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Greek Key (Hope Blackwell Book 1) by [Spangler, K.B.]
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Greek Key (Hope Blackwell Book 1) Kindle Edition


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Length: 291 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Product description

Product Description

All Hope Blackwell wanted out of her spring break was a quiet Mediterranean vacation. Sun, sand, local cuisine…and tracking down Archimedes’ ghost to learn if he’s been tampering with the fabric of reality. But when you’re a psychic whose specialty is communicating with the dead, a trip to Greece means you’ll come face-to-face with legendary heroes

And monsters.

As Hope and her friends explore the lost ruins of an ancient civilization, she soon learns she has attracted the attention of one of the most famous women in history. Helen of Troy is nothing like her stories, and she’s got a problem she thinks Hope can solve. Hope isn’t too sure about that—if righting a 2,500-year-old wrong was that easy, wouldn’t Helen have found the time to do it herself?

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2754 KB
  • Print Length: 291 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: A Girl and Her Fed Books (25 October 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0176JYLXO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #269,903 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 39 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What do a thief, the two worst psychics in the world, a murderous talking koala, and a 2500 year old ghost have in common? 28 October 2015
By Stephen Ray - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What do you get when you send a murderous koala and the two worst psychics in the world to Greece to track down an ancient artifact? The answer is a fast-paced adventure ranging across Greece in search of ghosts and clues that I could not put down.

Greek Key is the 5th novel by K. B. Spangler, and the first where Hope Blackwell is front and center. In the Rachel Peng series, her story has only been touched on, but in this novel, we see what she's capable of and why she's so important. She may be the second worst psychic in the world, but her other abilities make her the person best suited to investigate a potential threat to reality itself.

At first, I was a bit thrown by the first person narration. A narrator with Attention Deficit Disorder doesn't seem like the best choice for narrator at first. Within the first couple of chapters, I realized this was the best way to go. It allows you to get to know Hope more quickly, and lets her introduce important background material to readers without having to stop and spend three chapters getting you up to speed.

This is the first book in the Hope Blackwell series. The Rachel Peng series, the Josh Glassman book (series?) and the webcomic all these characters spring from, A Girl And Her Fed, all exist in a shared universe, but it's not necessary to have read any of the other material in order to enjoy this novel.
4.0 out of 5 stars less good than her Rachel Peng series, but adds to it 26 December 2016
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Pros: book is well written and the plot is interesting and fast paced.

Cons: the main character.

I have a hard time with Hope. I really like Spangler's Rachel Peng, but Hope's voice just irritates me. I tried reading the Girl and Her Fed comic, but didn't get past chapter two as I hate comics--the stylized art reads as crude to me, and the semaphore-like expressions on the characters' faces and bodies can't substitute for the nuance possible when describing emotions, choices and actions in words. My issue with Hope's voice is that it's a combination of snarky, arrogant and entitled. I used both arrogant and entitled because she sees things purely from her own viewpoint and arranges all outcomes to fit; plus she assumes that there's nothing she can't get to work in the way she wants it by throwing her money, her brains, Sparky or Speedy at it. Hope doesn't seem to doubt herself much if at all, and everything easily goes her way--which makes her both less interesting and less human than Spangler's other characters.

I liked Mike a lot better than either Speedy or Hope. He's a lot more emotionally complex: he has a history and issues, and he knows that and still works to do what's moral in his world view. It also helps that unlike Hope, Mike doesn't have a bottomless well of ego and money to throw at problems. He is self-confident, but more willing to tread lightly in difficult situations.

So why four stars? Because the book still meets my criteria of well-written, readable, and able to keep my attention throughout. It also offers me a wider view into Rachel Peng's universe (though a somewhat less grounded one, as Hope's character and experience are more of a comic and less a novel). I especially liked the first chapter where Hope has an internal dialogue about how she feels about Rachel's empathic abilities, and how Hope's differ, along with the glimpse we get of Hope's and Patrick's relationship and life.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Fun - Great Way to get into A Girl and Her Fed 7 December 2015
By Steven T. Erickson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So, I have talked about the A Girl and Her Fed universe before. If you read any of my reviews about the Rachel Peng books, then you will be running into some familiar faces here.

We have Speedy and Hope as the primary protagonists this time around. Rachel’s not the focus here and we are, instead, introduced to the universe through Hope’s eyes and seeing her try to solve a mystery that has a lot more to do with the origins of how OACET and the ghosts work in the A Girl and Her Fed universe.

I’m not spoiling much in this review, but if you haven’t read A Girl and Her Fed yet, you might want to back out and go read it before you read on because some of this will go into spoilage as to how the rules of the Universe there work.

SPOILER TAG

SPOILER TAG

SPOILER TAG

The main mystery revolves around an artifact, a piece of the Antikythera mechanism, that is commented on in both the comic and in the Peng novels. They have a piece of a machine that is out of place and out of time for the development of the period. Hope, Speedy, and the Ghost of Benjamin Franklin (I’m not sure if that’s a title or not…maybe I’ll tweet the author to ask) have been discussing the limits of how a ghost can work and how time flows in the A Girl And Her Fed (AGAHF for short) universe.

It boils down to this: ghosts can move backward and forward in time. However, this requires a great deal of power. A ghost gets its power from his/her effect on the world. Also, a ghosts power appears to be limited to the culture in which it was created. This means that most ghosts are quite limited in their power. Benjamin Franklin’s ghost is very powerful in the United States (as are the other ghosts of the Founding Fathers. And Lincoln…oh dear lord, Lincoln). However, when Hope travels outside of the U.S., Franklin can’t follow / can’t manifest (side-note: given his years in Europe, I wonder if he can manifest there as well…).

We already know from AGAHF that Franklin can time travel. He did it to help Hope play the stock market so she didn’t have to focus on gaining money and could instead prepare for the coming of OACET and Sparky and a few other slightly more world shattering elements coming to the U.S. (and the world) than whether or not she could pay the bills. Of course she originally thought he was a drug induced hallucination, but that would be getting off topic and into AGAHF rather than Greek Key.

Panel Post
I’ll just leave this here as an explanation Image is Copyright (C) K.B. Spangler

The point being, his power lets him jump forward in time and, unlike many ghosts, he can bring back elements of what he finds in the future. In the comic, he brings back a ring that is linked to OACET so she can call in help from Sparky whenever she needs it. This takes a tremendous amount of power and the ring is only a small thing.

The mechanism piece? It’s a bit bigger. Which means a lot more power would be needed. Not only that, but we’re looking at a time jump that would make Doc Brown jealous.

And without a DeLorean.

Or a Flux Capacitor.

This machine piece that they have found, however, appears to have come from someone a bit more…universal. Think mathematics. Like Universal mathematics.

It’s Archimedes. Yes, that Archimedes.

I told you it was Universal Mathematics.

This has everyone baffled and a bit worried as it was found in a stash that was being supervised by the main antagonist of AGAHF.

Hope, being one of the few who knows the ghost connection in OACET, decides to investigate and she takes along Mike. The pair are psychic and are able to use that ability to tap into the ghost spectrum – though neither is particularly good at it. You do what you can with what you have.

Then we run into an archaeologist, Atlas, (who’s probably not on the up-and-up) and his sister, Darling (who’s definitely not on the up-and-up) and they get involved in examining the mystery as well.

Helen of Troy also ends up entangled.

It’s…complicated.

The story is also a lot of fun. As a fan of AGAHF, I got a lot of satisfaction out of reading the story. Hope is a fun character and Speedy is a highlight as well. They play their typical roles, but those roles are written quite well.

Hope is a strong protagonist. It is immediately obvious that she is in charge of herself and her choices; there’s no damsel in distress here. No one is ‘letting’ her do the things that she does. She is doing them through her action and through her conscious choice. It’s a good message and one that shouldn’t have to be said, but I’m pointing it out because that message is often lost in other media and stories. Hope’s a character that is strong on her own and she happens to be female.

Speedy is still a hyper-intelligent Koala. I don’t really feel the need to elaborate there, but he is enjoyable. However, I’m a Speedy fan and I hear there are those that disagree with him. That’s your choice – I can assure you that he doesn’t care in the slightest.

The mystery of Archimedes’ machine is the central plot of the story and its practically a character in and of itself. The jumping and shifting of ideas and ‘OK, that didn’t work, next plan’ is a lot of fun.

For me this book had a lot to tell. It establishes quite a bit of the rules for the AGAHF universe. The world building is fascinating and I enjoyed those elements a lot.

My major complaint comes from only two elements. My first is Hope’s attraction to Atlas. It seems overplayed and not especially relevant to the plot. I get that it is part of the character of Hope to be easily distracted, but I just did not like the Atlas bit at all. It’s a personal element, but I feel it detracts from Hope’s character to have that be a focus of her distractions. The rest of her jumps, however, are hilarious and/or plot related and I enjoyed them, but the Atlas ones didn’t ping right for me. Maybe it’s my sense of humor.

Which brings me to Atlas himself. As a character and an antagonist (I won’t go far enough to call him a villain) he’s in the gray area. It could be argued that he’s not even really an antagonist so much as a stumbling point. He’s a pretty face and something for Hope to get distracted by given his amazing Mediterranean body and that’s pretty much it. There is some effort at characterization by having him have a rivalry with his sister, but it doesn’t come off as particularly effective. His reveal and subsequent plot related items come off as convenient and/or out of place when reading and that appeared to defeat the purpose of having him in play. He helps the plot along and gives Hope a few things to think about, but it doesn’t really bring out anything new or interesting in the characters and so he falls flat.

On the whole, though, Greek Key is a strong novel with an interesting mystery. Hope, Mike, and Speedy make up for the lack of a traditional antagonist by fighting with the mystery surrounding the Archimedes device. The solution is a fascinating twist and turn as Spangler develops her world and reveals new and fascinating bits about how the world works in her universe of ghosts and government. For AGAHF fans, this will be a lot of fun. For inductees and those new to the universe, it will be an exciting adventure with a strong protagonist and companions that will lead you into a complex and fun world.

Characters: 4.5 / 5
Plot: 4.5 / 5
Action: 4 / 5
Value: 5 / 5
Writing: 5 / 5

Overall: 4.4 / 5
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great KB Spangler Novel 30 October 2015
By K. Trabue - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you haven't explored the Otterverse that is "A Girl and Her Fed", start reading it right now. It's a web comic, so you can go back to the beginning easily enough. Spangler uses the name Otter in writing it. Then, buy all of her Rachel Peng stories, and this one, "Greek Key". KB Spangler is definitely an artist worth supporting. The comic sucked me into her world, and I seriously cannot get enough of her writing. She is a professional, her plots are well written and very well edited. Of course of all of this is science fiction, but it is so believable!
Thank you for another marvelous read, KB!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spangler continues to do good work in this universe, but Blackwell is tiresome 14 January 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like K.B. Spangler's Rachel Peng novels. Hope Blackwell is much more central to the Spangler's "A Girl and Her Fed" online graphic novel than is Peng, but Blackwell has the handicap of being a substantially more ridiculous character than Peng. Where Blackwell goes, mayhem and hilarity (sometimes forced hilarity) ensues, and it frankly gets a bit tiresome. This isn't a bad book, but it feels a bit forced, and Blackwell functions a lot better as a sidekick/love interest than as a main character. Fans of the Peng series and the graphic novel don't need to stay away, but they may not find this book terribly satisfying.

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