SC Poe's Indie E-Book Sampler, #6
Christopher Paolini put dragons in the limelight this month with his release of Inheritance. Lest we forget, Paolini's smash series began with a self-published book. Therefore, here be more dragons, self-pubbed (and, in one happy instance, reissued).
In fact, there be a multitude of indie e-[pen]dragons stalking Middle Graders these days. So Poe will devote a second sampler to dragons (and Middle Graders) in the near future.
By Neil Ostroff
Self-published: September, 2011
Poe thinks this is MG and younger YA satirical sci-fi/fantasy
First sentences: “Stop!” Dan Larson heard the tiny shout as the rolled up Car and Driver Magazine he was wielding slammed down and squashed the fly that had landed on his night table.
What if humans were the pests, and insect-sized dragons started to swat back? What if the only thing standing between the tiny dragons and total world domination is—Dan Larson? (Though he's not quite alone. He's been recruited by a team of insect robots called the Defenders.)
Why is this high school sophomore the Chosen One? What can he do to save humankind? Poe wants the answers to all these questions.
Neil Ostroff has a young sensibility and a strong sense of humor. When the Defenders shrink Dan to insect size, a side-effect is to heal Dan's acne.
Ostroff classes this book as "teen/YA." But this adventure, with a plot reminiscent of those found in 1950's peril-of-the-earth movies, seems skewed to MG sensibilities. If there's any content-based reason to keep this book out of younger hands, it's not evident from the sample.
NOTE: small but distracting editorial bugs (punctuation and usage errors, typos) become more numerous as the sample continues. Editorial glitches can keep an otherwise admirable title out of the school ebook collection.
That would be a shame, because Poe thinks kids, and librarians, will like Ostroff's stories.
Queued for future reading.
The Dragon Box
By Katie W. Stewart
Self-published in 2011
Poe thinks this is MG fantasy/sci fi
First sentence: James crept up the path to Mr McKenzie's front door, his legs trembling.
Mr McKenzie, we shortly learn, is a "cat zapper." Possibly a mad scientist. Definitely a tease. His house is a junk-pile of lab paraphernalia, computers, and goofy inventions. James, although initially suspicious, is soon fascinated by "Mack" and his geeky Wonderland.
The sample ends just as we start to suspect the peril of Mr McKenzie's most fascinating contraption. "Beware your own thoughts," the Dragon Box warns. It seems clear that this fantasy will be firmly grounded in psychological realism.
A sprinkling of Aussie vocabulary might slow some readers down a bit.
NOTE: Stewart has also published Treespeaker, advertised as a fantasy geared to older readers.
Queued for future reading.
(The Magic Books #4)
By Andre Norton
Reissued by Starscape (Macmillan) in 2010 (originally published in 1972)
Poe thinks this is older MG coming-of-age mythological fantasy
First sentence: Sig Dortmund kicked at a pile of leaves in the gutter, watched [sic] the crowd at the school bus stop.
Today's dragon theme offers the perfect forum to mention that Starscape seems to be in the process of reissuing Norton's entire classic Magic Sequence. In these stories, Fantasy's Grande Dame transforms a series of modern* coming-of-age struggles into heroic mythical-fantasy quests.
This volume introduces four middle-grade boys who discover a magic bridge to their diverse ethnic/mythic pasts (represented by four dragons—Scandinavian, Welsh, African, and Chinese).
*Poe uses the word modern, but the series was penned during the Vietnam War era. So the contemporary scenes have a historical feel, particularly when focused on African-American George, who has just changed his name to Ras ("Prince").
If Rick Riordan isn't publishing stories often enough to satisfy you, you definitely should get to know Andre Norton's Magic.
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.