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“The Fold” by Peter Clines (Crown, 2015)

The Fold

As we work our way steadily through the 21st century, it feels like the future is here and now, and while we don’t have flying cars or hover boards quite yet, one futuristic invention we really wish existed is teleportation. The idea that you could zap from one country to another in the blink of an eye with no plane involved stirs the mind with excitement. Well, some scientists in Peter Clines’ The Fold may well have done just that, the problem is they have no clue how it really works.

A group of DARPA scientists deep in the California desert have been working on the project for years and it seems they have now made teleportation possible from one Door to another. Each of the scientists have tried it themselves a number of times with no side effects or mishaps, as well as a rigid battery of tests to confirm the machine, known as the Albuquerque Door, works perfectly. The problem is there have been a few anomalous readings, and one person who was visiting to check out the device, went through with no problem, then flew back home and apparently went insane, claiming his wife wasn’t who she said she was.

Mike Erikson is a school teacher in Maine who keeps his life simple and regular and doesn’t like to mention that he’s one of the smartest people on the planet. He has a perfect recall memory and cannot forget a single thing. He needs only to look at a page of information or watch a commercial once and he is able to replay and recall with pinpoint exact detail what he just saw.

Then an old friend at DARPA who has wanted him to come work for them for years finally convinces Mike to join the project. He needs to go check out the Albuquerque Door and make sure there are absolutely no issues so they can start preparing to release the reality of this world-changing invention to the rest of the planet.

In the California desert, Mike will make some new friends and some enemies, he will also learn a lot about the Albuquerque Door and be able to pinpoint its few issues, but getting straight answers out of the scientists is like pulling teeth, that is until he figures out just how the machine works and since the scientists don’t know this information themselves, they are terrified when he tells them.

Reading The Fold gives the reader an extreme thrill, like watching The Matrix, for the first time as the tension and anxiety build, but also the excitement of discovery. Clines does a great job of introducing some interesting characters and then letting them act and react in his world, as the reader learns about the Albuquerque Door. They will be hooked to the very last page, wanting and wondering.

Originally written on May 13, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Fold from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Uprooted” by Naomi Novik (Del Rey, 2015)


Welcome to a fairytale for the twenty-first century. Uprooted has it all: wizards and witches, good and black magic, joy and suffering, highs and lows, and a menacing dark forest, the Wood, that will have you making wide circuitous routes around trees perhaps for the rest of your life. It is Brothers Grimm meets A Wizard of Earthsea.

The Dragon is an old wizard who lives in his tower, guarding and protecting the realm from the forest. Those who stray into the forest rarely ever come out alive; those that do come out changed, twisted, evil things looking to hurt and kill. Every ten years the Dragon chooses a girl from the valley and takes her to his tower and she is not seen for a decade, and then when she returns she is different somehow and soon leaves the village she spent most of her life in to travel elsewhere. The Dragon is looking for someone special.

Agnieszka is a plain, ordinary girl who has a beautiful best friend, Kasia. They go everywhere together, but as the day of choosing approaches for their village, both girls enjoy their final times together, knowing that Kasia will be chosen. They knew from when she was very young that she would be chosen and she has prepared for it her whole life. And then the day arrives and after some contemplation, as the selected girls quiver in terror, the Dragon goes past Kasia and chooses Agnieszka.

And so begins her journey to the tower and learning about why the Dragon does what he does, and more importantly why he chose her when it was supposed to be Kasia. In time she will become a powerful witch under the tutelage of the Dragon and then play her part in protecting the valley and fighting against the Wood.

Uprooted sweeps you up from the first page and takes you away to a magical land you won’t want to leave. The characters are complex and fascinating, the world entrancing and inviting, the Wood dark and scary, and the magic simplistic yet impressive. Uprooted feels like a lengthy fairytale that Naomi Novik discovered in some long forgotten tome and then brought it to life with its themes and meanings. You’ll feel your heartstrings being pulled, while shivers of fear run up and down your spine. Uprooted is a tale to be read privately in the confines of one’s own mind, and to be read aloud to each other in a group. Like all good tales that last for eons, it is a seemingly simple story that when finished keeps unraveling its secrets within your mind.

Originally written on April 14, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Uprooted from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Book News: Amazon Doomed To Repeat Past Mistakes, Wedding Gifts For Bibliophiles, Actual Comfort Reading & More!


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“A Tiny Tale” by Olivier Cri de Coeur, illustrated by Margeaux Bancroft (Favonian Books, 2015

A Tiny Tale

Every single person on this planet has creativity in them in some way or form. As to what it is that inspires us and causes this creativity to come out in a particular art form is one of the greatest mysteries of life. But sometimes something as simple as an entrancingly illustrated book can do it. A Tiny Tale is very likely one of those muse-like books for many creative people.

The story is an unusual journey for a character who steps out of his already unusual life and takes a path not taken to something new and different. It is inspiring and encouraging on many levels. The story will very likely have different meanings and resonances for different readers and appreciators of art. But its going to hit you strong and move you.

A Tiny Tale is not simply a book, but a work of art. On the right are the varied, complex and colorful words; on the left is breathtaking artwork that sometimes illustrates the writing, sometimes compliments it, and sometimes takes it to a whole new level. Each page is special and the reader will be taken away on their own journey as they enjoy the journey of the main character.

A Tiny Tale is not a children’s book, but it’s also not an adult’s book; it is a book for everyone! Each reader will find different things to enjoy and love, as well as question and perhaps even be angry at. It is a book you may read one way one year and completely different a decade later. It is a story to cherish and read to others, but also to selfishly enjoy over and over.

Originally written on June 4, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of A Tiny Tale, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Book News: Books To Make You Queasy, When Neil Met Kazuo, You Don’t Know Ray (Bradbury) & More!


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“Get in Trouble: Stories” by Kelly Link (Random House, 2015)

Get in Trouble

Short story collections are a great way to get introduced to an author, especially an author like Kelly Link, who is known for her unique short stories that engross readers to the fullest. The other nice thing about anthologies is if you don’t like a story, you can always skip to the next one, and sadly this is kind of the case with Get in Trouble, where some of the stories are hit and miss.

The collection begins with “The Summer People,” the strongest and probably best story in the book, about a young girl who’s father has gone off to deal with his apparent sins while she is left to tend the cabins they own and check on the tenants. She is unwell and has a friend help out, introducing her to the summer people and the house they live in. She explains the rules for entering the house and how these strange creatures are to be treated.

“A New Boyfriend” is a strange story set in a world where teenage girls can have robotic boyfriends, except this new boyfriend is a vampire and has a “ghost” setting and the girl’s best friend thinks she might have some strong feelings for him. “Two Houses” is the moving story about a group of space travelers sharing ghost stories and questioning whether if a haunted house is disassembled, does the ghost still stay in the house?

These three stories are the high points of the collection, as the rest of the stories seem ordinary and somewhat uninteresting when put with these. Still, the full collection is worth the read, as every reader is different.

Originally written on March 23, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Get in Trouble from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.