Review of The Rust Bucket Chronicles by Ted Blasche

It steps up to the plate in a simple fashion, but starts it’s batting round fantastically with a smartly-paced piece of action. As this is coming to a grand crescendo we are halted quite violently. It was a dream sequence. At best a flashback. Once he comes to we also have awoken to a new world, but in the sense of the viewpoint used. It’s changed, because the author wants to separate his dreams/memories from the present. I don’t see the necessity of this as it is achieved through telling us he was asleep and that he has now woken up. I’m not sure of the need to sow confusion among readers.

He had a good run of information and action going on, but he killed it all off. I was genuinely interested as to whether or not our hero would escape the evil he faced, save his mother, etc. Now I have no idea what’s real and if I’ll ever find out what happened. All that I knew of the story has been wiped clean and it’s as if I’m reading another book.  I feel like I’ve wasted my time reading it, even though it was such a drawing passage. In the subsequent chapters you will find similar instances of good writing, but it is marred by mistakes and confusing lines, which – like splattered paint – are inconsistent yet ever present.

Overall it is a book written by a creative author who has harnessed both action and comedy to create a well-balanced novel containing characters with good depth to them. There are neat twists throughout the story: sudden betrayals, surprises, deaths, escapes. It is not simply a boy-meets-girl with some sci-fi and fantasy thrown in; there is more to it than that. A good read that simply needs an elbow-greased polish to finish it off.


Review of From The Center by Steven Faulkner

This review was written for Kellan Publishing. The book may be purchased here: 

From The Center by Stephen Faulkner opens in a psychiatric hospital with our main character, Elmore, introducing himself and his roommates. I am afraid the review of this book must start on a negative note, but thankfully, like the novella itself, it won’t stay that way for too long.

(Please bear in mind that I write this only with the author’s best interests at heart, and I do understand the difficulties involved in writing a good book. I do this review for his benefit, so that he may improve in his work and go on to better things, and for you the reader’s benefit, so that you may know what this book may bring up in terms of enjoyment.)

The prologue of this book should have been left at the writing desk. It takes the story nowhere and it’s a shame it is there to put off any reader that may enjoy the rest of the book. Personally, it was the lack of writing skill that really shook me off wanting to read the rest, and if I hadn’t chosen to review it I would not have continued. The way we are introduced to ‘the other crazies and losers’, as Elmore puts it much too apathetically, is bland. Small hinting details could be given here to whet the readers’ appetite; with possible expansion on them later. Maybe history between some of the inmates could be in there (if placed carefully)? Something needs to be added to these people, because that’s what they are. They are people, and people have depth. Depth which is not found at all so far. As well as this there are several instances of dodgy sentence structures, stray ‘and’s, some carelessly placed punctuation, and bland uses of adjectives. There isn’t even a metaphorical image added in when the opportunity to do so is present.

This only brings us up to the first chapter. Though the same basic problems are present, it begins to improve here as we are exposed to an interesting development in Mr Faulkner’s tale. Elmore is in Nowhere (wherever that may be). As mentioned, the writing is not the best it could be and we don’t learn too much more about our character than we did in the prologue. He pees himself a lot, and is too horny (which puts me off reading it more than the lack of character development does. This sort of thing, if written at all, should be written with great care and consideration for the audience). The first chapter is very short, so we are swiftly on to the next.

(A short note here: I think you could safely skip up to this point and still be in the loop; which gives further case for them to be dropped.)

(Here’s where it gets better) By chapter two the writing has improved vastly, the main character develops, and we have a supporting character given to us who adds something worthwhile to the story. It is here that I finally WANT to read the story; rather than continue to trudge through it in order to write this short review. I begin to tear through the pages and digest, with reader’s delight, all the way through to Part II. Stephen Faulkner starts to open up, and write an interesting story; with imaginative ideas that are employed well and that I enjoy.

In closing I would say that anyone wishing to read this novella should skip to chapter 2, as that is where the story really begins, and that I am now most keen to read the rest of the book myself. I hope you will join me on this adventure ‘From The Center’.

Review of The Book That Made Your World by Vishal Mangalwadi

In this book, published in 2011, Vishal Mangalwadi has engaged upon a voyage into the history of both the Western and Eastern lands. The book mentioned in the title is The Bible and the arguments he puts across are aimed at the hypothesis that The Bible has had the greatest influence in the difference between Western civilization and Eastern culture. Focusing mainly on England and India he takes examples from his own life and, also, from the past of both nations before and after India’s colonisation by The British Empire.

Of particular interest, personally, he talks of the birth of science. This sheds a great light upon the founding fathers of our modern knowledge who took the subject leaping forward into the public mindset and out of the background of intelligent men’s hobbies and magical myths. He also covers topics ranging from the wealth gap in societies, education (mainly universities), the Prophet Mohammed, philosophical thinkers in different countries, morality in society, how family is seen in both cultures, and government figures in England and India.

At the conclusion of this, his 13th book authored alone, he considers how the future of the West is shaping up. It is this part of the book that I think shall most challenge anyone who is not a believer of The Bible, but, nevertheless, it is still a most valuable book to have read if you want to see another side of history of all our nations.

Written in a way that is easily followed, each section has it’s designated area which is laid out neatly and coherently. I would only advise that you acknowledge the extent and the depth of information that is prepared before you in this large volume. I am thankful, but also saddened, that this is not a one-of-two (or three) series.

Review of History of The Rain by Niall Williams

In this book Niall Williams takes us to the town of Faha, located next to (almost on) the river Shannon, in county Clare, rural Ireland and leaves us to the narrative mercy of a character named Ruth Swain. Thankfully, for our sakes, she is a competent girl and is well skilled with written communication despite her young 19 years. She begins to tell you, Dear Reader, of her family and their history, the land she lives in and it’s people. The depths of description and detail on each member of this book brings a leap alike to a Salmons to my heart. Laid in such a way so as not to bore you till you snore, it is a great fete.

Ruth. She is a poor child in two senses, but you do not listen to her renditions of tales, because she is bed ridden by an unstated blood condition, nor because she lacks new clothes. No! You listen intently! One: because what she says is told with such richness that it compels your mind to imagine and sink deep into the stories. Two: because you realise she has outread you by a vast amount of books. All around her are lain a 3958 of these paper joys. Each one a journey that she has taken while surrounded by the rain and cocooned safe in her boat shaped bed. She has sailed them all. And so has Mr Williams as the references from lines up to whole characters that are given show he has spent a good time, possibly his life, researching to write a his own book in this manner.

Niall Williams has a truly wonderful imagination and has written a book I would have delighted in writing and do delight in reading. Each page is turned with a drip of rain brushed from the brow and a rush of joy as great as the river itself.