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J Bryden Lloyd "J Bryden Lloyd" (North East Wales, UK)

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David: Savakerrva, Book 1
David: Savakerrva, Book 1
Price: £3.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Constructed. Excellent Read. Needs A Final Touch., 17 May 2017
Book Review: David : Savakerrva – Book 1
by L Brown
Reviewed by J Bryden Lloyd

Note: I was gifted a copy of this work for an honest read and review. The following review, as with all reviews, is my personal opinion of the submitted text.

Writing Style – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
For the most part, this is an exceptionally impressive work. The structure is excellent and the writing flows beautifully.

Although the dialogue has a few moments where it seems a little forced, the vast majority of dialogue is superbly built and works hand in hand with the narrative and descriptive elements of the writing.

The narrative itself, although generally superb, does have a tendency to “drown” the characters and the action. Don’t get me wrong, personally, I lapped this up. Loved it! (With the possible exception of some of the repetitive elements I will mention later). But as a reviewer, I have to see this from an everyday reader’s point of view… and I think a large number would lose interest in this within the first few chapters.

Character Development – 5.0/5.0 (Outstanding)
Whatever faults this may have from a reading perspective, the character development is truly a wonder to behold. As Garth progresses from his “moody teen” persona, and into a young man with the potential to realise much more, the transition is captured in stunning style.

Around him, the few ‘key’ characters work perfectly into the plot and develop along their own pre-determined lines. Meanwhile, tertiary and minor characters are precisely that, and they skirt the edges of the sub-plots with careful skill.

This is seriously good work.

Descriptive – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
Cards on the table; this is my sort of thing! My bias to this type of descriptive is widely known… unfortunately, even I felt that there were a few too many occasions where I was saying, “Enough already! I get it!”.

A casual reader will undoubtedly revel in the fact that this is, quite literally, begging to be shot down in flames; and they will review entirely in that context… Unreadable! Waffling Descriptive! Too Long! Too Awkward!...
They would be completely wrong to do so, but I would have to sympathise with their assessment.

Despite this, the descriptive is strong, accurate, nicely constructed, and a credit to a very hard-working author.

Language & Grammar – 4.5/5.0 (Excellent)
From previous comments, you may have expected a low mark for this, but to be fair, the use and knowledge of language is outstanding.

Even so, I find myself… partially… aligning myself with a long-standing American grammar complaint; comma usage is a little heavy.
Good ol’ “US Johnny and Jane Foreigner” like to get on their soapboxes about ‘run-on sentences’. In effect, they prefer a full stop to a comma.
This is all well and good in a nice everyday, easy-read novel.

Now, in this case… Yes, there are a lot of commas in the text and, yes, I probably agree there are a few too many for the majority of readers to be comfortable with.
Unfortunately, the writing style is equally complex, so I doubt this is something that can be easily edited out.

The author’s penchant for taking words out of sentences to convey meaning and the feeling of the character is not incorrect, but does tend to break the rhythm of the read.

Editing & Formatting – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
A few minor picky things.

Firstly, I don’t care what other reviews say; There ARE spelling errors, and a good number of them, too.
They are widely spread and are often a single letter missing from an obvious word. As there seem to be a greater number in the second half of the book than the first, this is probably something that should be addressed with a full and proper line-edit.

Secondly, there are a lot of tiny statements thrown onto the ends of a lot of narrative paragraphs. Those little cliff-hanger sentences you accompany with a subliminal “DAH-DAH-DAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” of trumpets and violins.
For me, there are too many of these and they make the dramatic read a little too repetitive.

Plot – 4.5/5.0 (Excellent) – VERY MINOR SPOILERS
The young teenaged hero who isn’t a hero, but must learn to be one.
It’s not a new plot idea, but this version does well to push the boundaries a little and build a lot into the central plot.

If I were to criticise anything in the plot, it would have to be that it lags a little in pace and, by my own admission, I just don’t ‘get’ the ‘wraith-in-chains’ thing.
It feels as though it has been a conscious effort to ensure the story is big enough to create the series, and though this means the reader gets a powerful, multi-layered read, it does make several sections feel a little like a chore.

The sub-plot with the ‘worms’ and the girl is beautifully crafted, but it does feel a little disjointed here and there. The conclusion to the sub-plot left a potential opening, which was progressed toward the end of the read, much in line with my expectations.

The ending feels a little abrupt, as is the way with most series’, but does provide a climax of sorts. Yes, it could have been a little more ‘concluded’ but it just about passes muster.

General – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
Cover art is superb. Really gives a good impression of the mood of the read. Title font style and colour is okay, but a little invisible in thumbnail. Author font style and colour is terrible.
If you didn’t know there was meant to be a name somewhere, you could easily miss it.

All-in-all, this is a more-than-acceptable offering… No, it isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but you can’t really fault this remarkable effort by a clearly excellent writer.
The plot is clear and nicely drawn, the characters are engaging and very well rounded, and the whole thing flows from start to finish with good dialogue and a powerful narrative.

The “series” thing is a bit of an issue. This is not an easy book to get into, so a casual reader is not going to find much solace in the idea they may have to go through it all over again.
Added to that; this is a long book which does not really cover a huge proportion of the central plot. In effect, however you dress it up, all we have really gleaned from this is the cast list for the story to come.

Don’t get me wrong, I really liked this.
Although my criticisms seem many and varied, I genuinely think this is an excellent work. Every book could use that tiny batch of tweaks and a bit of TLC. This is no different.
But, be warned, if you are getting this expecting a leisurely read, or something you can speed-read in a day, think again.

This is easily capable of being an off-the-chart, five-star, top read.
A few too many issues, despite the quality of the piece.
Four very, very, very deserved stars.

Tokyo Low Life
Tokyo Low Life
Price: £1.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not Brilliant. Not Bad. Enough to like..., 10 April 2017
This review is from: Tokyo Low Life (Kindle Edition)
Book Review: Tokyo Low Life
by William Bradbury
Reviewed by J Bryden Lloyd

Note: I was gifted an advanced copy of this work for an honest read and review. The following, as with all reviews, is my personal opinion of the submitted text.

Writing Style – 3.5/5.0 (Good)
The narrative has a nice, clear flow, though the edit was far from clean which did have an effect from time to time.
Occasionally, the dialogue felt forced and awkward (especially in relation to the two American characters) although in the latter stages of the read, this suddenly seems to improve.

The overall narrative is fairly well balanced and does allow the reader to feel involved. Unfortunately there are a number of drawn-out areas where the read itself feels empty and the characters a little lost.

All-in-all, a good effort.

Character Development – 3.0/5.0 (Okay)
Aaron feels very conflicted as a character, but despite the opportunities opened up by the plot lines, he does not progress through the read.
Yes, we learn a lot about him, and this makes some of the experiences more real, but where you want more, there is – sadly – nothing on offer.

Beyond Aaron, the other characters fail to qualify as anything more than an assortment of two-dimensional, passing outlines.
In fairness, there are those who would say that is fine. For me, if you are going to bring them into the story, then give the reader something to feed off.

Descriptive – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
The narrative lends itself nicely to the descriptive elements of the text.
For the most part, this is considered and well constructed, though I did think the author hit a few repetitive brick walls as the read progressed.

Even so, good descriptive kept me involved enough to read the whole work and to like it sufficiently.
Not perfect, but pretty good.

Language & Grammar – 3.0/5.0 (Okay)
There is a fairly consistent amount of work needed to correct quite a few grammatical errors throughout.
A lot of this is simple corrective work which does not seem to have been picked up at all from the early draft work, and this is something that really needs to be targeted.

Use and understanding of language is very good in flashes, but only “okay” for the most part.
Although this didn’t make the book unreadable, it did make some passages feel very flat and stale.

Plot – 3.0/5.0 (Okay) – VERY MINOR SPOILERS
The central plot is, basically, very “grey”.
The cry from the narrative is “I’m stuck in Japan!”, the problem is that it is his own choice to be there, and this seems to kill a lot of the potential.

Where the sub-plots build into something additional, the central plot seems to go into overdrive to stuff it back into a box, returning the read to another level of monotony.

Good events come and go, but the author does not embrace them or utilise them in order to build the character, which is a shame.

The end is just… an ending. There is no great revelation, no happy or sad, no momentum to push the future character on to new things. It just… stops.

Annoyingly, what is there is done very well. It seriously needs a good kick in the pants to make it a bit more interesting.

General – 3.0/5.0 (Okay)
Not really a stand-out cover or title, though it does offer the reader a glimpse of the atmosphere of the content.

This is a long way from my usual reading matter, but despite my many criticisms, it isn’t really a bad read.
Yes, you have to take it for what it is, and not all the humour is… well… humorous. Aaron is a stubborn character with no desire to hear the words “I told you so!” and so he perseveres through a torrid, awkward period of time.

It doesn’t quite make it to 4 Stars for me, and the reviewer who didn’t want to “blather on about literary tripe” has really missed the point entirely, or simply has overlooked issues in favour of throwing out a glowing review.

So, 3 “positive” stars. Not bad, but go into this with your eyes open and you might find enough enjoyment in it.

Trust 17365 Elight LED Illuminated Keyboard
Trust 17365 Elight LED Illuminated Keyboard

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Product!, 16 Dec. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)

Exactly what we were looking for, with the added bonus of being able to switch colours.

The Disembodied
The Disembodied
Price: £2.64

5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT! A Must-Read!, 16 Dec. 2016
This review is from: The Disembodied (Kindle Edition)
Book Review: The Disembodied
by Anthony Hains
Reviewed by J Bryden Lloyd

Note: I was gifted a copy of this work for an honest read and review. The following, as with all reviews, is my personal opinion of the submitted text.

Writing Style – 4.5/5.0 (Excellent)
The structure of this read is superb. Admittedly, I didn’t really understand why there had to be three parts within the novel, but the author made great use of this by switching the perspective to the Grandfather, in order to keep the story flowing.
The narrative was beautifully constructed around the characters and the dialogue was outstanding throughout.

Character Development – 4.5/5.0 (Excellent)
The cast is perfect for the story.

The abused sons of corrupted, twisted fathers develop cleverly throughout the book, alongside mothers and an aunt who provides that small spark of necessary grounding (however misguided) and a grandfather with a past of his own. Add into this mix the unknown quantity of the Simon character, and the basis of an outstanding read is set.

To be fair, I realised the inevitable twist with Soren fairly early, but that didn’t take anything away from the story or the characters, who were all very relatable and brilliantly drawn.

Descriptive – 5.0/5.0 (Outstanding)
This is a stunning piece of work.
Scene building and atmospheric descriptive really is sublime. The paranormal episodes carry a genuinely dark quality, which pulls the reader into the story, but simultaneously creates the doubt and fears of the character.

Beyond this, the locations are vivid and described in the context demanded by a narrative that rolls ceaselessly between dark and light, but always, that gentle undercurrent of foreboding steers the plot perfectly.

Language & Grammar – 4.5/5.0 (Excellent)
I can’t really fault the word usage or grammar. It was top quality for the vast majority of the read.
Admittedly, there were a handful of sentences I had to re-read in order to confirm my understanding, and in the first third of the book, there were a very, very minor handful of errors. To be fair, it would need a very detailed line-edit to pick them up, and based on the fact that I didn’t notice any others, just proves how difficult they would be to pick up.

That aside, this is excellent.

Plot – 4.5/5.0 (Excellent) – VERY MINOR SPOILERS
There are too few genuine page-turners out there… but this is definitely one.
Despite a fairly slow, only moderately interesting, opening, this book flowers into a masterful story, with what seems like a number of interwoven, yet broken, sub-plots.
And yet, from the chaos of this very engaging-but-seemingly-disjointed read, you suddenly have a complete story.

The Dissociative Disorder is the keystone to a brilliantly dark plot, which is contrasted against the innocence of the two abused boys and the events that appear to be tearing away the evil influences from around them.

When Simon finally gets his wish, all hell breaks loose!

General – 4.5/5.0 (Excellent)
Nice cover, though the lighthouse feels a little loose in connection to the story. However, the content is truly exceptional.

This is a superb read, covering a multitude of genres, which will entertain a wide variety of readers.

A huge thumbs up and 5 very deserved Stars.
A Must Read!

The Will to Power (One God Book 1)
The Will to Power (One God Book 1)
Price: £2.32

4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good. Recommended Read., 2 Dec. 2016
Book Review: One God – Book 1 : The Will To Power
by Kata Mlek
Reviewed by J Bryden Lloyd

Note: I was gifted a copy of this work for an honest read and review. The following, as with all reviews, is my personal opinion of the submitted text.

Writing Style – 4.5/5.0 (Excellent)
Very Good flow to the read, nicely considered dialogue, and a definite ability to portray the characters, makes this a superb read.

I did feel one or two characters were very much surplus to the storyline, but they fulfilled a requirement and they weren’t enough of a distraction to cause problems to the plot.

I would query the need for the post-narrative e-mails at the end of the book.
Although they served a minor purpose with regards to character development, by this point there was little to be gained from them and so they only served to add an unnecessary amount of data into the read.

Character Development – 3.5/5.0 (Good)
Continuing on with the e-mails at the end of the book… had these been placed within the story, at times when they were key to the plot, they would have made more of the characters much more relatable.

Even so, the character development is pretty good. Every main character is nicely built into someone with traits you can follow and understand.

For me, the early pages threw a couple of spanners into the workings, especially when “Sylvia” and “Miroslav” suddenly became “Satia” and “Miran”.
From knowledge (and a bit of Google-ness), Miran is NOT a recognised contraction of Miroslav and Satia is not related in any way to Sylvia… so the name adjustments feel very awkward.
Initially it seemed that Andreas had simply allocated names to them for his own amusement, but as the story began to progress, and they referred to each other in those same terms, I sort of lost my understanding of the reason behind it.

It didn’t affect the read generally, but it did affect my relation toward those two characters.

Descriptive – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
There is a lot of excellent descriptive in the narrative, throughout the read. From time-to-time, there are also minor sections where there is none, but still we have enough in the wider narrative to compensate.

I felt that a little more could have been done with the atmospheric work… sights, sounds, smells, etc, but this really wasn’t bad at all.

Language & Grammar – 4.5/5.0 (Excellent)
So, an author with English as a second language… who has a pretty good understanding of English! Brilliant!

The use of language and the application of the grammatical knowledge needed, made a huge difference to this.
Occasionally, I felt it needed a minor read-through by a line editor, but these were very minimal things and not exactly something you would always see when reading at a natural speed.


Plot – 3.5/5.0 (Good) – VERY MINOR SPOILERS
This is a good plot with several very strong sub-plots.

Perhaps the range of the main storyline was a little limited, but I doubt that could be helped.
The cut-throat (quite literally) world of power-hungry, above-the-law, business moguls and their reach, is very nicely depicted as they vie for global control of modern Genetically Modified Foods.

From start to finish, this is an excellent read, though there were a few plot elements which seemed to stretch “reasonable” reality a little further than you might expect.

The fact that NO law enforcement organisations are looking into many of the more obvious “crimes” feels a little off, but on the whole, the story works well.

General – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
Terrible cover. Nothing on the image or colour scheme makes it stand out as something I would buy. It feels very tacky.
Content? Excellent.

Although I have a few minor issues with characters and plot lines, I would almost certainly continue reading the next instalment.

A worthy 4 Stars. Recommended.

ROGUE SHEPHERD: Wayward Hope: Rogue Shepherd Space Opera Series: BOOK 2
ROGUE SHEPHERD: Wayward Hope: Rogue Shepherd Space Opera Series: BOOK 2
Price: £2.44

1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible. Needs Massive Editing And Rewrites., 30 Nov. 2016
Book Review: Rogue Shepherd – Wayward Hope
by Chris Vaughn
Reviewed by J Bryden Lloyd

Note: I was gifted a copy of this work for an honest read and review. The following, as with all reviews, is my personal opinion of the submitted text.

Writing Style – 0.5/5.0 (Terrible)
What little structure there is to this book, is decimated by errors and grammatical issues reminiscent of a hastily assembled first draft.
The result is a read with poor flow and very little power to the writing.

Unfortunately, there are brief flashes of genuine ability as well. I say “unfortunately” because it demonstrates that no care was taken during the writing process.

The dialogue is terrible, full of unnecessary repetition and does not support the narrative in any way.
The continual use of formal addressing during conversations and descriptive is amateurish and wholly unnecessary, but more annoying was the continual insistence to refer to the Lieutenant as “Lieut.” In both spoken and narrated text.

Character Development – 1.5/5.0 (Very Poor)
There is a nice, central core of characters here, around which you could build an excellent story.
Indeed, the effort has been made to create these characters, but then they stagnate almost continually, throughout the read.
Luke and Charles develop, but not well, and only in very restricted ways; Luke is given a cloak and suddenly is elevated to a major rank, yet the character continues to find it an embarrassment. Charles goes from being son of the King/General, to being an Executive Officer, to volunteering to fight with the front line fleet, and then finally, he pledges allegiance to Luke… or, more accurately, to Luke’s cloak.

Beyond this, there was little in the way of discernible development in any of the characters, despite the wealth of opportunities the plot offered.

Descriptive – 1.5/5.0 (Very Poor)
In the post-story notes, the author explains how his love of old sailing ships was to be melded into this sci-fi tale.
I understand what he was attempting. It really does not work… at any level.
Casting off lines, raising masts and flags, having open decks protected by some form of energy field… No, there cannot be parity between the two.
Nothing makes sense. There is an awful lot of science which makes a lot of this highly implausible.

To be fair, even if the comparison could be adapted slightly to make it work, the rest of the book is almost devoid of descriptive work, scene building, atmospheric narrative, character descriptive.
Other than Hope (Red hair, green eyes – as per the modern-day penchant for fictional leading ladies) no other character is given anything beyond a passing facial description, and then only occasionally.

The action scenes – the bread and butter of any decent military sci-fi – are so fixated on the characters, they lose the essence of the fight and fade into the ordinary narrative.

It is simply nowhere near good enough.

Language & Grammar – 0.0/5.0 (No Comment)
Well… I say “no comment”, but…
The comma usage (or lack of) and bad punctuation alone is enough to drop this below 2 stars, but as the read progresses, the instances of incorrect tense are battered into insignificance by the sheer number of missing, mis-spelled, and plain incorrect words, which steadily increases to the point that, sometimes, entire passages are rendered unreadable.

This is completely unedited. There is NO knowledge of word usage or grammar. No book should be presented to a paying customer in this form, and I’m sorry, but pleading poverty is not an excuse.
You find an editor. You find proof readers… OBJECTIVE proof readers… and you take their advice until such time as you have enough experience to understand how to write.

This is a sub-standard, ill-prepared text and even the FREE copy I was sent to review should never have seen the light of day.

Plot – 2.0/5.0 (Poor) – VERY MINOR SPOILERS
There IS a very workable central plot here. It’s not great, but it is more than reasonable and has enough strength in it to deliver an outstanding story.

Okay, so…

I GET the sailing ship obsession. It’s foolish to try and shoehorn it into this, but I get it.

I got an inkling of where the author is trying to take the religious tilt of the story… but he really over-does the whole “Nothing is greater than God” thing, to the point where the King is not really in command.

The “Clans” feels too much like a distraction from the whole plot, used more as an excuse for not doing anything, when they are touted as being a warmongering people. Not to mention that they cover several galaxies… so the lack of manpower and resources is surely a total fallacy in relation to the scale of their territories?
Even if they only had a few small systems and planets, surely such resources would afford them a fleet of hundreds of vessels, not the handful sent to fight their mortal enemies?

Too much is thrown into the belief system, which dominates the read and the characters; thus killing the story.

The end is just… there.
The reader sees nothing of the reunion of Hope, Charles and their father, and huge questions surrounding Luke remain completely unanswered, making this completely void of any great climax.
There is certainly nothing in here that gives me any encouragement to want to go and read the next book in the series.

General – 1.5/5.0 (Very Poor)
This is a very frustrating and disappointing book. The nicely depicted cover relates in no way to the content (by the author’s own admission) which just further underlines that this has been a “write-the-story-and-get-it-published-asap” project.

Beyond the cover is a torrid content which I could never recommend in its present iteration.
This needs massive editing and rewriting before it is even fit to be proof-read, and based on this, I would expect that to be a good 12 months away, if it was started now.

The old adage “Everyone has a book in them” may well be true, but this effort proves that not everyone has the ability to write that book.

On completion of my draft review, I always go to see what other reviewers have said. The few comments relating to editing do not even scratch the surface, and the reviews stating that this is well written are so far off the mark, I genuinely wonder what they were reading.

Purchase this at your peril. 1 Grudgingly given Star.

Lost Coast Rocket (Mare Tranquillitatis Series Book 1)
Lost Coast Rocket (Mare Tranquillitatis Series Book 1)
Price: £2.30

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read. Not Bad At All., 29 Nov. 2016
Book Review: Lost Coast Rocket
by Joel Horn
Reviewed by J Bryden Lloyd

Note: I was gifted a copy of this work for an honest read and review. The following, as with all reviews, is my personal opinion of the submitted text.

Writing Style – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
There is a nice flow to this author’s writing, coupled with some excellent structure which combine to make it a very good read.
The narrative is considered and strong, but there are a number of places where the dialogue feels flat or a little wooden for the character.

Over all, this isn’t really something which causes a problem, but it does make some scenes a little forgettable.

Character Development – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
All of the primary and secondary characters develop very nicely throughout the read. Ken is very relatable and leads a stellar cast of a nicely drawn central group.
Beyond this, a lot of the additional characters feel like they are kept very much at arms’ length from the main plot lines. Not ideal for the fleshing out of the story, but it wasn’t a major detriment to the read.

Toward the end, as the timeline shifted along, it still felt as though I was reading the characters in their younger iterations. With the adjustments in their circumstances and lives, this felt a little awkward.

Descriptive – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
There is very strong descriptive throughout the read, though there were quite a few instances where the scene building fell short of the mark compared to the rest of the very evident hard work.

For the most part, the dialogue supported the descriptive well and allowed the reader to feel more involved.

Language & Grammar – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
There were minor instances where the punctuation and grammar felt wrong, but they were very few.
The use of language and variety of the narrative was excellent otherwise.

Plot – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good) – VERY MINOR SPOILERS
This was very enjoyable as a read, with a well-crafted story and some reasonable sub-plots.
I did feel that the pull toward the sci-fi element of the read at the end was a little stretched. Such an important event and the key personnel involved would surely have been global news, and would have meant that contact to delay the launch would have been possible.

In all, I think this was really my only genuine disappointment, though I feel obliged to note that the flow of the plot itself became a little jerky once the story began to bounce along the temporal line later in the book.

General – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
Cover art; nice, simple, related well to the content.
Good structure. Nice reading flow and a good central plot (if a little erratic from time-to-time).

I liked the characters, and the alternate present offered by the story of Ken and the others.
The ending felt a little rushed to me, as if the ideas had run out and so we had to rush toward the next part of the series.

This is good and definitely deserving of a recommendation. It is one of those stories where it is almost impossible to see where the next part will go, and for some, this may make the ending a bit of a disappointment.

Worthy of 4 Stars. Not too bad at all.

Coding Peter (Many Worlds, One Life Book 2)
Coding Peter (Many Worlds, One Life Book 2)
Price: £3.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read! Recommended!, 21 Nov. 2016
Book Review: Coding Peter
by Olga & Christopher Werby
Reviewed by J Bryden Lloyd

Note: I was gifted a copy of this work for an honest read and review. The following, as with all reviews, is my personal opinion of the submitted text.

Writing Style – 5.0/5.0 (Outstanding)
I’ve read several works by the Werby’s, and this was more of the same, precise, flowing, considered narrative as I have found in each previous example.
The structure is excellent throughout, making this yet another outstanding, effortless read.

Character Development – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
The prequel to this novel was littered with interesting, rounded characters, and a varying level of development was distributed amongst them which made several of them feel a little flat.
To be fair, this book does go some way to addressing those characters known as “The Others”, but it is done so at the expense of the more significant elements of the group. Although what remains are cleverly pulled into the plot, it does seem that they are left with a limited development potential.

As for the main cast; some remain a little distant to the reader, which is a shame, as they are all gifted very relatable traits.

Generally, there is enough there to give the reader what they want.

Descriptive – 4.5/5.0 (Excellent)
Once again, I felt the locations, atmospherics and scene building were superb, and the character descriptive carefully worked to give the reader enough imaginative input to draw them in.

Supportive dialogue was much better, but there were still parts where the style of the speech felt a little flat against the scene.
As before, these were all very minor instances.

Language & Grammar – 4.5/5.0 (Excellent)
Strong editing and good use of language from start to finish. The simplistic structure really does make this an excellent reading experience for the most part.
I did feel there were a few of the more technical passages where the wording was over-simplified, or felt a little repetitive, but all-in-all this was just as good as its predecessor.

Plot – 4.5/5.0 (Excellent) – VERY MINOR SPOILERS
This felt like a much bigger and better platform to build the plot which really should have begun in the first book.
The result is that this feels more complete and far more accomplished as a written work.

The merging of the two entities (Human and URT) does make for an uncomfortable read from time to time, as the relationship between the characters changes, but the plot line is superbly written.

General – 4.5/5.0 (Excellent)
I like the cover, but I don’t “love” it. The title feels lost against the background, but it is the font rather than the image that perhaps should be addressed.

Content-wise, this is excellent.

The same characters are pulled in a new direction, and seen from a new viewpoint as Peter becomes the central character in this cleverly created, first person narrative.

Very deserving of 5 Stars. Definitely another recommended read.

Rath's Rebellion (The Janus Group Book 5)
Rath's Rebellion (The Janus Group Book 5)
Price: £3.86

4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars. Good Enough. Recommended Continuation., 21 Nov. 2016
Book Review: Rath’s Rebellion
by Piers Platt
Reviewed by J Bryden Lloyd

Note: I was gifted a copy of this work for an honest read and review. The following, as with all reviews, is my personal opinion of the submitted text.

Writing Style – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
It seems clear that the writing in this series has reached a level of consistency, although I suspect this is more to do with the fact that this second trilogy has been written as almost a single entity, and then divided into its parts.

Still a little pacey, but maintaining the good level of dialogue and structure, the flow continues to feel a little forced throughout this fifth instalment.
Yes, there are a lot of positives and it is a good read, but it carries the reader along in a way that suggests the story can’t wait to get to the end.

Character Development – 3.0/5.0 (Okay)
As we get to know several of the new characters, it is suddenly clear that there are multiple factions at work, all with seemingly similar aims.

While the established group improved a little and became settled within their sub-plots, I felt the new characters were left to fend for themselves. Filling the voids but never becoming fully entwined into the central plot unless required to be there.
The reason becomes clear later on, but I didn’t feel as drawn to this story as I should have been, because the characters didn’t feel real within the narrative.

Descriptive – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
A better effort from the last book, in my opinion. There are still a few characters who seem to slip too easily from the mind, but the narrative is a little more connected to the descriptive in this book, and the atmospheric work feels more complete.

Scene building is good quality and the dialogue continues to do its job and support the descriptive very well.

I don’t think the hell-for-leather pace of the central plot really helps, but this is much closer to the mark than the last book.

Language & Grammar – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
It seems this series has definitely found a level. Again, good word selection and usage. Again, good structure and fairly reasonable line editing.
Always room for a little improvement here, but it seems to be a case of “it is what it is”.

Plot – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good) – VERY MINOR SPOILERS
Now… a lot happens in this book, and not everything is clear and easy to follow for quite some time.
As the sub-plots begin to unwind a little, we do suddenly see a little bit of light. Unfortunately we also seem to lose a little coherence with the timeline of the piece, which begins to look a bit strained.

The central plot remains reasonably solid, despite being pushed back into the sidelines as the church monopolises a small majority of the centre ground.
Too soon, the end came. Much more could (and perhaps should) have been demanded of this book. It certainly would have felt more accomplished with a bigger plot impact as the story came to its conclusion.

Even so, this episode retained all of the best elements of the previous ones, and moved the story on very nicely.

General – 3.5/5.0 (Good)
Business as usual. Functional, sci-fi-ish cover, but again it falls a bit short of representing the content.
Unfortunately, I think this part went a little too far along the “everyone knows what’s going on” route, which means this would never be able to stand alone as a book in its own right.

For the series, it does well as a continuation and is a good enough read, with a good enough plot, to do itself some justice.

A very solid 3 and a half stars, upped to 4 for the Amazon restrictions.

Rath's Trial: Volume 4 (The Janus Group)
Rath's Trial: Volume 4 (The Janus Group)
by Piers Platt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good. Highly Recommended., 21 Oct. 2016
Book Review: Rath’s Trial
by Piers Platt
Reviewed by J Bryden Lloyd

Note: I was gifted a copy of this work for an honest read and review. The following, as with all reviews, is my personal opinion of the submitted text.

Writing Style – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
For me, this was a nice read… it felt just a little too hectic. Although everything is there, and the reader will quickly find their feet back in Rath’s universe, the flow was a little broken and this made the whole thing appear too fractured.

The dialogue was good, and did serve to bind a lot of the slightly-frantic narrative together, as well as settling the characters into their plots.

Although this read doesn’t have the feel of its predecessors, it remains reasonably solid and very entertaining. All-in-all, this is fairly decent and, if you enjoyed the first three books, you won’t have any real problems with the style and pace of this one.

Character Development – 3.5/5.0 (Good)
I don’t think the author played a complete hand on this one.

Familiarity took me nicely into the read and I did feel that Dasi and (to a lesser extent) Rath, both improved a little as characters. I liked the idea of the AI and Dasi, as this allowed the plot lines to evolve, but beyond this, the characters (both new and old) felt really closed.
I felt more distanced from Beauceron and with Paisen’s focus moving to pastures new, she did not feel as dominant a character as she had.

If the new characters had perhaps been created to better fill the gaps left by the ongoing development of the established ones, this would have felt a lot stronger.

Descriptive – 3.5/5.0 (Good)
So, another widely segregated set of sub-plots and another series of descriptives which feel a little ‘diluted’ by the need to push the narrative along.
This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. Many readers are more than happy to forego “boring descriptive” in favour of the story. Occasionally, I am in that number.
However, for me, with such a variety of environments and locations, and such a diverse cast of characters, I did feel that this needed a significant descriptive input. Yes, there was some, but much more was needed in terms of scene-setting and atmospheric descriptive.

The dialogue supported well, but to be honest, without that backdrop, several of the characters became very, very forgettable.

Language & Grammar – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
Solid word selection and usage. Great vocabulary and structure from start to finish.
Perhaps a few too many minor errors in the editing department, but nothing a quick sweep wouldn’t put right.

Plot – 4.5/5.0 (Excellent) – VERY MINOR SPOILERS
This is a very nice continuation of the series.
Although it begins from a ‘fresh start’ point-of-view, the ghosts of the past still loom large for the main characters, and it is this which leads to Rath’s capture, as he makes his bid for that tiny piece of normality in his life.
Meanwhile, a new threat is making moves to destabilise the government.

The big question is, how do you stop something when you don’t know it exists?

I found the sub-plots engaging and cleverly interwoven. The intrigue of the whole work is quite brilliant, and but for the loss of definition in the characters, this would be a truly outstanding read.

General – 4.0/5.0 (Very Good)
Once again, the typically sci-fi cover will do its duty and reel in the fans.
Again, perhaps it falls short of conveying the story, but it doesn’t really have a major detrimental impact on the book as a whole.

I enjoyed this very much, in the context that – as part of the series – it held up well and moved the story forward brilliantly.
Unfortunately, as a stand-alone work, I really think it fell a little short on several fronts.
Was this perhaps just a bit too rushed? Possible, but it doesn’t really give that impression, as the sub-plots do have good depth and some nice twists.
Personally, I suspect this fell into a very unfortunate and very modern phenomena… Writing to a word limit.

Perhaps, more than anything, this story just needed the author to throw a little bit of caution to the wind, and just write what was needed to make this the story it needs to be.

Very, very good book. Worthy of the 4 stars it gets from me, but I really would have liked to give it much more.

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