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Refreshingly Good – Now With More Bubbles!

By illlogicmedia, member

Nov 14, 2013: Reading K2 is, very much for me, like watching a Faulty Towers/James Bond (Sean Connery era of course!) smash up. I, at first expected it to be somewhat stagnant and hard to follow. Much to my surprise, quite the opposite was true. I flew through the first four chapters and with each page I read, I found myself smiling and wanting to read more. Which, I will. The characters are very light and fun for the most part. Easy to relate to and they share in that British dry sense of humor I’ve grown acustomed to loving from childhood. I’m not one to give away spoilers during a review, and I promise not to do it this time either, but . . . there is one sceen that had me scratch my head pretty hard (towards the beginning). I am still confused that the author went "there". Yet he did and now I have to wait further into to the book to figure out why. VERY WELL PLAYED SIR! I recommend this as a very well done out spy novel with some "prommised" horror as well as other twists and turns. The tone and cadence is quick and witty with a fine balance of twists and brain teasers. I thuroughly look forward to finishing this set of books over time. Very entertaining.

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Interesting so far…

By Palladian, author of Super

May 12, 2012: The first thing that struck me about this story is that the author is very good at setting scene and tone. I’ve gotten very clear mental pictures of the action and setting so far, everywhere from a bar where everything is tinted deep blue to a polar cavern in a zoo. The slightly on edge, spooky feeling that something is about to come out at you from any corner you turn is something the author also somehow manages to keep up throughout the initial chapters, and I tip my hat to him for it.

There’s been a lot of action in the first few chapters, as well, with some bloody murders and flashbacks of scary past happenings. There have also been some mysterious people appearing to watch the action, as well, and I find myself wondering when they’re going to get into the game.

Lots of points of fascination in the plot so far, but what I find myself wishing is that the author would do more to flesh out the characters. I find them interesting so far, but they still seem mostly two dimensional. As the story develops, I’d really like to see the author delve more into who they really are and their motivations beyond the surface, to truly bring them off of the page.

At any rate, a very interesting start that I can definitely recommend reading!

5 of 5 members found this review helpful.
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A Sims 3 Mystery

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

Jul 26, 2010: The Valley of the Sun is a completed story told through the Sims 3. I read Alice and Kev a while back, and while both stories use images from the game for illustration, VotS is not a simple observational story. It has an author generated plot. The story begins with a reporter named Lilith being given the assignment of researching an old abandoned house that has had mysterious lights on at night. Soon people begin dying, and Lilith is the prime suspect. Someone or something seems to be invading her mind and controlling her.

The story is told primarily through pictures with only minimal text. There are many instances of just images narrating the story. I am intrigued by the whole Sims storytelling process. I’m not sure how the story is exactly generated. Alice and Kev is simple straight observation. The author watched what her Sims did and narrated their actions and feelings. Here the author must have directed each character’s actions, created the settings, and then took snapshots. I don’t know how difficult that is, though I imagine it takes some skill. This style of storytelling seems fairly robust and highly adaptable. I continue to be intrigued by this format, though it is not something I feel capable of mastering.

I cannot comment on the game manipulation to create this story, only on the end product, and while I don’t know Sims, the game well, I do have some understanding of story. Much of the story has Lilith in a dream-like trance which is interesting and well presented, but there is not much in the way of plot, background, or general explanation. At the end, the story just stops, and we are left to interpret what might have happened. This is dangerous because thinking back over the story, I began to wonder about things like how the villain gained so much power, what his ultimate endgame was, what did life fruit do, did he ever harvest some, and what exactly happened at the end anyway are all questions left unanswered. A good mystery has a big denouement at the end, but none happens here. At the end, I couldn’t tell what was happening from the silent images: what was real and what wasn’t were lost on me. It seems the villain was thwarted, but I didn’t realize it until reading over the comments on the last chapter.

At the end of the story, I was left with a hollow feeling that answers should have filled. I read this story eagerly with the hope of finding out what was going on. When no explanation materialized, I was quite disappointed. Reading Valley of the Sun was an interesting experience using a dynamic format, but the story did not gel. I appreciate what the author was trying to accomplish, but it shouldn’t require reading the comments to understand.

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