Swordheart by T. Kingfisher

I probably should have known Swordheart by T. Kingfisher was the beginning of a trilogy when the bird slipped through a plot hole there at the end and didn’t amount to anything. Screaming birds generally aren’t put in the plot for no reason and this bird is way too much a Chekhov’s Bird to just be sitting there.

Anyway, this book is fantastic, and I’m now hungry for the next two.

This book is the story of Sarkis, a man whose spirit has been placed in a sword, and Halla, a 36 year old widow who was planning to kill herself with the sword until a warrior appareted into her bedroom when she tried to do the deed.

And then from there it gets weird.

It gets weird in the ways of the Clockwork Boys stories, with strange creatures on a road that disappears and reappears, bandits, murderers, ruthless priests, not-ruthless lawyer priests, a gnoll that drives the ox, an ox named Prettyfoot, hands-down the nastiest aunt I’ve found in a book in quite some time, and a clammy-handed man who nobody should marry.

And then somehow everything works out and the people who need to be dead are dead and the people who you were kind of hoping would be dead are banged up at least, and the people who should be in love are in love.

I’m pretty sure that although Ursula Vernon insists she writes “fluffy romance” on Twitter that this doesn’t qualify as “fluffy” unless you ask Halla what she thinks of her own weight. But romance it is, and relatable romance so much as it can be without traitorous relatives and a ensorcelled sword.

This is good, in short. Read it.

Poems and short stories!

If you’re a fan of the short story “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, a poem of mine called The Strange Case has just been published in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: The classic tale and an anthology of twists, retellings, and sequels. The Kindle edition is $0.99 and the paperback is $10.99.

If you prefer science fiction tales of multiple universes, my short story “Three Minutes Ahead” is coming out very shortly in Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide Volume 6. This is one of my favorite stories because it’s based very loosely on true events and features a Jack Russell not too different from Chance.

You can preorder the Kindle version now or wait until the paperback comes out.

Drive, Act 2 by Dave Kellett

Welp, that didn’t take long.

Drive Act Two is (obviously) the continuation of Drive, Act One, which I reviewed earlier today… because I inhaled both books today.

The second act of this story is as intoxicating as the first, filled with aliens and worlds beyond ours, introducing new characters and new twists and turns to the plot line at every convenience. The pacing continues to be spot-on. The art continues to be polished and delightful. The situation for our cast of characters continues to worsen, which, I mean sure, act 2, that’s it’s job.

I’ve reached the point in the story where even if I tried to explain the plot to the reader, it would take longer than actually reading the book. Plus I’d mess it up. Suffice it to say that I look forward to Act 3 with great admiration for Dave Kellett’s writing and a sincere desire to see how this all wraps up.

Or whether it does wrap up. There’s no law against a five-act space opera.

This isn’t one you’re going to find on Amazon. Buy directly from the Drive store in hardback, paperback, or PDF.

Drive, Act 1 by Dave Kellett

I fell in love with Dave Kellet’s art and storytelling style with his strip Sheldon, a long long time ago when I had the time to read daily comics. I can remember when Drive launched.

But then life happened and I never got back to it.

This was a tactical error on my part.

Drive is a delicious mix of humor and heartbreak, a grandmotherly taking-no-crap human captain, two other humans that are in La Familia (the government) and all kinds of other aliens. The most important of the aliens are a Russian-accented Veeta the size of a rhino, and a tiny we-don’t-know-what named Skitter.

The thesis underpinning the story is that Skitter could conceivably save the human race and their empire by becoming pilots in their military. But there are mafias, planets full of dumb bullies, a parasitic-virus-based race spreading through the galaxy, a very very pissed-off group of aliens looking to regain stolen tech, and, well, space to deal with.

This book is the first act of the story. You will not want to read it without also getting your hands on the second act, which is now also available.

(Well, I mean, you could, but you’ll be like WHYYYYYY)

The art is fantastic, the storyline paced well for such a long arc, the switching of points-of-view to different places and times used to great effectiveness. The story is occasionally interrupted with important notes, historical elements, pages from an encyclopedia, and foreshadowing.

Oh the foreshadowing.

I inhaled this book in less than a day and as soon as I am done this review I’m starting Act 2.

This isn’t one you’re going to find on Amazon. Buy directly from the Drive store in hardback, paperback, or PDF.