Summary From Goodreads:
An odd little anthology of flash fiction and short stories, for those who love fantasy and science fiction.
Today was the release day of Oddities by the always amazing and entertaining Larry Kollar so I thought it only fitting that I review it today! You can get it from Amazon here for only 99 cents! Oddities is separated into two halves, the first made up of fantasy stories, the latter science fiction, both with one entertaining story after another. As usual with anthologies I will do a list, this time of my five favorites with a little about them and why I enjoyed the stories. So without further ado, my top 5, in reverse order of course:
5. Siren in Training – It’s exactly what the title would suggest, a short story about a young girl that happens to be a siren. She just finds this out at fourteen and after finally accepting of her new powers puts them to use. These powers do have some limitations and some…side effects on her life that are a nice twist on the usual siren story. A funny little story, quite enjoyable.
4. The Seventh Sage – A story that shows nothing is as it might seem. Great warriors can become great scholars if the path they choose dictates they must. The message seems to be that the greatest rewards are those that you are not even searching for, but find naturally. A more deep-thinking story, but enjoyable.
3. Bait – Another sci-fi story as well as being yet another humorous entry, Bait is about a world where humans live but are under the power of aliens, apparently which like to fish. While the aliens have a different objective, the humans believe they do so to capture them. However, the only currency remaining is obtained by risking this capture. The ending is the selling point for Bait and definitely made me chuckle as it was a pretty good comparison for how humans often assume they know what the other people are thinking when the reality is quite different. If we take Bait as words of wisdom it would be to work on communicating more clearly with other cultures and thus bring us closer together.
2. Spark – One of the science fiction stories, Spark is another one that causes some deeper thinking. In this case the story examines our dependence on technology as well as the virtual reality that so many of us lose ourselves in. It asks us what we might lose in exchange for the way we are spending our lives and whether we are willing to pay the price. Will we risk losing our spark? I loved this one, it brings up quite the quandary.
1. Asmus and the Dragon – Filled with both subtle humor (the name of a certain land Asmus, the main character, traveled to was rather funny in a punny way) as well as the downright hilarious (two words: allergic. dragon.) this story was fabulous. Though one of the shorter ones it had me laughing throughout and my only wish is that it had been longer. Besides, who can resist a good dragon story?
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #84/365
Summary From Goodreads:
The warrior-mage Chelinn and his friend Lodrán have visited many strange places. But when a curse goes awry, sending them to a world where mundane devices have supplanted magic, nothing is familiar at first. Then, after rescuing a merchant, they find themselves embroiled in a far more dangerous situation.
As hundreds of lives hang in the balance, two heroes and their new friends must use all their talents to foil an evil plot — and survive until they can catch a rainbow and return home.
The Crossover brings classic fantasy characters into a modern-day setting. Neither Earth nor Termag will ever be the same!
I received an eBook copy of The Crossover from Larry Kollar in exchange for an honest review, this in no way affected my opinion of the piece.
It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews! This is where I write a review in the time I have before I go to work or before I go to bed. Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!
The Crossover is a fun-filled novella that explores travelling to a different world, only in this case it is from one called Termag to our own. That reversal of the norm allows for new ideas to come into question such as if there is still magic in a world that is so filled and reliant on technology. If there is what is its purpose, who can use it and to what ends? That is part of what Chelinn and Lodrán have to figure out as they try to become accustomed to the strange ways of Earth.
The main characters are wonderful. The banter between Chelinn and Lodrán is often hilarious and the different things that they are unaware of once transported to Earth make for more humorous displays. The novella does start a bit slow with the talk aboard the ship, and there are some things I didn’t care for at that beginning stage (the song lyric changes most notably felt corny/childish). However, that is all soon forgotten when the battle scenes begin, which I must say were done splendidly, Kollar definitely has a knack for them.
I thought that there were a lot of possibilities for this to continue into another story or two, or even a full length novel if Kollar wants to go that route. The characters are easy to latch onto and enjoy, the plot was fun and the idea of magic in our world is always a crowd pleaser. I recommend this to fantasy fans as well as anyone who likes a quick and enjoyable read. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 51!
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #50/365
Summary From Goodreads:
Invaders just across the river. A powerful spell hidden in a child’s rhyme. When an untrained boy awakens an ice dragon to protect his village, and lives to tell the tale, not even the Conclave of Sorcerers can predict what happens next.
Accidental Sorcerers brings to life an unforgettable tale of love and loyalty in the world of Termag. Feel the magic!
I received an eBook copy of Accidental Sorcerers by Larry Kollar in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinions or review in any way.
A promising start to a series, Accidental Sorcerers combines magic, dragons and young love in a short and sweet package. While Accidental Sorcerers is novella-length, there is definite room for potential growth of the characters and some solid foundations already in place. More expounding on the dragons themselves, while not a must, would really enrich the series, but we will have to wait and see where Kollar wants to take his young characters.
Mik, the main character, embodies what it is like to be an adventurous young man, lacking reservations of any sort and diving head-first into possible trouble regardless of the consequences. In this case it is his approaching of the ice dragon where he is lucky to be left alive at all. Mik continues to encounter the usual “revelations” about both himself (look mom, I’ve got magic!) and the world. He seems a bit simple minded, but he’s an honest character and easy to get behind and root for. Sura, a sorcerer’s apprentice is a little fireball of a young woman. She’s feisty, devoted and a bit overzealous at times which make her all the more endearing, and as we are continually reminded, she’s quite the pretty one to boot.
Which brings me to the romance of Accidental Sorcerers. I’ve never been one to just go along with insta-love or anything close to it, and sadly this is another case of that irritating tendency. Right when they first meet they’re practically smitten with each other, at minimum on Mik’s part but probably for both, and that’s just grating on the nerves. No development of feelings, no getting to know each other first, just “Oh you’re pretty and magical like me let’s become lovey-dovey”. *sigh* Moving on…
The writing, while simplistic in parts, is solid. The target audience seems to be in the middle-grade to low teens range which would make the style fitting, however if the target is the YA fantasy crowd as a whole then I’m not sure it quite hits the mark. Now that the foundation has been put down the next piece might be more complex and more rich in detail, but we’ll have to wait and see. The story is a nice one, honesty and bravery with a bit of love thrown in can conquer all evils, it’s classic but it works.
I look forward to reading the next piece and to seeing how Kollar approaches it stylistically. The characters are good but if they are fleshed out more and given some edge they could be taken to a new level. Since the insta-love is already in place, maybe giving the lovebirds something to break them apart and test their bond would be a nice touch. Just some thoughts. Anyhow, thanks for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 48!