Sunday, September 17, 2023

I have started The Trillias Gambit Book Three of J.V. Hilliard's Warminster Series.

“Crimson flags borne on horses of white, see them ride, ye children of light." – The Ballad of Eldwal

I have started The Trillias Gambit Book Three of J.V. Hilliard's Warminster Series.

Compassion is never a weakness and love a hard seed to slay, so perhaps there is a near-invisible glimmer of hope for our Bone Elf assassin. But I doubt it, as now he sails on a very strange ship to Thronehelm where also ride Princess Addilyn Elspeth and Sir Ritter Valkeneer to rally the realm against the fell alliance from the Dragon’s Breath Mountains - for the Keepers have fallen to the Fallen Keeper. Leaving the Last Keeper Daemus Alaric and his friends to find a certain lost book requiring they pass Ancient Trillias' Gambit. Thus does this epic, unique, and unpredictable saga continue, and I need not possess Erudian Sight to see that the fight, the war, has just begun. I just hope Prince Montgomery arrives with his own surprise on time.

"The blade of betrayal, the sharpest of weapons, is wielded not by your enemies, but by your friends." – Warminster the Mage

Saturday, September 16, 2023

I have finished Seasparrow by Kristin Cashore, the fifth book of her Graceling Realm Series

I have finished Seasparrow by Kristin Cashore, the fifth book of her Graceling Realm series.

Somehow I doubt that Bitterblue and her friends will ever visit Winterkeep again. Nearly dying once is perhaps expected, but constant seasickness, nearly drowning, freezing to death, kidnapping, political plots, explosives, traitors, spies, attempted murder, storms followed by shipwreck and a long harrowing journey across uncharted glacial northlands while nearly freezing to death again and dogged still by the remnants of plots the rest of which await you at home? Next time just send a delegation. Anyway, twas fabulous seeing the world from Hava's perspective, as well old friends in both the Dells and the Seven Nations. But most importantly, I am glad that Hava found her place and is no longer a Graced shadow. This is the last book of the Graceling Realm series, but somehow I doubt it will stay that way; it never does.

So, either for new journeys or old, farewell and lots of love to Hava, Linny, Bitterblue, Giddon, Hope, Adventure, Coran, Liel, Moth and the other kits, Froggat, Annet, Navi, Ollie, Jackie, Fire, Katsa, Po, Raffin, Bann, Helda, Nash, Brigan, and Ror.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

The Last War: Book One of The Cynnahu Saga - Official Book Trailer

New authors always hope their books become bestsellers despite knowing how utterly beyond unlikely it is, and that goes for me as well. Yet I also always hoped again despite knowing the unfathomable odds against it coming true that The Last War would get its own Book Trailer (I know, I REALLY dreamed big). Well, if the downside of self-publishing is that you must do everything yourself then, by the same token, that is also the upside. So I hired Literary Titan make a book trailer for it... and it is amazing!

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Fifty years ago, J.R.R Tolkien died

Fifty years ago, J.R.R Tolkien died. Thus do I raise a glass of proverbial Dwarven ale to the man who remade our world with the world he created.

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever ever on,
Under cloud and under star.
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen,
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green,
And trees and hills they long have known.

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone.
Let others follow, if they can!
Let them a journey new begin.
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

Still round the corner there may wait  
A new road or a secret gate,  
And though I oft have passed them by,  
A day will come at last when I  
Shall take the hidden paths that run  
West of the Moon, East of the Sun."

Friday, September 1, 2023

Quote of a friend

"There's something beautiful about the stillness, its tranquility, of the warmth changing to a comfortable cold that settles the soul. Of the still air that carries the twilight's harmony. The quick moment of complete calm detached from the bustling reality." - Lindsay

I like to think that I have some very wise friends.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Serial Fiction

Not every intricate, worthy Fantasy tale comes in novel form. There are Fantasy games such as Golden Sun, RuneScape, Fire Emblem, and Radiant Historia whose story is the game. Then there are games like League of Legends whose story is unveiled a piece at a time with each Champion's individual tale, and Magic the Gathering whose story arcs are published in the serial fiction format - coming out a bit at a time, chapter by chapter, over many years.

Then there is actual serial fiction, authors who chose to publish their works online in such a manner instead of in a traditional novel or book series. I have never dealt much with such Fantasies, but they deserve note. So I will post now about one which I am a diehard fan of, and another which recently caught my interest.

"Long, long ago in Neraland, the pious human built a great tower to show the respect to their goddess Nera. Goddess Nera was deeply moved by human piety; to reward them, she opened a door at the top of the tower. This ethereal door connected to another world; it was known as—Heaven Eye. However..." Beginning with the former, GhostBlade is a fantasy comic series, the only one I read, and one of the most unique stories I have ever come across. Bearing some trappings of traditional Fantasy, such as an epic journey in a medieval-style world it diverges in so many ways as to be almost staggering. When one starts reading one is uncertain whom to trust. Princess Yan of Haiqin and Kain the Silver Knight, certainly, but the rest are wreathed in shades of grey and mystery with much cryptic foreshadowing as to the future.

Even the journey is uncertain, and the world's history, and the world itself, is incredible, filled with distinct cultures and issues and reflect real-world concerns while still being true escapist Fantasy. For the characters are as real, as deep, as conflicted, as any I have ever read. I wish I could say more, but I do not want to deprive readers of any surprise, no matter how slight. But I can say this: the story makes you think, and WLOP (the author) clearly has a long story in mind, one as intricate and stellar as the art which brings each character, their emotions, and the world of Neraland itself to life. On a final note, the tale is unfinished, and a nightly ritual of mine is to check whether new chapters have been published.


Now to the one which recently caught my interest, that being the Legends of Icaria. Since I have just begun, I can only say so much, hence I will let the author give the introduction: "Icaria is a place of magic, both old and new. It's a land of human and Fae and the natural political and religious disputes that result from struggling to find a balance of place and power. I hope you'll walk her shrouded mountains, marvel at her sea plains, mourn her deaths, sail with merchants up Emak, trek the Great Stone Way, and engage with the factions across the land." The bottom line being that while I cannot yet speak with certainty to the overall uniqueness of the plot, I know good writing when I see it and the author clearly has the depth of vision, dedication, and skill that defines true Fantasy authors.

A good reminder that Fantasists tell their tales in their own way, one which they feel best suits their story and that they get the most enjoyment out of. And speaking of enjoyment, I anticipate getting some in the land of Icaria. Also, and this is a key point for serial fiction readers, the author posts new chapters often. The Prologue was published in June and Chapter 11 was published 8 hours ago, and plenty of other posts including but not limited to A Short Compendium of Icarian Prophecy and An Excerpt from Faen Customs and Culture. Remember what I said about dedication and depths of vision? Well, in my extensive experience with the Fantasy genre I know that only those with both write such pure world-building texts in addition to their regular work.  

Ghostblade has gone on for years and has a dedicated and well-deserved fandom, and I hope Legends of Icaria earns its stripes the same way. But, as with all online serial fiction, whether it is an established comic or a new tale looking for readership, we can only hope that the authors keep at it until the story ends.

Saturday, August 12, 2023

I just started Seasparrow by Kristin Cashore

A busy vacation forcing one to do weeks worth of homework in the single week prior can certainly derail a person's reading, but now the ship is righted for I just started Seasparrow by Kristin Cashore, the fifth book of her Graceling Realm Series.

As ever, it is a delight seeing old friends again in Bitterblue, Giddon and Hava! En route by ship back to Monsea after their adventures in Winterkeep, issues of translation and sailors' secrets seem like child's play, but the journey back is destined to be as hazardous as the one to. If it is not Queen overboard it is Queen shipwrecked, and I have a strong feeling that ice, mountain passes, and the finer points of moral responsibility will be the least, or the least complex, of hurdles they must cross before they finally get home.