Tuesday Book Review: “Emma and the Dragon Tooth Sword”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.
When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:

emma and the dragon tooth sword gabriel koch

cipa evvy merit

Emma and the Dragon Tooth Sword

by Gabriel F.W. Koch

ISBN: 9781478782711

Synopsis*:

Thirteen-year-old Emma Walker has a plan. She must find a buried antique sword she learned about from an old map she found tucked in the back of an ancient book, sell the sword, and use the money to get herself and her mother out of poverty. The sword, crafted from a dragon’s tooth and a scale from the center of the beast’s breast, controlled the pirate Dragon Sanglant, living hundreds of years in the past, has a different plan for her. It draws Emma back in time where she learns that on the night of her father’s fatal accident her fate became tangled with the sword, elves, a dragon and other creatures associated with the enchanted blade. On the reverse side of the map, Emma reads a notation about the sword’s location, that it lay buried between yesterday and tomorrow. The obverse side shows a diagram of an ornamental sculpture garden, but not its name or location. However, Emma is not the only person interested in the sword.

 * courtesy of Amazon.com

Featured Review

In Emma and the Dragon Tooth Sword, a fantasy geared toward readers aged 10 to 12, author Gabriel F.W. Koch dives right into the action and keeps the rapid narrative pace running throughout.

Koch begins with a description of a grisly car accident. Ten-year-old Emma mysteriously survives the brutal wreck that claims her father’s life. She is inexplicably extricated from the car before it explodes, and has visions of a “huge, indescribable creature” who speaks to her in comforting tones before she passes out.

Four years later, the weight of that vision returns when Emma finds a weathered book from the 16th century in her local library detailing the exploits of Dragon Sanglant, a pirate who ruled the seas for a dozen years and wielded a magical sword made from a dragon’s tooth. Emma becomes obsessed with finding the sword to help extricate her family from poverty.

Following the clues from a map found in the book, she eventually locates the sword and discovers that it’s a gateway to a “New World” that hosts elves, marauding pirates and the dragon who saved her from death. There, Emma must make a stand against the pirate Dragon Sanglant to restore balance to the New World and find a route home.

Koch’s straightforward adventure relies on fast-paced action and dynamic descriptions. For example, Emma’s trial as the new Swordbearer after she arrives in the New World features vivid monsters and moving tests of her strength and will. Koch’s direct, engaging writing style makes up for the occasional sense that the characters are underdeveloped (the adults, for example, seem mere one-dimensional background figures, and Dragon Sanglant is a broad villain, rather than multi-dimensional), and the background and context are somewhat vague.

Such shortcomings aren’t likely to deter the book’s target audience, however. Overall, Emma and the Dragon Tooth Sword is a fun and breezy outing for young readers just starting their journey into the genre.

– reviewed by on Blue Ink Review

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Saturday Book Review: “Paradox Effect”

Book reviews are a great way for self-publishing authors to gain exposure. After all, how can someone buy your book if he or she doesn’t know it exists? Paired with other elements of your book promotion strategy, requesting reviews is a great way to get people talking about what you’ve written.

When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review, courtesy of Amazon reviewer faience:

Time Travel and Purified DNA Merge to Halt the Collapse of Human Existence gabriel koch

Paradox Effect: Time Travel and Purified DNA Merge to Halt the Collapse of Human Existence

by Gabriel F. W. Koch

Publisher: Outskirts Press

ISBN: 9781478756224

Synopsis:

In 2554, the World is Coming to its End, unless an impossible mission through 600 years of time travel succeeds. Maternal instinct knows no boundaries, including the nano-neural-net intravenously installed in Dannia Weston’s mind to repress her identity, allowing her to perform a mission 300 years before her time. Transported to the year 1954, Dannia becomes a woman with a mid-twentieth century persona, college educated with an aptitude for mechanical invention. Due to her work during the war, she is employed by the U.S. government on a secret project. But what no one knows-including Dannia or those who sent her back to tinker with the mechanical past to reduce future pollution-is what might happen should she become emotionally involved in 1954. The 2254 science team programmed the nano-net to prevent the possibility of pregnancy, but each person reacts to strong emotional stimuli differently, and using birth control not available in 1954 is out of the question. When Dannia falls in love with Peter Hersh and becomes pregnant, her hormones erode a small section of the nano-chained network that stabilizes her new identity, triggering a mild memory rebirth…and threatening her mission and the fate of the world.

Critique:

I’m picky about science fiction, but this time travel novel does three things that won me over. It willingly faces the question of whether changing history is an absolute wrong. The plot and the characters are complex. And the heroine is awesome.

In the year 2254 CE humanity has had a brush with near-destruction. The surviving remnant of political order decides it’s not only right, but vital, to develop time travel and use it to tweak history. Carefully chosen people with skills that can nudge humanity toward a better end are sent back to various times in history where they can make a difference.

One of those people is Dannia Weston, a government researcher working a top secret technology project in 1950’s America, and thank heaven the novel does NOT dredge up cliches about gender roles in the ‘fifties. Dannia, and the people she encounters and works with, are still the generation that worked together during World War II and earned each other’s respect.

Transplanting people from 2254 CE to the extinct culture of 1954 is tricky business. Their own memories are suppressed and replaced with personal histories that fit in the historic period to which they’re sent, and their knowledge is tailored to the period as well, advanced enough to dial back the doomsday clock, but not spectacular enough to draw dangerous attention.

Dannia’s particular assignment is an invention that will advance energy efficiency. If it can be implemented in the 1950s, the benefits for both environment and world peace are huge.

But a glitch occurs in this little interference with history. Dannia’s suppressed memory begins to awaken. Why? The answer – her unplanned pregnancy – comes early in the book, but produces more dangerous paradoxes that need delicate handling. Can this child be born? Can Dannia be extracted and brought back to 2254? Can her child? The passage in which the project directors talk about the paradox that would create was a mind-bender.

The other thing I liked is that the story doesn’t build its plot on stock-character bad guys. At worst, the man sent to hunt her is overzealous and ill-equipped to make the judgements he has to make, and his commanders are naive. What seems like a simple question of conflict between Dannia’s two lives in different centuries is actually a multi-layered, multi-century problem in which authorities are flying blind.

The book raises questions about fate and choice, about how many of the cards we deal ourselves and how many are dealt by an unseen hand. The story is exciting, mind-expanding, and often funny, with some amusing cameo appearances by historic figures, and the secondary characters are as unpredictable and interesting as the main ones. It’s a fun read.

reviewed on Amazon by faience ]

2016 CIPA EVVY Awards

3rd Place Winner in the Science Fiction/Fantasy Category!

CIPA EVVY Award 3rd place

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