Books Books Welwyn Has Reviewed

Finders Keepers

By Russ Colchamiro




Reviewed by Welwyn Wilton Katz          4.5 stars out of five




“Before we conclude for today, let me leave you with one last thought: you are involved with the design, creation and maintenance of the Universe.  Your responsibilities are of the highest magnitude.  It is not your right to be here...”
                            -Finders Keepers






Crazy Guy

Or, you could just enjoy every moment... (Welwyn has an old kindle without page numbers, but she is sure this sentiment is expressed almost everywhere in the book.)


This is a creative and different but joyous book, worth reading twice.  The story is dual (one story is set in Eternity, different from the Universe, where time is ticking down to the revelation of the newly designed Milky Way; the other tale occurs reasonably linearly in the early  2000’s on Earth).  What links the two is the newly-wed lust of Donald and Danielle, working on the building of the Milky Way with their powerfully useful and dangerous jar of Cosmic Building Material (CBM).  They are supervising the building of the Sea of Japan on the partly finished third planet from the (only) sun in the Milky Way, when in their love-making they accidentally kick over the jar of CBM.  The jar falls into a solidifying glacier and doesn’t turn up again for several hundred million years, though it is actually only 39 days or so in Eternity. Meanwhile, proud,  beautiful, unkind galactic designer Emma and her lowly assistant Lex are trying to keep things going as the plumbing goes wrong on the second planet and the first is way too close to the Sun.  Donald and Danielle are terrified the Minder of the Universe, known as Big Mou, who has shown serious interest in the planet they’d been working on, will find out about the lost jar.  Everyone in Eternity can always see what happens to a galaxy where CBM is spilled before the galaxy is solidified: Milo’s Smear, a place of nothingness.  Milo got it just as bad.  Time is short (or not, or should be, or maybe shouldn’t matter one iota). This is one of the themes explored by this fascinating book.

Six months before, the young New Zealander,Theo Barnes, a garden cultivator by preference, is getting ready to go to Europe to see if there really is any true reality or order in life.  Does the “fabric of the world stretch out like putty, as if existence is elastic, malleable, constantly reshaping itself, reforming...”, or is it that  people "see what they think they see, while they’re the ones in flux?” For two years he has saved up his earnings from taking tourists exploring in the Waitomo cave system  to go to as many unknown places as possible in Europe to answer this question in observational peace and quiet.  He makes one last caving trip solo before he leaves, because he is already aware that, here, there is “life as perfect as he had ever known.” 

Theo is a wonderful character.  His relationships, once formed, are so deeply confident it is hard to believe that he can be disturbed by being asked to speak his thoughts.  I think, perhaps, that when he finds someone important to his life, he is quietly looking for the kind of communication that he feels each person needs from him.  For instance, it is Theo’s belief that he and his father need to communicate about "hobbies, not chores; adventures, not responsibilities”.  And so, on one of his last days at home he asks in some detail how his father’s helicopter rebuilding project is going: a gift of words that his father returns by asking about Theo’s caving that day.

When Theo finds a jar in a deep pool he happens to fall into while floating on one of the underground rivers in the caves, he examines it carefully, startled because the surface is silver like a mirror but absolutely non-reflective.  Either the digital world has disappeared or he is a vampire, he jokes to himself.  Still, it is very odd.  The opening mechanism has symbols but nothing will open it.  All the time Theo is trying to understand this bewildering object, he is becoming more and more dazed and hallucinatory.  And then:


There was a blast of white light.

There were streaks of screaming fluorescent color.

There was the sensation of being sucked through a tornado.

And then...


And then there were stars.  Lots and lots of stars.

Each person who comes into contact with the jar (or is close to someone else who has) experiences the jar in exactly the same way (with those exact words), though for each it ends differently.  Theo gets stars the first time, and feels as if his spirit has been set free to roam the endlessness of forever.  Later, when he and his girlfriend have sex, the “jar experience” happens again, only this time it ends for Theo : “And then there was pleasure.  Lots and lots of pleasure.”

The second of the two most important people in this book is Jason Medley.  Picture a waiter from New York, still living with his parents, who knows by heart his debts to the penny, who hopes for a job teaching English, and right now is both desperately car sick and terrified, because he is being driven for the first time on British roads to London from Manchester and this is obviously the wrong side of the road. He's been persuaded by his crazy friend Hank to travel, starting in England where someone named Jenny will take care of him. At the moment he is alternating between needing to upchuck and wishing he were in a time travel machine so that he can go back and strangle Hank. He has had exactly one moment of spontaneous madness in his life, when he agreed with Hank to quit his job, get a Eurorail pass, and fly to England. "The more you embrace life, the more life will embrace you," Hank had said. But this young man is no Theo Barnes.  He always feels unsafe.  He will vomit if he feels a booger on the bottom of his wait-tray, or takes a curve too fast in a car, or drinks too much, or does anything alone for the first time.  He knows all his own negatives, and somehow dreams a little, just the same.  It is that hope inside him that somehow everything will be different in Europe that has brought him there. But Hank's friend Jenny drops him off at a London train station and heads for Edinburgh.  Jason soon discovers his Eurorail pass does not work in England, and it scares him.  The cost of a train to Europe scares him.  He can't find the right train, or work out the time the right one leaves.  This is the Jason we first see, a frightened little boy of 24, all alone.  Where he is strong is that this innocent, scared, goofy guy who upchucks at the drop of a hat understands Hank’s equation.  If he wants life to embrace him, he has to embrace life too.  Somewhere inside him he believes that.  And so, leaping the train as it is already on its way, he finds his way to the car where there is exactly one seat, and he offers his own reality to complete strangers. If they laugh, he sees that he is funny.  If they see he’s hungry, they give him food.  It makes him sweeter than he knows, because these backpackers are not used to sharing anything unless they know each other already. 


Stars /center>


Jason heads to Rome and other places in a kind of bewildered euphoria of too many tokes and beers and bars and sex and laughter.  The truth that he projects of himself makes him a center of nearly every new crowd.   Somewhere on the way he meets Theo.  Does it make sense that these two become soul-mates?  Remember what Theo is there for, and remember that Jason is prepared to offer his deepest truth to everyone.  And Jason actually feels the jar-thing, because he is as close to Theo as a friend can be.

This is a book about love, set in times that exist at the same time and millions of years apart and not really at all any more.  It is a book about love for your soul-mate you dreamed about years ago, between men and women, boys and girls, children and their parents, parents and their children, brother and brother, friend and friend, atoms and galaxies, animals and humans...  It’s all there. And so, of course, is the jar of CBM.

Chapters are short, and scene changes occur with almost every new chapter.  Often, when a scene changes, you might have to read four or five chapters with completely new sets of people in each one before you get back to someone you have met before.  This parallels the eurorail life of the backpackers.  People come and go and miss each other and write down addresses that will never be followed up.  That is all very well for literary allegory, but if you want to read this strange and marvellous story,  then read it when you’re fresh.  If you’re a bedtime reader, keep a list of characters as you meet them, so that the next night when you open the story you don’t find yourself saying, as I did, “George?  Who’s George?”  It is the only irritant of the book, except for the author's occasional failure of relying on spell-checkers instead of using a dictionary if he was not certain of a spelling. (A peek is a little look; a peak is the top of something high.)   

This book will not appeal to everyone.  It took me a while to like it.  Where the author finally won me completely was with Theo’s endlessly interesting and valuable thoughts, and eventually with an absolutely perfect scene between mother and son.  It was written from the mother’s point of view, which I’d not expected, because it is one of very few scenes in this book where an ordinary woman gets a point of view.  I found it very moving. 

Finders Keepers is a crazy read, in many ways: science fiction mixed with an older person’s perfect memory of coming of age, while unusual underwater experiences lead to talking whales who somehow know all about the jar of magic dust that is the CBM.  I admired the writer's mastery of character and his amazing creativity. I loved some of the characters as if they were real people.  So, if you want a good time, all you have to do is read in the morning, friends; or keep a notebook beside your eBook reader at night. Because it’s worth it.  It really is.


Blue Whale

Roger hadn’t been able to stop thinking about that day at Cathedral Cove.  In the waters beneath Cathedral cove.  When in a dream – Roger was certain it had to have been a dream – a blue whale named Howard challenged him with the onus of responsibility.

-- Finders Keepers




The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

By Jonas Jonasson

Translated from the original Swedish by Rod Bradbury

Welwyn's rating (out of 5 stars) 4*

The nature of a hero is not always pretty, and sometimes the reader may be shocked at 100 year-old Allan Karlsson's casual criminality, but when he does such things, it is not because he is evil, but because it is rational, to him, given his circumstances.  I loved the way Allan makes a habit of acting and reacting by the instantaneous needs that strike him.  In a way he is the child, not the ancient one, in a world full of quirky forks in many roads. Unlike a lot of very old people sitting silent in a chair, who may be remembering and reconstructing and wishing for the life that they think they would have made for themselves if only life had given them different choices, Allan makes his own choices. If a thing seems good to him at the moment, he takes it, or does it, or enjoys it, or follows it.  He doesn 't think about his actions very long before he chooses them.  By living like this, he has been to many places and participated in many historical events.  An explorer in his heart, his own desires driving him, he still has some moral integrity. He doesn't consider himself better than other people except in two ways: making vodka from goat's milk and how to put together an atomic bomb.  He won't give out either bit of knowledge to just anybody: after all, look at Stalin.  But given the right reassurance, he will just go ahead and do what people need or want from him if it is something he enjoys (which includes being better in those two ways than other people.)  Otherwise, his internal voice is that of an explorer who has been incarcerated and won't ever be again.  Some people have compared him to Forrest Gump, which is a pity, because Forrest "just happens" on the right people at the right time; he is a lucky man who always falls into what he needs the most.  Unlike Forrest, who obeys the few principles of simple order  he has managed to take from the people he trusts, Allan forms his own principles as he goes along, always reasonable, given his needs of the moment.  I am enjoying very much the books we are now seeing from Swedish writers.  The ones I've read (so far) stand up for the principle of  creating your own destiny.  Selfish it might seem, nevertheless, it is a mythological heroic principle.  Joeseph Campbell calls it "following your bliss".  And for Allan Carlsson, there is absolutely no reason to stop doing that, just because he is old.



Love, Murder, & Mayhem  

Cosmic tales of the heart gone deadly wrong.


Edited by Russ Colchamiro


Reviewed by Welwyn Wilton Katz :  (ranking 4* out of five)


The word cosmic drew me into reviewing this book because I love to be amazed by writing that is unique, creative and yet consistent within its own reality.  Cosmic tales would most likely be defined by most readers as stories that are “out of this world,” in both senses: (1) terrific, and (2) containing some theme, plot or characters so unique that most people would never imagine them, and yet somehow they are believable.  Examples might be Ann Leckie’s “Ancillary Justice”, and  “2312” by Kim Stanley Robinson.  One of these novels is set in a far distant place and time, and the other less than 200 years from now in our own solar system.  Writing a cosmic tale doesn’t require a futuristic plot or super-powers or a setting that no one else has ever imagined living in. It doesn’t take genius to write a cosmic tale; just someone logical, imaginative, patient, and willing to do all the research needed in order to make his/her/their answers to questions such as “What if...?” and “Does this have to be?” and “If this goes on...?” different than anyone else’s answers, while being recognized as believable by other thoughtful readers.  A cosmic story must be believable.  If something happens that should change the basic laws of reality and doesn’t, then the writer must know why it doesn’t, and make that clear; and vice-versa.  Another point to consider is that if you can describe the interaction of characters and plot and setting in a couple of sentences without telling the ending, the story is probably not cosmic. 

I think the subtitle of this anthology, “Cosmic Tales of the Heart Gone Deadly Wrong”, makes an author’s chance of writing a cosmic tale here close to zero, given that “the heart gone deadly wrong” is about as trite a theme as ever an author had to work with. I’m amazed to say that in this anthology there are a few stories that come very close to being cosmic by both definitions.  One story actually excited me very much on the cosmic level, and the author managed to keep to the theme of the heart gone deadly wrong!  However, I’m certainly not going to hold it against authors who have submitted excellent stories if they decided to simply ignore one or the other (or both) aspects of the subtitle.

Among this group were some fine stories that worked for me just because they were very well written and illustrated creatively some kind of universal theme (which perhaps the authors defined for themselves as a cosmic theme, and who am I to argue?).  The ironically titled  “Speedeth All”, by Meriah L. Crawford, leads us through the final hours of three soldiers trying to get off a hellish planet where their lives are completely controlled by a Command that isn’t there and maybe has never even been on the surface, and certainly hasn’t considered anything but its own technological way of looking at things.  Like most soldiers everywhere, our heroes don’t even really know why they have been sent to fight for this particular planet.  They get data, and they see everyone else die.  The dialog is by far the most thoughtful in the entire anthology, carefully chosen not only to avoid anachronisms, but to reflect a future we don’t know. Some examples:  “... short of replacing almost every bishtup part...”  and “The annies had done all kinds of math...” and “... their five-ton tracked hugos had been blasted into pieces ... too small to play tag-o with...”  and, to describe something totally useless, “chicken sticks, battered and fried.”  The characters are very believable, in their reactions and understanding of the truth behind everything that happens to them.  A very strong story.

“The Responders,” by Michael Jan Friedman is a tale of three super-heroes whose love for one another is disrupted by a human who wants to be part of their group.  My mind went first to the Beatles and Yoko Ono, but this story is nothing like theirs.  Its beauty is in its subtlety.  Why this detail?  Why that one?  I puzzled and chewed over things told to me by a detective so ordinary and real that he simply has to be believed.  I am still asking myself the ultimate question as to the real motive of one of the characters, not even hinted at by the narrator at the end of the story, but that the clues placed so carefully caused to arise in my mind.  I am sure this is not by accident.  The author of this story is too good not to have thought of that question himself.  The story works just fine, either way I answer that unposed question.  It works more powerfully because I can never know the truth.

“As Time Goes By”, by Patrick Thomas, is a well constructed story of a supervillain’s love for his wife Sherri, and how that love (and a challenge from the Luminary, the greatest of superheroes) leads him to a new life.  Once known as the Tempus Fugitive, but now using his real name, Marcus McGowan takes up Luminary’s challenge to cultivate his vision, so that he can use his powers to create wealth in ways that will do good for other people.   He has enormous, almost unbelievable power: the ability to lengthen, shorten, or even stop time.  I think the author might have considered what happens to the surroundings when time is manipulated in such a way.   Time is so linear, generally, that paradoxes could and probably should happen.  Leaving that aside, Marcus uses his mastery of time as creatively as he can, though it is hard to get people to trust him at first.  m at first.  He begins by saving a farmer’s crops from frost.  By the time his and Sherri’s fifth anniversary rolls around, he has just barely enough money to take her to dinner at the ritziest of the richest restaurants in the city, Morveux.  There, his jalopy and the use of his real name alerts a snotty maître d’ to his criminal past.  The maître d’ kicks them out in the most public way possible, insults Marcus’s wife, and generally behaves in a way that should have caused a high-class restaurant like Morveux to fire him that very night.  But he’s still there three years later, when Marcus exercises his long-decided revenge.  Despite knowing what kind of egotistical bully the maître d’ is, in three years Marcus hasn’t changed his first impulsive plan for revenge.  In all that time he hasn’t once thought what this kind of man might do after Marcus gets his revenge on him. Creativity is different from vision, the Luminary has said at the beginning of the story, adding that he sees all the Daring Don’t’s as having an inability to ‘see consequences’.  And so, Time has mastered its Master by his choosing not to use it, and the story rounds back to the beginning in a solidly designed and totally believable way.

A good story can be read quickly with great admiration, as I did and felt for “The Hardwicke Files: The Case of My Old New Life and the One I Never Knew” by Russ Colchamiro. It is stylishly written, with sharp dialog and both suspense and flair.  It is an almost classic murder mystery set in a future that is uncommon and very interesting. As I read it through for the first time, I found almost nothing to disturb me, and much to praise.  Then I went to bed, and in the middle of the night I awoke with a question in my mind.  I re-read the story.  More questions.  To elaborate would spoil the story for the reader, but if the author wishes to discuss this with me, my email address is on .  Another problem occurs when the first-person narrator, Hardy (a private eye), has a long and extremely powerful emotional reaction that we actually see (and “hear” her think about, without backstory), and we never find out why.  I can only assume that the explanation is in another story earlier in “The Hardwicke Files”.  Unfortunately, short stories from one anthology must sometimes be modified for a different anthology.  All the same, I hope everyone reads this story and loves it despite problems that likely only serious readers or those with a lot of experience editing will even notice. It speaks to the need for that second pair of experienced editorial eyes that none of the stories in the ARC I am reviewing were given.    

I had a different reaction at first to another story, “Fractured” by Robert Greenburger.  At first I thought the story was that of the love affair that threatens the marriage of Lucas Connors and his wife Bridget, and then I thought it was more accurately the story of how Lucas reacts to the different feelings he has for Bridget and for his lover, trying to work out what to do.  Given these two related themes, I felt a little like skipping over all the time spent by Lucas working on the idea of expanding the Martian landscape of five tiny villages currently under one dome.  When I woke up I saw that the whole Martian aspect was the actual theme of this story. On this level, I see an author actually using a setting for a story in a unique way, which makes it a serious attempt at “cosmic” writing. I recommend it as a thoughtful and suspenseful study of whether excitement and newness are worth the inevitable dangers. 

I usually read with such an editorial eye that even when I’m reading just “for pleasure”, it is difficult to lose myself in a story enough to laugh, but I got several smiles and even two good laughs (“the man of few words sentence”, and “poor Mama”) from “The Case of the Missing Alien Baby Mama”, by Paul Kupperberg, a pleasing  bit of mayhem about a trailer park queen and an alien who may or may not hate each other, which is important since their child and its mother have disappeared.  The calmly ugly journalist Leo follows the trail with the gravity necessary to a comic character who is a “hard news guy” and gets all the UFO and paranormal stories to write.  The choice of first person is exactly right for this story, and there is no hint of leaving out important bits of Leo’s actions or reactions.

 I also laughed out loud at the simply perfect ending of the delightful homage to Sherlock Holmes, “The Note on the Blue Screen” by Mary Fan.  In this story, Sherlock is a humanoid AI who has overdosed on corrosives again, and apparently killed herself before the euphoria of healing herself can be achieved.  The backstory is masterfully woven in with the seriously difficult and creative puzzles Sherlock has left for Watson to solve.  There is no lack of dialog, despite the long scenes where Watson is working things out, because of the backstory with the living Sherlock and the note she has left for Watson that is so unlike her that Watson cannot help but imagine Sherlock speaking aloud.  (The editorial board could have helped in a couple of places here by using a different font for Watson’s thoughts and Sherlock’s imagined words, but I don’t want to get started on that *v&>!!! * editorial board here.)  A very clever story.  I want to read more from this author.

Another charming and amusing story is Invasive Maneuvers by Hildy Silverman.  This is more a fantasy tale than science fiction, but it’s definitely a new version of traditional fantasy.  Imagine, if you will, a Neighbourhood Watch team of a vampire, a human, a witch and werewolf together patrolling their own borders to keep each other’s kind out.  Suddenly aliens crash-land in the local football field.  The aliens come out, all looking like four-foot bones: a werewolf’s dream, except for the arms that slap like paddle-wheels.  There are no differences between them except for a decorative medallion on each chest, all decorated with squiggly lines that point in three different directions.  Somewhat like the Sneetches posited by Dr. Suess, each alien with one kind of medallion thinks it is better than any other and will fight to prove it.  The aliens are a problem for the Neighbourhood Watch.  Their ship is irreparable, and in housing them among the “earthlings”, the aliens learn all kinds of nasty ways to fight. The eventual confrontation occurs in a madcap scene between all the supernatural “earthlings” of the area and the aliens.  Intelligence wins, and I came out of the story smiling.

DuckBob: Killer Service”, by Aaron Rosenberg, is a perfect French farce of a piece, where a new gadget in the man-duck’s hands seems always to lead to disaster.  For those unfamiliar with DuckBob, he was once an ordinary Bob, but captured by the Grays and turned into his current shape, whom they meant to use as a plug to operate the Matrix that protects the entire cosmos, which DuckBob apparently now does by means of a wireless interface he wears continually on his head.  We are in DuckBob’s thoughts the entire time, and his thoughts are inside his love Mary’s body most of the time, and so this piece of writing is more a leer broken by moments of mayhem than a story.  But it is amusing when the current gadget, IRIS, who has only to hear DuckBob’s command to obey it immediately, misunderstands something he says (“So kill me now.”) as meant for her.  You can predict the rest.

The next group of stories all gave me the surprised delight of seeing writers try (more or less successfully) to do something really new as a significant and believable part of a story.

In “A Matter of Principle”, by Lois Spangler, the lead detective in a suspicious death is an ambulatory artificial intelligence (ambie) named Dani.  The would-be murderer is angry that his father is going to leave his historical bar to his own much older beloved ambie, Olivia, through a complicated trust that contravenes the concept that a bunch of hardware and software cannot inherit anything.  It is the son who dies, after setting off an EMP to neutralize Olivia, who has come downstairs to investigate an intruder while watching over the bar.   Olivia has worked for this particular family for more than two generations. She began in security, and is now ‘front of house’ for the bar, though she retains her ‘security designation’ (her registration says that most of her security software has been deleted or overwritten).  The bar’s owner, Nestor, obviously cares for his ‘Livia’ deeply.   If she were not an AI it would be clear to Dani that Olivia loves her ‘Seño’ just as much in return.  As the solitary witness to the death of Jaime, Olivia explains why nothing about her has been damaged by the EMP; apparently her shielding from her security days remained intact.  She also says, “It was a matter of principle.”  Dani also speaks about principles, when a new cop feels he can ask her if it doesn’t bother her to have to investigate another ambie.  In reply, she asks him if it bothers him to investigate another human, and adds, “I was compiled to perform this role, and I carry my own principles too.” The word ‘principles’ as applied to AI’s is surprising, (when they are not Asimov’s, obviously).  To form principles is to use data in a very different way than typically assigned to AI’s. Similarly, the interaction of the two AI’s seems on the surface to be very clear, but it results in severe damage to one of them, and the very best result for the other.   We are told that the damage has come about through the AI encountering lies or the gray area between what is known to be true and what isn’t.  What lie – or set of lies – has been told that leads to the AI’s damage?  Who – if anyone – has been conned? 

“This Mortal Coil”, by Peter David, Kathleen David, and Sean O’Shea, is one of the most imaginative of the stories in this anthology.  It is based on the idea that highly functioning people really need only half an hour of their own natural sleep a day to clean out the junk that accumulates in the cortex that would normally be dealt with by dreaming.  That half-hour’s sleep is downloaded into the mind of a sleepcaster (the person who will finish off your eight hours for you), and the next day upload you with a cleaned out cortex. I loved this idea, and only wished I could believe it.  I really don’t want to discuss why I didn’t, as it might spoil the delight other readers will have in an otherwise nearly perfect story.   Again, I hope the authors will feel free to contact me, to talk about it.

Make it Didn’t Happen, by Glenn Hauman.  There is absolutely nothing I can say about this story that won’t wreck it for the discerning reader.  I admit to some confusion at first, but the confusion actually went right along with a deeper awareness that I would still eventually be giving it full stars in my mental rating system.  The absolute delight that came when I realized my instinct about the full stars was right. The story is such a challenge partly because it works so subtly that the entire story, not just one idea, is (by my definition) about as cosmic as it can get.  Rather than merely being about something cosmic, the entire story is cosmic in every way. Here is a writer who dares to challenge; who probably knows many readers will not try to deconstruct it from the confusion it must present, and doesn’t care.  I honour that.  Glenn Hau;  a huge readership, but might not get it because (like other great writers I can think of), his writing requires some work on the part of the reader.

I have been told that the ARC I received was not edited, but is now undergoing that process.  Given that information, which I really hope is true, I can highly recommend this book.  There is a lot of talent in its authors.  Not one story is incompetent, or overly predictable (which surprised me, given what they were told to write about.)  There really is something for everyone here.  I wish all the authors a fortunate writing future. 









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My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I hate blood sports, and yet I love Jane Yolen. What's a reader to do? Well, I read the first in the Pit Dragon Trilogy (a fourth is on the way), and sadly put away the other two which I had already bought. I loved the dragons too much to fear for their lives every time they fought. And there was something a bit worrying about the bonding Jakkin has with his dragons. He fights their fights in his mind (literally), and so the bloodiness became even more disturbing to me.
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A Sending of Dragons (The Pit Dragon Chronicles, #3)A Sending of Dragons by Jane Yolen

I hate blood sports, and yet I love Jane Yolen. What's a reader to do? Well, I read the first in the Pit Dragon Trilogy (a fourth is on the way), and sadly put away the other two which I had already bought. I loved the dragons too much to fear for their lives every time they fought. And there was something a bit worrying about the bonding Jakkin has with his dragons. He fights their fights in his mind (literally), and so the bloodiness became even more disturbing to me.

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Sword-Dancer (Tiger and Del, #1)Sword-Dancer by Jennifer Roberson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jennifer Roberson has moved forward in her writing a great deal since she began her career. Basically I bought the Cheysuli books (her first) because I enjoyed the Tiger and Del books so much. (That was a mistake). I read all the "Sword" books of Tiger and Del. I can't remember much about their plots, which is sad, because I read them only a couple of years ago. It may be my memory which at the time was a bit faulty from a car accident, or it may be that the actual plots had little to set them apart from most sword-and-sorcery type stories (which I like very much). It was probably a bit of both. What I do remember, and what probably would have encouraged me to read all the Tiger and Del books again, was the sarcastic yet caring interplay between Tiger and Del. It's hard to build characters as believable as this. I hope Roberson continues to write as well as this and better in her later books. I think she has conspicuous talent.
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Sword-Singer (Tiger and Del, #2)Sword-Singer by Jennifer Roberson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have the same feelings about all the Tiger and Del books and so I will use the same review for them all:
Please look for my review of Sword-Dancer (Tiger and Del #1) to see why I liked these books so much.

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Sword-Maker (Tiger and Del, #3)Sword-Maker by Jennifer Roberson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have the same feelings about all the Tiger and Del books and so I will use the same review for them all:
Please look for my review of Sword-Dancer (Tiger and Del #1) to see why I liked these books so much.

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Sword-Breaker (Tiger and Del, #4)Sword-Breaker by Jennifer Roberson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have the same feelings about all the Tiger and Del books and so I will use the same review for them all:
Please look for my review of Sword-Dancer (Tiger and Del #1) to see why I liked these books so much.

View all my reviews

Sword-Born (Tiger and Del, #5)Sword-Born by Jennifer Roberson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have the same feelings about all the Tiger and Del books and so I will use the same review for them all:
Please look for my review of Sword-Dancer (Tiger and Del #1) to see why I liked these books so much.

View all my reviews

Sword-Sworn (Tiger & Del, #6)Sword-Sworn by Jennifer Roberson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fine ending (so far?) to a fine series. I do remember this plot much better than the earlier ones, and so I think, given the continuing quality coming to this good ending, I am pleased to give this book a full five stars. I will miss the two characters. They are still in my mind as I think back a couple of years. Jennifer Roberson's talent keeps on growing and I can only hope that it continues to manifest itself so positivel
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Shapechangers (Chronicles of the Cheysuli, Book 1)Shapechangers by Jennifer Roberson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I started this book at least three times, and finally gave it up. I felt the writing was awkward, uncertain, and the characters rather unpleasant. Because of this I didn't finish any of the Cheysuli books, though I have them all. What a waste. Sadly, I enjoyed Roberson's Tiger and Del series so much. I have since learned that the Cheysuli books were her first, or at least the first of her books to gain her some prominence. I have a first book; we all do. But I just couldn't find any life in this first book, and so I couldn't finish it. It's a pity, because no doubt she grew as a writer all the way through the series, given the quality of her writing in the Tiger and Del books. View all my reviews

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