Reviews: American Alchemy Gold by Oliver Altair AND King Cage and the Worth Street Djinni by Mike Stop Continues

You might remember from all of the European Cruise pictures that last month I went on a wonderful adventure with the Writing Excuses team to Europe. At that time, my partner in crime and fellow Unreliable Narrator Chris Cornell and I met a lot of wonderful people. Almost on the first day I met Mike and Oliver, and the descriptions they gave me of their work enticed me, so we kind of exchanged information and books. I’ve finished American Alchemy Gold and King Cage and the Worth Street Djinni, and now I gotta tell you enthusiastically that you need to get out there and start reading these guys.

Let’s start with American Alchemy Gold. Altair writes a moody and driven novella with a serious edge. What happens to the main character in the book happened, no doubt, to many a prospector who set out to prove themselves in California. This is a tale of greed over friendship, over sanity, over self-respect, and then, in a Weird West twist, it becomes a supernatural tale of revenge. Altair has incredible momentum. You can feel the sanity slipping away from the narrator like the continuing dull beat of a bass drum. I am reminded of Poe’s characters and how they slip loose from sanity, a noose of madness circling them tighter and tighter around their neck. There are more stories in this series, and I want to encourage you to go download the first of them, just like I did, and enjoy. I don’t know if I’d read them late at night.

Mike Stop Continues writes an entirely different sort of fiction. King Cage and the Worth Street Djinni is an action sequence that lasts around 100 pages. It is brutal and violent, fascinating to watch, as King Cage, a street artist who works in his medium to confine djinn, fights against time, odds, and self-doubt to protect the city. The characterization are raw, the hero in thankless work, the only paladin against an invasion only he can see. A touch Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere with the aesthetic of Paul Cornell’s The Severed Streets series, Continues is telling a heroic, satisfying story that will make you wince. Website here.

I am so lucky to have met these talented writers, and I’m looking forward to following their work. And guys, happy anniversary today!

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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