Review: The Red Knight


Posted on : 10/11/2017 01:04:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

The Red Knight The Red Knight by Miles Cameron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a 5-star review. There were a couple of minor issues with the book, but overall this is exactly what great fantasy fiction looks like.

On one level this is a straight-out swords and sorcery tale. One of the fae has created an incursion into the lands conquered by humanity. His objective is to retake a fortress that is home to a source of magic that is valuable to the fae.

A band of mercenary knights hire themselves out to the abbey that is housed in the fortress. They are led by a bastard son who is young for such a position. He leads this elite group of warriors on the field. He is also in the process of developing the skills needed to use magic.

The nuns of the abbey have rather unusual habits that end up being used to help heal those that are wounded defending the fortress/abbey from the fae siege.

The world suggests that it could be a version of the earth after some sort of cataclysm has wiped out modern technology and replaced it with magic. The religion in the world bears many of the forms of Catholic Christianity; including an opposition/revulsion of the use of magic. It is church teaching about children born out of wedlock that lead the young knight into a mercenary life.

And yet he and his group end up defending a church abbey.

Beneath this straightforward story is an examination of the difficulties of living in a world that uses social/cultural conventions to create a uniform populace. How can a person survive when their very existence is condemned by "the church"? How can a person actively foster a faith that teaches that they are damned?

This is a tremendous start to what I hope will be a fantastic fantasy series.

There are two nits to pick with this book. The grammar editing of the book was quite poor. Fortunately, the story is good enough to pull me right back in after encountering a plethora of easily identified errors.

The second is that the there are times when the book reads like the author just purchased a second-hand copy "Medieval Armor Illustrated". As it turns out, the author's other interest include medieval combat; including armor, natch! It wasn't a huge issue, but there were times when the examination/description of the armor worn by various knights got a little repetitive.

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A brief afterwords:

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Miles Cameron is a fellow United States Marine.  His love of martial experiences definitely comes through in his work.  Now I am looking forward to the next installment of this series even more.

After the afterwords:

Per his profile on Goodreads,  Miles was actually a Naval officer and suffered under the tutelage of firm Marine Corps hands in OCS.  I had misread a common on one of his blogs to mean that he was a Marine.  He's still a vet and still writes great fantasy.

Review: The Watchmaker: A Sweet Contemporary Time Travel Romance


Posted on : 10/10/2017 11:19:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

The Watchmaker: A Sweet Contemporary Time Travel Romance The Watchmaker: A Sweet Contemporary Time Travel Romance by Anna Erishkigal
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A 2-star review.

This is a sort of romance dressed up as a time travel tale that uses a watch as the McGuffin to get things moving.

The story consists largely of the main character thinking about how they could change the past while running through the city.

After the watchkeeper tells her how she cannot change the past, she ends up violating his rules. He explains how at the least, such an attempt will result in the same outcome, or at the worst a freezing her in a time loop. Despite the warnings about the negative consequences, there are no negative consequences after she changes the past.

Read it for the romantic aspect. Not very good as fantasy.

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Review: First Keeper - A Landkist Short Story


Posted on : 10/10/2017 11:19:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

First Keeper - A Landkist Short Story First Keeper - A Landkist Short Story by Steven Kelliher
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

A 1-star review. And a DNF.

While the world building had some promise, the plot consisted largely of children sitting around a fire while an adult evaluated their magical colors. Lots of description from within the heads of the characters and not much action or character development.

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Supporting Creators


Posted on : 10/10/2017 04:05:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

I enjoy podcasts.  This is not exactly earth-shattering news for regular readers of this space.  All 2.37 of you.

And I try to support content creators whenever possible.  To that end, I participate in Patreon to help support several podcasts.  To keep my budget under control, I limit my Patreon participation to $10 per month.  As of right now, this is how my contributions break down.

  • Tea and Jeopardy - $3/month.  Used to be $4, but I had a recent addition that I enjoy just about as much.  This is a Hugo award-winning podcast that is well worth your time.
  • The Project Entertainment Network - $3/month.  Again, it used to be $4, but...changes...they happen.  I am a big fan of The Horror Show with Brian Keene.   I haven't been attracted to the rest of their offerings. 
  • The Grim Tidings Podcast - $3/month.  This is that recent addition.  They just started their Patreon campaign.  As the name suggests, Rob and Philip focus on the Grimdark sub-genre.  This engaging duo that asks interesting questions.  And they have the best sound effects! 
  • The Once and Future Podcast - $1/month.  Down from $2.  It is a decent podcast, but my enthusiasm for it is waning.

People that create content may do it as a labor of love, but they also have expenses.  Support their advertisers when you can.  And hitting the tip jar every once in a while is also a good idea.