Review: The Reborn King

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Posted on : 11/22/2017 10:40:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

The Reborn King The Reborn King by Michael R. Miller
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is a 1-star review. I made it to chapter 3 before the ghost of Dorothy Parker rose from the pages. I rarely ever give 1-star reviews. Usually, the grammar and spelling have to be atrocious to warrant that sort of review. The grammar and spelling in this book are fine.

The characters and setting exuded an air of cardboard. Fortunately for the reader, this book does not feature any fire-breathing dragons. The resulting conflagration would have required the Herculean efforts of the entire firefighting staff of a minor metropolitan area to contain.

The characters were one dimensional and uninspiring. We start off with a villain being given some greater evil power. Why? Did they ask for the power? Were they on some sort of evil short list? Who knows. What does the greater evil power want? Again, who knows.

Then we get to the protagonists. The king of dragons is morose, defeatist, focused on his belief in an old religion. The king of humans is the only character to raise a modest amount of interest. He has lost one heir and seeks to protect his only surviving heir; a baby girl. The king of humans is in turns insufferably arrogant and incredibly spineless. The queen of the faeries is just.....there....barely.

The setting is sketched out in the barest of terms. The one feature this citadel has is that it includes a large number of objects made from a stone that looks like gold...or that has gold veins running through it. There are vague references to armor, arms, and other trophies of past wars. We have no idea what those wars are about or who the armor, arms and other trophies might be worth having. We really aren't given any idea what they look like, such is the generic description that is in play.

What drove me out of this book was the poor storytelling. Examples:

"I call this council of war to order. Scant as our numbers may be, we here are the leaders of the Three Races (humans, fairies, and dragons), and so our decisions cannot be contested"

This dialog is the king of the dragons speaking to the king of the humans, the queen of the fairies, and his son; the prince of dragons. There are a few servants, but this is essentially a private meeting. They all know that they are human, fairy, and dragon. So why the parenthetic clarification?

Later on, the dragon prince is running to save the baby princess. The forces of evil are battering down the gates and seizing the citadel. The princess' guard promptly begins to carry her down to the ship that awaits her at the port. It is so urgent that they get her out of there that they carry her in a crib that is so large that it requires 6 full grown men. If it is so urgent that she get to the ship, then why not just carry her without the crib?

The dragon prince eventually carries the princess in his arms in an attempt to get her to safety.

From the book - "As the door caved in, he fell with it, and saw a flash of black ripple past his face. His right cheek flared in pain as the arrow sliced through the top layers of his skin."

Wouldn't it be more direct to just say that an arrow grazed his cheek?

Moments later the dragon prince is attempting to bodily ram through a door while carrying the princess in his arms. The door, being magically sealed, rebuffs his attempt and he lands on the floor. His armor is dented badly enough that it now pierces his skin. Despite the obvious violence of the impact, the princess is unharmed.

Children playing with GI Joe action figures have more believable adventures.

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Review: Hell Divers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

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Posted on : 11/19/2017 06:44:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Hell Divers Hell Divers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a 2 star "did not finish" review.

The hook for this book is that the world has been destroyed and the only pockets of humanity left alive are on airships. The airships send out skydivers....well Hell Divers (roll credits)....to scavenge for equipment/parts that are in short supply.

Part of the ability to suspend disbelief is the fact that there are other believable elements to the story. By chapter 5 I had more than enough plot holes that could not be filled except by just accepting that this was just a story.

A reader that just wants a cool read might well enjoy this book. The writing/grammar is fundamentally good. It's just that the plot holes drove me out of it early and often.

- So the promotional reading indicated multiple airships. There are two, so the plural is accurate....barely.

- Everything is in short supply on these airships. Yet the hell divers are ready to knife their way out of their parachute harnesses. Also, they don't spend much time recovering the useful gear of a diver that dies on the way down.

- Nuclear fuel is heavy. Nuclear fuels are very dense. They pack a lot of energy into very little space. But it still requires tons of the stuff to power a reactor that can power a city. One hell diver finds a "case" of nuclear fuel cells that weighs 40 lbs. This is supposed to be enough to power the airship for years if not decades. There isn't enough energy in 40 lbs of nuclear fuel to do that.

- Nuclear fuel is radioactive. Yet the hell diver opens the case to see what is inside.

- Again, things are in short supply. But when the hell diver returns to the airship via a balloon inflated using helium, they just let the helium escape.

- And the hell diver "steers" the balloon into the open bay of the airship by pulling ropes/lines like they were steering a parachute or a kite.

- Early on it is established that none of the hell divers has seen any significant signs of surviving down on the polluted/radioactive surface of the world. Yet the two teams that go down instantly run across semi-humanoid lifeforms.

- The divers have binoculars. Things that should have existed before the world was destroyed. Binoculars are normally used close to the eyes to get the focal length right. Yet the divers wear masked helmets. The shouldn't be able to use the binoculars effectively.

- The divers wear helmets and suits that seem to be uniquely well suited for jumping into a poisoned and radioactive environment. Yet it is established that no one knows who started the war that ended the world. Why would those suits exist on those airships before the world ended? How could they have been manufactured on an airship suffering from scarce resources after the world ended?

There were just too many plot holes for me to bother reading any further.

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