SciFi / Fantasy / Horror
by Ethan Herberman
Plot: The plot of this novel is fast-paced and engaging. What makes the narrative so successful is the humor scattered throughout the book. This helps to engage readers and pull them into the story.
Prose: The author’s use of language is lovely in places. The prose flows well and is well crafted. The dialogue is true to life and helps develop the characters.
Originality: The plot of this book is quirky, humorous, and original. The world building is detailed and skillful.
Character Development: The characters are one of this book's greatest strengths. The voice of Marshall is strong and pulls the reader into the story. Supporting characters are also well crafted and vivid.
by Marty Essen
Plot: With unexpected twists and turns, the storyline keeps readers entertained with its fast pace and humor.
Prose: The book is well written with lots of humor, although it tends to get a bit campy at times. The various characters have similar ways of speaking, so it's difficult to tell who is talking when there are no identifying dialogue tags.
Originality: Though the book makes use of familiar themes, it is nonetheless a fun and unique read.
Character Development: The characters are well developed, with flaws and weaknesses that make them relatable and likable.
by J.H. Carnathan
Plot: This novel is soundly structured and well plotted. And while the time element can be a little difficult for readers to keep track of at first, the story is nonetheless compelling.
Prose: The writing is visually descriptive and well crafted. The book balances mystery and suspense nicely, making for an enjoyable, well-paced read.
Originality: While the book is reminiscent of other works, it's ultimately original and inventive. The scenario is clever, and the world vividly represented.
Character Development: The protagonist begins mostly as a blank slate who uncovers his past. He is not always likable, but well rendered and believable. Supporting characters are sufficiently distinct in personality and depiction.
by Curtis M. Lawson
Plot: A fast-paced plot and the introduction of new players attempting to claim the life-stealing Fangs of Wallachia keep the reader entertained in this dark fantasy.
Prose: Lawson's prose is succinct and conversational with an excellent balance between dark comedy and horror elements.
Originality: It’s unusual to find a cast of characters comprised almost entirely of villains, even in dark fantasy and horror.
Character Development: The dangerous, often criminally insane characters living in these pages are highly entertaining with believable motivations. Although none of them display a wide range of personality or emotion, each character is distinct and unique.
Blurb: A rip-roaring urban fantasy that delves into the real horrors of human depravity.
by Adam Bender
Plot: Bender has given the basic revenge plot enough action and surprises to keep readers interested.
Prose: Bender's prose and ability to weave poignancy and humor throughout the story elevates his novel above others in the genre.
Originality: Although the plot and characters are somewhat predictable, Bender's futuristic world is frighteningly imaginable.
Character Development: Many of the characters here are genre types and caricatures. However, Rosa Veras is much more original and believable.
by Tony Taylor
Plot: The author of Black Sky Voyage skillfully brings together several plotlines in a satisfying manner. The fast-paced story will engage readers as it pans between many characters and several situations.
Prose: Taylor’s writing is vivid and descriptive. The characters are described energetically with clean, vibrant prose. However, the dialogue is often choppy and stilted.
Originality: This novel is both relevant and promising. More than that, Taylor’s futuristic imagery is plausible, intriguing, and a bit frightening.
Character Development: Taylor’s characters are painted realistically, even those who are extraterrestrial. The presidential protagonist and his aggressive behavior prove frustrating throughout the novel.
by Dawn Greenfield Ireland
Plot Ireland's novel is a fast-paced fantasy adventure, full of tropes readers will find familiar from fairy tales mixed with fresh settings and a unique take on the passage of time.
Prose Ireland’s prose is clean and careful for the majority of the book, but the text would benefit from an additional round of copy editing. The dialogue lends credibility and a sense of authenticity to the diverse cast of characters.
Originality Ireland’s novel borrows from such revered childhood tales as L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, William Goldman’s The Princess Bride, and Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories, but adds in dark and contemporary twists.
Character Development Ireland’s colorful cast of realistic and fantastical characters includes whimsical allies and villains that are memorable and relatable. The reliable narrator offers readers comfort and a whiff of nostalgia; the Jacksons’ furry friend, Buffy, holds a role that is just as important as any of the humans or creatures in the book; and D’Laine is described as a multi-faceted being—her identities as a vulnerable human teenager and a warrior queen are intertwined.
by Veronica Dale
Plot: Dale is particularly gifted at creating a web of stories, interlacing multiple plot lines to bring a rich, three-dimensional world to life. Dale is able to switch between storylines in a fluid, balanced manner that makes each transition a refreshing turn.
Prose: Dale's prose is at times breathtaking. There is also an inherent profundity to much of the writing.
Originality: While some truly fantastic creatures emerge from the pages of Time Candle, many aspects of the book will remind readers of famous fantasy series like Lord of the Rings. Nevertheless, Dale's imagination knows no bounds as evidenced by her clever creations that elicit both curiosity and horror.
Character Development: Each character is wholly unique and distinctive, with Dale unfolding the many forms human beings come in.
by Dawn Greenfield Ireland
Plot: The Last Dog tells too much and shows too little, making the plot predictable and slowing the narrative pace.
Prose: The narrative’s blunt, informative tone often feels at odds with the storyline. Also, dialogue frequently falls flat because interactions between characters can feel superficial.
Originality: Some of the technological advancements introduced in the text are original and fascinating. But others bog down the narrative and feel like unnecessary and even flippant additions.
Character Development: Most of the characters, including the canines, feel more like types than fully formed individuals. As such, readers will have a hard time investing in them and their story.