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Nice Possibilities

By S.A. Hunter, editor, author of Stalking Shadows

Feb 22, 2009: Danny’s Story is rife with possibilities. The idea of a person being able to venture into books is a fun idea. I’m a huge fan of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, but that doesn’t mean he has the market cornered on the idea. But because Fforde has plumbed this idea, there were certain things that I was looking for in Iamba’s work. First and foremost being how Danny would interact with the plots of the stories. She is jumping into books, but no preexisting plot is ever hinted at or addressed. The books seem to be simply landscapes. No main characters or plots are mentioned. The world is there in the book, but its purpose is not mentioned. This seemed odd to me and Iamba could explain away if she desired.

But scenes of Danny doing stuff are well detailed and engaging. Her meeting with the Keeper of Names is surreal and entertaining, and her run through the deadly magical forest is edge of your seat exciting. Iamba is a good writer. Her descriptions of the cybernetic forest and cyberpunk spider men make seeing these strange things easy.

Good description though does not hide jumps in plot. Instead of moving from point A to point B, often we’re at point A and then in a flash teleported to point B. One example of this is in Chapter 2 when Danny is talking to her brother about fighting the evil forest. Here is how I read the progression of events: In the prologue, we see Danny have a nightmare about the fantasy forest attacking a cyberpunk city, and this seems to be the first she is aware of any danger. She leaves Seliy’a and goes home, which seems to be where chapter 1 begins. We watch Danny interact with her brother and are told about her life in our world. Then in chapter 2 she is telling her brother all about the measures she and the cyberpunk world have taken to destroy the magical forest. I don’t see where that could have happened. And I would have liked to have actually seen this and not just told about it.

These odd jumps in plot though did not detract from my enjoyment of certain things. I liked reading about the library, and I’m very interested in the idea that Danny’s brother has created the world that she prefers to live in, and the idea that he has essentially written her lover. I would love to have these small aspects explored more. Also the idea that Danny leaves the real world for months and returns after only moments have passed is an intriguing concept as well, which Iamba handles well. There are bits of this story that are fascinating and the possibilities are rife. Iamba just needs to tighten up the plot and keep straight what has happened and what hasn’t.

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