For Blood or Money
By: Benjamin Reynolds
Publisher: Damnation Books
Rating: 4 thrills
Fin and his best friend Septimus are lured to a distant planet by rumors of a buried treasure. The journey to the forbidden planet is fraught with misery and desperation. When they finally land, they find a small measure of comfort, but ominous warnings about the treasure do little to deter them from their mission.
As I’ve said before, I hesitate when it comes to small press sci-fi. I’ve had some very painful experiences, and pissed off quite a few authors. And, as I’ve also said before, I was pleasantly surprised. I completely zoned out during a math class to finish the story!
Reynolds writing caught me from the first sentence. He’s incredibly descriptive and fine-tuned, drawing in the reader and making them use all their senses to experience the desolate world of Kafiristar. Although his characters were a little confusing and it was hard to diferentiate between the two during tense scenes, it didn’t distract from the story. The worldbuilding was fantastic, as was the character development. The natives were an interesting bunch.
My biggest issue with the story was the ending. It was appropriate, and suited the story very well. It was the perfect, final collapse of the friendship as well as the delicate psyche of one of the characters. My problem was that it just happened. I wanted just a touch more, more of an explanation about the discovery, the impact on the characters. Just a few lines. Too much more would definitely ruin it.
I’m definitely looking for more of Reynolds’ work. He’s one of the authors that I’m wondering why I see their book in small press, and not on the shelves at the bookstore!