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Lyon's Legacy: Catalyst Chronicles, Book One (Volume 1) Paperback – April 12, 2012
About the Author
Sandra Ulbrich Almazan started reading at the age of three and only stops when absolutely required to. Although she hasn't been writing quite that long, she did compose a very simple play in German during middle school. Her science fiction novella Move Over Ms. L. (an early version of Lyon's Legacy) earned an Honorable Mention in the 2001 UPC Science Fiction Awards, and her short story "A Reptile at the Reunion" was published in the anthology Firestorm of Dragons. She is a founding member of BroadUniverse and a long-time member of the Online Writing Workshop for Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror. Her undergraduate degree is in molecular biology/English, and she has a Master of Technical and Scientific Communication degree. Her current day job is in the laboratory of an enzyme company; she's also been a technical writer and a part-time copyeditor for a local newspaper. Some of her other accomplishments are losing on Jeopardy! and taking a stuffed orca to three continents. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Eugene; and son, Alex. In her rare moments of free time, she enjoys crocheting, listening to classic rock (particularly the Beatles), and watching improv comedy.
Top customer reviews
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She's as original as are her three-dimensional characters--I guess fourth-dimensional in Joanna's case.
Joanna, a biotech worker, is coerced by an evil uncle to travel through a wormhole from her future back to an alternate 1950s to steal some DNA from dear old great-granddad, an Elvis-like superstar--in order to clone him.
Of the fifties, Joanna says: "Never mind the ozone layer; the hairspray was thick enough to create holes in my lungs."
Another example of Almazan's quirky voice: Trying to wear heels, out of fashion in her future, Joanna falls in the cafeteria with the following results:
"What food I wasn't wearing was completely inedible, and George's flower was floating in the soup. The front of my dress was sopping wet, a carrot had wormed its way into my bra, and ranch-flavored lettuce was clinging to my face."
Upon meeting her great-grandfather, he tells her that some things, like dreams, transcend history. If Almazan is dreaming of being a best-selling writer, I believe that is a dream that can and will transcend any history as well.
I don't read quickly, but the book isn't a long one and it drew me back to it each night to find out what happened next.
Among the most interesting things Almazan does in this book is the character of Sean Lyon himself; for the first 1/3 of the book or so, Sean is simply someone everyone mentions, with varying degrees of reverence or anger, and he becomes and outsized notion, so when Almazan actually brings Sean into the story, it could have been disastrous, but Sean was one of my favorite characters in the book, which speaks of the skill Almazan displays.
Lyon's Legacy is a must-read for anyone who wants a brisk but compelling story that manages to center a family story amidst the wonder of science.
(Read an interview with the author here: [...])
So, yeah, the idea that anyone would expect Joanna Lyon to follow in the footsteps of her great-grandfather just didn't make any sense. I couldn't suspend my disbelief for that. Maybe that's my issue and no fault of the book.
Then, there was the issue of first person. I've mentioned before that I'm no real fan of 1st person writing (despite my love of The Dresden Files), and this book pushed all of my buttons on the reasons why I don't like 1st person. It (first person) offers way too many shortcuts, and Almazan took them all, frequently telling us how other characters feel and what they think without actually showing us the interactions to back those things up. But, at least, she didn't have Joanna stand in front of a mirror and describer herself to us, because that is the worst.
There was also the issue of the love story, which is of the insta-love variety, and another of things that push my dislike buttons. It's too frequent that we have a female protagonist telling us how she just can't find the right guy and she doesn't know how to act around guys and, besides, guys aren't that important, anyway, and BOOM! there's the perfect guy and she loves him and he loves her and there's never any question about what's going to develop. Then, once the characters have sex, the deal is sealed. That's it for life. Does that even happen in real life? Ever? And it's not that I expect a fantasy (in the sense that all writing is fantasy) to necessarily be true to life, but there could be some complexity to it other than the neurosis of the protagonist.
All in all, the book didn't feel fleshed out. There are too many gaps, too many things not followed through to their logical conclusion, too many things left unexplained.. Then, to top it all off, the book just stops. It's like Almazan got tired of writing and cut it off without any kind of resolution. Reading it on the Kindle made it even worse, because I was only at the 85% mark when Lyon's Legacy stopped. The rest of the book is promo stuff for her other works.
As I've said in other reviews, maybe these issues are with me. The book has generally very positive reviews, so, maybe, my standards are just too high. Either way, the book didn't work for me.
Most recent customer reviews
Even though it's short, it's a good read.Read more