Book Review: ‘Circuits of the Wind,’ by Michael Stutz

5-stars for ‘Circuits of the Wind’ by Michael Stutz

5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars_T

‘Brilliant’

Couple a well-told story with rich poetic writing and the result is the ultimate in literary indulgence.

A quote from Ch 9:

‘For that is time: a low, long whisper in the wind. Reaching out like the flailing arms of long-dead spectres comes this call of time, and here the heavy doleful rain will weep and fall, and there begins the washings of another year.’

Brilliant

Circuits of the Wind, by Michael Stutz, has everything I look for in a story, and more.

Circuits of the WindProfound and poetic writing: Memorable lines brighten the pages in this lush, meaningful novel revealing an author with almost unrivalled ability.

A rich narrative: The author’s storytelling is artistic and sophisticated. At times you can almost hear him reading this work to you making it dynamic, aesthetic and effortless.

Realistic dialogue: Sparkling! I would be surprised to find that this author has not, at some point in his career, written for TV or the cinema where one truly develops the craft of writing realistic dialogue.

Solid story structure: The progression is logical and smart. Never does Mr Stutz lose focus or sight of the finish line. I have no doubt he outlined each chapter and worked from a scene sequence. Mandatory for screenwriters, these invaluable tools are often neglected by novelists.

I’ve read books or film scripts with exceptional storylines, and I’ve read books or scripts where the story was rendered less important simply by the literary prowess of the author. Seldom have I found both in the same book as I did with this gem.

Circuits of the Wind is one of those rare works that would be a compelling read based solely on the story but was made exceptionally compelling by an author with unparalleled literary talents.

Here are a few more of the memorable lines which caught my attention. The book is literally filled with outstanding quotes:

‘Somewhere, adults were working hard to make the whole world magic.’

                                                                                                                              Simple but brilliant.

‘He believed in this distant world, longed to be a part of it, and came to love the big electric box that provided him the windowed view.’

                                               Outstanding. This is nearly Ray Bradbury or E. E. Cummings.

‘He knew that there was somewhere to go with them, somewhere far beyond us here — that there was something real and living to be had among the brilliant magic. He had to find it.’

                                                                                                                                                Masterful.

What I liked Most:

The Writing

I love poetry and poetic prose. I knew from page one I was going to enjoy this book. It reminded of the first time, as a young boy, I cracked open The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury and said – this is how I’ll write one day.

It’s hard to imagine my saying this, but I enjoyed reading Circuits of the Wind as much, if not more than many of my favourite writers. Including Bradbury, Cummings and Marquez.

The Story

This is a nicely organized story of a boy, Raymond Valentine, growing up during the evolution of computers, and more specifically, the internet.

The story follows Raymond’s personal growth which is inextricably intertwined with the development of the internet and online chat rooms and electronic communications with strangers from abroad – something we take for granted now but didn’t three decades ago. The historical review is enlightening for those of us who’ve grown up with computers and the net, and, I would imagine, refreshing for those whose life may have mirrored Mr Stutz’s enthusiastic main character.

Raymond relishes in the purchase of his first computer. Reaches Nirvana with the acquisition of his first modem and achieves a heightened awareness when he chooses his first online alias and begins his career as a hacker.

Criticisms

I have none. I enjoyed this book from the opening page to the very end.

Recommendation

This is an extremely well-written book. If you like a meaningful story and enjoy powerful, poetic writing, pick up a copy. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

I give Circuits of the Wind by Michael Stutz a 5-star rating and my highest recommendation.

 

Review by T. E. Mark – Writer / Screenwriter

Book Review: ‘A Life in the Shadow of the Crown,’ by A. Piper Burgi

5-stars for “A Life in the Shadow of the Crown” by A. Piper Burgi

5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars_T

‘Delightful’

Historical Fictions are inherently difficult for a writer. Their love of history, and innate desire to share their knowledge, to teach, often causes them to lose sight of their A Life in the Shadow of the Crownmission: Capture their readers on an emotional level by connecting them with their characters, while placing the fictionalised story into a historical context.

In addition, the writer must contemporise the story where needed for today’s reader, keep it moving, and avoid the potential trap of having her story read too much like a history text.

Piper Burgi has succeeded with all the above in her newest book ‘A Life in the Shadow of the Crown,’ delivering a warm story that is as heartening as it is meaningful and as fanciful as it is historically accurate.

As one reads this delightful retelling of the plight of the young Empress Elisabeth ‘Sisi’ of Austria-Hungary, struggling to acclimate herself under the constant supervision of the meddling Arch-Duchess Sofie, her mother-in-law, one cannot help but feel compassion for the Empress – often hostility for the dominance that manifests in the reader’s mind as abusive and cruel.

Life for the young Bavarian tomboy princess in the 19th-century Austrian court is never easy. Every public statement is scrutinised or derided; and what she wears, who she associates with, where and when she travels is often scorned for their perceived political statement.

It’s a life that is certainly believable, and with wonderful clarity, Ms Burgi weaves her tale so that one never truly knows how much of the story is fictionalised. This, in itself, is crafty historical fiction writing.

Other things I found praiseworthy:

Without slowing the pace, a definite potential, the author spends adequate time developing her supporting characters making you care for or dislike them.

The side stories are never haphazardly tossed in, reading like filler or distracting journeys away from the main plot, and the changing settings, which could be confusing, aren’t. They drive the story and quicken the pace of the read making this more consumable for today’s reader.

What I liked most:

The character-driven story

A good story – a good compelling story needs a likable and relatable, or at least admirable, hero or heroine. And that hero or heroine needs to be on a journey. And they need a goal. And they need to have and overcome formidable obstacles.

The new Empress is the consummate heroine on a clearly defined journey facing a wide assortment of obstacles. One feels for her – feels defensive for her while hoping to see her win by finding her place and the inner strength to assert herself amongst the aristocratic elite.

The balancing act: Fiction / History

I share with the author her love of history and appreciate when I can honestly state a book nurtured me as much as it entertained me.

A well-written historical fiction is a precious gem in disguise. One reads a smart tale, gets swept into the characters’ lives and journeys, and without working at it, comes away enriched. Filled with a portion of our history he/she may never have researched or found.

Criticisms:

I have none. This book was a pleasure from the opening timeline, (A smart device) to the very end.

Summary and Recommendation:

‘A Life in the Shadow of the Crown’ easily satisfies my criteria of a 5-star read. It’s smart, well-written, sentimental without being gushy or maudlin, flexible (Readers 8-88 would find this enjoyable) rich and historically accurate. The writer uses her literary devices well and craftily commands you to care about her hero’s journey.

I give A. Piper Burgi’s ‘A Life in the Shadow of the Crown’ 5-Stars and my highest recommendation.

 

Review by TE Mark – Writer / Screenwriter

 

NOTE: This book is presently in pre-release. Follow this link to the author’s website for updates. http://www.authorapiperburgi.com/