Belief: Book Two of the Vanilla Cycle - M.H. Van Keuren


M.H. Van Keuren has a talent for developing interesting characters. Riding with Rhubarb's Martin as he makes his sales calls brought back memories of the long rural business drives I once made. Watching Teague grow up in a future Bangkok made me feel as though I'd done so myself. Even Legitimacy's other protagonist, Rob garnered my interest despite his lack of self-discipline and self-indulgence.


Van Keuren's does not employ his talent for writing interesting characters in Legitimacy's sequel, Belief. Although his writing remains up to par, Van Keuren's characters do not. They are two dimensional and barely compelling.


Orson Scott Card, in his book on writing science fiction, states that there are four types of stories: milieu, idea, character and event. Although stories can have multiple elements, one of the four will predominate. Legitimacy begins as a character story but becomes more of an action story by its end. Its sequel, Belief, is entirely an action story. Teague barely makes an appearance — an appearance by inference only. Rob makes no appearance at all.


Van Keuren states on his blog that he intends a third volume in this series, I hope he restores symmetry to the whole by bringing back Teague and Rob, and by employing his talent for writing strong characters.