- File Size: 1136 KB
- Print Length: 234 pages
- Publisher: White Rocket Books (November 26, 2011)
- Publication Date: November 26, 2011
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B006FBRHG8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #559,213 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Blackthorn: Thunder on Mars Kindle Edition
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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Still, my fears must have been assuaged a little, because I gladly plunged headlong into the next story, "Cradle of Atlantis," by Mark Bousquet. As a first "episode" of the series unhampered by origin baggage, this story proved to be at least as exciting and action-packed, with some interesting ideas about what Atlantis actually was, and from whence it came.
The Minefields of Malador" by Bobby Nash, proved that, to borrow a cliche, "we ain't seen nothin' yet!" This story doesn't let up from start to finish. It prety much starts with a literal bang and doesn't let you catch your breath until its final words.
The next two stories showcased, to me, the varying types and tones of story that can be told in this setting with these characters. While "City of Relics" (Sean Taylor) reminded me of an original-series Star Trek episode, even with its fantasy trappings, "Indistinguishable From Magic" (James Palmer) felt more like a more adult version of a Saturday morning cartoon, in the best possible way.
Next, we have what is by far the shortest story in this collection, "Quest for the Eye," by Joe Crowe. To me, this story was too short. After the last few stories resembled episodes in a TV series, even being about half the length of the origin story, "Quest" felt rushed and incomplete.
If I had to pick a favorite story, I'd be hard pressed to choose between "Indistinguishable From Magic" and the next story, "Ghosts of Acheron," by I. A. Watson. This was definitely the darkest story in the group, but that is by no means a negative. On the contrary, it shows yet another facet of the setting we hadn't really seen up to this point ... and gives a hum-dinger of a character revelation at its end. To say more would be a sin against all readership, and I won't utter more here. As it is, I've tried to avoid plot synopses. I'm not a fan of spoilers myself and try not to subject readers of my reviews to them, even minor ones.
The book ends with an epilogue, also written by Van Allen Plexico, which promises an uphill battle for Blackthorn, Aria and Oglok. And as far as this reader is concerned, we should see much, much more of that uphill battle. I've just gotten to care about these characters, and can't wait to rejoin them. As it stands now, there's already a novel sequel--"Blackthorn: Dynasty of Mars" by I. A. Watson. I can't wait to read that, and I think when you read Blackthorn: Thunder On Mars, you'll agree with me. So what are you waiting for? Click that button and get ready for a white-knuckle ride full of action, humor, a hint or two of romance, mystery, and villains you will love to hate!
"Blackthorn- Thunder on Mars", by Van Plexico and friends is a rather unique anthology title. Mr. Plexico created the character and invited several friends to come along and play by writing a chapter each in the first novel starring the somewhat familiar hero.
Why is Blackthorn familiar? He is somewhat of an homage to an early 80's cartoon character named `Thundarr the barbarian' as well as Edgar Rice Burroughs `John Carter of Mars'. You will see the resemblance to both properties when you begin to read Blackthorn's adventures and in fact Van admits to having a soft spot for both characters in his introduction.
But that being the case and all things being equal this is definitely its own book, character and adventure, and burgeoning mythos, as you will find out.
All the stories in this volume tell different tales that add to the adventure as a whole, but each one IS a self-contained story. All were excellently written and were spread out not only for some distance across the terraformed Martian landscape, but also across more than a few months.
The three main characters are John Blackthorn, Princess Aria and Oglok the Mock-man. They are on a mission to overthrow control of the red planet from four powerful beings who call themselves `sorcerers' (Though I have a sneaking suspicion it's all done with science and mirrors.) John Blackthorn himself is a time displaced US Soldier, a General actually, who finds himself suddenly far in the future and in a new body he does not know or remember. In other words the face in the mirror is not his. Another problem he has is that all his memories of his former life on Earth are fading, and quickly enough that he knows they will still all soon be gone and that he cannot do anything about it.
All of these problems and more weigh in on Blackthorn and crew while they are moving from town to town battling almost inconceivable evils in their journey across the red planet.
All in all this is a fun read. It takes place on a world that is totally unrecognizable in a dystopian future. It is an intriguing read to be sure.
Of course, if I wanted to nitpick I could say the main characters bear too much of a resemblance to the `Thundarr the Barbarian' characters and that the cover artwork was below a level I normally expect from those associated with this novel, but looking at it, I do have to concede that it is "Kirby-esque" in a rather fitting way, especially since the King himself was so heavily involved in Thundarr.
All in all it was a rather enjoyable read, and I have nothing but the highest praise for it. It's one of those novels you can sit back and forget about the world outside your door by becoming immersed in the book in your hands.
Highly recommended- Five Stars.
However, once I was a little ways into the first story, I completely forgot about the problem. Sure, I still get a cringe when the princess or "mock-man" are mentioned, or when some of the more obvious nods to the show pop up, but the story itself was a ton of fun. This is the equivalent to a SyFy Channel movie brought to paper. If you don't mind the obvious homages, then you'll love the rip-roaring adventures of Blackthorn. My favorite stories were by Plexico (leader of the bunch), Sean Taylor and Bobby Nash, but all of the stories were decent. No stinkers in this bunch.
The other thing I want to mention is that Plexico included illustrations in the e-version, which was a great surprise. It's nice to see him step up his game with the addition of artwork.