Tag Archives: Marcher Lord Press

Review: Wind and Shadow, by Kathy Tyers

Wind and Shadow, by Kathy TyersWind and Shadow, by Kathy Tyers (Marcher Lord Press [now Enclave Publishing], 2011)

Prophetic hope, ancient evil, and the struggle to live a life of faith when temptation masks as truth and danger is all around…

Fans of Kathy Tyers’ Firebird trilogy waited a long time for the story to continue. Wind and  Shadow begins the tale of the next generation of the Caldwells, a Sentinel family prophesied to produce a messiah-type hero.

The Sentinels are humans with psionic power, feared but needed by the other humans. And the enemies they faced in the original series aren’t as vanquished as readers had hoped.

Wind and Shadow features twins Kiel and Kinnor Caldwell, one a priest and one a soldier, and Wind Haworth, a young woman divided between two cultures and welcomed by none.

Is Kiel the Promised One? The evil being that captures him schemes to turn him from the Path. Kinnor and Wind are unlikely allies to rescue him … or die trying. And more lives are at stake than they know.

You don’t have to read the Firebird trilogy first, although it’s a strong series and now available in a single volume with the author’s annotations. Wind and Shadow refers to past characters and events as needed and new readers will have no trouble starting here. Since it introduces an unfamiliar planet with new characters, all readers need to orient themselves at the beginning.

It’s a compelling and satisfying story (complete with danger, romance, fast ships and explosions). The planet, culture and technology come to life, as do the internal conflicts of the key characters. I appreciate how those of faith struggle to apply that faith in crisis, and how their choices are not always straightforward – or even right.

You can learn more about NYT bestselling author Kathy Tyers at her website. Daystar, the conclusion to the Firebird saga, released in April 2012.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: Mask, by Kerry Nietz

cover art: Mask, by Kerry NietzMask, by Kerry Nietz (Marcher Lord Press, 2013)

In an unspecified year in Earth’s future, after natural disasters and the breakup of the United States, the country of PacNorth includes at least part of Washington State. Overpopulation is a global problem, and in PacNorth it’s controlled by popular vote. Rack up enough negative votes against you, and you’re tagged “incon” (inconvenient) and you disappear.

Radial Crane may be the one who “collects” you, but you won’t know it’s him behind the mask.

He’s good at what he does, and we see that in the opening pages. He obeys orders and asks no questions. Until it becomes personal. Until he does the unforgivable and rescues an incon he’s supposed to collect. And until he begins to find out what’s really happening behind the scenes.

The novel is written in the present tense, with a stream of consciousness feel as Radial tells us what he sees as he moves through this disturbing future world. I enjoyed the immediacy of it, and the puzzle of trying to figure out what was going on. Some of the technology sounds fantastic, and some is better left un-invented.

From the cues Radial gives as he moves through what used to be Seattle, I think readers who know the present-day city will be able to recognize key landmarks. If I ever get to visit, I’ll want to go through the book again first.

The three novels in Kerry Nietz’s DarkTrench Saga have each been finalists for EPIC awards, with book 3, Freeheads, winning an EPIC 2013 eBook Award in the Science Fiction category.

Mask looks destined to follow that pattern. The ending hints at a possible sequel, but the final pages offer a sample chapter of his next novel, which looks like a step away from the dystopian Earth theme: Amish Vampires in Space. I kid you not. The author’s note says “because someone had to do it.” And because Kerry Neitz is that someone and I like his writing style, I expect I’ll give it a shot.

You can learn more about the author at nietz.com and read interviews with him at The Barn Door Book Loft and at Trish Perry’s blog.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: Freeheads, by Kerry Nietz

Freeheads by Kerry NietzFreeheads, by Kerry Nietz (Marcher Lord Press, 2011)

Freeheads is the final book in the Dark Trench Saga. (Links to my previous reviews: A Star Curiously Singing and The Superlative Stream)

The novel opens with Sandfly and HardCandy en route back to Earth, where Sandfly knows he must somehow share what he’s learned about the true God with the people they left behind. But there are—surprise!—complications. Will he make it home, or will he get diverted again from his path? How can he speak, and who will listen?

I enjoy the characters, especially Sandfly, HardCandy and DarkTrench, and it’s good to reconnect with some people from their past. This story is all in Sandfly’s point of view except for an opening recap where Trench has a turn at narration. (I know Trench is “only” a ship, but there’s enough AI and personality in him to make him likeable.)

Freeheads is a fun read and a good end to the series, perhaps my favourite book of the three. As the situation got more and more complicated, I kept wondering how the author would write his way out of it, but of course he did, in a way that surprised and satisfied me.

The Dark Trench Saga books have been well-received with nominations and awards, and Freeheads won an EPIC 2013 eBook Award in the Science Fiction category. Kerry Nietz has a new novel out now, Mask, which I’ll be reviewing shortly. You can learn more about the author at nietz.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: The Superlative Stream, by Kerry Nietz

Cover art for The Superlative Stream, by Kerry Nietz. The Superlative Stream, by Kerry Nietz (Marcher Lord Press, 2010)

If you haven’t read book 1 in the DarkTrench Saga yet please click to this review first: A Star Curiously Singing. If that sounds like your sort of novel, you’ll want to read it before diving into The Superlative Stream (book 2). And my review of book 2 will be a bit of a spoiler for book 1.

Still here? Okay, here we go.

In a dystopian future Earth, Sandfly and HardCandy are—were—debuggers. Tech support, equipped with brain implants to allow them to access a wireless data stream that makes our internet look primitive. Debuggers have no rights. They’re the property of the masters, and are kept in line by the same implants that let them touch the stream.

Earth has fallen under the control of a corrupted form of Islam. How will the true God make Himself known again? In A Star Curiously Singing, God’s message comes from a distant star and changes Sandfly’s life.

Sandfly is used to the ordinary data stream. What is this superlative stream that freed him from his master’s control and led him away on a mission on the spaceship DarkTrench? When he and HardCandy arrive at the source, there’s no singing star. Instead they meet an advanced race of people who may be too good to be true.

Now Sandfly wonders if he heard right in the first place. All he hears is occasional random sayings that make no sense to him. And he’s seeing things no one else sees.

The DarkTrench novels are written in the present tense from Sandfly’s point of view, except for excerpts of HardCandy’s past. Sandfly has a distinctive voice that I enjoy. He’s funny, direct and honest about his shortcomings. He occasionally speaks to the reader, adding to the conversational feel of his narrative.

I’ve enjoyed the first two novels in the series, and am looking forward to book 3, Freeheads. All three books in the DarkTrench series have been finalists in the EPIC eBook Awards Competition in the Science Fiction category. You can visit the author’s website to learn more about Kerry Nietz and his books.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: Daughter of Light, by Morgan L. Busse

Daughter of LightDaughter of Light, by Morgan L. Busse (Marcher Lord Press, 2012)

Rowen Mar has always felt like an outsider, and when she develops a mysterious white mark on her palm—and unleashes a frightening power—she’s truly alone. Can she make a new life as bodyguard to Lady Astrea in the White City, or will her secret come out? And does she have a part to play in the war that threatens her new home?

Caleb Tala is an unstoppable assassin whose victims haunt his dreams. Nierne is a young scribe thrust from her secure monastery and charged with a dangerous journey.

With supernatural power, secrets, danger and death, Daughter of Light follows Rowen, Caleb, Nierne and their associates in a lavish-scaled fantasy that is only the beginning of the real battle.

In this book, the armies are human. But just as Rowen discovers herself to be one of the Eldaran, an angelic-type race thought long dead, another forgotten race still lives: the Shadonae. And while the Eldaran serve the Word (God of the story’s world) the Shadonae oppose Him and want to destroy all humans.

The story drew me in, the world-building is detailed, and I liked Rowen, Nierne and their friends. The Word is a clear representation of Jesus, and those who follow Him are realistic in their struggles. There are a few instances of Divine interaction in the plot, and they’re neither gratuitous nor taking over the characters. They’re the logical result of having a God who cares about His people but who gives them free will, and I found they encouraged my faith.

I would like to have seen Nierne’s plot thread taken one more step at the end, but I’ll have to wait for book 2. And there must be a book 2; the Shadonae are rising. Marcher Lord Press doesn’t release a list of new titles too far in advance of publication but that doesn’t mean a sequel isn’t in the works.

You can learn more about author Morgan L. Busse and Daughter of Light at her website, In Darkness there is Light.

[Review copy from my personal library. Amazon links are affiliate links for The Word Guild.]

Review: A Star Curiously Singing, by Kerry Nietz

cover art: A Star Curiously SingingA Star Curiously Singing, by Kerry Nietz (Marcher Lord Press, 2009)

In a dystopian future of Earth with advanced technology and a repressive global regime, to be a tech geek is to be a slave. Anyone (usually male) chosen for this role at age 10 is implanted with a chip that allows him to wirelessly connect to machines, computers and serv-bots—to “stream” to them—and to perform necessary repairs.

These people are called debuggers, and Sandfly is a good one. He does what his master orders, and rarely gets “tweaked” for disobedient or dangerous thoughts, although his wry observances of life under the masters—the Abduls (Servants)—skate pretty close to the edge at times.

Sandfly’s world is ruled by a form of Islam that’s all rules and no faith. Absolute power seems to have corrupted absolutely, and Sandfly wonders if there are any good masters left.

A top-secret assignment lands him on a space station (he’s afraid of heights) where he’s introduced to the prototype space ship, Dark Trench. Dark Trench is a technological marvel, but its crew can’t be cleared to go home until Sandfly finds out what caused their only bot to destroy itself part-way through the mission.

There’s a lot more to the story than that, but you need to read it yourself. Part of the fun is being dropped into this unusual world and figuring out what’s going on as you read Sandfly’s narration. He’ll call you “freehead” and occasionally explain details, but most of the time you’re just along for the ride, learning on the fly (if you’ll pardon the pun).

A Star Curiously Singing is a fast read, with twists, turns, humour, faith and danger. It’s a good story, and Sandfly really makes the novel for me. He’s an engaging character with a distinctive voice. I look forward to reading the other two books in the Dark Trench series: The Surperlative Stream and Freeheads.

A Star Curiously Singing won a Reader’s Favourite Gold Medal Award, and was a finalist on a few other awards lists. You can learn more about Kerry Nietz at his website, and read a sample of A Star Curiously Singing on the Marcher Lord Press site. And you can read an interview with Kerry Nietz, and a bit about his newest book, Freeheads, at A Christian Writer’s World. The draw is now over, and I won! Kerry very kindly substituted A Star Curiously Singing for Freeheads, rather than drop me into the series at the end.

Review: The Word Reclaimed, by Steve Rzasa

The Word Reclaimed cover artThe Word Reclaimed, by Steve Rzasa (Marcher Lord Press, 2009)

It’s 2602 and humans have developed interstellar travel and colonized planets. Major power belongs to the Realm of Five, with dissenters living on the fringes as Expatriates. The other players in this universe are the Martians, and I’m not clear if they’re humans who lived on Mars and then rebelled or if they’re another race entirely. What they are is hostile.

The Realm of Five’s Royal Stability Force, aka “Kesek,” is a nasty secret-police-type enforcer of political correctness, including the Realm-wide ban on any religions other than the state-created generic one that won’t “threaten the human spirit”.

When their spaceship stops to salvage the remains of another ship, Baden Haczyk discovers highly dangerous contraband: a Bible. Print books are things of the past, and people read on wireless devices called delvers. Along with other holy books, Bibles were thought to have been destroyed.

Should he sell it on the black market? Give it to Kesek before they come after him?

He’ll decide when the ship reaches the next space station. First, he starts reading it.

While the main plot thread of Baden and the book (and his difficult relationship with his father) plays out, a secondary thread follows cadet Alex Verge and his family on earth and into space on a military mission.

Author Steve Rzasa weaves two seemingly-different stories set in the same universe to mesh into one satisfying conclusion that dangles enough questions to make me want to read the next book in the series, The Word Unleashed.

One thing I enjoy about futuristic novels is the authors’ extrapolation of technology, specifically space travel. Steve Rzasa has some intriguing ideas that add an extra layer of interest to the novel.

I felt a degree of information overload in places, as if the author were giving me more background details than I needed to know. He’s done a thorough job of world-building (would that be “universe-building”?) and I can definitely visualize this story as an epic space movie. It has everything: ships, chases, action, explosions, battles, exotic locales… as well as relationships, political machinations and a thought-provoking plot.

One thing I’ve noted in other Marcher Lord Press books is the meticulous editing, and I was surprised to see some copy-editing issues here. Nothing more than you’d see most places, except for the fact that Alex is Alec for a while when we first meet him, but still not what I expected.

You can read a sample of The Word Reclaimed online. The remaining books in the Face of the Deep series are The Word Unleashed and Broken Sight. You can read an interview with Steve Rzasa (pronounced “Ra-zah”) on the Marcher Lord Press site or visit his website, The Face of the Deep. His newest novel is Crosswind, in the steampunk genre, and it looks intriguing.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Friday Friends: Ginny Jaques, author of Zinovy’s Journey

Ginny Jaques is a Canadian author whose debut novel, Zinovy’s Journey, released in October 2011. I first read the opening of an earlier draft of the story in an online contest put on by Marcher Lord Press. Readers were the judges, and the winner got published. I don’t remember who won, but I was disappointed when this story about a guy named Zinovy didn’t make it. I really liked the author’s style.

Janet: Welcome, Ginny, and thanks for taking time to join us. I don’t remember how we eventually connected, but I’m glad we did—and glad Zinovy’s full story is now available.

Ginny: I don’t remember when we first met either. It’s funny how you meet people in situations that you don’t know are going to be significant, so you don’t mark the date on your calendar! I know it was through the Marcher Lord Press contest Jeff sponsored in 2009.

Janet: Tell us a bit about Zinovy’s Journey.

Ginny: Zinovy’s Journey is a speculative novel about a Russian cosmonaut who is preparing to shuttle down to Cape Canaveral from an international space station when the earth below is destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. He’s used to being in charge of his life, but now he’s caught in circumstances that are totally beyond his control. The book chronicles his journey toward acceptance of the truth that he cannot be his own god, and the realization that there’s Someone else, who’s been walking beside him all the time, who is much better qualified to fill that position in his life.

Janet: Where did the story idea come from?

Ginny: The idea came out of one of those “What if. . .?” questions that sometimes send writers off on interesting journeys. I thought, what if, when Jesus comes back to establish His kingdom on earth, there are people away from the world at the time? What would they see, from wherever they were? What would they do? The opening conflict, and the beginnings of a plot scheme developed naturally from that point on.

Janet: Was the Marcher Lord Press contest the manuscript’s first exposure?

Ginny: Yes, the MLP contest was Zinovy’s first exposure. I’d pitched the manuscript to a few editors before, but Jeff was the first one who really listened and expressed an interest in the idea. I had scheduled an appointment with him at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in Denver, mainly to get advice about who else I might approach. He’d just introduced the MLP contest, and invited me to submit. It was the beginning of the boost I needed to go for publication.

Janet: You chose to self-publish Zinovy’s Journey, with skilled advisers at every step of the way. What sorts of things would have gone wrong if you’d tried it on your own?

Ginny: I honestly wouldn’t have been able to do this on my own. There were just too many things I didn’t know. I knew some things I’d need, like a book cover, and typesetting, but I had no idea where to begin looking for them. Jeff Gerke was encouraging about the manuscript from the start, and he kind of fell into the position of my self-publishing consultant. I’d e-mail him with questions and he’d send back the answers, along with encouragement to go ahead and try things myself. He was literally a God-send.

Janet: I think the biggest danger of self-publishing is not knowing what questions to ask. Well, second-biggest. The biggest is thinking one’s work is perfect as-is and deciding one doesn’t need an editor. You successfully avoided both. Having gone this route, do you expect to do the same with your next novel? There will be a next one, right?

Ginny: Yes, you’re right. If you know the questions, you can find the answers, but if you don’t even know the questions you’re stuck. But it’s gotten easier to self-publish knowledgeably, even since last year when I began this project. There’s so much information out there now.

As for the “perfect as-is” manuscript, it doesn’t take much probing to discover that your work isn’t perfect. If you can’t see it, there will always be people eager to show you!

And about a next novel, no, I don’t have plans. I’m still recovering from this one.

Janet: Recovering. I hear you. What got you started writing?

Ginny: Actually, it was this story that got me started. Unlike other authors, I’ve never had a driving ambition to be a writer. Writing is such hard work, and I’m not highly motivated to do hard work! I would never have done this if the story hadn’t just insisted that I tell it. I’m ashamed to say that, but it’s the truth.

Janet: Writing is definitely something where you have to be motivated or you’ll never get to the end of the first draft. Okay, I’m going to ask a question I personally hate answering. Feel free to pass. What’s the novel’s theme? Or what one key thing do you want readers to take away when they’re done?

Ginny: The theme. Hmm. There are several, but the central one probably has to do with personal freedom—the freedom God grants us to choose our own eternal destiny. We can’t control our circumstances, but I do believe we are in control of how we respond to them—how we allow ourselves to see God in them. I want readers to come away from the story realizing that they have the option of responding to God’s love, and that the choices they make regarding this opportunity are of eternal significance.

Janet: May they see the choice and choose carefully! I know the novel’s just released, but what has reader response been like so far?

Ginny: Reader response has been encouraging. Surprisingly so. I’m pleased that people of both genders and all ages have reacted positively to the book. Even people who are not religious appreciate the story, which pleases me even more. It’s a Christian story, bottom line, but non-Christians have always been my target audience.

Janet: Is there a particular song or Scripture verse that’s made a big difference for you?

Ginny: I’ve always loved the song, “Trust and Obey.” I think it totally sums up the way we should live our lives. It’s the way I’ve tried to walk on this writing journey, just taking one step of faith at a time. I don’t think there is any other way this book could have happened.

Janet: What do you like best about the writing life?

Ginny: Tee hee. See comments above, under what got me started! The thing I like best about the writing life is when the manuscript is done and I can quit. It’s kind of like banging your head against the wall. More positively, I suppose, it’s the sense of satisfaction you get from the finished product. And a chance to curl up with someone else’s good book instead of having to work on your own.

Janet: Ah. “It feels so good when you stop.” I get it. What do your family think of your writing?

Ginny: My family has always been supportive of my writing, but it’s been tough love. They are my most honest critics. It’s probably a good thing that none of them read the whole thing before it was published. I might still be revising! My husband has been very patient with the process, and he fed and clothed me while I wrote. I couldn’t have done it without him.

Janet: Writers are told to read widely and voraciously. I think that’s one of the perks of the deal. What are you reading these days?

Ginny: I read a variety of books. When I’m writing, I try to read authors whose writing styles I admire, because I tend to mimic the style of the writing I’m reading. But now that I’m through writing, I can play around a bit. I just finished Decision Points, George Bush’s autobiography. I wanted to get his perspective on his presidency and it was a great read. Right now I’m reading Helen of Troy, a historical novel written by Margaret George, a delightful writer I met at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference in October. I’ve got a stack of books by my bed and I’m working my way down.

Janet: What do you like to do to get away from it all?

Ginny: I love to go to places that are warm and sunny. We usually go to Los Angeles in the spring to visit relatives, and I soak up the sounds and sights and smells of California. I’m originally a California girl, so the nostalgia is an added bonus.

Janet: What’s the most surprising/fun/zany/scary thing you’ve ever done?

Ginny: I honestly never have done anything surprising/fun/zany or scary, other than self-publish this book. Unless you count spending 20 years as a high school substitute teacher. That might qualify. I’m actually a very boring person. I suppose it’s not very good marketing to say that. Zinovy is much more interesting than I am, though.

Janet: That’s probably true of most writers. We’re alive, but our characters are a bit larger than life. Who wants to read about “normal”? And as a writer, I think taking on the whole independent publishing thing is pretty scary. [Substitute teaching sounds downright terrifying to me. I remember some of my classmates!] I’m curious what prompted a female Canadian author to choose a Russian man as her protagonist. Zinovy’s story could be anyone’s story, from anywhere, and we’re so overloaded with North American protagonists. He makes a refreshing change.

Ginny: I chose a Russian male to be the main character in the novel because I wanted someone who had no Christian background. It intrigued me to think how strange the new world would seem to someone who had no concept of the Kingdom of God. I figured a Russian KGB assassin would be about as far away from that kingdom as anyone could get. I’ve also never really seen myself as a Canadian writer. I’ve lived half my life in the U.S. and half in Canada, so I have more of an international perspective. That worked well for this novel. I agree that Zinovy is really everyman/everywoman. We all are on a heroic journey, looking for God, whether we know it’s Him we’re hungry for or not, and that kind of journey isn’t restricted to national boundaries.

Janet: Thanks so much for taking time to let us get to know you a bit, Ginny. May the LORD continue to bless you and make you a blessing to others—in every area of your life. And may He use Zinovy’s Journey to get many readers thinking about their own life choices.

Ginny: God bless you too, Janet. You’re a gift, and I’m so glad God gave me your friendship.

Janet: Someday we will yet meet in person!


Zinovy's Journey cover art

When the world ends…
Zinovy’s journey begins.

To view the trailer for Zinovy’s Journey or to read a sample chapter, visit the Zinovy’s Journey website. And here’s a link to my review of Zinovy’s Journey.

To learn more about Ginny Jaques, visit her at Something About the Joy and Something About the Writing Journey.

Review: The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction, by Jeff Gerke

The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction cover artThe Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction, by Jeff Gerke (Marcher Lord Press, 2009)

This book is subtitled “The complete guide to finding your story, honing your skills, and glorifying God in your novel,” and it lives up to what it promises.

The material is divided into three sections: The Spiritual Heart of Writing Christian Fiction; Strategizing Yourself, Strategizing Your Fiction; and Writing Your Novel. The third section fills half the book and provides a comprehensive overview of the craft.

The writing and strategizing material is mostly aimed at beginners. These two sections cover characters, show and tell, point of view, description and dialogue. As we learn, we’ll want other books on the craft to give advanced teaching, but this is a great place to start, filled with practical instruction.

But this is not just a book for beginners. The first 40 pages offer something I don’t think I’ve seen anywhere else in writing-focused books.

Jeff Gerke asks some penetrating questions before getting into the “how” of writing. Whose approval are we writing for, at the deepest level? God’s or man’s? Will publication—or a best-seller—provide what we need for contentment? What’s our calling as Christian novelists?

This part of the book justified the purchase price, and it’s something I’ll come back to again and again. I think it applies to writers of all stages of experience.

For new writers, another key benefit in this opening section is Jeff’s up-front warning that not all writing teachers agree. Instead of trying to reinvent ourselves to match each one’s view, we need to listen, learn, and then discern what works best for our own stories. Knowing this can prevent severe confusion.

Jeff himself recommends taking up to the first half of a novel before moving into the second act of a three-act structure. Traditionally this mark is closer to the one-third mark, which fits better for me. But he likes prologues when many don’t, and I’m  happy to agree there!

The book’s spiritual grounding, big-picture strategizing and techniques will benefit Christians no matter what their fiction genre. For those writing for the Christian market, there are genre-specific tips and advice, including options on conveying profanity without being banned from the Christian bookstore.

The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction is an essential book for the Christian writer’s library. It’s clear, easy to understand and put into practice, and there’s enough humour to make it a fun read.

[Review copy from my personal library. Review originally appeared in FellowScript, August 2011.]

Review: The Personifid Project, by R.E. Bartlett

The Personifid Project, by R.E. Bartlett (Realms, 2005)

Some time in the future, Earth is a baked planet under a yellow sky, oceans rapidly receding. Most people live in domed cities with advanced technology. Not only are robots and androids readily available, many humans have transferred their souls from mortal bodies into “personifids” in the quest of eternal life in more attractive forms.

Aphra is a 23-year-old human whose friends are androids. She always gets her own way, and doesn’t know how to relate to other humans on a personal level. She’s never seen a live dog, either, only the artificial ones.

R.E. Bartlett does a great job of conveying Aphra’s spoiled, self-centred attitude while building reader sympathy. After all, the poor fem’s security is abruptly shattered when the most powerful man in the city sends his cohorts to hunt her down after she hears—and witnesses—his secrets.

The language often feels passive or a touch restrained, but that’s how Aphra views the world. As the novel progresses, she meets other humans and learns to really live. She also learns about the Triune Soul, as humans now call the Trinity.

The Personifid Project is disturbingly similar to our own time’s fascination with personal entertainment devices and virtual friendships. It’s a scary look at where these things could lead us if we’re not wise.

The technology isn’t fully explained—and that would only slow the story. They have flying cars, something called luminires that are like teleporters, and voice-activated computers that can manufacture food and change their owners’ appearance.

This last one confused me, and a bit of explanation would have helped. The best I can figure is, the computer can project over great distances, whether an appearance mask or a personal force-field. I’m not sure that’s the reason, but I enjoyed the story regardless.

The Personifid Project is one of those novels that kept coming back to me when I wasn’t reading, and I finished it more quickly than I expected. Now I’m eager to read the sequel, The Personifid Invasion, published by Marcher Lord Press. Must work through that looming to-read pile first!

R.E. Bartlett is a New Zealand author. The Personifid series are her first published novels. You can read an interview with R.E. Bartlett here.

[Review copy from my personal library]