Category: News

francis_Edge-of-Dreams-smallEdge of Dreams is the 2nd book in the Diamond City Magic series.When I read the blurb, it sounded exactly like my kind of book, but I was hesitant to start it as I had not read the first book in the series, and I was concerned that that would be difficult to pick up the story threads. However, Edge of Dreams did stand up pretty well on its own. So while I am eager to go back and read more about Riley and Co, I didn’t feel as if I was at too much of a disadvantage by having not read Trace of Magic.

Edge of Dreams takes place not long after Trace of Magic ends. Riley is a tracer with a unique ability, which is made very public. As a result, she is in demand–not only by those that genuinely are in need of her abilities–but, of course, by those that wish to exploit them. This is where things become complicated, as it is not always clear to Riley (and the readers), which of these camps she is dealing with.

The main antagonist is ruthless and psychotic, and is clearly “The Villian”, but other characters in the story are not as recognisable as being “Good” or “Bad”, and that is one of the elements of this book that I enjoyed the most. This is what gives depth to a character. It is rare in life to find people that are all “good” or all “bad”; and, as a result, the reader will be in for an occasional twist or turn.

Magic, drugs, betrayal, love, family and friendship: this book has it all. The pace of the writing was fast, the setting believable, the characters interesting and flawed, and the magic unusual. I found it hard to put the book down, and at no point throughout the book was I bored.

Almost from the first second, I knew that Riley was going to be so much fun, and a handful, and she was. Talented, tough, independent (too much so at times), full of snark and with many issues, she is a character that I can relate to a lot. Riley tries to protect herself, to the extent that not even those she loves can get close to her; but she is such a loving, giving person that she acts without thought at times (well often), and lands herself into trouble. While she is constantly in hot water, she doesn’t strike me as someone who needs saving by others. There is a lot going on with Riley, and while she is aware of some of the issues that have shaped her, she isn’t aware of the blocks that have been placed inside, and so she tries to work around these internal traps to the best of her ability, and appears to be much more flighty and incapable than she really is. Through the course of the book she does save herself with a little help from others and some luck .

Riley has unwanted bodyguards following her around. Who has hired them is a big mystery. Shey also has a loyal team of friends and family, as well as an “ex” love, Clay, and his brother, a mafia-type. They add colour, contrast, and tension to the book. The system of Magic that Diana Pharaoh Francis has created is very intriguing. Francis takes elements of other systems and works to give them her own unique spin. Tracer, Reader (reading emotions NOT thoughts), Metal Tinker (now that is a cool talent to posses), Healer are just some of the talents that characters possess. Not everybody in Diamond City has magic talent, though, and the very popular drug, Sparkle Dust, enables users to experience magical abilities, or to try out other abilities, but with very little control.

Riley is hired by a member of the Diamond City police force to help trace her nephew and his friends. Very early on into the rescue mission, she finds herself in hot water, and from there on in she is constantly hopping in and out of messy situations and at times fighting for her life. Along the way she uncovers family secrets, learns more about her abilities, tries to overcome her own fears of intimacy and trust, and find love.

I would highly recommend this book to lovers of urban fantasy. It is suitable for older readers and is an easy, fast read, but there are also topics that would make it more suitable for an older reader. I will definitely be tracking down Trace of Magic, and waiting impatiently for the third book in the series.

Edge of Dreams by Diana Pharoah Francis

Bell Bridge Books (April 15, 2015)

ISBN-10: 1611945852

ISBN-13: 978-1611945850

 

alexander-abducticonWelcome to Abducticon! This weekend will be of this world.

Getting to read something light and crazy is a great pleasure in a world where so much so science fiction is dark and complicated. AbductiCon by Alma Alexander is a wonderful example of what you can do with familiar settings, pop culture, and a less serious tone.

Taking place in a generic science fiction/pop culture convention, the novel begins in the midst of the chaotic moments before the opening of a mid-sized convention catering to science fiction and fantasy fans, gamers, and the general geek community. Anything that could go wrong is going wrong: the posters are getting re-printed for the third time, the guest of honour missed his flight and out of contact, the coffee in the hotel is terrible, and there are some strange silver people getting in the way and confusing the staff.

Andie Mae — running the con for the first time after instigating a coup to assume power from the man who had been running it for the last three decades — is caught up in matters common to those in convention management when, suddenly, she has to face a crisis not only unimagined by previous management, but also by anyone else outside of fiction. Her convention, hotel and all, are abducted by alien androids with baffling motives. Within a very short period the convention is newly christened “Abducticon” and becomes something far greater than just an evening for fans to meet Terminator and Star Trek actors.

Making fun of itself and the very culture which spawned it is one of the main elements of Abducticon. Alma is quick to jump on any chance to throw in a quote or simile from popular media, be it a Star Wars joke when an elevator gets stuck, introduction of new technology only seen in Star Trek, or even just cursing in Battlestar Galactica fashion. It’s these little forays into the cultural heart of what is, especially in America, a very popular community, which helps to flesh out character and explain concepts that could easily be the basis of long philosophical discussions.

Alma has done a great job putting this novel together. Characters are well drawn and with plenty of depth; the setting is perfect and believable – even if the situation isn’t – and the interactions and discussions thought provoking and real. There are plenty of interesting concepts afloat such as the limitations of the laws of robotics and the nature of destiny. More than enough to impress, not only the die-hard Sci-Fi buff, but also, the casual reader.

Abducticon is a fantastically fun ride: not quite a spoof, not quite serious, but on every level enjoyable from cover to cover.

 

Hiya! I’m conducting a two day workshop in Kilcoy at the GONDOR WRITERS CENTRE on May 30th and 31st. Contact Elaine Ouston to book your attendance. It is very reasonably priced, so don’t miss out.

I’ve been presenting worldbuilding and research workshops for a few years and I’ve learned some great tips to help you make your novels and stories more authentic. I can’t wait to share them with you. Bring a friend and have a fun weekend away!

worldbuildingMarianne’s Workshops: 

Research and World-building

Day One: Research – how to start, where to look, and when to stop!

Day Two: World-building – creating authentic worlds without turning your novel into an indigestible travel diary. How much do you need to know? Learn what to put in and what to leave out.

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

 

 

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