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Franny the Fearless FireflyFranny the FearlessFirefly

This book was everything I think a book for kids should be. The framework was nice and simple, a story about a little firefly, getting into a lot of dangerous situations, learning her lessons about being careful and playing with her firefly friends.

So, yes, simple framework, but the pure act of just reading the book was made fun by the details.

Firstly there’s the art, easy to understand and yet sprawling over the pages. Thumbs up.

Second, the actual act of reading was fun, the entire book was as alliterative as possible and it made the whole thing read in a bouncy way. If that makes sense. If I give you an example “’That was some fierce flying Franny,’ Fred flattered”. The entire book revolves around the letter ‘F’ so it flowed nicely, made a creative read and gives the book a challenging edge for young readers. Another thumbs up.

The above also leads me into my next point, and what really makes me recommend this book, are the nice details. All the ‘F’ words and their meanings are listed in the back to help young readers, along with a bunch of fun facts about Firefly’s. If I had a third thumb, then it would be up.

To top it all off the book is only like 2 quid on the kindle store.

Basically, if you have a young kid below the age of six get them this to read alone or with you, a definite recommendation.

Starflake on Thrill WorldStarflake-Thrillworld-Front Only.jpg

I found the whole Starflake book made me really lethargic, in all honesty, if it had been any longer I probably wouldn’t have finished it.

Either fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I wasn’t tired because the book was boring. Quite the contrary actually, what happens in the book, bar from a really really really slow start, is quite well paced and, in theory, interesting. In short, Starflake ends up getting pulled off her lonely asteroid home to help stop the mal-treatment of animals in an intergalactic zoo. It was fine, some of the sequence ideas were quite fun.

However, and this is what ruined the experience for me, the writing. This book has not been well written or edited, in fact, I’m not sure it’s been edited at all. Honestly, in Indie works I get quite forgiving, editors are expensive and more often than not, don’t do the job they’ve been paid for. So the typos that are dotted around I can live with. But there is no excuse for mixing tenses in every chapter, rehashing things that have already been established (a small example; you can’t have a character describe a table, what it does and use the name of the object, only to have her ask on the next page what a table is), the complete lack of any emotional charge in any of the narrative and just the overall stiltedness of the entire experience.

Of all the things listed, it was the lack of emotional charge that truly bored me, nothing flowed from one point to the next there was a lot of ‘Then I did this…. Then this happened,’. Starflake is not a character, she is just a vehicle the reader rides from one scene to the next, even when she’s kidnapped the most we get is ‘I hunched up because I was a bit scared’. You’ve been kidnapped, is that all you’re feeling? I felt nothing for her or the supporting cast with their wooden dialogue and identical reactions because, well, they all need to be in the same place for the narrative to work, and to be in this place they need this reaction, so they all behave like a strange hive mind. For me to enjoy a book with characters I either feel hatred or nothing for I need a more exceptional story than this.

Moving away from the writing, even if that doesn’t bother you, to the actual science part of the Science Fiction. I’ll be the first to admit I am not particularly slobbery for Sci-Fi, but this book needs to make up its mind as to whether it’s more Science or Fiction, either is fine really. But Starflake tries to have both, which I found confusing. What are the rules? What’s dangerous and what isn’t? Are we trying to teach young people about space or not? Because if we are then repeated paragraphs about what air is and why humans need it, and therefore space suits, are completely unnecessary. Whereas if we are trying to teach something why is there so much space nonsense, why are Starflakes eyeballs still on the inside of her head when she walks through space? Sure she doesn’t need to breathe, but atmosphere does other things.

So all in all a book with a few good ideas ruined by the means in which we are invited to explore them, it’s been a while since I’ve read something that’s left me so bored.

Starflake-Thrillworld-Front Only.jpg