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The Illumination Query (The Speed of Darkness #1)

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A surreal romp about a dissatisfied zookeeper’s endeavor to contemplate his toxic new allies as they create an terrible situation for his unintended enemy to grapple with. ---- What makes someone a monster? The zookeeper Ronald Carpenter needs help recovering his escaped charges and is grateful when the secretive Eclipse company steps in to help. Little does Ronald know just A surreal romp about a dissatisfied zookeeper’s endeavor to contemplate his toxic new allies as they create an terrible situation for his unintended enemy to grapple with. ---- What makes someone a monster? The zookeeper Ronald Carpenter needs help recovering his escaped charges and is grateful when the secretive Eclipse company steps in to help. Little does Ronald know just how nefarious a company they really are and why they have such expertise in taking unwilling subjects captive. Can their offer of a higher salary make him leave a job he loves and help them do what he feels is just wrong? Nigel Hunter’s experiment in an Eclipse lab looks like it could enable incredible movement powers. Intrigued with the prospect, he voluntarily gets the company’s help to try the procedure upon himself. The Eclipse now decide to take him prisoner with their other test subjects so that they can test the unbelievable speed it has given him more fully. When the Eclipse pits Ronald and Nigel against one another in this way, can either one of them manage to get away?


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A surreal romp about a dissatisfied zookeeper’s endeavor to contemplate his toxic new allies as they create an terrible situation for his unintended enemy to grapple with. ---- What makes someone a monster? The zookeeper Ronald Carpenter needs help recovering his escaped charges and is grateful when the secretive Eclipse company steps in to help. Little does Ronald know just A surreal romp about a dissatisfied zookeeper’s endeavor to contemplate his toxic new allies as they create an terrible situation for his unintended enemy to grapple with. ---- What makes someone a monster? The zookeeper Ronald Carpenter needs help recovering his escaped charges and is grateful when the secretive Eclipse company steps in to help. Little does Ronald know just how nefarious a company they really are and why they have such expertise in taking unwilling subjects captive. Can their offer of a higher salary make him leave a job he loves and help them do what he feels is just wrong? Nigel Hunter’s experiment in an Eclipse lab looks like it could enable incredible movement powers. Intrigued with the prospect, he voluntarily gets the company’s help to try the procedure upon himself. The Eclipse now decide to take him prisoner with their other test subjects so that they can test the unbelievable speed it has given him more fully. When the Eclipse pits Ronald and Nigel against one another in this way, can either one of them manage to get away?

17 review for The Illumination Query (The Speed of Darkness #1)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    What started as a mutual professional aid situation becomes a living nightmare for one zookeeper who discovers that if an offer is too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Sarah Baethge’s THE ILLUMINATION QUERY is a chaotic journey told through the eyes and voice of dedicated, yet underappreciated zookeeper, Ronald Carpenter is like watching an impending train wreck and you have no way to stop it. When Ronald’s zoo had an escaping bat problem, he is offered assistance from the Eclipse Company, of What started as a mutual professional aid situation becomes a living nightmare for one zookeeper who discovers that if an offer is too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Sarah Baethge’s THE ILLUMINATION QUERY is a chaotic journey told through the eyes and voice of dedicated, yet underappreciated zookeeper, Ronald Carpenter is like watching an impending train wreck and you have no way to stop it. When Ronald’s zoo had an escaping bat problem, he is offered assistance from the Eclipse Company, of course, they will want his “expertise” in return. Sounds simple, but little did Ronald know, not everyone operates with full disclosure until they have him hooked with the offer of a more glamorous position and higher salary. But he'll still be working with animals, right? Or will he find himself trapped among the monsters of fairytales and fantasy? Sarah Baethge gives Ronald’s voice that of a man with honor, one who loves what he does, but feels underappreciated. He is naïve, too trusting and falls into a carefully laid trap as the true darkness of the Eclipse Company is revealed. Dark, edgy and sinister, we feel what Ronald feels and see what Ronald sees, but unlike Ronald, we can escape! A quick read with some surprising developments, especially for Ronald! I received a complimentary copy from Sarah Baethge! Series: The Speed of Darkness - Book 1 Publisher: Sarah Baethge Page Count: 118 pages Available from: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view... For Reviews, Giveaways, Fabulous Book News: http://tometender.blogspot.com

  2. 5 out of 5

    Marcia Carrington

    THE ILLUMINATION QUERY by Sarah Baethge is an entertaining, irreverent science fiction novella. At first glance the plot seems simplistic, but the author has created an intricate, labyrinthine chain of events which carried me along with the exploits of the characters until the satisfying conclusion. The scientific terminology was utilized in a proper, but not excessive manner, and not alienating to the reader unfamiliar with these. I also liked the subtle comic tone employed throughout which pro THE ILLUMINATION QUERY by Sarah Baethge is an entertaining, irreverent science fiction novella. At first glance the plot seems simplistic, but the author has created an intricate, labyrinthine chain of events which carried me along with the exploits of the characters until the satisfying conclusion. The scientific terminology was utilized in a proper, but not excessive manner, and not alienating to the reader unfamiliar with these. I also liked the subtle comic tone employed throughout which provided an appropriate contrast to the underhanded goings-on of the characters portrayed.

  3. 4 out of 5

    R. Claire

    I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This science fiction novella has an intriguing concept and a unique framing device. Some of the scenes are quite vivid, but too much of the story lacked cohesion. Also, the copy I received had formatting issues that made it a challenge to read. I think the author has some interesting ideas that could be improved with further development and polishing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. A simple tale of a zoo keeper takes a dark turn in author Sarah Baethge’s novel The Illumination Query. Here’s the synopsis: A surreal romp about a dissatisfied zookeeper’s endeavor to contemplate his toxic new allies as they create an terrible situation for his unintended enemy to grapple with. ---- What makes someone a monster?  The zookeeper Ronald Carpenter needs help recovering his escaped char I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. A simple tale of a zoo keeper takes a dark turn in author Sarah Baethge’s novel The Illumination Query. Here’s the synopsis: A surreal romp about a dissatisfied zookeeper’s endeavor to contemplate his toxic new allies as they create an terrible situation for his unintended enemy to grapple with. ---- What makes someone a monster?  The zookeeper Ronald Carpenter needs help recovering his escaped charges and is grateful when the secretive Eclipse company steps in to help. Little does Ronald know just how nefarious a company they really are and why they have such expertise in taking unwilling subjects captive. Can their offer of a higher salary make him leave a job he loves and help them do what he feels is just wrong? Nigel Hunter’s experiment in an Eclipse lab looks like it could enable incredible movement powers. Intrigued with the prospect, he voluntarily gets the company’s help to try the procedure upon himself. The Eclipse now decide to take him prisoner with their other test subjects so that they can test the unbelievable speed it has given him more fully.  When the Eclipse pits Ronald and Nigel against one another in this way, can either one of them manage to get away? This story is like Frankenstein meets The Island of Dr. Moreau, where a zoo keeper finds himself in a deal he literally cannot refuse, overseeing security for some of the strangest and most dangerous creatures on the planet, while one scientist takes an experiment into his own hands and suffers the ultimate consequences. This story was filled with twists and turns galore, exploring a world of mad science and exploring the way humanity treats the animals of this planet, often caging them rather than letting them live free and open in the world. The story and it’s background are what really thrive in this novel. The mythology being built of supernatural and scientific creatures alike, amazing abilities and dangerous science gone wrong are all so mesmerizing to read that one can’t help but be drawn into this amazing world created by the author. The scientific methodology used for this story all makes it so believable that you almost start to imagine what kind of secret organizations and creatures are hiding in the shadows of our world… Overall I loved this story. It was fun to read, quick and fast paced, and delivered an incredible first entry in what should be a whirlwind adventure. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of The Illumination Query by Sarah Baethge today!

  5. 5 out of 5

    3 no 7

    “The Illumination Query” by Sarah Baethge is the first book in “The speed of Darkness” series. The book is presented as journal entries by Ronald Carpenter and Dr. Nigel Hunter who each tell their version of events to the narrator, Joel, who transcribes their accounts. This structure makes the narrative appealing and convincing. The tone is casual and conversational, without an excess of unintelligible science terminology or science fiction jargon. Through his account, Carpenter presents himself “The Illumination Query” by Sarah Baethge is the first book in “The speed of Darkness” series. The book is presented as journal entries by Ronald Carpenter and Dr. Nigel Hunter who each tell their version of events to the narrator, Joel, who transcribes their accounts. This structure makes the narrative appealing and convincing. The tone is casual and conversational, without an excess of unintelligible science terminology or science fiction jargon. Through his account, Carpenter presents himself as a man of conscience who loves what he does. He and is trapped by “The Eclipse” as the result of both his naivety and his greed. Dr. Hunter’s journal entries add a sinister, dark edge to the narrative. I was given a review copy of “The Illumination Query” by Sarah Baethge, BooksGoSocial, and Net Galley. I am not a regular reader of Science fiction, so I am not sure how it compares with other books in the genre, (hence the three stars) but it had the necessary elements of a good story. It was fast paced and fun to read. I might even check out the next in the series when it comes out.

  6. 5 out of 5

    litandcoffee

    I started ‘The Illumination Query (The Speed of Darkness)’ by Sarah Baethge quite late in the night, not expecting much partially because I’m not a very keen sci-fi fan, and also because the cover of the book looked so drab. But after just a few pages, I was swept in the story of former zookeeper, Ronald Carpenter who now (or later) worked as some kind of security head guy for The Eclipse, a nefarious company involved in tons of evil testing experiments on living subjects. By the time I paused t I started ‘The Illumination Query (The Speed of Darkness)’ by Sarah Baethge quite late in the night, not expecting much partially because I’m not a very keen sci-fi fan, and also because the cover of the book looked so drab. But after just a few pages, I was swept in the story of former zookeeper, Ronald Carpenter who now (or later) worked as some kind of security head guy for The Eclipse, a nefarious company involved in tons of evil testing experiments on living subjects. By the time I paused to take a break, I had read 50% of the novella and it was well past midnight. The rest half of the book I finished next morning which contains the account of Dr. Nigel Hunter whose experiment in an Eclipse lab looks like it could enable incredible movement powers. Fascinated with the prospect, he willingly gets the company’s help to try the procedure upon himself. But the company takes him prisoner so that they can test the unbelievable speed it has given him more fully. The story is told to readers in two parts through diary entries of Ronald Carpenter and Dr. Nigel Hunter. Both men speak their own accounts to the narrator, Joel who transcribe the story as it is told. The story is intriguing, the plot tight and the pace fast. Despite the sharpness of the author’s tone, some readers might find the story bit confusing. My suggestion: take it slow, go back if you’ve to, see what you missed and you should be fine. It’s a brilliant story and a must read. I’m a science major so all the scientific terms were known to me. The non-science readers might find it bit alien and difficult to follow through, but it wouldn’t take the pleasure of the story away from them. The language is simple and the two men’s account is quite captivating. It will keep the readers hooked. This book is definitely 5 stars, but I’m taking a star out because there were a few grammatical errors. As the story is written exactly as narrated by the two protagonists, the argument against the perfect grammar holds solid ground though. Readers can overlook those errors easily. I wouldn’t say much about the horrors that Dr. Hunter as The Eclipse’s test subject went through or the moral dilemma faced by Carpenter throughout his time at The Eclipse. You ought to read it yourself to see what happened. The author gives Carpenter’s voice that of a man with conscience, one who gets trapped into evil ways of The Eclipse partially because of his naivety and trusting nature and also because of his inner greed. As we hear his account, the sinister ways of The Eclipse are revealed. By the time Dr. Hunter start to narrate his account, the story becomes more sinister, darker and edgy. Sci-fi fan or no, this book is a wow and will appeal to every reader. Do give it a try! You won’t be disappointed.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Katie Blythe

    *This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review* Ronald is a zookeeper because he loves animals so much. One day a swarm of bats somehow escape, and through internet research, Ronald comes across a company called “Eclipse” that says they can help him find and get his bats back to the zoo. However, they tell him that if they help him, he will one day have to do them a favor which he reluctantly agrees to. Others find out about him hiring Eclipse for help and a lot of back *This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review* Ronald is a zookeeper because he loves animals so much. One day a swarm of bats somehow escape, and through internet research, Ronald comes across a company called “Eclipse” that says they can help him find and get his bats back to the zoo. However, they tell him that if they help him, he will one day have to do them a favor which he reluctantly agrees to. Others find out about him hiring Eclipse for help and a lot of backlash happens. Eclipse is a large company that does a lot of evil schemes and experiments and because of that, Ronald is unfortunately fired because the zoo doesn’t want all the bad publicity. Ronald is devastated when he is then called in for his favor. Apparently a scientist, named Nigel Hunter, at Eclipse is testing and researching something on not only rats, but himself, and the company wants to lock Nigel up and test his experiments, along with other people, to use them for their own selfish ends. They tell Ronald that his favor is that he needs to be the one who not only tells Nigel, but also to escort him out. Ronald is reluctant and unsure but they offer him a substantial amount of money and essentially force him to do it no matter what. Nigel tries to put up a fight, but is eventually taken into custody. He is locked up and treated poorly by a lot of the other inmates until he shows them what he is capable of. They can’t take the way Eclipse is run so he and a few other inmates come together to figure out a way to break out. I’m not a huge sci-fi fan but the summary intrigued me enough to want to check it out. However I was confused by a lot of it because there is so much scientific talking go on that it made me confused as to what was going on part of the time. I did enjoy the first half more than the second but I enjoyed the overall idea of the story. If you love sci-fi I would check this out but if you are a casual sci-fi reader it may not be for you. ***Review has been done in conjunction with Nerd Girl Official. For more information regarding our reviews please visit our Fansite: www.facebook.com/NerdGirl.ng***

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mandy Parmenter

    Ronald Carpenter is a zookeeper and is struggling to find some escaped creatures when a mysterious and secretive company called Eclipse however it then becomes clear that they use nefarious means and so he struggles with his conscience when they offer him a job earning more money - can he leave the job he loves and helps then to do something he feels is wrong? Nigel Hunter has a theory on how to give people the move amazing movement capabilities so Eclipse agree to repeating his experiment on hi Ronald Carpenter is a zookeeper and is struggling to find some escaped creatures when a mysterious and secretive company called Eclipse however it then becomes clear that they use nefarious means and so he struggles with his conscience when they offer him a job earning more money - can he leave the job he loves and helps then to do something he feels is wrong? Nigel Hunter has a theory on how to give people the move amazing movement capabilities so Eclipse agree to repeating his experiment on himself in the lab however it has a dreadful effect of them taking him a prisoner and keeping him in the lab with the other test subjects. So when Roger and Nigel are pit against each other which one of them is going to win? Wow this is a very dark science fiction story that certainly challenges the reader to suspend what they believe is normal. I liked the story but I did find the format of it being like a series of notes more than a little irritating as I got further through the story. I feel it would probably work better as a physical book and not as an e-book - I just struggled to cope with the different formats, the notes, the comments about not being a writing - they got a bit tiring towards the end. Well written and easy to understand even though I found it a bit strange.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Destiny Bridwell

    I received a copy of this for a fair and honest review. I have never been much of a science fiction fan, but it did not take long for this tale to get me all wrapped up in it. The tale is twisted, sinister, and hold an edge the never lets up. It makes you want to watch your back. It stars a zookeeper named Ronald.  Who loves his job and loves animals, but some bats escape and he needs help to get them back. That is how he comes across a company called Eclipse. Like does he know that they are not I received a copy of this for a fair and honest review. I have never been much of a science fiction fan, but it did not take long for this tale to get me all wrapped up in it. The tale is twisted, sinister, and hold an edge the never lets up. It makes you want to watch your back. It stars a zookeeper named Ronald.  Who loves his job and loves animals, but some bats escape and he needs help to get them back. That is how he comes across a company called Eclipse. Like does he know that they are not all they seem to be. They are not all forthcoming with the proper inform. Then there is Nigel who as works at a lab with Eclipse. He gives himself over to be experienced on. That is when the story takes an even dark turn. This puts Ronald and Nigel against each other. I fear I might have said too much. Can't tell you the whole story. Grab a copy for yourself and read this tale. 

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amy Shannon

    A journey of sorts I enjoyed going on this journey, following along with the records of Nigel's notebook. It's a well written story that brings the reader right along. Ronald is not the typical zookeeper, and it's his narrative, and he is a very interesting character. I thought of how he perceives colors, and how he writes "Yes, I realize that the majority of people don’t hear in color, but that feeling doesn’t mean I’m crazy, I don’t believe. There is even a word that someone else came up with t A journey of sorts I enjoyed going on this journey, following along with the records of Nigel's notebook. It's a well written story that brings the reader right along. Ronald is not the typical zookeeper, and it's his narrative, and he is a very interesting character. I thought of how he perceives colors, and how he writes "Yes, I realize that the majority of people don’t hear in color, but that feeling doesn’t mean I’m crazy, I don’t believe. There is even a word that someone else came up with to describe the phenomenon- synesthesia,   so I know it’s not just me." And this is just the beginning. I enjoyed the story and I enjoyed reading it, which are two different things, but almost the same thing as well.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mfonemana Uduak

    So the cover kind of threw me off, but this was next in my review list so, I had no choice. But it surprised me. Great writing style.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rayleigh

    Imagine a dimly lit room with only a desk in the center, accompanied by a single chair. One man sits in the chair as he nervously explains his account of the story to the authority figure behind the desk. It's a professional, top-secret interview that is being recorded. And all we can do is listen to the account of two men in order to make our judgement in trusting them about the story unfolded. This is how I imagined The Illumination Query taking place. The story is told to us through the notebo Imagine a dimly lit room with only a desk in the center, accompanied by a single chair. One man sits in the chair as he nervously explains his account of the story to the authority figure behind the desk. It's a professional, top-secret interview that is being recorded. And all we can do is listen to the account of two men in order to make our judgement in trusting them about the story unfolded. This is how I imagined The Illumination Query taking place. The story is told to us through the notebooks of Nigel and Ronald, but not as if we're reading a diary. Both men speak their accounts to the narrator, Joel, who writes the story as the men tell him. So we very much are told two accounts of the same story. I really did like this unique take on storytelling, at first. But I quickly found myself wishing that I could watch the story more and get more of a taste of the action that I only received a tease of. It's such a well planned, well thought out story, and with very intriguing characters, that only listening to the character's records of their battle with The Eclipse just didn't seem like enough to me. I wanted to be in the action! This style of storytelling is what I would enjoy as a novella accompanying the novel, an additional "clip" to keep us engaged with the story, if you know what I mean. I did get annoyed with how the characters included comments that seemed to have the only purpose of excusing a poorly written paragraph, such as the narrator saying "I never trained as a writer." And while I do understand this being a part of the narrator's character, I feel like the book should have reflected the author's good writing, and I know that her writing is good based on how well this book's theme fit together, more than a character's bad writing, because to a reader, the two got blended together. Also, unfortunately, I have to mention my distaste for the book cover (this is the cover on Amazon). Even though one of the most wildly used quotes is "don't judge a book by its cover", each and every one of us do. A book's cover really will play a huge part in whether a book sells or not and this one just seems sloppy. A well done book cover is not that hard to do with the free resources available to writers these days, and a professional book cover really isn't that expensive, especially if it will increase the probability of it selling. So my overall opinion of The Illumination Query is a good opinion, but I think that the book could be improved to make it amazing. As I said, the story did intrigue me and I did want more, I just felt as if I missed out on a lot because of the limitations of reading "a notebook". I give it 3 out of 5 stars. I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own. This is a LiteratureApproved.com Review

  13. 4 out of 5

    Aylen Ramirez

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lorrea - WhatChaReadin'?

  15. 5 out of 5

    Emma Donovan

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Patterson

  17. 4 out of 5

    David Rose

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