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This blog was started as a place to post book reviews. The books reviewed here will be mixed. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, General Fiction, NonFiction and more. Both positve and negative reviews will be posted, as well as reviews for books written for all ages and all reading levels.

Many of the books reviewed here are ones that I have purchased for my own reading pleasure. Some, I receive free in exchange for reviews. Beginning in December, 2009 you will know which are the free ones if you read the final paragraph of my reviews.

Also of note: I choose what I will read, attempting to avoid the books on which I would end up writing a negative review... but I have been known to make mistakes. Thus you see some one and two star reviews here. Since I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, I only write them if the review was promised, or if the book was so exceedingly bad, I just had to say so. Regardless of the percentage of positive to negative reviews on this blog, I give my honest opinion each and every time, and have never received financial compensation for posting my reviews.

Note that, except for fair use portions quoted from some of the books reviewed, all copyright in the content of the reviews belongs to Lady Dragoness.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Arguably Improved

Storylandia 2: The Wapshott Journal of Fiction
Wapshott Press
CreateSpace (2010), Paperback, 94 pages
Rated 3 stars of 5 possible.

As you can tell by the title, Storylandia 2 is the second issue of The Wapshott Journal of Fiction. This issue contains 4 very short stories and one longer piece which is almost equal in length to the other four stories. Each story has literary merits of its own, but the quality of the writing varies greatly. As with the first issue of Storylandia, the authors whose work is featured in this issue are all new to me.

I said of the first issue of Storylandia that the cover might be the best part of the issue... well, that's certainly not true of this issue. While the cover of Storylandia 2 is wonderful and does match the "flavor" of these stories, I see some improvement in this issue over the previous one, however, that might be a bit subjective on my part. I'm keeping my rating of this issue at three stars because I don't do fractional ratings and because there's not yet enough improvement to warrant a 4 star rating. Others will have a different opinion, I'm sure. A list of titles and authors follows, but I'll confess I skipped the synopsis of each story out of laziness. Or maybe it was because of the vague subject matter of some of these stories...

"Poetry and Red Phosphorus" by Kellie R. England
"Assassin" by Adam Bourke
"Escaping the Apoidians Hivault" by Christopher Husmann
"Kiva" by Cinsearae S.
"Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" By Mylochka

While "Poetry and Red Phosphorus" had some interesting moments, it was too disconnected to ever catch my interest for more than a paragraph or two.  "Escaping the Apoidians Hivault" was equally confusing.  The biggest asset of these two stories is that they are short.  In the case of both of these stories, some explanation and development may help. "Escaping the Apoidians Hivault" has some rather hidden potential, that premise could be developed into an excellent story, but it definitely needs more work.

"Kiva" is very surreal, but again, could be enhanced by some additional explanation... additionally, this story has some great literary potential, but the reader needs some basis of understanding the story for the potential to be exploited properly.  More development could definitely be an improvement.

My two favorites of this issue are "Assassin" by Adam Bourke and "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" By Mylochka.  I would love to see more work from both of these authors.  While neither "Assassin" nor "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" are without their faults, these authors managed to do something the other three could not do. These two authors hooked me into their worlds and held my attention in every paragraph, sentence and word until the stories ended.  Kudos to Adam Bourke and Mylochka.

Now, on to the final observations.  "Assassin" could definitely stand some explanation on a point or two, especially involving the reasons for certain things. If I were a bit more clear on what I'm talking about here, I might spoil the story for others, something I'd rather not do if it can be helped. I hope I am suitably vague enough to avoid the spoiler but also specific enough that the author will understand. The other point I wanted to bring up in relation to "Assassin" is the character development. The main character is well developed, but the secondary characters in this story are mostly no better developed than a photograph on the wall... more work here could be an improvement. I think this premise might even be good enough that it could be developed into a novella of roughly 100 to 150 pages.

There are two main things that bugged me about "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?". The first of these two things is the title. I never quite figured out how rain connects with the story... The other point I want to mention is the ending that seemed to come out of nowhere and blindside the reader; it seemed as if this conclusion wasn't foreshadowed at all... or that, if it was, I missed out on some of the detail in the story. More connection of the title to the story and of the ending to the rest of the story would improve this story immeasurably. Additionally, some attention to characterization of the story's main character, Del, would be an improvement. There seems to be a bit of inconsistency in the way he speaks.

This review is based on a free copy of Storylandia 2 provided to me by the publisher for review purposes. This review has been simultaneously posted on Dragon Views, LibraryThing and Amazon.com.

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