November 2015 – Page 2 – Andy Peloquin

Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

Month: November 2015 (Page 2 of 2)

The Soul Stone front cover

Book Review: The Soul Stone by Jamie Marchant

It’s Book Review Wednesday again, and today I’m bringing you something epic–literally. This epic fantasy novel is the Part 2 of a book I reviewed some time ago, and it’s a good continuation to the story…

 

The Soul Stone

The Crown Princess Samantha and Sir Robrek struggle to solidify their rule in the aftermath of the king’s murder and Duke Argblutal’s attempt to usurp the throne. They are thwarted at every turn by those who seek power for themselves and desire to prevent their marriage. Just when they think their problems are solved, a deadly curse begins to spread throughout Korthlundia and Samantha becomes pregnant.

The Soul Stone front cover

Samantha must fight off priests, enemies, and her closest advisors while Robrek discovers the reason the goddess chose him as king, to defeat the Soul Stone, a stone capable of sucking the soul out of its victims, which threatens to obliterate all life in the joined kingdoms. Their archenemy, the Bard Alvabane, awakens the Soul Stone and plans to use its power to reclaim Korthlundia for her people (a people driven out over a thousand years ago by the hero Armunn). Armunn had to sacrifice his life and soul to contain the Soul Stone. Will Robrek have to do the same? Will the young couple have only a few short months to love each other?

 

My Review: 4 Stars

I read the first book in the series, so I knew what to expect when I cracked open this one: solid writing, a decent (if somewhat predictable) plot, and characters you can get behind.

The main characters are your classic epic fantasy “heroes”–the good king and queen with outside threats trying to ruin their happiness, their kingdoms, etc. I found no surprises in the book, but just a consistently solid, enjoyable plot that kept me reading.

There is the occasional typo, a number of grammar mistakes, and a bit of word repetition now and again, but overall the writing was solid.

The one thing that drove me bananas was the “flaws” chosen for the characters: feelings of inadequacy. While we all wrestle with those feelings, they’re not a very attractive flaw for both of the main characters to be dealing with. It made it feel way too much like a YA novel, when it had the potential to be darker and more “grown up”. 90% of their problems in the book either cause them to feel inadequate or are the result of their feelings of inadequacy. I found myself groaning as the inevitable “am I good enough for him/her?” came up in literally EVERY chapter.

Still, despite the flaws, I enjoyed the book, and am looking forward to Book 3 to find out what comes next for Samantha and Robrek…

 

Here’s a Taste:

At bedtime, Alvabane sat at her dressing table brushing her long hair. It had once been a bright, rich red, but it had dulled with age and was now mostly grey with only a few strands of color to remind her of what once had been. It seemed a metaphor for her life—small flashes of color to remind her of her once bright purpose.

One of those flashes, Erick, set her nightly goblet of fortified wine next to her hand. She needed the strong alcohol to dull the pain of her joints so she could sleep. Erick had served her for ten years. When her former servant had died, he’d been sent by her people, despite the fact that she’d only been a disappointment to them.

She turned to thank him, but the words died on her lips as she saw the reproach in his eyes. Alvabane turned back to her mirror. Tonight was the night of the new moon. She should have been preparing to perform the rites of the dark gods, not preparing for bed. “They have forgotten us,” Alvabane said. “The Soul Stone does not live.”

In the mirror, she saw Erick’s eyes narrow. He was not yet twenty and still had the optimism of youth. He still believed the Stone would come to life again when the gods willed it. He believed it would again be the weapon it had once been. Created in the far past by magic which had since been lost, it had been used by her people to protect themselves from the barbarians that now ran free over Korth and Lundia.

“I will perform the rites next month,” she promised, but so had she promised last month and the month before that. The stairs to the bottom of the East Tower were agony to her knees. Erick made a mewing sound, reminding her what he’d sacrificed to serve her and the dark gods. She herself had cut his tongue from his mouth when he came to her as a ten-year-old child. He had surrendered it stoically. Only the Bards were allowed to sing the rites of the gods. All others who heard them had to be rendered mute so they couldn’t repeat music not meant for their tongues.

“Do you think you have sacrificed more than I?” She turned to face him. “I submitted to the brutish duke’s bed for years. I gave birth to a child of rape. All so I could remain near the Stone. I performed the rites faithfully every new moon for decades. And for what, I ask you? The power of the Stone remains trapped behind the shield the demon Armunn created from his own soul. That shield can’t be destroyed. I have dedicated my life to trying, but it is impossible. The Soul Stone won’t live again!”

Erick mewed again and looked toward the tapestry on the wall. It showed the map of the desert of Sehra, to the south of Korthlundia, where her people had lived in exile since Armunn and his hordes had trapped the Stone and then driven them from their homeland. Blinking back tears of despair, she turned from him. “Do you think I have forgotten? Every generation fewer of our children are born. Only by returning to the land of our birthright can we be strong again.”

She got up and went to the tapestry, touching it lovingly. “Do you not understand? The dark gods have found me unworthy to be their messenger. I once thought I was the child of the prophecy, the one who would drive the descendants of Armunn’s hordes back across the mountains into Korth and reclaim the land they call Lundia as our own. But I was wrong. I’m an unprofitable servant, an unfit vessel.”

 

About the Author:

From early childhood, Jamie has been immersed in books. Her mother, an avid reader, read to her, and her older sister filled her head with fairy tales. Taking into consideration her love for literature and the challenges of supporting herself as a writer, she pursued a Ph.D. in American literature, which she received in 1998.

She started teaching writing and literature at Auburn University. But in doing so, she put her true passion on the backburner and neglected her muse. Then one day, in the midst of writing a piece of literary criticism, she realized that what she wanted to be doing was writing fantasy novels. Her muse thus revived, she began the book that was to become The Goddess’s Choice, which was published in April 2012. The second volume in the series, The Soul Stone, was released this June.

Find it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Stone-Kronicles-Korthlundia/dp/1612965466/

Read her thoughts on her website: http://jamie-marchant.com/
Enjoy her ramblings on her blog:  http://jamie-marchant.blogspot.com/
Connect with her via Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jamie-Marchant-Author/164706710298768?ref=hl
Tweet at her: @RobrekSamantha

 

Writing Has Taught Me It’s Okay to Make Mistakes

When I started my writing journey, I had it in my head that I was going to be the one writer who never made mistakes. I was going to write the best characters, tell the most amazing stories, and all without a single flaw or error in my writing.

Boy, was I disabused of that notion in a hurry! By the time I finished publishing In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent, I had learned just how fallible I was.

When Blade of the Destroyer came into being, I quickly saw how much I had to learn. After having the book sliced and diced by the world’s best beta readers, I ended up re-writing an entire third of the book. Book 2 was only slightly less flawed, and I had to do a lot of re-writing to make the story work.

Now, as I’m working on Book 3 in The Last Bucelariiseries, I’ve come to a simple understanding: it’s not a bad thing to make mistakes, as long as you’re willing to admit that they really are mistakes and correct them.

I wrote Book 3 with a very definite goal in mind. I wanted to show that the main character, the Hunter, was making some progress as a human being. After the events of Books 1 and 2, there was a slight crack in his “tough guy” façade. But, like the human being that I am, I went a bit too far and made him “too human”. I gave him all these attributes and personality traits I’d expect of someone in that situation, without actually thinking about how HE would react.

Now that I’m re-drafting, I’m having to do a lot more re-writing than I’d expected. Thanks to my amazing alpha-readers, I’m changing the ending, adding another 10,000 or so words to the story, and changing some pretty core elements of the story. The result will be a better book, but it’s a lot of work.

But imagine how different things would be if I was so worried about making mistakes that I clung to my idea of what I believed to be “right”! Book 1 would have sucked right out of the gate, and none of the later books would get any better. After all, I would have stubbornly clung to my idea of perfection, and there would have been no room for improvement.

Let this be a lesson for all of us: making mistakes are a good thing. Once you understand that, you start to see them as a learning experience. When I sit down to write Book 4 (which I plan to start before the end of this year), I’m going to keep the lessons I learned from writing Books 1 through 3 in mind. When I write Book 5, I’ll have the addition of lessons from Book 4. All the mistakes I will have made will help me to be better as a writer, and it will be easier to adapt, change, and improve.

Don’t be so stuck on perfection that you can’t handle mistakes! Mistakes are a GREAT thing, provided you are willing to correct and improve. The more mistakes you make, the more you learn from them. See mistakes as a good thing, and you will mature and improve far faster than you would getting it right every time!

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