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5 stars
1,421 (51%)
4 stars
896 (32%)
3 stars
340 (12%)
2 stars
73 (2%)
1 star
43 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 108 reviews
Profile Image for Robert Thompson.
171 reviews35 followers
September 13, 2013
I can't believe I am going to say this but I really liked this book. Stay with me a sec here.

You really need to cut off the higher functions of your brain to appreciate the storyline. Once done it's a fairly straightforward improbable SciFi romp that is high on the "what ifs" and low on the "but ifs".

Truth be told, I wouldn't see myself giving this two stars if not for a really cool x factor. What that is, I really can't put my finger on.

It's annoying that the book is superficial most of the time. What's not annoying is the length and the pacing. Both combine to make this worth the invested time.
May 21, 2014
This book does everything wrong. The heroine is good-looking (ok, nothing wrong with that), superathletic, supersmart, humble, nice and everything else positive you can think of. Ok, she has low endurance, but that is all. The villains are stereotypes (stupid irrational Arabs), America is great and the solution of the main plot-line is good-looking, superathletic, supersmart, humble... you get it.

The writing is ... functional at best.

But this book has one thing going for it: it is fun to read. I don't know exactly why, may be a bit of escapism, but in spite of all its flaws it is one of these books I read in one go.

This is a book where the quotient of fun divided by quality is quite large.
Profile Image for Ron.
242 reviews16 followers
May 16, 2016
There is such an outrageous amount of flaws contained in Dr. Dahners' Ell Donsaii series that I find it hard to single out specific elements. Here are some of the things I find disappointing:

His heroine Ell Donsaii is set up with a truly staggering amount of potential traumata and restrictions, however, the author fails to truly develop her character defined by her struggles to overcome them. She does not so much meet any potential challenges as leap over them. Donsaii loses her father very early, her mother has problems to keep her small family solvent and then pre-teen Ell witnesses her mother getting attacked by a serial rapist and accidentally maims him. This episode gets mentioned once or twice later in the series, but aside from a greater awareness of her potential to seriously harm other people it does not seem to have an impact on her. Later her mother remarries and Ell's step-father is emotionally and borderline physically abusive, yet teenage Ell, despite her social awkwardness, some issues with her body image and some short-lived periods of frustration and occasional outrage at his behaviour, does not let this impediment have any impact on her life or academic career. In a later novel her mother divorces her step-father and quickly finds a new, better companion, but even this development does not have any real impact on Ell.

Ell grows up poor and several times lacks the money to immediately pursue her preferred course of action, such as attending her choice of college or easily patent her inventions. Again, this never poses an insurmountable obstacle or influences her behaviour unduly. In the end she amasses a staggering amount of wealth, courtesy of her inventions and the company she founds to develop them, but whether poor or the richest woman in the world, her behaviour, her goals and her interests do not change appreciably. Ell Donsaii seems above such concerns, almost untouchable by merely mortal considerations.

One of her more prominent traits, apart from her genius level intellect and aptitude for mathematics, is a set of physical mutations which enhances her nervous system and alters her musculature, granting her almost supernaturally quick reaction speed and sprinting capabilities. More than once she is self-conscious of her physical differences and at first shies away from displaying the full range of her physical abilities, which does not keep her from winning several Olympic gold-medals in gymnastics. In later novels, however, this reticence vanishes without any convincing reason provided by the narrative and Donsaii goes on to prove her superiority by publicly dominating several other athletic disciplines.

The range of emotions the protagonist displays is comparatively narrow and any emotional outbursts are strictly short-term and do not influence her actions. They remain mostly emotional ornamentation rather than a true description of her character. For the most part she seems rather detached and intellectual, despite dating several men and eventually starting her own family. She professes concern for her friends, employees and the human race and is always seen as a wise leader, making the right decisions in the face of opposition by the overly emotional normal human people around her which she either decisively defeats and outsmarts or who become converts to the cult of Ell Donsaii. Consequently, the characters in Laurence Dahner's Ell Donsaii series stay almost uniformly flat.

The same shallowness of response holds true on a wider social level. Donsaii makes several related revolutionary inventions which completely transform almost every segment of everyday life and the economy and apart from an awkwardly narrated impact on the presidential election there are almost no reactions from society as a whole, at least none which relate the complexity and inconsistency of human society which in Dahner's novels remains unconvincingly docile and compliant. Donsaii's conflict with foreign intelligence services, belligerent companies and finally a hostile president's administration remain without deeper impact on either the protagonist or society as a whole, merely temporary inconveniences rather than a true danger. Donsaii always remains the admired heroine, her adversaries fail to accomplish anything and have to accept public censure. Conflict remains a series of singular events with short-term consequences. Even her need to go on the run to keep her dangerous inventions out of the hands of an incompetent administration has been predicted by her and she is able to continue a comparatively tranquil life with her family under an assumed identity and resume her work.

Now, having ranted on Dr. Dahner's literary inadequacies and the social and psychological shallowness of his novels, I will tell you why I continue reading his Ell Donsaii series and why I recommend it as a way to spend some hours of your free time. These novels are what I like to call true science fiction. Dahners comes up with interesting scientific concepts taken from recent research and uses them to envision possible inventions and applications for the near future. On the basis of one perfected mathematical theorem based on a real-life scientific conundrum his protagonist develops solutions to real-life problems such as the shortage of energy and resources if we do not want to render our planet uninhabitable or medical solutions to severed nerve cords and other disabilities and proposes conveniences such as an unlimited bandwidth for a secure and instantaneous global communication network without the need for expensive infrastructure, personal flight capability, clothing with integrated climate control and instantaneous delivery of items bought on the internet. The applications for industry and consumer markets seem limitless and Dahners provides a solid scientific grounding for his speculations such as calculations of the needed energy and amount of carbon dioxide and methane for terraforming Mars, the needed tensile strength to use inflatable bags filled with the necessary amount of water to be an effective radiation shield, quotes from medical journals on the causes for obesity and other fascinating details which fill in the gaps in the reader's understanding of the practical problems science has to overcome to make science fiction become reality. For my part, I remain curious which further ideas Dr. Dahners will pursue in future instalments of his series.
860 reviews15 followers
January 2, 2023
I haven’t come up with a better term so I will call these books “competency porn” (think Sherlock Holmes and James Bond). I LOVE competency porn so I blew through all the Ell Donsaii books in about two weeks. As a result I’m giving books 1-16 the same review. While these books largely hit my sweet spot, I recognized several imperfections but, before listing those, I want to first say I greatly enjoyed these books and so I encourage anyone who enjoys “competency porn” (I really hate that term) to give them a try.

The first problem is actually kind of a small, yet somewhat annoying: I had read the author’s Vaz series (also recommended competency porn) immediately before this one. In fact the Ell Donsaii blurb did not make the book sound appealing to me and so I only gave them a try because I liked the Vaz series so much. Unfortunately this resulted in realizing the author re-used story lines. While this is disappointing it only slightly diminished my enjoyment and the Ell series, with its 16 books to Vaz’s 4, quickly moves beyond this issue.

The second problem is the author writes by recipe and that recipe is: Have multiple secondary story lines that remain unresolved at the end of the book to make the reader buy the next book. An example would be a main story line about terraforming Mars accompanied by a side story line about a vaccine. The Mars story will be resolved by the end of the book but the author will also have spent pages setting up a will he/won’t he for a character to secretly try an extremely experimental vaccine on himself without oversight. While the author almost universally handles multiple story lines well, in the end I found this approach truly unfortunate as this author is good enough to keep readers coming back without this manipulation. In short, this author’s books would have been much better if treated as stand alones rather than installments.

Finally, from my point of view, the books are short. The three samples I took from the series were: 217, 210 and 210 pages. I view anything under 300 pages as short and prefer books 350 pages or longer. I must admit, however, that I got all of these books for $4 off Amazon so I don’t really feel shorted. Had I seen these books on a shelf in a book store I likely wouldn’t even have picked them up based on how thin they are.

Bottom line: While not perfect, these books are pretty easily worth the read for any lovers of competency porn.
Profile Image for Ellie.
22 reviews1 follower
April 13, 2015
When reviewing this book many have said that one big problem they had while reading is that the main character, Ell, is too perfect: too lovable, too smart, too athletic. Yet these are the things I really liked about it. I enjoyed reading about how she exceeded at everything and was friends with everyone. Her accomplishments were fun to follow and it was an escape to read about her perfect life.

Another thing I was impressed about, was the authors obvious knowledge on many topics. She explains more complex ideas in a way that is easier to understand. I was not lost like I have been in other books who have main characters that are geniuses.

The one thing I had an issue was the explanation to how Ell became this perfect. In the book both her parents were amazing athletes. She was born having a new mutation which affected her nerve’s transmission speed, causing her to have double the amount of neurons a normal human would have. All of this gave her extremely good reflexes and made her way smarter than would be normal. The first problem I had was all of it seems pretty far fetched and not plausible. Second, she cannot be the first person born to two parents who are amazing athletes.

Even with this said I really enjoyed this and would suggest it to others.

Profile Image for M Hamed.
536 reviews54 followers
December 13, 2017
History as written by the victor

an Arab who saw his friend killed,his mother raped and killed and his grandfather killed defending her from American soldiers ,suddenly decide maybe he doesn't want revenge after all

a battle hardened and fanatic after being beaten by a strappy ,16 your old American beauty .turns into a cunt
quote “It was Donsaii! She tried to murder us all!”

a man intelligent enough to look for orphans and train them and send them to assimilate into American society ,burns his very valuable card by sending him incompetent people,with no plan

but,History as written by the victor .and for now they write as they please
but when it's our time.i hope we will rise to the challenge
Profile Image for Thomas.
2,071 reviews
May 18, 2021
Dahners, Laurence E. Quicker. Ell Donsaii No. 1. Kindle, 2011.
One of the blurbs for Quicker compares its heroine, Ell Donsaii, to Lisbeth Salander of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The comparison is laughable. Ell and Lisbeth are alike only in that they have had traumatic childhoods. Quicker is a straightforward young adult story about a girl with a couple of genetic anomalies that dramatically increases her mental processing speed and gives her fast reflexes and coordination, especially in fight or flight situations. The scientific premises for her condition are explained in an author’s note, but not much explained in the narrative itself. Ell, who grew up poor with a bully stepfather in Morehead City, NC, uses her intellect and athletic talent to gain admission to the Air Force Academy. What follows is about what you would expect, except for the introduction of an unnecessary Middle Eastern terrorist. Dahners makes a mistake a lot of amateur writers make, cramming in more story elements that he has room to develop. He keeps the story moving, but he would profit by finding a good story editor to help him patch the holes in structure and character development. Three stars, and that is generous.

Profile Image for Lukas Lovas.
1,244 reviews61 followers
May 6, 2017
Fun read, as always.

Mr. Dahners makes it incredibly easy to like his main characters and he doesn't subscribe to the philosophy of beating his characters down in order for them to rise up from the ashes. Instead, he gives them victories right from the start, which might not be exactly gripping, but it is refreshing and makes for an easy and pleasant read. Also, by not aritificially prolonging the struggle, the books are short and to the point. I very much enjoy the exploration of specific ideas, the "what if" concept that most of the good sci-fi literature is based on. I'll look forward to getting my hands on more books from the series :)
Profile Image for Iori.
589 reviews4 followers
December 4, 2013
The book is a good read, even though it is all surrealist the way the heroine is litteraly more than human.
Profile Image for Jay Collins.
1,534 reviews11 followers
May 13, 2019
Pretty solid 3 star book, I have liked other books by this author more but it was okay for a light read.
Profile Image for Umar Soaries.
40 reviews1 follower
September 12, 2020
What if the super-powered genius wasn't evil? What if the super genius didn't have a "be like God" agenda leading to a robot uprising or shambling murderous reanimations? What if the super-powered genius just wanted to do good and was serious about it.

Here's a secret, the reason no Superman movie has enjoyed the success and pop culture domination of Christopher Reeve's is because no other movie GOT Superman. Sure he could do anything, he could take over the world or stake @$$holes cars on each other. But he chooses not to. He chooses to spend his day doing right. When people get that part of Superman the story or the movie or the comic works.

Laurence E. Dahners understands Superman because Ell Donsaii is Superman when written correctly.. She has a very specific power (hence the novel's name) but is also probably the smartest girl on Earth.Some people would claim she's a "Mary Sue" but those same people thought eating glue was a good idea when they were kids and the effect of that is just catching up to them. She's not "perfect." She makes mistakes, lots of them. She's not aware that the whole world is not like here and would rather do evil with what she can do, but she's smart enough to defend herself when that evil comes calling. This book, and the series, is one huge "what if." What makes it work is Ell Donsaii is a simple one of the most engaging characters I've come across in a long time. And I like the notion that the super-powered genius isn't out to build a volcano lear to help plot world domination. She has special abilities and looks to improve the world even when the world doesn't want her to improve it.

The one thing that surprised me was how neatly the action fits into the overall story. There's a reason for it and it doesn't just come from the typical villains. Though the Arab stereotypes were a little heavy-handed. (Seriously people. Sneaking a nuclear weapon is not like bring cigarettes across state lines.) But as Grant Morrison once said to his own creation, "I wish I didn't have to but if there's no conflict the readers won't come back." I get the feeling Mr. Dahners understands this so most of the unfortunate stereotypes feel more like "give the readers what they want."

I love this book and its series. I like the question it comes up with and the clever ways the author finds answers. This book is the first in a very charming, very readable series and it's my pleasure to urge everyone to give it a try.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
Author 8 books8 followers
August 10, 2020
I'm about 12 books into the Ell Donsaii series, and I love it in every way but one. First, it's well written and intelligent. The characters are kind. Bad guys get their comeuppance. People who do good are rewarded. Love is real and lasting. Basically, it's the way I wish the world really was. If you enjoy reading fun, interesting, smart books about fun, interesting, smart, and good people, you should open this book right now!

That said, the author very very clearly does not like anyone with any "extra" weight. Anyone who weighs more than they "should" is unattractive and uninteresting as a romantic partner. The one time a character does become interested in someone with thick thighs (oh no!) they almost have to force themselves to be interested because of her personality, and hope that maybe she could be convinced to lose some weight. A main character in the later books is "fat" at a young age (and I hate to break it to the author, but the 95th percentile of weight in a young child is not the same as being fat in an adult) and it's told that he's fat, and becomes obsessed with dieting at a time when he needs to be growing. It really, really ruins these sections for me. I feel like either the author is/was heavy and hates/hated it (because many of the observations about the prejudice against people who are heavy are painfully accurate), or they have this same prejudice and struggle because they know it's unkind, and want to find a "cure". It's such a huge party of the storyline at this point that if I hadn't fallen in love with the Ell Donsaii stories, I wouldn't be able to read them.
Profile Image for Clare O'Beara.
Author 21 books345 followers
August 11, 2018
I like that we get a female hero, a prodigy with superfast and strong capabilities who is also highly intelligent. Ell Donsai starts out by repelling a man who tries to attack her mother. She continues by finishing her school exams early and moving on to a military cadet college - pity to involve army in this book but it does explain how she is able to fire a gun later. Ell then repels her own attacker.
With speed and sprint capability, but not much stamina, Ell does well at gymnastics and is picked for the Olympics. We don't see anything of the Games except Ell's sections.

The second thread in the book focuses on an Arabic young man with a personal grudge against America, who plans to join others in bombing the Olympic Games held in America. Sadly once this is established the reader tends to skip over this part of the tale in order to get to Ell's next appearance. Brainwashed terrorists just aren't that interesting in their day to day life. I don't understand how the army thing works as I would expect the young lady to get a scholarship to somewhere that physics or computer science is taught, given her maths abilities. Would she not have to serve a certain amount of army years? Anyway some action is well thought out and the author gives a little biology explanation at the end.
I downloaded an ARC on Kindle. This is an unbiased review.
1,815 reviews5 followers
December 13, 2020
I nearly stopped reading after a few chapter - too YA, too over the top, too much of nothing I am interested in. I'm glad that I continued - it takes off like a rocket and rarely slows down.
Engage your 'suspension of disbelief' and Ell Donsaii, 14 at the start of the book, is basically Superwoman when under pressure. She's also a mathematical genius.
An example: when a cadet, large and a wrestler, at the Airforce Academy they both attend tries to force her to kiss him, Elle's superhuman reactions kick in. A policeman tells the attending medic “Doc, the whole deal’s recorded ... He tries to kiss her, she says ‘No’. He tries again, she hits him with her purse. ‘Boom!’ She kick him inna nuts. ‘Boom’ again! He fall down, he puke, he gasp for breath. I shit you not.”
Her only flaw is a lack of endurance - she's built for the 100m, not the mile.
It's set in the near future - nine years after its initial publication (2020) we are not that far from the main Artificial Intelligence device described.
There are several secondary storylines, a terrorist plot and Elle at the Olympics - both could have been left out and maybe should have been - they do, however, work toward the final, completely ridiculous ending.
But that doesn't take away from a genuinely interesting story, a great character in Ell, and a great read.
P.S. The cover is very, very ugly.
Profile Image for William.
296 reviews2 followers
November 16, 2017
The myelin sheath around nerve cell axons provides an insulating layer so the electrical impulses do not interfere with other axons along their length. Ell Donsaii has thinner myelin sheath around her nerve cells allowing more nerve cells in her brain than normal people. Her nerve cell insulating material must be different, too, because otherwise, her brain would essentially short circuit.

I'm also tired of heros/heroines who are smart, athletic, AND beautiful. Come on. At least keep it at 2 out of 3. And we're supposed to accept that she exercises gracious humility and unselfishness, too. It's just too far fetched. It took away from the story for me. There will be no further Ell Donsaii books in my future.
4 reviews
July 10, 2022
This book had me so disgusted that I felt compelled to write my first review here on GoodReads.

Right from the start, this book IMMEDIATELY set of warning bells in my head. The author way too frequently writes about how all the people in this book (especially adults) find the heroine attractive - and she's a MINOR. After an hour I thought "this book would probably be PERFECT for someone who enjoys grooming little girls in real life".

I stopped about 1/5 of the way through the book. I just couldn't handle it anymore. I'm disgusted.

Oh. And the writing style is pretty terrible too. In my opinion. It makes young-adult fiction look bad.

If I could blacklist an author from my GoodReads account, this guy would be the first on the list.
Profile Image for Drobinsky Alexander.
48 reviews1 follower
September 6, 2019
This is book is reminiscent of SuperGirl which kind of expected from prologue. Do not expect much from it :) I read whole series e.g. until Ell Donsaii #15 during vacation in England - on trains, waiting for food in restaurants etc. Since books has clearly identifiable patterns e.g. Donsaii in sport or Donsaii dealing with state or Donsaii explores space or Donsaii socializes or introduction of new personage , you could skip boring chapters.
The important notice - series could be read for free at Kindle Unlimited.
Profile Image for Moira.
1,112 reviews60 followers
August 19, 2017
17.7.2017 - 3*
Má to dobrou myšlenku a fundamentálně mám postavy ráda. Ale je to prasácky napsané. Naivní, samoúčelné a nereálné. Ne pro sci-fi prvky a "co kdyby" otázky, ale situacemi, které se tam vysktly. "Co kdyby" je vlastně důvod, proč tomu míním dát další šanci, jelikož jsem zvědavá, kam to autor dokáže dotáhnout. Jelikož tam je jádro, které se mi líbilo a bavilo mě. Nejvíce mě iritovala autorova nevypsanost, což by se s dalšími knihami mělo zlepšit, non?
Profile Image for Jkane.
432 reviews2 followers
July 5, 2021
I was pleasantly surprised how much info Dahners packed into such a short novel. I thought for sure that we would be left hanging at the end of the novel, sitting on a cliff hanger without a complete novel before us. We were instead provided a great story about one young girl could achieve with a super brain and super agility. Sort of like Tony Stark’s brain in Peter Parker’s body. A great super-heroine story.
Profile Image for Thomas.
167 reviews3 followers
May 27, 2023

What can I say!! This book and the characters are awesome. The main character JUST ROCKS! The story is fast paced and very gripping, I am a fast reader but books this size usually take me two days but this book is so good that I finished it in one day and have started on the second book. I really highly recommended this book for your reading pleasure, you will not be disappointed.
935 reviews9 followers
October 24, 2017
Sometimes you have to read a book or everything goes right for the protagonist.

Sometimes you just have to read a book where everything goes right for the heroin or hero. Sometimes you read a lot of books where everybody has to struggle to achieve their goals but this is a great change of pace. I like the main protagonist I will follow up with the next book it is a fun read.
380 reviews
May 12, 2019
KU?!?! Woohoo!

So many people kept saying this is a wonderful series. But every time I checked, it wasn't available in Kindle Unlimited so I passed on it. Just saw it listed in my KU searching and grabbed the first book immediately.

Yep. It's as much fun as everyone said it is. I'm loving it! Color me happy dancing. 💃💃💃💃💃
Profile Image for Thomas James.
528 reviews11 followers
May 25, 2020
Quicker than your average girl.

Normally, when one thinks of a super hero it is male. Not this time. Dahners deve!ops an American hero from a slight girl with a special gift. He does so while he maintains her femininity and without making less talented male counterparts seem trivial. He tells a fun story with aspects of relationships we all experience.
210 reviews2 followers
May 13, 2023
love ELL

Fun book. Simple but well told. The MC is bad ass and a little dense and adorable, and a lot of humor comes from that. The narrative changed the POV throughout which adds to the comedy of how a normal star responds to the OP MC who goes beyond the bounds. Terrorist POV wasn’t as interesting, but he was key to the narrative. Overall, I recommend the book.
38 reviews
September 11, 2017

Good read, I liked the theory of the super fast and smart yet modest person that Ell is. I would like to have me of those Berettas that fire that fast for my own as that is a bit of creative license but still makes for a good story.
551 reviews2 followers
October 10, 2017
Excellent, just excellent

Every bit as enjoyable as every other book I've read by Laurence Dahners. A solid "what if" premise, great characters, and a solid plot. A touch of "too good to be true" but a little spun sugar can be a good thing too. I intend to read #2 soon.
182 reviews2 followers
October 15, 2017
Congrats L. Dahners

I believe you met your goal. I cared for your character quite a lot. I am eager to read the next. We all struggle, stretch and strive for that next level. We all yearn for a bit of eternity in our finite world.

Well done, sir!
718 reviews2 followers
March 12, 2020

Love it!! Everyone likes stories about superman and supergirl. That's what these are. It looks like there are a bunch of these stories. Enjoy this review, I hate writing them, and the next one may be non existent.
15 reviews1 follower
May 6, 2020
I was surprise starting to read this book that moved along at a very fast pace and kept my attention throughout Oddly wait until the next ones

Come out and I'm sure Face action Starting results will keep your attention also te!I the author what you liked

Displaying 1 - 30 of 108 reviews