Sunday, May 29, 2016

Next Up: Rick Wayne's Minus Faction: Episode One

Fall of Light isn't agreeing with me right now. I've placed a bookmark where I stopped and will continue after a few weeks. I dig Erikson's writing so much, although I will say that the entire process is very... involved. He simply has such a fully-fleshed world. That isn't a bad thing, mind you, and I don't want anything to think that; quite the opposite. It's just that, also, there is quite a lot of exposition with these Kharkanas books. And it's very philosophical, which also isn't necessarily bad. Just... so many interior monologues. So many.

Anyway, I am now reading Rick Wayne's Minus Faction, Episode One: Break Out. I've known Rick from Google+ for a good amount of time now, longtime reader of his posts because he always has something interesting to say. Do check him out. I've heard nothing but awesome things regarding his writing, and it's about time I see for myself.

The book isn't very long and I expect the have the entire thing read by tomorrow evening, if not tonight. We shall see.

Hope everyone's having a great day! It's a hot one here in Southern Indianer, but at least it's beautiful outside.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

What do YOU read? And am I a Hobbit or not?

Me? I read mostly fantasy, sometimes science fiction, and the occasional horror (although the Stephen King I read hardly constitutes as traditional horror -- I so need to read all of his books -- and it's been a long time since I cracked open a Lovecraft story).

What I read inspires who I am not only as a writer, but a person. We like to call fantasy escapist fiction, but really what are we escaping from? Clearly I'm not trying to say that I think I'm a Hobbit, a wizard, an Auror, or even a Jedi -- although I went to school with someone who swore up and down that he was the green Power Ranger -- but what I read shapes me as a person. I escape in terms of letting my mind wander away from reality, but when I get back it's not as if I'm leaving all of that behind. It stays with me, ya dig? I find that what we love most always stays with us whether we consciously know it or not.

But these are complicated thoughts I can't quite put into words (yet) so let's get to what this post is really about.

Give me suggestions, please! ALL the suggestions! Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and anything in between. What do you like to read and why? What do you want to read and why? Let's start a conversation going that lasts through the afternoon and into the night!

Friday, May 27, 2016

A Wee Little Update

Good evening or afternoon or whatever it is wherever you're reading from. I'm still reading Fall of Light by Steven Erikson, Book 2 of his Kharkanas Trilogy. I am quite impressed that I haven't gone full fanboy in praising his writing like the god of writing he is... AND YOU SHOULD BE TOO. {cough} Anyway, I want to talk about the future lineup of what I'll be reading for AtMoR following this book:

1) Minus Faction: Episode One - Breakout, by Rick Wayne

2) The Princess and the Apprentice, by Roland Boykin

3) The King's Sword, by C. J. Brightley

4) Overload Flux, by Carol Van Natta

5) They Mostly Come Out At Night (TBP June 16th), by Benedict Patrick

I'm so totes excited to read these. It's going to be an absolute blast. There are other books on my ever-growing queue and I must decide on what order to read them. I'm thankful that so many people are dropping coins into the well, so to speak. I have a lot of reading to do this summer. *rubs hands in anticipation*

*** Remember, if you would like to exchange a copy of your story for an unbiased, honest review, please email me at JFord3219@hotmail.com ***

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Book Review #1 - Forge of Darkness, by Steven Erikson

Title - Forge of Darkness

Author - Steven Erikson

Publisher - Tor Books (USA), Bantam Books (UK & Canada)

ISBN - 9780593062173

Published Date - July 2012 



(Normally my reviews will be that of new books that have been published this year, but since I will be reading Fall of Light, the second book of this trilogy, I felt a logical need and desire to re-read Forge of Darkness)

Steven Erikson made his name writing the highly acclaimed Malazan Book of the Fallen, a 10-book epic that ended with The Crippled God in 2011. With Forge of Darkness, Erikson begins a trilogy that takes readers back far before the events of the Malazan books, shedding background on questions that had still been left relatively unanswered. 

In the realm of Kurald Galain, home to the Tiste people, civil war looms over the horizon, although no one seems to know how it will begin, nor do they know who will be holding the knife when the first blood spills. Lord Draconus of House Dracons, very much an outsider to court and with a mysterious history no one seems to know, is named Consort to Mother Dark, the would-be-queen of the great city of Kharkanas. He is, more or less, Mother Dark's husband in all but name, but a marriage itself has not yet come to fruition, and the highborn of Kharkanas hope that the day never arrives. Mother Dark's adopted sons -- the brothers of House Purake, Anomander, Silchas Ruin, and Andarist -- are said to be her protectors, although in Anomander's frustration she refuses to name them an enemy despite a handful of threats pounding on their door from all directions.

Elsewhere in the realm is the Vitr Sea, an acidic body of water that slowly devours the land. The Wardens, a group of sworn men and women patrolling the sea, stumble upon what they deem an invasion: bodies have come from the sea, beings that live though they appear dead, and they are certainly anything but Tiste. 

Along the borders of Kurald Galain lie the Borderswords, men and women who devote their lives to patrolling the borders of the realm now that the war between the Jheleck is finally over. After the Consort Draconus enlists the help of a squad of four Borderswords to accompany him and his bastard son Arathan (a polar opposite of his devious father) on a long journey, the Borderswords begin asking themselves questions, whether the violence ever ended after all. 

Caught in the middle of the swirling chaos are Urusander's Legion and the Hust Legion, two armies who helped defeat the Jheleck in the past war. When things begins to fall and doubt and fear settle in, however, whose side the legions will take is anything but clear. Lord Urusander is sworn to the protection of Mother Dark, but what of the protection of Kurald Galain itself?

*~*~*~*~*

There are many players in this novel, although anyone who has read Erikson before won't be surprised. One complaint I've seen regarding the Malazan books is that there are too many characters. There are many characters in Forge of Darkness, but I find the writing is tighter and more organized. It can still be overwhelming at times, but I don't think it's difficult to follow all the intertwining plots. 

The writing, as always, from Steven Erikson is superb. He is a jewel to the fantasy genre, a writer who knows how to tell a story and really knows how to write. Forge of Darkness is very political in its heart, although in true Erikson fashion he treads upon an array of subjects. Depression, PTSD, suicide, religion, war, politics, gods and goddesses, death, life, and many others combine to form this story. I have little to complain about regarding Erikson, and not just because he is a major inspiration to my own writing. He's just a damn good writer, and that's really the best I can put it without going on and on. 

One thing that I noticed on this second read, however, was how deeply philosophical every character was. It didn't matter whether the scene focused on a god or a peasant, each character had many interior monologues. At times these attitudes blended and if not for the names it would have been difficult for me to tell them apart. I like the philosophical tone, but it can get too much. Not every single character should be a deep, philosophically thinking person. To me, it just isn't realistic. If there's one fault it's the interior monologues. I'll admit that they do drag on at times, and is probably a large reason why it took me so long to finish this book. 

Aside from that, though, I still give this book 4/5 stars. As an anthropologist and an archaeologist, Erikson knows how a civilization grows. He is a master at crafting cultures and worlds, and we see that on full display in Forge of Darkness. It is what he does best. Even if a few characters leave a bit to be desired (and, really, that's what happens when you have so many characters, and one reason critics may claim he has too many), the sprawling world before you will latch onto your eyes and mind and never let go. The brutality in this story was very heavy in some places, although that didn't personally bother me. 

If you enjoy magic, military, political intrigue, philosophy, and beautiful poetic writing, my guess is that you'll love Steven Erikson's Forge of Darkness. 

Definite Recommend 

**Up Next: Steven Erikson's Fall of Light, the sequel to Forge of Darkness**

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Update: Books, Books, and More Books!

SO... I signed up for Net Galley last week. In case you're unfamiliar with the site, they allow you to request hundreds of new books (eBooks, although many seem to be downloadable as PDF files), often ARCs, with the knowing that you'll review them. There are a ton of genres to choose from, and big names as well as names you haven't heard of.

I signed up with the AtMoR blog. Look at me bein' all fancy and whatnot. Before I get to those books, however, I have three physical books to read and review:

* Forge of Darkness - Steven Erikson
* Fall of Light - Steven Erikson
* Minus Faction, Episode One: Breakout - Rick Wayne

I'm excited for the first two because Erikson is such a huge inspiration for my own writing (although I've already read Forge of Darkness once), but I'm especially pumped for Wayne's book. I've known him for a while on Google+ and have been meaning to read his stuff after hearing nothing but heaped praise from virtually anyone and everyone. Now I will finally have the chance.

Reading has been slow for The Forge of Darkness, but I want to knock it out this weekend and have the review up by Monday. We shall see. In the meantime between then and now, I may or may not write a post about my own writing project. We shall see on that as well.

Have a great weekend! Read and write and do awesome things!

-- Jefe

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Welcome!

Welcome to AtMoR! I've been wanting to start a book review blog for some time, and now that school is out for the summer I can finally give this the focus it needs. My name is Jeff, and I am a Fantasy (an occasional Sci-Fi) writer, so that is the main genre I'll be reviewing. However, from time to time -- especially if people give me recommendations -- I will also review books in the Science Fiction, Horror, and Mystery/Detective genres.

As a writer I will also post things pertaining to the craft of writing itself, along with musing over my own projects, but the majority of this blog will in all likelhood be book reviews.

Welcome again and thanks for visiting! I hope to have the first review, Steven Erikson's Forge of Darkness (Book 1 of the Kharkanas Trilogy), out by the end of the week.