Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘webfiction wednesday review’ Category

Ambitious spider seeks revenge on fastidious homeowner.

Itsy Bitsy Fritsy by Scott Carpenter is a bit of an odd animal really. The above sentence is all the blurb there is suffice to say it’s a blogfic in the truest sense of the word. It’s not just fiction on a blog but a blog by a fictional character. In this case the fictional character is a spider, who’s had enough of seeing her friends squished by the homeowner or eaten by his cat and resolves to kill him even though she’s just a little house spider and certainly not venemous enough to take him down. So it’s a David and Goliath setup with an arachnid in the David role.

There’s only nine parts posted so far and I found it a fast and very fun read. Fritsy is an engaging character with a distinctive voice. Once I suspended my disbelief about a spider writing a blog I found myself rooting for Fritsy. Yes, even though she’s a spider trying to kill a human I found myself rooting for her. Her antics have me laughing out loud.

There are precious few visual cues or descriptions in the story, which some people may have an issue with. It actually doesn’t bother me, but it’s something to be aware of. I’d say the lack is justifiable in this story anyway. Spiders don’t have good eyesight, so visual description would be out of place.

The website design is clean and readable without a cobweb in sight. Though the author’s habit of linking unusual words to explanatory pages is a touch distracting at times.

All in all I’m finding Itsy Bitsy Fritsy to be a very enjoyable read in the evenings. Definately worth a look if you want something silly and light.

4 stars

Read Full Post »

“Strong Heart” is a sword & sorcery fantasy about Joana (Jo to anyone who hasn’t pissed her off lately).  Jo is female, but her tribe made her officially a man so she could train as a warrior. Now she’s a mercenary guard, and thanks to a job with a magician, life is about to get even more interesting than figuring out how to piss standing up without the right plumbing.

As the blurb says Strong Heart by capriox bovidae is very much in the sword and sorcery genre.  At eleven installments it’s still early days but it’s shaping up to be a well written and engaging story so far.

There’s obviously been some careful worldbuilding. The magic system is well thought out and the details of the setting  are positively palpable, and the two main characters, Joana and Tobias, come to life and leap off the page. Even better it manages all this without excessive infodumping.

Perhaps the only problem with the story is the plot is a little slow moving. It feels like things are about to start moving, but even sand info-dumping much of what is up so far feels like setup.

One other big problem is that it’s currently hosted on Livejournal which is not the idea platform for web fiction. This makes navigation less than ideal. Fortunately there is a post which acts as an index and every chapter has a link to the previous and next chapters. According to the landing page Capriox is looking to move to a better site soon, but for now it’s something to be aware of.

Verdict: Fans of the sword and sorcery sub-genre of traditional fantasy would do well to give Strong Heart a chance. It’s really shaping up to be a good one.

4 stars. 🙂

Read Full Post »

Nothing much ever happened in Haven Park, Wyoming. Closely knit, deeply religious and with a population of just over 500, it appeared to be a small town just like any other. Then, on the night of July 4, 1966, everything changed forever. Gripped with the horrifying realization there was a killer in their midst, Haven Park reels from one murder after another, at the diabolical hands of one of their own.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now I’m usually a reader of speculative fiction – especially fantasy, so Independence Day by Rebecca Spencer is not my usual choice in reading matter. I do like a good murder mystery occassionally, however, and this is shaping up to be a decent – if somewhat soapy – addition to the genre.

So far we have one murder and a lot of people with dark secrets and possible motives . Oh, and a detective who’s way too close to the case which is occluding his judgement.

The characters are interesting, the setting – 1960s small town America is beautifully realised, and the tension is rising with each passing chapter. Something is going to give soon.

The blurb promises more than one murder, but so far there’s only been one. The end of chapter eleven seems to be setting things up for another.

The layout of the site leaves me cold however. I detest frames and if you break out of the frames navigation becomes difficult. And the text is red on black with bright white links to character profiles littered through the text. Thematically appropriate but not all that easy to read. I ended up clicking on the “printable version” links a lot, as they were easier on the eyes, and this is what I’d recomend other potential readers who find the design offputting try.

To sum up Independence Day is a nice little murder mystery, so far, and will hopefully fulfill its potential.

I’m giving it 3.5 stars

Read Full Post »

Sorry about this review being posted on Saturday not Wednesday. I had a banging headache on Wednesday and went to bed early.

Anyway today I’m reviewing Refuge of Delayed Souls by Miladysa. Which is available as free web fiction on that link or as two ebooks for a reasonable price at Refuge of Delayed Souls Volume One – RoYDS and Refuge of Delayed Souls Volume Two – Billy.

In a story spanning many lifetimes, we follow Elizabeth Whyte’s journey as she investigates the supernatural & seeks information about her own past, all while trying to keep a balance between the light & the darkness in her work for an agency known as the Refuge of Delayed Souls. A world where ghosts, angels, the Living & others exist side by side, although not always in harmony. (Blurb for volume one).

Volume 2 ~ Billy. Elizabeth Whyte’s investigations into the past and the supernatural continue. A barguest wreaks havoc on the moors above the town and Billy Lawrence is introduced to the world of RoYds. (Blurb for volume two).

Refuge of Delayed Souls fits squarely into the Paranormal Fantasy Genre and is an enjoyable read.

Likes:

  1. Refuge of Delayed Souls has an interesting premise and plot which definately kept me reading.
  2. The characterisation is well done.
  3. The multiples times are well handled. The jumping around could easily have been confusing but isn’t.
  4. The writing is generally strong.
  5. It’s not a romance, thank goodness. Doesn’t happen often in the Paranormal genre.

Dislikes:

  1. I read this as an ebook on Stanza. The primary reason I did this is I’m not fond of the layout of the website. The black on grey text makes my eyes go funny. This, of course, is a matter of taste.
  2. While, as I noted above, the multiple times are well handled I did sometimes wish the story jumped around less.  Again a matter of taste.
  3. Miladysa occassionally resorts to small scale telling. What I mean is that there are no long passages of narrative summary, but she sometimes tells us what characters are feeling instead of showing it. Sometimes she shows it and then tells us. The alternatives to “said” sometimes get a bit out of hand as well (people seem to remark a heck of a lot for one).
  4. I want book three now, but it isn’t written yet.

Verdict:

Refuge of Delayed Souls is an unusual Paranormal Fantasy and well worth taking a look at (and buying if you have the moolah to spare).

3.5 stars.


Read Full Post »

Alezair Czynri, an immortal being with no memory of his past, embarks on a journey with a mysterious woman claiming to be a resident of Purgatory.  Through her, Alezair learns the many dark secrets behind the universe, and eventually begins to realize this woman knows more about him than he initially thought.

This will be a fairly short review since there are only three chapters up so far.

The Antithesis by T.L. Whiteman bills itself as a horror/sci-fi /dark romance series. From the three chapters which are up so far this seems like a fair assessment. I’ve seen other reviewers compare it to “Dollhouse” but with supernatural elements. I’ve never actually watched “Dollhouse”, but I know enough about the premise to say I see why they say that.

The main character is the non-human servant of a force called the Nexus. After each mission he is mind-wiped and put back on the shelf until he’s needed again. So far I see the resemblence, but Alezair goes rogue at the start of the story to track down the mysterious woman.

Likes:

The writing is solid, and the premise interesting. I’m not a great one for romance, but the dynamic between the two-some and the whole mystery of what’s going on are good. I’m curious to know how this pans out. The main character seems real and has an interesting voice. In general the first three chapters make for a strong start.

Dislikes:

The layout. It’s not that it’s white on black (though it is and if you hate that be advised) but that it’s inconsistent. Sometimes the author leaves a line between paragraphs and sometimes they don’t. Personally, I wish they’d leave one between all lines, but it would be tolerable if it was the other way as well. I also find there’s too much sidebar and not enough main text section for my liking, but that’s a matter of taste.

Verdict:

The Antithesis is an interesting piece of web fiction and is off to a strong start. The layout isn’t the best, but if you can see past that and like dark fantasy and horror it’s worth a look.

3 stars.

Read Full Post »

The Starwalker is a starship with an experimental star-stepping drive. Designed to use the gravity wells of stars to fold space, she can travel between star systems faster than FTL. That is, if they can get it to work.

She is run by a sophisticated AI who doesn’t always follow her programming. She has only just been born, and she has a lot to figure out. She is often torn between the needs of the crew and the demands of the scientists responsible for running the tests on the new drive. There are politics surrounding this new drive of hers that she has to get a grip on before they get a grip on her.

Most of all, she needs to track down and explain the glitches in her software before someone notices and wipes her memory drives. What she doesn’t know is that it wouldn’t be the first time.

Starwalker is the new web fiction project by Melanie Edmonds author of “The Apocalypse Blog” which I reviewed here, and in my opinion it’s a much stronger project.

Likes:

1. The concept. A ship’s log told by the ship is wonderful.
2. Starwalker (the ship) has a wonderfully distinctive voice. I can imagine what she sounds like just from the way she uses words.
3. The story is currently in the midst of its second chapter but the tension is building beautifully. We’re already getting strong hints of the problems facing the protagonist if anyone catches on that she’s “malfunctioning”. (Where malfunctioning equals having a mind of her own), and there’s a mystery building up – why is she unaware of certain things.
4. The protagonist, as I mentioned, is the AI that runs the ship. It’s a computer, but I’m empathising with her. She feels like a real person and I want her to win out. This is no small feat.
5. The peeks at other crew members are good as well.

Dislikes:

Not many. It’s early days to tell if it’s going to run into any of the problems I found with Apocalypse Blog, but so far it’s a much more vibrant read. The only caveat I have so far is that it’s fairly light – which isn’t a problem so much as an observation.

Summary:

Starwalker is a fun SF Blog fic with an engaging main character, and the fact it’s a still in the early stages means it’s a good time to start reading before there is a mountain of backlog to read through.

4 Stars

Read Full Post »

Months after his step-father murdered his mother, Jessie Mendoza is still trying to come to terms with the memory of his mother’s body.  Living with a bickering father and a step-mother who are complete strangers, Jessie also has to worry about his little brother Eddie, who seems to be slipping farther away from reality.

The arrival of a circus breaks Eddie out of his shell, and, believing he is doing a good thing, Jessie agrees to a trip through the carney sideshows.  Then Eddie talks to a gorilla, and all hell breaks loose . . .

This Wednesday I’m reviewing a short story – Eddie’s First Circus by Zoe Whitten. I’m aware it’s only a couple of weeks since I last reviewed something of hers, but  I’ve been suffering from neck pain since Saturday and it’s been interfering with my reading so I needed something I’d already read and which would be quick to review. Eddie’s First Circus fitted the bill.

Likes:

  1. This is young adult dark fantasy done right. Serious when it needs to be serious and funny when it needs to be funny. There may be superpowers in this universe, but they don’t solve everything.
  2. At only three chapters long it’s a very good introduction to Zoe’s writing style without commiting to a longer work.
  3. As always her characters are finely drawn. The kids have real problems and seem real.
  4. The emotion really comes through – I empathised with the characters alot.
  5. It’s dark, but it’s also a great deal of fun.

Dislikes:

It’s actually hard to say what I dislike about this story. I could say that the character’s lack development, but it’s a short story and they develop as much as can be expected for that medium. I’ve said before that Zoe’s writing style isn’t for everyone, but I like it, so that’s not really a dislike. There are aspects of the plot that made me sad, but that’s not dislike either.

It’s a long time since I’ve read a story that I honestly couldn’t name one thing I disliked. I’m sure it’s not perfect, but there’s no major issues I can define with it.

Verdict:

As I said above this is a short story, and thus an excellent introduction to Zoe’s style. Given her idiosyncratic style this is the story of hers to sample if you are new to her work. Like marmite you’ll either love or hate it.

I give it 4.5 stars because while I hate marmite I love this story.

<!–

Have your say!  Rate, recommend, review, or bookmark this story.

–>

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »