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VINE VOICEon February 23, 2011
Ken McConnell creates a world reminiscent of Earth in his engaging novel, Tyrmia, that transports the reader into the jungles, the treetops, the underground passages, and the cities of Tyrmia. He places futuristic technology against known technology in a way that honors both the history of development and future of advancement. He creates characters the reader cheers for, hates, and understands often against the reader's will and sometimes at the same time. The main character, Szeredy, will entrance the reader with her strength, intelligence, street smarts, and compassion. Her integrity and determination shine through even as she makes decisions she questions in order to survive. McConnell takes the reader on an emotional journey as he takes his characters through physical and emotional struggles and triumphs including commitment to one another and a common cause, loss, pain, torture, grief, survival, love, and victory. Tyrmia is a world filled with the same greed, racism, violence, and biases we experience in our own world on a daily basis, but it is equally filled with the hope, love, determination, and hospitality that give us faith tomorrow will be better than today if we commit to making it so.
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on May 8, 2012
I found myself spending more time than intended reading this book, so I obviously enjoyed the story. However, I felt that the book was a rough effort that had characters inexplicably knowing the thoughts and feelings of other characters, put them in improbably situations with equally improbable resolutions, and took some liberties with distance and location of the characters as the story progressed. I did enjoy the well-intended betrayal story line, but that came to an abrupt end, unfortunately.

From a grammatical standpoint, I cringed every time I saw 'then' used where 'than' should have been, but the proper usage crept in about half way through the book. There are other problems with word usage, but the real fault in this story lies in the characters. They seemed contrived and predictable.

Again, I did enjoy the book, so I can't fault it too much, but it needs quite a bit more work to be a five-star effort.
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on January 30, 2012
I've never written a review before, so take this with a grain of salt. I'm writing this review because I did not like this book, and because I strongly disagree with the positive reviews I've read at Amazon.

First the good stuff. The pacing is pretty good, and the story is modestly compelling. It was also free and I read it to the end. End of the good stuff.

The writing is clumsy. It may seem picky, but when I notice a "bare" when I'm expecting a "bear", I find it disruptive. When the author confuses "emanate" with "imminent" I do a double-take. And when he says, "The cart buckled under the weight but seemed to hold", my brain explodes. Better editing would have made the book less of a chore to read.

The characters are shallow. Most of the characters are aliens. Conveniently, if you fail to understand their emotions and motivations, it is because they are unfathomable aliens, and not because the author can't create believable characters. And like Star Trek in the 1960's, all the aliens want to have sex with our female protagonist. They all love her instantly because she is human and has blond hair and soft white skin. It is simplistic and trite and creepy.

The story is silly. The spaceship is shot down by a cannon. The protagonist shoots an animal with an arrow and becomes the greatest hunter ever. There are geologically improbable secret tunnels under a mountain that are full of lava and coal miners and rebels. There are trains using 3 rails instead of 2, that are escorted by boats. There was a ruse, but it was pointless. Someone dramatically killed someone for no apparent reason. Nothing clever happens, none of the characters are smart, and none of it makes much sense. Things happen for a while and then the book ends. And the ending renders the rest of the story moot. I did not care for it.
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on September 4, 2011
First off, Tyrmia is an extremely well written novel. I sometimes find with Science Fiction, whether it's an Indie author or a high profile one, that the reader can get too mired down in a specific part of the story. The pace of the story is excellent, mixing the need for detailed description with the wonderment of another planet. Throw in harrowing action scenes and complex characters, and you have a classic. I didn't find the plot to be a cliche' and there is enough detail within it and it's cast that I cared about not just Szeredy's plight, but many of the characters she encountered along the way. Overall an extremely enjoyable read, it's unfortunate more Sci-Fi fans have not discovered this gem. The author took careful detail in laying out this planet and it's native people, making it a perfect backdrop for a Sci-Fi adventure.
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on January 26, 2011
This is one of those 'can't put down' books. The characters are unique and believable. Ken makes them come alive and you want to know even more about them. The plot never slows down and he keeps adding more twists to the story. Enjoyed it completely.
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on January 28, 2011
It was a fun read and in several ways it read just like my favorite SF authors. Which in retrospect I find somewhat interesting because strictly speaking I wouldn't consider Tyrmia to be SF. I'm not sure what genre I'd put it in as its got a dash of SF plus also a serving of Steampunk with a hint of Fantasy. It begins and ends as SF, but between those two bookends it's more like a mix of Burroughs and Verne. Not so much their wording or grammar, but rather their worlds and the style of writing. Maybe that's why it read like some of my favorite SF authors: both Burroughs and Verne wrote SF as well as other stuff.

Along with that, I definitely got into this book. The characters will grow on you and you'll find yourself immersed in the story. It was easy for me to visualize what was happening as I read, seeing in my mind the characters, settings, and events as they unfolded.

I'd definitely recommend this book.
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on January 27, 2012
Other reviewers have covered most of my points well. As noted, the characters are well developed and the fast-paced plot will draw you in. One disappointment for me was that the only advanced technology (and it was well done) was in the first chapter. Well-developed concepts of sociology and genetics were imnportant throughout the story. After the first chapter, the plot was set first in primitive society and then in victorian times having a military with WWI technology. This is not a criticism of the story for most readers, because the plot succeeds anyway. You should understand this going in, however, if you like space opera.

One other problem was that incorrect words were substituted in common sayings often enough to be distracting. A few of the examples are:
"eek out a living" instead of eke
"canon" instead of cannon (it was correct once)
"bare children" and "couldn't bare to look" instead of bear
"teaming with life" instead of teeming, and a number of others. Picky, but could be corrected with better editing. Unfortunately, spell check won't catch this kind of error.
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on May 3, 2011
Premise

A star-fighter has her ship shot down on an alien planet, filled with savage aliens. Will she be able to survive?

Review
This is an excellent book! I honestly didn't know what to think, because after all, it's not published by a huge publishing conglomerate, but rather is self-published. The standard has just been raised. It even surpassed all self and traditionally published sci-fi books out this year.

The plot is a classic star-trooper marooned on planet, live among natives, befriends natives, etcetera. But it's a plot with something to say. The book explores Imperialism (has tons of similarities of the Boer war.) not in a way previous novels I read present it, but rather makes the tale human. It was stunning.

Even the star pilot in the story was excellent. She was a she (a shocker in a heavily macho demographic.) and she wasn't a stoic, unflinching killer with a gun. She was like a living, breathing person. I also loved the fact she was a smart aleck. A great break.

And in the matter of the writing quality, the writing is short, crisp and fast. Exactly how I like it. There is a little techno babble here and there, you either like it, or you hate it. And not one misspelling goes to show the quality of the book. And there were tons of plot twists that I never saw coming.

Also, thank you Mr. McConnell for the free reviewers copy!

Verdict
I absolutely loved the book. It'll appeal to fans of Avatar and Isaac Asimov. 5 out of 5 stars!
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on February 15, 2012
Well written story with only a few editing mistakes. I would definitely try other books by this author as this was an enjoyable, easy read.

The plot was fast-paced and didn't lag. There was enough description of the planet and the people inhabiting it, but not so much that it bogged the story down. The main character was fun to follow on her adventure, although she did seem a bit overly sure of her plans to convert others to her way of thinking at times.

I, like at least one other reviewer, didn't think it made sense that every male in power was attracted to the protagonist, but that topic only is a very small part of the book (this is not a sex-in-space novel like so many) that that was only a minor annoyance.
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on January 26, 2011
Ken McConnell's latest novel, Tyrmia, is a feast for the senses, and not the typical sci-fi fare. Tyrmia seamlessly blends the high-tech background of the novel's protagonist with a primitive rain-forest culture and steampunk urban civilization. Tyrmia is the name of the planet where our heroine crash lands her ship. Cut off from her mother ship and crew, she must adapt to the primitive culture of the tribe that eventually adopts her. When the feral tribes of the jungle become exploited prey of the 'civilized' urban community that is invading the forest, conflict on every level ensues. There are plot twists galore, and plenty of action. Tyrmia is a winner!
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