3 Indie Book Reviews: Ghosts of Tomorrow, The Blighted City and River of Thieves

It’s been a while since I’ve posted some reviews (as always), so I’ve got another bundle of three indie books to share here, all worth checking out. We’ve got cyberpunk thrills, atmospheric adventuring and highly irreverent thievery, with Ghosts of Tomorrow, The Blighted City and River of Thieves.

Ghosts of Tomorrow by Michael R. Fletcher

Feel free to judge this book by its cover. It’s a beautiful bit of art that really captures the mood of the book. We’re thrown into a world of killer robots and human-powered AIs, where the preservation of minds in computerised forms is naturally applied to create super-soldiers. The twist is that a lot of the minds in questions are children, with the dual results of (a) a harrowing conspiracy for our protagonist to chase down and (b) murderous robots with adolescent video-game violence fantasies. This is a fast-paced book with a lot of action and creativity and a good measure of humour. I particularly enjoyed the chapters following 88’s completely disembodied point of view – a triumph for following a virtual thought-pattern.

In terms of criticisms, to my tastes the characters overall were rather immature – accurately for the young ones, less convincing in the older generation. The text itself could also use another proofread – there’s some very minor but really obvious typos. But these aspects didn’t detract from my enjoyment of a blast of a story.

Check it out here.


The Blighted City by Scot Kaelen

There’s a lot to like in this tale of adventurers braving the fabled Blighted City of Lachyla. The biggest draw is the atmosphere of the city, which is a great concept that’s always eerily and intriguingly presented. There’s good build up and some superb scenes within it. The fairly jocular trio of heroes provides a nice balance to that grim city, too, as the childhood friends exude a pleasant, companionable nature. The story also offers a good few twists and turns: it didn’t always veer to the unexpected, but it certainly wasn’t predictable, and the unfolding of the Blighted City’s mystery and resolution was definitely novel.

The problem I had, though, was in its editing: I felt a lot of unnecessary sections, and dialogue, could’ve been removed. A really ruthless editor might have cut it by about a third. As it stands the plot and characters are left a bit diluted, whereas tighter text would’ve made the good parts stand out all the more. Still, a book well worth reading and a very promising debut.

Check it out here.


River of Thieves by Clayton Snyder


I was sold on this book seeing the chapter titles alone. A look at the contents gives you a pretty clear idea of what you’re dealing with. An immortal thief and his cohorts drift along the river on One Last Job, or a bunch of last jobs – the details aren’t entirely important because what you’re really here for is a lot of weird encounters with unashamedly brash humour, set against a fairly dark fantasy adventuring. It’s a lot of fun, unpredictable, with great doses of absurdity, but its appeal will undoubtedly depend on how on board you are with the humour. Personally, I enjoyed it all the way. The litmus test is certainly the dick spider.


Check it out here.