Saturday, January 31, 2009

What I'm Reading Now-The Tinker God

The Tinker God by Don F. Nichols-Okay, little disclaimer here: I know the author of this book, not well, he's just a friend of a friend whom I've met once or twice, but that is what prompted me to pick it up in the first place.

I really liked the first half of this book, but I'm not sure if that's because I really liked the book or because I really liked the fact that it took place in places that I have visited and am familiar with. Nichols goes back and forth between Albuquerque and the Jemez Mountain area, a relatively unknown area outside of Albuquerque, in his book; it's not like he's writing about New York City where everyone and their brother either lives there or has been there (except me!) and can go, "Ooh, I've been there!" So, that was kind of neat for me to be able to relate to the area he was talking about and the things his characters were doing. The plot development at this point was kind of slow, but I thought he was doing a good job of bringing in all the characters and letting us see who they were.

The second half of the book picks up the pace as far as plot goes, but I got a little frustrated with some of the side stories that were going on. The main story revolves around the retired Director of the Lab, Bob Wilson, and his granddaughter who is kidnapped in order to get Wilson to cooperate with a project the Lab is working on. The Lab is never named, but it's a pretty safe bet that it is based on Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, NM. Then there is a side story of love and romance between two characters and a lot of talk about God and faith and an I-found-Jesus! moment, and while not entirely out of place in a story about people who have essentially created technology that would allow them to play God, I felt like the I-found-Jesus! moment was a bit too convenient and unrealistic. That could just be me being cynical though. Maybe that's how these things really work; I don't know.

The ending also felt a bit unfinished to me. I wasn't sure if the author was leaving room for a sequel or just didn't want to tie things up too neatly, but I just found myself trying to turn the page several more times at the end only to find that there was nothing else there every time.

Speaking of turning pages, I read this on my Kindle (since that appears to be the only available format at this time), and there was a lot of odd formatting. I don't know if this is consistent with what a print copy would look like or if there is something wonky that happens when you try to put a book into e-book format. There were also a lot of typos; again I'm not sure if this is due to a lack of editing pre-Kindle or something that happens in Kindle transition. I don't really know how that process works.

Overall, I thought this was a good book, especially for a first-time author. I thought Nichols did a great job of giving all of his characters unique voices, from the 5-year-old Otis to the British pre-school teacher to 15-year-old Beth. I would recommend this if you are looking for a quick, easy read over the weekend, on the beach, or on vacation. Unfortunately, you have to have a Kindle to read it at this time, but perhaps it will be available in book format soon. Also, as of this review, it only costs $2.40, and for $2.40, I definitely think it's worth the read!

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