Posts Tagged ‘ while i slept ’

James Treadwell: Advent – Ambitious? (Review)

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Advent. 439 pages long and I felt most of them go by.

That’s not to say the book is awful. It isn’t. The side note that the protagonist, Gavin, likes Victorian novels does seem to be an autobiographical comment, as another reviewer has noted before me. However, this does not give the book an excuse to lose tension. Between page 250 and around 340 or so I lost interest. It was an uphill battle as I forced myself to keep reading.

In the middle section of this book not much interesting happens, simply put.

I think one of the major issues is the narrative structure. The main protagonist, Gavin, is well crafted and has a character a reader can delve into and enjoy. However, the imposition of the 1500’s magus character does not work brilliantly.

He is essential to the back story and current plot but he is cold, greedy and has no redeeming features. Yes, some villains are like this but it does not seem realistic. There has been an attempt at romance and knowledge gone dark, twisted, but the change, the contrast, is too stark, too unrealistic. He becomes a caricature.

Of course, this may have a lot to do with the layers within the book. It expects a lot of a reader if we are to understand every sly reference. The book alludes to less known corners of Arthurian legend and Faustian tales.

For this, I both reward and condemn. It assumes a reader has more knowledge than a general fantasy reader necessarily may have. Perhaps, in some ways, it is more literary than genre fiction.

However, the novel does break away from the stereotypes of fantasy and strive to create something new, if influenced by the Gothic.

As wikipedia notes from an interview with James Treadwell, the novel (and its assumable the following series) looks at what would happen to modern society should magic be reintroduced to the world as real. This is a concept I myself wrestle with in my own writing (and novel in progress: While I Slept).

At risk of becoming hypocritical, I just feel Treadwell could have done this better. It seems he’s thrown creatures at a page with little thought for why those particular species were picked and the punch lines in the story were too spaced out.

A good 100-150 pages of the novel could be cut and it would be a much better read as, I must say, despite all this criticism, the first 250 and the last 80 pages were a great read. The writing style and turn of phrase can also be, and often is, fantastic.

To sum up, James Treadwell is a great writer and I’m sure we will see more writing from him in future. Hopefully, those books will build on this first one and his writing will improve.

For this book, I give him a score of 3.5/5

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Peek into my World, my Words…

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My workstation – Ethereal beauty to get the story moving…
And some clutter, because that’s what my head is like…and I hate cleaning.

Quite a few of you will have clocked on to the fact I’m writing a novel by now- I’ve talked about word counts enough in my twitter feed and even on facebook. I’m two and a half weeks in and toying with the title ‘While I Slept’.

This is a peek into my creation with a few snippets. I’ll try to keep major spoilers at bay (in case you ever actually want to read the thing once I’m done tinkering with it).

A Blurb of Sorts…

Annie Vivant’s hobby is archaeology and, one sunny day of digging, she finds and awakens Arthur. Arthur is not the King of modern legend but the unparalleled warrior of older myth who defends the United Kingdom from the Otherworld – a land of redcaps, piskies, dev and all the other impossibles that don’t get along. After a series of bloody murders, Arthur realises why he has been awoken and must traverse Otherworld politics where no one is to be trusted for nothing. All the while, his old, blonde love, Katrin, plagues his mind.

A Side Note:

There’s space for comedy as well as crime and fantasy in this novel. Arthur does not understand technology, the world of today, and Annie has no clue how the Otherworld functions. The results are sometimes entertaining and sometimes disastrous.

Enjoy your three rifts into my novel below!

A Few Mini Extracts:

The coffin creaked behind her as soil from its top fell away, scuttling down the hill. She couldn’t just leave it. It was the next big find, the first English mummy or a serial killer’s personal graveyard. She considered it: ‘Artie’, no last name, date, anything. Who was he? A pet or human? Was he buried with treasure? A diary? She sniggered – a spell book maybe?

She had to know.

She clicked something on a long, light stick I’d explored the previous night. A screen on the other side of the room flickered and brought light into the room. She had told me it was a remote. I learned to leave it to her: all the pressy bits and symbols meant nothing to me. When I tried, all I got was a black and white fuzz and an annoying buzz.

Moving pictures and people opened and closed their mouths. Sound came out of the box. She’d assured me it was normal and relegated my sword to her room when I’d tried to attack it. Still, it was weird, unnatural. The TV, as she called it, droned on. It appeared to be some sort of update or news.

I smiled but poked her side to make her calm down: this was serious. ‘There must be something that’s happened. Some big nationwide event or war or battle…’ I thought about the clash of swords and arc of blood, rich on grass and trampled underfoot. ‘Even a little skirmish?’ I missed a good skirmish, a punch to the face and a cold bag of water over an eye. It hurt, sure, but it was a great way to settle who was the better fighter.

‘Don’t think so. America is trigger happy as always but that’s nothing new. There’s been a few wars. You missed the two big ones.’ She grinned as if sharing a private joke with the air. ‘Surprised you didn’t wake up for those, actually…. Anyway, yeah, there’s nothing big.’

I ignored the mention of triggers. I assumed it was some new club or metal that could flip down in some way and cause more damage from the swing. Maybe that was why these people looked so weak in comparison to the old days. They might not need the muscle. 

And Some Teasers:

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While you try (or give up) wondering what those three add up to, I will be writing more. Hopefully I have captivated a few of you and if not, well, there’s more to write yet. Including some more battle scenes!

I hope you enjoyed the peek into my world. 17,287 words and counting.

Happy writing!
Let me know about your projects or mine if there’s anything you have enjoyed or hated here.

Signing out,

Holly Ice – just another author like the rest of you. 🙂

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