Glenn Cooper’s Library Of The Dead, and an update

Hello everyone and welcome back to uh, that thing I do where I blog about books!

I know, I know. It’s been ages. I’ve been dealing with a lot of… stuff, lately. Personal, most of it good but some things have required me to adjust and its taken up a lot of my time. Along with that I’ve been madly collecting books (help, I might get swallowed by them) and working furiously on my novel, Pirates of Time, which I’m planning to publish this year if the proverbial fates allow. Work has been swallowing up a lot of time too so that’s been fun (regular travel to the other side of town, aka, where did five hours of my life just go).

Onwards with the review! I’ve been reading Library of the Dead for quite some time now. Largely, this has been because of a very slow start to the book itself. I was convinced I wouldn’t keep it and just send it off to another good home, buuuut the end has me clinging onto it like a favourite sweater. The writing style is clipped and to the point, which is something I’ve always liked in an adventure novel. It’s got a little mystery thrown in, along with some perhaps predictable but still fun romance, and it kept me hooked until the end. It reminded me very much of Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, specifically in its structure and pace. It certainly fits in with the adventure theme that the late 2000’s produced, and has the same style of witty banter and relateable characters.

The main character, Will, is a perpetually drunken FBI agent tasked with unravelling the Doomsday Case, a string of what is assumed to be murders with no obvious culprit. His search leads him down many twisting paths, but the last thing he expected was to uncover a centuries old mystery that itself has no logical explanation. His investigation is often stymied by false leads and an uncooperative government, and ends with a twist that leaves him both jobless and shocked, but a better man. There’s a lead to a sequel as well, The Book of Souls, which Will again features in. The first chapter and the prologue were included at the end of my copy, and it looks to be a book I’d happily read though it seems to be based on a similar premise to its predecessor.

Critiques and other comments… the only thing that really bothered me was the slow start to the novel. In saying that, the slow approach did help to make the climaxes that much more exciting. The novel’s characters did play to some stereotypes, but in the end it worked in favour of the piece by adding extra colour and intrigue to the plot. Will was an unpredictable narrator: you never quite knew what he’d do next, and his believability was only enhanced.

All in all, I’ve decided to hold onto Library of the Dead, and I look forward to reading its sequel. It’s a slamming adventure novel and one I’d definitely recommend to anyone who is a die hard fan of the genre.

Happy reading, folks, and stay tuned for more updates and reviews!

-P

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Review: The Road to Dune

Hello everyone!

I know it’s been far too long. I should really get to updating this more regularly. Anyway, the past few weeks (months?) have seen me take a trip to Melbourne, where I picked up a few more books and spent my days blissfully immersed in the culture and amazing culinary delights of the capital city. It was also freezing and very wet, so it was almost a reprieve to return to the warm climes of Brisbane (although my immediate need for air conditioning when I got off the plane would tell you otherwise).

Work has been keeping me suitably busy too, and as a result I’ve had very little time to write since the conclusion of July’s Camp NaNo in which I managed to smash a goal of 15,000 words on Dreamchaser, the second book in the ‘Verse Chronicles (working titles). I’ve since grabbed a copy of the ever lauded Scrivener software, and it’s been surprisingly helpful in my efforts to rekindle my daily writing habits. Sometimes a change of pace really is all you need.

To the review! The Road to Dune, written by Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson, is a collaborative companion to the Dune series (the first book, Dune, published in 1965 and written by Frank Herbert). This treasure trove of information speaks of many things, including Herbert’s worldbuilding process for the Dune series, many short stories and spinoffs, character information and inspiration, and even excerpt from letters between Herbert and his editors on the concepts driving the Dune series. As someone who has only read the first novel in the six-book sci-fi series, I did encounter a few spoilers about the following books. That didn’t bother me too much, though, because the series itself is so complex that it needs a guide.

What did I really like about this? It’s attention to detail. I’ve read a few companion books in the past, but none of them really give you an insight into the author’s mind like The Road to Dune did. It mirrors the detail given to the world construction in the Dune series, and even clears up some of the more confounded ideas. Since Dune focuses heavily on political manoeuvres, its easy to get lost and forget who’s doing what. That’s a quality which originally drew me into the series, but eventually I began wondering if I needed to keep a timeline. The companion clears that up, and points out how some of the characters were meant to serve different roles than what they ended up doing.

What else stood out? In particular, the longevity of the Dune series. One thing I’ve heard many readers say is that although they liked the book/series, it felt too long and drawn out. It reminds me in some ways of the “too many sequels” problem that some perfectly good movies suffer from, where over time some of the original content becomes mired in too many layers of meaning and it loses its charm. The first book of Dune still holds its attraction for me, but after reading the development within the companion, it seems that the whole cult following that Paul Atriedes creates is… perhaps taken too far. Then again, maybe that’s a reflection on how humanity deals with things like that. Take something and run with it, until it loses steam, then pick up something else. It’s a perpetual cycle, and its definitely reflected well in Dune and in the following works spotlighted in The Road to Dune.

There’s not much more to say on that point. I was reading this book in between reading Dune and a bunch of other novels, including Skeins Unfurled by K.M. Vanderbilt, so progress has been very slow. Next on my review list will be Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, which I picked up some time ago from a secondhand book sale and am already enamoured with. Along with that, I’ll be working on some language details for the ‘Verse Chronicles, so stay tuned for conlang developments!

That’s all from me. Don’t stop reading!

AdmiralCarter

 

 

Updates, and Camp NaNo April 2016

Hello readers!

Apologies for being so absent lately. Last month has been slightly crazy in between catching up on reading, Camp, a holiday, and my job. So let’s start from the top, shall we?

The beginning of April marked the first round of Camp NaNoWriMo, which I started participating in last year. As some of you may (or may not) know, I recently went through a major case of writer’s block which left me without words for the better part of 6 months. This was mostly because I was adjusting to my new job (which isn’t so new any more). As a result, work on Dreamstealer came to a grinding halt and it sat at onto 800 pages for far too long. So when April started, it was kind of a kick in the rear to get back to work. Except… I still had no motivation. My solution was to start working on Book Two of the Dreamstealer chronicles, which I’ve called Dreamchaser. I’m not even a full chapter in, but so far its turning out to be a far darker work than its predecessor. Once I have the ground work done, (and the third book done and dusted, its funny how one book can suddenly turn into a trilogy) I plan on going back for edits, beta reads, and then the big publishing day. I’m both nervous and incredibly excited that the Dreamstealer series is going to be my first book. It’s a huge task, but I never said I didn’t like a good challenge!

Besides Camp, April has been full of nerdy pastimes including a trip to Supanova on the second week of the month with my boyfriend. It was great fun and I came home with way too much loot. I also played a bit too much Skyrim, and may or may not have generated a new idea for a sci-fi novel. In between all of this I decided I would finish reading Robert Louis Stevenson’s  Treasure Island, which has been sitting on my bedside table for goodness knows how long. It was… an interesting read, which I’ll detail in my next post because otherwise this one will be humungous.

So, happy May, and onwards to the review!

-P

WINNING CAMP NANO!

Hello everyone!

Yes it’s super late so I’ll make this short.

I just won Camp NaNo for 2015! I’m so excited! I only had a limit of 30k this time around, as I started late and there was no way I’d get through the usual 50k. Even so, Dreamstealer is taking great shape and I’m very excited to see what happens next!

For now though, dear readers, I’m signing off. The bed calls.

Don’t stop reading!

-AdmiralCarter

The dragons are laughing at me. But they haven’t won yet.

Cryptic title, right?

It’s been a very slow day/night, and I can’t seem to get anything out on either Dreamstealer or Pirates of Time. Not only is this worrying (because heck I have a word count to meet), but it makes me wonder if perhaps I started Dreamstealer off on the wrong foot. Is it time to rehash the introduction, give my characters more space on their pages? Perhaps. After the long conversations I’ve had with my characters, they’re all asking me for more than they have and they’re worried about each other’s safety in the world I’ve dropped them into. I suppose that’s a good thing; if my characters are worried then I’ve got a good world for them to work with. But even so, there’s some polishing to do and I’m glad they pointed it out to me.

I found myself reading this article http://www.laurellkhamilton.org/angels-demons-and-the-writer/ just a few moments ago and it made me think about just how much our own personal ‘demons’ do influence us, as writers. Especially when we’re writing genre fiction. I guess it’s something that we all deal with on some level, and it’s up to us to tame those demons and pull another card from our sleeve, hoping that this time it works.

I’m going to try and get back to my novels, and keep you updated.

Don’t stop reading!

AdmiralCarter.

A Day in the Life of AdmiralCarter

Hello all!

So I know I blogged yesterday, but I thought as it’s lunch time (and tea time when is it not tea time) and I was just reading this post on what bloggers actually do during their days (http://aopinionatedman.com/2015/07/07/what-do-bloggers-actually-do/), I’d add my daily plan to the rundown.

As a writer, blogger, and musician, I find that my day is usually broken up into a few manageable chunks of time. I’ll wake up usually around 8 or 9 in the morning, grab some breakfast and start plotting things out in my filofax (yes, I’ve got one. Yes, I love it.). Once that’s done, I’ll do chores (dishes, washing, clean the dog, dust, other general housework), then sit down to nut out some words on my current WIP. Lunch comes around, I’ll grab food and another full pot of tea and check blog stats, Facebook, and my other social media accounts. Emails get a look in too. After that it’s back to writing and/or music practice until 5. Then dinner, dishes, anything the dog needs done. Then more writing until I get so tired I end up going to bed. If I have any other things to do during the day, like run errands, I’ll usually squeeze them in as soon as I can.

So that’s pretty much what I do with my days. Fairly straightforward.

Best get back to Dreamstealer before Eri gets herself into trouble with another dragon.

AdmiralCarter

Dreamstealer and Camp NaNo 2015: An Update. Also libraries are cool.

Hello all!

I will preface this post with the fact that it’s currently 0200 hours here in Aus. It’s damn cold, and I can’t sleep.

So as you can judge by the title, I’ve been keeping myself very busy with work on my newest WIP, Dreamstealer. It’s shaping up to be a surprising novel, not just because I’m writing in an unfamiliar style (first person limited) but also because it somehow feels more full than my other pieces have. I am behind on my 50k word count, but I’m making solid progress towards catching up within the next week or so (7205 words and counting). I’ve always enjoyed reading fantasy work, so perhaps that has something to do with it? Who knows. My characters are amicable and easy to work with, in contrast to Jeremiah who’s sulking something wicked because I haven’t worked on Pirates of Time in just over two weeks. I’ll get to you, buddy. No need to get your sails in a twist.

In other news, I recently made a research trip to my local library and came back with five books which ought to help me with both WIPs. Most are fiction, except for one non-fiction book about the kings and queens of the middle ages in Europe. The fiction books are mostly to help with pacing, but also to get a better idea of how steampunk worlds are built. As much effort as I’ve put in, Google’s abilities to help me have unfortunately come to an end. It’s a very tall stack of books and my D&D dice are sitting on top, waiting for my next game in a week. Things are getting busy. I plan to go back to the library and put some other books on hold from the other libraries in my district; all the good ones seem to be ages away from me. The minute I came home with the book stack my father asked me how I’d get time to read them all in between the 100 or so other books on my shelf which have yet to be opened. I justified these ones as ‘research’.

Anywho, that’s it from me for now. I’ll be giving more frequent updates as the month goes on.

And yes, I’m still reading Dune.

Never stop reading/writing!

AdmiralCarter