Lindsay Buroker – Hunted (2011) | Book Review

Lindsay Buroker - Hunted Flash Gold ChroniclesHunted, the second entry in self-publishing superstar Lindsay Buroker‘s Flash Gold Chronicles, is a steampunk adventure novel that picks up right where Flash Gold left off. Although Flash Gold was enjoyable, it was ultimately forgettable. Hunted improves on every aspect of the original, including stronger character development, even better prose, and dialogue that is vastly improved.

The heroes of the story are the same as the first; Kali McAllister is still trying to avoid being killed for the recipe to her father’s invention of flash gold, an energy source used for fantastical machinery. Her partner in crime is a grizzled mercenary slash bodyguard called Cedar, although that isn’t his real name. They are both well-developed characters with real, nuanced personalities that lend a surprisingly realistic feel to a clearly science fiction piece.

In Hunted, Kali is being stalked by a mysterious villain who apparently has a serious bone to pick. Meanwhile, she is invited to a mine by her ex-fiancee, a jackass named Sebastian. Without spoiling the actual plot of the novella, there is a lot of action and Kali and Cedar end up facing off with a villain that feels straight out of a Silver Age comic book—in a good way.

With strong female characters being so hard to come by in science fiction, the series as a whole is a big breath of fresh air. Kali is an instantly likable heroine, with great depth of character considering the brevity of the first two novellas and the extraordinarily high amount of action in each. Hunted is definitely worthwhile reading, and shows how talented Lindsay Buroker really is.

Rating: 4.5 stars (of 5)

Hunted is available for less than two dollars on Amazon and Smashwords. Be sure to check out her website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

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Indie SF/F Names to Know: Lindsay Buroker

Financial success in the world of independently published science fiction and fantasy is an illusive beast. In order to even approach a supplemental income from being a writer without the help of one of the bigger publishers you need a lot more than pure talent. Aside from being a really special writer, it also requires a writer to be quite prolific, even more so than a traditionally published author, and it almost definitely requires high social media intelligence. You essentially have to be the writer, agent, marketer, and social media manager all at once, while still finding time to actually sit down and churn out that novel or two a year.

Lindsay Buroker is one of the writers on the scene that anyone who has an interest in indie sci-fi has heard of and probably read. She is the writer behind such glowingly reviewed works as the steampunk adventure Flash Gold (reviewed on Android Dreamer earlier this month) and The Emperor’s Edge (review coming here in July), both of which are the first entries in similarly named series that have really high ratings on websites like Goodreads and Amazon, and have managed to sell really well for being self-published.  Although, according to her website, she isn’t making as much as when she was doing a day job, she is making a livable wage by being a writer completely on her own terms.

Publishing two or more novels a year is a really amazing clip that most novelists would be terrified to even attempt; so much goes into outlining and developing a novel, followed by probably many rewrites, that unless you’re already doing it for a living it is just about impossible to find time to do it. Buroker has managed to pull it off and established that independent publishing can be a way to fulfilling ones own literary dreams without having to jump through anyone else’s hoops. A lot more can be read about Lindsay’s trip to literary self-sufficiency at her website, www.lindsayburoker.com.

Review: Flash Gold by Lindsay Buroker

Flash Gold by Lindsay Buroker
Self-published, 2011

Rating: B-

In a steampunky alternate history of the Yukon, a young woman named Kali McAllister enters into a steam-powered sled race with an intention of winning a sizable cash prize so that she can get away from a life in an appropriately boring-sounding town of Moose Hollow. Almost immediately, however, her plans are shaken up by the fact that mecenaries, bounty hunters, and general ne’er-do-wells are trying to hunt her down for the secret to an alchemical breakthrough discoverd by her father called flash gold that is apparently worth her head.

Lindsay Buroker is one of the success stories to come out of the self-publishing revolution. With just about a dozen novels under her belt now, almost all of which have very good to excellent reviews, she is one of the talented few that has managed to make a livable income from writing without going through traditional publishing means. She is essentially living proof that if you are talented and good at marketing, you can make a living off of writing without having to get lucky enough to have a publisher actually say yes. Although she is not the only one to achieve this, it is a rare breed of writer that pulls it off.

Flash Gold is not an amazing novella by any stretch, but has a lot going for it in terms of pure entertainment. The action starts almost immediately, and it basically never relents. It has the pulpy escapist feel that so many readers look for from time to time, and its brevity makes it an easy read. Although the basic plot is sort of simplistic, it redeems itself because the main character is so likable. Being that this is the first book in a series, Buroker has laid a strong foundation with Kali, a fiercely independent and plainly kickass chick who has surprising depth considering the length of the work.

There are times in the novella where the dialogue is a little iffy, but the prose is consistently strong. When action and movement of story are the focus, it is good to be strong but utilitarian in writing style, and Buroker manages to do that here. Never was her prose a distraction from the novel, and that is more than can be said for an enormous majority of self-published science fiction and fantasy writers. While I wouldn’t say that Flash Gold is indispensible reading, it is an entirely enjoyable novella that will appeal to steampunk readers and general fans of action-driven sci-fi and fantasy.