I finished the first draft of my latest novel! WHEW, and, hallelujah! If you have read Call Me Isabel, my most recent publication as of this writing, you probably noticed that it was…different, shall we say, than my previously published novels. But if you prefer my earlier novels better, no worries with my next novel! It will be fun, engaging, and heartstring-pulling. Not that there’s anything wrong with a deeper, serious, semi-fantasy women’s novel. But it’s not what my readers are used to.
While you eagerly await the publication of my “sweet, clean” romance, I want to recommend a series by Vikki Kestell that I recently finished reading, the “Nanostealth” series. It’s a faith-based story that is part science fiction, part adventure, and a whole lot of uniqueness and innovation. Heads-up: while the first book is permanently free, the main story is a trilogy, meaning you have to read the first three books in the series to get all the loose ends from the first book tied up.
With that, let’s talk about the first book for a moment. The opening scene grabbed my attention right away and kept me going. It is actually a scene from the middle of the first book, and when the author gets to a certain point she goes back in time to set up the events that lead to that middle part.
One reviewer complained about all the backstory that follows the prologue, to the extent that they didn’t finish the first book. Their loss. The backstory is necessary to understand the events that unfold later. Besides, while not as exciting as the prologue, it is well-written and interesting, and starts to develop the tension that pulls the story along and keeps the reader interested.
I’m a picky reader, and I don’t often find books that I have trouble setting down when I have to, say, fix a meal or do a chore. This was one of those rare ones. Even rarer is for me to actually buy the second book in a trilogy. But I eagerly purchased the second book as soon as I finished the first – I almost had to, with the exciting way Vikki ends the first book!
I can’t say a lot about the plot without accidentally giving out spoilers. Let me just say that the characters are well-developed and real, the dialogue is realistic, and – as I stated earlier – the main concept of the plot is as original as a plot can get these days, when “there is nothing new under the sun.”
The two negatives I could say about the series is one, I left the story frustrated with my pushing-fifty body, wishing I could have at least half the physical prowess and energy that Gemma Keys has; and two, in the third book there’s a bit more violence and death (although not graphically described) than I care to read about.
As far as the first issue, well, strictly personal, right? My deal. Regarding the second: I have watched neither a non-Pixar movie nor a television drama in years, so I have become a lot more sensitive to violence than I used to be. If you’re a TV/live-actor movie watcher, you probably won’t even blink at the “explosive” scenes in the book.
That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the story in general, and specifically how Vikki portrayed a few different angles of people coming to faith in Jesus.
Now I need to talk to those of you who may have gotten hung up on my words, “the first three books in this series.” I believe Vikki’s original intent for this series was to be a trilogy, no more. When Gemma Keyes’ main problems were solved, that was going to be the end.
But the third book ends with what is basically the beginning of a new story. She even says in her note to the reader afterwards that she has left the series open for more story, just in case. Well, by the time I ended the third book, I didn’t want the series to end! I certainly wanted to know how the next phase of the main character’s life was going to pan out.
So I did something even rarer for me than buying an entire series: I e-mailed an author. I e-mailed Vikki Kestell to tell her how much I enjoyed the series and that I was putting my vote in for a fourth book.
Guess what? She e-mailed me back and said that when she finishes the novel (part of a different series) she is currently working on, she is going to return to the Nanostealth series and continue the story! Yay! No glory be to me; she has had a lot of other readers contact her to ask her to continue the series. Her decision was made before I e-mailed her. 😉
Anyway. If you’re looking for a really interesting read as the summer ends (or whatever time of year it happens to be when you happen upon this post), I think the Nanostealth series will fit the bill!