Today – in my first blog post in over a month (more on that later) – I’ll be giving you a DOUBLE REVIEW. That’s right – two reviews in one blog post. Good for you both books are by Australian author extraordinaire Peter Cawdron.
Cawdron has had the book My Sweet Satan on Pre-Order for about a month now and it is just releasing this week. But, while we were all waiting for that book to drop, he snuck in another short story: Revolution.
In Revolution, Cawdron paints a picture of a world similar to our own, but with technology advanced a bit. Alexander Hopkins is getting home on a red-eye flight from Russia when that world slams into him with all the force Homeland Security can muster.
The breadth of the story is short, so I’ll keep my review brief as well, but you want to catch each word in this tale as Cawdron once again showcases why he is one of the best indie writers around. The pace of the story is at first lazy and perhaps a bit deliberate – much like the landing of a 747 after a 10-hour trip. Once Alexander is on the ground, however, the action picks up and you find yourself whipped around from one place to the next in a desperate attempt to survive and figure out what is happening.
While the beginning of the story starts with lethargy, the ending is sudden and abrupt, stopping too soon for my taste. I wanted more, but isn’t that the mark of a great story?
Now…on to My Sweet Satan.
I’ll include my Amazon review in a moment, but I’ll first say I was hesitant to read this book. I am a fan of Peter’s and consider myself to be a friend as well. While I’ve read his work, he’s also read and critiqued mine and we both share a fantastic editor. But…that title. Say I’m reading it and my wife asks what I’m reading. How do I explain it? It’s hard to explain the title unless you’ve read the entire book, which is perhaps my greatest criticism of it.
The book is tremendous. A fantastic achievement and my only concern for Peter is that less potential readers will pick it up just because a title like that might scare them away.
Perhaps though, this is the ultimate test. Will someone read a book even with a potentially incendiary title? Will they bother to see if the text inside is worth the price of the three words on the front cover? Ultimately, the answer for me was yes.
With a title like that, it was a little difficult for me to want to read this book. Peter Cawdron has made a title that is very provocative, but if the reader can just get past it — get to the heart of the story — they will realize that Satan has very little to do with this tale at all.
I love Peter Cawdron’s work. I just adore it. I have been a huge fan of his previous books and was instantly drawn into the narrative he created in MSS. While I admit the title took me aback, it turns out the title, and the message from the stray moon of Saturn, are both a little deceiving. Deception is a key concept of this book, starting with our protagonist, Jasmine, or Jazz for short.
Jazz wakes up out of stasis, but is missing 20+ years of her life. Now an astronaut headed for Saturn, all she remembers is being 19 and living outside of Atlanta. Her crewmates may or may not have secrets of their own, but the biggest secret seemingly is: What is Bestla? (besides a moon orbiting Saturn.)
In the process of a re-self-discovery, we are seeing the world through Jazz’s eyes, crisp and clear at times, but vague and confused at others. She is smart, but the years of college and learning to be an astronaut are gaps in her memory. She doesn’t know what to do all the time and turns to the only one she believes she can trust — the ship’s AI, Jason.
I’ll say this about Jason — he may be the best character I’ve seen in a long time. I loved what Cawdron did in creating a character that feels totally real, but is not only fictional, but also doesn’t have a body to call his own. The evolution of Jason was fantastic and I would love to see more of him in a future book if Mr. Cawdron ever decides to revisit his MSS Universe.
The story is well told, well-paced, and one I would recommend highly.