Huge Christmas Book Giveaway!

A short post, but worth sharing. A fellow blogger is hosting a massive Christmas giveaway! You can find all kinds of books, mostly in the fantasy and sci-fi genres, with a few historical fiction, romance, action and thrillers in the below list. All free! Select the images below to be taken to the giveaway pages. There are over 400 stories waiting to be read!

Merry Christmas!


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Aspectä rey’lief, fair reader, thanks for reading.
—Ed R. White

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December 2020: News and Personal Reflections

We live in tough times, between geopolitical events and the Coronavirus. It can be hard pushing through life. I’ve been there. The only things that pulled me from the brink of depression these past several months have been my creative world-building, meditation, and health-seeking journey.

We Were Designed to Progress.

Every human being has the potential to thrive and survive in this world. We fall to the depths of despair, so we can rise to heights of unconditional love. Remember what it is that brings you joy, to seek the lightless light of Truth.

For me, it was my fictional daughter, Pepper Slyhart. Pepper suffers through the Hero’s Journey, allowing her to rise above the vicissitudes of life. It is this adventure of the hero that is inside every one of us.

The Creative Journey

Creative writing is a ritual that many of us take for granted. We get stuck or we procrastinate. But there are methods to combat this mental block.

Writing is a journey of humanity itself. See this book review I did on David Hawkins book to see what I mean. Transcending the Levels of Consciousness certainly opened my eyes to the truth about reality. About life. Needless to say, it’s improved my writing ambition.

Languages and Music

Writing a high fantasy novel gets trickier when you delve into fantasy languages. Here’s a post on developing a fantasy language, with a portion on the one I invented: the Primeal.

That said, the creative process is daunting. Remaining in a relaxed state during our lives is essential to our well being. This is demonstrated in Blade of Dragons through a process called terraum. I’ve listened to Biotropic music lately to ease me into that meditative state. Give it a listen. You won’t be disappointed.

Books Read

I finished a handful of delightful books this past month. Of mention, one was an urban fantasy called The Wild Hunt by Ron Nieto. It’s a curious book about fay in modern society and the magical adventures of a young teen rescuing her grandmother. Another book was nonfiction on the practical uses of Real Alchemy by Robert Bartlett, which will likely receive a book review soon.

Final Notes

Life as an artist, spiritual seeker, and naturopath isn’t easy. It is with help from readers like you that make it possible. Thank you for your time and attention. I hope these stories inspire you to new heights, helping you to progress, to seek the Truth within us.


Interested in joining my mailing list? Members will receive free poetry, special deals, messages to inspire and empower your life, and short stories. You’ll also get the latest news on projects.
Aspectä rey’lief, fair reader, thanks for reading.
—Ed R. White

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Book Review and Spiritual Reflections: David Hawkins, Transcending the Levels of Consciousness

When it comes to writing, few authors consider the spiritual implications involved. Writing is, in truth, more than an art. It is a path to the soul.

A type of meditation.

In my journey to understand my own spiritual journey, I sought a book that resonated with me. You see, each book carries with it markings of its author. Leftover vibes, if you will. Books are like a preview in the author’s soul—but that’s a topic for another time.

Enter David R Hawkins.

He does a superb job describing the matter of the soul. The Hero’s Journey, which I stress again and again, is the crux of not only storytelling, but of humanity itself.

Premise

David Hawking’s book is filled with information on the psyche among other spiritual essays. Hawkins explains his scale of consciousness.

The chapters are well organized and filled with tips on improving one’s personal life. I always get a thrill progressing from page to page, like the vibes from the author are filling me with wisdom and insight.

Most of the information he shares is heavy-duty, so don’t expect a light read from this author. Hawkins doesn’t pull punches when describing the issues with humanity. Some readers may be discouraged by this attitude.

Length

The book is quite long at over 400 pages. The beginning and end of the book include generalized essays on human consciousness. Chapters on the individual states fill in the rest.

Information

The chapters spell out the states of the human condition, starting with shame and guilt. Hawkins’ information begins more concrete, but becomes abstract as he discusses the upper states of peace and enlightenment.

He also mentions a form of divination called muscle testing. The practitioner says a statement, and if it is false, the muscles in the body go weak. For the experienced, this can be (theoretically) a useful method to discern truth.

I’ve read the book three times over the past couple years; each read, I discover new insights. Depending on the reader’s own state of mind, s/he may pick up different impressions.

The Good

David Hawkins’ book is a pleasure to read for any spiritual seeker or the curious. It also provides excellent information on human emotion and how to better understand it from a creative writers’ perspective.

The Bad

Much of the book reads on a college+ level, and many of the ideas are abstract. The average reader may feel overwhelmed upon a first read.

The Ugly

Not so much ugly as deep and hard-hitting, Transcending the Levels of Consciousness digs deep into the human condition. It spares no mercy spelling out human issues and the implications behind them.

Despite its high reading level and abstract concepts, I found this book magnificent. It speaks to me like few books ever could. I plan to read more of Hawkins’ works in the future—and I encourage you, dear reader, to check it out too.

Writers and artists often focus too much on the craft itself, instead of the spiritual beauty behind it. Each piece is a measure of the author; a window into the soul. Perhaps by understanding these simple concepts suggested by Hawkins, we may unravel new depths to our writing and creative abilities.


Interested in joining my mailing list? Members will receive free poetry, special deals, high-vibe essays to pump up your spirit, and short stories. You’ll also get the latest news on projects like Blade of Dragons.

With much love and gratitude, fair reader, thanks for reading.
—Ed R. White

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October Surprises!

Hey, it’s Ed White, how’s it going? Staying safe I hope? I’ve been a busy-bee working on my manuscript, and I have some splendid news to share, plus free reads from a fellow blogger.

  • When it comes to writing fiction, a map is always handy. In this article, I present a tutorial on how to get started in GIMP and enhance your novel. Or, for those not artistically inclined, you can use a software called Inkarnate to make your maps too!
  • November is NaNoWriMO month! Here are some tips and tricks that should help you if you’re brave enough to take on the challenge.
  • I had the pleasure of working with a fellow blogger and writer on the use of Kindle Create. If you missed it, I highly recommend checking out this article right now! It has a simple rundown of what Kindle Create does and how to use it.
  • My notes on Brandon Sanderson’s 2020 Lecture notes are still raking in the views. Be sure to check it out!
  • I recently did a book review on a non-fiction piece about foraging. I also included a bit about foraging and herbs in Ethereal Seals. Here’s another article on geology and gemstone technology for my world.
  • There are Fall designs and sweaters on Flux’s Esoteric Store of Art right now! Use code FLUX2012 to get 10% off.
  • I finished my beta swap with a co-writer, and her feedback was amazing! I can only say Blade of Dragons is much better now. That said, I know what to change and where to polish, bringing the manuscript that much closer to publication.
  • You can check out my beta partner, Rebecca Alasdair, at her website: https://rebeccaalasdair.com/. Her upcoming fantasy novel is called Graceborn.
  • I’ve been doing some additional revision passes on my manuscript for Blade of Dragons. The story has changed over the past few months, but it’s reading better and better! I truly feel it is nearing completion. At around 130,000 words, this science fantasy is loaded with world building and intricate character arcs.
  • Watching Pepper Slyhart grow as a character has been very fulfilling as a writer and artist. I look forward to developing her further in the sequels. She has been like a daughter to me, a character I will always cherish and reflect on.

Lastly, blogger and writer Richie Billing is spreading the word on free reads for New Adult fantasy. Just click the images below to start reading. I know you’ll love these stories!

Thanks for stopping by!


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Antagonists and Villains in Fiction

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Hello, my readers, to another installation about fictional worlds! It’s been a stressful time for all of us, so I wanted to entertain you with another post of mine: Villains in Fiction!

Last time, I discussed the purpose of disease in fiction. In many ways, disease is like an invisible antagonist that cannot be seen—but what about the villains that can be seen? What are they all about? What different types of villains in fiction are there? Let’s dig into it!

“Each film is only as good as its villain. Since the heroes and the gimmicks tend to repeat from film to film, only a great villain can transform a good try into a triumph.” — Roger Ebert

Throughout human history, each movie, each story tale, has a villain. Some love them, others hate them, or even love to hate these nifty characters. They are the individuals who forge dynamic prose and brilliant screenplay—epic scenes and heart wrenching moments.

Antagonists

While a villain is selfish, naughty, or seeks to harm people, an antagonist—strictly speaking—is the opposing force of the protagonist, the lead of the plot with sympathic values towards the audience. Quite often, villains are the antagonist. However, you can have a villain as the protagonist—or even a hero as the antagonist!

Antagonistic Perspectives

An antagonist can help drive the narrative forward, develop the protagonist, and add color to worldbuilding. A villain is seen as “evil” to the eyes of the hero, but this is subjective. You could, for example, have a character appear as a villain from the viewpoint of most of the characters, but to others the villain seems neutral or even righteous.

Here are some types of villains I’ve chosen to examine. This list is by no means exhaustive.

I. The Anti-hero

In the case where the villain is the protagonist, you get an Anti-hero. Although evil, the Anti-hero believes in doing what he or she thinks is right. The Anti-hero establishes sympathetic relations with the audience and drives the plot forward through heinous acts. An Anti-hero usually has three important traits, which you can read more about here.

2. The Anti-villain

Conversely, an Anti-villain is a character with strong morals, yet accomplishes evil in the long-run. Perhaps an Anti-villain is a priest, wishing to purge “evil”, but he or she commits heinous acts to achieve this. Once again, “evil” is subjective to readers and other characters.

3. The Visionary

The Visionary sees the world in a demented state and wishes to fix it. These types of villains believe they are doing good—despite the fact they may be collapsing economies and killing millions, and they see the hero as an “evil” interloper.

4. The Madman

These types of villains are psychopathic and enjoy being evil, causing mischief, or hurting others for the fun of it. The Madman may have a sense of humor, in the case of the Joker, or even a ruthless, calculating demeanor like Lex Luthor. They will throw whatever resources they have at the hero, even if it costs them their life.

5. Femme Fatale

Seductress, siren, temptress—the Femme Fatale is a female character with malicious intent. Often she seduces the hero in clever ways, provoking him/her towards actions of moral ambiguity. The Femme Fatale may promise the hero power, clout, wealth, or even sex for surrendering to her.

6. The Beast

The Beast is a feral animal or a monster, with a desire to feed, gain territory, rampage, and reproduce. It has a primitive mind and cannot be reasoned with. Some beasts may appear justified for their rampage, like in the case of Godzilla. Others are confused and lost in modern society as with King Kong.

7. The Machine

Similar to the Beast, the Machine has one motive: disrupting the hero’s plans. The Machine is pure logic and can be even more dangerous with its lack of morals and emotions. See the Terminator series as an example.

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8. Evil Incarnate

Some villains are pure evil by nature. Dark gods or devil embodiments do heinous acts because it’s what they do. Sauron in The Lord of the Rings is innately evil, and opposes Frodo’s quest to destroy the Ring. Sometimes these types of villains have certain morals they follow, a code that guides them to destroy.

9. The Outsider

The Outsider is an outcast or disliked minority, detached from the world. Though intelligent and experienced, the Outsider is bitter towards society and holds a degree of vengeance. Outsiders may also have a cult following who champion their cause. Motivated by this revenge, the Outsider is led to commit vile acts, often opposing the society-accepted-protagonist—whom the Outsider also despises.

10. Nature

Nothing can oppose the will of Mother Nature, and unlike other villains, this variant can seldom can stopped. The hero must discover how to mitigate the damage, whether from a storm, a virus, or violent earth changes. Fortunately, conflicts caused by Mother Nature typically resolve on their own once balance is restored.

11. The Authority Figure

The Authority Figure is in charge of a lawful system, and he or she seeks to maintain said system through rules. This villain symbolizes restriction and control, whereas the hero may want freedom. Authority Figures are seen in a wide variety of genres—and they can be anything from a school principal, a police chief, or an emperor. While not wholly evil, Authority Figures only wish to maintain the status quo and do their jobs.

Other Villains in Fiction

There are numerous categories of villains in fiction, such as the Mastermind, a criminal overlord; the Henchman, who follows the Mastermind—and others. Some villains fall in multiple categories—they are a difficult breed to classify, and considerably more interesting than the cliché heroes that are often repeated. I encourage you to check these two articles out for more information.

An original hero will often break away from traditional stereotypes and establish his or her own set of moral values, not necessarily agreeing with society. Perhaps this is why an audience finds Anti-heroes more engaging and reflective of human nature. Anti-heroes also struggle more internally and this plays better with the audience.

Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for more content during this Quarantine with yours truly—and stay safe. 🙂

#fiction #worldbuilding #writing #reading #literature #villainsinfiction

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Book Length, Word Count, Readability, and Free Goodies!

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Hello, my readers! Today I’m revisiting book lengths for authors. The length of a book can be a vital factor in its success. Depending on the target audience, genre, readability, and book type, the word count in a book can vary.

That said, there are always outliers—books that have done well outside of word count brackets. If you’re a writer with questions about how long your writing should be, this article is for you.

Although there is no fixed word count, there are generally recognized guidelines depending on genre and audience.

Audience

Younger audiences have smaller attention spans and therefore cater to short, fast-paced book lengths. Adults are more tolerable with longer manuscripts. Here’s a rundown of the age brackets:

  • Poetry: 5 to 3,000 words
  • Picture Book: 400 to 800 words
  • Play: 1,000 to 32,000 words
  • Middle Grade: 25,000 to 40,000 words
  • Young Adult: 50,000 to 100,000 words
  • Adult: 100,000 to 130,000 words

Genre

Book genres, of course, play another role in the word count.  Science fiction and fantasy works tend toward a high word count since the writer develops a fictional world from the ground up. This takes time to describe all the new rules and phenomena associated with such a fictional universe.

Historical fiction, Young Adult, Westerners, and Mysteries prefer a lower word count—of course, there are always exceptions.

  • Romance & Erotica: 40,000 to 100,000 words
  • Mystery/Thriller/Horror: 70,000 to 90,000 words
  • Horror: 80,000 to 100,000 words
  • Historical: 90,000 to 100,000 words
  • Sci-fi/Fanasty: 90,000 to 140,000 words

General Book Types

Depending on the type of book you intend to write, word count plays another significant factor. Flash fiction and short stories are, of course, brief, but powerful. Novelettes are even larger than short stories. A novella is a story with a fleshed out story and characters, whereas novels are the largest.

Book type examples:

  • Flash Fiction: 100 to 1,500 words
  • Short Story: 1,500 to 7,500 words
  • Novelette: 7,500 to 20,000 words
  • Novella: 30,000 to 50,000 words
  • Novel: 50,000 to 100,000 words
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Quantity Versus Quality

Quantity alone does not a good book make.  You have to earn your manuscript, one word at a time. If a document is 150,000 words long but fills its pages with redundant vocabulary, it probably won’t read well.

Adverbs and excessive prose often slog writing; an attempt by the writer to look professional. The simpler a manuscript is, the more people can read it, and the more can enjoy it.

Reading Level

The average reading level for America is around the 8th-grade mark. If the author wants a book to read smoothly among a wider audience, then a book should read around this level. By using simpler and shorter phrases, the readability of the prose goes up.

Word Impact

Each word in a manuscript should contribute to the book in at least one of the following ways:

  • Character progression
  • Plot development
  • Environmental immersion
  • Reader enjoyment

There are exceptions, but if you find a word that doesn’t fit one of these criteria, it can usually be removed. You don’t want to be overly descriptive either as that slogs the pacing and reduces readability.

I recommend Brandon Sanderson’s lectures from 2020 for prose concision and worldbuilding.

Chapter Impact

Chapter length can also have an impact on readability and word count. Short chapters organize a book better, improve readability, and leave readers with a sense of satisfaction. Shorter chapters also make for good stopping points when a reader needs to put the novel down.

Longer chapters are tedious, but sometimes necessary when a section of a book demands enough information or plot progression. In this case, scene breaks are good for breaking down long chapters.

Personally, I love frequent scene breaks and short chapters, as it provides convenient spots for me to park my bookmark. 😛

Reader & Writer Relationship

Half of telling a story comes from the reader’s imagination; give half and let the reader form the rest. This stimulates the reader’s mind, bringing with it a sense of fulfillment.

A book is as much of a journey for the writer as it is for the reader. If you can provide that opportunity—for a reader to have fun and explore—they will flip pages nonstop and won’t care about book length. This is especially true with worldbuilding using the iceberg theory.

The length of a book is up to the writer, depending on audience, genre, book type, readability, and the author’s long-term goals. Authors who have built up an impressive resume of stories can skirt the rules.

Free Goodies

Here’s a free online program called WordCounter that checks the word count, reading level, speaking time, and word frequency. Just paste your work into the program, and it will analyze everything for you automatically. I also use Hemingway to check sentence length and readability. Grammarly is another great tool you can install into your browser. It actually works with Hemingway in your browser.

Thank you for reading and good luck in your writing endeavors. Stay safe out there! 🙂


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Book Review: The Enduring Flame Trilogy

Hello, my readers, I hope you’re all doing fine during the Quarantine. I finished a fantasy series a while ago, and wanted to do a review while it was still fresh in my mind.

I did a review of the first book here. While I enjoyed the first installation very much, the rest of the series was disappointing. I’ll keep spoilers to a minimum.

Anyway, let’s dive in!

Premise

The first book of the Enduring Flame series started strong. There was plenty of worldbuilding, two heroes called on a wild adventure, whimsical magic, and horrible dangers lurking everywhere.

While the second book did a decent job elaborating on the first book, the third installation fell short. Resorting to mundane storytelling and cliche fantasy tropes, the book ruined everything that the first two books has built up.

By the end of the story, I was ready to shelf the book and forget about the series entirely.

Length

Each book is around 400 pages. Chapters can be long, but are broken down with several scene breaks that alternate between character perspectives. Personally, I enjoyed the many scene breaks, as it makes it convenient for taking breaks or stopping for the day.

Characters

The two main protagonists, Harrier and Tiercel, had a degree of charm. They acted as if they were siblings, always arguing in an amusing way. The third heroine, Shaiara, I found the most interesting, however, as her worldview is vastly different. This contrast in character perspectives added color to the worldbuilding and is one good thing that the series maintained.

Magic System

The magic is whimsical and unpredictable. This offered many fascinating scenarios throughout the book, but also created a variety of plot holes and asspulls from characters that seemed contrived. Overall, the magic system damaged the story by the end of the third book.

Conflict

The tension was steady and drove the prose well through the first two books. In the third book, the conflict became dull and tedious, though there still was an element of danger and risk.

The Good

The Enduring Flame Trilogy has excellent worldbuilding early on and sets strong tension with its initial installations. The characters are amusing and likable. Character’s magic is powerful and can lead to some jaw-dropping scenes, some which had me quivering with excitement. The antagonist has good backstory, weaving into the magical system.

The Bad

The prose is filled with excessive adverbs, fair dialog, mediocre characterisation, and a story that decays by the end of the third book. The magic system led to several plot holes and contrived scenarios that almost made me want to put the book down.

The Ugly

All three books have a lot of mundane “travel time” and inappropriate detours that take from the direction of the plot without adding to subplots or character growth. The main characters, while relatable, are sometimes snobbish or stupid—and not in a likable way.

The Enduring Flame series is a flower that wilted early in the season. Many of its fans from the first two books will be disappointed with the conclusion. All in all, the trilogy is nothing noteworthy, nor is it a piece of garbage that should never have been published. There are a few pearls within its pages, for those willing to look deep into the quest of Harrier and Tiercel.

Thank you for reading!


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Happy New Years!

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Hello, everyone, and Happy New Year! 2019 was an exciting year for me—and a lot happened. However, in this post, I wanted to reflect on what’s ahead. I’ve compiled a survey of questions that should help me think more about what I want to achieve in 2020 in regards to my writing and other pursuits. Hopefully, it’ll inspire you too!

What Are Your Initial Impressions of 2020?

It’s the beginning of a new decade. That means big changes and shifts in everyone’s lives. For me personally, I see it as a milestone. Looking back reminds me of how far I’ve come and what lies ahead for me. In short, I’m excited to get started!

Any Literary Goals for the New Year?

Well, I’ve been busy the past few months with the holidays, family gatherings, new projects, my meditation sessions, and some fun game releases. Other than NaNo and my Havok submission, I’ve spent less time on writing that I would have liked.

In general, my goals would be thus:

  1. Polish Dragonsblade and find an agent or self-publish by the end of the year
  2. Finish my alpha manuscript, Tempest of the Dragon
  3. Submit one or two more short stories to online magazines
  4. Read more books! 😛
  5. Observe the spiritual changes in myself as this all happens

How Have You Changed As a Writer Since Last Year?

Overall, I’m more confident and I have a higher pool of knowledge to draw from. I’ve done a lot of research into health and spirituality, which has indirectly benefited my abilities as a writer. The healthier and calmer I get through practices like meditation, the better I can focus and utilize the infinite creativity within all of us.

I’m nowhere near perfect by any means, but I’m constantly growing  as a writer and as a soul. The way I see it: if you aren’t healthy, you can’t enjoy or perform as a writer. If you’re without a divine goal, you don’t have a strong enough drive to get your writing done.

I now realize I want to write to inspire and encourage people through my stories. Maybe, years down the road, readers will appreciate such tales and grow as individuals in subtle, but meaningful ways.

Do You Have Any Fears About the Coming Year?

Yes, actually…

I’m worried that 2020 will pass and I still won’t have found an agent for Dragonsblade. I am building my writing resume through online magazine submissions to make me look attractive to agents, but it’s no guarantee. I’ve never done this before as a writer, so it’s unexplored territory for me.

Do You Have a Specific Event or Goal You Are Excited About?

I may try to attend a writing or spiritual convention sometime this year if time and my finances are looking good. There are a few events that I have in mind—one being in Hawaii, and another in Colorado. I just bought an Omega 8008 Juicer, so my wallet is rather empty right now.

Any Last Comments About 2020?

As I said earlier, it’s the start of a new decade, so it’s time to make big changes in our lives—for the better. I’m anticipating a productive year, filled with victories and failures found in any good fiction. Regardless, a writer must do what he or she must ro persevere. The creations of a wordsmith transmute fictional characters as much as they do the author.

That is the path of a writer and a spiritual alchemist.

Now that you’ve finished this article, I challenge you to create your own survey, questions that will help you reflect on your goals for 2020. You can use the questions above if you’d like.


Thank you again for reading! Click that “follow” button below if you like what you see. Enjoy the new year! 🙂

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Book Review: The Phoenix Unchained

 

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Hello and welcome to my latest book review. It’s been a busy month between family, work, and NaNo; that doesn’t mean I can’t offer another informative review from yours truly.

A writer friend recommended this series to me, and I decided it give it a go. Needless to say, I enjoyed the read and plan to read the following books at some point.

—The Phoenix Unchained—

Premise

The Phoenix Unchained is an immersive story with a rich amount of lore and enjoyable cast of characters. Book one includes staple mythology like dragons, goblins, mages, and unicorns. What I found most interesting was the magic system and how it weaves into the character arcs—but more on that below.

Length

The book is around 380 pages. Chapters can be long, but are broken down with several scene breaks that alternate between character perspectives. Personally, I enjoyed the many scene breaks, as it makes it convenient for taking breaks or stopping for the day.

Characters

The other week, I submitted a short story for an online Publishing company called Havok. The submission had what was called Dynamic Duos, or two characters that interact with each other (e.g. Frodo and Sam).

The two protagonists in the Phoenix Unchained strongly share this trait. One is soft-spoken and thin, the other is hot-tempered and burly. I enjoyed the character interactions and especially the dialog; it left me amused and satisfied, as any good cast should.

Magic System

The magic in the Phoenix Unchained initially comes off as generic and uninteresting. However, I was amazed at how the authors cleverly wove it into the character development for one of the protagonists. It even plays a part in the antagonist’s arc. The lore behind the magic system is deep and left me interested.

Conflict

The tension is a rollercoaster of stressful encounters to peaceful resolutions, as I expected in any fantasy thriller. What caught me by surprise was the death of a main character halfway through the book.

The monsters and demons are portrayed excellently, some at a Stephen King-grade level that left me shaken and worried for the protagonists.

—Overall Summary—

The Good

The Phoenix Unchained is a great read for fantasy buffs with its rich amount of lore, tension, amusing characters, and clever magic system.

The Bad

Despite its enjoyable dialog and immersive environment, several prose errors caught me off balance. At other times, I felt like I was reading a manuscript that wasn’t well edited. It wasn’t so much as finding a typo as it was the excessive amount of adverbs used. The POV also wasn’t as detailed as it could as been, leaving some distance between reader and character.

That said, the prose concision was poor, lacking a fine polish that you may find in another fantasy novel.

The Ugly

There is a lot of travel involved in the plot. The authors failed to include a map that would have been helpful as I read through the story. There was also no chapter index—but that’s a minor nitpick.

—My Rating for The Phoenix Unchained: 4/5 stars—

This is a solid book for anyone interested in fantasy. As long as you don’t mind lacking a world map and the plethora of adverbs—and prose concision for that matter—, then you should enjoy the story. The characters will entertain you and some scenes will leave you at the edge of your seat.

I may do another review when I get through the second book.


Thanks again for reading. Remember to hit that “follow” button below. I really appreciate the likes and comments you leave below. Cheers.

 

 

Book Review: Bridge of Birds

 

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Welcome, my readers, to another book review. This time I went for a more exotic pick, delving into Asian mythos. I figured this would help me write Tempest of the Dragon since both stories are based in East Asia.

—Bridge of Birds—

Premise

The story of Bridge of Birds is set in ancient China. The themes presented in the book include adventure, humor, and fantasy. Many of the Chinese mythoi are fascinating, and the author did a superb job weaving them into the plot.

The main character, Number Ten Ox, leaves his village to discover a cure for a disease afflicting his village. During his journey, he encounters a host of bizarre and unusual enemies throughout ancient China. Surviving assassins, ghosts, sultry concubines, and immortal dukes, Ox and his partner unearth the legacy of a fallen goddess and how to save her from damnation.

Length

The book is around 280 pages and chapters are straightforward and short; although I would have appreciated a table of contents to guide me through it. Oh well.

Characters

The characters in the story are amusing and oftentimes comical. Number Ten Ox is a youth built for strength and not so much for wits.

His adventuring partner, Master Li, is the opposite: an experienced old man with a “slight flaw in his character”. He comes off as a wizened individual who is both wise yet daring.

The side characters make brief appearances throughout the story, adding amusement in creative ways. There are a few gruesome scenes and deaths among the characters, but the overall story remains jovial.

Magic System

Bridge of Birds makes full use of Chinese mythology with its inclusion of ghosts, alchemy, ancient medicine, and other Taoist concepts like immortality. The magic system may appeal more to historical fiction buffs than fantasy fans.

Romance

The romance in the story is undeveloped and shallow, as the protagonist often jumps from one partner to the next. However, the author often incorporates elements of comedy into these engagements and I never took each romance scene too seriously.

Conflict

The tension in the story is present but lacking, offset by myraid comedy relief that lightens the story. At first, many of the obstacles faced by the protagonist seem dire, but a creative or amusing solution always result a page or two later.

—Overall Summary—

The Good

Bridge of Birds has excellent comedy relief with a sense of whimsical adventure that grabs the reader. Its good balance of themes makes each chapter a fulfilling read. The characters are engaging and fit their roles well.

The Bad

The prose construction was sloppy in several areas, leading to verbose paragraphs and a dearth of descriptions in others. The protagonist’s emotions were not well internalized, as the story was told from a third-person distant narrative.

The Ugly

A few scenes had graphic detail, which was surprising for a book that wavers between jovial themes and gruesome concepts so readily.

—My rating for Bridge of Birds: 4/5 stars: a decent read—

Bridge of Birds is a pleasant book, with its lighthearted spin on a fantasy adventure. It is very entertaining with its cast of characters, themes, decent pacing, and East Asian mythology.

Parts of the story were weak from a dearth of descriptions, emotions, or character development, but the ending was very satisfying and worthwhile.

A reader looking for an amusing fantasy novel that isn’t too serious should enjoy this story.

 


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