SPSFC2 Personal Opening Impressions
Within Team Escapist’s allotment, I’ve read the first 20% of 9 books. Below are my impressions, along with a pass, maybe or fail vote. As with all judging at this stage, these reviews only represent my opinions. Whether a book gets through to the next stage is NOT my opinion alone, but a team effort. What books I do not like, someone else may love. That said, I will be completing all of these 9 books and posting reviews on either this page, Amazon and/or Goodreads, depending on my final impressions.
It’s always fun and exciting to open a new book, see what lies between the pages, and I really enjoyed stepping into all these worlds. Some were not my typical sub-genre of sci-fi, but if was some of those that left me with the best impressions. As I’ve said, I judge quality of writing and storytelling.
Here we go …
Night Music by Tobias F. Cabral
Hard sci-fi is blended with colonization and near-future space technology.
Despite a lack lustre cover, this book is intelligently written, well crafted with proper pacing and interesting, well developed characters. I was never lacking for information nor a deeper understanding of what was going on. Clearly a well-edited book, with the polish of traditionally published book. I always say, don’t let the reader know your book was self-published, and Night Music surely, and expertly has done this so far. PASS
Neander by Harald Johnson
Time travel with a bit of a ‘fish out of water’ feel.
Clean writing. Good pace with appropriate mix of dialogue and prose. Only small hints at sci-fi elements, but just enough to build some tension of what is to come, since readers know it’s a time-travel novel if they read the blurb. PASS
The Created by Michael McCloskey
Sounds like a sci-fi thriller with some interesting POVs.
Interesting that the POV of a plant can hold my attention. For this the author definitely gets kudos! It’a also cleanly written with enough intrigue to capture my interest. Certainly enough to make me want to read on to see how it all comes together. PASS
The Trouble with Love by Maurice X. Alvarez
Portal through time and space. Romance, jewel heist and espionage.
Language/dialogue tags used to denote another language is being spoken are actually confusing and distracting. A few problems with awkward sentences, and the word ‘they’re’. Chapters are way too long. Starts off reading as more of a fantasy novel, but hold on, it changes when we hit Io. Which is just shy of the 20% mark, and where the protagonist should be ‘entering the strange new world’, so it hits the mark on storytelling technique as far as I’m concerned. I thought trust was earned too quickly by Jeremy and his crew, which made the scene a little unbelievable, but otherwise, a good read, and I really enjoyed the characters. PASS
Songs of Space And Time: the Bygone Wars Book 1 by Scott Robinson
A blend of sci-fi and fantasy with a touch of history and intergalactic wars.
Opening scene very confusing without any context. Who were these people writing these snippits? Where and when were these characters? I was left with a sense of ‘well, I guess it will make sense later’. But that’s not always a good technique to use to catch a reader’s attention. There was also POV issues with the language translations- if in Kim’s POV, then the ‘unknown’ language of the other characters should not be translated. It also felt as if the protagonist was an observer of the story- nonactive, as she stood and watched others doing. By page 100, it still feels like fantasy. The designation of ‘aliens’ is used for a group of characters, but I don’t see why the other characters coming through the tree were not. And portals to other worlds are not synonymous with sci-fi. MAYBE
Escaping First Contact by Tina Beier
Derelict ship in far out space.
Opening scenes very confusing with too many characters, language issues with use of pronouns, and world building all clumped together. Rather a struggle to get into the book having to contend with too much all at once. But I see promise in the story and something about it makes me want to read on. MAYBE
Traitor by Krista D. Ball
Space stations and prisons are the back drop of what could be a Hero’s Journey.
Unfortunately a bad start with the history of the book laid out in a very ‘tell’ sort of way. I wasn’t even sure what I was reading, if it was just a straight up info-dump of historical information that leads to the book’s beginning, or a sort of news gathering. Eventually I figured it out, but you shouldn’t have the reader questioning what they are reading on page one. Draw them in, don’t confuse them. It would have served better if it were integrated into the book. It’s a little tedious, and annoying, to have to read the pamphlet on the book before getting to the story. Part of me wanted to skip it all together, and probably would have if not for judging. I get it. It had a certain ‘feel’ to it, but it’s a bit of a cop-out to explain the world’s history in its own section. It makes me wonder … if you couldn’t integrate it into your story, what else couldn’t you do? I don’t have trust in the author, and it’s not even chapter one yet. But after those opening pages, hte story picks up an falls into place. MAYBE
Fallen by Patrick Abbott
MIL sci-fi with some thriller in the mix. Aliens, action and some deep-seeded grit.
That’s what I was expecting when I saw the cover and read the blurb. This was one of the first books I chose to read. Unfortunately, what seems to be a very good story is lost behind the writing. An editor or two- copy and content/developmental, would have serviced this story well. At times, dialogue appears to be a cover-up for info-dumping. There’s a lot of telling, and at times, also showing, but immediately after the telling. It becomes repetitive. And at times, the storytelling comes across as forced. There are times when even the protagonist’s voice doesn’t match his internal thoughts. I was hoping, and kind of expecting from the cover and blurb, a grittier story. It almost reads as an action adventure sit-com. MAYBE
Escape from Earth 1 by David DuBois
A buddy adventure on an alternate Earth. Portals and politics. And the cover gives me ‘cult’ vibes.
Cliche beginning with the big hook being a missing coffee cup. That could be interesting, except it is written in a very ‘tell’ fashion and doesn’t build any tension. There were also several misused commas within the first two hundred words, which was distracting, and made me apprehensive as I continued. And, unfortunately, the entire first chapter was an info-dump. Which is sad, because it sounds like there’s some good humour behind his words, but it is lost to the ‘telling’ not showing. Alot of chapters provided nothing but info-dumps and ended with ‘click bait’. And mild ‘click bait’ at that. Chapter breaks also only seem to be used to break up POV, time, or the size of info-dumps.
By chapter 4, I was also noticing discrepancies with POV. Started out as third person limited, but then changed to omnipotent in certain areas. Pacing was also an issue with more than half of the book dragged down by thoughts, talking and walking. When the action did kick in, it was too late and too drawn out. I kept wanting to skip ahead. A lot of the conflict and complications became abundant in the fourth act, and should have been spread out throughout the story to improve pacing.
Possibly a good story lost to too much telling and not enough showing. Book states reading age at 14-18. YA nor not, story technique needs to be there. FAIL
Stay tuned for the updated and complete reviews.