Midwest Book Review
James A. Cox Editor in Chief
No one can stand alone against a massive army. “Songs of Deep Green” tells the tale of Jeff & Carl, two transplants from Earth into this new world, as they set sail southwards to find allies to help the Northern Kingdom stand against the Salchek invaders. But no sea journey is ever easy, especially as winter sets in. “Songs of Deep Green” is a choice pick for fantasy fans who like nautical adventure.
By Amy Shackelford
AN EXHILARATING ADVENTURE !!!, October 6, 2008
Exile to the Stars is an exhilarating adventure to read. From the very start I did not want to put it down and it had me intimately involved in the journey of the main characters, Jeff and Carl . I found this book to be refreshing and totally different than any other science fiction book that I have read in the past.
The author, Dale Matthies carefully explores questions of virtue, human nature, and the deep unity that all beings share (with an emphasis on basic goodness within them). The characters demonstrate the courage of true heroes as they face daunting situations and odds that seem totally against their capabilities. And at the same time they are so perfectly, realistically human, one just falls in love with them.
The story is imbibed with a mystical or magical undercurrent that I found very compelling. In the very beginning chapters, there is evidence of a much deeper story, spanning back thousands of years, which the characters are finding themselves engaged in. As the book continues much more is revealed to the characters about the true mystery that they have found themselves exploring, and more answers about their past and the fate of the world (s) they live in.
Overall I found the writing to flow very well, the plot dynamic and compelling, and the characters to be very well developed and authentic. I enjoyed every moment of reading this book and was sad to see it end. I am very excited to read the next one in the series when it comes out! This novel would make an excellent movie as well.
As reviewed online in the September 2008 issue of Midwest Book Review, Small Press Bookwatch section, www.midwestbookreview.com
Taking our world’s benefits for granted never seems to be a problem. “Exile to the Stars: The Alarai Chronicles Book One” follows one Jeff Friedrick as his twenty-first century life falls apart, nearly killed, and then his life turning out that getting killed would have been the better result. Unusual events force his away from home, into a land known as Aketti. Culture Shock doesn’t begin to explain Jeff’s reactions to this world. An intriguing fantasy, “Exile to the Stars” is recommended to any fantasy fan looking for a new series to sink their teeth into.
Couldn’t put this book down. An Amazon.com review 5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read, July 3, 2008
EDWARD VIVANT (Minnesota usa)
Couldn’t put this book down. Science fiction and historical novel all in one. Characters were well filled out. Became attached to them as I progressed thru the story. Really enjoyed the time travel angle. He had his facts dead on. I don’t read a lot of the genre so I cant compare it to other authors in this genre. Looking forward to reading the rest of this series…
May 26, 2008. This review was sent to the author by email.
The review was written by a 14 y.o. boy. I am told he carried the book around school with him until he had finished it. A first for this youngster. DM
Book review of Exile to the Stars by David A Rozeboom
Out of 5 stars I would rate this book a very heavy 4.5. It is destined to be a classical non-putdownable. Jeff is a cultural anthropologist who happens to be the owner of a very nice, seemingly magical sword which can never leave his side. One night after loosing his job he decides to take a trip to the Cascade mountains where a devastating earthquake sends him into an unfamiliar galaxy where the mountains make the Cascades look like little hills. He meets a pack of wolves and discovers he can talk to him through his own mind. He then finds a horse and they go off on many a journey together. Eventually he finds a lady and they fall in love. What happens when some soldiers get there filthy hands on her sweet body you will have to read Dale Mattheis’ book EXILE TO THE STARS to find out.
Reviewer: An Amazon.com customer
from Bronx, NY USA
I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book. I was originally attracted to the exciting cover art …
Dale Mattheis “Exile to the Stars” passed all my criteria with flying colors. In general the writing style is excellent, the plot exciting, and the characters appealing. I really felt like I was becoming friends with the characters in the book. At first it was a little hard to keep track of all of them, but that smoothed out. The book is a long one, but Mattheis keeps the action coming and I was sorry when I reached the last page.
I also appreciated the fact that the Salchek (who for most of the book are a faceless threat) are toward the end of the book portrayed in a way that makes some of the enemy sympathetic as characters. I am hoping this continues through the rest of the series. If bad guys are portrayed as too black in characterization something is lost and belies the deeper, more self-examining, portrayal of the good guys.
This book is to be highly recommended and I can’t wait to read the rest. If Mattheis is this good in a first book, I would think that the series can only get even better as it goes along. This book is certainly recommended for readers who like David Eddings. I’ve always enjoyed Eddings and find that Mattheis in some ways reminds me of Eddings. If you like Eddings you should love “Exile to the Stars”. This book also compares well with Christopher Stasheff whose series starting with “The Warlock In Spite of Himself” also thrusts a modern man onto a planet with a society that is analogous to earlier Earth history.
As reviewed in the December 2002 volume of Aphelion Webzine: www.midwestbookreview.com
Review Copyright 2002 by Dan L. Hollifield
General impressions of the book:
From the first few pages, I was hooked. I didn’t want to put this book down! I can’t wait for the rest of the series to come out. This is a most impressive work. Congratulations, Mr. Mattheis! Well done!
The characters came alive from the very first page. As soon as I began to read, I also began to care about these people. The description of 21st century Earth was frightening in it’s plausibility, and the world of Aketti was no less real. The world-building displayed in this novel is some of the finest I’ve ever seen. Each village, town, city, and forest read like a travelogue of real places, just slightly out of reach for most Travel Agencies. The cultures on Aketti are as real and vital as any from Earth’s own history. As the adventure progressed, every aspect of the world of Aketti rang true. I could feel the wind on my face, see the forest glades and towering mountains, and smell the tang of blood on the battlefields.
Some references to Tolkien and other writers are subtle and well placed. They only add to the realism that the whole work displays. In fact, the only flaw I could find in the book (if you want to call it a flaw) was that the characters tended to speak in perfect sentence construction too often. But when accents and slang were used, they conveyed even more realism to the tale. At first this bothered me, but as I read further I discovered that the more formal speech patterns were deliberate acts on the part of the characters. They were choosing to be more careful in their language as they addressed each other. When they conversed casually, the language was as real as that between any close friends.
This is a very well crafted novel, and the fact that it is the first of a series is even more promising. I’m looking forward to reading further in the adventures of Jeff Friedrick, Carl Jorgenson, and their new friends and enemies on Aketti and on Earth.
As reviewed in the October/November 2003 ConNotations, the bi-monthly science fiction, fantasy & convention newszine of the Central Arizona Speculative Fiction Society (volume 13, Issue 5)
Reviewed by: William B. Whitmore
This story starts out as your standard disaffected modern youth magically transported to a fantasy realm of sword and sorcery novel, but then Mr. Mattheis makes it uniquely his own. The hero of our story is Jeff Friedrick, a professor of cultural anthropology who has lost his girlfriend, been fires from his job, and beaten up by a gang of thugs. All in one really bad weekend. To clear his head he goes out camping in the Cascade Mountains near Seattle, Washington. A huge earthquake hits and the next thing he knows he is someplace with two moons, carnivore deer, and telepathic wolves. Totally confused, Jeff struggles to survive and make a new life for himself and then things really start to get difficult!
Mr. Mattheis has written a very good novel. His tightly knit story line is fast paced and held my interest. His character development is superb, by the end of the novel I was left truly caring what was to become of the lead characters. While the action scenes were not plentiful they were well written and show a detailed knowledge of wilderness survival techniques.
The promo material that came with this book states that this is the first book of a five (possibly six) book series. I look forward to the release of the planned books and would recommend Exile to the Stars to anyone who likes heroic fantasy series.