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Monthly Archives: April 2015

Book Review: The Autumn Republic

Book Review

The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan

I feel it’s necessary to comment on bias first.  I wish I could read as much as I once did.  It’s just not feasible.  I do force myself to make sure I read at least one book a year from someone I’d never heard of, but I’m usually reading books I’m looking forward to reading from authors I already like for one reason or another.  I invite any readers of this review to take that into consideration if they so desire.

Last year I voted to nominate McClellan for the John W. Campbell Award.  Of all the new stuff I’ve read in the last few years, his was by far the most expansive, compelling and flat out fun to read.  I believe that this is a new golden age for fantasy, and McClellan’s Powder Mage Trilogy, is evidence that this age is going to continue for a long time.  I, for one, am grateful.

McClellan has wonderful characters and his world building is fantastic.  I came into this book expecting a bit more to be explained.  My one negative point is that some of the aspects of the world (particularly the magic system) felt rushed.  There was one character (omitted because I hate spoilers) that I wish I had more from.  The character felt a little like Gandalf, showing up at the nick of time.  I didn’t mind as much except when that character stole the hero moment for one of the more compelling main characters.  I feel compelled to mention that this disappointment does nothing to take away from how much I enjoyed this book.

What Autumn Republic does is conclude a great trilogy.  I was happily lost in the world and never wanted to put the book down.  His characters are sympathetic, compelling and memorable, which is all this reader ever asks of a story.  The immersive world and backstory are just bonuses.

The Powder Mage Trilogy is an epic jolt of energy that delivers on its own while simultaneously promising great things from McClellan.  His vision and creativity already have me eagerly awaiting his next project.

JohnCon

John Con ended last night:

It was a great time.  I had a lot of fun.  I have to say the panel was my favorite part.  What was supposed to be an hour-long discussion about getting published became a conversation that lasted well after 1 a.m.  We talked about books, writing, plotting, Brandon Sanderson, magic systems, Robert Jordan, George R. R. Martin, Harry Potter and so much more.  To me, that conversation was the heart of what John Con was about.  It was a chance to sit around and have fun talking about the things I enjoy with like-minded people.  It was a very intimate crowd, but they were all such cool people to meet.  I even tried my hand at a Magic The Gathering draft tournament (I got crushed).  Three days of tabletop games, was just what what this guy needed.  I finished up by selling a few books and saying goodbye to a few new friends.

 

What’s Next:

Next week, I’m at Ukazoo books in Towson.  I’ll be there Sunday, April 19 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.  I hope to see you there.

 

What am I up to?

Some of you noticed I just finished my re-read of Caught, which I plan on releasing next year.  The re-reads give me a chance to look at the book objectively and identify any plot-holes.  Now that I’ve done that, I’ll talk to my content editor (hi Ben!) and get started on the second draft.  I tend to like to have a few projects in a few different stages of development, so here’s what else I’ll be working on:

Perception of War outline:  I’m making progress on this already, but now that I’m not taking so much time to read a project, I can get a bit more progress done.  As soon as I get the outline set, I’ll shift my focus to the next item on my to-do list.

New Utopia re-read:  Now that I’ve had some time to step away from what I call the discovery draft, I can take a look at that and start looking for ways to improve what I think will be a very good book.  This is the lowest priority though.

 

I still have a lot of appearances coming up, and I hope to see some of you at one of those events.

V/R
M.L.S. Weech

Audio Book Review

Audiobook Review:  Symbiont by Mira Grant

Symbiont is the second part of the Parasitology.  In Parasite, Grant asked some wonderful questions in a brand of what I consider traditional science fiction.  Symbiont picks up where we leave off, and it’s a quality follow-up to the original if not as good.  I’m not a fan of spoilers, so I’ll leave any of those out.

The power of Grant’s story lies in her confronting readers to define what it is to be a person.  Sal, the book’s main character, is a compelling and readers follow the story through her eyes.  Sal is the true power behind the book.  I think that readers who connect with her will find this engaging.  The down-side is that if you’re not interested in her, it could be hard to connect with others.  That’s not to say I don’t have a list of characters I think are fascinating in this story.  Grant does a fantastic job of using characters to drive the story, but a fist-person narrative has that same weak spot.  But, for my money, characters like Adam have such wonderful potential.  I love how Grant pushes each character in new directions.

I don’t think Symbiont is as compelling or intriguing as the first book in the series, but it does build on the original and provide readers a nice little rope-a-dope plot twist that I found very interesting.  I was glad Grant got a nomination for a hugo last year, and though I also voted for Ancillary Justice (second behind The Wheel of Time), I thought Grant’s work was more than worthy of Hugo consideration.  Symbiont is a solid follow-up that leaves readers eagerly waiting for the next book in the series.

New Online Store!

My new online store has just opened!

You can now order copies of the book directly from me.  To celebrate, I’m offering a sale for the next two days.  Anyone who orders by 12 a.m. Wednesday receives a 15 percent discount on hard-cover books and a 20 percent discount on soft-cover books.

You can click the books link on the side and click on the book, or just click here.

I’ll be happy to autograph any books, just send me an email after you place your order telling me you want your book(s) signed.  Feel free to tell me how you’d like them personalized if you so desire.

I hope to add to this store through the year, but I wanted readers to have one more place to go to buy the book.

V/R

M.L.S. Weech