Category Archives: Four Stars
Tales From an Odd Mind is a collection of somewhat strange short stories and poems that may seem to have little in common at a glance. Still, on deeper examination, they explore the same overarching theme of death and present an emotional portrait of humanity in all its effervescent diversity. The author chooses to write anonymously, under the name of ‘Nom D Plume,’ literally meaning pseudonym or pen name, but is known to firmly deny their works from having any autobiographical elements. So, it is interesting to note how personal and intimate each character appears to be, with detailed habits and traits established well within the short stories despite their brevity.
The most attractive feature of these stories is their unpredictability. Every dialogue or plot detail gives the illusion of leading us somewhere, only to surprise us with a sudden turn of events that is totally unanticipated by the reader. In the first story, for instance, we never expect the introduction of a new character towards the end of the story, but what makes it even more intriguing is how the ultimate effect of the story is never compromised. This deliberate way of an absence of foreshadowing gives the pieces their distinctive mysterious, and enigmatic nature.
However, as a reader, we are often left wanting more. Each story begins with a lot of promise and then collapses in on itself. Although deliberate on the author’s part, one must admit that the stories seem a little incomplete, given their abrupt endings. Are they written only as a means to an end, experimentation with the form of writing, with no interest whatsoever in the several different character developments that take place? Do they simply follow a preordained series of steps that build up with no goal to reach and no message to be delivered?
Perhaps, that is where the beauty lies, in trying to find meaning where there might not be any. Particularly poignant to this context is the back-and-forth dialogue between origin and dandelion; we struggle to understand the depth of their conversation, which is peculiarly reminiscent of pre-programmed responses of a chatbot or AI entity. Dabbling with various genres, this collection has some really powerful and compelling narratives. Recommended for all those who like reading fantasy, science fiction, or tales of reunion beyond death.
Pages: 148 | ASIN : B08CZSX412
The Chronicles of the Virago Book Three: The Triumviratus by Michael Bialys is a middle grade fantasy that continues the story of a thirteen year old girl with a powerful destiny. Makenna Grace Gold, the Virago, is charged with protecting her infant siblings, Noah and Emilyne. The twins are fated to be the hope for the future of the world. Makenna is guided by her fairy mentors, Marigold Frith and Bree and Dee Delphine. But after her father’s soul is stolen, it is up to her friends, Sam and Stephen to rescue her father’s spirit from the Under Realms. Can they succeed before it’s too late?
I enjoyed reading this dramatic book for the creativity in its setting and plot. My favorite part was the scenes of Sam and Stephen figuring out how to get past the levels in order to try to complete their mission. I liked the way the two plot lines were woven together with the boys working to recover the soul of Makenna’s father while Makenna stayed with Noah and Emi to protect them and covered for her friends’ absence. There were some humorous moments when two of the fairies changed their appearance and took the place of Sam and Stephen, and Fluffy the talking earthworm turned in to Makenna’s dad.
While there is plenty of entertainment to be had in this book alone, to best enjoy it and appreciate the depth of the overall story, I think this book should be read after book one and two in The Chronicles of the Virago series. The beginning of the story might be a bit confusing for readers who have not read the previous books. There are certain details about various characters that are not fully explained in this book, and I think readers will pick up on all these interesting details if they already know the backstory revealed in the other books.
There is an impressive and fascinating ensemble cast within this book. The story was told from multiple points of view of more than half a dozen different characters, which was handled well overall. However, I felt that some of the changes in point of view happened frequently and there were places where I would have enjoyed staying with the character a bit longer before switching to another character.
The Chronicles of the Virago Book Three: The Triumviratus is a stimulating children’s adventure novel that fans of magical realism and adventure stories will find entertaining.
Pages: 353 | ASIN: B0B6758HHD