The Explorers Guild: Volume One: A Passage to Shambhala by Jon Baird with Kevin Costner & Steven Meyer, illustrated by Rick Ross
The Explorers Guild marks an imaginative return to old time adventure stories. It is told partly through dense journal prose and partly through the style of a graphic novel. The incredibly creative meeting of the two distinct styles weaves a story of the mythical traveling city of Shambhala against the backdrop of World War I. This novel is not for everyone. It’s dense, archaic writing and length are difficult to maneuver at times and I felt myself wanting more of the graphic novel portions because most of the action happened there, but I have to say that I enjoyed it overall. The story is filled with adventures in far-flung places of the Earth and the characters are memorable. However, it is the beautifully rendered illustrations that really stand out. If you like good adventure stories, check out the unique novel that is The Explorers Guild.
The Gift of the Quoxxel by Richard Titus
King Norr of Nibb wants to see the world beyond his small island kingdom. He watches ships that pass his island wondering why they never stop. Little does he know that adventure is about to find him when a strange girl appears out of nowhere.
The good: It is nice to see the passion and attention that Mr. Titus obviously put into his novel. It has interactive links to a glossary, audio files, even sheet music, and I very much enjoyed the amusing illustrations that appear between chapters.
The bad: The story never quite captured my fancy. The world of Nibb is just a little bit too outlandish and although some people might find that charming and Seussical, to me, it was slightly tedious. I’m also not exactly sure what the story is about.
The ugly: The book has glossary hyperlinks that you can tap and jump to the definition in the back. It also has a link back to the table of contents at the end of every chapter. While I applaud the use of technology, I found these annoying and unnecessary. Many of the linked words appear in the onboard Kindle dictionary and I don’t know why I would go back to the beginning of the novel at the end of a chapter. The blue of the hyperlink just pulled me out of the story because it drew my eye away from the rest of the text.
*Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of this novel with a request for an honest review.*