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The Actuator: Fractured Earth Paperback – August 13, 2013
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Books with Buzz
"Killers of the Flower Moon" is a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history. See more
"Talk about an amazing concept! . . . it was amazing. . . . A great story idea, a fantastic start to a really interesting Speculative Fiction/ Urban Fantasy series." ---Janis' Journal --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
James Wymore is the award-winning author of several books, including Schism, Salvation, Theocracide, and Windows into Hell.
Aiden James is the bestselling author of the Cades Cove series and the Judas Chronicles, in addition to the Nick Caine Adventures (with J. R. Rain). The author has published over thirty books and resides in Tennessee with his wife, Fiona, and an ornery little dog named Pepper.
Roger Wayne hails from small-town Minnesota. He served in the Air Force as a broadcast journalist in South Korea before obtaining his BA in communications and journalism. Roger has recorded for video games, animation, and commercials, and he loves making books come to life. You can see what he's up to at rogerwayne.com. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Talk about an amazing concept! And one I boggle at as it made me think ‘why has no one else written about such a theme before?’ as it was amazing. As I’m pretty sure there are quite a few of us who have our own little fantasy and imaginary worlds we wish could be made true (or actuaded) even if for a day or so for us to roam free. Yes I might be nearly forty, but I’m also a writer and am very happy still having my imaginary worlds and friends to play with – thank you very much! And I feel this book and series just mind blowing to show I’m not alone but exactly how much fun and danger having our imaginary worlds come alive could be.
I have to say I also really liked the way reality had a way of giving each fragmented world a bit of a slap… as fantasy worlds shouldn’t become real worlds as that reveals all the flaws and holes we happily gloss over when we can make it do what we want. There are no do overs in life, even when your perfect world becomes true.
Sadly I did find the whole character angst and see-sawing emotions a tad boring and slowed the story down for me. It got in the way of the adventure! Yes, call me shallow and fickle, but I do much prefer my Urban Fantasy and Speculative Fiction to just keep going with the adventure and not spend almost a chapter internalising over things. That’s what reading literary fiction is for! Though I will say this is a personal thing and not the fault or a flaw in the book. But I like to say it how I see it and I wanted to explain how I could love the idea of the story but not give it top ratings.
I do, however, look forward to the rest of the series as the hunt for the keys and the worlds they will travel in have so much potential I can see myself being able to cope with the angst to gain the benefits of a great tale. Oh, and I have to say, I’m currently reading the 1.5 anthology book of the series and absolutely adore that the authors James Wymore and Aiden James opened their world and story concept up to other authors and let them all have a dabble in it too! Has a great NaNoWriMo feel to it and adds to that feel of not being alone in being someone with an imaginary world on their back… or attached to their thoughts. Hey, if you ever do another author anthology – think of me… I wonder if I can do a tongue in cheek Aussie cowboy romance world? ;-)
Would I recommend this book to others? Yes I would. The issues I have with the overabundance of internalising and angst might not affect others in the same way it has done me. And the concept is too good for them to pass over. If you’re a lover of modern ‘spec fic’ and Urban Fantasy, I would indeed point you towards taking a look at this book and series.
Would I buy this book for myself? I can’t say for sure whether I would or not… as, right now, it’s the sort of thing I’d borrow and enjoy from a library, but I’m really not too sure if I’d go out of my way to own it though. Heck, check back with me when I’ve read more into the series as I’m sure my opinion is going to change.
In summary: A great story idea, a fantastic start to a really interesting Speculative Fiction/ Urban Fantasy series… but a little too much character internalising and not enough ‘let’s go do it’ for me.
Those readers looking for fiction set in fact-based alternate worlds will not in this story find what they are looking for. The Actuator warps reality in response to the literary fetishes of the so-called 'Machine Monks' who form the mental templates upon which the enigmatic device then acts. The book has more in common with Heinlein's "The Number of the Beast" than it does Dick's "The Man in the High Castle," as it takes us through various literary genres and some rather deep psychoses drawn from the minds of the operators. It creates worlds in which the very laws of physics (or magic, in some cases) have been changed.
The book is a variation of the Frankenstein myth and the Genie in the bottle, melded together into a fast-paced quest adventure. The area around the test site has orcs and dragons, but the effects of the Actuator do not, this time, stop at the test area limits. It goes on and on, apparently encompassing the whole world. In a search for the keys to reset the machine, a band of people from the secret base travel through the various worlds, finding such obstacles as aliens in flying saucers, airship pirates, Native Americans with huge chips on their shoulders, werewolves, vampires, and plain old regular pirates, not to mention their own loony-toon Machine Monks who were crazy even before reality got shuffled.
Since this is the first book in a three-part story, I don't count it against the authors that there are some loose ends and that the reader is left with the promise of another story to come. On the other hand, I do count against the authors that this book cannot stand on its own as a complete story. If you write a huge novel that has to be cut into three sections (e.g. "The Lord of the Rings") you have an excuse for abrupt cliffhangers. Otherwise, your story does have to be complete in itself, and the run-on into the next book has to handled in such a way as to keep the reader from being disappointed with the book in hand. As it is, you get to the end of "The Actuator: Fractured Earth," and you realize the story is not finished. What next? More of the same frenetic world-hopping that started to get tiresome toward the end? Another quest? More banal characters? More genres?
The premise of the book was intriguing enough for me to buy the book, and I did enjoy it despite it not being quite in the alternate-history genre I enjoy. Even though most of the characters were not likable, and a few were actually despicable and loathsome, they were at least on a quest that took them through some mildly interesting manifestations of literary genres, but like the characters themselves, I eventually began to tire of even the wild west steampunk world. I think the book's main problem is a lack of depth, or at least layers, to the story. A deeper story would have involved me more, made me more curious about the Actuator, which is presented simply as a "magic box," mostly devoid of history, and it seems to have no purpose other than as a plaything for some seriously disturbed people. When I finished the book, I found myself more glad that it was over than looking forward to the next installment. But hope springs eternal, in most universes.
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