Saturday, January 14, 2012

Kathy Reviews: Upsetting the Tides by David Englund

File Size: 409 KB
Format: Kindle Edition

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Clark Jackson, a forty-three-year-old-accountant, discovers a portal to a strange room. At first, the portal serves as an escape, a room for taking naps without time passing back on Earth. He comes to realize that a passageway has been opened when alien species begin passing through Des Moines, Iowa. The realization of infinite worlds suddenly open to travel dawns on Clark.

In his travels he meets species that are friendly conversationalists and willing trading partners and other species that are not so kind to portal travelers. Meanwhile, the mysterious Environmental Protection Agency has advanced technology at their disposal. The energy signatures given off by Clark's new device and aliens traveling to Des Moines attract their attention ...

Upsetting the Tides is the first novel in a new series of Science Fiction/Action/Thriller stories.

Kathy's Review:

Upsetting the Tides centers around Clark Jackson, an average Joe who stumbles upon a portal in his backyard that contains countless doors filled with various gadgets. Told in third person with a great deal of first person inner monologue from Clark (it would have been better told entirely in the first person!), Upsetting the Tides follows Clark's escapades with the portal and the gadgets within. He wastes no time in using a cell phone-like gadget that uses the number pad to dial in durations of time to either fly or turn invisible. He uses this for some harmless eavesdropping and pranks at this office, but things turn serious when an alien shows up and wants his toy back. This draw attention all over town as Clark and the alien take shots at each other with ray guns. He tries to balance his office job with trips to various planets, tries to balance a romance with a co-worker with an interesting female alien, and almost gets himself killed several times.

I have to say, the further I got into this book, the more annoyed I got with Clark's inner monologue. It's arbitrary when it switches from third to first person. Most of it was extremely unnecessary.

An example of one of many, many, useless bits of Clark's inner thoughts:

I could use a good run, but I'm tired. I think it's time for bed.

Alright, I slept well, I'm rested and I've procrastinated as much as I can afford to.

Yes, let me go to sleep as well. BORING!!!!!

This book was hard to get through and I'll be honest, I skimmed a lot of it, because of the clunky shifts between perspective. I think the author should revisit this story and eliminate most of Clark's inner monologue unless it is really adding value. Sometimes he makes fun of himself in his head, which is amusing, but other than that, I really didn't think it was an effective method of telling this story.

My favorite chapter, by far, was the chapter classified for government eyes only - it is several blank pages long. Nice work! (Seriously, this was kind of a funny idea, but by this point in the novel, I was glad to have a few less pages to read)

There's a good premise here that could turn into an interesting, over-the-top, sci-fi series; but I would recommend that the author go back and completely reformat this book before even attempting to write the second book in this series. So in its current format, it's not one I would recommend.

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