I’m not going to go into my reasons for disliking the Hugos, which, to anyone who has read about the recent controversies, will be readily apparent. Suffice it to say that the beloved award…
For some, loss merely deprives. For others, it consumes.
Ashtadukht is a star-reckoner. The worst there’s ever been. Witness her treacherous journey through Iranian legends and ancient history.
Only a brave few storytellers still relate cautionary glimpses into the life of Ashtadukht, a woman who commanded the might of the constellations—if only just, and often unpredictably. They’ll stir the imagination with tales of her path to retribution. How, fraught with bereavement and a dogged illness, she criss-crossed Sassanian Iran in pursuit of creatures now believed mythical. Then, in hushed tones, what she wrought on that path.
Review 3 of 5 Stars
I was provided with an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) of this book by the author. The book is available for pre-order and actually comes out on October 2.
I’m going to preface this review with two things. The first is that I found the book enjoyable and worth my time to read. The second is that this book would have received four stars if I had not been so put off by the author running words together (to extremes) for one of the characters and continually using s,o-[insert next word] in so much of the character’s speech to achieve the accent/dialect/speaking pattern (whatever you’d like to call it). I found it annoying, distracting and it slowed me down when I was reading since I had to sort out what the character was saying when many words were run together. It would’ve been fine to have a little of it at the beginning to get the feel of the character’s speech pattern, but by the end of the book I was thoroughly annoyed as the practice seemed to increase with the number of pages. I sat on this review for several days in the hope that my annoyance would fade and just leave my entertainment with the story. We all see how that turned out.
Now that I have that off of my chest, I enjoyed the actual story and was interested to see what happened with the characters, even the one that talked in an annoying manner (this character also weaseled its way into my heart a little). I was a little thrown by the country being referred to as Iran despite this obviously being a story based far in the past with mythical creatures. I had to look this up because it drug me out of the era the book was based in. Apparently Iran is the name of the country in Persian and the government requested to be called Iran in 1935. So that was a little strange for me since for the majority of the western world Iran is the modern country and Persia is the past. I only mention it because it drug me out of the story and onto the internet to find out why. Griping done. I actually learned a lot during the time I read this book as I was drawn to research some of the areas, etc. to get a better feel for where the characters were.
Ashtadukht was an interesting character, as were her companions. She is a star-reckoner who can command the power of the constellations to do her will, albeit a somewhat lousy one as her control isn’t very good and there are often unexpected consequences when she draws a star-reckoner’s lot. Star-reckoners search out divs (demon/monster) wherever they are stirring trouble to protect the kingdoms. Ashtadukht, Tirdad and Waray are an unlikely band of adventurers, but they face the dangers they encounter together, often in unexpected and sometimes humourous ways. They are also a strangely endearing group as the book unfolds and I found the settings interesting. I was fascinated by the locales and myths that were explored in this book.
Ashtadukht fights her illness each day as she rises to combat divs that bring harm upon mortals. Tirdad, her sworn protector, stands by her side as she does so. And then there’s Waray. I’ll let you read the book to find out more about Waray as this character has a style all its own. All things considered it was a pretty good book and I enjoyed the story. There is action throughout the book, but it really picked up as the characters moved through the story. I’ve listed the things that I didn’t like, but some of it was fascinating. I enjoyed it on the whole. If you are the fantasy type and are interested in traveling through some less written about myths, I think you will enjoy the book.
I do want to add that the author was still making revisions from proofreading when he emailed the ARC to me. I really didn’t notice many grammatical errors. The story was pretty tight aside from me being put off by the jammed together words and sentences of the one character. Perhaps some of that will get ironed out in the final edit.
I kind of skipped ahead on my reading list because I had this file on my tablet and left my Kindle loaded with previous books behind when I started this one, but have made my way back to the pending list for those authors who submitted books ahead of this one and are wondering what’s up. Hope everyone has a great week. Happy reading.
Ashley Kelly is your typical American teenager—or she would be if it wasn’t for the cluster bomb that crippled her. Seven years after the invasion, over a hundred million Americans have been displaced by the war, with millions more dead. Ash has spent seven years learning to walk again, and she’ll be damned if she’s going to lie down for anyone, human or otherwise.
Review 4 of 5 Stars
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
One thing that can be said about Peter Cawdron is that the man certainly has a lot of questions about how things come about and how we as humans react to the hurdles we must face. I wonder sometimes if he doesn’t keep a notepad of weird questions he’d like the answer to. From reading his books I’ve also come to the conclusion that he reads science books like others read novels. This isn’t the first book of the author’s where a text book comes in handy. What We Left Behind immediately comes to mind when I look back at how the author has used simple bits of science to bring us somewhat frightening dystopian results.
There are some things I’ve come to expect from Mr. Cawdron’s books over the years. One is that he provides us with a character we can ride along with. I like the way his characters explore not only there own inclinations, but those of others. The story itself is very interesting. Unlike much other science fiction, when we join this story the aliens have all but won the war against humanity. We join Ashley as she makes her way into a refugee camp, one of thousands that has been shuffled around in a system with nowhere to go.
Mr. Cawdron’s characters do a lot of soul-searching along the way and Ashley is no different. She spends a lot of time thinking about the unusual alliance she’s made to see if peace can be attained. There’s lots of action in this story. As we often find in the author’s stories, the characters are on the run and looking over their shoulders as they search for solutions. In the end, this is a first contact story with a really rocky beginning as far as interspecies relations go.
Another really good story from Peter Cawdron. It was enough to drag me away from the water for a summer day and we all know the blog is a little light through the summer when I can swim. That’s a pretty good recommendation if you know how much I like to swim (almost every day and sometimes twice a day). Happy reading.
On a side note, I just realized yesterday that I never posted the review for Jason Gurley’s book The Man Who Ended the World so I’ll try to get that out in the next few days when I can stand to sit at a desk again for an extended period. Seeing the hip surgeon at the end of July and hoping I’ll be back to normal before too long.
Just wanted to share this post from Nicholas Rossis.
As soon as I finish reading the other half, I’ll be posting a review for Peter Cawdron’s book, Welcome to the Occupied States of America which has been an interesting first contact story thus far.
Western Fault-lines and Ancient Greece – http://wp.me/p6TDSX-203
I apologize for my first post in so long not being about a book. I’m going to have hip surgery and I’ve been swimming more than reading because sitting for long periods is uncomfortable, but that’s not what I’ve logged in to say.
I sat down at my desk and cried for my country today. Not any one person, but all of us. I’m mostly a writer of short stories who hopes I’ll finish the book I’m working on eventually, but today I feel obligated to write about something real.
I’m no one special. I’m just an American that is crying for the people in her country. I’m not famous. I’m not influential, but I can’t be quiet any longer.
People are dying in America because of racism, fear, intolerance and hatred and it has to end.
After waiting tables at a restaurant where the local police ate many, many years ago, I have a healthy fear of police and try to avoid them if at all possible. I don’t know if all police are like the ones who ate at our restaurant, but the stories they joked around and told one another about how they treated people were enough to make me nauseous. They didn’t even think about discussing such things in front of the teenage girl pouring their coffee every morning. I didn’t do or say anything.
It’s 30 years later and I’ve seen and heard so much intolerance that I feel obligated to stand up and say that it has to end. I’ve never understood racism. As a child I lived in West Virginia. I’m not saying that racism didn’t exist, but as a small child my experience with it was limited to telling a family relative that I loved very much that he couldn’t call black people what he had because it was mean. Kindergartener’s aren’t known for tact.
I moved to Florida when I was in high school. That was the first time I really saw racism. I was shocked, but I was also fifteen and unsure what to do other than scream back at the idiots who screamed racial slurs at my friends.
I guess I officially encountered racism personally because when I was in high school a couple of different black people called me a cracker. For what reason, I’m still not sure as it was one of those walking by things. I was naive and it was years before I found out what it meant because I was afraid to ask at that age, but this isn’t about my experience.
This is about the fact that as a white woman in America I don’t know what it’s like to really suffer from racism. No one denies me a job because someone once called me a cracker. I see it, but I don’t experience it. I don’t feel it so I know that my understanding of it is limited. I don’t fear that the police will pull me over and shoot me if I have a tail light out. In fact a very nice policeman was the one that told me that if I was going to have a gun in the car that the trunk was the place for it with regards to moving from house to house, etc. I know some of the reasons for racism, but I in no way have the answer.
I’m sure there are many, but I feel that two of the main reasons for racism and intolerance of really anyone who is different are ignorance and irrational fear. I believe that kind of ignorance and irrational fear is because people don’t get to know people of other cultures and skin colors. They don’t make the effort. It’s their own fault that they haven’t opened their eyes and hearts to the many wonderful people of different cultures that are out there.
I have friends of all ethnicities, I live in a predominantly black area and I’ve worked with people from all over the world. I listen to what they say. I hear the news they discuss and the things they get riled up about that they read on Facebook. I’m not an expert, but as a writer I’m interested in all people.
The most important things I’ve learned that the majority of people share despite their background are the desire for freedom, the willingness to help others during a disaster, the desire to keep those they love safe, fed, clothed, happy, etc., and the desire to make their own way. As human beings we all basically want the same things. We have the technology to go into space, but we can’t come up with a solution for getting along on the planet we have.
There are so many things I don’t know or understand. I don’t understand why the land of the free and the home of the brave has more people in jail per capita than the rest of the world.I don’t understand why a police officer would shoot into a car with a 4-year-old in the back at a routine traffic stop. I don’t understand why snipers shot the police protecting the people protesting against tragedy in our country.
Wide-sweeping generalizations cannot answer these questions. I don’t know what went through the police officer’s head and I’ve only seen the video of Philando Castile after he’d been shot as he lay dying in the front seat with the police officer still holding his gun in the window and screaming at an obviously unresponsive man instead of getting him medical assistance.
I don’t know what happened before that, but I do know that I probably would not have been capable of responding in the calm manner that his fiancée did as the police officer continued to scream at her after shooting her boyfriend. I know this was because she feared for her life and the life of her child. I’ve never experienced that and it is my earnest hope I never have to, but it appalls me. I know that man should never have been given a badge and a gun, but I don’t have the answer to the systemic failure of law enforcement in America for those of color that allowed him to be hired.
I study people for characters and a lot of what I’ve found saddens me more than I can express. A lot gives me hope. I have good friends that I love who are black, gay, trans, Indian, white, yellow and so on. I fear for some of them. I see what they deal with, but I don’t know what to do other than scream to the world that this has to end.
All police are not bad. There are YouTube videos of police officers so furious over the shootings of black men in America by their fellow police officers that they’re crying as they tell those other officers to take off the badge. So I know some of them want to help.
Then there’s the police officer that got canned because he said on Facebook that he would have shot the man five times instead of four. How do you combat that kind of hatred? How do you identify the people out in the world who feel like that? I don’t mean the ones that announce it, but the ones who don’t. The ones who hide in plain sight. The ones that might be your friends at work, church, school or wherever that you’ve never known that about.
People of every background love fiercely and loyally. They love their friends and family even when they fail or do something wrong. I know that’s how I love my family and friends, even when we disagree. We all want to protect those we love. We have to start talking to one another. I don’t just mean the separate groups, though that needs to happen as well.
If you’re white and you oppose racism then you have to stand up and talk to other white people about it. It can’t be ignored any longer.
If you’re a police officer who believes in the integrity of your oath to protect and serve, you need to stand up and speak out against officers that bring shame to that oath.
If you’re a straight person who defends the rights of LGBT people to be happy like you have the right to be, you have to stand up to the other straight people who don’t.
If you’re a person who support a woman’s right to not have her body controlled by the government then you need to stand up and defend those rights to those who are fighting against women’s rights.
We can’t continue to ignore the occasional racist or sexist comment from that one person in our group.
We can’t ignore it when the male boss harasses a woman at work and she gets fired for it.
We can’t ignore it when the female boss harasses a man at work and he gets fired for it.
We can’t ignore the person who insults the gay people at work and then watch the gay person reprimanded for some made up reason.
We can’t ignore the person at work who mutters the racial slur under their breath as someone they’re prejudiced against walks down the hall.
We have to say something. If we want to solve this problem we have to drive it out, kicking and screaming.
We have to call out and ostracize those who we know to be racist and intolerant. They have to know that it will not be accepted and that there are consequences such as being fired and left out of society. We cannot continue to accept and sweep racism and intolerance under the rug.
Most importantly, we need to quit making excuses for those who are racist and intolerant. No one has the right to keep others from living their lives without fear and succeeding in this country. Irrational hate is a reality, but not an excuse.
I apologize for my lack of eloquence, but I felt I had to say something. As a writer all I know to do is write about it. To share the feelings of an American who truly is saddened and shamed by what is happening here. To share the feelings of someone who sat and cried today for her country.
I’ve seen a lot of things in my life that I didn’t say anything about. That time has come to an end. There’s a Lawrence Kasdan quote from Silverado, “The world is what you make of it, friend. If it doesn’t fit you make alterations.” That might sound a little cheesy in the vein of this discussion, but I believe that. The world is exactly what we make it. Today I’m trying to make it a better place. I’m hoping others will do the same. We could use some alterations.
When Steven Glass’s third grade teacher asked his class what they wanted to be when they grew up, Steven’s classmates shouted the usual answers: “A fireman!” “A teacher!” “The President!” When his turn came, Steven said, “When I grow up I’m going to be the last man on Earth.”
Warning signs don’t come much clearer than that.
Review 4 of 5 Stars
I try to remember to say when books are given by the author or a publishing house. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say when books are bought, but I bought this one because I’ve enjoyed other stories by the author. The first books I read by Jason Gurley were Settlers and Colonists. Since then I’ve almost become accustomed to his lack of punctuation when it comes to dialogue, but not quite yet. That aside, I very much enjoy his stories and his style of writing.
This was a very contained story with few characters. Henry is the young man that the reader follows through his encounter with the man who ends the world. The title pretty much gives away the plot so I don’t think we have much of a spoiler situation here. As an 11-year-old boy, Henry is quite inquisitive which lands him in a particularly interesting situation with a strange man hiding in a car. Things only get stranger and more confusing for Henry from there as he continues on his adventure.
This was a pretty short read. I read it in a couple of hours. So, I don’t want to give away more than I already have. I have a thing for dystopian stories and this one is right along those lines. Anyway, it was a quick read that I enjoyed. The ending left me wanting something, but as I can’t put my finger on exactly what I can hardly detract for it. All things said it was a good story that moved at a good pace with some interesting surprises along the way. Happy reading.
Description/Blurb: James Patterson is a gay accountant living in Keyes, Oklahoma—deep in the Bible Belt—the religious heartland of America. He’s also the first person to make contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence seeking to understand our world, and that makes him the most important person on the planet.
Review 5 of 5 Stars
I received a copy of this novella from the author and it was just what I needed to drag me out of my reading slump. I enjoyed the start with the mysterious blue planet and the worldwide dream, but what really kept me engaged was the main character’s journey. This story got better and better as I read and it made me a little sad when it ended.
I had been looking for a book that would fully hold my attention and fortunately this one did. It would be wonderful if you could explore in books they way you can in role-playing games. The author’s descriptions were excellent, painted a clear picture of the journey his characters took and I would have loved to look around a bit more.
Starship Mine embodies all of the things I like most about the Peter Cawdron’s work. He manages to not only tap into the humanity and vulnerability of his characters (human and alien alike sometimes), but to convey the story to us without a loss of emotion or humor while we explore fascinating alien landscapes and societies. This was a really heartwarming story and I don’t know that the blurb does it justice. Mr. Cawdron’s characterizations improve with every book he writes and I’ve really come to look forward to his new releases.
Even though this was a science fiction story about meeting an extraterrestrial intelligence, it was also a story about what it means to be human: to doubt, fear, love and to be different in more than one way. I like my stories with some sociopolitical backing and there was just enough to give the story the depth it needed. Starship Mine is packed full of ideas to ponder and emotions to explore. It was so good that I read it in one evening, non-stop and I’ll probably read it again tomorrow to ensure that I didn’t miss anything while I was furiously flipping the page advance button.
All around a great job and an excellent adventure. There’s a nice little twist at the end, but I wouldn’t want to spoil it. Happy reading.