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Into The Liquor Store

Into The Liquor Store4 Stars

Are you a fan of people watching? Can you spend hours just watching society go by and analyzing situations that seam small and insignificant but are all part of a bigger drama that is unfolding before your eyes? Charles Sims-Charles creates a future version of Earth in his novel Into the Liquor Store. This novel does not have a linier plot line, it has no great mystery to solve, there is not even a major conflict in need of resolution. Instead we are transported into a world where the main character Bink is a spray paint graffiti artist and connoisseur of cannabis and we follow him through a series of life events. While the events all lead up to a surprise ending your left wondering just what is going on sometimes. Add in the Galactic Triumvirate (GT) and the colonies on the Rings of Saturn and the moons and you have an intriguing story to follow.

Bink’s journey is told through his eyes and through a third person narrator view. This adds to the disjointed effect of the novel, but adds to the feeling of watching someone’s life unfold from a distance, as if you were watching a movie. It is the year 2218, Earth is now called Terra and the inhabitants are called Terrans, while the people living on the moons and rings are called Orbiter’s. The world is divided even more than it is now, states are now their own territories with their own laws and rules, countries have their own sets of standards and laws, everyone is acting under their own guidance unless they are part of the GT. One of the focuses of Bink’s story is tagging. He is a talented graffiti artist. Tagging in this time is regulated art form and taggers are well respected. Each artist has a special ID cap that is registered and somehow when it is used, they can scan the paint on a piece of work and determine who painted it. There are rival gangs among the taggers, but most rivals are in good sport and everyone is out to keep the art form alive and well respected.

The other focus is on Bink’s love life. He goes through several relationships throughout the novel, but they all follow a theme. Bink’s relationships with the other characters, Derrick (Lux), Kris, and Milly are also a focus. It is not secret Bink hates the rings and the orbiters, but when his life lands him on a remote ring colony he is reunited with his lost love Milly. On the rings, life is confusing. They speak in riddles; they call their language Summertime. Everyone dresses in a steampunk style and paint their faces like animals. It is a complex society with it’s own rules drastically different from Earth. Somehow Bink winds up mixed in with the Mob, a group called the Koeghuza. He learns how to navigate this world as well and become successful.

Charles Sims-Charles’s world is creative and unique. His descriptions of the clothing, music, and environment draw the reader in and give them a feel for being there and experiencing everything Bink does. It is the perfect novel for the person that likes to watch others and analyze the psychology of people. The society structure is interesting and complex, the relationships diverse and just as complex as the characters that have been created. A great novel to take you out of the modern stress and see a glimpse into a future where art and science thrive.

Pages: 235 | ASIN: B01NAGKSJJ

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Stealing Magic

Stealing Magic (The Legacy of Androva #1)5 Stars

Have you ever wondered if there are parallel dimensions where magic exists and people can travel from one world to the next with a simple portal? If you could what would happen? What could possibly go wrong with this? Alex Vick answers these questions in her book Stealing Magic. A quick read that pulls the reader into an adventure of mischief and saving two worlds. The book is told from the third person perspective so you get to hear the thoughts of all the characters. The three main characters are Shannon, from Terra (Earth), and Jax and Darius from Androva. They all meet when Jax and Darius travel through a portal from Androva to Terra to harvest magic from the trees that grow there. Shannon sees them and sees them using magic. It is then that she discovers she also has magical abilities. Shannon seeing the boys and discovering she can use magic causes an irreversible change that effects both their worlds and leads to great changes for the inhabitants of Androva.

Terra is your typical modern day Earth environment, teenagers complaining about school, cell phones, internet and day to day mundane activities. Androva is a world where magic is incorporated into daily life, however their world does not have great trees like Terra, and that is where the living magic comes from. Androva is also governed by very strict laws they call The Code. This is the law that all citizens must adhere to and live by in order to keep the balance of the Treaty in place. Jax is your typical rebellious teen that wants to prove he is the best at magic and knows better than the “stupid rules” that are in place to keep him from learning more. Darius is his best friend and loyal to a fault, he will gladly take the blame for Jax when he can for no other reason that he wants to protect him. When Jax broke several of the laws in The Code, a chain reaction of events starts taking place. In an attempt to reverse these events Jax brings Shannon through the portal into Androva and starts teaching her how to use her magic. It turns out she is stronger than anyone suspected and learns quickly. The three friends now put into place a plan to find out how to fix things, however they soon discover they cannot change what has already started.

Some of the key themes in this book are loyalty, family bonds, trust and letting go of the past. All these topics come up in Stealing Magic, as well as the lesson of doing things for the greater good not self-advancement. Given the reading level of the book I think it handles these difficult subjects well and gives good examples of self-sacrifice and showing how hard change can be. Vick has managed to provide a diverse set of characters to love and hate and even the ones that are hated are still very relatable, Marcus being a key example. Marcus is the bully that wants to control people but his passion is strong and while his methods are questionable, his desire to protect his world is genuine.

Overall Stealing Magic is a good book and great start to the Legacy of Androva Series. I look forward to reading more about the adventures of Shannon, Jax and Darius as they grow from teens into powerful magicians. There is a lot left for Alex Vick to cover in this series as the first book just gives you a taste of the world of Androva and its connection with Terra.

Pages:  | ASIN: B01LXQEPYR

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