Tag Archives: Authors

New Authors, New Tweaks

To Do ListIt’s been a busy week for me. I’ve got a lot back-end tweaks done and I’m working on even more. Once I get things done I might release a couple of ‘em as plug-ins. We’ll see how useful they are to everyone here at FanaticSpace first. I got some comment formatting done too. Finally found a way to check and see if the commentator is a crew member here without having to hard code anything. That’s easier on me because that means I can add to the Crew without changing code.

Speaking of adding to the FanaticSpace Crew, there are two new authors. That means more cool stuff to look forward to.

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Erec Rex: The Monsters of Otherness by Kaza Kingsley

Erec-Rex-The-Monsters-of-Otherness-Cover-200x295

Erec Rex: The Monsters of Otherness continues Erec’s adventures in Alypium. Can it improve on the strong beginning of the story found in Erec Rex: The Dragon’s Eye?

Story

Erec returns to the Kingdom of the Keepers when he learns that Balor Stain may become King. The only way to stop Balor is to return and perform the quests to become King himself.

It won’t be easy. Baskania has been hard at work in Erec’s absence. A cleaver PR campaign to cast doubt on Erec has taken hold. No one even believes that he is Erec Rex. What they do believe is that Erec cheated during the competition and that Balor Stain is the real winner.

How do you help people that don’t want your help?

My Opinion

How does The Monsters of Otherness stack up against The Dragon’s Eye?

Pretty darn well. The story moves forward and you start to get a look at the overall structure of the story. Kaza has said that part of the basis of the story is the trials of Hercules. The quests that Erec has to perform are certainly Herculean.

The first book, Erec Rex: The Dragon’s Eye, was a great introduction to the world of Erec Rex. The Monsters of Otherness is where the action really gets started. Not only do we get to see Alypium again, we also get to see some very different parts of the magical world.

Magical and mythological creatures were talked about quite a bit in the previous book. This time they’re a huge part of the story. The magical world of Erec Rex is expanded and explored. Erec’s history is expanded too. We learn a little more about his past and why he is so important in this book.

What I liked

I have something in my nose?

Everything from the First Book. All the strong points of the first book are still there.

Mythological Creatures. I really enjoyed Kaza’s version of the creatures of myth and legend. There’s some pretty cool stuff going on in Otherness.

Snail Mail. I just found that funny. I guess it appealed to the geek in me.

Jam Crinklecut. The best butler ever.

What I didn’t like

Rosco Kroc. To be fair, I don’t think he’s supposed to be likeable. He seems affable and charming to some of the characters in the book, but I think the reader is supposed to be suspicious of him. That isn’t why he made the list though. He’s mentioned here because of my theories about him. I won’t leave any spoilers here, but I’ll start a discussion about it in the forum if you want to check it out.

Verdict

Erec Rex: The Monsters of Otherness is a great follow up to Erec Rex: The Dragon’s Eye. It not only retains the charm and action of the first book, it builds on it. It expands the magical world and ups the stakes for Erec.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who has read The Dragon’s Eye. I’d also recommend reading the Dragon’s Eye if you haven’t already, just so you can read this one.

I’m already looking forward to the rest of the books in the series.


[tags]Fandoms, Books, Fantasy, Reviews, Kaza Kingsley, Erec Rex, Balor Stain, Jam Crinklecut, Rosco Kroc, Kingdom of the Keepers, Alypium, Otherness, The Dragon’s Eye, The Monsters of Otherness, Magic, Mythology, Greek, Roman, Celtic, Norse, Hercules, Quests [/tags]

A Bibliophile's View of the Library

What Makes An Author Worth Reading?

This is a guest article from Donna. Leave some comments and maybe we can get her to be a regular contributor.

 

Bibliophilia in Action

A Bibliophile’s View of the Library

I’ll be the first to admit to having a long-standing obsession with books. As a child, I read Nancy Drew and The Chronicles of Narnia obsessively. I have traveled with Bilbo and Frodo to the Lonely Mountain and Mordor once a year, every year (starting on their shared birthday) since I was a teenager.

In high school, I explored many of the “classics” – Austen, the Brontes, Dickens, Dostoevsky, James, Joyce, Thackeray, Tolstoy, Twain – I tore through anything and everything I could lay my hands on. Thomas Mann intrigued me so much that I took two classes about his novels while in college, and even considered learning German just so I could read his work in the “authentic” language.

Since then, my tastes have grown much more pedestrian. In my late twenties, mysteries held a great appeal for me. Agatha Christie was a minor fixation for a while, but soon Ngaio Marsh took over. It was at that point that I formed the habit of reading an author’s works repeatedly in chronological order – from “A Man Lay Dead” (1934) through “Light Thickens” (1982), I spent 3 years of my life memorizing every nuance of Marsh’s Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn.

 

The Boy Who Lived

The Boy Who Lived

My obsession with the Potter universe outstripped all my other prior obsessions by a significant amount…

 

And then we had The Boy Who Lived. My obsession with the Potter universe outstripped all my other prior obsessions by a significant amount, and affected my life more profoundly than I would have thought possible. Admittedly, Jo Rowling’s writing is less than perfect (“the treetops were gilded with gold” still drives me up the wall – what else would they be gilded with?), but her sense of humor and the integrity of her storytelling are truly memorable.

Now that it’s over though, what’s a Potter-obsessed girl to do? I can, and will, continue to re-read the series, talk about it with my friends, and look back on some of the developments (especially in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”) with regret. Eventually however, there will come a time when I need something else to read.

I’ve started my search, and so far, have been sorely disappointed. Scott Westerfeld’s trilogy (“Uglies,” “Pretties,” and “Specials”) was nicely subversive and reasonably interesting, though I have to say I ended up feeling a bit disappointed with the ending. Good guys win, and bad guys really aren’t bad guys after all – not much subtlety there, and absolutely no re-read value.

 

Plum Bad

A friend recommended Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series as being entertaining. I’ve read a few, but to be honest, I have a hard time getting past her lazy writing and non-existent editing.

Pasta or Sandwich?

A character starts eating cold leftover pasta in one paragraph, yet a few sentences later, he’s finishing up his sandwich?

 

Though she gives credit to an editor, her writing shows all the signs of being slapped together with little thought for characterization, grammatical correctness, or even continuity. She frequently contradicts her own minor facts (A character starts eating cold leftover pasta in one paragraph, yet a few sentences later, he’s finishing up his sandwich?). Her characters are inconsistent, unbelievable, unintelligible caricatures (a tough-talking street punk with a ghetto vocabulary from the first book is a smooth, literate pillar of society later in the series). I find myself getting angry with her publishers for foisting this mess on the public. I am amazed that anyone can be getting paid to “edit” her work; I can only assume they’re afraid to kill the goose that laid the golden egg by correcting the egregious errors that crop up on almost every page she writes.

Worst of all, I cannot imagine anyone churning out this kind of sloppy, hackneyed garbage and not being heartily ashamed of herself. Is Ms. Evanovich so clueless that she actually thinks her writing is good? Yet she is apparently “working on” (I use the term loosely) the 16th book in the series, and if past sales are any indication, will make a tidy sum off of it.

 

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

This has got me wondering – what makes an author worth reading? And what does the author owe to the reading public?

Naturally, the story is of paramount importance. No matter how skillfully something is crafted or how carefully it’s edited, if the story fails to engage or move its intended audience, it’s not worth committing to paper.

Characters have to be believable. They have to be “real” enough to care about. That doesn’t mean, however, obviously fictional characters can’t be worthwhile. I’ve just finished reading Gregory Maquire’s “Wicked”, and his Elphaba is one of the most consistently sympathetic characters I’ve encountered. She’s just quirky enough to keep you guessing; it’s impossible not to get drawn into the story of her life.

It really boils down to integrity. If an author is focused on producing their best, if they concentrate on doing justice to their story, it will be worth reading. If, on the other hand, all they care about is churning out a product to make a quick buck, that will be obvious too. While I can’t presume to tell anyone else what to buy or not to buy, I can at least say that I intend to continue to patronize those authors who make an honest effort and shun those who are just in it for the money.
Fin. The End.

 

Biography: Donna Lafferty is an avid reader (well, duh). She is co-administrator of Knockturn Alley (www.knockturn.org), author and presenter of The Grand Unified Horcrux Theory (presented May 20, 2007 at Phoenix Rising). She owns a day spa in Bloomington, Indiana, plays the trombone, and spends way too much time on the computer.

[tags]Fandoms, Books, Opinion, Guest Post, Reading, Bibliophile, Bibliophilia, Authors, Austen, the Brontes, Bronte, Dickens, Dostoevsky, James, Joyce, Thackeray, Tolstoy, Twain, Thomas Mann, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, A Man Lay Dead, Light Thickens, J.K. Rowling, Rowling, Harry Potter, Deathly Hallows, Scott Westerfeld, Janet Evanovich, Stephanie Plum, Gregory Maquire, Wicked, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West [/tags]