Things I Hope to See in Rhythm of War

Things I Hope to See in Rhythm of War

Greetings all,

Temporary CoverMost 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.

Oathbringer5.  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?

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Book Review: Starsight by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: Starsight by Brandon Sanderson
Cover
The cover of the book was taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Starsight  is the second story in the Skyward saga by Brandon SandersonMy 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.

BrandonGray
Image of Sanderson by Nazrilof was taken from Sanderson’s website for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

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.

Thanks for reading

Matt

A new 4-Star Review for The Journals of Bob Drifter!

A new 4-Star Review for The Journals of Bob Drifter!

Greetings all,

Bob CoverI’m always happy to announce reviews for my work, and it’s even cooler when it’s a good one. I found this review for The Journals of Bob Drifter on Goodreads. Writers typically have to challenge themselves. Original ideas are a debated myth in these days, so finding ways to stand out or be unique are important. I appreciated the reader calling Bob ” … different than any other book … ”

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Busy at Farpoint!

Busy at Farpoint!

Greetings all,

I’m busy working at Farpoint this weekend. I’d love to see you all there.  I’ll, of course, fill you in on how things went (day one was encouraging).

As always, I have three books available for 99 cents.

An Unusual Occupation, Repressed, and Sojourn in Captivity, are all on sale for the duration of the convention. Please consider trying one of those titles out if you haven’t yet. If you have, please consider taking a moment to give them a rating and review.

I’m always happy to have a chance to meet new readers and say hello to those who’ve already given my work a try.

Wish me luck at the table!

Thanks for reading,
Matt

A 5-Star Review for Stealing Freedom!

A 5-Star Review for Stealing Freedom!

Greetings all,

StealingFreedomI love sharing reviews when I get them, and someone was kind enough to leave a brief but glowing five-star review for Stealing Freedom.

I really do appreciate feedback of any kind, and when it’s positive, I’m all the more grateful.

You can find the review here.

If you’ve read any of my books, I’d really appreciate a rating or review on Amazon, Goodreads, or both.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

I’m Stepping Away From OffWorld

I’m Stepping Away From OffWorld

Greetings all,

Those of you who follow my blog understand I am a Christian trying to live a more-Christian life.

When we were approached about connecting Hazel with Interstellar Dust, the information I received was that it was just another comic, and that putting these two comics together would help both get out faster. I agreed, so OffWorld began to go into the publication process.

I was ignorant. I just wanted to get our comic out as soon as possible.

Recently, I learned that the other story has brief nudity and scenes that take place in locations of adult origin. There is no intercourse or overtly sexual acts according to the information I have.

Given my religious stance, I felt that even brief nudity is something I don’t want to be a part of. I worked with Collin, and he spoke with the other creators. They were polite and kind. Collin worked very hard to reach some arrangement. It was ultimately my decision to step away from the project.

This is because even if they were able to add clothes to the few scenes (I believe it is a total of two panels), there is still an entire scene that takes places at a location that is sexual in nature. I can’t speak with my mouth about God’s law and sin and then profit from a product that has such content.

The comic is still scheduled for release. Issue 1 has already gone  to print, so my name will appear on the Hazel side of that issue. From there, my name has been removed thanks to the hard work and patient understanding of my dear friend Collin. I have deferred any royalty  payments I had previously arranged to him. I will not be receiving any royalties from the sales of these comics, nor will I be selling OffWorld at any events I attend.

There have been talks that Hazel will still get her own comic run. If that is the case, I will happily sell the story Collin and I worked so hard to create at any events I attend.

Again, the fault is my own for not asking questions when this idea was sent to me. I never imagined a world where that would happen.

I also need to affirm once more that Collin was the ultimate professional. He understood where I was coming from. He worked very hard to create an arrangement where everyone could move forward as planned. I didn’t personally speak with the other creators, but everything I heard says they were equally professional and understanding.

I hope this explains everything. I also hope Hazel will have her shot as an individual comic or graphic novel. I’m still very proud of that story.

Thank you all for your patience and understanding.

V/R
Matt

Story Review: A Bolt from the Blue by S.K. Gregory from Alien Days Anthology

AlienDaysCover
Cover image taken from the book’s Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Spoiler Free Summary:  A Bolt from the Blue by S.K. Gregory is the ninth story in the Alien Days Anthology. Iris is on a nature walk with her boyfriend when lightning strikes, and not the romantic kind. As literal as that lightning is, the terror it brings is that much more terrifying.

Character:  Iris was one of the few characters in this anthology I could really sympathize with.  The open was slower to give readers more of a connection. It’s not the best way to do it, but at least Gregory made sure the reader cared about Iris before moving on to the plot. This story has a sort of “thrown into the kettle” feeling. it doesn’t make Iris seem very competent, and it forces her to react rather than to act. However, the circumstances that force her to move feel relatable.  

Exposition: This was solid. There was some internal monologue where description or action would have been better, but the story moved pretty quickly. 

SKGregory
Image of Gregory taken from her website for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine. 

Worldbuilding: This story takes place on earth, and the plot sort of stops (see below) short of evolving, so there wasn’t much worldbuilding to work with. I felt frustrated because the very moment where I was hooked and interested to know what happened is the same moment the story ended. It has a cliffhanger ending that just doesn’t do it for me.

 

Dialogue: The dialogue was good. It wasn’t the best I’ve ever read, but you could tell the conversations were relevant and helped to reveal the characters. I’d probably say this was the author’s strongest attribute. 

Description:  The description was solid. I had what I needed from the scene without getting bogged down. It was sparse, which I liked, but most scifi readers wouldn’t appreciate. I liked that we got a somewhat proportional amount of scenic and character descriptors. This let the environment be every bit as real in my imagination as the characters. 

Overall: My only problem with this story is honestly that it just kind of froze at what I felt was the beginning of a much better story. Short fiction doesn’t have to end in a cliffhanger, and it certainly doesn’t have to end before the characters have had any opportunity to grow or take action. The idea had a ton of merit, but just as I was about to embrace the story, it ended. 

Thanks for reading

Matt

 

Story Review: Discovery by PP Corcoran from Alien Days Anthology

Story Review: Discovery by PP Corcoran from Alien Days Anthology
AlienDaysCover
Cover image taken from the book’s Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Spoiler Free Summary:  Discovery by PP Corcoran is the eighth story in the Alien Days Anthology. The crew of the Discovery is about to use integrated alien technology to test its first FTL drive to visit a far away planet. Will they make the jump? Will they meet their first alien race after this test, or is the test something completely different?

Character:  My primary grudge mentioned last week remains. I couldn’t name a single character or event without going back to look at the story. In this case, it took even longer. All of these authors are fantastic in research and description. But a great majority of their characters are sadly lacking, and this story continues that trend. 

Exposition: The good news to not remembering much means I don’t remember getting angry at how slow the story moved. This is always a good indicator that the exposition is solid or even good.  

Corcoran
Image of Corcoran was taken from his blog for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Worldbuilding: This entire story takes place on a ship. There’s not much world building or character setting at all. We establish the plot, but we don’t set any scene.

Dialogue: Most of the dialogue was thinly hidden exposition used just to keep the plot moving. It wasn’t wooden, but it didn’t build character in any way.

Description:  Probably the strength of the story and probably the strength of the anthology. It feels like this story is an amazing outline for events and plot structure. However, it lacks any sense of conflict or characterization. This is even evident in the description itself, which is vivid in the science, but absent with the characters or scenes.

Overall: I think I’m onto something with the realization I came to above. All of these stories (or at least the bulk of them) read like rushed outlines that have pretty cool plots, but they didn’t bother to take (or have) the time to develop character and establish conflict. This story sums up to be the story of a crew that traveled across the galaxy, realized no one was there, and went back home. The end. The drama that this story could have had (the anticipation of meeting an alien species, the desire to learn from new cultures or the fear of facing more advanced beings) just isn’t there. That really just undercuts everything else for me. I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it every time. If a story’s characters don’t grab me, the story isn’t going to grab me either. This story might best represent the main issue I have with the entire anthology. 

Thanks for reading

Matt

The First Draft of Betrayed is Done! A Call for Alpha Readers

The First Draft of Betrayed is Done! A Call for Alpha Readers

Greetings all,

caught-front-coverHappy news! I’ve just wrapped up the first draft of Betrayed! That means I’m looking for people willing to read this story at this stage and provide feedback.

Alpha Readers are guys who catch issues with events in the story. In this particular draft, I’m looking for former or current military who are familiar with close quarters battle (CQB) and other military things. If you like high-octane action, this is something you should have fun reading.

I’d need your feedback by Dec. 1. In fact, I’d like it sooner, but I genuinely try to give alphas and betas a month to read anything.

If you’re interested, please shoot me an email.

In the meantime, I’ll get back to plotting Discovered, which is the third and final book of the trilogy. Discovered will also probably be the largest book too. We meet a few new cast members and finish the evolution of this story. My hope is to finish the trilogy in 2020. I’d also like to get some smaller projects out, but I’ve been promising more from Oneiros for years now since I published Caught, and I simply owe it to those who loved the story show them where it goes from here.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Story Review: Dead Reckoning by Anthony Regolino from Alien Days Anthology

Story Review: Dead Reckoning by Anthony Regolino from Alien Days Anthology
AlienDaysCover
Cover image taken from the book’s Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Spoiler Free Summary:  Dead Reckoning by Anthony Regolino is the fourth story in the Alien Days Anthology. Bennett is dead, but that won’t stop him from having one last mission. Bennett’s death is the result of an alien weapon that imitates life, but forces the victim to drift into a vegetative state.  When offered a chance at a literal suicide mission, he takes it.

Character:  Bennett was sympathetic and proactive, which is why this story moved for me. I understood his motivation and wondered how the story might go. Given how the first part of the story works, that mystery sort of died for me (yeah, I took that pun).  My struggle is that I didn’t have a “what was gonna happen” feel for me. Now, I personally hate prequels for the same reason. If I already know what’s happening, I’m just not invested. I think if a writer does enough to make the characters matter, the story might be successful, but I’ve never seen it. 

Exposition: This was fantastic. This story moved. Sure, we get a lot of dialogue exposition (This is how you are dead but still walking), but it still came in a natural, conversational tone. So while I may not have been on the edge of my seat wondering how things would go down, I didn’t feel like I was slugging through a muddy plot to get there. 

Regolino
Image of Regolino taken from his author page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Worldbuilding: In this case the reader has to take more on faith than I think a typical SCIFI fan would like. The exposition mentioned above feels a bit like a, “just go with it, OK?” vibe. Given that I’m not the most persnickety SCIFI reader, I didn’t mind so much. My mental answer was, “OK.” This is a more character-driven story, so I don’t think the author wanted to get too caught up in the hows and whys. It didn’t bother me much, but fans of Herbert and Zahn aren’t going to want to suspend their disbelief as much as I could. 

Dialogue: There isn’t a ton of dialogue in this story, and I’d say at least forty percent of it is explaining how a story like this is possible. Still, it felt conversational, and the speakers still had a unique voice. 

Description:  I liked this aspect of the story. I say this pretty much every time, but I have no way of know who’s reading what review I do. I don’t need a ton of description. Just get my imagination going, and let said imagination take over. This story did that. I saw what I needed to see. Can I give you one character quality or descriptor for Bennett? Nope. So yeah, we probably could have had more, but I rank plot over description and character over everything. I got what I wanted from this story.

Overall: If it weren’t for the beginning of this story, I’d have put this tale at in my top three. I already mentioned why above. It’s still got some clever scenes and an interesting premise. If you’re not over invested in worldbuilding, you can give this story a chance if you want some interesting philosophical fiction with a touch of action. 

Thanks for reading

Matt