The Three Fingers of Death by Tristan Gregory is a short fantasy tale set in the same world as The Swordsman of Carn Nebeth, which I previously reviewed here. Jon the smith, briefly seen in the earlier story, seeks out a master to teach him parts of his craft that have been largely forgotten, shunned because of the involvement of magic.
I read this story very quickly – all in one day. The prose is accessible and the tone is gentle, making this story very easy to consume. It has quite a storyteller-like voice. Where in Carn Nebeth, the voice was quite immediate, this is more of a “sit down by the fire and listen to my tale” sort of voice, and because of the time scale involved – the story takes place across years – this voice fits well.
The first book in the Heartland trilogy, Under the Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig is a Young Adult novel. It tells the story of Cael, a dissatisfied young man living in a dystopian world where wealth floats on sky flotillas and below on the ground inedible predatory maize corn is grown for fuel. Cael and his friends fight for survival, seek to improve their worsening lot in life, and dream about escaping the Heartlands and living in luxury in the sky above.
Under the Empyrean Sky has good momentum, carrying the reader forward in a manner than defies and denies sleep. The pacing is fast – perfect for the intended audience (which is a bit younger than me) – but with enough space left for character development, establishing the world, and the all-important suspense.
As the third and final instalment of Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire series, Emperor of Thorns brings the series to a fitting close. The story continues to follow Jorg, the young anti-hero in his efforts to achieve his life’s dream of becoming emperor, while contending with the rise of the Dead King and rivals to the Empire throne.
The book is full of good advice. It seems aimed at the intermediate writer – the writer who is, perhaps, not yet published but has a fair few thousand words under their belt. The blog posts chosen for inclusion in the book suit this target audience. Aaron’s tone is friendly and helpful – reflective of the original blog format, but equally appropriate in the book version.
Amazon have announced Kindle Worlds, a new scheme whereby they intend to publish fanfiction in the Kindle marketplace for money. This will be with the agreement of the owners of the intellectual property, who will also get some of the royalties, but it means that for the first time fans can publish fanfiction and get paid for it, without having to either change all the names to make it look like original fiction, wait a few decades for copyright to run out, or make a deal directly with the rights holder.
Authors will have to meet content guidelines, such as a ban on pornography, extreme violence, and crossovers, and a requirement that the work does not give a “poor customer experience”. There is also a minimum word limit works under 5,000 will not be accepted, and those under 10,000 will receive a reduced royalty rate.
There is a book which I bought in February, when it was released, with the intention of reviewing it shortly afterwards. I didn’t get very far in it. I did, however, make some notes. I thought characterisation was lacking – the reader is told what the characters feel, but it feels shallow, forced, like a stick man with facial expressions drawn on. By comparison, the world was very well developed, and described well. It has a sense of wonder, and some strong visuals.
The author was treating the book like a movie – strong on what would be special effects, but relying on very visual representations of emotions, without giving the characters any depth or subtlety.
King of Thorns is the second in Mark Lawrence‘s Broken Empire Series, following on from Prince of Thorns (which I reviewed here). It tells the continuing story of Jorg, now a king as the title implies, showing two stories running parallel – one set only months after the end of the preceding book, where Jorg sets out once more on a quest for answers and hope, and finds more than he bargained for; the other about four years later, and centres around a battle in which one of Jorg’s rivals for the Empire’s throne seeks to defeat Jorg at his castle, and Jorg and his followers do their darndest to stop them.
Like its predecessor, this is not a book for the faint of heart, or those who believe that protagonists should be towards the white end of the shades of grey spectrum.
Bane of Souls by Thaddeus White tells the story of a town experiencing a spate of murders, and the attempts of various characters including mages, the guard captain and others to find and defeat the culprit.
Okay, my next post was meant to be a review (almost finished the book, won’t be long) but I just saw this and I had to share. As someone who loves books, every now and again I go looking at images of medieval gospels, personal libraries and other beautiful book related things. I recently subscribed to /r/bookporn on Reddit and today a user called mktoaster posted this thread, featuring the below image: