Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Kindle Spotlight -- Flash Gold

I recently finished reading Lindsay Buroker's novella, Flash Gold, and I'd like to share my thoughts on the book if I may.

Flash Gold is the story of Kali McAlister, an 18-year-old girl living in the Yukon. She's an inventor of sorts, making advanced mechanical devices that utilize a mysterious power source called flash gold. Her inventions are so revolutionary that people have started calling her a witch. As you can probably imagine, this causes her to lead the life of an isolated outcast.

One day a rugged stranger calling himself Cedar arrives in time to save Kali from thugs trying to learn the secret of flash gold. Cedar claims he has come to protect her for the duration of a sled race she is about to compete in with her newest achievement, a steam-powered sled. Despite her reservations at the idea of accepting the help of a mysterious stranger, Kali agrees to let him protect her in exchange for a cut of the prize money from the race (should they win). Together they set out to win the race and thwart the various evildoers who want to either kidnap Kali or sabotage her advanced sled.

At around 80 pages, the story didn't take me long to finish. It's by no means poorly written; Buroker certainly knows how to tell an engaging story with likeable characters. However, I can't help but think there is wasted potential here. The story's main hook--at least, to me--was the sled race. Would Kali and Cedar be able to win it while fighting off the bad guys? Suffice to say, the race itself ends up being irrelevant and seems like mostly an interesting backdrop in which the heroes could battle the villains. If Buroker had placed more focus on the race itself, she could have ended up giving us a more satisfying rollercoaster of a story (although one particular battle on a frozen lake is pretty cool).

As it stands, I liked Flash Gold but I think it could have been much better. This particular novella is obviously just the setup to more adventures with Kali and Cedar (which Buroker has already written). But at the low price of free, it's definitely worth checking out.

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