Saturday, September 29, 2012

Novella Review: Magnet - Special Mission (David Adams)

*** Disclaimer ***
I am a friend of the author and was an alpha reader for this novella. That said, I was not paid for my help and in no way what so ever do I financially benefit from sales of this book.
*** /Disclaimer ***

I enjoyed this piece. The first Magnet is one of my favorite stories by Adams, and Magnet: Special Mission is a worthy follow up. After reading this in the alpha stage I was really impressed by how well it came out in the final version, especially in regards the voice of Magnet, the main character.

Setting: 3/5. The concept is based around a near future Earth that has been attacked by aliens, the Toralii, after humanity developed some new toys. Nothing about the setting really wows me, and it is reasonably generic sci-fi, but hey, have to set the story somewhere. The military side of the sci-fi in this story was done well. I enjoyed the chatter among the people on the ship, talking using real world military phrases, it helped ground me in the world.

Plot: 4/5. The plot is reasonably straight forward, but considering the length of the work that is to be expected. The main character, Magnet, and some fellow soldiers have to escort an alien male to his wedding, as it will help humanity forge an alliance with this race against the Toralii. One thing that I really liked about this plot was how it starts and ends in the same place, like coming full circle. The ending was satisfying.

Characters: 4/5. With limited page count, I think the author did a really good job of introducing the cast, and made them characters unique enough to remember despite introducing about half a dozen characters early.

Suspension of Disbelief: 5/5. I had no problem believing what was going on, despite some of the technology used. The character decisions also well justified and believable.

Pacing: 4.5/5. I didn't get bored. Even the scenes without action were interesting and carried the story well. In fact, I think the slower parts of the story, such as the opening scene and some of the chatter over coms on the ship, were actually my favorite parts.

Voice: 5/5. This is written in first person, and as with the last work the voice of Magnet really steals the show. Magnet's voice is definitely the strongest among any characters Adams has created so far. There were no head hoping POV problems that I could see.

Prose: 4/5. The prose was well written, and tied in well with the main character's voice. Some good lines in there. Not sure if it will win a poetry competition, but a few turns of phrase did catch my eye.

Typos/Bad Grammar: 5/5. No Issues here.

In summary Magnet: 4/5. Special Mission is a good read, and a must read for fans of the Magnet short story. Despite its short length it is a well paced and character driven story with a good sense of resolution at the end. For the few bucks it costs it was well worth the entertainment.

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