Official Review: The Golden Helm by Victoria Randall

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MsTri
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Official Review: The Golden Helm by Victoria Randall

Post by MsTri » 05 Mar 2018, 15:51

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Golden Helm" by Victoria Randall.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Being a night owl, I'm often my most creative at night when I can't – or won't – sleep, so I was fascinated with the idea for The Golden Helm, More Tales from the Edge of Sleep by Victoria Randall. A collection of twelve short tales, this tome is comprised of fantasy and sci-fi stories that can come to you in the night. Even though it is a follow-up to the book, Shadowcat, Tales from the Edge of Sleep, it obviously stands on its own.

I absolutely loved this compendium and was saddened when it was over. Each of the stories is quirky in its own way, with some being rather hair-raising and others being somewhat funny. Regardless, they are all fascinating with the perfect blend of suspense, action, and dialogue. While I won't summarize all of the stories, I will mention my favorites:

The title story, The Golden Helm, is a great read about a man who is tasked with keeping a magical helmet safe. The helmet imbues its wearer with great powers. You'll have to read this tale to find out if Aidan gives in to the power or does the right thing. Incident in the Library is a funny little story about a girl in the library who is confronted with a rat-like alien who wants books on American history as it pertains to war. This tale has a really amusing resolution, and I had to take a few minutes to breathe before continuing on. Finally, my favorite story by far was Parenthood by Choice Inc. Invests in a Time Machine. During the time of the Virgin Mary, an older woman appears in Mary's village and is out to “help” all pregnant women so that they can have happier and more fulfilling lives. This woman tricks Mary into her house. Does she succeed in her quest to “help” Mary, thereby altering Christianity as we know it? Or does Mary keep to her promise? There's only one way for you to find out; read this book.

Since each story was so short, the author didn't spend much time on character development. I didn't mind, though, as I felt I knew enough about each person or creature to enjoy the story for what it was. Honestly, just the presence of a unicorn or dragon or wolf made each story great anyhow. Since I already know the basics of these animals, I was well able to imagine the dragons flying around, the unicorn drinking water, and the wolf howling. The settings for each story were also given short shrift, but I didn't find the lack of more descriptions to be an issue either.

What I did find to be a bit of an issue were the numerous grammatical errors, mostly due to punctuation, with commas missing in many places. While it wasn't a major annoyance, it did interrupt the flow somewhat. I therefore recommend that Ms. Randall have this book proofread another time. With her easy writing minus the excessive flourish common to such stories, perfect editing would make this book A+ material.

Because I loved this compilation so much, it is with sadness that I have to give it 3 out of 4 stars due to the grammatical missteps noted above. Even so, I highly recommend it for older readers who are not easily spooked; while I wouldn't consider any of the stories really “scary”, I'm also somewhat immune to fearful literature, so I'd rather err on the side of caution. I also recommend The Golden Helm to fans of fantasy, sci-fi, and short stories. If you suffer from insomnia, this is just the book to get you through, though you may want to be careful which stories you try, lest you never cross the edge into sleep.

******
The Golden Helm
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Post by Irene C » 07 Mar 2018, 11:06

What a wonderful premise for a short story collection (as a fellow night owl I definitely approve). It also seems like a very creative collection. Thanks for this review.
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Post by cristinaro » 07 Mar 2018, 11:58

Tales from the Edge of Sleep - great idea! I think we all have our insomniac moments when we ourselves become writers. :) From your review, I understand the stories are well-written combining suspense with humor. Too bad for the grammar mistakes, but proofreading can fix this problem. Thank you!
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Post by kandscreeley » 07 Mar 2018, 13:04

It's too bad about the grammatical errors, but I do love a good short story collection every once in a while. This sounds like one I'll have to look into. Thanks!
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Post by MsTri » 07 Mar 2018, 14:24

Thanks for your comments, everyone. I absolutely LOVE compilations because they're a bunch of mini-stories instead of just one big one; in fact, the book I'm next reading for review will be my third compendium in a row.

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Post by Kat Berg » 07 Mar 2018, 16:18

I have read quite a few reviews on short stories lately, and although I often don't have a lot of patience with the genre because the writing can be so uneven, I am finding myself tempted anyway. It is disappointing to hear about all the grammatical errors. They drive me bananas and can be so distracting. I'm glad the writing shone through anyway.

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Post by Javancollins60 » 07 Mar 2018, 20:29

Re: Official review; The Golden Helm by Victoria Randall
It's a great story ,love it though too but for grammatical errors .Though the story is mind blowing to put such a beautiful piece in such a manner I gotta say it's pretty intense and formidable

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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 07 Mar 2018, 21:24

Sounds interesting! I like a good short story book once in a while it is a successful attention grabber. Thanks for sharing. Top on my list!
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Post by Jaime Lync » 08 Mar 2018, 15:27

Great review! It really made me want to get a copy of this book for nights when I won't sleep. Props to the author as well.

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Post by CatInTheHat » 10 Mar 2018, 22:43

This really doesn't sound like my cup of tea but I wanted to tell you that I always enjoy reading your reviews. They are engaging and give me something to think about.
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Post by DancingLady » 11 Mar 2018, 10:10

Those sound really interesting. I like the idea of shorter stories to read before bed. I don’t mind them being a little spooky. I’ll have to check that one out. In so frequently need something to help me get to sleep at night.

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Post by 1ditzyrn » 11 Mar 2018, 21:05

I love collections of short stories, as I can usually read a few of the stories in the time between putting the kids to bed and trying to get some sleep myself. I find that if I try to read part of a full length story, I end up staying up way too late trying to finish it! I also love the fantasy aspect, and found your review to be excellent. It gives just enough detail about several of the stories to grab my interest and make me want to read each story to find out what happens. Thanks for such a great review!

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Post by kislany » 15 Mar 2018, 01:07

A beautiful review. I usually don't like much short story compilations, but you've given me the reason to try one out.

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Post by Libs_Books » 16 Mar 2018, 08:56

This sounds like a great collection - maybe not my choice of bedtime reading, but I might give it a go during daylight on a wet weekend! Thanks for a very well-balanced review.

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Post by stacie k » 20 Mar 2018, 14:32

The title story, The Golden Helm, is a great read about a man who is tasked with keeping a magical helmet safe. The helmet imbues its wearer with great powers. You'll have to read this tale to find out if Aidan gives in to the power or does the right thing. Incident in the Library is a funny little story about a girl in the library who is confronted with a rat-like alien who wants books on American history as it pertains to war. This tale has a really amusing resolution, and I had to take a few minutes to breathe before continuing on. Finally, my favorite story by far was Parenthood by Choice Inc. Invests in a Time Machine. During the time of the Virgin Mary, an older woman appears in Mary's village and is out to “help” all pregnant women so that they can have happier and more fulfilling lives. This woman tricks Mary into her house. Does she succeed in her quest to “help” Mary, thereby altering Christianity as we know it? Or does Mary keep to her promise? There's only one way for you to find out; read this book.
I must compliment you on your review... you really have a way of drawing me in and piquing my interest to want to read the story for myself. I especially like your statement that you had to take a few minutes to breathe before continuing on. Were you frightened? excited? astonished? Thank you for a great review!
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