In the fantasy style of Piers Anthony, Brant takes us to a place where the modern human world meets the world of faeries, dwarves, centaurs, and other mystical creatures, a place where time does not exist. For the world of Em, the Gatekeeper is a figure from prophecy and one of immense importance. For the young man destined to be the Gatekeeper, the duties and consequences of his destiny will change his life – in both beneficial and injurious ways.
Ben of the human world represents much that is wrong with the modern human world. He is depressed and withdrawn, symptoms of his constant physical and emotional abuse by the man who is neither his father nor his mother’s husband, but a man to which his mother attached to when he was a successful football player and she needed a place to raise her illegitimate child. Ben has no friends, nor does he seek friendship knowing it will only bring down a wrath upon him and his mother. He is protective and wishes to help someone, yet he is nearly helpless to do so being young and inexperienced.
Creole of Em is a half-human and half-faerie, the daughter of the previous human Gatekeeper, and the one destined to be the mate of the Last Gatekeeper. With an abrasively teenage personality, she is the opposite of Ben and opposes him at many turns throughout the book. From her, Ben learns the value of opening up to friendship.
In a short and battle-heavy narrative of a Roman legionary, Ocean Gods, Roman Blades follows Varus, a man who struggles to keep his innate warring drive in check to follow the discipline of a Roman warrior.
Giving mythology life in acts of incredible yet horrifying magic, Varus and his squad fight against pirates responsible for attacking Roman merchant ships.
Knighton writes with insightfulness, using the perspective of the protagonist to spy into the complexities of the characters surrounding him while still driving home the theme of a man trying to change himself to suit the world into which he was born.
They thought it was a cheat code, but these three kids were in for a surprise when they pressed the special combination on the computer keyboard.
No one knows who invented the game; Joe only knows he’s heard it is the best game ever. Joe and his siblings find themselves locked into the digital game, struggling to beat the level in order to go home. An exciting read for kids in the middle grades, this book takes kids on a timely adventure through a dangerous volcanic world and demonstrates how even kids can work together using the strongest trait of each one to make it through tough situations, including thinking through the puzzles of the game under intense stress.
The world is entering a new age, leaving our current phase of natural laws and lapsing into a new phase where the chemical reactions that keep our machines and technology running no longer exist. Replacing our combustion engines and our cell phones are abilities to heal and transform and communicate with plant and animals, abilities we consider to be magical. Factions battle for control of this new age, the White Order, the Black Order, and the Gray Order, each seeking to control the Chosen and the rest of humanity. The book crosses boundaries between Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Several different individuals start out apart and on separate paths, each dealing with the sudden change in Earth’s physical reality by seeking to retreat from dangerous cities and people, all traveling north. Eventually, all of these individual converge into a battle group, all heading for the promised land of New Atlantis. Through this mode, we learn of each character’s personality to a minute depth – the sheer number of participants does not give ample time or space to delving deeply into each one. (Perhaps future installments will give each character their due.)
The first several chapters kept me engaged, following just two of the main characters into a mystery known to one and not the other. As soon as the other major characters began to arrive, the momentum suffered. The main storyline of the imminent phase transition and power struggle after its occurrence became lost in a muddle of names and descriptions.
3 Stars – Great beginning, but lagged in the middle and slowed the enjoyment.
Using his imagination and perspective, Tim Newton Anderson offers up this collection of 20 short stories with attributes of fantasy and the paranormal.
The collection opens with the amusing fantasy that cats (and dogs and other living creatures) are fashioned by guilds of artisans at a commissioned price. “The Cat Factory” is also a cautionary tale about appreciating things that aren’t perfect and, perhaps, to be mindful of what our cats might be conspiring to do.
“Angel House” bands together a group of people who are along in life for one reason or another – the death of a loved one, self-deprecation, substance abuse – and faces them with the prospect of seeing angels after taking tainted diet pills.
Each story examines human nature through the experimentation of free imagination, letting go of the laws of physics, nature, and even society to test the morality of human nature.
Available on Amazon