Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Indie Book Corner: Sky Ghosts: All For One by Alexandra Engellmann

The cover of the book perfectly sets the tone for what to expect in the book.  It's dark and gritty and bloody.


Sky Ghosts is a book about two sisters that work for a shadowy organization composed of beings called Sky Ghosts.  These are individuals who've separated from humans long ago and gained access to powers buried deep inside of them.  They stick under the radar to avoid human contact mostly but a few influential humans know about them and pay them lots of money to complete tasks like bodyguard services and the like.  One night the two sisters stumble across rogue Sky Ghosts, called Sky Beasts, about to kill or capture two helpless human boys.  The sisters intervene and save the boys and take them with them to their HQ.  From here they are tasked with protecting the boys and everyone involved wants to figure out just why the Sky Beasts wanted these two so badly.

That's the bigger mystery for most of the book.  And there are some nice twists and turns in it to keep you guessing for a while.  Along the way you'll find out some history behind the organization and the Sky Ghosts themselves and get some background on Pain and Jane and some of the other characters as well.

Quick Rating: The plot isn't the strongest aspect of the book but it is solid and gives a nice backdrop to some awesome character action and drama.  It takes three chapters for it all to build up but by chapter three I was immersed.


All For One is filled with babes and blades, studs and swords, and beyond all that a lot of heart.  What I mainly liked about this book was its fusion of eastern ideas and western style.  That fusion can be seen most clearly in the way that the character's powers work and the way they fight.  The powers of the characters all come from inside.  There's some genetic factors at play but mainly the power functions essentially like Ki or Qi as it is understood in eastern philosophy.  Characters here are stronger, faster, and can fly!  And what's better than that is the fact that with practice a person can hone these powers to an even greater degree.  I dug the powers immensely and the way each character applied such abilities was distinct.  It reminded me of the anime Claymore where everyone has access to the same abilities but some specialize in certain aspects over others like speed or power or healing.

Claymore by Norihiro Yagi, Published by Shueisha and Viz Media, Animation by Madhouse, and Licensed by Funimation
Quick Rating: There's so many cool ideas and great execution here that it's clearly one of the books strengths.


The strongest aspect of this book was the way the characters interacted and played off of each other and the dialogue they had with one another.  There was an abundance of humor anytime this young cast did anything together.  Pain and Marco were hilarious early on.  Their banter, bullying of each other, and combined bloodlust made me laugh so hard and wince a little bit too (these two rarely pull their punches).  Beyond the humor there's a lot of sincerity and heart in the dialogue and emotions between everyone.  You end up feeling for all the characters even ones you might not like.  By the end one of the characters I disliked for most of the book became my favorite.

Quick Rating: The characterization, character interaction and banter between the characters is by far the strongest aspect behind this book and--more often than not--is what will keep you turning the pages.


The fight scenes are particularly awesome and bloody!  There's a lot of blood.  Be warned!  The violence is stylistic and each character fights how you'd imagine him or her to do so in stunning aerial sequences of steel, blood, flesh, and bone.  Being the action junkie that I am I could picture every scene perfectly as if it were an action movie.
Sky Ghost art from Engellmann's Tumblr page

Quick Rating: A great splattering of blood and clanging of steel is found in many pages of this book.  I found it to be very enjoyable.  I only wish there was a little more variety to be found here.  Regardless, all of these scenes were hugely entertaining.


Now as a guy--no that's a bit of a copout--I'll just say that I'm not that inclined to like drawn out romances.  All the back and forth kills me every time.  So romance isn't my genre.  There's a lot of romance here and there's a nice amount of back and forth to it.  It's not my cup of tea but fans of the genre will no doubt like it.  That said I still like how it played out, it was just a little over suspenseful for me.  I guess I didn't mind it so much because I did want these two characters to succeed with each other.

Quick Rating: My previous words don't give enough credit to the romance subplots in the book.  There is actually a lot of suspense here, not just in the main coupling but in several others as well and it's all portrayed very realistically.  So while not my genre I still enjoyed it.

Indie Plug (FREE STUFF)

I really liked the high manic energy of Sky Ghosts and all of its crazy characters so I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you check this one out.  Right now it's for FREE on Amazon.com until the 20th of this month.  So check it out and let me know what you think of it.


There has been a major update to the book since I last read it at the beginning of January.  The contents have been cleaned and tightened and the plot more focused.  If you have an older version of the book just contact Amazon Support (https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/contact-us) and ask them to update your copy.  They're really quick about it too.  For all new buyers you'll automatically have the new updates.


Alexandra Engellmann is a truly fascinating person.  Just take a look at her profile by clicking the picture to the left to get an understanding of what I mean.  In summary; she's Russian, she taught herself English by learning the lyrics of songs she liked and reading books that caught her attention, and she's crafted a book that wouldn't make you think any of that.  I've known her for over a month now.  We've been corresponding about the hardships of being newly released Indies in a broad sea of books.  She's given me some great tips about the 'biz' and I have done the same for her.  What I can add to her profile is that she works tirelessly, has a hugely creative mind, a great sense of humor, and is very supportive of other Indies.  And she's a digital artist to top all of that off.  She's quite the modern day renaissance woman.


Sky Ghost art from Engellmann's Tumblr page

The world of Sky Ghosts and its characters have a certain darkness about them.  This is evident in the descriptions.  The action takes place under the veil of night and the characters are all garbed in black.  It’s a very visual world and the author has taken this a step further and drawn some damn good digital art for the characters and some of the settings.  It can be found on her personal Tumblr page and a page made by a fan of hers.  Its extra content that keeps you immersed into the book while you're reading or after you're done.  I just find it cool to have art on characters that I've come to really like.

+Fights Scenes
+Cool and Badass Characters
+Believable Romance

Not so Awesome
-Long Book
-Slow Start


My Secret?

As I was reading this book, I faced the fact that I have a dark secret buried deep inside of me.  It's been there for a while but it's only now just surfacing.  I feel that it's finally time that I share it with you all.  You see.  I am....

I am a Sky Ghost!!!
 Or a nerd with a little extra time on my hands on this particular day.  I'll let you be the judge of that.
As always, thanks for the browse!

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