Before I start, here’s an update on the latest phase of the Comic Organizing Mega-Project. All went well, I found the comic I wanted to, and now I just have the final integration to do as soon as I can get to it. Also I found a few comics I may want to pull from the oversized library because I already remember not liking them. So that’s a positive event. And now on to this week’s book review.

Over at BW Media Spotlight I just finished a “Chapter By Chapter” review of The 1st Phase Shifters And The Omega Capsule, the first of thus far two books by Theresa Broderick. It wasn’t an easy review, because Broderick also happens to be my mother’s cousin, so I had to be respectful since she’s pretty much family but still give a fair but honest review of the book. If you want to know my thoughts during the 17 chapter reading session (although on a few occasions I actually combined chapters) here you go. This is an overview of the book and what I thought of it.

The book must have a fan base. The first book, which is out of print as of this review, goes for surprisingly high prices on Amazon. Barnes & Noble, and eBay where you can expect to spend around $100-$500 for it. The second book is also out of print according to Amazon. That’s not bad for a young reader’s book. At least I think that’s what it is, since Broderick is known for writing children’s books before writing this one and the chapters are rather short. That doesn’t stop the story from being good. I can enjoy a shorter book just as easily as a longer book. It just takes less time. But was that the case here?

The story follows Crede, an alien prince from the planet T. Dak6, who comes to Earth to experience life as a human being. The people are non-corporeal, but can form physical bodies if they so choose and have other talents that pop up during the story. Arriving in the town of Branson, Crede tries to blend in, meets a girl, and makes friends while working at a restaurant. He is soon followed by his best friend from home, Hal, and another named Zucker, who is also their friend. Hal decides to become a dog instead of a human and life is pretty decent for them. That is until Crede’s brother, Hoylt enters the picture. Unfortunately he’s evil, and wants something only Crede can access. What is the secret of the Omega Capsule and what will Crede be willing to give up to keep it from his brother’s hands?

The story itself is quite good. While one may think Crede sometimes adapts to Earth too well, how alien should he be before it becomes more of a gag than an introduction? Crede and the others who come did their homework. End of story, move on. There is some great interaction between the people of T. Dak6 and the humans, but there’s also the mystery of who Hoylt is. What the Omega Capsule is takes a while to get to, and while my initial chapter reviews kept asking for an explanation, when it’s revealed it makes sense she waited so long to tell us, so hold on and the payoff is worth it. I do wish the physical descriptions of the characters came sooner, however. We still don’t know what kind of dog Hal is (choose your favorite breed I guess) and it’s at least half-way through before we know what Crede and Zucker’s human forms look like, or for that matter Susan, Crede’s love interest.

The action is pretty good as well. A new power is introduced to both us and the Phase Shifters (that’s not a team name or anything in-story) when it makes sense and we see them struggling to learn how to use it before finally figuring it out. There’s a mystery as to who Hoylt is and I won’t spoil that. This isn’t a high-action story (there’s only 17 chapters of roughly five pages each, and Broderick has to introduce our players in that as well) but when the action happens, including Crede’s big encounter with Hoylt, it’s well done. While some parts aren’t as tense as I would have liked, you do get the impact on the characters and the Crede/Hoylt final is satisfying.

If I were to log a serious complaint against the book, and one that came up often in my Chapter By Chapter review, was the punctuation. I don’t have an editor, so I’m sure there are plenty of typos on both my sites or a misspelling in my comics. However, unless Broderick self-published (which would make the prices the book goes for even more amazing) she should have an editor to check punctuation and even the occasional grammar mistake. It means you really have to pay attention to realize who is speaking and what they’re saying versus the narration far too often, and it couldn’t have been that hard to catch unless the deadline was seriously short. It is a low mark on an otherwise good story.

Overall this was a good book and while I can use the money there are certain familiar ties to it. However, since I’m trying to reduce the clutter this would only stay in my collection if I wanted to read it again, and despite the huge punctuation errors I just might. The story is good, the concepts are unique or at least not clich├ęd to death, and I honestly like the characters. At some point I wouldn’t mind reading the second book, The 1st Phase Shifters And The Sacred Mountain, but that’s also out of print, so that’s not too likely. I don’t know if my mom enjoyed the first book, or even got to read it before she passed away in 2015, but she did order it while it was available, and she was lucky to get it. She wanted to see what her cousin was writing and as a critic I can say it is a good book. Just good luck finding a copy.

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