This post from Bibliotropic caught my eye: Ria’s cut her list from 26 entries to eight strong contenders. That sounds to me like a very sensible thing to do, and you can click through and read this and related posts and see what kinds of thoughts led Ria to change her approach to the challenge.
Just as a side note, as far as I’m concerned, looking at Ria’s eight contenders, Auguries of Dawn by Peyton Reynolds has the most appealing cover AND the most appealing title. City of Burning Shadows by Barbara J Webb has the most intriguing back cover copy.
Here’s a link to the Speculative Book Review’s second set of books.
Of those, I like best the title of A Dream of Hope and Sorrow by Jonathan Crocker, and the cover and description of A Soul For Trouble by Crista McHugh.
10 thoughts on “Self-Published Book Challenge: an update”
Ow wow. Rererererereading Martha Wells THE NECROMANCER for the first time in years. I forgot just how perfect a novel it is. Mystery! Romance! Magic! And diamond-sharp dialogue. Wow. And she was just getting started when she wrote it.
I was struck the same way when I re-read it last year. I also thought, Wow, what a perfect book to make into a movie!
I’ve now read and enjoyed the Raksura books and the Emilie books by Martha Wells, after reading your enthousiastic recommendations, and enjoyed both.
How do the Fall of Ile-Rien books and this Necromancer series compare? Normally, I’d not even try those, as these title words signal things like dystopia or horror to me, which I dislike; and the ‘back copy’ doesn’t disabuse me of that notion. But… I did enjoy her other series, and I’ve come to trust your reviews and recommendations. So, what do you think, are they negative/grim/gritty/dark/horrorish?
Hanneke: complicated question! Let’s see: The Ile-Rien trilogy is one of my favorite trilogies. One of the protagonists, Tremaine, is a great favorite of mine. This is very much an adventure fantasy and I would say not at all gritty or negative or horrorish (great word), though of course there are dark bits because Ile-Rien *is* at war. Actually, it doesn’t fall — the good guys win before the boot of the oppressor can actually come down.
The description of the world(s) is very big-scale and sweeping and grand, very similar to the worldbuilding in the Raksura books. The story isn’t as focused on one point of view, but the pov isn’t so scattered that you are prevented from being drawn into different character’s personal stories.
I think and hope you would love it. You should give it several chapters, until Tremaine and Ilias join up. This happens pretty soon and then the story really takes off.
The Death of the Necromancer is set in a kind of Regency world, definitely not a dystopia or horror. It might be a bit more gritty, though. I would say it mostly feels slower-paced. The overall feel is positive, though. Nicholas is a nicer guy than he thinks he is and I think this is clear to the reader from the start. And you will almost certainly love Madeline. It takes place before the Ile-Rien trilogy, but I read them out of order and had no problems at all.
Thanks! I’ll go buy them and at least add them to the TBR pile – I’ll probably be reading Laura Florand’s latest, Sarah Allison Allen’s First Frost, and Mary Robinette Kowal’s Of Noble Family first.
I hope you love them! I definitely want to read First Frost! I’ve seen people talking about Of Noble Family, but I haven’t really looked at it yet.
I would say that NECROMANCER is about as gritty as any other British city circa 1890. FALL OF ILE RIEN happens a generation later with circa WWI technology and society. Ile Rien is half Brit half French. The various queens make it feel more British. Also: ELEMENT OF FIRE takes place about 200 years earlier. It’s. It’s good, too. And MW needs to write a Gratuitous Epilogue about Illias and Tremaine. I always kind of shipped Florian and Gileas, after Florian graduates from magic school.
Thank you for the answers. The books are bought and in my Calibre library.
The MR Kowal is the 5th and last in her Jane Austen with a little magic series Glamourist histories.
They’re good if you like Austen and accept a bit of added fantasy in that setting. They are true to the period, with the glamour-magic well integrated. There’s a bit more adventure than Austen has, and less social commentary.
Ah, the Glamourist series has been on my radar since the beginning, it’s just that I haven’t quite gotten to the first one. I know, I know, but I’m so behind! Mary Kowal did a reading for a forthcoming title last year at World Fantasy, for a kind of alternate history with ghosts WWII story. It sounded good, but then she’s very good at readings. I may get to that faster since it’s not (yet, at least) embedded in a five-book series.
NECROMANCER has two bad guys. The first is Nicolas’s old enemy, who framed Nic’s adopted father for necromancy. The second is a necromancer who is (I think) loosely inspired by Jack the Ripper–especially obvious at the end when XXXXXXX and Jack can sort of live on in popular memory.
Two more books:
ELEMENT OF FIRE, available to read on line at marthawells.com
Her short story collection of Ile Rien related works. Potters daughter is a very good SS.