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SHADOW

Super Engrossing!

By TypingRebel, author of Natonus

Nov 10, 2018: Shadow pulls you in just like any good space opera—with compelling characters and an engrossing, mysterious plot. The reader is dropped into the story from the perspective of Vai Ma’amaloa, who has only recently been awakened from an 80-year sleep. He quickly realizes that something is amiss: a mysterious drug that led to an intergalactic war from before his long sleep has reappeared, and threatens the (now-peaceful) galactic community.

The author surrounds Vai with other strong characters, such as Owen (a chocolate smuggler who has his own fair share of POV chapters), the mechatronic Warpaint (who has some hilarious lines and running gags), Vai’s father (who is the source of a good deal of interpersonal drama and conflict with Vai), and various classmates and friends.

The series shines for a variety of reasons. The author’s writing style is quite strong; Nova clearly demonstrates a good command of the written word, and the text is edited well. The worldbuilding is well done, with an abundant array of interesting alien races and planets. The author does a good job giving the reader information about their world’s history through Vai’s eyes—we see his emotional reaction to the war from 80 years ago, rather than just having it explained to us. And the story does an excellent job using mystery to drive the narrative. There certainly comes a point at which you won’t want to put it down.

It is difficult to find much wrong with Shadow. The first few chapters might be a bit overwhelming to some readers—a lot is thrown at you at once, including new technologies, alien races, and fictional events (a tip: the author has conveniently provided a glossary in the blog’s menu bar to make the initial plunge into the story relatively painless). And at certain points, the story can tend to bog down a bit.

These are all relatively minor complaints, however. Readers who enjoy mystery, rich worldbuilding, and good character drama will be well-rewarded by taking a look at Shadow.

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SHADOW

Three Episodes In…

By Wayne Basta, author of Seraph's Gambit

Oct 22, 2018: I like to give a serial three episodes before I decide if I want to continue. First impressions can be deceiving, both for good and bad. Excluding stories that have been recommended to me, those usually turn out good, this is the first where I want to read episode 4.

The prose is strong and the main character is intriguing. Vai is a kid out of time preparing to go onto an unknown future of life aboard a research vessel. Its revealed over the first few episodes that he went into stasis 80years before, when the galaxy was embroiled in a massive war. Now that aliens, K’thaktra, are free from their psychotic war drug and living peacefully among the rest of the Gathering. And Vai has become friends with one. Sort of.

There’s a bit of a backstory overload at points but it serves the present action. As Vai attempts to rescue his friend, Thrissko, from a gang, before he departs, we learn about the war, his past and his time in stasis, though not yet how he was put in.

The rest of the cast so far is also intriguing. Warpaint a Mechatronic (don’t call him a robot) is snarky and overly protective, thinking he’s protecting a 97-year-old, given that’s Vai’s technical age. We don’t learn much about Thrissko yet, only that he made some deal with this gang out of desperation when he learned Vai was leaving. It remains to be seen if he’ll stick around in the story but I hope so.

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PROJECT: FREEFLOW

Adult Horror Classic, Bloody One. For Zombie-Apocalypse was simply much too easy!

By Pietroschek, member

Oct 30, 2015: SPOILER_ALERT Review of Project: Freeflow by Thomas Knapp and Mary Ebert;

A splendid survival-horror with the fiercest enemies of our species and wellbeing. Our fellow humans.

Prosaic Note: Most of us know those early mornings. The coffee or tea doesn’t taste too good, the body still feels numb, and schedule does not allow to take a long, nearly hot shower. So what better than deciding ‘Lets go murder 17 million people!’? ;->

Los Angeles survives an asteroid, only to perish due a deadly surprise unleashed in the aftermath. While a bio-laboratory was involved the gift of politics puts all the blame on a group of CETI terrorists. The Ceti, an alien species still living in tribal cultures, are forced into a war because truth & sanity have no place in human leadership . . . 

I read the PDF download.

The intro with Evan and Stacie, both still impaired by disbelief about the catastrophe, manages to give us a first impression and builds atmosphere and suspense. Splendidly it doesn’t stop there, as next we learn about a mentally needy witness of . . . mysterious topic. . . . And then we even get one from the culprit. The story catapults itself away from the small info we all started with, and does that in a way I enjoyed.

To note it again: I am not fond of survival-horror, neither supernatural nor scientific. Henceforth it is rare that a story or movie manages to fascinate me that quickly, and keeps me interested for more than some minutes. This one does, and I am eager to read more of it.

Another aspect I liked is that characters, so far, seem build to fit into their world and story. They are not just built to impress the readers. By that the story keeps an intensity and background consistency which reminds of the masterpieces from last centuries ’70s and ’80s.

The text is time-efficient, not too lengthy per chapter. It is easy-enough to read, even from the perspective of a Non-Native Speaker of the English language.

If you don’t need monster-slaying to enjoy a thrilling story, and maybe even appreciate thinking characters, then this is a very good one at start.

A revision of this review is intended, as I wrote under the pressure of time, and with food stuffed in my belly. 😉

Extension_1: The chapters continue to be fast-paced, and in easy to read prose. The characters ALL make sense, in their function, their motives, and what happens to them. The reading remains enticing, the atmosphere builds itself while reading. The author makes us read a way through the spectrum from simple people losing their family, or their own life, to media and governments which can’t afford inconvenient ideas like justice, fairness, or diplomacy. War is not glorified, as it is found in ego-shooter computer games, war is shown in several facets, and with the note that war has no winner, only those who lose (and suffer) less. The work is mature without being heavy, warning without being squeamish. I am happy that my first impression review did not mention something the full story failed to outmatch later-on! 🙂

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