Friday, August 16, 2013

The Sex Gates

The Sex Gates
by Darrell Bain & Jeanine Berry
(2/5 stars)

I'm not going to say too much so I don't get yelled at as has happened before. Suffice it to say the writers have a great future writing for the adult film industry. Like many indie books this has a number of typos; the writers should learn the difference between "succeed" and "secede" for instance. Maybe because of all the graphic sex I found all the characters unpleasant. The first one to go through a gate and change his/her sex was the worst. He goes through the gate and becomes a woman, promptly turns into a whore, and that's pretty much her only function. A main character goes through, becomes a woman, has sex with everyone, and then we skip forward 3 years, so it didn't really add much. 

There was a forehead-slapping moment where that character named Lee goes from a boy to a girl and they all get together and decide to change her name to Li.  What?  I checked this on a couple baby name sites and Lee is listed as a unisex name.  Duh.  Lee would be a lot less confusing than Li, where they'd probably think she was Asian, bringing to mind an old Seinfeld episode involving that scenario.  That was about the moment I lost all confidence in the authors.

At least by the end we sorta find out what the gates are, though it was kind of obvious; I think the various incarnations of Star Trek did it a number of times. I don't understand the decision to set it in the future as that only creates confusion that makes it harder to grasp the impact of these weird gates appearing from nowhere. And I could have done without the Limbaugh-esque junk about those entitled poor people receiving government handouts. I would invite the authors to try to live on Social Security or welfare and see how entitled you feel.

I've probably said too much. Oh well.

That is all.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


by Cheyanne Young
(5/5 stars)

As someone who wrote a series of superhero novels and another standalone superhero novel, I'm always interested in reading the competition. So I eagerly volunteered to read an advanced copy of this book. On the whole I really enjoyed it.

The biggest strength I think is that the author creates a unique world for the characters. In this world there are a bunch of "supers" (ie superhumans) most of whom live in "Central" in the Grand Canyon. The supers have a sort of caste system. There are the Heroes who do all the superheroic stuff like fighting villains and then there are the Retrievers. I didn't fully understand the Retrievers but I take it they pretty much clean up the mess afterwards.

Maci Might is 16 years old, which means her powers have finally reached their full potential. She then undergoes the test to determine if she'll be a Hero or a Retriever. This doesn't go quite as well as she hoped. From there Maci's life continues to unravel as she alienates her friends and family and has to take refuge in South Africa with a cute researcher named Evan. Probably too much time was spent on Maci and Evan hanging out before we get to the final showdown with the villain.

My main criticism is that I think the villain could have been stronger. Almost half the book goes by before we even find out who the villain is and then another quarter of the book goes by before the villain really becomes any kind of threat. Superhero stories are defined as much by the villain as the hero, like Batman vs. the Joker or Superman vs. Lex Luthor or the Scarlet Knight vs. the Black Dragoon.

The only other criticism would be that for what I presume is a YA book there's some gore in there that even made me cringe. The part where Maci suffers a severe head injury had me literally yelling, "Ewwwww, Gross!!!!" So it's probably not best suited for the younger end of the YA spectrum.

(One other technical note is people don't ride donkeys in the Grand Canyon. They ride mules, which are only half-donkey and half-horse. The stuffed mule I bought from the Grand Canyon gift shop wanted me to note that.)

Still, on the whole it's a brisk, fun read. And of course there's plenty of room for Maci's adventures to continue.

That is all.