Writing Epic, Historical Urban, And Contemporary Urban Fantasy (A Guest Post by DB Jackson)

Today’s blogpost features an interesting piece by DB Jackson, wherein he talks about writing in different fantasy sub genres. Enjoy!

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Writing Epic, Historical Urban, and Contemporary Urban Fantasy

PoSBlogTourI have been fortunate throughout my career to write successfully in a number of different subgenres.  Under my own name, David B. Coe [http://www.davidbcoe.com], I have written eleven epic fantasy novels spanning three series. As D.B. Jackson [http://www.dbjackson-author.com], I have written a historical urban fantasy series, the Thieftaker Chronicles. The third Thieftaker book, A Plunder of Souls, (following Thieftaker and Thieves’ Quarry) has recently been released by Tor Books, and a fourth volume will be out next summer. And writing once more as David B. Coe, I am now working on a contemporary urban fantasy series, the Case Files of Justis Fearsson. The first book of this project, Spell Blind, will be out in January from Baen Books. My novels all share a firm grounding in fantasy, but beyond that I have found that writing in each subgenre presents its own challenges and joys.

I began my career writing epic fantasy because that was what I had been reading since my youth. I fell in love with fantasy, and speculative fiction while reading the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. LeGuin (the Earthsea trilogy), Stephen R. Donaldson (the Thomas Covenant trilogies), and Guy Gavriel Kay (the Fionavar Tapestry). Those books not only convinced me that I wanted to read as much fantasy as possible, they also inspired me to want to write professionally myself. I was amazed by the creativity required to build and maintain new worlds, and I was fascinated by the range of magic systems I discovered as I explored these works and others. When I began to write, it seemed logical that I should create worlds and magic of my own.

This, of course, is easier said than done. Fantasy worlds have to make sense; their politics and economics, their religions and customs, their cultures and histories require a certain internal logic and consistency. Their magic systems need to be more than mere add-ons to the societies in which they function. Rather, they should blend with those other elements so that they seem as organic as possible to their worlds. I don’t have the time or space in this post to detail all that I did for my three epic series: the LonTobyn Chronicle, Winds of the Forelands, and Blood of the Southlands. I will say that my first forays into worldbuilding were challenging to say the least, though ultimately successful. But looking back on all of my epic fantasies, I see things that I might do differently now.

It seems to me that the hardest part of worldbuilding for alternate world fantasy is finding a balance between ambition and clarity. On the one hand, building a world from scratch is an inherently ambitious endeavor; in weaving together all of those elements I mentioned earlier (politics, religion, culture, etc.) we strive to build a world that is as rich and intricate as our own. On the other hand, once that world is complete, we need to be able to convey its essential elements to our readers in a way that convinces them that the world is “real,” but doesn’t overwhelm them with too much detail, too much complexity.

When writing urban fantasy — either contemporary or historical — the worldbuilding challenges are somewhat different. On the surface, this task might seem easier. My historical fantasies are set in pre-Revolutionary Boston; the contemporary urban fantasy is set in present-day Phoenix, Arizona. Obviously, I don’t have to create those places. I need to portray them accurately and convincingly, and that requires a good deal of research. But the consistencies and details are already in place. I merely have to find them. Easier, right? Except that I then have to build a magic system into those places in a way that feels natural and believable, that doesn’t cause my readers to stumble over every spell or instance of the supernatural. Readers are perfectly willing to accept the existence of magic in the Forelands. They are going to be far more skeptical when it shows up in a Colonial setting they’ve studied since they were school children, or in a modern city that they might have visited or even inhabited.

The differences among the various subgenres don’t end with the preparatory work they require. The actual writing of the books is different as well. Epic fantasies tend to have complicated plot lines that are . . . well, epic. All three of my epic series were extended story arcs, meaning that they were stories that developed and concluded over the course of several volumes. They had many strands of subplot that I braided together so that eventually they would all reach their culminations at the same time. And I told the stories through the eyes of several point of view characters, all of whom offered different perspectives on these plot threads. Keeping track of those various story lines could be difficult at times. On the other hand, using different characters to tell my story allowed me to keep my readers informed throughout, and it generated a certain narrative momentum with each shift in point of view.

SpellBlindThe plotting in urban fantasy is tighter. Each novel has fewer subplots, and each book in both the Thieftaker and Fearsson series stands alone, so that when the novel is complete, so is the story. The greatest challenge with these books lies in my use of point of view characters. In the Thieftaker books, Ethan Kaille, my thieftaking, conjuring hero, is the only narrator. My readers experience everything through his eyes, his intellect, his emotions. Similarly, Justis Fearsson is the lone narrator in the contemporary urban series. This means that I have to find ways to keep their voices fresh. I need to dispense information as my heroes learn it, and I have to generate my narrative momentum through a single plot line without the benefit of point of view shifts. This leads to plots that move faster, that are more streamlined and less complicated. And it also requires that my writing be leaner and more focused.

With the contemporary series, I use a first person narrative. My readers are in Jay Fearsson’s head and the books read as if Jay himself is telling the story. So, I needed to make Jay not only reliable, but also likable, even charming, while also revealing his shortcomings. I don’t think I’ve ever had to know a character better than I know him. Ethan’s stories are told in close third person, which allows me to step back slightly every now and then in order to explain historical events and phenomena that a first person narrator would have sounded odd discussing. I also had to work hard on perfecting his voice so that he was understandable to my twenty-first century readers but also convincingly a man of the eighteenth century. With both of these characters, though, the most important thing is that my readers form a strong emotional connection with them early on. If they don’t, the books won’t work.

I can’t say which of these subgenres is “hardest” or “most fun.” I have enjoyed writing all of them. I’ve been writing a lot of urban fantasy recently — contemporary and historical — but I have in mind an idea for a new epic fantasy, so I might soon be returning to my creative roots. It bears saying, though, that at root the fundamentals of generating good fiction don’t change, regardless of genre. Strong, compelling characters, intriguing settings, plot lines that leave the reader breathless and wanting more: I try to put these elements into every book I write. That is the most daunting challenge of all, and also, when I succeed, the source of my greatest satisfaction as an author.

©D.B. Jackson

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DBJD.B. Jackson is also David B. Coe, the award-winning author of more than a dozen fantasy novels. His first two books as D.B. Jackson, the Revolutionary War era urban fantasies, Thieftaker and Thieves’ Quarry, volumes I and II of the Thieftaker Chronicles, are both available from Tor Books in hardcover and paperback. The third volume, A Plunder of Souls, has recently been released in hardcover. The fourth Thieftaker novel, Dead Man’s Reach, is in production and will be out in the summer of 2015. D.B. lives on the Cumberland Plateau with his wife and two teenaged daughters. They’re all smarter and prettier than he is, but they keep him around because he makes a mean vegetarian fajita. When he’s not writing he likes to hike, play guitar, and stalk the perfect image with his camera.

 

Thief3Boston, 1769: Ethan Kaille, a Boston thieftaker who uses his conjuring to catch criminals, has snared villains and defeated magic that would have daunted a lesser man. What starts out as a mysterious phenomenon that has local ministers confused becomes something far more serious. A ruthless, extremely powerful conjurer seeks to wake the souls of the dead to wreak a terrible revenge on all who oppose him. Kaille’s minister friends have been helpless to stop crimes against their church. Graves have been desecrated in a bizarre, ritualistic way. Equally disturbing are reports of recently deceased citizens of Boston reappearing as grotesquely disfigured shades, seemingly having been disturbed from their eternal rest, and now frightening those who had been nearest to them in life. But most personally troubling to Kaille is a terrible waning of his ability to conjure. He knows all these are related…but how? When Ethan discovers the source of this trouble, he realizes that his conjure powers and those of his friends will not be enough to stop a madman from becoming all-powerful. But somehow, using his wits, his powers, and every other resource he can muster, Ethan must thwart the monster’s terrible plan and restore the restless souls of the dead to the peace of the grave. Let the battle for souls begin.

 

Related Posts:

Review of Thieftaker

Review of Thieves’ Quarry

Interview with DB Jackson(2012)

Interview with DB Jackson (2014)

The Boston Gazette Interviews Ethan Kaille (Guest Post)

 

The Gender Gap In Exile (A Guest Post by Betsy Dornbusch)

Today I present to you a guest post by Betsy Dornbusch. She wrote an interesting piece about gender gaps in books, and in particular in her book Exile. Enjoy!

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The Gender Gap in Exile

 Gender gaps are tricky things to pin down in real life, but you’d think it would be easy enough in fiction. But not so, at least for Exile (and a number of other books I’ve read). While examining this topic in fiction, particularly my fiction, it’s important to keep some caveats in mind.  Some of these have to do with the actual story, and some of them have to do with my own beliefs as a woman and an artist.

A woman in a man’s garb doing a man’s role does not bridge the gap. Ditto tramp-tagged, bustier-wearing, kick-ass heroines with crossbows. I have women soldiers… sure. But that doesn’t mean Exile is a particularly feminist statement or even meant to be. There are women soldiers all over the real world. I even know a few of them. I don’t view them as a statement; I view them as people. So too in Exile. They don’t play every role in every army in Exile. Some bodies are more suited to swinging swords—the swordswomen in Exile are taller, stronger than say, me, at five-feet-nothing. I’d probably do all right with my muscle structure and low center of gravity as a horse-mounted recurve archer, not to mention I’m trained to ride. So while women are in the Akrasian army, they are in roles suited to their personal physicality. So are men, for that matter.

This one might be touchier but it’s my philosophy on writing: just because I’m a woman and a feminist does not obligate me to portray women in any certain way. As an artist I’m not obligated to make any art in any way beyond the way I see fit. No one is. All creative decisions belong to the artist. I tend to include women with agency in my books but everything defers to the story and world. Along those lines, Exile is from a male POV. Draken is not particularly enlightened; he views females from his own unique perspective shaped by Events. He definitely views females as different than males.

It’s complicated. Draken’s world is a big one. He comes from a single-race country called Monoea with their own dynamic, contradictory views on gender. It sort of represents the US today. Women have legal rights to match males, some are heads of powerful families called the Landed, and they hold other positions as well: soldiers, merchants, ship captains. They are tradespeople in their own right as well as some staying home to look after their families. On paper the sexes are equal, but…

But. Draken’s mother, a cousin to the royal family, went into shamed seclusion after getting pregnant out of wedlock with him. He doesn’t know her, and his opinion of her cuts between sympathy for her supposed rape and resentment for her not fighting conventions that demand she abandon him into a life of slavery. This shapes his view of women and that view is more complex than simple sexism.

There is some doubt whether a princess could inherit the Monoean throne, but it’s not a question that’s answered because there are only princes to inherit.

Draken’s wife has lived a traditional life as a homemaker, but Monoeans are an advanced enough race to know her inability to conceive could be as much Draken’s fault as hers. This isn’t to say he wouldn’t be within his rights to divorce her on the grounds they can’t have children. It wouldn’t occur to women in that culture to do such a thing.

But they might take matters into their own hands—or rather, to another bed.

It’s not too much of a spoiler to say this more equal, liberal status quo in Monoea will be challenged in later books, also rather like in the US. When rulers and economies flounder, people often look backwards to so-called better times, never mind those times weren’t better for everyone, never mind the rose-colored lenses time slips over one’s memories.

As I said, dynamic and complicated.

Coming into Akrasia is a shock for Draken in many ways. Gender roles are just one of a myriad of new things for Draken to absorb, and in light of much confusion and danger, often isn’t at the forefront of his mind. So what follows isn’t necessarily from his point of view, but more gender roles and sexism in the cultures as they stand. The ruling culture is Akrasia, and Akrasians pride themselves not only on their enlightened stance but their responsibility of ruling. They are led by a Queen, and while not terribly young or untrained for her position, she is new to the job. By nature, and by her comfort level with her own gender, there are plenty of women in all roles. To a large extent, Akrasian women choose their own lives and spouses. The Queen herself is trained to the sword, and many of her personal guards are women. But no, women aren’t equally represented among the soldiers and work people. Biology plays a part, and when women have children, they often give up their work to raise them. This might appear sexist to modern eyes, but Akrasia is a pre-industrial culture with little real science or alchemy and not many options for birth control.

The second largest group, Brînians, which occupies a quarter of the continent and is a fairly independent principality that answers to Akrasia, is a strongly patriarchal society. Women have few, if any rights—they can’t inherit property or titles or money, nor live alone, and are generally passed from their fathers to their husbands. Though their roles are not restrained to homemaking, many of them live that life. Arranged marriages are the norm, women are brought up to obey and submit. Women bucking this system are outliers. It is something Draken struggles with because of his upbringing—he has a blind spot to his own sexism but others’ misogyny annoys him. However, his frustration with Brînian sexism in particular is also tied into the practice of slavery and racism, both rampant in his new land and something he also has personal experience with.

A minority called the Gadye, highly magical and gifted with Sight, are more or less equal. Nomadic or not, they all make their living off their magic, and status has more to do with talent and skill in healing and Sight than with gender.

Another magical race, the mysterious, reclusive, violent Moonlings, are generally understood to be matriarchal in nature. Times, though, they may be a changing…

The Mance, necromantic priests with close ties to the gods, are all male in outward form but because they carry the souls of many inside them, gender is not much of a consideration for them. Their patron god is male, therefore they are made in his image.

Speaking of the gods, they all worship generally the same pantheon of seven, and Ma’Vanni, the Mother, is regarded as the most powerful. She has plenty of males to challenge her superiority, such as it is, like her brother Khellian, god of War, and Korde, a jailer god for wicked souls.

I didn’t write Exile with any particular message of equality in mind, though some readers have taken that meaning from it. I think that’s great, because while I don’t consider myself obligated to include a message about misogyny, I’m not too keen on perpetuating it in my fiction either. We have enough of that in real life.

Thanks for hosting me today!

©Betsy Dornbusch

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DornbuschBetsy Dornbusch writes urban and epic fantasy, science fiction, and dabbles in thrillers and erotica. Her short fiction has appeared in print and online venues such as Sinister Tales, Big Pulp, Story Portal, and Spinetingler, and her work is in the anthologies Tasty Little Tales and Deadly by the Dozen. She’s been an editor with the e-zine Electric Spec for six years and regularly speaks at fan conventions and writers’ conferences. Her first full length novel, ARCHIVE OF FIRE came out in 2012 to great reviews and the first of her epic fantasy series, EXILE, came out in February 2013. She’s the sole proprietor of Sex Scenes at Starbucks where you can believe most of what she writes. In her free time, she snowboards, air jams at punk rock concerts, and just started following Rockies baseball, of all things.

 

ExileDraken vae Khellian, bastard cousin of the Monoean King, had risen far from his ignominious origins, becoming both a Bowrank Commander and a member of the Crown’s Black Guard. But when he is falsely condemned for the grisly murder of his beloved wife, he is banished from the kingdom and cast upon the distant shore of Akrasia, at the arse-end of the world. Compared to civilized Monoea, Akrasia is a forbidding land of Moonlings, magic, and restless spirits. It is also a realm on the brink of a bloody revolution, as a sinister conspiracy plots against Akrasia’s embattled young queen-and malevolent banes possess the bodies of the living. Consumed by grief, and branded a murderer, Draken lives only to clear his name and avenge his wife’s murder. But the fates may have bigger plans for him. Alone in a strange land, he soon finds himself sharing the bed of an enigmatic necromancer and a half-breed servant girl, while pressed into the service of a foreign queen whose life and land may well depend on the divided loyalties of an exiled warrior.

 

Interview with DB Jackson

Today’s interview features DB Jackson, critically acclaimed author of the Thieftaker series. Book 3, A Plunder Of Souls, will be released by TOR Books on July, 8.

Plunder-Of-Souls-blog-tour-buttonF.I.: Welcome back, David, at Fantastical Imaginations. Readers who have visited my blog regularly, already know that your Thieftaker Chronicles is one of my favorite series of all time and we have worked together a few times on posts for my blog. But for those who aren’t familiar with you and your writings: Can you tell us who DB Jackson really is?
DBJ:  Thanks so much for having me back, Dominick.  It’s always a pleasure to visit your blog.  D.B. Jackson is the pseudonym I use for my historical fantasy series, the Thieftaker Chronicles.  My real name is David B. Coe, and under that name I’m the author of the LonTobyn Chronicles, the trilogy that won me the Crawford Award as the best new author in fantasy, a five book series called Winds of the Forelands, and another trilogy, Blood of the Southlands.  Under my own name I also wrote the novelization of Ridley Scott’s movie Robin Hood, and will soon release from Baen Books a contemporary urban fantasy series called The Case Files of Justis Fearsson.  The first book, Spell Blind, will be out in January 2015.
I’m also a husband, the father of two teenage daughters, an avid birdwatcher, and an amateur photographer and musician.
The reason for the pseudonym is pretty basic:  My work as David B. Coe is epic, alternate world fantasy; the D.B. Jackson books are historical urban fantasy.  My publisher wanted to keep the David B. Coe brand separate from the historical stuff and so D.B. Jackson was “born.”

F.I.: Your Thieftaker Chronicles are very successful and the first two books received wonderful reviews. But for the few readers who haven’t discovered the books as of yet: What are the Thieftaker Chronicles?
DBJ: Thank you for the kind words.  I’m glad that readers and reviewers have responded well to Thieftaker and Thieves’ Quarry, and I’m hopeful that they’ll enjoy A Plunder of Souls, as well.  The Thieftaker Chronicles, as I’ve said, are historical urban fantasy.  What does that mean?  Well, they are set in pre-Revolutionary Boston, in the years leading up to the American war for independence.  Each book takes place against the backdrop of some historical event from that period.
Each book is also a stand-alone mystery.  My lead character, Ethan Kaille, is a thieftaker, which is sort of the eighteenth century equivalent of a private investigator. The first two books revolved around murder mysteries; this third volume is a bit different and has a kind of ghost story element to it.  But in all cases that mystery aspect is central to the identity of each novel.  And finally, Ethan is also a conjurer who uses magic to help him in his investigations and in his encounters with those who might seek to do him harm.  Because this is set in the 1700s, when people in Massachusetts still harbored fears of witchcraft, Ethan lives in constant fear of being accused of dabbling in the black arts and being hanged as a witch.
So that’s the series in a nutshell.  The books have been great fun to write.

F.I.: And I can testify that are also have been great fun to read. A Plunder Of Souls is the third book about Ethan Kaille and will be released on July 8th, 2014 by Tor Books. What can we expect from Ethan’s new adventures?
DBJ:  Well, without giving away too much, I can tell you that this story is a bit of a departure from the previous books.  First, as I mentioned a moment ago, in this case Ethan is not investigating a murder.  The book begins with a series of grave robberies that he is hired to look into.  It soon becomes clear, though, that these are more than mere robberies.  The crimes have certain bizarre and disturbing elements that are clearly directed at Ethan himself.  The story takes place during the summer of 1769, when there was a minor outbreak of smallpox in Boston, and that epidemic plays a role in the narrative.
And eventually Ethan finds himself pitted against an old nemesis:  Captain Nate Ramsey, who first appeared in a short story published in 2012 at Tor.com.  The story is called “A Spell of Vengeance,” and it can still be found at Tor.com, or it can be purchased from most online booksellers.  Ramsey is a powerful conjurer in his own right, and he is slightly mad, in addition to being brilliant, ruthless, and utterly determined to avenge himself on Ethan for injuries suffered in their past encounter.  I won’t say much more than that, except to add that for fans of the first two books there is plenty here that will be familiar.  Many of the old cast of characters are back, including Sephira Pryce, Kannice Lester, Diver Jervis, Janna Windcatcher, as well as several historical figures.  But it is also a different kind of Thieftaker book and I think readers will enjoy it.

F.I.: I’m really looking forward to it. You’ve signed a 4-book deal with Tor Books. Can you tell us something about that fourth book and about Ethan’s future?
DBJ:  The first draft of that fourth book is written and with my editor.  Again, I don’t want to say too much about it.  The story is set in February and early March of 1770.  This was a time when the occupation of Boston by British soldiers was turning ever more violent.  There were shootings, pitched street fights between soldiers and citizens.  And the violence culminated on the night of March 5, 1770 with what is now known as the Boston Massacre.  These events are central to the plot, and they leave Ethan, who had once been a supporter of the Crown, doubting all that he ever believed about the British Empire.  Again, many of the familiar characters are back, but Ethan also finds himself pitted against a nameless magical threat that seems to be feeding the violence in the streets while implicating Ethan himself.  The book is called Dead Man’s Reach and it will be out in the summer of 2015.

F.I.: Your Thieftaker novels are perfect examples of character driven fantasy with a great story and worldbuilding. What is the most important thing in a story to you when writing or reading: characterization, worldbuilding, a great story or a combination of all three? In other words: what makes a story great, in your opinion?
DBJ:  Thank you, that’s kind of you to say.  As your question implies, I think that a truly great story represents a synergy among all the factors you mention:  character, plot, and setting.  Of those three, I would probably say that, for me at least, character is the most important.  I think that a story can survive less than stellar worldbuilding or plotting if the characters are so good that they engage the reader anyway.  But the best worldbuilding and narrative imaginable can’t stand on their own without good characters.  If the characters are flat, uninteresting, unsympathetic, unbelievable, etc. the story is going to fail, simple as that.
But again, all three are crucial, and for a novel to be truly great, all three must be strong.  They are like the legs of stool: take any one away and the stool becomes unsteady, weak.  Stories are the same way.  In order to be strong and solid, they need all three elements to be in place.  I think I’ve been fortunate with the Thieftaker books, in that Ethan, Sephira, and Kannice are pretty strong characters who form the core of my cast.  The historical setting — my version of worldbuilding — is, to me at least, fascinating, and I’ve done a lot of research to make it feel as authentic as possible.  And the story lines related to the history have been interesting as well, allowing me to create some exciting plots.  It’s made for a nice combination, one that I think has been pretty successful.

F.I.: Can you remember when and where you were when you first got the inspiration for Thieftaker?
DBJ:  Yes, I can!  It was in 2005, while I was first working on my Blood of the Southlands series.  My wife and I were preparing for her sabbatical, which we were going to take in Australia.  I was reading Robert Hughes’ wonderful history of Australia, The Fatal Shore.  In his chapter about British law enforcement in the 18th century (because Australia began as a penal colony) he had a footnote about thieftakers in London, who thrived early in the 18th century in the absence of an established police force.  And in that footnote he went on at some length about Jonathan Wild, a London thieftaker who built a criminal empire for himself by hiring men to steal goods, selling some of those goods on the black market, and then returning the rest to their rightful owners for a fee.
And I thought, “That is so cool; I want to write about thieftakers!”  Specifically, I wanted to create a character who would be an honest thieftaker and who would be plagued by a rival who was as ruthless and corrupt as Jonathan Wild. Well, Sephira Pryce, Ethan’s lovely nemesis, is a fictionalized, female version of Wild, and that moment of inspiration has served me quite well.

F.I.: Interesting answer. One final question. What’s the most remarkable review you’ve had for one of your books?
DBJ:  Remarkable good or remarkable bad?  I’ve had plenty of both.  The most remarkable bad review came from a reader on Amazon who read the last book of my first series and said it was the worst novel he had ever read.  Ever.  By anyone.  I thought that was quite an accomplishment on my part.  And I figured he must have been pretty heavily invested in the series to react so strongly to that concluding book.
The first book in that series — my first novel ever, Children of Amarid — also received an interesting review from Kirkus.  It was technically a positive review, but the praise was so backhanded, so qualified, so couched in acerbic language that it didn’t feel positive at all.  I believe the final line was something like, “This grim, unambitious novel might be above the flood of mediocre fantasy currently sloshing about, but only by a nostril.”  Ouch!
The Thieftaker books have received some very positive reviews, and those have been quite gratifying.
The truth is, I try not to pay too much attention to reviews except to use them to help me market my books.  Each review is simply the opinion of a single reader on a single day.  Authors, I think, are well-advised not to take too much satisfaction in the good ones, and not to be too discouraged by the bad ones.

F.I.: Thank you for this interview, David. I’m really looking forward to A Plunder Of Souls.

 

JacksonD.B. Jackson is also David B. Coe, the award-winning author of more than a dozen fantasy novels. His first two books as D.B. Jackson, the Revolutionary War era urban fantasies, Thieftaker and Thieves’ Quarry, volumes I and II of the Thieftaker Chronicles, are both available from Tor Books in hardcover and paperback. The third volume, A Plunder of Souls, will be released in hardcover on July 8. The fourth Thieftaker novel, Dead Man’s Reach, is in production and will be out in the summer of 2015. D.B. lives on the Cumberland Plateau with his wife and two teenaged daughters. They’re all smarter and prettier than he is, but they keep him around because he makes a mean vegetarian fajita. When he’s not writing he likes to hike, play guitar, and stalk the perfect image with his camera.

 

PlunderSoulsBoston, 1769: Ethan Kaille, a Boston thieftaker who uses his conjuring to catch criminals, has snared villains and defeated magic that would have daunted a lesser man. What starts out as a mysterious phenomenon that has local ministers confused becomes something far more serious. A ruthless, extremely powerful conjurer seeks to wake the souls of the dead to wreak a terrible revenge on all who oppose him. Kaille’s minister friends have been helpless to stop crimes against their church. Graves have been desecrated in a bizarre, ritualistic way. Equally disturbing are reports of recently deceased citizens of Boston reappearing as grotesquely disfigured shades, seemingly having been disturbed from their eternal rest, and now frightening those who had been nearest to them in life. But most personally troubling to Kaille is a terrible waning of his ability to conjure. He knows all these are related…but how? When Ethan discovers the source of this trouble, he realizes that his conjure powers and those of his friends will not be enough to stop a madman from becoming all-powerful. But somehow, using his wits, his powers, and every other resource he can muster, Ethan must thwart the monster’s terrible plan and restore the restless souls of the dead to the peace of the grave. Let the battle for souls begin.

 

Related Posts:

Review of Thieftaker

Review of Thieves’ Quarry

Interview with DB Jackson (2012)

The Boston Gazette Interviews Ethan Kaille (Guest Post)

 

Review : Osey – K.D. Nielson

OseyTitle Osey

Author K.D. Nielson

Format Paperback
Number of pages 230
ISBN 9781478294283
Publisher CreateSpace

Publication date 24 July 2012

 

Washed up by a violent summer storm, Darcy is rescued by Jeremiah and his father Terin; two fishermen who are much more than they seem. Ignorant of her past, and plagued by dreams in her present, Darcy begins a journey that will lead her to Crea Gas, City of Dracons.
Within the city walls a secret as old as its foundation is hidden. A secret that unless Darcy can uncover its truth, will unleash an evil that will destroy the kingdom and all those she holds dear.

 

Osey is the first book in The Tales Of Menel Fenn and the second book I’ve read in this series. After reading (and liking) book 4, Mage’s Mistake, it was with some expectations that I started in this one. Like I said, I liked Mage’s Mistake, though it had some minor issues like the editing part. The editing in Osey is a little better, so that issue is mainly solved.

The start is pretty chaotic, but depicts an interesting world. Too bad that this chaotic start is continued throughout the rest of the book. My main complaint with Osey is the fact that there isn’t a real tension building. We get things thrown at us, almost randomly, without gradual explanation. A gradual build-up would have been better. The same goes for the world building. There’s a lot to take in and the story would have benefitted from a slower build-up and more explanation. There’s too much happening for a book this size. Spreading this story out over at least double the amount of pages would have benefitted the story, in my opinion.

Let’s take a look at the characters now. They are pretty good developed, but just like with the story should Nielson have taken a little more time to introduce them to us. There are new characters put in at almost every page and that’s a bit too much.

Now, about the worldbuilding. The world is, in my opinion, the best part of this story. It’s an interesting world with some great ideas and when the protagonists arrive in Crea Gas, things are getting more epic and interesting. From that point Nielson implements some interesting societies with well-developed history and characters.

That takes us to my conclusion. Osey is a book full of interesting ideas, but lacks in the development of those ideas. With some revisions could this book be something better, but for now it’s not good enough to rise above the average fantasy book. A missed opportunity.

 

Related Posts:

Review of Mage’s Mistake

 

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