Jeremy Webster of F5 Reviews In The Flesh for The Geek Girl Project

Check out this review of my novel by Jeremy Webster, who reviews movies for F5 and books for The Geek Girl Project. Here’s an excerpt:

Much the way Stephen King’s The Gunslinger told a dark fantasy tale by dressing it up in spaghetti western characters, costumes, and settings, much of Zolnoski’s science fiction debut comes in a shell of adventure fantasy, particularly in early, action-heavy setpieces involving a long, arduous escape from enemy armies and pursuing predators dense in a seemingly endless forest region, and late in as the novel’s protagonists set to sea in a steampunk-style sailing vessel to contend with sea monsters on their way to their fabled destination.

But to assume the work to rest on something as mundane as rescuing the girl or saving the world from the latest watered down wannabe Sauron or Morgoth is not what Zolnoski had in mind. A reader and fan of classics of the science fiction genre for most of her life, Zolnoski carefully weaves in plot elements involving issues such as sociology, relative ethicality and morality, ecological stewardship, and even innate species memory.

As Zolnoski approaches the novel’s climax and conclusion, the work begins to take on thematic elements of it being merely a tiny, but crucial, moment in many such moments leading to these events throughout history, many of which were either pre-ordained to occur or optimized on a statistical plausibility of occurring. Such is the sort of storytelling arc conceptualization we saw with Asimov’s Seldon crisis concept throughout his Foundation series, and the millennia-long genetic breeding programs eventually resulting in Paul Atriedes in Frank Herbert’s Dune series. Zolnoski works with the conceptual brain food of the classics, while delivering it in a package of epic fantasy adventure.

Zolnoski’s prose is largely fluid and easily accessible and her characters are interesting and relatable. They tend to be somewhat archetypal of their various specialties in interest in skill, but this is hardly a detraction to the proceedings as the novel itself justifies why they function in this way. A strange way to relate this notion, I know, but readers will know exactly what I mean when they experience the novel themselves.

Check out the whole review at The Geek Girl Project.

Also the novel is available through iTunes as well as Amazon. Best way to find it on iTunes is to type in: Zolnoski.

Random-Words Reviews In The Flesh

In The Flesh Cover Art

In The Flesh Cover Art

In The Flesh Cover Art

That’s right, gentle reader. Our sister site Random-words has reviewed In The Flesh. Here’s a reposting (with permission) of the review:

Here’s my review of K.L. Zolnoski’s In the Flesh. Yes you might accuse me of being biased but I’ll give you my honest opinions and you can decide on your own. Also, warning, spoilers follow but I won’t give away everything.

The story begins “seven and a half generations” after an apocalypse that killed billions of people. Those who are left banded together in small tribes and cities and largely kept to themselves.

We are quickly introduced to Enyeto Tavrin, a guide and a woodsman who knows the mountainous region well. He also knows how to avoid the strange mutated creatures which now live in the mountains. We learn that he’s been sent by Prince Antal of Tabijara to fetch a healer from the Temple of the Three Waterfalls. These healers are renowned for their mystical skill but Enyeto is not enamored of their “mumbo-jumo.” He just wants to do his job and get on with his life.

Enyeto reaches the temple and the Sybil arranges for her daughter to travel with Enyeto back to the capital of Tabijara, Ce Acatl. Evadne is not thrilled with this idea but obeys her mother.

While this is going on, in Ce Acatl Prince Antal is meeting his advisors to plan an expedition. He wants Christopher and Stephan Persi, two brothers who own a sailing ship and spend much of their time getting into trouble, to lead the expedition but his advisors Urial and Jaehyun don’t like that idea.

Evadne and Enyeto embark on their journey back to Ce Acatl, facing numerous beasties and other dangers as they travel. On the way they find General Baas and his armed patrol. They have a wounded soldier who Evadne tries to heal but he is near death and must be brought back to the temple. The General assigns Lt. Colonel Dayyan Cantu to make sure they get to Ce Acatl.

After leaving camp the group is ambushed by a group of tribesmen and forced to retreat into a huge cave then through a valley where they are attacked by another creature. Dayyan and Evadne are both hurt and things look grim for our adventurers. They find a wounded man, Carlos Martin, who appeals to come with them to avoid getting eaten by the creatures. They reluctantly agree but Dayyan and Enyeto are suspicious.

In the meantime Christopher and Stephen meet Makis, a budding wizard who has a tendency to make things blow up or otherwise go wrong. The three of them sneak around Ce Acatl and try to figure out why the Prince has chosen them to go on this voyage to the legendary Southern Continent. They meet the engineer Lady Ziya and Meshaal who will also accompany them.

Eventually after braving many other dangers, Evadne and her protectors reach Ce Acatl. They learn that the temple has been sacked and Evadne’s mother was killed. The Elder of the city, Chodak, insists on performing the ceremony to escalate Evadne to Cybil. During the ceremony each participant learns the true meaning of the strange marks they’ve borne since birth.

The team eventually boards the ship and makes it to the Southern Continent. There are more twists and surprises but you’ll have to read the book for those. Once on the Southern Continent the team learns the truth behind their history and how the world got to be in the state it is in, and Lady Evadne is left with a choice which can alter the future of the entire world.

There’s a lot going on here but K.L. handles it well and manages tie together all the various characters and plot lines (something I’ve seen much more famous authors struggle to do — witness David Brin’s Earth). The characters are what make the book interesting and the author does a good job of developing and exploring the major characters.

If you like expansive science fiction and fantasy with lots of characters, lots of action and a wide range of interesting settings then I think you’ll enjoy this book.

Pacific Rim the Official Movie Novelization also a Sequel is in the works

Pacific Rim Promo

Pacific Rim Promo

Pacific Rim Promo

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Story: Travis Beacham
Screenplay: Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro
Novelization by Alex Irvine.

I got a chance to read and review the Pacific Rim official novelization and I am happy that I did. I’ve read a lot of books written from movies (mainly Star Trek novels) and generally I like whichever I get to experience first, book or movie. Not so with the Pacific Rim novel. The movie is far and away superior to the novel. Not that the novel isn’t good, mind you. It’s just that the movie is very action-packed and the book, by its very nature, moves more slowly. The movie can show you things that the book must describe and that, of necessity, slows the pace down.

I did enjoy the little extra tid-bits about the Antiverse and the Precursor race. There was a tiny bit more flavor about the characters but I liked what I got from the movie better. Alex Irvine did a top notch job of converting the movie to a novel, in fact the Pacific Rim novel follows the movie more faithfully than any other movie novelization I’ve read.

My only quibble were the spec sheets, or bits of the dossiers that were inserted between scenes. While they are informative and provide important plot points, they get a bit tedious towards the end. In fact in the final exciting battle I found they actually got in the way of the flow of the story.

All in all, I enjoyed reading the book but not as much as I enjoyed seeing the movie. Go see the movie. Go ahead and pick up the book too. K.