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Amazon review: The Summoner's Call, September 14, 2015

Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars

Hard to put down.... Swept up with six unlikely companions traversing a yellow brick road through a perplexing, unpredictable alternate universe, pocked marked with riddles puzzles, and surprises; where mathematical logic, scientific instruments, and courage are of no avail avoiding the Summoner's soul seeking designs, nor enough to figure out the way back home - your not in Kansas ! By Steve Russo

Goodreads review: June 16, 2015

Rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars

It reads a little like Philip K. Dick writing The Phantom Tollbooth, which is both good and bad. Also, it should have had at least one more run-through by a good copy editor, for several reasons. The plot is complex and interesting, with a strange entity selecting an odd blend of characters for a test, a puzzle, or something more sinister. It's a bit like the Twilight Zone story "Five Characters in Search of an Exit," but with many more twists and turns. The tale involves what may be an alien world, another dimension, or a mindscape. In fact, it doesn't matter which, in many ways. The characters are mostly interesting, but I didn't care for the entity behind the curtain. Just too annoying. Davis came up with some very interesting aliens, but I wish more care had gone into their descriptions. It was honestly difficult for me to remember which race looked like what, because their behavior was so often interchangeable. That said, the book had weaknesses which could have been fixed. The first is the odd punctuation. One of the characters has a vaguely Caribbean accent, and the way his words are written is just nonstandard enough that it's distracting. For instance, common usage when a letter is not pronounced due to an accent is to MARK the letter. So, for an accent which causes the final "g" of a word to be unpronounced, you'd write " somethin' " rather than "somethin". This makes a difference because this odd accent sometimes leaves off the FIRST letter sound of a word. It took me a while to puzzle out what "ou" meant. Anyway, other non-standard usages involved things which are normally compound or hyphenated words, but in this book are not. The second is that one of the characters is an odd version of the author himself, and the story refers to the character having written the books which are, in fact, the books of A. R. Davis. Unfortunately, this comes across as almost a sales pitch, which could have been avoided. The ending felt weak in comparison to the story itself, and I found the ending to be a little unsatisfying as a result. Still, if you liked Philip K. Dick's stranger works and want something along those lines, then you would probably enjoy this story. By Nick