Book Review of At the Sharp End of Lightning
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Praise for 'At The Sharp End of Lightning' by NR Bates:"What a fantastic book, the author takes you into another realm. I couldn't put the book down, a real page turner. Seeing as this is book 1 I can't wait for the next one to be written."-Scotialassie, Amazon.UK Reviewer "British author NR Bates makes his novel writing debut with AT THE SHARP END OF LIGHTNING, Book 1 of the OCEANLIGHT series. He has indeed written extensively which explains why his command of the medium is so secure: he has published more than one hundred and twenty scientific papers on ocean chemistry, climate change and ocean acidification as a Senior Scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and Professor of Ocean Biogeochemistry at the University of Southampton, UK. Bates' passion for the ocean and environmental sciences has proven a successful driving force in both his scientific mind and his fantasy creative mind. The result, as we read it here, is `true' Science Fiction fantasy! Bates opens his book with a map/diagram called The Interfaces - the meaning of which will be explained throughout the novel, but whose information offers hints and suggestions of codes to be solved. And at the end of his book he discusses Welsh history that informed this story as well as the biology and biogeochemistry of the Sargasso Sea, further influences. The author provides an outline of the story that assists the reader immensely: `The interwoven fantastical tale of family, of loss and sacrifice, of unexpected gifts and coping with disability and new abilities set against the backdrop of climate change occurring across parallel worlds. Bates' writing style can only be called `elegant' - he is unafraid to challenge the reader with a rich vocabulary that somehow enhances the characters we encounter. This is obvious form the opening paragraph: `As the streamer of lightning harmlessly discharged through her body into the palm of her hand, Yalara Narika noticed many things at once. There was fright and surprise as adrenaline raced through her body. The words "I'm alive" came to mind, accompanied by an overwhelming relief when the forked sharpness passed out of her. Then came the reflex response-- her call to Calymene, Mother Earth-- that she had despite her doubt. A hurried glance brought the reassuring thought "I'm still in the sky." Simultaneously, she returned to her search-- for the "lost"-- which was set against the immensity of the seas. And interwoven amongst these reactions were thoughts of that moment in the distant future, at the end of her life, when she'd fly up into the tumult, clad in a cuprous woven fabric, and upon the flash of electrica, her constituent parts would disassemble in an instantaneous coruscation of energy.' This is our first encounter with being struck by lightning. As with most fantasy/sci-fi books it takes a while to adjust to the strange names and the references to places of origin, but Bates' language makes that journey of discovery a rewarding one. He does offer a helpful Sprite Glossary and Human Glossary at books end. This is a strong debut, well worth the investment of mental energy."- Grady Harp, Amazon Hall of Fame & top 100 reviewer. Ambitious and enchanting, At The Sharp End Of Lightning by author N R Bates proves a rich and original foray into the realms of fantasy fiction. Compelled by a commanding narrative that readily enthrals the imagination, the magical intrigue simmers throughout as Bates renders his fantasy world in rich hues. A world parallel to our own yet retaining a time worn familiarity that makes it feel immediately authentic. It’s an intricate, intrigue-laden telling, which plays to the best in this popular genre and it’s clear from the start that Bates is in his element. "There’s certainly much to enjoy here. From cleverly contrived and vibrant scenes to a captivating blend of magical mysticism, he ably manages to avoid prescriptive tropes whilst a certain descriptive economy and a tight word count brings a penetrating levity to his dialogue. Both timely and well observed, he notably avoids the trite mutterings of mediocre characterisation to create genuine depth and emotive resonance, which in turn ensures the reader becomes fully invested in the trials and tribulations of his characters. Beautifully written and undoubtedly the start of an exciting new series, At The Sharp End Of Lightning proves a fine example of fantasy fiction. Definitely deserving of a place on your bookshelf, it is recommended without reservation!"-Book Viral
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This story is a fascinating look at a new culture and the creatures that live in parallel realms. However, sometimes the story jumped from one group to another without any real clear connection between them. It appears that they separate stories are building toward meshing with each other, but some of the connections are difficult to fathom.
The language was exquisite. The author causes the words to dance together in a beautiful picture.
I give this book 4out of 5 clouds and look forward to hearing more about this interesting culture.
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