With writing comes reading, and with reading I’ve been wanting to leave reviews for a long while… and I’ve finally figured out how I want to rate books along the 5-star system! (I need as system, or else it becomes too subjective.)
1st star – Sparked. You caught my attention and I bought your book. It can be anything from a fellow reader recommending it to the blurb on the back; the title (though you might not have had any decision in titling it) to another author I like endorsing you.
2nd star – Characterization. The characters were true to themselves: they had flaws and strengths, they were consistent, and their actions were fun to read about. No cardboard cutouts in sight!
3rd star – Plot. Interesting, intriguing, and if there happen to be plot holes, either I’m willing to disbelieve or they were small enough that I didn’t notice them. I’m fine with either.
4th star – Flow. The pacing of the story, if there were any doldrums or hurricanes during the steady rain of words (I’m from Florida, so the hurricanes might even work for me!)
5th star – Evoked. Sometime during the story I laughed aloud or had to put the book down for a few seconds to suck in a “ooh that hurt / oooh this is not going to end well” breath. Or, when I finished, there was a satisfying sigh at the end for a tale well told.
The World Awakening is the third book in a trilogy (Gateways to Alissia), and it was a wonderfully satisfying conclusion of a group of humans from our current world visiting the magical fantasy world of Alissia. There are several people to follow as they near the time of decisions: do they stay in Alissia, helping their friends and keeping the world safe from the predatory clutches of CASE? Or will they decide to go home no matter what the cost may be?
What sparked me about this series was that I had stumbled across Dan Koldbt’s blog, Science in Sci-Fi, Fact in Fantasy, and then saw that he also wrote books too. Boom – there was the spark, and after I read the first book in the series, I immediately bought the last two. (Haven’t regretted it since!)
I’ll admit, the main character, Quinn Bradley, had a little too much snark for me to feel a deep connection with (and if you like your heroes with snark, you’ll love him!). I truly connected with were Mendez and Logan oddly enough two of the CASE soldiers, and I was very happy with how their stories ended. The entire cast was a rich collection of people who were easy to understand, and when their motives/actions were shown, it was easy to understand why they had done so.
I admit to not understanding a lot about military thoughts and movements, but while there was some military action in here, it was nicely explained to Quinn who shares my (lack) of knowledge and so the reader doesn’t get lost over why and what is happening. While I enjoyed the world building aspects immensely, there was a crispness about the fight scenes that made them enjoyable and fun to read.
The pacing was at a good clip, and it felt deliberately zippered together for the slower aspects of the book, nay, the whole series, to mix well with the exciting parts – my overall impression was that the pacing was a good trot and I never felt that it was too slow or too racing. Not even in the fight scenes.
Best thing about this is that while eating lunch I almost snorted pizza due to one of Mendez’s jokes. Another emotion evoked was the happy sigh of relief when I frantically turned the page hoping against hope for Logan. Logan was the one who made me close the book with a sigh at the end as I was happiest about his decisions, his actions, and the consequences of them. Quinn and the others… it was a good ending for all involved, but Logan was the one my heart was aching for.
I’d love to go back to Alissia to see what happens ten, even twenty years down the road, and if Dan’s willing to write about it, he’s already got one reader who’ll pick it up. Thank you for your tale, and if you enjoy fantasy, I highly recommend this trilogy!