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(4 out of 5 stars) by Matthew Jones

I purchased this book on a whim at Anthrocon 2008, and I have to say that I'm happy I did. (The final paragraph is a summary of the above ones, so if you're feeling impatient today you can just skip and read that one. ^_^)

To start off with, let me say that this book is well written. Mr. Frane does a wonderful job at being very descriptive without droning on; his descriptions basically entail everything that, were you or I to be in this situation, we would notice and deem important. This book, though imposing in length, is not a particularly difficult read. There are a few terms that you may not be familiar with if you are new to the furry fandom (I am, and it took me a while to find "ringtail" on Wikipedia. :P), but overall the English is not overly imposing, which is good if you are not a native speaker. The only complaint I have is that, in certain parts, there are a number of grammatical errors, which only very slightly detracted from my enjoyment of the book (no offense meant, Mr. Susman).

The story is a bit slow paced for a good portion of the book, and this may turn off those readers with short attention spans. However, though set in a different world all-together, the interaction between the characters resembles our own interactions in all the right ways. By this I mean that you will often find yourself saying "I completely agree with this character", and as this book is not action packed, it is good that the characters are easy to connect with. These interactions are also a main theme in this story, and they resemble real life situations perfectly.... situations which the reader may find familiar, perhaps strikingly so, which in turn only leads to a deeper emotional connection to the story.

One thing which I found to be bad (and which made me give this book 4 stars, not 5) is that the story is quite predictable. This is not to be translated as "boring"; on the contrary, this book is not one which you can easily put down. However, for a large portion of the book, you can easily tell where the story is leading. Part of the reason is the back cover, which (in my opinion) gives away far too much of the story. Fortunately, while this applies to a good portion of the book, the latter half does challenge your previous assumptions.

The artwork, though not the focus of the book, does a great job of allowing the reader to envision the characters. Also, the artwork in the book is VERY well placed, and it accentuates certain scenes quite nicely.

So, overall, Thousand Leaves is a well written, immersive story that, while somewhat predictable, allows the reader to connect with the characters, thereby creating an emotional tie that makes the reader desire to know how things will turn out in the end. Definitely worth checking out.

14 September, 2008

(5 out of 5 stars) by Micah Kautter

Really a good book. There were a few typos and mixed up words, but all in all, it was a really good book. It just pissed me off that he killed my favorite character. =( But then....I've always had a thing for skunks. =D hehehe
27 February, 2009

(5 out of 5 stars) by Philip Rawlings

As I write this review, I only hours ago finished reading Thousand Leaves. The last 80% of it I read in one sitting, simply because I found myself unable to stop.

I will refrain from commenting on details of the plot altogether. The description posted on this site tells about all one can without spoiling some element of the story. What I will comment on is why I feel that Kevin Frane has made the telling of it so enchanting that it made me get off my lazy butt, register an account with this site and write a review about it.

When I first started reading this book, I did so with a very detached, pessimistic attitude. As usually happens with books I read, my attention was gradually drawn in, I began to become emotionally invested in the story and the characters. What I was not expecting was to be completely swept off my feet, and plunged into Reeve's world. You know a book is written well when you're no longer aware that you're reading words off a page. I was barely aware I was in my home at all. It was probably the most intense experience I have ever had reading a book.

I don't know what more I can say about this novel. I very highly recommend it, and I urge anybody reading to buy it.

But be warned. It may be just me, but you might just find yourself with more of a story than you bargained for.
1 December, 2008

(5 out of 5 stars) by Tim Susman

Disclaimer: Kevin is a friend of mine and I edited "Thousand Leaves" for Sofawolf, so I am admittedly somewhat biased. :)

Furry fiction lends itself to one of two main types of story: one in which the characters cannot stop obsessing over their "furriness" (whether good or bad), and one in which the furriness barely plays a role. It's rare to find a world that is so internally consistent that the ramifications of a society composed of so many different species are apparent to the reader, but completely ordinary to the characters. It's even rarer to find a good story set in such a world.

The world of "Thousand Leaves" is a multi-species community, at a level of technology roughly contemporary to ours. The city itself is a marvel of architecture and class distinction, with three levels separated from each other physically as well as by class. Reeve, one of the heroes of the book, has just come off a relationship that propelled him into the higher class briefly. He misses both the higher class and the relationship, but more importantly, he's starting to feel that something is wrong with him. His ex, who has taken up with a new boyfriend, misinterprets Reeve's attempts to warn him, even when some of their other upper-class friends start to get sick. Reeve has to turn to their mutual friend Monique and, in a strange turn of events, his ex's new boyfriend, to get to the bottom of the disease.

To tell more about the plot would be to ruin the excitement of what is a tautly constructed thriller. The early part of the book starts slowly, introducing you to the ensemble cast and the spiderweb of relationships that connect them, while laying the groundwork for the medical thriller to come. Think of it as the clack-clack-clack of the roller coaster mounting the hill. Once you crest the hill--and you'll know just where that it--the book doesn't let you go.

Kevin has a terrific touch with character, which allows him to pull off the very tricky feat of having an ensemble cast with character arcs of their own. Each of the personalities in the book is distinct and well-realized, with marvelous dialogue between them. The real joy of "Thousand Leaves" is getting to know the characters, and that's what gives an extra dimension to the medical thriller: you've come to truly care about the characters whose lives are at stake. That's not to short-change his ability to describe the city or the pathos he plunges his cast into, nor the complex plot he has his characters navigate, nor the textured feeling of the world they live in. But the characters are the heart of this book, and a vibrant, engaging heart it is.

I don't usually review Sofawolf books because I'm so intimately involved in the selection, edition, and production. And of course I'm going to say good things about our titles. But I'm particularly proud of having been a part of the release of "Thousand Leaves," not only because it's good for Kevin and good for Sofawolf, but because it's such a great story and exemplar of what we look for in a furry novel. So take my review with a grain of salt, but give "Thousand Leaves" the benefit of the doubt. We wouldn't be printing it if it weren't a great book.

4 July, 2008
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