The Ultimate Dreamer is a real cut above the average Kindle / self-published / first novel. It's an engaging and entertaining escape into an intriguing alternate reality - one where ancient dragon fossils are found; where magicians exist; where quests are undertaken and where the standard fantasy clichés are given short-shrift.
TUD is also unusually well-written for a Kindle edition first novel (ooh, and I think it's also available in paperback now for those folk who prefer the 'proper' book experience to the electronic version). The author has a chatty, personable writing style, can certainly string his sentences together, and the book is refreshingly free of horrendous typos and grammatical gaffs which so often disrupt the flow in Kindle editions.
As I'm sure other folk have mentioned, the plot, characters, set-up and style are all reminiscent of both Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. That's a good company to be in! However there are a couple of moments when this delivery is taken a little too far and the author steps out of the narrative because he can't resist making an anachronistic (if jolly entertaining) joke. These are minor missteps but they do interrupt the story somewhat. Ditto the jolly-hockey-sticks names of some of the characters, and the bumbling wizards who wore my patience a trifle thin. Oh, and you can skip the opening prologues if you like -- they ain't representative of the rest of the book and I actually found them a bit off-putting. It all settles down pretty quick when you get past the opening monologue, however.
Stuart Farquhar deftly weaves together a giant talking white rabbit, a mythical mash-up monster and a real genuine dragon into his tale, alongside a semi-serious slice of proper philosophy about the nature of life, religion, magic, science and history. That's a considerable accomplishment and one which held my attention throughout.
Ah. Heck. I'll admit it: he got me at the dragon...
Thoroughly enjoyed this and would happily buy the next episode (assuming there will be one, given the few dangling threads at the end).
on 27 May 2013
Fantasy is not a genre which I would usually choose, however, this book was thoroughly enjoyable. A well written piece complete with a witty style, bizarre, sinister happenings and a completely inexplicable tank of literate aphids... what's not to like?
on 31 August 2013
This the most creative, original novel I have read in quite a long time. I was astounded by what Stuart Farquhar tried to achieve in the book, and all the more so when it all came together at the end and I found he had pulled it off for the entire duration of the story. It's quirky, fun and jokey, but novelistic basics like plotting and pacing are also handled with aplomb. The comparisons with Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett are justifiable; however, while the book might be in the same neck of the woods as their novels, the author has a distinct voice of his own. If you like those authors and have a Kindle, get the sample and dive in; when you get to the end of the sample, bear in mind that there isn't any dip in quality from that point onwards to the end.
If I have a criticism, it is that I found some of the secondary characters a bit samey, making it easy to forget who was who when the focus was on them. However, this is really a novel that's about creative fun with ideas and on that front it was absolutely outstanding.
on 3 June 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Ultimate Dreamer. I found it engrossing to the point where I read it in a day.
The story-line is well thought-out and the characters well drawn.
I understand that Stuart is working on another book, and I wish him every success.
By the way, I'm Stuart's father, but my comments are simply as a reader.
on 12 June 2013
As well, it's a philosophical musing on the subject of belief and what happens where magic, science and religion meet. Fiction about the nature of fiction if you will.
I think comparisons with Pratchett are doing Farquhar a disservice; while there is a superficial similarity in that they're both "Fantasy", "The Ultimate Dreamer" is less satirical and more thoughtful than the Discworld.