Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Woo Hoo! I'm a Finalist!

So, I'm a finalist in the Florida Writers' Association Royal Palm Literary Award contest. I'm not really sure how much of an accomplishment that is, yet. It could be that almost everyone who enters earns the minimum number of "points" to become a finalist. But still, it's certainly better than not being a finalist.

Now, if I could just afford the cost of the awards banquet....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Book Review of the Day - Justina Robson

Today's book review features Keeping It Real by Justina Robson.

I bought this book out of desperation for something to read, since none of my favorite authors have anything new out. (Elizabeth Moon's next book comes out next month.) I also liked the cover art which featured a kick-butt woman in black leather sporting lots of weaponry.

The back cover copy was a little off-putting. The binding identified the novel as science fiction, but from the description, it seemed to be a combination of both sci fi and fantasy--elves, demons, high tech, AI's. This one was difficult to categorize.

And I think that was my problem with it. I'm really not into fantasy for the most part. I'm not familiar enough with the genre to appreciate or understand its standards, quirks or even all of its vocabulary. Therefore, while this book was clearly popular enough to spawn several sequels, I just couldn't get into it and don't think I'm qualified to adequately judge its worth.

I liked the two main characters for the first half of the novel. The woman is bad a** while still maintaining a fragile side that attracts the reader's sympathy. The "rock star elf" is attractive and intriguing with his demon tendencies. But as soon as they travel to the "elf homeland" I find myself lost. The magical elements and multiple levels of relationships are difficult to follow for someone not thoroughly versed in the fantasy genre.

It was definitely a worthwhile experiment to step outside my science fiction comfort zone. I'm about to do it again with Kat Richardson's Greywalker (labeled as fantasy but really more paranormal). But I've decided that cross genre science fiction/fantasy isn't my thing.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Book Review of the Day - Ann Aguirre

Finished Wanderlust today, the second book in the Sirantha Jax series. Best way to describe it is "a fun read" with lots of good action. Some very interesting new characters make their debuts, like Jael and Hit.

I guess my only frustration is the amount of suffering Ms. Aguirre puts her characters through. Which I suppose is the point. The reader is supposed to be frustrated, right along with the characters. So she must be doing her job well. But some of the personality changes (and I don't want to give away any spoilers) are disturbing, and I hope they are resolved in the next installment.

It reminds me a bit of the review I gave for S.L. Viehl's books. Viehl's primary male character suffered so much at one point that I ceased to like him for a time until he got his act together. And the same thing happened to her female protagonist who suffered memory loss and changed personalities altogether. I liked the original personality. I wasn't fond of the new one. Now the old one is returning, and I'm happier.

That's how I feel about Jax. She started as kick-a** in the first book. For most of this one, she is not capable of being that way for reasons I will not disclose. Now, Aguirre has included other characters to take up the slack. And that's great. But I was glad that by the end, there was a spark of the old Jax returning. Oops, I guess that's a spoiler. Same goes for March, though not as much. We are well-prepared for his issues as we have already seen glimpses into his dark past. So, it's not as much of a shock when he suffers. In fact, I enjoy watching him struggle through these dark times. It makes him more endearing to me. Yep, his endearing level is high on my scale of endearing and desirable male characters. I just want to see Jax kick more butt.

Well, hopefully in the next book.