Book Review: Saradasi – The Prophecy by Ranjit Ratnaike

Saradasi by Ranjit RatnaikeSaradasi: The Prophecy
by Ranjit Ratnaike (Goodreads Author)

Review by Stef Rozitis
1 out of 5 stars
Feb 19, 2017

I was disappointed because I went into this book looking for positives, I really liked the idea of a Sri Lankan, Adelaide writer’s take on space themes sci-fi.

The positives though few were- a different perspective and voice than I am used to. Early on in the book I thought I would get used to how difficult it was to read and put a lot of it down to voice and creative vision. I suspect there is enough creativity here that if the author worked hard on his writing ability something better could be developed (maybe even from the central idea of this book).
A notable good point also was the treatment of gender. Female characters seemed very similar in status to male characters and there was an avoidance of stereotypes. Given the setting that was entirely appropriate.

The negatives were- Difficult writing. Lack of clarity. Long, drawn out, overly “deep” (in the self-conscious sense) and ultimately pointless dialogues. Unlikeable characters. Unintentional humour in some of the names of different species e.g. the Suxtsux and the Lesdians. The book took forever to build its climax and there were few real twists, nor were the characters easy to distinguish from each other or care about. There were some non-sequiteurs both in conversation and action and the way things were explained at times was heavy handed and contrived. While quotes like: “stupidity often manifests as poor judgement” (p34) were possibly even true, they added little or nothing to the plot and there were far too often tangential “wise” observations put into the mouth of an apparently random character.

The concepts of “good” and “evil” in the book are also underdeveloped but constantly referred to.
The best thing for this author would have been a mentor that would help him workshop and develop the plot, character and writing style more. Or at the very least a patiently ruthless editor that would cut it down to a manageable size.

Really sorry, because I desperately wanted to be glowing about it.

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goodreads review by Stef Rozitis

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Hello friends and readers, this post is to let you all know that I’m getting close to publishing my new fantasy books in the Blood Rage Series:

Blood and Fear,
The Crimson Guild,
Blood Rage,

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Book Review – ‘Bot War by Ian J. Miller

'Bot War by Ian J. Miller

‘Bot War
by Ian J. Miller (Goodreads Author)

Repost of Alex G’s review
3 out of 5 Stars
Feb 11, 2017

This book’s extrapolation of a US as well as global dystopia is well-researched and not impossible, especially in light of the ongoing actions of the US President Trump. I particularly liked the beebots (view spoiler). The plot is a complex one and reads almost like a docu-drama, like Dragnet.

Although the inner thoughts of the main characters were spot-on in driving the plot forward, they are mostly analytical and inner emotions are not strongly expressed. Therefore, I didn’t feel terribly invested in their various fates. There were a few scenes that were well-done: between Ken, a low-level bank manager, and a sharpshooter and Ken, again, and Taylor (aka “Miss Black”) which had a solid amount of tension and the dialogue had character. If there were more scenes like those, then it would have been a more emotionally invigorating read.

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Book Review – A Dreadful Daughter’s Spells by Leah Broadby, Molly Billygoat

A Dreadful Daughter's Spells by Leah Broadby

A Dreadful Daughter’s Spells
by Leah Broadby, Molly Billygoat (Goodreads Author)
Repost of Michael Swensson’s review
5 out of 5 stars
Feb 13, 2016


Chloe stared at the faces staring back at her.

“But I’m not trained… my magic is…
unpredictable. My mum says I have ADD.”

“What is an ADD?” asked Timmy.
I don’t know. I think it stands for ‘A Dreadful Daughter’
or something like that, said Chloe sniffing.

Magic is all around us, but only a select few of us can experience it. One of those is thirteen year old Chloe Barker, who has a special form of magic called ‘Magiken.’ Her mother Bev just wants Chloe to act her age, not realising that eventually with the passing of time, this magic will disappear. Chloe can already see that happenning with her older friend Patrick, who is is losing all the magic from his life and turning into a typical teenage boy, interested in girls and thinking she is a freak.

Chloe is beside herself, not only at her own draining magiken, but also the fate of Patrick and not wanting to end up like many other local magiken children who are are going missing (despite her mother thinking otherwise). Chloe’s destiny will be thrust before her when on an outing to a local beach, where she will meet a starving painting boy that has somehow escaped it’s pictures confines and come to life. Timmy as he would soon be named by Chloe, with the help of ‘sand nymphs’ Anabel and Dez, vow to help her find the missing children. They are unaware though that Chloe has come the attention of the evil Skizen, who is drawn to her because of the strong magical powers she posseses.

I am going to be totally honest here and say ‘I can’t think of any critisism what so ever for A Dreadful Daughter’s Spells. I went into this book expecting a story full of interesting quirky characters with fantasy and magical realism themes a plenty, and while that was very much the case, what I did not expect was to be totally blown away by the writing that is assured and perfectly paced. Ok I got through the book in two sittings, but there was a reason for that, as I was hooked from the first page till last(bar sleeping) and at just over 200 pages it does not out stay it’s welcome. Overall this is absolutely sublime from start to finish and and easily stands beside A Little Life as the best books I have read this year.

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Book Review – Three Days Breathing by Mike Maguire.

Three Days Breathing by Mike  MaguireThree Days Breathing
by Mike Maguire (Goodreads Author)

Repost of Michael Swensson’s review
5 out of 5 stars
Mar 29, 2016

From the day Corim Colleran is born, his life was predetermined. In his world society is strictly controlled through order that says what education, jobs and how long you will live for. At the bottom of the order ladder, Corim’s life is taught to him through school. The main things he learns is his existence is short to prevent overpopulation and everything that goes with it, sex is a vital part of a teenagers development, so some may go on to be well paid sex workers and the three E’s, Expiration, Execution and Extension.

It will be the final one of these that says if someone dies, they can be brought back to life for three days, that is the main theme of of the book. When Corim finishes his education, he gets his medial job and gets married to the only girl he really loved, Kiri. All seems well for the happy couple who are in love and then experience the joy of being parents. That joy though will be shattered when Kiri, who is a sex worker is killed by a higher order client and brought back to life. For Corim this is agony knowing he has only days left with his beloved wife, only to have a chance to have her natural life reinstated after the accused offers to do so in exchange for a change in her statements at the trial.

The moral dilemma for Kiri is overwhelming. On one hand she wants to see her young son grow up and spend time with her husband. But on the other hand she craves justice. Not just for herself but also to ensure this does not happen to other sex workers. For Corim the decision seems a simple one, but the after the trial he is left sad and bitter. Not to his darling wife, but to the world he lives in and one he is determined to find out the truth about. What he will discover, will blow the lid on a Utopian society ruled by faceless immortals, that lie and play games with there inhabitants.

To say Three Days Breathing was a revelation for me was an understatement. The world that McGuire has created is one of the most disturbing dystopian worlds I have come across in fiction and could easily be compared to the likes of 1984, Logan’s Run and Brave New World. Written with such powerful conviction, this is a book you will race through. Thought-provoking and engrossing, it is the true definition of a modern classic.

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Book Review – The Start Of The End Of It All And Other Stories by Carol Emshwiller

The Start Of The End Of It All And Other Stories by Carol Emshwiller

The Start Of The End Of It All And Other Stories
by Carol Emshwiller

A review by Stef Rozitis
4 out of 5 stars
Jan 25, 2017

bookshelves: 1981-1990, short-story, women, women-writers, read-women-2017, speculative

This anthology is frequently dark and disturbing. It goes into some psycho-social places I for one like to avoid. It is full of the irrational- desires and cruelty and various asymmetries of power (which at times get turned on their heads). There is tragedy, inevitable break-down and pain and the reoccurring themes seem to be the ageing female body and smallness. The characters in these stories frequently make choices between the rational and commonplace and the mythic “other”. These choices are presented as complex, characters throughout the stories do not all make the same choice and the same choice is not always “right” nor is any choice unproblematical there is always a heavy price paid which some of the characters seem to find worthwhile and others may not.

I didn’t enjoy every moment of reading this complex and dark weave of stories and the darkness and suffering in them was too extreme. I found them well crafted, stunningly original and thought provoking so at the end I am glad I read them.

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Book Review: A Subtle Agency by Graeme Rodaughan

A Subtle Agency by Graeme Rodaughan A Subtle Agency (The Metaframe War, #1)
by Graeme Rodaughan (Goodreads Author)

Repost of Alex G‘s review

Nov 11, 201635532567
4 Stars
Got high-tech vampires? Got katanas? Got martial arts combat so kick-ass you could be watching a Jet Li film? Then this story has got your name written all over it.

It’s not that the story didn’t achieve a deep level of reader connection to a few of the characters, but it could’ve been applied more broadly. I did cry when one of the main characters died and there were powerful moments of internal dialogue. Although the complex machinations of outside forces drives the plot, Anton Slayne’s clear character motivations unify a story that could have easily lacked thematic power.

Despite a number of turns of plot that broke my suspension of disbelief and slow pacing in a couple of places, the high-octane action, original world, and complex plot will have you flipping the pages faster than a quantum computer.

Book Review: Red Country by Joe Abercrombie

Red Country (First Law World, #6)Red Country by Joe Abercrombie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Review – Red Country by Joe Abercrombie
Red Country by Joe Abercrombie follows Shy South and her ‘father’ Lamb across wild country in search of kidnapped family.

The Bad Stuff: For me, this book was somewhat different from the others I’ve read by Joe. This one had a real western feel to it, which will be pleasing to some, but I would have preferred something more in line with his previous works in this world. I also didn’t connect to the main character as well in this novel as I have to his past protagonists.

The Good Stuff: There is everything I have come to expect from a Joe Abercrombie book, right here in this novel – Blood, gore and treachery a-plenty, well developed characters and a great yarn. We see some of his old, well-loved characters like Cosca, Shivers and the Bloody Nine. I love Logen Nine Fingers and I would have liked to have seen more of him, but he does play more than a cameo role in this story and that kept my appetite sated. The characters, are in line with Joe’s style, they are hard cases you love and hate all the same. They have a visible character arc through the story and come out changed characters at the end.

This one gets a menacing, sunken eyed, evil grin with 4 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

View all my reviews

An Update on my Writing (and a call for help).

Image by Jcrakow

Image by Jcrakow

Hello readers,

Not long before Christmas, I posted that I would be spending time rewriting edits during my festive break. Well that’s exactly what I did. I knuckled down and went through all the suggested edits for Blood and Fear, The Crimson Guild and Blood Rage, in my Blood Rage Series. I got through most of the edits before heading back to my full time job, then progress slowed again. I’m happy to say that I have now finished the rewrites for all three books. The issue I have now is finding covers. For months I have been scouring all the pre-made cover sites I have saved in my favourites. Alas, I have not found anything suitable to date. There are few that do covers for a series, and of the ones that do, as you can imagine, they do not fit what I am looking for. It’s been like looking for a needle in three haystacks, while riding a unicycle… blindfolded. So, I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet and get a custom set made up for the series. I put the feelers out last night on some social media groups I am in and will await a response. If you have any recommendations, please leave their details in a comment, your help would be greatly appreciated. In the mean time, I will give the series one last read over, before sending to my editor for a final proof edit. Then I have the task of converting them to e-book formats and print formats before I finally release them. The e-book formatting should only take my around 4 – 5 days works days, or a weekend to complete. The print books take me a little longer as they are a bit more fiddly. I have no idea how long the covers will take as I don’t even have a cover designer at this time, but realistically, I hope to have all 3 books published before the end of March.

Who do you use for your cover designs and how long do they usually take?