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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 7 Jun 2014
This review is from: Reader (Daughter of Time Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I would like to thank Erec Stebbins for allowing me the chance to read this book along with the second one following.

I loved this book. This is approaching science fiction in a whole new aspect. Ideas, philosophy, divinity and more. Finally science fiction that is extremely introspective, without becoming stupidly ruminative. Finally science fiction that isn’t boiled down to typical materialism and space wars. There is definitely traces of Heinlein in this novel.

I know there are only a few instances where this topic comes up but any book that uses post-structuralist concepts is a win for me. Great reminder of how fallible and paradoxical the human language is.

Most of the aliens encountered are analogies of us—humans—which further reveal our nature. Drams are a given, especially their castes of religion and science.

The Dram
This is an interesting species because of its stark resemblance to us. *Spoiler* when Earth was destroyed it reminded me of the death of culture as experienced by humans. Very chilling. Also an interesting question is raised: why is religion still present in such an advanced species like the dram? If they are superiors to us then why hold onto the belief? Something tells me it might have something to do with who created the artificial orbs. We’ll see.

Visions from the reader remind me of those described by many Romantic poets (Blake, Shelly, Wordsworth) and that's really awesome. Ambra's intense mental intuition is sort of like emotion itself. This book could do wonders in terms of a Romantic interpretation and indeed I consider Stebbins in this work a modern Romantic. However, I don’t agree with the origins of the visions—I’m a die hard Romantic following Shelley’s non-religious theory, but that’s just me. Coincidentally it is through dreams and visions that most reflective art is created.

Breaking all Sorts of Boundaries
This book breaks the division between the reader and the writer which I have never seen in any science fiction novel. This is important. Novel, is important; i.e., creating something new and something challenging. I’m glad this book leaves me wondering and challenging my own beliefs.

Quotations and Equations
I admired this aspect of the book. Some really good philosophers mentioned. Have no idea what the equations means lol.

The Only Problem
The only real problem I encountered was the dialogue and writing style. I feel like they could be better to enhance the story and all its different concepts. But nothing is perfect and the storyline as well as the immense concepts—some of which, no doubt, I have forgotten to mention—make up for it.

The dram wars spin off would be amazing dealing with concepts like morality and law and religion in space. Already starting to see some utilitarian principles in the xix. I would love to know more about the different species.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not a word is wasted, 16 Dec 2013
Bob (UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Reader (Daughter of Time Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I received this book free to read and review.
This is one of those books I just could not put down it is sub titled "Daughter of Time Book 1" however it works very well as a stand-alone but with a hint of more to come.
It vividly captures the life of "Ambra Dawn" the reader of the title she certainly does not have an easy life as she grows up. Yes it is science fiction but it does have a realistic feel to it and you can't help but feel sorry for Ambra in her early years. The aliens cruel and kind again are brilliantly described. When the book ends you are left wondering did Ambra succeed in getting her message across. I am not sure if it ends with a message of hope or despair. Often fiction writers have sub plots and asides to build up the background to their characters, this one does not every word is needed and all go to telling the story.
I often complain about series but this is one that I will look forward to reading the next to see if Ambra succeeds and what she does next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Reader - Daughter of Time - My Review, 2 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Reader (Daughter of Time Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Reader (Daughter of Time) is well written and is absorbing to read.

Ambra Dawn is a fascinating character. The first person narrative made it easier to understand her. The science connection (although challenging for the non-scientist) enhanced the story greatly.

Although I am probably a bit older than the target audience readership, I was very able to enjoy the book "as is".

Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars interesting, 27 July 2013
This review is from: Reader (Daughter of Time Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Reader (Daughter of Time) has an interesting premise. Poor Ambra Dawn never had a chance at a normal life, but still proves herself incredibly resilient. The story is told in first person from her perspective, when she is about 17. I generally dislike first person narratives, but in this case the reader (not Reader) is given a very clear reason that she is telling you her story, so it works.

At about (almost exactly, really) 50% her personality changes quite abruptly from passive victim to strong aggressor. This was absolutely necessary for the plot and the development of her character, but it felt very much like it came out of nowhere. Yes, something happened to instigate the change, but so very, very much had already happened to her that it almost didn't seem like it should have effected her so much.

I especially liked that everything was tied into science in some fashion. High level 4 dimensional space-time related science that often flew right over my head, but I appreciated it all the same. There are a lot of really good quotes too. They head the chapters, providing a clue to what is coming.

I have to admit, embarrassing as it may be, that like clapping for Tinkerbell in Peter Pan I sent my prayer/strong thought/wish into the universe, as requested. Surely that's a sign of a book that has effected someone. I believe the book was written with a young adult audience in mind (so the author mentions in the acknowledgements). Certainly a teenager could, and probably would, enjoy the book, but it is joyously free of all of the ridiculous angst that usually accompany YA books. As an adult I quite enjoyed the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Readers of Time Need to Rewrite the Present Perfectly, 29 May 2013
Mr. Richard Lw Bunning (Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Reader (Daughter of Time Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This is the first Stebbins I have read; it is unlikely to be the last. The story is very much visionary, speculative and philosophical science fiction. The writing is all in first person narrative form being an episodic interior monologue. In other words, the mental voice, the mind, of Ambra Dawn talks directly to us through the book.
I really enjoy this sort of inventive philosophical science fiction. Condemn me, not Stebbins, if I paint too enthusiastically. The stories structure is pure dystopia, but dark though the story is it leaves a strong glimmer of hope for humanity and the victory of good over evil. To be victorious we will come to realize that we need Ambra Dawn to be heroic. We must also learn to trust and follow where ever she guides us.
Every being in the known galaxy appears to blindly accept a false premise, this being that there are many Orbs, portals, between places in Space and Time. All civilizations in this creation are as seduced by what they observe of the portals as we all once where by the assumption that the Earth must have edges. Ambra comes to see beyond what other beings can fathom. Ambra knows far less about the galaxy than do the cleverest of other races; and yet, she is the first ever to navigate a safe passage through to other remote areas of space. As Ambra starts to gain in learning and intuition she seems to sense that the Orb might be more than a construct of physics, and so raising the prospect that it might be a monolithic physical god like energy. What is more, could she possibly be a sort of messiah for that power?
There is a deep sense of profound tragedy, a feeling that the destruction of the Earth may well be inevitable, unless the history of the past can be changed, and the future controlled. Humans seem to be an insignificant lot, so weak when compared to the destructive Dram and so morally inferior to the Xix. Yet there is just a glimmer of a chance that the greatest human Reader of the past and present can also be its greatest writer of the future. Can a sick girl, with a cancerous like growth in her brain become the leader of a successful rebellion against the murderous Dram? So early physically blinded by her growth, she seems to be inevitably doomed.
Some people have a sixth sense, an ability to see, to feel, with a subtlety and depth that the rest of us can't equal. We are then inclined to mock, mainly in an attempt to belittle our fear, what we cannot comprehend. Ridicule tends to be especially high when the individual savant is so clearly very far from the norm. A vastly enlarged and distorted head on a teenage girl might not inspire trust, but the surviving humans had better do so, and if the author is to be believed then so must we. Actually, who is author and who is scribe?
I won't say any more about the plot as the last thing I wish to do is take away the fun of revealing it through your own read. I have tried to wet an appetite, for this story I so much enjoyed, without romping too deeply into its meat. From the moment Ambra is taken from her parents by men hidden behind dark-glasses her life becomes a terrible ordeal, a life that compels us to read the Reader, in desperate hope that despite the odds she will survive.
I wasn't entirely sure that all the mathematical formulas, one of which introduces each chapter, added much to the book. That though is a minor criticism. This is a well written and thought provoking story for those that enjoy looking beyond the presently rational. "Don't let us die," because you see "the final step is yours".
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