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Brass Automaton (Clockwork Tales) (Volume 1) Paperback – September 13, 2016
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About the Author
Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degree in Computer Systems and Applications and is currently attending Northern Arizona University, enrolled in the undergraduate Applied Human Behavior program. * * * D. Paul Angel is originally from California, USA. He now lives in Portland, Oregon. He writes, commits photography, and is learning the ins and outs of drawing and illustration. He is, most definitely, a Nerd’s Nerd.
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I read the book twice before this post in order to verify my initial thoughts on the premise, characters and settings in this unique collaborative writing approach. So, I feel that some of the early “time-travel or alternate/parallel universe” transitions were too short and quick to be sure that I had the correct characters and time moment in mind, which was cleared up by the second read. That problem was much improved during the final chapters. There are some editing omissions for ensuring that the correct word or phrase has been used, which did improve as I read further into the novel, and no doubt will be emphasized in a future novel. The mixture of “Terminator/Snow White”, humor, evil with a touch of horror (hmmmm….sounds like a contemporary take on Disney, but definitely with a hard side), and alternate/parallel universes with Steampunk influence provides a unique SciFi experience, especially considering the “prompt” of Snow White for the second part of the story origin, as described by Mark. "Terminator" was the first "prompt". It's a fun read!
Note: Being an artist in a large family and group of relatives, all with unique artistic talents, I am always honest in my critiques of any form of the arts. I think of it as constructive criticism. So, though I have known Doug since he was in grammar school with our son, Gregg, I have focused on making an honest assessment of his first published collaborative novel with Mark Gardener. The Kindle edition of this book was purchased and shared by my wife, Mary.
However, I was disappointed. The main problem I had with this book were all the jumps in time that I felt were poorly explained and confusing. Although the story mostly came together, in the end, there were still gaps that existed in the plot, making the overall story rather disconcerting. Because of this, I never actually connected to any of the characters, nor did I really care what happened to them in the end. I think the characters could have been interesting if given the chance, especially because there was the opportunity for several strong, female, lead characters (like Snow, Reese, Sky, and Ceridwen).
I think this novella would have benefitted from being longer and being more cohesive. I think if the authors took more words to explain their story, it wouldn’t feel as rushed or forced. I would have liked the authors to slow down and allow for the reader to get a better grasp of what was going on. Reading this book, I was also able to get a sense that there was more than one writer, with chapters written alternatingly by the authors.
Finally, there were also several grammatical mistakes (missing commas, inconsistent capitalization of groups such as the Sisters/sisters, etc.) and sentences that didn’t flow quite right, which further took away from the overall story.
That being said, I will be interested to see how the authors continue the story and follow them for any additional serial blogs of the sequel they may publish in the future.
I received a copy of this eBook from NetGalley and Article94 in exchange for an honest review.
I also love stories with unexpected endings and twists. This story serves up both.