Today is book-hunting day! That wasn’t a thing until today, but now it is.
Book-hunting day means I go to Amazon and search for fantasy books with key words like “chosen one” or “elemental magic” (just, because). When a book entices me, I’ll start reading the preview until I either decide it sucks (ahem, I mean, decide it’s not for me) or buy it.
Of course, I’ll give you a commentary as I go. It’s mean to make fun of people in public, so I won’t name names and I’ll disguise some of the details. (I’ll use * to indicate the detail has been changed.)
Shall we head into the jungle?
Enter the Amazon
I go to Amazon, log out, and enter the “Kindle books” department. The shelves are neatly ordered and a saleswoman wearing a ridiculous scarf gives me a sidelong glance. She decides I’m not a homeless person sheltering from the cold, and proceeds to ignore me.
Now, I can never figure out if I should enter the “Literature and Fiction” section and then look for fantasy, or jump straight into “Science Fiction and Fantasy”. The coffees are better in the Literature section, but the people in SFF are more my kind of people, so I head there.
The shelves are loaded down with brightly coloured action figures wearing improbable armour and holding their swords by the blade, and the air is thick with dragon musk. It’s a good thing I haven’t had coffee yet.
I pass under a luminous globe that’s probably intended for illumination, but the creature inside is scrabbling to get out and blocking most of the light. I expect I’d upset the staff if I were to give him his freedom. Plus he might cause the end of the world. He does have very long fingernails.
Rats, I should have limited my search to fantasy. Judging from the cover picture, which is all spacey stuff, this is distinctly a scifi book. Never mind. I’m here now.
The blurb gives a good idea of the plot. Captain Hero* and his crew take a job at the zoo* where they discover, shock-horror, a secret that could destroy Facebook* as we know it. But on their way to the police station* to report the terrible secret, they run out of petrol* and are stranded on the side of a deserted highway*. Can they figure out where all their petrol went* and fill up the tank*, or will they burn up on re-entry?
It sounds as if it has a plot, sort of, though it’s a cliche and not a plot I’m interested to read. Sorry, closing that tab.
This is the third book in a trilogy, so I expect the blurb to not make sense. I’m not disappointed.
The cover shows a woman’s face. She’s wearing clothes appropriate to fantasy and has an expression that might be far-seeing, or alternatively really bored.
What’s the book about? A desecrated tavern*, a missing barrel of ale*, and a bloody* murder. Sounds exciting!
The kings calls heroine* and faithful companion* to discover the nature of the darkness that is leaving the streets awash with soap suds*.
Heroine* must fight an enemy who knows her nearly as well as it knows its multiplication tables*. The quest is really dangerous and time is running out.
In short, “danger, run!”.
What the cup, I might as well look inside. I always like to read about nice sudsy streets*.
It starts with a prologue. The first sentence might be talking about the weather, but I’m not really sure because it’s so garbed (or possibly garbled) in metaphors that I’m instantly bewildered. We meet a centaur*. It’s big, and old, and has some magic that makes it invisible. Cool.
The centaur* has been watching for something for years. I’m not being coy about what he’s watching for. I don’t know. But today might be the day he sees it.
Wheee! Paragraph three launches into backstory. The history of the world, no less. It’s really confusing. I’m done.
This is a story about bullying. You know how I know? It says so in the blurb.
Muffins* looks different to the other badgers* and has always been an outcast because he is one weird-looking dude. The other badgers* badger him incessantly. Can he find a place in the world that isn’t just victim?
Um, message fiction much? No thanks.
I love the cover on this book. It’s magical and mystical looking, and at least a wee bit sparkly.
Oh dear. The blurb has a lot of names in it.
Capitalised stuff I can’t identify: 4
Cut out all the unidentifiable capitalised stuff and it would be fine. It seems the book has a wide appeal. It’s aimed at ages 9-18. Isn’t that a pretty wide band? How many books can you think of that appeal to nine-year-olds as well as eighteen-year-olds? (Harry Potter doesn’t count.)
I’m going to look inside, but only because I like the cover.
It starts with a prologue. I’m not always anti-prologue, but… sigh.
Ah, it seems to be a history of lego* from the perspective of some kind of god-being. The god-being watches as bad things happen to the lego*, and he is sad over its fate. Which I will never learn, because the writing is such a slog to get through. I wouldn’t have liked it when I was nine, either.
This is a three-book box set, with a cover image that’s hard to see and no blurb. I’m going in.
Yay, no prologue! Though the first paragraph fills my whole screen (which is quite big).
In the first sentence, an alarming discovery! Another stolen candlestick* is discovered, murdered and washed up on the beach*. A couple of sentences later we plunge into backstory. This is not the first candlestick* that has washed up. One was found by a lion tamer*, who thought it was something valuable he could sell, then took a long time to realise it wasn’t.
All the villagers feared their candlestick* could be the next murder victim.
A named character appears! Blossom*. She goes to a grassy meadow* and sings* to summon her secret friend (a mole? a field mouse?), but her friend does not appear.
Some explanation of the world. Human cities are ruled by pig cities*, of which there are many.
The friend does not appear. Then the friend does appear, and she looks terrible.
This book has me somewhat interested, but sadly I can’t keep reading because the writing is too awkward, over-explained, and generally hard to slog through.
I’m not a huge fan of the cover, and it’s more spacey stuff, but the blurb grabs me. Here it is:
Sure, it’s not perfect, but it raises a few questions that I really want answers to.
What the duck have the colonists been doing for three hundred years? What have they “accomplished”? Why did they break contact in the first place?
Why was Jess chosen? What awesome things am I going to discover about her if I read the book?
I’m not going to read it, though. I’m put off by a review claiming the book is “poorly written and badly edited”, though there are a fair number of good reviews. It might be great. If you’re interested in taking a look, here’s the link.
The light changes and the air goes cold. I look up. The luminous sphere, the one that had the creature in it, is now empty. Something dark with long fingernails skitters along the top of the bookshelf and disappears.
I hear screams and the approaching end of the world. Gotta run.
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