New Book Review 25: Feeder

feeder-coverThe twenty-fifth book I’ll review in this blog is the modern/urban fantasy novel Feeder, by Lucinda Hawks Moebius. Lucinda has been extremely supportive of the online independent author community and devotes a tremendous amount of effort and energy to it, so I’m happy to give her some support back. This novel could be categorized as horror, but I hesitate to call it that because it didn’t seem to be written with the intent of scaring the reader. But of course, as with any book, another reader may view it differently.

The protagonist and narrator of this novel, Maria Christine, is known as a Were, or a Feeder, soul-eater, vampire, demon, etc. Different cultures give different names to her species. Members of her species call themselves Were, and within her species there are different types of Were with different attributes and abilities. The greatest similarity between all Were is the need to feed upon the life energy (that is to say souls, more or less) of living humans. For better or worse, Feeder is a vampire novel. This might be off-putting for a lot of readers, but as they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its genre (well, they say something like that). Every author who takes on the vampire concept puts their own spin on it, and this author is no exception. Rest assured, this book isn’t just a carbon copy of Twilight (thank goodness). Nobody sparkles, nobody is especially attractive, and in fact it’s quite a bit more brutal and gritty than many other vampire-related works I’ve read. Maria Christine lives in the streets. She came from an abusive foster care background and is essentially a loner. The only person she trusts is Agnes, her caretaker and fellow Were, whose manipulations and wicked schemes set our antihero running for her life into an unfamiliar world of warring Were covens and predatory Were-hunters.

It’s difficult to pin down exactly why, but for some reason a good long stretch of this novel felt like an elaborated version of an urban legend. Something about Maria Christine seemed like she could be a monster from this twenty-first century mythology, this glass-and-concrete folklore. Part of this is the way that humans are treated in the book. In short, humans are not characters. They are faceless and oblivious, existing only to be fed upon by the Were. Maria Christine is a sympathetic character, but her need to kill humans to survive makes her into an antihero. I can imagine teenagers whispering this story of story to one another in the same way tales of creatures like Slenderman and Stick Indians were whispered in my own school. Personally I love mythology and folklore in whatever form it takes, so I admire the way this book managed to capture this urban legend kind of feeling.

There is a lot to like and admire in this book, but it did have some downsides. The antagonists aren’t very well fleshed-out and seemed kind of clichéd. Some of the excitement slows down a lot halfway through when Maria Christine finds a more safe and stable place to live, and there were some dull stretches there. And, there were a good number of typos throughout the book. All of that being said, I enjoyed it. Vampire fiction isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but I liked this book and I’m certain that fans of vampire fiction or supernatural fiction or urban fantasy will enjoy it even more than I did.

Now, once again, my bit of promo. If you are a fan of fantasy, you can look into my own book, Tales of Cynings Volume I, in print format here or Kindle format here.

If you liked this book review, you can see my others here: New Book Review 1New Book Review 2New Book Review 3New Book Review 4New Book Review 5New Book Review 6New Book Review 7New Book Review 8New Book Review 9New Book Review 10New Book Review 11New Book Review 12New Book Review 13New Book Review 14New Book Review 15New Book Review 16New Book Review 17New Book Review 18New Book Review 19New Book Review 20New Book Review 21-New Book Review 22New Book Review 23New Book Review 24

This post was originally featured on cwbookclub.com.

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Year-End 99 Cent Promotion

pic of coverThis has been a really interesting year for me. I was very happy to publish Tales of Cynings Volume I this year, and the feedback I’ve been getting has been so encouraging! Using this blog as a way to connect with other authors has also been good, and I’m pleased with the people I’ve met and the interactions I’ve had. These book reviews will definitely continue in 2017. I’ve made good progress on Tales of Cynings Volume II as well, and I’m excited with some of the new storylines and ideas that I’m working with there. However, I can’t give a clear date on when the book will be done. It depends on a lot of factors. I’d like to say before 2018, but we’ll just have to see.

Now, in celebration of the end of this year, I’m making the digital version of my book just 99 cents until New Years Day! The deal ends at midnight, and I won’t run another like it for a good long while. If you’ve enjoyed the content on this blog, try out the book! I’m doing a lot of authors a favor with this blog, and some return on that would be greatly appreciated. Link to the book is here.

Thanks for reading!

New Book Review 24: Seed of Scorn

seedofscorncover.PNGThe twenty-fourth book I’m reviewing on this blog is Aaron-Michael Hall’s novel Seed of Scorn, the second of her epic fantasy series Rise of Nazil. I reviewed the first of the series, Secret of the Seven, in a previous post which may be read here. As I noted in the earlier review, this series has some representations of sexual assault. Readers who have suffered from traumatic experiences or are sensitive about these subjects should abstain from this series.

The last book [[[[SPOILERS]]]] concluded with a war to free the land of Faelondul from the tyrannical rule of the city of Nazil, whose inhabitants worshipped fascist gods and treating humans as slaves. The good Nazilian warrior, Pentanimir Benoist, has become the new ruler of Nazil, the seven true gods have revealed themselves to the land, and a new age of peace has apparently begun. As this book begins, unrest is growing among the Nazilians who favored the old order. There is talk of revolt against Pentanimir and restoration of the strict racial hierarchy of the past. In the meantime spiritual enemies of the seven gods are reaching out to make an invasion of Faelondul, pulling hapless Nazilians under their power.  The air is filled with palace intrigue and dark omens.

There is a lot going on and a lot of potential for excitement, but one thing that this book has in common with the previous one is that it moves at a glacial pace. The book is over 500 pages long, well over half of the pagespace is devoted to characters discussing the events of the previous book and characters developing their romantic relationships. In the previous book a lot of space was dedicated to graphic description of torture and rape, and this book has much less of that. It is easier on the stomach, but (and I hate to say this) for long stretches I thought it was kind of boring.

Now, to be clear, the relationships and interactions between characters were quite complex, and written very well. If I was coming to this book with the intent of reading romance, I might be thrilled with this. But, I came to it as a work of epic fantasy. Romance epic fantasy could be a genre that I’m just not familiar with, but if so it seems a very niche group, possibly someplace where fans of George R.R. Martin and fans of Nicholas Sparks overlap. I am a fan of George R.R. Martin, but romance stories bore me. This is not at all to say that the book was badly written, simply that it wasn’t for me.

On the topic of sexual assault, this book had one major deviation from the previous book and from many works of fantasy in general. In the few sexual assaults that happen in this book, the victims are male. It’s a bold move which carries an entirely different set of implications and power dynamics than the alternative, and it moves the plot forward in different ways.

Really, I think this book and this series is likely to be a love-it-or-hate-it affair for most readers. I can imagine other readers loving it. I’ve dedicated a lot of time and effort into getting this far in the series, and I haven’t yet decided if I’ll go on to the third book, Piercing the Darkness. I might, just to see what becomes of the events set up in this one.  Fans of both romance and epic fantasy will enjoy this book, though perhaps not fans of romance and fantasy respectively.

Now as always, my bit of promo. If you liked this book review, you can see my others here: New Book Review 1New Book Review 2New Book Review 3New Book Review 4New Book Review 5New Book Review 6New Book Review 7New Book Review 8New Book Review 9New Book Review 10New Book Review 11New Book Review 12New Book Review 13New Book Review 14New Book Review 15New Book Review 16New Book Review 17New Book Review 18New Book Review 19New Book Review 20New Book Review 21-New Book Review 22New Book Review 23

If you are a fan of fantasy, you can look into my own book, Tales of Cynings Volume I, in print format here or Kindle format here.

This post was originally featured on cwbookclub.com.