Daily Archives: May 21, 2013

INDIE EBOOK – Review of Time Sniffers – Shadow World series by C.S. Lakin


I have not been reading or writing about self-published books, because when I first acquired a Kindle a couple of years ago, the dross I had to wade through convinced me that Life was too short to bother. However, with the market share of self-published books steadily increasing and a number of writers I respect making the decision to publish their own work, this stance was no longer possible if I wanted to keep up with events in the publishing world. So, here is my first review of self-published author C.S. Lakin’s offering.

time sniffersThis ebook is a YA science fiction adventure, very much aimed at the early/mid-teen market. Bria Harrison, brilliant teenage daughter of two prominent scientists, searches for her mother, whom she insists is alive, despite the devastating explosion at the National Laboratory. While re-creating her mother’s last experiment in her basement, Bria, her autistic brother Dylan, and four friends cause a rip in time-space – and out of the resultant black hole tumbles K-Six, a time sniffer who has come to get them.

The blurb chatters on for a few more lines, but as it contains a number of spoilers I have decided to leave it there. The intriguing title and well-written sample convinced me to download this book. But would the subsequent story hold me?

Written in Bria’s viewpoint in first person, the start of this novel is emotional as she and her family grapple with the death of her brilliant mother. The trauma and grief caused by the bereavement is well depicted and I also found Dylan’s autism believable. But Bria becomes convinced her mother isn’t dead, the pace starts to pick up and the adventure shifts into top gear.

Lakin set herself a hard task – Bria and Dylan are accompanied by a veritable posse of friends and companions. So, in addition to narrating a fairly complex time-travelling story where the party of youngsters visit a variety of very different worlds, Lakin also has to ensure that we learn about each of the group’s personal journey and what impact all the danger and adventure is having. Writing science fiction is a technically demanding task – which is why there are so many mediocre efforts out there. But, Lakin manages to braid the unfolding action, the changing backdrops and the various personal crises besetting the group very deftly. There is even a spot of romance…

I found Bria’s character and narration convincing and the story compelling – I certainly wanted to know what was going to happen next. Lakin manages to produce a clear story arc for each character and in addition to providing a satisfying conclusion to all the excitement, she also has a twist that sets the team off on their next adventure. Altogether, an entertaining, engrossing read with some interesting ideas about Time and our conception of the universe. I shall certainly be looking for more books by this author.