Éric Desmarais

At Can-Con over the weekend of September 9-11, 2016, we had the opportunity to meet some incredible people. Éric Desmarais (FacebookTwitter, website) is one of those. He is a young adult urban fantasy/mystery author published by Renaissance Press (Twitter, website), and incredibly amazing to talk to! You can meet him at the Mega-Multi-Author Launch happening Oct 29, 2016.

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Mik Murdoch: The Power Within – Book Review

Hello,

I haven’t done a book review in a little while and I just read Mik Murdoch: The Power Within by Michell Plested.

I read the first book in the series Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero a year and a half ago and it was one of my favorite books of 2013. Here’s my review.

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my posts Part 1 and Part 2.

Mik2

Characters

I liked

In sequels, especially YA, I find that the characters can either change unrealistically or stagnate. (I call it 90’s sitcom syndrome. It’s where the character’s personality, reactions, and likes are completely overruled by the book or episode’s storyline.)

Not only does this book avoid it, but it has one of the most authentic character development I’ve seen in a long time. Mik is both clever and kind in a way that superheroes once were. He’s a true good guy and it’s nice to see the hero in him develop.

The secondary characters, like in the first book, make you want to learn more about them. Each had their own personality and I felt could have held up their own story or book.

I didn’t like

There was only one character that didn’t seem right to me and that was the doctor. He seemed overly obsessed and unreasonable. I suppose he acted as a foil for Mik’s constant big heart but I would have liked more of a discussion on ethics between him and one of the other characters.

For characters, I give it 5 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

Plested’s style has improved. He’s able to stretch out character interaction and mental thoughts into beautiful structure.

I envy his ability to write characters so believably. Again I applaud the fact that Mik never speaks in a lower vocabulary and the book, while not a challenge to read, doesn’t use dumbed down language.

The story also stayed grounded in the life of a young boy instead of suddenly turning him into an action hero. Something that is always tempting to do but rarely pays off if done too quickly.

I didn’t like

This was a story or episode or comic arc that a lot of comic like to use. It’s the one where the hero goes away from his life in order to learn his new powers. That’s fun, but it means the rich characters and places we meet and grow to love are now gone.

I give it 4 out of 5.

Story

I liked

The story was structured perfectly as a bridge between Mik without powers and Mik kicking butt with powers. It is a transitional story and lays hints and foreshadowing for future books.

While the first one felt like he was writing a bunch of short stories or planned comic books, this one feels like he’s written a detailed plan on where the story is going. I only hope that it’s going to keep going for a lot more books.

I didn’t like

I can’t fault the author but I would have liked more. More discussion about the ethics of capturing a creature for study, more information about the animal’s ties to the land, and maybe a little more “hypothetical” conversations where he works ideas out with his parents.

I give the story 4 out of 5

Fun

I liked

This book was fun from beginning to end.

I didn’t like

I would have liked more, but I can wait for the next one. Having to wait sucks but I would be sad if the series didn’t continue.

I give it 5 out of 5 for fun

Overall

This is a wonderful sequel and a great transition.

I would highly recommend this book, and series, to anyone who enjoys superhero, YA, or good storytelling.

I look forward to more!

Final score is 90%

The Beka Cooper Trilogy – Book Review

Written by the amazing Tamora Peirce. this trilogy is an adrenaline ride from start to finish.

Over the past three years I have been systematically going through her entire library of books. I’ve now read everything she’s published with the exception of short stories and comics.

It was an amazing journey, I feel like I watched her and her world grow with every book. Her encouragement of new authors on her site and her own journey as an author has helped push me towards publishing my own novels.

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my post here.

Characters

With a three book series, it’s easy to fall into the trap of developing too many characters. These books find a perfect number of characters. Enough characters to hide the twist villain, or villains, but not enough to force the reader to take notes.

As for the main character, Beka is strong, intelligent, and great at her job. She has her flaws, that make her human and several attributes that make her feel real.

The secondary characters have lives around the main plots and main character. It’s easy for an author to assume that nothing interesting happens to the secondary characters when the main character isn’t around. That never happens to Mrs. Pierce, it always feels like there’s a novel hiding with the secondary characters, a new and exciting story. It’s never enough to throw you out of the story but it’s enough to feel real.

For characters, I give it 4 out of 5

Writing Style

This trilogy is a departure in multiple ways for Mrs. Pierce and for the world of Tortall. It’s the first Procedural, the first series that doesn’t have a large story arc, and the first to be written as series of journal entries.

Each book flows from one to the other but the stories are separate. Characters and lives flow between each but not mysteries. The procedural aspects of the book are fantastic. After getting used to the slang journal, I found I really enjoyed it.

The only negative I can see was the lack of rest. After the first few establishing chapters it was non stop action. I would have liked a few chapters of rest to let my poor heart rate return to normal.

For what it was, it was good. I give it 4 out of 5.

Story

The story in each of the books was fantastic. Possibly her best work and definitely some of the best books I’ve read.

That said there were a few things that bugged me. Not to go too much into detail but there was one character that felt tacked on and not all that important. Pounce is her magical cat. I found he was a little too powerful and for that reason she needed to find reasons why he disappeared. It was a nice tie in with her first Tortall Series but I found it unnecessary.

The one part of Mrs. Pierce’s writing that I don’t particularly like is her romantic plots. It often feels like her characters just fall into the relationships. I’m not sure what’s missing exactly but I feel it happens too easily.

These are little nit picks that don’t greatly affect my enjoyment.

I give the story 5 out of 5

Fun

In my opinion, Tamora Pierce is one of the best Young Adult writers. Her stories are entertaining, intelligent, and well thought out. It’s nice to find an author who doesn’t continuously writes female characters as boy crazy, indecisive dolts.

This series is my favourite for the year so far. They are a lot of fun.

If you have never read a book by Tamora Pierce or if you’ve read everything she’s published, you should enjoy this series. It has enough links to the rest of the series but is completely understandable without having read anything else.

I give it 5 out of 5 for fun

Overall

Final score is 90%

The Beka Cooper Trilogy – Book Review

Written by the amazing Tamora Peirce. this trilogy is an adrenaline ride from start to finish.

Over the past three years I have been systematically going through her entire library of books. I’ve now read everything she’s published with the exception of short stories and comics.

It was an amazing journey, I feel like I watched her and her world grow with every book. Her encouragement of new authors on her site and her own journey as an author has helped push me towards publishing my own novels.

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my post here.

Characters

With a three book series, it’s easy to fall into the trap of developing too many characters. These books find a perfect number of characters. Enough characters to hide the twist villain, or villains, but not enough to force the reader to take notes.

As for the main character, Beka is strong, intelligent, and great at her job. She has her flaws, that make her human and several attributes that make her feel real.

The secondary characters have lives around the main plots and main character. It’s easy for an author to assume that nothing interesting happens to the secondary characters when the main character isn’t around. That never happens to Mrs. Pierce, it always feels like there’s a novel hiding with the secondary characters, a new and exciting story. It’s never enough to throw you out of the story but it’s enough to feel real.

For characters, I give it 4 out of 5

Writing Style

This trilogy is a departure in multiple ways for Mrs. Pierce and for the world of Tortall. It’s the first Procedural, the first series that doesn’t have a large story arc, and the first to be written as series of journal entries.

Each book flows from one to the other but the stories are separate. Characters and lives flow between each but not mysteries. The procedural aspects of the book are fantastic. After getting used to the slang journal, I found I really enjoyed it.

The only negative I can see was the lack of rest. After the first few establishing chapters it was non stop action. I would have liked a few chapters of rest to let my poor heart rate return to normal.

For what it was, it was good. I give it 4 out of 5.

Story

The story in each of the books was fantastic. Possibly her best work and definitely some of the best books I’ve read.

That said there were a few things that bugged me. Not to go too much into detail but there was one character that felt tacked on and not all that important. Pounce is her magical cat. I found he was a little too powerful and for that reason she needed to find reasons why he disappeared. It was a nice tie in with her first Tortall Series but I found it unnecessary.

The one part of Mrs. Pierce’s writing that I don’t particularly like is her romantic plots. It often feels like her characters just fall into the relationships. I’m not sure what’s missing exactly but I feel it happens too easily.

These are little nit picks that don’t greatly affect my enjoyment.

I give the story 5 out of 5

Fun

In my opinion, Tamora Pierce is one of the best Young Adult writers. Her stories are entertaining, intelligent, and well thought out. It’s nice to find an author who doesn’t continuously writes female characters as boy crazy, indecisive dolts.

This series is my favourite for the year so far. They are a lot of fun.

If you have never read a book by Tamora Pierce or if you’ve read everything she’s published, you should enjoy this series. It has enough links to the rest of the series but is completely understandable without having read anything else.

I give it 5 out of 5 for fun

Overall

Final score is 90%