STANDS A SHADOW

stands a shadowStands a Shadow by Col Buchanan

Genre: Fantasy — Grimdark

Series: Heart of the World #2

Publisher:  Tor Books (July 11, 2011)

Author Information: Website 

Length: 416 pages

My Rating: 4 stars

Grittier.  More complex.  More engaging.  Stands a Shadow is a book which does not succumb to the sophomore book slump but rises above its predecessor, making a reader crave more.  Col Buchanan crafting a mesmerizing sequel to Farlander, one which grips a reader from the first page and never lets go, as an epic tale of revenge, war, and survival plays out across the pages.  Or, to put it simply, this is a damn good book!

Picking up directly after book one, the Roshun assassin Ash is bent on revenge against the Holy Matriarch of the Empire of Mann after her treatment of his apprentice Nico.  This overwhelming desire going against all Ash’s beliefs, repudiating everything his order stands for.  But Ash is beyond caring, determined to follow after his chosen target as she heads across the sea at the head of a massive invasion fleet, bound for the city of Bar-Khos, which has been besieged by the Mannians for ten long years.

Caught up in the brutal struggle and quiet mission of vengeance are several other characters who find themselves struggling to deal with their own problems and fighting to find a way to survive the traumas of war.  Foremost of these is Che, a trained agent of the Mannians (and wayward Roshun assassin), who begins to waver in his loyalty to Mann and watches as his beliefs begin to crumble under self inspection.  Opposite Che in Bar-Khos is Bahn, a war-weary soldier, who finds himself loosing his nerve, desperately wishing to flee the looming threat of annihilation with his family.  And, lastly, there is a refugee-turned-prostitute named Curl, who joins the Khosian army, filled with the need to stop the Mannians from destroying her new home as they did her former one.

While the action and adventure are front-and-center here and monopolize the pages, this story is truly built upon the struggles of one man: Ash.  The world-weary assassin with his mysterious, haunted past looming over everything.  His personal quest for vengeance for his apprentice (and a need to redeem himself from past failures) is so real, so compelling that it carries the narrative.  Only the struggles of Che coming anywhere close to rising to Ash’s level.  All of which means that Stands a Shadow only works if you become deeply engaged in Ash’s journey.

The only criticism I have of this book is the failure of the other supporting, point-of-view characters — outside of Che — to carry their portions of the narrative.  Certainly, everyone begins with loads of potential and have brief moments of brilliance, but overall, their story arcs are fairly forgettable.  Especially disappointing to me was Bahn and Curl, who start off with a complex, intertwined plot which gradually ends in a proverbial dead-end and is basically dropped by the author all together without any satisfactory resolution.

Well written, tension filled, and driven by a compelling character in Ash, Stands a Shadow raises the Heart of the World series to new heights, ever facet of this epic saga improved immensely over its predecessor, Farlander.  Certainly, Ash and Che’s story lines are the highlights of the book, but the world building and tale of a brutal war adds to the richness of the narrative, making this novel and series one of my favorite finds in 2017.

Purchase the book at Amazon   

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WAITING ON WEDNESDAY: GREY SISTER

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Waiting on Wednesday is a meme I’ve participated in for years which lets readers share their excitement for books coming out soon, and for those who are frequent visitors here, I think this week’s pick will be a little surprising until you recall that, though I had lots of problems with book one of this series, I did enjoy certain aspects of it.  Plus, you know I’m a huge optimist when it comes to books.  Anyway, the novel I’m eagerly awaiting is . . .

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9781101988886_GreySister_FCOmech.inddGrey Sister by Mark Lawrence 

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Book of the Ancestor #2

Publisher:  Ace (April 19, 2017)

Author Information: Website | Twitter 

Length: 400 pages

In Mystic Class Nona Grey begins to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the Convent of Sweet Mercy Nona must choose her path and take the red of a Martial Sister, the grey of a Sister of Discretion, the blue of a Mystic Sister or the simple black of a Bride of the Ancestor and a life of prayer and service.

All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the ambition of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a blade, and the vengeance of the empire’s richest lord.

As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attack her through the system she has sworn to, Nona must find her own path despite the competing pull of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty.

And in all this only one thing is certain.
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There will be blood.

Purchase the book at Amazon

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BEST READS OF 2017!

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As always, this list is my end-of-the-year effort to look back on all the books I’ve read, give a little more love to my favorites, and, hopefully, help someone discover a great story they missed out on.  So let’s get right to it!

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the ten thousand10. The Ten Thousand – Paul Kearney

The Ten Thousand is a grimdark fantasy penned by Paul Kearney. Inspired by the historical journey of ten thousand Greek warriors in the Persian Empire circa 401 BC, this tale is a gritty, bloody, and brutal look at the realities of ancient war (especially civil war) and its undeniable horrors. With more than a few fantastical elements added, Kearney turns this into far more than historical fiction, but magic does not play as large a role in the narrative as some would like. However, if realistic and unabashed looks at ancient warfare and its consequences are what you love, then this is a can’t-miss grimdark.

Purchase The Ten Thousand at Amazon


the nine9. The Nine – Tracy Townsend

The Nine is a genre blending work from Tracy Townsend that isn’t afraid to blaze its own trail in fantasy, mixing and matching the most exciting elements from other genres into something new, something all its own. In this alternate universe, religion is science and God is worshiped as a being who created the cosmos as the ultimate scientific experiment. The focus of this divine study “The Nine.” Nine beings whom God has chosen at random to observes as they deal with life’s inevitable struggles; their actions to determine the final fate of all of humanity!

Purchase The Nine at Amazon


the court of boken knives8. Court of Broken Knives – Anna Smith Spark

Anna Smith Spark has gifted readers with a gritty, glorious grimdark fantasy which is beautifully written, filled with gray characters, betrayals, gory battles, horrible deaths, perplexing gods, and everything else a lover of dark, brutal narratives could wish for.  Due to the poetic prose, persuasive darkness, Game of Thrones-esque complexity, and gory brutality, readers have begun to call the author the Queen of Grimdark, which I personally believe is a moniker she has certainly earned with this amazing debut.

Purchase The Court of Broken Knives at Amazon


low town 27. Low Town – Daniel Polansky

A noir crime story set in a fantasy setting Low Town is a dark tale of drug dealers, realistic politics, corrupt cops, and vile sorcery set in the ugly, dirty, and crime infested section of the finest city in the Thirteen Lands, Low Town: a place few willing call home. It is here the Warden resides, using his cynical, streetwise, and violent skills to rule this slum as a crime lord. His days spent dealing drugs; his nights filled with turf wars for control; and the profits he makes from the drugs he deals paying off the guards to look the other way and setting him up in a bearable life.

Purchase Low Town at Amazon


stands a shadow6. Stands a Shadow – Col Buchanan

The Farlander series was a memorable discovery of mine in 2017, one which intrigued me with its first installment but really sunk its claws in deep with this sequel.  With Stands a Shadow, Col Buchanan picks up the story directly after the events from book one, sending our main character on an epic journey of revenge, as well as adding more than one new point of view character to take the tale in unexpected for directions.  It was a page-turner from start to finish.

Purchase Stands a Shadow at Amazon


lucifer's star5. Lucifer’s Star – C.T. Phipps & Michael Suttkus

Lucifer’s Star is damn fine space opera! This is the tale of Cassius, a loner aboard the star frigate Melampus; his mind plagued by nightmares of the war he somehow survived years before. His only desire to slip away from that past, forget what he has lost, and fade into obscurity among the other rift raft aboard Captain Ida Claire’s starship.  From this beginning, Phipps and Suttkus craft a rousing, pulse-pounding adventure story that fans of Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, or other sci-fi series should not miss out on.

Purchase Lucifer’s Star at Amazon


ghosts of tomorrow

4. Ghosts of Tomorrow – Michael R. Fletcher

I’ve come to the realization that Michael Fletcher is among my favorite writers. Whether it is the fantasy insanity of Beyond Redemption or this cyberpunk vision of the future, he finds the perfect balance between madness and sentiment, poignance and action to keep me turning the pages. Honestly, the guy never writes a bad story, and in Ghosts of Tomorrow, his  skill is on full display, as he populates a future world with a supercharged internet, superpowered computers, and near superhuman robots mixed up in an action adventure for the ages!

Purchase Ghosts of Tomorrow at Amazon


TYRANT'S THRONE3. Tyrant’s Throne – Sebastien de Castell

Few series transcend their genre, bring readers of differing tastes together to brave dangers along behind its heroes. But when one does, this saga finds itself held up as an all-time great; descriptive terms such as the matchless, the peerless, the unparalleled pinnacle of the genre, and other even more flowery terms thrown around.  Sebastien de Castell’s Greatcoats series is among that small, heralded group of fantasy sagas for me personally. Tyrant’s Throne delivering the finishing touches to propel it into the best swashbuckling fantasy ever written; Falcio val Mond and comrades able to proudly parade among the elites of the genre.

Purchase Tyrant’s Throne at Amazon


sins-of-empire2. Sins of Empire – Brian McClellan

With a fast paced narrative, compelling characters, a cool magic system, a diverse world and an epic conclusion, Sins of Empire is a flintlock fantasy completed to perfection. This novel showcasing the silky smooth talent of Brian McClellan in crafting an epic fantasy which long time fans and new comers can both enjoy and love. Without a doubt, it was my front-runner for Best Fantasy of 2017, only held back from the top spot on this list by a fantasy novels for the ages!

Purchase Sins of Empire at Amazon


oathbringer1. Oathbringer – Brandon Sanderson

Having binge read the first three novels in The Stormlight Archive this year, I have to say the saga pulled me, gripped me, and mesmerized me with its distinct originality and uniqueness. The world of Roshar familiar yet far different from Tolkien’s LoTR, Martin’s ASoIF, or even Jordan’s WoT. Familiar tried-and-true fantasy tropes turned upside down, sending a reader flailing about in delightful ignorance of what is coming next. Oathbringer quite simply the most magnificent fantasy books I read this year.

Purchase Oathbringer at Amazon

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HONORABLE MENTIONS:

1.  Evil is a Matter of Perspective – Adrian Collins

2. The Providence of Fire – Brian Staveley

3. Eagle and Empire – Alan Smale

4. Scourge – Gail Z. Martin

5. The Realms of God – Michael Livingston

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HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018!

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BEST DEBUT FANTASY AUTHORS of 2017

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As 2017 comes to a close, there are so many exciting, depressing, and head-scratching things to reflect on.  On this last day of the year, I want to point out a few fantasy authors who hit the scene this year with tantalizing debut books and caught my imagination, making me very excited to follow their careers going forward.
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kings-of-the-wyldKings of the Wyld – Nicholas Eames

A group of over-the-hill mercenaries decide to get the “band” back together again in order to help one of their own.  The story which ensues is funny and tongue-in-cheek stuff which injected much needed fun into fantasy.  And with Nicholas Eames’s follow-up to this jewel coming out in 2018, I can’t wait to see what is in store for Saga going forward.  Amazing debut which everyone out there should give a try, because it certainly is different than the other novels sitting on the shelves.

Purchase Kings of the Wyld at Amazon


the court of boken knivesThe Court of Broken Knives – Anna Smith Spark

This stunning adult fantasy debut continued my luck with finding grimdark series to fall in love with.  The Court of Broken Knives (book one of Empires of Dust) following a crew of mercenaries as they head toward Sorlost, the empire’s richest and most important city; their mission one which could very well change the course of the world!  This was a pulse-pounding, gritty, and bloody affair from first page to last and promises great things to come with this series and from Anna Smith Spark in the future.

Purchase The Court of Broken Knives at Amazon 


the nineThe Nine – Tracy Townsend

This genre blending work from Tracy Townsend isn’t afraid to blaze its own trail in fantasy, mixing and matching the most exciting elements from other genres into something new, something all its own. And while 2017 has been a year filled with great debut fantasy releases, this opening installment of the Thieves of Fate series is among my favorites.  And the good news is this novel sets up so many great possibilities going forward that  I know this series is going to be an amazing one to follow in the years to come.

Purchase The Nine at Amazon


heartstoneHeartstone – Elle Katharine White

I want to admit up front that I have never, ever read any Jane Austen. How I was able to navigate through four years at a liberal arts university without ever reading this author still amazes me, but I did, without any grand plan by myself to do so. All of which means that when I picked up Heartstone by Elle Katharine White I was experiencing this fantasy retelling of Pride and Prejudice without any real knowledge of the original, which I actually believe helped make the experience more exciting.  Plus this story had dragons!

Purchase Heartstone at Amazon


age of assassinsAge of Assassins – R. J. Barker

This is a book/series which I picked up and began reading since Christmas, and I have to say that so far I’m really impressed with it.  Of course, fantasy assassins are a personal favorite of mine, but R.J. Barker has take the idea of  “to catch an assassin, use an assassin” to to new heights and in different directions than what I was anticipating.   Hopefully, I’ll find some time to finish this up a few days so I can be ready when the next installment of the series, Blood of Assassins, hits shelves on February 27th 2018.

Purchase Age of Assassins at Amazon

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Those are my picks.  Agree?  Disagree?  Have some things to add about each book?  Have a few books you’d like to bring to our attention?  Let us hear from you!

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MY FAVORITE FANTASY BOOK DISCOVERIES in 2017

AmazingDiscoveries

Even though it seems like I read all the time, there are still books and series in the fantasy genre which some way or another escape my notice.  Months, years, or decades sometimes going by before I stumble upon these overlooked stories and fall in love with them.  And, today, I wanted to proudly proclaim the fantasy books/series I discovered in 2017 that I would encourage everyone else not to miss out on.

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lucifer's starLucifer’s Star – C.T. Phipps & Michael Suttkus

Damn fine space opera is what C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus deliver with this indie gem.  A science fiction tale which is gritty, brimming with action, and filled with characters with shadowy pasts, mysterious motives, and more than a few who are not exactly who they appear to be!  All of this taking place in a galaxy filled with war, rebellion, and space battles galore.  In more than a few ways this novel reminds me of an updated, modernized Star Wars; the great ones from the George Lucas Era I should clarify.

Purchase Lucifer’s Star at Amazon


col-buchanan-farlanderFarlander – Col Buchanan

Col Buchanan delivers an epic tale of a world at war with an aged assassin who has an worsening health condition and a cauldron of unresolved issues from his past which drive him to take on an apprentice.  From the standard setup, Col Buchanan weaves a story of an unending conflict where things are not quite what they appear and the familiar medieval landscape hides some major secrets which change everything.  One of my favorite series this year!

Purchase Farlander at Amazon


where loyalties lieWhere Loyalties Lie – Rob J Hayes

Pirates have always fascinated me.  No, I’m not talking about The Pirates of the Caribbean types.  Nope, I am referring to the brutal, cutthroat realities who terrorized the seas for ages in the past and still do in some parts of the world.  And Rob J Hayes has perfectly captured that kind of pirate, delivering a duology where a land of buccaneers must be forged together into a nation to defeat the crusader fleet sent to wipe them out.  Yeah, its grimdark.  What’s wrong with that?

Purchase Where Loyalties Lie at Amazon


for steam and countryFor Steam and Country – Jon Del Arroz

A fun steampunk with a strong female lead who is drawn into a rousing adventure.  Yeah, it is filled with zeppelins, daring-do, pulse pounding action, good guys versus bad guys, and more than a few laughs.  With characters like Zaira von Monocle headlining, you can probably guess that this is a tale which is determined to entertain with timeless stories and not send you into a depression relapse with serious, dark stories of steampunk angst.  I’m looking forward to seeing where Jon Del Arroz takes this steampunk series.

Purchase For Steam and Country at Amazon 


revenant windsRevenant Winds – Mitchell Hogan

An epic fantasy filled with ancient demons, sorcerous cabals, and a group of unlikely heroes attempting to thwart the rising of an age-old threat. While it starts off slow, setting the table with heavy world building and characterization, this novel takes off around the halfway point, rushing forward to an epic conclusion in pure old fashioned sword and sorcery style.  This story was just an entertaining thrill ride which caught me by surprise, since I could never get into Mitchell Hogan’s initial series, Sorcery Ascendant Sequence.

Purchase Revenant Winds at Amazon 

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Well, those are my amazing fantasy book discoveries this year.  Agree?  Disagree?  Want to add your own so we can all discovery them as well?  Let us hear your thoughts!

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MOST ANTICIPATED FANTASY BOOKS IN 2018

My Most Anticipated 2018 Releases

The wrapping paper from Christmas gifts hasn’t even settled in the landfill, and I’m already making my list for all the gifts I want the beginning of 2018.  I suppose I just have to accept I have a book problem and build on to my house, so I’ll have more room to store them all.

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BLOOD OF THE FOURBlood of the Four

Expected publication: March 6th 2018 – Harper Voyager

In the great kingdom of Quandis, everyone is a slave. Some are slaves to the gods. Most are slaves to everyone else.

Blessed by the gods with lives of comfort and splendor, the royal elite routinely perform their duties, yet some chafe at their role. A young woman of stunning ambition, Princess Phela refuses to allow a few obstacles—including her mother the queen and her brother, the heir apparent—stand in the way of claiming ultimate power and glory for herself.

Far below the royals are the Bajuman. Poor and oppressed, members of this wretched caste have but two paths out of servitude: the priesthood . . . or death.

Because magic has been kept at bay in Quandis, royals and Bajuman have lived together in an uneasy peace for centuries. But Princess Phela’s desire for power will disrupt the realm’s order, setting into motion a series of events that will end with her becoming a goddess in her own right . . . or ultimately destroying Quandis and all its inhabitants.

Purchase Blood of the Four at Amazon


child of a mad godChild of a Mad God

Expected publication:  February 6th 2018 – Tor Books

When Aoleyn loses her parents, she is left to fend for herself among a tribe of vicious barbarians. Bound by rigid traditions, she dreams of escaping to the world beyond her mountain home.

The only hopefor achieving the kind of freedom she searches for is to learn how to wield the mysterious power used by the tribe’s coven known as the Song of Usgar. Thankfully, Aoleyn may be the strongest witch to have ever lived, but magic comes at price. Not only has her abilities caught the eye of the brutish warlord that leads the tribe, but the demon of the mountain hunts all who wield the Coven’s power, and Aoleyn’s talent has made her a beacon in the night.

Purchase Child of a Mad God: A Tale of the Coven at Amazon


the brass godThe Brass God

Expected publication: March 27th 2018 – Solaris

Magic and technology combine in an epic fantasy like no other.

War is coming to Ruthnia. As ancient, inhuman powers move against one another, Rel Kressind finds himself in the company of the fabled modalmen – giants who regard themselves as the true keepers of humanity’s legacy. Far out in the blasted, magical wastelands of the Black Sands where no man of the Hundred has ever set foot before, Rel comes face to face with the modalman’s deity, the Brass God. What Rel learns in the Brass God’s broken halls will shake his understanding of reality forever.

Magic and technology combine in an epic fantasy like no other, where lost science, giant tides and jealous gods shape the fate of two worlds, and the actions of six siblings may save a universe, or damn it.

Purchase The Brass God (Gates of the World) at Amazon


time of dreadA Time of Dread

Expected publication: January 11th 2018 – Orbit

The Ben-Elim, a fierce race of warrior-angels, burst into the Banished Lands over a hundred and thirty years ago. They were in pursuit of their eternal enemy, the Kadoshim demon-horde. On that day a great battle was fought, the Ben-Elim and Kadoshim joined by allies from the races of both men and giants, and a great victory was won.

Now much of the Banished Lands is ruled by the Ben-Elim, who have made this world their home, extending their influence and power as they swallow ancient kingdoms into the protective grasp of their ever-extending borders. But peace is fragile within the realm and the Kadoshim that remain are now amassing on the edges of the empire….

Threats long in the shadows are about to strike.

Purchase A Time of Dread (Of Blood & Bone) at Amazon


wrath of empireWrath of Empire

Expected publication: March 6th 2018 – Orbit

The country is in turmoil. With the capital city occupied, half a million refugees are on the march, looking for safety on the frontier, accompanied by Lady Flint’s soldiers. But escaping war is never easy, and soon the battle may find them, whether they are prepared or not.

Back in the capital, Michel Bravis smuggles even more refugees out of the city. But internal forces are working against him. With enemies on all sides, Michael may be forced to find help with the very occupiers he’s trying to undermine.

Meanwhile, Ben Styke is building his own army. He and his mad lancers are gathering every able body they can find and searching for an ancient artifact that may have the power to turn the tides of war in their favor. But what they find may not be what they’re looking for.

Purchase Wrath of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder) at Amazon

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Well, those are the books I’m dying to get my hands on.  What novels are you anxiously awaiting in 2018?

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LEAST FAVORITE FANTASY BOOKS IN 2017

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Well, it is that time of year again.  The end of the year to be exact.  The time when we all look back at the twelve months in the rear view mirror and reflect on the highs and the lows, the good and the bad.  Sure, I hate picking my Least Favorite Fantasy Books in 2017, but you can’t appreciate your favorite books without contrasting them with those you did not like as much.

Does that mean I’m saying the novels on this list were not good, had bad characters, or were boring?  Not necessarily.  It merely means I did not enjoy these picks as much as I wanted to, or to phrase it another way, they highly disappointed me in some way or another.  So please take this list as my own personal experience with these novels, not a critique of their worthiness for your reading attention.

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halls of law5) HALLS OF LAW

I was very excited to start this fantasy.  It sounded amazing.  A cabal of magic users who are known collectively as the Halls of Law.  Strong female protagonist.  An invasion which throws The Faraman Polity (an empire) into chaos.  Paranormal outcasts who live underground.  Our protagonist and her companion attempting to outpace pursuit, gather up allies and find a surviving member of the royal bloodline to put back on the throne. Unfortunately, the main characters never grasp my attention, and after reading about fifty percent of the novel, I abandoned it.


THE DINOSAUR PRINCESS4) THE DINOSAUR PRINCESS 

I desperately wanted this to be a great book.  Having followed the series up to this point, I had mixed feeling about the trajectory of the story.  Definitely, the concept of a strange world with dinosaurs and dinosaur knights amazed me and left me craving more, and the first two books even had flashes of intriguing storytelling and compelling characterization, but the narratives always failed to hold my attention from first page to last.  So The Dinosaur Princess needed to really grip me, mesmerize me.  It didn’t, turning into a rather pedestrian fantasy that was merely okay.  Huge disappointment.


seventh decimate3) THE SEVENTH DECIMATE 

As a lifelong fan of Stephen R. Donaldson, this was one of my must reads for 2017.  My excitement for the author beginning a new fantasy series set the bar really high for this one.  And, to be completely fair, it was an okay read, just not the great one I was expecting.  If I had to point to one key element which caused the book to fail to live up to expectations, I would look directly at the main character, who was more annoying in many ways than Thomas Covenant ever dared to be, and the fact I feel this way makes me pessimistic about my continued interest in this series.


RED SISTER2) RED SISTER

Huge fan of Mark Lawrence’s previous grimdark offerings.  Sure, I have my favorites and least favorites, but, overall, I have always loved more of his works than I’ve disliked, which is why I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this initial installment in the Book of the Ancestor series.  Soon, however, I found this book about fighting nuns on an alien world pretty meh reading.  Much of my angst came from the detailed, training narrative, but I also never found any particular character to empathize with.  I’m glad others love this one, but for me, it was a terrible disappointment.


SKULLSWORN1)   SKULLSWORN

Now, I don’t recall exactly why my expectations for this book were so high.  Not having finished Brian Staveley’s Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, it wasn’t because I was a huge fanboy of the world or Pyrre Lakatur or her God of Death or anything.  Instead I believe I was swept up in the hype for this one.  So many other fantasy readers craved this story about this character and a return to this world that I got swept up in their excitement.  Unfortunately, I did not enjoy this story at all; the tale of Pyrre leaving me with a distinct feeling of disillusionment, so much so that I haven’t found the desire to even finish off the original trilogy.


Well, those are my picks for My Least Favorite Fantasy Books in 2017.  Agree?  Disagree?  Have your own disappointments which you believe should have made it on my list?  Let me know!

 

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INDIE WEDNESDAY: CHARLES E. YALLOWITZ

Indie-WednesdayAlong my reading journey, I’ve made a conscious decision to not only read the books on the shelves at my local Barnes & Nobles store, or online at Amazon, but to also try self-published, or indie, works as often as I can.

With this in mind, I’m turning over the blog to one of my favorite indie authors (Charles E. Yallowitz), who has been nice enough to submit a guest post for everyone’s reading enjoyment.

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TIPS FOR ASPIRING SERIES AUTHORS 

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Thank you to Wendell for letting me be a guest on his blog and helping to promote the grand finale of my series, Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age.  At least I hope it’s grand.  Well, the cover is pretty awesome and that’s something that has been true for the entire series.  I wouldn’t have made it far without Jason and his artistic talent, which always get compliments on social media.  They say that the cover is the introduction for your book and I believe that.  Some of my other books have had horrible first impressions and not gotten very far while these have always done very well.  Now, as an author, I know more about the words than the images, but I do have a few tips for any aspiring series authors.

  1. family of the tri-runeContinuity and consistency is very important. Think of all the series you’ve read and think about how the covers all looked the same.  At the very least, the style was similar enough that a person could look at the book and know what it was without reading the title.  I ran into this problem with Family of the Tri-Rune (Book 4) because the covers got tweaked.  They looked even better than before without the black border and a more stylized title.  Yet, these little changes caused people to think it was a different series.  Took a week to sort that out and they’ve stayed this way ever since.
  2. Never forget to give credit to your cover artist. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it gets overlooked more often than you think.  They’re helping you bring your vision to life and readers, so naming them in your posts is the least you can do.  If cover art is their business then take every opportunity to send new authors their way.  Just return the favor.
  3. prodigy of rainbow towerIt helps to get an idea of what you want for every cover before you start. This is really if you have all of the books planned out, but you can be at least 3-4 ahead to help the artist.  Now, they might have a better idea, which means you have to trust them while still voicing your opinion.  As authors, we can get a little blinded by the images in our head, which could be unfeasible.  I had an idea for Prodigy of Rainbow Tower that had the heroes standing back-to-back in a swamp with red eyes above them.  It was cool, but overly complicated.  The one that was made is easily one of my favorites.
  4. Jason did all of the art by hand and sent me updates when he could. These sketches can make for great teasers.  Not even though whole thing, but crop a section to put up on social media.  It wets the appetite and proves that progress is being made in that arena.  More importantly, it can get a conversation started about what the end product might be.
  5. This isn’t something we did because I was only told about it recently. Heck, this might not even be a tip, but a cool trick reminiscent of the comic book covers of the 90’s.  If you have a plan beforehand, you can make it that all of the covers combine to make a single picture.  This is very complicated and very risky. If you have to get a new cover artist then the plan falls apart.
  6. When promoting a new book, set up either a slideshow, collage, or make a listing to have people see the previous volumes. This gets more and more difficult as a series gets longer, so the slideshow might be the easiest option for blogging.  Only downside to this is they don’t allow for links.  At least I haven’t figured it out yet, so hopefully someone proves me wrong in the comments.
  7. This is going to sound silly, but try not to mix your covers up. Easy to avoid if you make sure the files are set for large icons and Amazon gives you a preview before you hit publish.  Yet, there are times you might be given a cover without the title and author name because they can be used for other promo materials.  These are the ones that can get in a little trouble if you aren’t careful.  After 15 books and 5 years, I’ve learned that accidents happen.

Again, thank you to Wendell for helping with the promotion and giving me an opportunity to write a guest post.  Please check out or spread the word about Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age.  Enjoy the adventure.

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Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Whether in darkness or light, every path inevitably comes to an end.

As Gabriel, the Destiny God, determined centuries ago, his chosen will face Baron Kernaghan for the fate of Windemere. Through many victories and losses, the champions have stood together and prepared for this great battle. Now that the Baron’s influence stirs those with evil hearts, they have run out of time and must travel to Shayd. Yet, there are more secrets for them to uncover before entering a battle where the only way to survive is surpassing limits and putting everything they have on the line. Through it all, Gabriel’s statement that he made them destined to fight, but winning was not set in stone rings in their minds.

Will the champions usher in an Age of Heroes or become the sacrifices for an Age of Darkness?

Buy Warlord of the Forgotten Age Today at Amazon!

Don’t forget to add Legends of Windemere to your Goodreads ‘To Read’ List too!

Need to catch Legends of Windemere from the beginning? Then click on the covers below!

You can start for FREE . . .

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Or grab the $4.99 ‘3 in 1’ bundles!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Also Available:

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Interested in a new adventure? Then grab your Kindle & dive back into the world of Windemere! Don’t forget an apple for Fizzle.

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Author PhotoAbout the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

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MERRY CHRISTMAS

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Wishing everyone the best on this beautiful Christmas Day 2017!  Thanks so much for another great year of sharing and discovering great books.

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