Status Updates

Status Updates

Main Focus: Foul Mouth 5 First Draft = 95k out of 140k estimate (68%)

Side Focus: Gush (Fantasy YA) Novel, First Draft = 7k out of 80k estimate (9%)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Review: The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett



Link:  The Warded Man

It’s important to understand that going into THE WARDED MAN you aren’t going to get anything groundbreaking when it comes to character or story. This is very much in the Eddings/Brooks mold of following the Monomyths that was prevalent in the 70s and 80s. There’s a farming village…it has a boy in it…he’s probably going to save the world. Or maybe not…

What Brett brings and proves to be the most interesting thing he’s done, is an idea and theme. What happens to humanity if we’re truly scared of the night? Once upon a time mankind knew this fear. The sun went down and fire left us only a few feet to see. There were lions and tigers and bears and maybe even men roaming the forests. We had reason to fear, we locked ourselves in castles, we banded together, we never slept sound…but we lost that. Now we have all the glories of civilization, light bulbs, door locks, shotguns, Chihuahuas barking at four AM at the paper delivery boy…shut up, Cisco!

But here, with THE WARDED MAN, what Brett does is take us back into that past and then pushes down the gas pedal. He creates a world where demons roam and if you aren’t behind wards you aren’t going to be making it through the night. If your ward fails you also aren’t going to be making it through the night. If……well, let’s just say there’s a lot of ways those demons are going to make it so you don’t live through the night.

This theme and how Brett plays with society as it confronts it are the best parts of THE WARDED MAN. As we know, humans can get pretty ingenious…especially those farmboys…

Four stars for nice ideas but bad farmboys.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Review: The Black Prism by Brent Weeks



Link:  Black Prism

Green Lantern meets the Man with the Iron Mask. This seems like an absurd combination to describe something, but that is exactly what "the Black Prism" is, and even more absurdly...it works. It has heaps of world-building and a Jordanian precise magic system. Instantly I thought of Brandon Sanderson's style when I heard of color and light magic, and they do have much in common when it comes to the breath and scope of their worlds...thought Weeks knows how to curse...and apparently his characters actually have sex, even the non-married ones...especially the non-married ones...

Weeks created a world of light, where light is used to build and destroy, where light is used to kill and protect, where the sun is the most important object in the entire world, even more important than in our own. He has yellow buildings, blue tools, mirror armor, and boats made of every single hue. Perhaps the most interested creation is Weeks' version of the White Tower, which rotates to follow the sun. I liked the visual, sir.

It is not without its faults. I used Green Lantern to describe it and, yes, it feels like a comic book at times. Those who don't like Erikson hyper-fantasy might best stay away. If you're into green golems and blue crystal wrights though...you're going to have some fun.

As far as character, this is an area that lacked. Kip is a whiny farmboy, Liv is a perfect student, etc. Only Gavin Guile proved to have depth and some wonderful skeletons in his closet. The humor was also comic book worthy...earning many a groan. Despite these faults, I'll be getting the next in hardcover. Weeks is one to watch. He dreams big. Writers still content with just swords and horses could learn a thing or two from him.

Four stars.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Real Review: Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey



Link:  Leviathan Wakes

Leviathan Wakes gave me the most fun read of the year; as far as FUN goes it had more of it than even “The Heroes”, “Wise Man’s Fear” or especially “A Dance with Dragons.” I enjoyed almost everything about this book. I enjoyed the space-jockey aspect, the noir mystery, the vomit zombies, and the WORLD IS GOING TO END back half. It all plays well.

It doesn’t feel like each part shouldn’t naturally lead to the next part and the stakes keep rising in a way that you’re pretty sure the authors are just crazy enough to blow up the solar system. They make it absolutely clear they’ll kill some characters, and if they don’t kill them maybe they’ll just irradiate them, or suffocate them, or pressurize their eyeballs out their heads….so many ways to die in space…

The best part of the novel is the world they’ve chosen to play in. A solar system bound humanity, not stuck on Earth, not yet reached out towards the stars. We see all the troubles this brings the species: population control, gravity mutations, economic concerns, rationing of resources, knowing all it takes is for one asteroid driver to crack your planet like a walnut.

If I’m forced to complain about something I could say Miller as a character was a bummer to follow for half the novel.

Check this one out.

Four stars.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Real Review: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews



Link:  Magic Slays

Not as good as the last but it still deserves all the praise. My favorite Urban Fantasy series for one reason: Andrews figured out it’s not about the Urban in the genre, it’s about the Fantasy. Yes, it has many of the same plot lines as the other novels in the genre. Romance plot with a big tough Were, far too many men interested in the main character, younger plucky ward/apprentice, character never having enough money. It has all that…

But where Andrews succeeds to rise above is in the world-building. This isn’t a series about a city, it’s a series about a world changed, a world switching between magical and normal life. It has thousands of years of history. It has vampires as necro-mobiles not the boring old bloodsuckers, it has complex Were-societies, and characters drawn out of fairy tales and the oldest of mythologies.

“Magic Slays” itself, I’m not as much of a fan of it as the last. It had good moments, but the single book plot was stymied by the fact that we know the big scary bomb won’t kill every single character in the series. The minute you put Kate and Curran in a situation with a countdown you know everything will mostly work out. Bestselling authors don’t kill ALL their characters. Only Richard Castle can get away with that…because he’s fake.

As for the over-arching plot of Kate and Roland…that was still great stuff. Can’t wait to see where this goes in the next one. Read the series: read THEE Urban Fantasy series.  You won't be disappointed.

4 Stars.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Real Review: Heartless by Gail Carriger





Link:  Heartless


This is the best in the series since the first. The style and atmosphere of these books don't belong in Scotland or Italy, they belong in merry ol' London. There's something about the time period and the city that just makes the absurdity of it all work. Yes, why not a woman fighting the paranormal with a parasol? Yes, why not rampaging mechanical creations in the streets? Yes, why not a pregnant woman waddling around - her words, not mine, ladies! - trying to save the queen? Why not poisonous porcupines? Why not teacups of doom?

I give Carriger points for marrying the paranormal to steampunk and then both of those to the Victorian Age. In a genre where much of the same will sell just fine, each addition was a risk, and it's worked out well for her and for her fans. I will happily read the next.

Three and a half stars and give the curve or else Floote will just find it anyway.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Real Review: The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Link: The Wise Man's Fear

I should hate this book. I said these words to myself a number of times during my read of it, more often than GRRM uses "You know nothing, Jon Snow". Probably more than even a number during the Fae Super Sexathon. I should hate this book. The main character is a Mary-Sue on HGH, a lot of the plot is author created problems revolving around money, and well...Fae Super Sexathon and all. I should hate this book.

Yet...I don't hate it. I actually had a great time with it from cover to cover. Rothfuss processes an ability to draw you in with his prose, to make you sit at his feet, pull up your knees, and listen to storytime just like when you were in kindergarten. If you were home-schooled, I'm sorry this metaphor goes over your head.

Some of what I like is simply the first-person narrative doing its thing. First-person is either BAD or GOOD and here we have GOOD. Another part is the school story showing its power yet again. Buffy, Harry Potter, etc., so forth, that school setting just calls out to us. Even poor Spider-man is going back to school!

For the rest we are left with Rothfuss' words, his love for stories interweaving with each other, his careful attention to detail, and his ability to drop hints at what's coming up ahead of you and for Kvothe. Rothfuss gets us to pay attention and there's no skipping over the elf songs here. Sorry, Tolkien...

This novel does have its problems. The mercenaries felt like Aiel 2.0. Kvothe conquering a sex goddess was...laughable at times. As mentioned, the money worries might have taken up too much of the novel and are purely arbitrary tensions created by Rothfuss himself. Some would complain about Denna, but not me, I have little problem with Denna, she's one of the better characters. The problem is just Kvothe...who is a real jack BLEEP and he's at his most BLEEPY around Denna.

Not a perfect novel, but a novel that does have some perfect scenes in it, the Freaky Tree of Doom being the most perfect of all.

Really, all of the Kingkiller Cronicles hangs in balance on the last book, much like the First Law Trilogy did on Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie. We'll see if it was worth the years then, so onward to "The Doors of Stone".

Three and a half but give the man a curve.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Real Review: The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

Link: The Heroes


Joe Abercrombie does some of the best character work in all of fantasy. A few look down on him for his outcomes being too nihilistic but no one can look down on him for being boring. This seems to be Abercrombie's main style. To entertain and delight with quirky characters, use of inventive narrative structure, and hit us with twists and turns that knock us silly. For some...too silly, silly enough that they resent the shock.

With "The Heroes" specifically it is structure that wins out over everything else. We are given a look at a single engagement that takes place during a war and that engagement is split into three days, with maps accompanying them. We are given a chapter that follows around a letter and another that jumps from dead man to dead man in the middle of a battle. Structure plays a very large part in Abercrombie's work and you can always expect a new look at something very old for the genre.

Characters actually proved a problem in "The Heroes" for me. Not that they weren't as screwed up and internally motivated as I've come to expect from Abercrombie. Gorst's inner dialogue got more than a few chuckles, we saw the most fully dimensional female character yet for Abercrombie, and I couldn't help but root for a prince's plans to work out. They are fine characters...for about 99% of authors...

For Abercrombie, however...I found myself thinking of the Bloody Nine, of the Crippled, of Cosca and Monza. As fun as Gorst might be to read, or any of the characters of "The Heroes" might be to read, they aren't as good as the characters who came before, and that limits the reader's connection with the work. I guess what I'm saying is...you did too well of a job the first time through, Joe, try to suck some next time, okay?

Friday, August 12, 2011

The King Henry Tapes: The Asylum

School stories are everywhere. Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ender’s Game, Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller, and Veronica Mars to name a few I liked. Talk about popularity. Even X-Men, Star Trek went back to school in the last couple years and Spider-Man is joining them next summer.  There’s something about the high school situation that draws us back to do it all over again and again and again in fiction, and again and again and again we eat it right up.

For my school I created the Asylum and an Asylum needs patientst ...here is a first look at the Asylum:

Child’s Name (Mancy Type)
King Henry Price (Geomancer)
Heinrich Welf (Necromancer)
Valentine “Boomworm” Ward (Pyromancer)
Asa Kayode (Hydromancer)
Miranda Daniels (Aeromancer)
Estefan Ramirez (Electromancer)
Debra Diaz (Electromancer)
Curt Chambers (Spectromancer)
Malaya Mabanaagan (Spectromancer)
Quinn Walden (Spectromancer)
Ronaldo Silva (Cryomancer)
Raj Malik (Cryomancer)
Hope Hunting (Cryomancer)
Miles Hun Pak (Sciomancer)
Eva Reti (Sciomancer)
Naomi Gullick (Floromancer)
Preston “Pocket” Landry (Floromancer)
Timeeko Lewis (Floromancer)
Nicholas Hanson (Floromancer)
Sandra Kemp (Floromancer)
Patrick “Rick” Brown (Faunamancer)
Jesus Valencia (Faunamancer)
Jessica Edwards (Faunamancer)
Robin White (Faunamancer)
Athir Al-Qasimi (Mentimancer)
Isabel Soto (Corpusmancer)
Samuel Bird (Corpusmancer)
Yvette Reynolds (Corpusmancer)
Jason Jackson (Corpusmancer)
Nizhoni Sherman (Corpusmancer)

To find out more about the Asylum, get ready for THE FOUL MOUTH AND THE FANGED LADY on September 1st!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The King Henry Tapes: The Mancy

I used elemental magic for THE KING HENRY TAPES. It’s very common, pops up again and again in fantasy and provides a good base.  Only I didn’t want to just be lazy about it, I wanted to add my twist to it just like I did the all the rest in THE FOUL MOUTH AND THE FANGED LADY.

I ended up with this, something very much in the Magic System school of thought...here is a first look at the Mancy:

Mancy Type – Element (Ultra Title) 
Necromancy – Death (Bonegrinder)
Pyromancy – Fire (Firestarter)
Geomancy – Earth (Artificer)
Aeromancy – Air (Winddancer)
Hydromancy – Water (Riftwalker)
Electromancy – Lightning (Stormcaller)
Cryomancy – Ice (Winterwarden)
Sciomancy – Shadow (Shadeshifter)
Spectromancy – Light (Beaconkeeper)
Floromancy – Plant (Forestplanter)
Faunamancy – Animal (Beasttalker)
Mentimancy – Mind (Mindmaster)
Corpusmancy – Body (Facechanger) 

To find out more about the Mancy, get ready for THE FOUL MOUTH AND THE FANGED LADY on September 1st!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

RReview: Masters of Doom by David Kushner

Link:  Masters of Doom

Rank:  Get it Now!

Comment:  Not just for video game fans, a great read about technology and innovation, about a group of guys who wanted to do things their own way.