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Bedlam Boyz (Bedlam Bard, Book 3) Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1993
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That being the case, I can officially consider this story my introduction to the genre... this in spite of having bought two other books in the set years ago (The "Bedlam Bard" omnibus and the "Chrome Borne" omnibus, both by a favorite author and both unopened).
As a STORY, it was good.
Outside of my usual experience, so it's hard to say how good. But having a favorite author (Mercedes Lackey of the Valdemar novels) write part of the series helped me to give it a try, even if she didn't write this particular entry.
There is one problem that seriously interfered. I'm usually fairly good at ignoring typos and similar errors, provided I'm not reading a story for the purpose of critiquing. But some errors are too hard to ignore; they interfere too much with the experience of the story.
I chose, recently, to assume that the problem could have been a computer glitch. I tried deleting the story from my Kindle and re-downloading it; I tried downloading it to my computer and my tablet. The errors remained.
They are as follows:
1) at least three separate sections in which several paragraphs in a row were completely italicized.
One of these sections looked like a dream sequence, so I could pass that one off as a stylistic choice, but the others looked as though someone had forgotten to turn off italics until the next passage that required it. Given that the beginning and end of these sections should have been italicized (internal thoughts, usually), this further suggests a mistake.
2) Text that might serve a purpose in the "code" of the file, but which is nothing more than garbage characters within the actual story.
Kayla discovers her magic and finds a mentor--a protector who replaces Billy. But, others also discover Kayla's magic. Kayla's magic endangers her and she must learn not only how to survive, but how to avoid victimization.
The story contains both action and emotional appeal. Kayla is realistically drawn, with both pluck and vulnerability. When the story concludes, Kayla is determined to prevail over those who would victimize and exploit her. Not so, Liane. Her life of victimization and exploitation is just beginning. While Kayla's gift is magic, Liane's gift is beauty. Liane doesn't understand that a grim future awaits her. There is an entire story here that remains unexplored. It's a story that begins daily for attractive runaways. Kayla may be able to surmount the obstacles that arise from her magic, but Liane's beauty assures her a life of prostitution and drug abuse. While Kayla's story is a fairy tale, Liane's is an untold story of harsh realities.
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3. Takes too long to load.
4. Way too short.
5. No narration whatsoever
6. Makes fun of religions