2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
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Book Review: The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning

Okay, here’s a cool new one for you – and rather than me attempting to explain it, I’m going to use the author/publisher version. Then I’ll give you my review, then a bit about the author. Enjoy!

About The Book
Beatrix, a spirited but abused acrobat in a traveling circus, seeks more than her prison-like employment offers. More than anything, she wants to know her place in the world of the halcyon 19th century, a time when the last dark corners of the map were being sketched out and travel still possessed a kind of magic.

One night in Switzerland, the mysterious Colonel James Bacchus attends Beatrix’s show. This larger-than-life English gentleman, reputed to have a voracious appetite for female conquests, is most notable for traveling the world in a four-story hot air balloon called The Oxford Starladder.

Beatrix flees that night to join the Colonel and the two of them make a narrow escape—Beatrix from her abusive ringleader, the Colonel from a freshly made cuckold. Beatrix, feeling the Colonel may have the answers to her problems, pledges to help him catch the criminal he seeks in exchange for passage on his magnificent balloon.

The criminal seeks a precious figurine, The Blue Star Sphinx, but he’s not alone. The Sphinx’s immense value has also drawn the attention of the world’s most deadly treasure hunters. A murder in Antwerp begins a path of mystery that leads all the way to the most isolated island on earth.

My Review
I liked this one – the concept was fun, the characters were a mix of personalities, quirks, and foibles, and the race around the globe was interesting as it allowed for a variety of settings and the introduction of new characters throughout. I do think that the characters were not quite as well fleshed out as I’d have liked. I would have enjoyed a little more backstory and depth, as it would have helped explain why they acted or decided to act as they did. Without that, I didn’t always feel as connected to them and their choices as I might have. It didn’t hurt the story, but didn’t help it either.

I also think that the pacing was a little uneven. There were fantastic action sequences, where I held my breath to see how an escape would be maneuvered or a crisis avoided/resolved. Then there were a number of sections where the scene-setting took over – and while the variable scenes were fabulous and a part of what I enjoyed about the way the story played out, the description did sometimes slow the pace of the overall story. It helped set the stage, but without the actors a stage is not quite as exciting…

Still, I enjoyed the overall direction and resolution. I’d like to see more from the characters – as well as more about them. I hope further adventures address both! Thanks to the author for my review copy.

Sounds cool, no? I agree – and I’m not the only one.

About the Author
Patrick Canning spends as much time as possible turning coffee into collections of words that look like books, shorts, and screenplays. Most of his stories attempt to look for the meaning of life in an adventurous way, and often employ humor, important since the search usually doesn’t turn up much.

For more information, visit Patrick at patrickcanningbooks.com.

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