Friday, 14 June 2013

The Compay Articles of Edward Teach by Thoraiya Dyer / The Angælien Apocalypse by Matthew Chrulew

This book is a novella double from Twelfth Planet Press, printed so that the "front" cover has cover art for one novella and when you flip it over the "back" cover forms the front cover for the other novella.

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The Company Articles of Edward Teach by Thoraiya Dyer is the first novella I read of the two. I've made no secret of admiring Dyer's work in the past, and this is no exception.

The story is about two disaffected teenagers, both of whom have zero desire to follow the paths their parents have in mind for them. Layla's parents want her to be a doctor, but she just wants to party, have fun, and make boys fall in love with her. Avi's parents want him to become a lawyer, but to avoid that fate he broke several driving laws so that his impending criminal record would prevent that future career.

At first I was a bit confused as to how Layla and Avi's lives matched the cover art and title, but then they both wander into a costume shop with a shifty shopkeeper and bam, magic costumes transport them back in time and into other bodies and also a pirate ship. The titular Edward Teach is Blackbeard the pirate (which some of you may have already known, but I didn't) and the two present day teens find themselves in the bodies of pirates with future and piratey memories warring inside their minds.

The story follows them as they learn how to function in this new world and try to survive. Dyer shows us a traumatic and life-changing experience for the teens in a brutal cut-throat (literally) world. I enjoyed reading about how each of them came to terms with their situation and their lives and how their experiences changed them.

The Company Articles of Edward Teach was an excellent read. I highly recommend it to fans of realistic pirates, fantasy and Dyer's work. It is worth buying this double just for this novella alone.

4.5 / 5 stars

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The Angælien Apocalypse is the first work I've read by Matthew Chrulew and Goodreads leads me to believe it might be his longest work thus far (short stories in anthologies are also listed).

It's about the end of days in the Christian Rapture sense,  except instead of what one might think of as conventional angels, the beings coming to Earth are aliens. Angelic aliens. Angæliens. And Demœliens. And the main characters get mixed up in the whole apocalypse thing.

And it was severely not my sort of thing. There wasn't anything specifically wrong with it that I can point to and say was done badly (well, except for the nitpicky thing where one of the characters', Joachim's, nickname, Joke, is pronounced like the noun not "yo-keh" as it ought to be). It was the combination of theme and content, I think. Possibly I'm a bit over stories which riff off biblical ideas in this way.

It wasn't badly written and there was a lot of action. I just felt my attention wandering a lot while I was reading and, as a result, it took me much longer to get through than the Dyer novella (a few days, interspersed with other reading compared with one evening). As I have said, I can't quite pinpoint why and I suspect your mileage may vary.

3 / 5 stars

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First published: 2010, Twelfth Planet Press
Format read: Paper! Made from trees!
Source: Purchased at Continuum Convention
Challenges: Half of it goes towards the Australian Women Writers Challenge

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