BOOK REVIEW

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The Time Saving Agency

By LEE HALL

...Next up my reviews of the ‘Quantum Series’ by Christina Engela continued when I read ‘The Time Saving Agency’ which is the second book in the series. <br> I thoroughly enjoyed this story which fused elements of time travel to the already established quirky futuristic universe that Engela has constructed, referring to my review here’s what I said: <br> ‘Christina Engela has created a story that follows not only a similar concept of the previous entry into the Quantum series but one that fuses those ideas with something completely different and original. Written in a way that sometimes tributes Terry Pratchett, yet again readers will find this story quirky and clever with a style that confides in the reader.’ <br> These stories also take a big step towards positivity for the LGBT community by being unclusive to characters of all persuasions but it’s done in a manner that gives the subject a level of normalcy; something that is needed today! Plus there’s a talking plant, so it’s pretty awesome. I shall be reading the next story in the series very soon!...

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Dead Man's Hammer

By LEE HALL

Suspense, drama and modern issues all of which are tackled in a fun but important way… <br> As the Quantum series unfolds, it grows more and more impressive. Dead Man’s Hammer is proof that Christina Engela can build an established world and insert so many genres into it along with retaining a unique style of writing that not only tributes her influences but has a way of confiding in readers. <br> We are back on the quirky planet of ‘Deanna’, home of the rather ominous sounding ‘obsidian crows’ and more specifically ‘Atro City’ - a place this time around we get to know a bit better while referencing the previous stories of the ‘Quantum series’. <br> Someone is targeting my favourite characters; an assassin enigmatically named ‘Villainessa Tittel’ who is after one person in particular - series regular, Cindy-Mei Winter. ‘Villainessa’ proves to be quite a force in her field of work and does everything in her power to draw in ‘Mei’, wiith whom she shares an interesting history. It is in this history where readers will find the true message and meaning of the story. While ‘Mei’ has moved forward in life she must face what is essentially a demon of her past and a life before she became ‘Cindy’ and it’s trying to torment her! This is a massive nod to modern issues that many people face in the transgender community and in life as a whole, sometimes it isn’t about who you were, but what you are now and what you truly feel. This concept is galvanised by another character ‘Danielle Grauffis’ who is in a process of transition in her young life compared to ‘Mei’. <br> Of course other returning regulars such as ‘Beck the Badfeller’ – who we get a name origins story from and special branch ‘Fred’ the Arborian make appearances along with an extended appearance from ‘Sheriff Peggy-Ann Muller’ who makes quite a team with ‘Mei’ - and this is where a crime mystery element of the story truly shines. <br> Suspense, drama and even tragedy are ways that I would describe the journey this story represents, not to mention that crime-mystery theme along with some more important issues that these books are not afraid to tackle; as much as this sounds heavy, it’s a fun read! Throughout Engela’s writing style naturally flows and is fun to read. <br> Revenge is a dish best served cold, you could even say as cold as ‘Winter’ - but that’s only something ‘I heard through the grape vine…’ <br> 5 Stars

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LodeRunner

By LEE HALL

A fun tale about the perils of voyaging through space to earn an honest buck with a meaningful important message… <br> In the already established ‘Quantum’ universe comes a tale of the unexpected and it might be the best of the series so far. Although initially set on the planet of Deanna we are introduced to P.I Timasket Skooch who happens to win the deeds of a ‘Loderunner’ ship during a card game. <br> From the early stages of this story Christina Engela makes great efforts to not only tell a story with wide appeal but also includes a powerful inclusive message about the subject of transphobia and embracing who you really are on the inside. In this book in particular its a subject that runs as one of the main themes; our main character ‘Tim’ shares a relationship with ‘Dory’ – a woman for all we know but in pre-transition. This subject as a whole doesn’t particularly matter for ‘Tim’ who see’s ‘Dory’ as much more. <br> Leaving his significant other behind ‘Tim’ sets out into the depths of space with an assembled multi character crew on his newly acquired ship in search of earning a buck or two. I particularly enjoyed the depth of character quality in the crew and it made for another crucial element of this book. They agree to take a pair of passengers who appear to be more than what they appear and again the powerful gender message follows while being intertwined with mystery and deception (saying any more would involve spoilers). <br> What ensues is a story with a powerful meaning along with the usual fun moments Engela is known for, space stories really are her specialty and the setting makes the writing feel very much at home. <br> “Does age define the ability to suffer?” A question which best describes the theme in the book and it’s done in a way that doesn’t feel preachy or even like a protest but more so with deeper meaning. By the end of this book I found myself rooting for the characters who deserved the resolve they got. Overall a fun meaningful read. 5 stars.

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