Sunday, June 18, 2006

Caeli's Daniachew by Crystal Ordonez

Reviewed by emeraldcite

TITLE – Caeli’s Daniachew
AUTHOR – Crystal Ordonez
PRICE - $10.00 ($5.00 download)
GENRE - Romance/Sci-fi
ISBN – 978-1-4116-9425-5

Caeli’s Daniachew
Crystal Ordonez

Caeli’s Daniachew can best be described as a slipstream romance, a novella that bends genre and delivers an interesting story about the interplay between two cultures, those on the Caeli surface, and those of the invaders.

Kaya finds herself as the slave to the dashing Adwin Barry, the Daniachew, or peacekeeper, between the conquerors and the conquered. Adwin is a paragon of politeness and romance. Kaya, who has remained a virgin despite living in an internment camp prior to moving in with her master, is smitten with Adwin, but is pensive around him knowing that he could take her at any time. The romantic tension between them grows as their friendship flourishes. They do not hide their affections for each other as they progress from flirtation to a full-blown relationship.

Kaya follows Adwin around the planet as he negotiates peace between his people, the Swandidi, and Kaya’s people on Caeli. She witnesses the difficulties of maintain a working relationship with her people and his. She faces a number of dangerous situations that could, at any moment, destroy their relationship. Despite these challenges, she does not give up, and neither does he.

Ordonez plays with interesting themes throughout the novella. She broaches the subjects of inter-racial relationships, the clash between cultures and ethnicities, and, in a way, master/slave relationships. It was a good read, quick and enjoyable. Although I never really felt that Kaya was really in much danger, even when her life or virginity seemed threatened, I couldn’t help but like the characters and hope the best for them.

Although rated for Teen on the website, the sexual contact between the characters is quite graphic.

RATING: 7/10

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

'Erosion' by Lon S. Cohen

TITLE – Erosion
AUTHOR – Lon S. Cohen
PRICE - $19.91 ($7.84 download)
GENRE - Thriller
ISBN – 978-1-4116-8492-8

Canyon Park is bowed down under a relentless torrent of rain. The fields are flooded, the bridges crumble and the increasingly isolated town is host to a serial killer with a grudge against the wealthy Lollo family. The chapters move the plot along inexorably -- slipping between a small cast of characters; the killer, the tortured policeman hiding a dark secret, the returning son, the inquisitive librarian, the boy caught between cultures.... each of these marred, struggling humans a part of the threadbare fabric of the town. And throughout the story, secrets and motivations are slowly revealed, people continue to die, and it continues to rain.

The ensemble of characters seem to be facets of the real protagonist of the story -- the town itself, as we gradual learn of its history. The Lollo's callous domination of its culture and industry, their corruption even of the souls of the people. The Lollo's started the Indian Boarding Schools that seized and indoctrinated the children of the indigenous Oneidas clan. Bradley Lollo exploited the children in these schools and dominated the town in other ways, ruthlessly pressuring the police and putting a young officer on the road to his current life of guilt and quiet desperation. The Lollo's exploitation haunts the town in the form of casual bigotry, resentment and building anger that seems to find its outlet in the killer, and in the rain.

Bradley Lollo's grandson, Marc, returns to Canyon Park, through an unprecedented downpour, to learn that his Aunt' recent death was no accident. Gradually the killer's identity is revealed -- along with a great many other things. Many of the characters in 'Erosion' spring out of archetypes that could easily have strayed into cliché. Yet Lon S Cohen deftly breathes life into the prodigal son, the alcoholic cop, the pretty librarian in desperate need of her prince charming, and most especially into the killer--a man navigating a maze of delusions that become frighteningly plausible, heroic even, as we grow to understand where they have sprung from. From the dark heart and history of Canyon Park, slowly exposed to us, by a process of erosion.

RATING: 7.5/10

10/10 Lulu


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Changes at Gloomwing

The Gloomwing site is one of the few other review sites specifically for self-published books. It seems change is in the air over there:

"Change is unavoidable and so it is that Gloomwing will begin a transformation into a ezine or a print magazine, maybe both. As a result we will now accept only hardcopy submissions of books for review. For more details please visit the submissions page. The new magazine is still being defined but will be tailored to the self-publisher as well as the reader."