SC Poe's Indie E-Book Sampler, #5
The day after Thanksgiving seemed like a suitable day to browse additional etitles by authors we've sampled in earlier posts. (But no turkey will be served up in this post.)
By Debi Faulkner
Self-published in 2010
Poe thinks this is YA historical dark fantasy + romance
First sentences: The smooth iron band felt cold—nothing like the heat it would summon. My hands shook as I placed it on my head.
The hook is strong, the time and settings fresh, the opening plunges us into crisis, and thereafter the pace never flags. Faulkner's scenes spring to life ("The chair dug ruts into the dirt floor. . . ."). And Poe relishes nothing so much as a novel inspired by some obscure bit of history. In this case, the story-starter is an Irish legend about a Vicar who sells his maidservant's soul to the devil.
MC Meredith Pennyfeather is only 7 when the Vicar takes her from her tenant-farming parents in lieu of a year's rent. By 15, she's summoning Legion. Scenes leapfrog forward in time and back again. (Some online volunteer reviewers like this mode of storytelling. Some don't, but the plot is fascinating enough to keep them snagged.)
The sample is generous—about 20% of the whole. NOTE: The story involves elements of dark magic.
If the romantic subplot seems a bit predictable, the main conflict is unique, and you don't have to like history at all to be hooked by this story.
The Dark Fae
By Terry Spear
Self-published in 2011
Poe thinks this is YA urban fantasy romance
First sentence: Alicia hadn't left her girlfriend sunbathing on the South Padre Island beach for more than a few minutes when another hot guy approached Cassie—only this one worried her.
Alicia is a voluble teen whose lonely and perilous gift is to see the fae. At least, she tells us she's in peril. The sample's light tone undercuts whatever darkness may be lurking. Entertaining, slightly suggestive situations (one fae, for example, paws through Alicia's underwear drawer) are treated with gum-snapping chick-lit humor. By sample end, we're still waiting to see some of that darkness. Poe must note some wobbly line-editing, and the narrative voice sometimes reads more like slapdash writing than flippant teen talk.
Poe liked another Spear title, The Trouble With Demons, and showcased its sample last month. Spear has many books traditionally published; Heart of the Wolf was listed among Best Books of 2008 by Publisher's Weekly.
If you can't get enough of contemporary faerie tales, this one looks to be an entertaining variant.
Admittedly, this next title is not a leftover. Let's call it an appetizer, for Poe will sample another book by Neil Ostroff—Insectland—in an upcoming post.
Tim Madison, Galactic Warrior
By Neil Ostroff
Self-published in 2011
Poe thinks this is MG fantasy
First sentences: Something was wrong! The air was too still. The house too quiet. Brady the neighbor’s obnoxious collie wasn’t barking outside.
Sly, guy humor and some unexpected twists enliven what might otherwise be just another ordinary-kid-saves-the-cosmos story. In 33 sentences, Neil Ostroff gives us the whole set-up and plunges Tim into his universe-shaking adventure.
The sample is extremely short, ending just as Tim is told that "The fate of your world, perhaps all worlds, rests on you." Poe expects that the rest of the story will give middle graders a fast (under 34 K words), fun read.
If Klingons and Wookies are your popcorn, then you may find yourself gobbling up this story in one sitting.
Poe's Rating System:
- S for snapped up (Poe has already purchased the full)
- Q for queued (the book is on Poe's to-be-read-someday list)
- U for underwhelming (Poe will always explain the reason)
- I for If/then (not Poe's cuppa, but perhaps it's yours)
- R for rejected (Poe will always explain the reason)
- E for editorially challenged (Poe will not mince words)
Caveat Emptor Internexi: Poe's samples are intended to provide a springboard for further browsing. Genre and age classifications are Poe's guesses based on short samples, and may or may not accord with the classifications suggested by authors, publishers, or anybody else. The buyer is always responsible for deciding whether the book as a whole is appropriate for the intended reader's age, interests, and reading level.
Poe's opinions do not necessarily reflect those of other members of this blog.
If you'd like SC Poe to sample your ebook on this blog, please follow submission guidelines.