Monthly Archives: August 2014

Tiger’s Paw Snippet – Weekend Writing Warriors – Part 6

Sixth entry for the #8sunday Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop –


The jackal’s skin was twitching and I braced for his shift. Instead, he merely snapped at the air, golden eyes bulging as he lunged straight at me. “Death to the tiger!”

I waited until he was nearly upon me then sidestepped, twisting as I clamped my hand on his leg and wrenched it at the same time I drove him to the floor. Devin let out a high-pitched yelp as his leg broke. He would heal within the day. Flipping him onto his back, I grabbed his throat, pinning him down. “Who recruited you?


The above is an excerpt from my WIP novella, Tiger’s Paw, the prequel to The Therian Way, my urban fantasy series. This time it ends in the middle of another speech, which is why I don’t have a closing quotation mark. This entry is a direct continuation from last week’s, which you can read here.

Tiger’s Paw excerpt (c) Kimberly A. Rogers and kimberlyrogerscfwriter.wordpress.com blog.

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Book Review Wednesday – A Light in the Dark

A Light in the Dark by W. M. Beck Jr.

Amazon Book Description:

Oh, what horrors in darkness wait…

The Kingdom of Marlebonne has stood for centuries, built on the ruins of the ancient Svargans. When a Frog named Brunois comes into possession of a curious artifact, it starts a chain of events that will take him, his young niece Rana, and a mysterious Horse named Auroka into an ancient subterranean complex. There they uncover monstrosities that have lain dormant for hundreds of years and a secret that has been hidden for generations. In that dark place they must face their fears and their failings, and they will have to rely on one another if they are to escape and prevent the impending catastrophe.

When all you see is blackness, where can you find A Light in the Dark?

Marlebonne Tales is a series of books chronicling the lives of Animals living in the Kingdom of Marlebonne–a post-apocalyptic, steampunk world where colorful characters abound, the fantastic is frequent, and anything is possible.

So, I decided to try another steampunk offering. Mainly because it offered anthropomorphic animals (somehow I missed the post-apocalyptic piece until after I started reading) to appeal to my fantasy tastes.

Plot – Grade A-

The main focus of this book is on the Frog Brunois and the events that occur after he finds an artifact. He’s a thief looking for a new score (and avoiding the constabulary as much as he can) but he’s also intrigued because the egg reminds him of his grandfather’s tales. Since he comes by the egg through less than aboveboard means (took it off a Dog who ambushed him), this also brings the main antagonists, a gang of Dogs, into play. Brunois was a difficult character for me to relate to for most of the book and the plot seemed to drag at times as it slowly built up the tertiary threat of evil mechanical bugs until they become the main threat in the last third of the book.

Content –  Grade B

There is absolutely no romance in this book. It is focused on the adventure and danger of exploring this steampunk world. However, while there is no heavy language, “damn/damned” show up a LOT. Personally, I was a bit surprised by this choice and this may bother some Christians but others may not mind it at all.

There is a lot of violence in this particular book. Characters are shot, burned (twice in more detail than I personally cared for), impaled, and torn apart (again this happens in more detail than I personally  liked at least once). Most of the violence I can understand as going hand in hand with the rougher post-apocalyptic world. However, there were a few occasions where the description was a tad gratuitous in the volume of gruesome detail.

As far as spirituality, there actually isn’t much in this first book. In fact, the first mention of God in the world of Marlebonne is a brief note that the constable believes in Eshua the Great Lion because of how he’s seen the dark side of the people and because in the midst of the darkness he’s seen miraculous turn of events as well. This takes place about halfway into the book. And then the constable once again urges the main characters to join him in prayer. Later Brunois the resident reprobate Frog finally prays as well although he prays to “God” and not to “Eshua” as you might expect. I think, based in part on the author note/explanation at the end of the book, that A Light in the Dark is the first step into the spiritual journey for Brunois, which seems to be why the faith element isn’t very prominent for the majority of the book.

Technical – Grade B+

This book is well edited. I didn’t see any typos or homonym swaps and aside from the occasional space between a period and the closing quotation mark, it was error-free. However, the flow was very formal and at times felt a tad stiff due to the lack of action-oriented writing. I think the pacing could have flowed more fluidly if the narration wasn’t quite so formally correct. There are also times when I wasn’t sure what a character’s expression or feeling was supposed to be since the narration would switch from showing to telling. One odd spot was when a Fox was described as being “ashen-faced” and while I’m certain some of the Animals could have that description and make it work (e.g., the Frogs), with a Fox I was pulled out of the moment due to the distraction of wondering how would a fur-faced creature be ashen-face. Due to the pacing issues and moments where telling was used when it should have been showing and the times when a description suited a human and not the Animal being used, I found it difficult to be completely immersed in the story.

Final Grade – B or 4 stars

Overall, I can see that the book has the good bones of a story and I’m sure it will appeal to the fans of steampunk. However, I just did not connect with this one. I think it was a combination of the style and the genre. Steampunk is still not my go-to genre and honestly, most of the steampunk books I read are more miss than hit. The epilogue hints at what book two will be about but I’m not sure at this point if I’ll pick it up for myself. While this book was not for me personally, I would recommend it for fans of post-apocalyptic steampunk. Recommended for ages 15 and up.

A Light in the Dark is available through Kindle and Paperback.

Next week – The Third Heaven by Donovan Neal

 

Tiger’s Paw Snippet – Weekend Writing Warriors – Part 5

Fifth entry for the #8sunday Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop –


The cackling whine of a jackal was my only answer. Lips peeling back in a snarl, I indulged in once again reminding Devin that I had bigger teeth. It would be easy to shift my human-looking hand to one covered in fur and tipped with long, retractable claws so I could cut systematically until the traitor was begging to tell me all he knew. However, I needed to bring the council proof that had not been revealed after hours of intense questioning. That the Fringe was gaining so many followers needed to be addressed. I needed to discover what had happened to spur these zealots into becoming so aggressive this past year. I shifted so I was once again fully man…otherwise, I would have been too tempted to bite off the traitor’s head. Stepping back, I nodded to my lieutenants and they released Devin then retreated several paces.


The above is an excerpt from my WIP novella, Tiger’s Paw, the prequel to The Therian Way, my urban fantasy series. This entry is a direct continuation from last week’s, which you can read here.

 

Tiger’s Paw excerpt (c) Kimberly A. Rogers and kimberlyrogerscfwriter.wordpress.com blog.

Tiger’s Paw Snippet – Weekend Writing Warriors – Part 4

Fourth entry for the #8sunday Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop –


“We must make ourselves known! Rule over the humans as is our right and take down the Elves, high and mighty elitists who are deliberately diluting our Therian blood with the arranged peace marriages! They need to be crushed and taught their place beneath Therian feet.”

I caught my lieutenants exchanging looks and silently agreed with them–Devin had gone fringe. So far fringe that his madness could no longer be concealed. I roared, filling the room with the deafening sound, until the Jackal finally ceased his mad raving. Lowering my massive tiger head so Devin had a very pretty view of my finger-long fangs, I growled softly. “Who told you how to gain access to my code? Who recruited you?”


The above is an excerpt from my WIP novella, Tiger’s Paw, the prequel to The Therian Way, my urban fantasy series. We’re still in the middle of the interrogation and this time it picks up where Devin’s spiel left off last week. This entry is a direct continuation from last week’s, which you can read here.

 

Tiger’s Paw excerpt (c) Kimberly A. Rogers and kimberlyrogerscfwriter.wordpress.com blog.

Book Review Wednesday – Resistance

Resistance by Jaye L. Knight

Amazon Book Description:

“Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”

Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape.

Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair lives every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God.

Following the emperor’s declaration to enforce the worship of false gods under the penalty of death, many lives are endangered. But there are those willing to risk everything to take a stand and offer aid to the persecuted. With their lives traveling paths they never could have imagined, Jace and Kyrin must fight to overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance.

This book caught my attention with its back cover. I love resistance stories and standing up for one’s belief in the true God. I was also intrigued to see a Christian fantasy offering for the New Adult audience (a new subgenre for twenty and thirty year olds).

Plot – Grade A-

The basic plot pulls in elements of both fantasy and biblical motifs. The half-blood outcast, a girl with a special ability, and the tension of true faith being forced increasingly underground by an ambitious emperor who serves false gods in order to have absolute “divine” power over his people. These elements are present and yet they are used in such a way it doesn’t feel tired or cliché.

The world of Ilyon evokes the medieval-esque feeling but the political and spiritual atmosphere reminds me of Rome in the days of the early church when the persecutions first began. Kyrin was an enjoyable character. We meet her after we meet Jace (the Half-Breed) but she quickly takes over the bulk of the narration. She is the believer in the heat of the fire (along with her twin brother) who must find a way to keep her beliefs secret while also struggling with what the emperor is using her to do to people. As for Jace, he is the half-breed, an almost unheard of mix of Human and Ryrik (one of the other races inhabiting Ilyon), and as such he deals with a lot of prejudice and personal angst/inner conflict over his mixed heritage since the Ryriks are deemed to be little better than rabid animals and believed to be soulless. He had a lot of potential depth but I don’t think his character was explored as deeply as it could have been. We don’t get as much time with Jace from HIS perspective as I would have expected for a character mentioned specifically in the summary in a way that makes him co-protagonist to Kyrin and several times I caught myself wondering when we would go back to Jace because I wanted HIS perspective of his struggles and of the changes around him.

Content – Grade A

This is a very clean fantasy. There is no language. The violence is portrayed more through characters’ reactions than through actual written out depictions of violence such as characters looking away when someone is executed. There are mentions of blood and several characters are beaten and tortured and there are wounds from battle, but nothing comes across as gratuitous or unnecessarily gory.

There is just a smattering of romance between two secondary characters (one quick kiss, that’s it). But, I do have hope that maybe Jace will find love in future books. There are references to women wearing shockingly low necklines and an immodest statue of a goddess so Kyrin scrubbed it clean instead of her brother. There are also references to Kyrin being leered at by guards in one particular scene and there are also references to human men being worried about the safety of the women (especially their daughters) when Jace is around solely due to his Ryrik heritage (they’re infamous for doing unspeakable violence against human women before killing them), but these things are handled well and it doesn’t become graphic or tastelessly detailed.

Technical – B

This book had some superb editing. I didn’t come across any typos or other spelling gaffs. However, there are about ten chapters in this book after chapter 5 where the pace really slows down to about a trudge. It wasn’t throw the book against the wall mind-numbingly boring but I kept having the same points (especially about Jace) hammered again and again. Every time Jace and Rayad (his father figure) meet someone new, it’s “Oh yes, he’s only half-Ryrik and he is different from the Ryriks, not monster” and “But, I still don’t trust him” because Jace is persecuted by fellow refugees for the circumstances of his birth. It wouldn’t have been so bad if we saw this from Jace’s POV but it’s usually Rayad who’s narrating and Jace is once again shouldered out of the way. I honestly think about one hundred of the 478 pages could have been cut and/or condensed to help revive the pace faster. As noted above, Kyrin takes over most of the narration but there are so many secondary characters who are also jumping in to narrate (especially when Jace is around) that it was a bit confusing at times. I also felt Jace was getting the short end of the stick since the lack of his POV save for very brief snippets in the middle and near the end of the book made it difficult to really get in his shoes. This is something I hope Knight remedies in the next book.

Final Grade – B+ or 4.5 stars

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The world-building and intriguing little glimpses at certain secondary characters left me wanting to know more, especially about the other races of Ilyon (we’ve encounter three of the five races so far). There are some pacing and narration gaffs, but I still want more of these characters as they gear up for spiritual warfare and other adventures in Book Two, which is coming in 2015. I would recommend this book to fans of clean fantasy with heavy world-building and ties to both history and the Bible. Recommended for ages 15 and up.

Resistance is available through Kindle and Paperback.

Next – A Light in the Dark by W. M. Beck Jr.

*A day late, but I’m pretending it’s Wednesday anyway, next review will be on time. 😉

Tiger’s Paw Snippet – Weekend Writing Warriors – Part 3

Third entry for the #8sunday Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop –


I bared my fangs and snarled, “Why did you betray your people, Devin?”

Devin was not a member of the Felidae branch of Therians. He was one of the Jackals and a shame to their long history of utter loyalty to the Therian way of life. He was also a lesser predator, which should have guaranteed me his cooperation once I entered the room and showed my power. Nevertheless, only madness reigned behind his eyes. “Stupid tigers only know how to follow orders. You think you’re protecting the Therians? You’re condemning them to obscurity!


 

The above is an excerpt from my WIP novella, Tiger’s Paw, the prequel to The Therian Way, my urban fantasy series. This time it ends in the middle of Devin’s spiel, which is why I don’t have a closing quotation mark. This entry is a direct continuation from last week’s, which you can read here.

 

Tiger’s Paw excerpt (c) Kimberly A. Rogers and kimberlyrogerscfwriter.wordpress.com blog.

Tiger’s Paw Snippet – Weekend Writing Warriors – Part 2

Second entry for the #8sunday Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop –


This traitorous backstabber had used my personal clearance code to allow Fringe forces into the city limits, which resulted in the deaths of thirty civilians, among them sixteen innocent cubs, and had nearly revealed the presence of our kind to humanity. Humans who still naïvely believed after over five hundred and fifty years of knowing and dealing with the Elves that none of the other distorted legends held a grain of truth. We Therians would prefer to keep them that way. If the Humans learned of our existence, it would be the end of the Therian Way.

Cold fury whipped to the fore at that thought and I let go of my control just enough to achieve a partial change. I growled again, now a man with a tiger’s head, as I loomed over the prisoner. My muzzle wrinkled as I smelled the prisoner’s fear going up a notch. That’s right; cower before the tiger who just might bite your head off for being a traitor.


 

The above is an excerpt from my WIP novella, Tiger’s Paw, the prequel to The Therian Way, my urban fantasy series. It is a direct continuation from last week’s, which you can read here.

 

Tiger’s Paw excerpt (c) Kimberly A. Rogers and kimberlyrogerscfwriter.wordpress.com blog.