Book Review: Lightpoints


After a near-death experience, you find yourself suddenly able to sense the energies of other people around you. Not only that but you’re able to manipulate it, draining and giving energy at will. What do you do with this power?

Peter Kassan explores this idea with a great deal of insight and detail in Lightpoints. He draws on different religious and cultural perspectives to explore and explain the “special sauce”, how it affects relationships, and how it can be a corruptive influence on those without conscience.

I liked reading this. I found it had a very formal style in both narrative and dialogue that occasionally had me feeling as though I were reading an essay. I liked it when the terminology about the psychic ability changed as different perspectives and experiences were brought in — new vocabulary relieved the repetitiveness of certain terms. It’s a slow boil, quietly ominous, the plot points disturbing and menacing even with the moments of brightness when the focus was on Amanda — the sense of foreboding created by Kassan overshadowed even that clarity found by the protagonist. The final confrontation between good and evil was incredible, but it was over too quickly. I would have liked to have seen, somehow, an effort by different groups of sensitives to connect, somehow. Like the prayer group making an impact on the psychiatric patients through their collective good intentions…if that phenomenon was in the news, it would have been excellent to see Amanda and Lisa and their friends journey to visit and share their knowledge with them. But maybe that’s part of the point — that the faculty of sensitive awareness is too dangerous when in the wrong hands, in a large group of people.

Even though this is fiction, it reads realistically. It’s believable, both in character development and plot. I could see the visuals clearly, and I was disappointed when it ended.

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Book Review: Caledonii — Birth of a Nation


I thought this was a very, very interesting read. What compels a collection of rival clans to band together? A common enemy, of course, but the road to unification is neither smooth nor quick. Ian Hall’s research into the little details of pre-Roman civilization in Great Britain is excellent, as is his depiction of political intrigue and the dangers present for neophytes engaging in negotiations and allegiances. I particularly enjoyed the the depiction of the druids (spelled “dhruids” in the book).

Since this is the first novella in a series, it sets up many questions, and an intriguing mystery. I will definitely continue reading the subsequent installments — I really want to know what happens next!

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Book Review: Plague Nation


I enjoyed this book on so many levels . . . It was so easy to visualize what’s going on, following the desperate journey of the wild cards to the next potential safe spot, knowing that it’s all building to an epic climax in Plague World . . . I loved the gallows humour, so necessary in the world that Dana Fredsti has created, and indeed, in our world, too. Watching her protagonist, Ashley, learn to cope with the reality of her situation, and the clock ticking down on it, was absolutely riveting. And then the sinister back-story revealing itself — the machinations of the zombie outbreak — it’s maddening not having the answers laid out in front of me, guaranteeing that I will be getting a copy of Plague World at the earliest opportunity.

Fredsti’s love for the zombie genre in film and text is definitely clear in this book, as well as her love for San Francisco. I loved the details of her heroes’ physical journey, and as much as my heart ached for Ashley and the punishment she was going through (it’s really remarkable how many obstacles Dana can come up with, short of an earthquake sinking the whole place into the Bay), she struck the right balance with references to key moments and quotes in many of the films and books I love. I found myself snorting aloud, even when reading in public places. It’s both funny and poignant.

If you are a fan of the zombie genre — if you love reading about shambling, rotting, moaning, undead flesh-craving killers — this book is 100% for you.

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Book Review: Hearts in Exile


There is so very, very much to love about this book. Mysti Parker has outdone herself with this tale of love lost and found again, tragedy and courage, hope and ruin. The characters are beautifully written, and I fell right into the setting. It was difficult to pull myself out of Tallenmere and go to work; I wanted to devour this book whole in a single reading. There are echoes of Tolkien, The Princess Bride, and “The Tempest” in this work. It is a romance / fantasy of the highest calibre. While I enjoyed A Ranger’s Tale and Serenya’s Song, by a narrow margin Hearts in Exile is my favourite of Parker’s novels so far. I await No Place Like Home next year with much anticipation.

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Book Review: I am GooGol

I am Googol cover

I really like the concepts in this sci-fi/fantasy. The artistry is great, and the build-up to the next books in the series is intriguing. I wasn’t entirely clear on who was narrating, at times. I found it reminded me of stories produced by Gene Roddenberry, and films like Gattaca, and Johnny Mneumonic, and the recent tv series Continuum, all in its favour — I enjoy dystopian future stories, I find them fascinating.

I think a young adult would definitely get into this series, and I plan to share it with my son. I think he’ll love it!

*Addendum: I had my nearly-thirteen-year-old read it, and this is what he said:

“I enjoyed it a lot. It was creative, a good blend of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Day of the Triffids. I’m definitely looking forward to the second volume!”

I should note that watching him read it, listening to his commentary as he went through it, was absolutely delightful. For these reasons — his review, and my enjoyment of watching him read it — I decided to give this book two more stars.

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