this in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the book; it just gave me food for thought and great enjoyment when pondering over the possibilities.

The world building in this novella is superbly executed, not just through the sheer imagination of the Author but also by the way in which they allow the technology and history of this world to be narrated to the reader by the books characters.  This adds a definite ‘human’ touch to the book which made me feel like the characters, and the Author, would perhaps like me to visit and stay awhile in their world.  Not content to stick to one particular world, the Author spreads the tale out across this unknown universe and, in doing so, is able to make the reader wonder if there could possibly be such a place outside of the scope of current space exploration.  Full of philosophical ideas and some religious perspectives, this little book will, if nothing else, make you reconsider everything you thought you knew about life and maybe even step outside your comfort zone to examine new ideas.

Not your usual run of the mill sci-fi book, the fast paced and riveting plot will keep you turning pages to the very end.  I would very highly recommend this novella to all who love a good sci-fi book, and also to those who enjoys adventure tales.  I will definitely be reading more from this Author.

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Review: FEAR! ~ Steven Nedelton

abstract backgroundA real life drama. In this expansive examination of Man’s nature, the author takes us into a world where the government controls everything, war is a constant reality, and no one can be trusted. Throughout it all, one family clings to their values while standing fast against the forces that would see them torn apart.

Ranging in time from the distant past to the near future, FEAR! takes the reader on a journey to the center of Hell.

3 Thumbs-UpA word of warning; if you are easily offended by the ‘f’ word, and feel it is pretty pointless in a book and has no place there, don’t bother to pick up this book as you’ll find offense on nearly every page.  However, if you can come to see that the use of it may actually help the plot in some way, give this book a try.

The book itself is rather enjoyable spanning a time frame from the far distant past to the near future, and as a descriptive writer this Author excels as events and locations in the book come to life before the readers eyes.  With a deft use of words, they are able to transport the reader to the era in which the plot is taking place so vividly that they will have to lay the book down occasionally to check that they really are in their own time.  However, if you are not a fan of time leaping plots you may find this book somewhat confusing as it moves from one era to another quickly.  The way in which the Author does this can make the structure of the book somewhat difficult to follow if the reader is new to the idea of time leaping in their reading material, but it is worth persevering with to read this intriguing book.

The Author does not just limit his descriptive writing talents to the location and events in the novel, he uses them to great effect when writing the characters encountered.  For the most part these are very well-developed and realistically three-dimensional, which added depth to the book, unfortunately the Author was not able to sustain this level of development in all their characters to the point where some seemed to be caricatures of what they truly could have become if more time had been taken in their development.

If you are looking for a solely plot driven book then you will be disappointed in this one, as it appeared to me to be more character driven than plot driven, and as some of these characters were a lot less developed than others it actually affected the pace making it limp painfully along in some places.  I’m not sure if the Authors intent was produce a character driven piece of work, or whether this happened more by chance, but it would have added immensely to the novel if there had been some plot to help in the areas where the characters were too weak to carry the book.

If you enjoy time travel books you may well enjoy this novel, but if you are looking for something deep and meaningful this is not the book for you.

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