Review of Cindercast #1 by Michael Blackburn

For Ollie, a tiny quarter-inch tall Seelie, surviving the stormy sea is only the beginning. The ten-year-old finds herself lost on an unfamiliar shore littered with strange artifacts. With a brave crab as an ally against the monstrous beach creatures, Ollie must race the rising tide to find her way home.

Detailed illustrations by the author pull the reader into the adventure of Cindercast. Michael Blackbourn tells the tale through the perspective of the tiny Seelies, revealing the hidden world tucked away on our ocean’s shores. Discover an amazing landscape between the waves of the high and low tides, teeming with life, and filled with danger. – Goodreads Synopsis

Cindercast: A Tale of Tides

My Review of Cindercast: A Tale of Tides

Cindercast is well-written glimpse into the world of the Seelie, as envisioned by Michael Blackbourn. Pea-sized, with a magpie attraction to shinies, they live on the shorelines of oceans living their lives in accordance with the tides.

The series takes place in a world where nanobots are used for some unknown purpose. Indeed, the word nanobot is completely unknown to the Seelie. They are called “cinderblocks” and collected, admired for their properties, and all respect the danger that comes inherent with just touching the wrong side of the blocks. Its not until over three-quarters of the way through the book that I was sure the author was even talking about nanobots, so I’m sure for little kids these blocks would remain a cool bit of mystery (at least until they asked their parents!).

The interactions between Ollie, the small girl, and her mini-crab companion are reminiscent of any strong bond between kids and their animals. The crab can’t speak Seelie, but gets his adventurous point across with many sounds and gestures. It’s enough to almost make you want to go out and get a pet crab. Almost. Also, I have to take a moment to talk about the illustrations. Simple black and whites, they are very well done and absolutely adorably. They really help bring the characters and scenes to life.

If you’re picky and old-school about your punctuation, Cindercast will make you twitch. The style author uses isn’t necessarily ‘wrong’, but the lack of commas in certain areas made me want to scribble in corrections.

The only other thing I have to mention, and something that I’ve griped about in the past with adult books, is that these ‘books’ tend to feel incomplete as the author attempts to stretch them out into separate segments to keep attention going or gain more money from the writing (not sure what the case is here, just stating it as a generality). This is done to the detriment of the story. Cindercast feels like the tiniest possible sliver of a story and ends just when you’ve really started to invest your interest in the characters and started to like the world. It doesn’t have the feel of a kid’s book that’s just supposed to be a short little tale. It has the abbreviated/abrupt feel of a story that’s been unnecessarily cut up.

Now, I received a copy of this book free in exchange for an honest review, but speaking from the viewpoint of a consumer, I wouldn’t recommend investing in this as a series just from the impression the first piece has given me. It’s a tasty sliver of the pie, but if all the pieces are going to be this small, it’s just not worth the hassle of eating it.

Overall, while I did enjoy Cindercast: A Tale of Tides, and  I do think that Michael Blackbourn has talent, I can’t really endorse the book. Both as a reviewer and a parent, there’s a certain irritation with feeling like I’ve just read the teaser to a good story, but not the actual story itself. That’s why it’s receiving a three Coolthulhu rating from Sci-Fi and Scary.

3 Star Rated Review

Title: Cindercast: Tale of the Tides | Series: Cindercast #1 | Author: Michael Blackbourn | Publisher: Self-published | Pub. Date: 2015-2-1 | Pages: 164 (just over 100 comprises Tale of Tides. The rest is extras.) | ASIN: B00T2T9PYW | Genre: Children’s Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: Near-drowning | Date Read: 2016-4-20 | Source: Received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.


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