While my blog had been quiet the last few weeks, my YouTub channel (which I’d be grateful if you subscribed to) was still running the 2021 July M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Month polls. Rather than try to catch you up one at a time, I’m just going to move forward (you’ll see all the current July nominees at the bottom).
That means it’s Return against Song of the Forever Rains, Bloodless Secrets, and next week’s winner for the title of 2021 M.L.S. Weech July Book Cover of the Month. You can vote for Week 4’s cover here.
I’d be much obliged if you’d check out my YouTube channel, where I talk about these covers and what I like about them. It’d mean a lot if you subscribed and clicked that bell notification. It’s a free way to support me.
Spoiler Free Summary: Demon Slayer Volume 15 by Koyoharu Gotouge is the fifteenth volume in the Demon Slayer manga. Tanjiro is on the cusp of victory, but the sun is about to rise, and he’ll have to choose between killing a demon, which would save hundreds of people, or saving his sister from the sun. Even as this choice arises, Tamayo is starting to understand why Nezuko is so different from other demons. How is this secret related to Tanjiro’s plight? The answer unlocks the door to the climax of the story.
Character: This manga is unique because it reveals a lot about Nezuko, not just her secrets, but her character and mindset. In other issues, we’ve seen Nezuko protect her brother and his friends, but here we learn the depths she herself is willing to go through to save others, and it’s beautiful.
Exposition: There is some exposition here, but it is only to the degree to explain some of the events that simple art couldn’t or dialogue couldn’t do without becoming wooden and obvious. It’s honestly a great volume in the series.
Worldbuilding: This is the issue that reveals what the big plan is. It’s sets the stage for the final battle and the stakes of that battle. Everything about this issue opens doors that are awesome. There are so many rewarding moments in this volume that make the journey worth it.
Dialogue: I’ll say there were some hokey parts in this dialogue. In fact, I’d accept it if someone said this was Gotouge’s weakest area. They’d probably be right. There was a moment that was touching. I was crying while it happened, but the dialogue really chopped a significant portion of the emotion out of it for me. Does it kill the story overall? Not in the least, but it can get pretty cheesy here and there.
Description: This is still more about the end of the fight, so the panels are mostly cool art that is rendered beautifully. The detail in the other panels is outstanding as well. Most the of the description is revealed in the art, and that’s always top notch.
Overall: I hope I’m consistent (I’d have to go back), but I’m pretty sure I’ve been teasing for a while that my favorite in the series is coming. This is it. Even having caught up on all the remaining available volumes, this one still stands out as the best in so many ways. I hope the animators make this arc a movie to give it the justice it deserves, but as long as it gets animated, I’m happy. It’s the best in the set, and it provides the landscape for the final epic battle, which comes after a few more “training” chapters.
I’m only posting this to apologize. There’s no post today. My family and I have been burning the candle at both ends in a lot of ways this week, and I honestly just needed a night of sleep (and a good part of the next day). My regular Sunday and Monday posts are ready to go.
I don’t want to bombard you with a list of reasons. I just wanted you to know that this was it for today’s post, but you can tune in for my usual posts. We all get to start our vacation next week, and my family couldn’t be more excited! I’m sorry for anyone counting on news, writing advice, or marketing advice, but I will be back next week.
As you can tell by the headline, I’ve sent out Betrayed to Sara for proofreading, and I’m hoping a number of you would be willing to be ARC reviewers.
Betrayed is the second part of the Oneiros Log Trilogy (Repressed is more of an out rigger novel).
Here’s a small summary/blurb:
They were captured and tortured until their minds finally Broke, unleashing the latent powers inside them. The six members of Oneiros spent more than five years content to build their life together and use their gifts to help people. The government has other plans.
The nation some of them served, the nation that failed all of them, is about to betray them. These two forces collide in a war that will have deadly consequences for both sides. How will this declaration of war affect the team?
Former friends stand on opposite sides of the battle lines. Loyalty prevents them from finding common ground. Loyalty will be one’s downfall.
The peacemaker suffers silently, hiding a secret that threatens them all.
The violent beauty suffers from a past that will change all of their futures.
The young protege hopes to become a hero but doesn’t know the pain all heroes face.
The leader is falling, completely unaware of the corruption to which he’s succumbing.
Their creation broke them. This war will shatter them, and the secrets it reveals will change the world as everyone knows it.
Caught was a horror story with a twist of action. Betrayed evolves into an action story with a bit of horror. If military action with psychic powers are up your alley, I think you’ll enjoy this installment of the trilogy.
My goals: What I truly hope is to find 50 dedicated reviewers, but given that I don’t have 50 reviews total, that goal would unlikely (but amazing). So instead, I’m setting a (far more realistic) goal of 10 ARC reviewers. I’m looking for ten (or more) volunteers to receive a PDF version of the story and prepare a review for the day Betrayed goes live (currently scheduled for April 1, which gives a reader plenty of time). If you’re interested, please don’t hesitate to email me.
A note: This is an un-proofed draft. That means you’ll probably note typos I haven’t managed to polish out yet. While I don’t expect this to be riddled with issues, I will remind potential readers that this is the draft I finished before sending it to my proofreader. If you care to make note of them and tell me, I’d be grateful, but that’s not the need I’m trying to fill. Sara is great at what she does, and she’ll help me get Betrayed cleaned up before it goes to market. Sending the un-proofed draft to ARC readers just allows them time to read and me time to do the other things an independent author has to do to prepare for a book launch.
While I wait for edits (and hopefully reviews), I’m already toiling way on Discovered, the last book in the Oneiros Log. I’m a little more than halfway done with the discovery draft, and I’m pretty happy with how it’s coming out. It’s still very optimistic to think Discovered will be out in 2021, but I fully expect it to be out before 2022 comes to a close. That’s my main priority. If I do finish that draft, I’ll go back to Images of Truth, but I’d say it’s unlikely I’ll write another 50,000 words in a month. For those keeping score at home, you’re right. Discovered is by far the biggest of the three main books. Caught was somewhere in the neighborhood of 80,000 words, and Betrayed was just about 60,000. Discovered looks like it will land in the 100,000-word area. This is because I’m tying up all the plot lines and making sure fans of each character get a satisfying conclusion for their favorites.
As always, I’m so grateful to all of you who support my work. It’s amazing to think I’ve been at this for six years! I’m always working to be a better writer and a more successful business man. I can’t do either of those things without God allowing and your help. Thank you!
Spoiler Free Summary:Figures by Rachel Caine is the ninth story in the Unfettered II Anthology. A woman narrates what it’s like to be a duelist for higher (or at least that’s how my mind converts the plot). But the person she’s talking to has a plan, and the big surprise is that person’s identity.
Character: This might be one of the shortest stories I ever listened to (eight minutes on the dot). There really wasn’t much time to do much of anything. This story is an interesting character study. It reads like something I might do if I were trying to develop a character, but there’s not enough here for me to connect with in my opinion.
Exposition: This is probably why the story didn’t work for me. Like I said above, this is all just seven or so minutes of a person describing her job. Sure, it’s an interesting job, but it’s still just someone talking about it. Then the last minute throws a curve ball out of nowhere that only left me more confused.
Worldbuilding: This is probably the best of the story. We’re in this world where people with beef higher gunmen to duel over the issue in question (at least from what I remember). That’s a really cool idea, like lethal Pokemon for grown ups. I’d be interested in reading an actual story from this world, but listening to someone describe what is essentially a plot idea as a story itself didn’t work for me.
Dialogue: I’ll have to give this an N/A. Sure, the narrator is talking to someone, but they’re not conversing.
Description: Even I think this was too little. I don’t know what the guns look like. I don’t know how they dress. I don’t even know if they wear any sort of body armor or plate. I don’t know what the characters look like. I get no sensory data whatsoever.
Overall: I’m not going to argue one can’t make a thrilling eight-minute story. However, I think if I were to take a challenge to write an eight-minute script, the last thing I’d do is choose to have one person talk for seven of those minutes. The concept is cool in terms of the premise of what the character does, but everything else either dragged the story down or confused me.
Wheel of Time is my second-favorite saga of all time. I joined the series after Knife of Dreams was out (though I started with Eye of the World), and I was hooked. I’ve read the whole series at least 14 times (1 time for each book in the series). There isn’t much news on the M.L.S. Weech front this week, so I thought I’d do a character study.
I’ve talked about character arcs a few times, and Rand is a fantastic analysis of character arc. Warning, there are spoilers here!
Characters need to grow: When we first meet Rand, we see a young man who thinks he knows how his life is going to go. He’s going to be a farmer, like his dad, and marry Egwene. He’s innocent. He’s naive. Eye of the World is essentially the story of a young man who must leave his home but desperately wants to return to it. The whole book is basically establishing Rand as a character living in ignorance (literally).
The Great Hunt forces Rand to act. Even in this book, Rand truly wants nothing more than to life to return to the way it was (a return to innocence). It is only his bond and desire to save his friend that keeps him on the path he needs to stay on. Which brings me to another point.
Characters need believable motivations: What else could keep a character moving along the plot line? Why would a character risk danger? In this case, Rand risks giving in to his power by putting himself on the Hunt. His loyalty to his friend is the motivation that makes us believe he’d do something he’d otherwise never do. The friendships established in the first book allow the reader to see that motivation.
The Dragon Reborn is such a clever tale for so many reason. Here we see Rand grow to accept who and what he is, and I don’t know that he has 5,000 words of screen time. We’re watching Rand grow from the perspective of those trying to catch up to him. This is the critical turning point. This is the book Rand realizes there is no returning to innocence. This book is Rand putting his fate to the test. He knows that only the Dragon Reborn could reclaim Callandor. I think this might be the book where people really fall in love with Rand. It seems weird to say, but this is the book where we see how heartbroken Rand is, and our hearts break with him. What do we learn about this?
Characters need to suffer: Sometimes, suffering can make us care for a character, and sometimes suffering can deepen how much we care. Either way, there must be conflict. In this book Rand is alone and struggling with nightmares and visits from Ba’alzamon. I have to admit, there was a large part of me that wanted it not to work. And that makes the story work.
The Shadow Rising is far more about Perrin than Rand. The scope of this series demands some books focus on one character more than others, and this is such a case.
The Fires of Heaven has a victory of sorts, but it’s a tragic victory. Everything is thrown into chaos, and Rand must evolve from a character who has reluctantly accepted his fate to one who must take the path he has. There’s a lot that happens in this story. The first is that Rand actively pursues his role as the Dragon Reborn. He’s acquired a plan. He’s still untrusting of Moraine, and why should he be? She’s been manipulating him from the beginning. Sure, she was doing it for the sake of the world and for his own good, but it doesn’t make her actions less manipulative. Of course, the moment he starts trusting her is exactly the moment she “dies.”
Character must be isolated to grow: This isn’t the same as The Great Hunt. First, he didn’t want to be anywhere near Moraine to begin with. Here, Moraine became a crutch. In a way, she also would have been a hinderance. Like the power these characters wield, Rand isn’t something you can direct, only something you can channel. Taking Moraine in that way and at that time forces Rand to become a leader.
Characters need evolving goals: The first three books are all about Rand trying to return to where he wants to be. Fires gives Rand a new goal and a new motivation. We still see his innocence, characterized by his desire to prevent women from dying, and even in this, Rand must allow others to die. This hurts Rand. He desperately wants to protect others, especially women, so his goal becomes morbid rather than hopeful. This is the seed that was planted for his fall.
Lord of Chaos changes Rand, and not in a good way.
Characters need to devolve every bit as much as they need to evolve: Rand’s capture and torture take someone who’s been manipulated before and pushes it to the extreme, leading him to be suspicious and distrustful of everyone. This betrayal changes Rand from one morbidly marching toward doom to a weapon. This was the most important moment since Moraine came to visit the Two Rivers.
Characters need anchors: Min and Aviendha (I’ll never see the value in Elayne) serve critical roles here. They represent who Rand used to be. They serve to give Rand some connection of love and trust that he desperately needs where others only fear him or what he must do. Rand tries to avoid this in a few ways, but Min (my favorite of the three) refuses to leave his side.
A Crown of Swords is a darker book that shows Rand descending into darkness. he does things that are “right,” but his motivations and justifications begin to darken. This book, Rand (not the Dragon) receives power. That power, like always, begins to corrupt him. He starts to want to break away from his older person. Again, motivation is key. Love and trust leads to loss and betrayal, so here, we see Rand beginning to use people and seek power rather than protect.
The Path of Daggers is a tipping point. Rand is gobbling up nations and gaining power. His actions fill him with pride and hubris, leading him to a critical battle with the Seanchan.
Characters need to fail: Failures teach characters. Failures humble characters. This particular Failure shows how far Rand has fallen, and the scary thing is, he doesn’t learn from it. Instead, he’s insulted by the failure. He’s goes even bigger.
Winter’s Heart becomes a sort of crowning moment of arrogance for Rand. He and Nyaeve cleanse the Source. Armies attack. The world watches in horror, and Rand does the impossible. It doesn’t actually do anything for him. He’s still insane. So are the Asha’men. As amazing as this is, it only means future men won’t lose their minds. At best, those already tainted will be saved from going completely mad. Rand’s falling deeper into despair, and this huge act of awesome power is great, but ultimately doesn’t do anything for Rand. He still has his anchors in the form of Nyneave and Min (and a few others). They continue to support Rand, who desperately needs that protection and that loyalty.
Many people hate Crossroads of Twilight. The plot doesn’t move an inch. It’s essentially a whole book of people reacting to Winter’s Heart. I had the advantage of being able to read straight through it to the next book, but I can understand how people who had been reading since the ’90s and wanted to see what happens next might have felt. I don’t imagine New Spring helped much either. Sure it showed us some new information in terms of back story, but we’re still left eager to see what happens next.
Knife of Dreams continues to push Rand to the edge. Everything he tries fails. Everything he tries comes to disaster. Failure isn’t new to Rand at this point, but this is different.
Characters need to be humbled: Here Rand isn’t just humbled, he loses a hand and almost loses himself to Lews Therin. The secret about his insanity is revealed. Where Rand was willing to go into the darkness for people, now it’s proven that he’s worthy of fear and distrust. This is important to show how close to the edge he is.
Characters need to appear as though they might go the wrong way: This is such a powerful writer tool and one so rarely used. We never worried that Harry Potter might become a Death Eater. We never worry that Luke would join the Dark Side. Those are great stories, but here is where Lord of the Rings and Wheel of Time shine. We begin to seriously fear Rand would go too far. At this point, our fear is small, but we’re just a tiny bit afraid that Rand will simply become a ruthless overlord. Him saving the world seems farther away than ever.
The Gathering Storm brings all of this to a head. Rand is again betrayed. Rand is again hurt. Rand becomes convinced that ruthlessness and death are all his options. He seems to have lost all his faith in people and in the world. This is most obvious when he not only kills a woman, he erases her from existence and then (apparently) does the same thing to an entire building. Is it effective? Ironically, no. The whole idea of his abusive, excessive actions was to catch his enemy off guard, and it fails. Rand falls farther than ever, until he encounters his father for the first time since this saga began.
Characters need to remember their original motivations/who they are: There’s an argument that characters need to change. I prefer grow. Rand is clearly a different man than he was. He’s harder. He’s wiser. At this point he’s more sly and mistrusting. But he’s still motivated by love. In desperation, Rand returns to Dragonmount to seemingly end his own life, and then he realizes the beautiful potential in the world. Sure, one may fail over and over again, but each new opportunity is a chance to get it right. That return to hope is what saves the day and leads us to the new Rand.
Through Towers of Midnight (far more about Matt) and into A Memory of Light, we see the changed Rand. He has accepted that he is both Lews Therin and Rand. He has accepted that suffering is a part of life, but he has returned to hope. His encounter with his father and his love for his friends (and other forms of love) has become his anchor. Rather than morbidly thinking about getting the Last Battle over with, Rand instead looks to the future.
We still see the change. He’s certainly never pushed around by any woman again. He’s not manipulated. He’s powerful, but now humility and loss has tempered his ego in to wisdom.
Those are the things that made him ready for the Last Battle. We see the battle end, and Rand is a new man. Rather than going home (who can ever go home again?), he sets out to see the world through new eyes (literally). The boy who only wanted to stay home and live a quiet life has now left to live a life of exploration and adventure.
Rand is a beautiful character in an equally beautiful saga. Just writing this post makes me want to read the saga again (maybe not this year because a new Stormlight book is coming). I just thought that analyzing this story gave so much insight to how to craft great characters into great stories. I hope you found this post helpful.
A while back, I wrote a song dedicated to Wheel of Time. The recording isn’t anything near studio quality, but hey, why not? Enjoy!
Spoiler Free Summary:The Decoy by Janny Wurts is the seventh story in the Unfettered II Anthology. A young distant descendent of the throne is tasked with reaching the castle, where the entire royal family has reportedly been murdered. What role will this young man play in a rebellion that may change the inheritance for generations?
Character: While they didn’t capture me completely, I did enjoy this character in the moment. Most stories are like this one was, a fun adventure that held your attention until the story was over. These characters were a lot like that. I remembered this story a bit better because of these characters and their deep backgrounds and interesting motivations. It’s a credit to the author.
Exposition: This story is taken from a larger world I’m not familiar with. So there was a bit more exposition here than maybe someone would like, but it’s at least necessary for the reader to truly know the world. I think anyone reading a part of a story is either going to want that background or want to read the story because they’re fans of the universe. That means that even though we might have to suffer through a bit more exposition than we want, we go into this story with open eyes, knowing it has to happen so we know what’s going on.
Worldbuilding: To me this was the weakest part of the story. This felt like an old sword and knights tale, which is fine for fans of the genre, but I was hoping for a bit more fantasy. This isn’t truly a discredit to the author, just a difference in taste of style. The author does a good job (requiring the aforementioned exposition) of setting the scene and the tone of the world, but I wasn’t very clear how this world fit into this or another universe. What I mean is I don’t know if I was reading fantasy taking place in the bronze age of earth or in a similar period on another planet. To defend the author, and hour-long story doesn’t give anyone much time to give depth to the world. The other defense is that this is truly part of a larger series, so if anyone really wanted to see more about this world, they could just go find book one.
Dialogue: This was pretty middle-of-the-road in my opinion. It wasn’t thinly veiled exposition, but I don’t know that I could say each character had a distinct voice. Still, the dialogue had a few moments that were touching, and that’s all I think a story hast to have.
Description: Like most stories, I measure my feelings in this category by a question: Can I picture the story without feeling like I’m being beaten down by description. This story met that criterion. The author probably did a better job using the sense of sight than the others, but as I tend to rely on that most, I don’t realize the others are lacking until I go back and look for it.
Overall: This is a nice sort of adventure fantasy. It bases its value of entertainment on the suspense of the riots and revolt that are happening. If you like horse-riding and cat and mouse drama, you’ll probably enjoy the story. I need a bit more magic and fighting in my entertainment, personally, but don’t let that turn you away from a well-written story.
Naturally, I hope for this to become a profitable business. However, the unfortunate reality is after five years, I’m still losing money. This in no way reduces my love for writing, nor does it affect my resolve to keep at it. What this truth does do is challenge me to look at what I’m doing and try to get better.
When I talked to marketers, I had two conversations. The first validated a truth I accepted when I started. I have ten titles available. If I use the wide umbrella of “paranormal,” I could argue that six of them are in the same genre. One of those six is YA. Three more of those six are parts of the first book. When one doesn’t write to market, it’s very difficult to build a platform. I went into this dream with my eyes open to that truth.
If you were a hopeful author who didn’t care what you wrote, I’d recommend you search the categories (more on that below) and write to one of the smaller markets and build your following. However, I have stories that have been stuck in train wreck between my eyes for decades, and they want out. Some are more demanding than others. I don’t think I could stick to one thing if I wanted to. This means I have to be willing to accept that I don’t have a lot going for me in terms of platform and market. I am trying to get the Oneiros Log done, and that will give me a complete trilogy (quadrology if you count Repressed, but, again, that is a YA outrigger story) to market to one audience.
The other marketer and I spoke via chat, and we have a meeting scheduled for later today (Saturday). I was clear about my goals and my struggles.
My ultimate goal is to earn $7,000 per month in profit from my writing. That’s the target that will allow me to become a full-time author. I’d probably continue working for two years just to get everything stabilized. Then I would focus on being the author I’ve always wanted to be.
This meeting is hopefully the first step toward making the books I have out contribute to the goal rather than continue to budget for my author career the way some people budget for vacations.
The next thing I did was possible because of some overtime I worked. I finally purchased Publisher Rocket. My desire was to skip straight to the AMS Marketing Keywords, but I held off. I learned a few things by doing that.
A while back, I talked about using the seven KDP keywords to help get you placed into more specific categories. They do, but those keywords are even more powerful. I sort of think of them like free marketing keywords. So I spent the last week going through all of my titles and refining those keywords. Now, since those titles are old, and I don’t have much of a platform, I can’t really expect there to be any night and day changes.
The next thing I did was use Rocket to help me find categories that gave me a better shot to be visible. When one first publishes on KDP, they see some 600 categories they have to try and fit themselves in. Amazon has way more categories than that, and Rocket has a way to find them and rank them based on how many books per day you’d have to sell to be the best seller for that category. From my understanding, being a best seller or a number one best seller for a category does wonderful things for a book and an author’s bank account. I still have to move those titles into those categories, but I just finished identifying them, and getting put in those categories is only an email or phone call away.
As for marketing: I’m actually having trouble finding the first article I researched, but what it taught me (and other sites reenforced) is that each of my book should have at least 100,000 impressions per month.
I was nowhere near that. The short math:
Impressions must happen for anyone to click. Clicks must happen for anyone to buy. You want clicks to lead directly to buys.
Last weak, I took stock of what books were generating the most impressions. Caught was getting somewhere around 40,000 impressions per month. So, without having Publisher Rocket, I just went at it. I created about two new campaigns a night until I reached the point I am at today. As of May 21, Caught had 78,804 impressions during the last 30 days.
This tells me I should be hitting my goal soon (if I haven’t already). The next step in my plan is to get the rest of my books going.
Once I have all of my titles pulling in 100,000 impressions a month, I can use that data to look at my click through rate.
So I thought I’d give you a snapshot on just how far off I am. My hope is, as I get better, you’ll see that I’m doing is working. Why isn’t it working now? Because I haven’t been doing too much of anything. Time is a valuable resource. I spend the bulk of my time happy with my wonderful family. I spend time with God studying the New and Old Testament. So I was using my time to write (which I love), but my books aren’t selling (which makes me sad). The goal is to turn things around by focusing on my AMS marketing. Will it work? Stay tuned and find out. (You can help by purchasing any or all of my books! Just saying.)
I left out info for the individual parts for Bob because I only have about one campaign for each of them, so it’s probably not good.
It looks like we got Caught up to speed. I’ll know for sure June 1. I’ll probably do a few more campaigns just to be sur. My first goal will be to get them all to 100,000 impressions a month. Then I can worry about that devastatingly bad click-through-rate. According to my research, I should be getting clicks about 35% of the time or more. I think my highest click-through-rate is about 7%.
One thing I can do now though (and intend to do during my meeting with the Reedsy marketer) is work on converting those clicks into buys. How often do I want that to happen? Let’s look at the math.
After Amazon takes it’s cut from one of my sales, I make a maximum profit of $2.79 (on average. Most of my books are between $2.99 and $3.99, but let’s just work with this number for now). If I pay 25 cents a click, that means I could have about 10 clicks before I lose money. My goal is to convert one out of every eight clicks into sales. The way that happens is making sure I get my book blurb on point and reviews. I can’t actually do much about reviews. I hope people read and review my work, but I don’t have a way to make that happen. I can look at my blurbs and make them as strong as possible. My hope is this marketer will help me with that.
Why one for every eight click? Because if I can keep it that low, I could make 9 cents a sale. Not the best sales rate ever, but I have to start somewhere, and my current one per fifty four clicks is costing me about $20 a month. The perspective is that flipping it from a loss to a profit is the right progression.
We have to think positively. Rather than stay fixated on the lack of sales and reviews, the more-productive (and less painful) mindset is to look at what can be done to get better.
So here is the starting point and plan of action, the two things anyone needs to execute a plan.
Most people who follow my blog know I’m a huge Brandon Sanderson fan. Well, his newest book, Rhythm of War comes out Nov. 17, so I thought I’d do a blog about the things I hope to see in Rhythm of War.
SPOILER WARNING! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
1. An end to Kal’s trauma: It’s perfectly understandable that Kal had a traumatic life. That trauma came to a head in Oathbringer. I think I’ve reached my limit on Kal’s struggle to save everyone. I’d really like to see him accept that sometimes you lose people you love, and sometimes you don’t.
2. Hoid do something awesome. A while back, we heard, “Hoid would do something awesome.” I believe that was originally intended to be in Book 5, but I hope it’s in this one. What I hope is to see Hoid do some sort of cross-world magic stuff. Like using biochromatic breath or allomancy against some of Odium’s peeps.
3. I want to see how Nightblood got to this planet! Obviously we know where Vasher is but I really want to know how they came to be there and how they got separated. I’m thinking Vivenna had something to do with it. This is probably the thing I’m most interested in at the moment.
4. More intimate battles. The last book, the scope of the battle was huge, and that’s cool, but I’m more a one-on-one kind of guy. I’d really like to see a few of those. I’d also like those fights to display more of the other radiant abilities. I have a good handle on Kal’s abilities, but they currently seem to be the ONLY offensive radiant abilities. Lift I suppose has some abilities that are more visual, but even they seem more defensive in nature, but at least they’re active.
5. I want to see Odium throw down. With how powerful everyone else is, I think it’s time for a threat. I want to see Kal get his but whipped (which might contradict what I mentioned above, but if it’s to make Odium a threat, I’m all for it). It doesn’t have to be Kal, but now that the knights had a huge victory, we need to see the Odium and those he’s working with or manipulating show their stuff. Now Sanderson usually does this through subversion. If you look closely at all his books, the good guy hardly ever gets beat. It happens, but it’s rare. I’m hoping to see some bad guy flexing. I need this personally because Kal (and his order) are pretty much OP at this point. Lift is all but impossible to kill. I’m not asking for a body count, but I wouldn’t be against it. The minimum for me is to see the threat posed. I get Odium’s situation, so I don’t really expect him to do much, but I need someone on team Odium to show that maybe Kaladin and Dalinar aren’t up to the task.
6. I ALMOST FORGOT! I want to see Adolin awaken his shardblade. He knows its name now. He can hear it. I really want to see him become a knight by brining his spren back to life. I almost forgot that because I expect it, but I EXPECT it, so I really want to see it happen.
7. A reunion of Vivenna, Vasher, and Nightblood. Do I need to go farther?
That’s pretty much it. I mean there are several other things I’m looking forward to, but those are the highlights. I don’t necessarily want to see all of these things happen in the next book. (Otherwise, what would be the point of the other six?) But I’d really like to see maybe two of them. If I had to pick which two, I’d say number 6 and 3. Those are the ones I really want, but any of the others in any combination would already make Rhythm a great addition to the saga.
What about you? What would you like to see out of the book?
Starsight is the second story in the Skyward saga by Brandon Sanderson. My review for Skyward is here. Spoiler Free Summary: Spensa’s dream of becoming a hero is only the beginning. An alien visitor appears, giving her the chance to learn about the people who have kept her captive this whole time. She also learns about the entity that is even more horrifying than the thought of humans at war. What secrets will she unveil? Will she be able to protect the secrets she keeps? What doe the eyes of the starts know?
Character: Spensa is still a charming character. She’s growing, which is nice to see. I like MBot too. She’s proactive still, rather like Naruto in a lot of ways. However, she’s growing smarter. She’s forced to teach, and that gives her some tools that she needs. I honestly think seeing her growth from the last book to this one was one of the more interesting parts of the story. The cast sort of splits and expands here. We meet essentially an entire new cast. We don’t cut completely away from the other characters, but they don’t get much screen time.
Exposition: The exposition of this story wasn’t beyond what I’d expect from a first person narrative. There are, of course, some “conversations” that decently hide the information we’re provided. They’re fun conversations and also reveal character, so I didn’t mind them at all.
Worldbuilding: This novel expands on the universe and provides insight to “the big bad” everyone is afraid of. In true Sanderson fashion, “the big bad” is never really what people think it is. This is where Sanderson has always, and will always, shined. This book made me miss Rithmatist (but not enough for him to stop working on Stormlight 4). The slow expansion of the world and it’s secrets is similar.
Dialogue: This is pretty much what I’d expect from any Sanderson story (especially a Sanderson YA story).
Description: I thought the description was great. I felt Sanderson was a little understated in his description in the last story, but this gave me the “something” I felt was missing from the last story.
Overall: This is easily the second-best book I’ve read so far this year. It fulfilled a lot of the promises the first book made. It became impossible to stop listening to it (this was an Audible story for me) with about three hours to go. It was a lot of fun. The only demerit I have is the cliffhanger ending. I hate those. I will always hate those. Even with that ending, I still loved it.