Book reviews

Book reviews

Storm Dancer | Dark Fantasy Fun

Storm Dancer | Dark Fantasy Fun

I found Storm Dancer by Rayne Hall on Twitter where I have been spending a questionable amount of time lately. The book also came with a warning about the dark nature of the story and the disturbing themes running through it. It’s a sensible thing to do if you don’t know the person you’re recommending a book to but I wish it wasn’t necessary. The warning tinges the reader’s preconceptions and to be honest, I’ve read much more violent and disturbing books without warning and thoroughly enjoyed them too (Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant novels springs to mind).

Now that the warnings are out the way, let me get to the book. The story is set in a desert country reminiscent of Ancient Arabia one finds in Arabic fables. The protagonist, Dahoud, has turned his back on his past and his nature. After an illustrious career as one of the most violent and effective war generals in the Quislaki army he returned to the life of a labourer in the hopes of atoning for his crimes. We first meet him when he is summoned back to the Quislaki capital and ordered back into the fray.

I was drawn into Dahoud’s battle with himself from the start. Driving his desire for violence is a Djinn that takes advantage of his dark side and goads him to ever worse deeds. The Quislaki ruler, Kirral, is possessed by a similar Djinn, but one that has not been curbed by its host. The contrast between the two makes for some great reading. Add to this a feisty, beautiful magician called Merida who is trapped in Quislak by Kirral’s machinations and the scene is set for a great read. Hall’s characters are vivid and many faceted and one can’t help but empathise with all of them and their personal struggles.

Although the main theme of the book centers on violence against women I found the subtler theme of the struggle and acceptance of one’s dark side to be the more intriguing part of the story. Both Merida and Dahoud are unwilling to accept their failings and they are lessened by the limitations they place on themselves. Only with complete acceptance is each able to move forward. There may be a lesson there…

Storm Dancer is a wonderful tale of magic and myth woven into one. I couldn’t put this book down and would recommend it to all lovers of Dark Fantasy. You may want to avoid this if you’re sensitive or on the squeamish side but if that’s the case you should probably steer clear of all Dark Fantasy.

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Finally writing that novel

Finally writing that novel

Now NovelSome of you may be aware that my blog writing activities have been curtailed by my novel writing activities. The two shouldn’t be mutually exclusive but since this is a first novel I’m trying to focus my attention on one thing at a time. I have always wanted to write a book. Getting started seemed to be the biggest problem in the process. Fortunately I have a friend who had a great idea to help wannabe writers like me get going. An inspirational PDF document from her is what moved me from thinking to doing. So, if writing a novel is on your Bucket List but you don’t know where to start you should go visit www.nownovel.com – a website by the team that got me going.

Now Novel is an online writing course created by brother-sister team Brendan and Bridget McNulty. Bridget is a published author (her first novel, Strange Nervous Laughter, was published in South Africa and the USA) and she shares all her tips, tricks and insider information during the Now Novel process.

It’s more than just an online course, it’s more of a guide to how to complete each step of writing the novel – from creating an idea to testing if that idea is really strong enough to support a whole book, coming up with plot and setting details, creating in-depth character studies and even being given a roadmap for what needs to happen when.

As well as the website there’s an inspiring blog filled with writing advice, a forum where you can discuss any writing frustrations with other aspiring authors and a Facebook page with pics and quotes that only book geeks will appreciate!

In short, it’s all the tools you need to finally write that novel… Except the words, that is.

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Soulless | Steampunk fun

Soulless | Steampunk fun

“Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. ”

With a description like that things can only get better. This little book was one of the best finds I’ve had in a while. Ms Carriger writes a very tongue in cheek account about life as a spinster during the Victorian age.
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Dragon Actually | Fun, trashy fantasy


It’s been a very long time since my last post. Partly because this year seemed to fly by in a blur and partly because I have been in a writing slump. And really the only way to get past that is to sit down and write something. So simple, isn’t it?

Fortunately I have found some completely fun and trashy literature to share. Even though I promised to read all the deep and heart wrenching novels all my friends insisted on lending me (sorry guys).  Enter the dragon. Well, Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken. The cover should tell you a lot about this book 😈
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Fleshing out ideas | Part 3

Yes, I’m still alive. Surprisingly work has not managed to completely annihilate me. Yet. There has actually been some time to work on my t-shirt design and finish it off as initially intended. And today I intend to start on the next design. There are steampunk visions behind my eyes…

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