February The Fifth

ABOUT Derek Haines

Derek Haines
An author of fiction, historical fiction, essays and poetry, Derek Haines writes his books from a view of what fascinates him and not from a formula based on one theme or genre. Starting with poetry before moving into essays and fiction novels, his writing is varied but is always written i More...


A young fool becomes king and quickly discovers he has some very nasty enemies. Particularly the ones who are shooting at him. 

In a remarkable turn of events, a young man with a lot definitely not going for him, somehow manages to come to terms with a startling reality. He has to grow up. Being handicapped by not only having rather nasty acne and an odd eye impediment, he also has to suffer the fact that his name is February. Or at best, Feb to his very limited number of friends.

While not at all wishing to rush into this startling new reality, circumstances and a few elbow nudges from his very protective elder sister ensure that his ‘not at all wishing’ turns out to be a complete waste of time. Thrust totally and altogether unwillingly into a position of authority by early afternoon, February finds himself with a new appendage tacked on to the end his name. 

The Fifth. The new and very authoritative part of his name.

Of course, as is the case in all such rapid and thrusting types of promotion to positions of power, there will be those who are not happy about it. In February’s case however, he finds that in fact these those amount to just about everyone apart from his three sisters. 

Undaunted by this reality, Feb accepts his new responsibility and by early evening sets about getting himself into a real tangle. His only true achievement being that he discovers that quite a few of these those who weren’t so happy, are in fact really very upset about the whole Fifth appendage deal. By bedtime, he thinks he is in trouble.

Before lunchtime the next day, he is sure.

4.0 out of 5 stars When in Rom..., By Bitsy Bling "Bitsy Bling Books" (Seattle, WA) This review is from: February The Fifth (Paperback) 
What happens when a privileged son too low in the royal family line to be important but nonetheless still a royal, finds himself thrust towards responsibility? He goes on an galactic journey to discover where he comes from, who he is, and what he must do to become the man to lead. You ask how does an acne-faced, body odor plagued, lazy-eyed kid manage this enormous task? With the help of lizard pilots, three wise sisters, and a few other misfits tossed in for good measure. Feb, as he is called by his friends, travels the galaxy to find his way back to the beginning, literally, his family's beginning. Along the way there is lots of eating and time for three-handed Canasta with a small side of romance, but only for his sisters. Feb's got bigger things to worry about like governmental over-throws and civil unrest. This comedic sci-fi tale touches on themes of power, origins, privilege, morality and even cleverly makes use of historical details (a bonus in my department). It plays with language which establishes a unique tone and style. Moments remind me of what it might be like if Dr. Seuss wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I mean this as a compliment (in case you were wondering). It's simplicity makes it complex. For example, the bluest of the blue and the blackest of the black. There are times when writers try too hard to describe something: a color, the weather or a feeling. Sometimes, it is just blue, deep blue, royal blue or the bluest of the blues. I laughed, had fun, remembered all the characters because of their crazy names and even thought about how the author invented them -- most importantly, I think I learned something! And by the way, if you ever find yourself visiting Erde, I recommend the salmon and when in Rom, well, eat the pasta! 

 4.0 out of 5 stars By Eric This review is for: February The Fifth 

I wanted to do this without making comparisons to other books, I really did, but when it comes right down to it, my first impression of Derek Haines' new book February the Fifth is the one that stuck with me. February the Fifth is like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy meets Sir Apropos of Nothing, which is to say, my kind of twisted. You have the young fool who has no business being a success at anything, yet ends up being very important to the future of the Twelve Sun Systems of Gloth. You also have the Supreme Potentate more-or-less stealing a ship in order to find the truth on a distant and wholly unremarkable planet. And, just to make things interesting, several puns revolving around the Gregorian calendar. If you're anything like me, this all adds up to a fun and humorous story, perfect for making people question your sanity while you're giggling over it on the bus. 

5.0 out of 5 stars A great read By tractid This review is for: February The Fifth 

I wasn't sure what I'd make of Derek Haines' new book as I don't normally 'do' Sci-fi. This wasn't an issue though as Derek has the ability to tell a really good story that carries you along without the genre taking over. His main character, Feb, is a rather unsavoury, lazy young man with no enthusiasm for anything yet Derek still manages to make him endearing. He tells the story of his sudden and unexpected rise to power, and it consequences, with his usual easy style of writing that is both enjoyable and funny. A great read. 

4.0 out of 5 stars Something unique By Vivo This review is for: February The Fifth 

This is the third book I have read by Derek Haines, and clearly he is working on developing a unique style. His ability to convey the depth of this witty and intricate story in a very easy, and unadorned style, makes February the Fifth a most enjoyable read. I recognised this when I read Milo Moon, but in this book I think he has really found his mark. Endearing you to his characters without long passages of description keeps the story moving at a pace. He seems to have a particular liking for his character Snurd Humped though, as he gets more attention than most characters in descriptive passages. I don't think it is a sci-fi story at all. The author simply used it as a pretext for telling a wonderful story about Feb, the main character. He used fantasy settings to invent wonderful names for his characters and to convey his very personal views on the world. Sometimes, he even becomes a gastronomic critic of the unreal! Derek Haines plays with some crazy ideas in his head and lets his vivid imagination go wild. Very enjoyable!