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I’ve been inspired by Immerse or Die, a blog where a guy walks on a treadmill and reads a book for 45 minutes. He tells how long he read, and what made him scrap it–or if he would keep reading. It’s very illuminating and fun.
I was looking through my loaded Kindle, and noticed that I had downloaded a bunch of samples of books I wanted to try. So I figured, why not read the samples and report my findings here?
So, without further ado:
Summary: A guy uses elemental powers to kill a bunch of people. His kid brother sets out to stop him.
My opinion: This is Avatar: Last Airbender fanfic. This is one scene:
Albert brought both his hands together and created two balls of wind. He flung them. They left a trail of dust as they rushed toward Albert’s opponent. Mathias stomped his feet and an earth wall rose before him. The two air balls disintegrated as they slammed into the barrier. Mathias’ brown earth emblem, which rested firmly on the dorsal part of his emblem glove, sparkled as he pushed his hands forward. The wall of rock, which until a moment ago had stood stationary, raced toward Albert.
Also, isn’t that such a great name for a fantasy character who throws elements around? Albert.
Verdict: I have better things to read than poorly-concealed Avatar fanfic.
Notice the “fractured multiverse” part. That’s why I picked it up.
Summary: Derpy teen girl is hanging with other derpy teen girls for her derpy eighteenth birthday. SUPPRISE! Stepdad sold her sister to the mob as a sex slave to pay his debt. Except a bigger mob boss comes along, claims the main character and lets the sister go. Cut to much lustful kissing in the back of a limo. I got the impression the dude was a vampire or something.
Verdict: Way too yucky and rapey for me. Out it goes.
Summary: Some chick goes to another world via a timeless knock on the head. She tries to convince herself it’s not real and finds sparkly blue rocks.
This is written in the most distant omniscient POV you can think of. This chick talks to herself in the third person. “Lynn is never afraid!” Then we are treated to details of her pupils widening until they cover the iris. She goes to the other world, where everything is gray (pretty sure it’s not intentional on the writer’s part), except for some pretty blue rocks.
Verdict: There is nothing about this character I like or can relate to. She’s a distant silhouette of a character, plus she talks to herself. SHE’S CRAZY. Next book.
Summary: Some dude is a Shape Shifter. Written like that, with capitals. He’s trying to kidnap some other dude by sneaking into his house with a hypodermic needle.
My opinion: We’re told all about this Shape Shifter guy who is a Shape Shifter who actually only uses his Shape Shifting to blend in with stuff, chameleon-style. It was interesting until we got into the house to kidnap the other dude, at which point the author drops a dump-truck load of backstory on us. We learn that this Shape Shifter dude at 17 immediately used his power to rape some girl.
My verdict: While I realize this probably makes him the bad guy, it turned me off enough to stop me from reading. Really, writers? Is rape the only crime there is anymore? Is that all you can think of to have your characters do?
Summary: A meteorite carries matter from Jupiter’s moon Europa to Earth (that’s so probable, right?) that brings some kind of killer plant life. An expedition is sent to Europa to melt through the ice, where the find plants and malicious intelligence (of course).
My opinion: Decently-written Michael Crichtonish thriller. It starts with the junk on the meteorite killing a scientist, which is always promising. I’d be tempted to pick this up and keep reading.
Summary: In the near future, science has genetically-engineered the perfect pet–the caline. A cross between a cat and a dog, they’re smart, obedient and friendly–until they start killing their owners. Of course there’s a conspiracy going on, and Bad Guys with Bad Plans.
My opinion: Pretty well written with an unusual premise? I WANT TO READ MORE. The sample was pretty good, so I think I’ll pick it up.
This is a gal from one of my writers’ groups, and I grabbed a sample of her new book to try it out. An alien guy with teal eyes visits a circus on another planet and attempts to buy two slaves–one is a mute girl who might be a princess and the other is a catgirl.
My opinion: The writing is mediocre, and the plot doesn’t seem very original. I think I’d read further, though, just to see what the author does with the catgirl. I don’t see many of those around. Not real high priority of a read, though.
Last but not least:
Summary: A girl avoids the Magic Mafia by planting a Magic Bomb in an old house and blowing those dudes up. She drives away in an old clunker car. Meanwhile, a young guy living in his parents’ basement is kicked out of the house by his draconic mother. Literally draconic. He’s a dragon who she has sealed in human form as punishment for not acting dragonish enough. Instead of going out and dominating the world in some way, all he does is play videogames. He has one month to do something sufficiently dragonish, or she’ll eat him. Also, this is a near-future world with holographic cellphones, as well as tons of magic. It’s very Shadowrun.
My verdict: Well written! Surprising! I MUST HAVE THIS BOOK.
And that’s all the samples I’ve read so far. These are the results of months of clicking on Bookbub/ebooksoda/OneHundredFreeBooks/etc ads and collecting titles that look like something I might like. I have plenty more waiting, too!