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Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic: The Thirteenth Rib [Kindle Edition]

David J. Schwartz
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)

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Cold Betrayal: An Ali Reynolds Novel (Ali Reynolds Series) by J.A. Jance
Cold Betrayal by J.A. Jance
Ali Reynolds races the clock to uncover the secrets that The Family, a polygamous cult, has hidden for so long—before someone comes back to bury them forever. Learn more | Check out the series

Book Description

On an Earth that saw the weaponization of demons instead of uranium during World War II, a lone agent battles supernatural forces—and enemies within her own government—to unravel a conspiracy that threatens our very existence. This vivid alternate history sets the stage for a modern-day fantasy adventure that’s equal parts Harry Potter and The X-Files.

Across the world, a steady flow of illegally trafficked demons is fueling terrorist attacks known as “Heartstoppers,” which leave bodies lifeless but not technically dead. Authorities have identified Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic, a quaint school on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin, as a demon trafficking pipeline. Now it’s up to Joy Wilkins, a young agent from the Federal Bureau of Magical Affairs, to go undercover as a professor and find the source. But when her mentor turns up murdered and the clues point to a secret society known as the Thirteenth Rib, Joy finds herself in the middle of an ancient war that leaves our world hanging in the balance.

This book was initially released in episodes as a Kindle Serial. All episodes are now available for immediate download as a complete book. Learn more about Kindle Serials

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, David J. Schwartz spent his childhood making up plots for movies he was too young to see in theaters. Inspired by everything from Borges to roller derby—including fantasy stalwarts such as Anne McCaffrey and Ursula K. Le Guin—Schwartz turned his creativity to writing, becoming a Nebula Award-nominated author. Schwartz regularly attends Midwestern fantasy and science-fiction conventions, such as WisCon and Convergence, and prefers kids and dogs to most adults. After traveling the country, he has settled back in Saint Paul where he hopes to spend the rest of his days.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1818 KB
  • Print Length: 417 pages
  • Publisher: 47North; Reprint edition (February 12, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B02TCJ2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,691 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
73 of 77 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Potpourri In Every Way August 1, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very mixed opinions on this book. My thoughts are a little fragmented - somewhat like the book itself.

===The Good===

* First and foremost, the book is fun. The setting is a huge potpourri of all kinds of different magical wackiness; at its strongest, the book takes those wacky elements, pumps them up to 11, and gives us incredible, kickass scenes.

* Gooseberry Bluff is cram-packed with unusual, inventive characters, used in interesting ways. There's a lot of great surprises to look forward to - just to pick an early example at random, the protagonist, Joy is "face-blind," unable to recognize faces by sight. This unusual disability shapes Joy's character and has some interesting consequences all throughout the book.

* The author has clearly made a point of celebrating diversity in his cast of characters. The mere fact of having a black, female protagonist with a disability drives home how absent such characters are from typical light adventure fiction. I sometimes feel this goes a bit awry - one character seems to exist solely to serve as a poster boy for genderqueer-ness - but mostly it's terrific, feeling very natural but still making its presence felt. To be honest, just seeing the bias go in the other direction for a change is awfully refreshing.

===The Not-So-Good===

* The biggest problem I had was that the book feels awfully scattered. It jumps between very different elements so frequently, that I didn't feel like the plot or the setting were consistent or plausible.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointed -- Spoilers in this review August 6, 2013
By kdock
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First, I know a lot of people loved this book and I'm glad they enjoyed it. But I found SO MUCH missing.

Like an ending. Another reviewer said it just stopped, and it did -- in the middle of the story. So many threads were never resolved. What about the cursed professor? What about the College President stuck who knows where? (But he's safe, we're told!) What about Ingrid's last arrow, poised to fly at the giant owl-demon? And what was the point of putting our heroine in a man's body when absolutely nothing relied on it except a few references to male genitalia? Not even unthinkingly ducking into a Ladies' room? Really?

The end was so abrupt, it seemed as if the author was just ready to wrap it up. I'm afraid I can't recommend this one.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A love-hate relationship July 9, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A wonderful contemporary reality tale with yup, you guessed it, everyday magic! Gold stars all around for inferring what the title implied. I purchased this book about 8 installments into the series and quickly became engrossed in the story. Truly loved the world building and characters that had real depth. Action, suspense, mystery - it has it all! Secrets within secrets, intrigue, humor, murder most foul, cats - it has even more than before!

There is one problem. I wanted more. And here comes the hate. I truly hate the serial format. Two flippin' weeks between installments? Inconceivable. This is an era where people don't watch TV series until the season is over so they can binge watch the whole thing in a weekend. In a world where Netflix, Hulu, and yes even Amazon Prime have so altered the fundamental way we as a culture consume media I find the serial format ludicrous.

My disappointment upon coming to the end of the installment and realizing how long I had to wait for the story to continue was both a testament to how much I was enjoying the tale and a indictment of the serial format. Imagine a child coming down Christmas morn to unwrap his present, gush over the prospect of finally having a two wheel bike of his very own, then the box only contains the front wheel and the bike chain. Tears of joy quickly turn to tears of despair. The cake is a lie.

And lo, I have laid down this book until it is complete whereupon I shall consume it as it should be; in a whole, non-discrete fashion. I am leaving my review as 5 stars because it is a truly engaging tale and when finished should be deserving of that rating.

P.S. To see the proper way to use the serial format consider Scalzi's The Human Division.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and Entertaining! April 15, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I picked up this Kindle Serial because I had enjoyed another novel by this author (Superpowers). I was also curious about the kindle serial format. It's kind of cool to be reading the same stuff as all the other readers, and have the updates automatically pour into my kindle (makes you feel you're part of a community/event), but of course it also leaves you chomping at the bit for more (we're about 1/3 in, I think, as I write this).

Schwartz has a talent for propelling the reader through the story. It's fast paced and energetic. Where other writers leave you muddling through long paragraphs of description as they try to fabricate a world around the characters, Schwartz plunges headlong through all that and the world is just there already; the characters are already living and breathing in it. That's part of the charm at work here.

This is a novel where the world is much like our own, except that magic is common. It's taught in schools, and policed by government agencies. There are military applications (Special Forces, Conjuration Division), and of course there are subversive elements, criminals, and plenty of intrigue. The story tends to feel lighter in tone, and has some nice tongue-in-cheek comedy, yet the mystery is still engaging. There are sinister elements at work. Crimes that must be solved, and lives that hang in the balance. I'm looking forward to future installments!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Read
I enjoyed the book. The plots and subplots are interesting and mesh into an interesting story. I recommend this book.
Published 9 days ago by Karen Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd recommend picking this one up
This book has diverse characters in a very interesting alternate universe. There are a few different POV characters and all of them are real people. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Alison Leigh
5.0 out of 5 stars It felt like part one of a trilogy or even a longer ...
I was so bummed that this wasn't a series. It felt like part one of a trilogy or even a longer series, and I would have happily dived into a second story.
Published 29 days ago by R. Striepe
4.0 out of 5 stars Magical Education with Reasonable Tuition
In Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic by David J. Schwartz, Joy Wilkins takes a job as teacher with more in mind than teaching magic. Read more
Published 1 month ago by J. Riley
3.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this book
I enjoyed this book! I wasn't sure what to expect, but I liked the storyline and the characters were wonderful. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sarah Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly engrossing
I went into it expecting a Harry-Potter-ish story transplanted to an American community college, but the story quickly scales up past that, involving spies, gods and demons, and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jens Alfke
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved it.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Sorry It's Over!
Between the title, the cover, and all these reviews, I bought this novel mostly as a, well, novelty. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Elderflower
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay read
Okay read but took a while to get through it.
Published 4 months ago by JANE CRAIGJONES
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Wow, what a refreshing book to read! Gooseberry Bluff addresses one of my main issues with fantasy books -- a lack of thoughtful diversity. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Liore H Klein
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More About the Author

I was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the home of Ice Palaces and steamy hot summers. When I was seven, I played with Star Wars figurines with my friend Matt. Since neither of us had yet seen the movie, we made up stories about the characters while having only a vague idea of who they were. Later, I read the Marvel adaptation and then saw the movie.

I speak adequate Norwegian, poor Spanish, and have forgotten 85% of the eight years of French that I took. I can sing but not play guitar, at least not well. I used to play tuba. I prefer kids and dogs to most adults. I am 42 now, and after some time in Chicago and Madison I live back in Saint Paul, where I hope to remain. I still make up stories about characters, but now I get to decide who they are.

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Author Ask Thread
Hi David!
I'm only in chapter 5, but I've already got my wife hooked. She pointed out that the protagonist (she's not aware of Zelda, Ingrid, or Ken's Roles yet) is female. With them all being good role models showing the importance of believing in yourself (Joy), never giving up hope and to stay... Read More
May 9, 2013 by Anthony M. Bownes |  See all 12 posts
Discuss Episode One of "Goseberry Bluff Community College of Magic: The...
David J. Schwartz has done a fantastic job with the first episode of his serial novel.

Schwartz's characterization is very interesting. Joy's face-blindness, the bit about Selma's past crush, genderqueer Andy, and others are great character pieces to a much larger puzzle. I'm glad to see a work... Read More
Feb 12, 2013 by Shel Hollingsworth |  See all 12 posts
Discuss Episode Two of "Goseberry Bluff Community College of Magic: The...
Yes, but I want to keep reading
I think I will wait and read the other installments after they are all on my Kindle
Mar 6, 2013 by Kindle Customer |  See all 30 posts
Discuss Episode Ten of "Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic: The...
Episode 10: I found the revelation that Bebe was a traitor to be a problem, because she and the other 13th Rib characters were not fleshed out enough to make me think or care about them. Possibly because the book's narrative perspective is that of a person who can't describe faces, I had trouble... Read More
Jul 2, 2013 by Margery L. Goldstein |  See all 10 posts
New Schedule From 4/9
After reading the newest release, I'm chomping at the bit for the next episode! Thanks for stepping up the schedule. I know it's a lot of work on your end.
Apr 27, 2013 by Matt Ranlett |  See all 8 posts
Did David Schwartz croak, or what? Where's the end of this book? Be the first to reply
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