One of the many cool benefits of being an author is getting the chance to read other people’s books before they’re published. Earlier this summer, I was given the opportunity to read Juliette Wade‘s Transgressions of Power, the second of her Broken Trust books.
Of course, before I could really get into it, I had to read the first book, Mazes of Power.
Having now finished both books, I can safely say … when is the next one coming out?
The books are described as “sociological science fiction.” They’re set primarily in the cavern city of Pelismara — most people on this world live underground, though we do get glimpses of people working on the surface. The reader is thrown into the deep end of this world, and it could probably be a little disorienting for newer readers of SF.
But it’s effective, too. Curiosity drew me in, and Wade has developed so many layers of her world that there was always something new and interesting to learn.
Probably the most striking aspect of the books is the detailed and rigid caste system. Our protagonists are mostly Grobal, the ruling caste. Arissen are soldiers and guards, Imbati are servants, Kartunnen artists, and so on. It makes for very uncomfortable reading at times.
Over the course of the two books, we see some characters challenging and pushing back against the caste system, and in book two, you start to see more of the resentment and anger from people not of the Grobal caste. But for most of the characters — at least those in the Grobal caste — this system is a simple fact of existence. The Grobal race is superior, and to “Fall” to a lower caste is a fate worse than death…
The two most powerful positions are the Eminence and his Heir. Book one deals with Heir selection, and the political battles that play out. There’s plenty of intrigue, assassinations, bargains and betrayals, and endless manipulation. Without spoiling things, book two has a similar plotline that escalates the stakes even more.
There’s so much more going on. Nekantor of the First Family, the main antagonist, has untreated Obsessive Compulsive Disorder he has to keep hidden. (A proper Heir candidate shouldn’t have such a “weakness.”) The First Family wants power, but Nekantor’s brother Tagaret knows how evil and cruel Nek can be…just like their father, in many ways.
And then there’s romance, cross-caste friendships, more intrigue, upper-caste characters coming face-to-face with their privilege and the realities of the lower castes, love and loyalty, heroism in large moments and small alike.
These are complex, thoughtful books that kept me engaged throughout.
- Mazes of Power: Amazon, B&N, Indiebound
- Transgressions of Power (Coming February 2021): Amazon, B&N, Indiebound
It’s Tuesday, September 15, and that can only mean one thing: 3rd Quarter Estimated Taxes are due today for me and my U.S. author friends!
This is my first Middle Grade book, as well as my first Kickstarter project, and I’m so happy with how everything turned out.
The audio book editions are in production, and I’ll let the world know as soon as those are ready. But in the meantime, you can order the ebook or print version online or from your local bookstore.
Unlike my original goblin trilogy, this one is set in the “real” world — in a mid-Michigan town, where three kids have gone missing, including 12-year-old Tamora Carter’s best friend Andre. When Tamora bumps into a couple of goblins after roller derby practice one night, she gets caught up in the magic and mayhem of two worlds and sets out to save her friends.
Here, have some reviews:
“The characters in this book are so wonderful that you can’t help but root for them to persevere. They’re smart and clever, but they’re also kids, a fact that the book doesn’t lose sight of.” –History that Never Was
“This was so much fun! A fierce roller derby-playing heroine in modern-day Michigan meets up with goblins, pixies and more after her best friend is sucked into another world. I loved the twist on standard portal fantasies (as this heroine is the one left behind when three Chosen Ones are taken through the portal to fulfill an ancient prophecy – but she is NOT about to let her best friend be lost to any elven prophecies). I also loved the clever twists on fairy lore and the combination of very real-feeling (and funny!) goblins with modern life and the equally real-feeling Michigan setting. (And OMG I loved the dragon!)” -Author Stephanie Burgis
“No matter what age he writes for, this is one author who never fails to enchant me. I loved this book. The characters read like real kids, which isn’t always easy for an author to achieve.” -Author Deborah Blake
You can read the first chapter if you’d like to get a feel for the book, or jump straight into these convenient order links:
- PAPERBACK: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound
- EBOOK: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play | Smashwords
- BUY DIRECT: Receive the book in .mobi, .epub, and .pdf formats.
Thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement along the way!
I guess it’s September now? I’m not sure how that happened, but according to the calendar, there’s only one week left until the release of Tamora Carter: Goblin Queen!
Things are on track for the launch so far. All the pre-order links are ready, with the exception of iBooks. (We’re working on that one.)
Contracts have been signed for an unabridged audio book adaptation from Recorded Books as well as a dramatic audio adaptation through Graphic Audio, which is pretty dang cool. No release date on those yet, but I’ll announce them as soon as I know.
For anyone who wanted to preorder, here are the links so far. I’ll also have at least one more link for the ebook next week, where you can buy the .epub, .mobi, and .pdf in a single zip file directly from me.
On the Kickstarter front, I’m still waiting for the proof copy I ordered back on August 5 from IngramSpark. It’s been printed though, so as soon as it makes its way through the mail to me, I can hopefully approve that and put in my bulk order. I’ll be posting a longer update about this soon over on Kickstarter for supporters.
I’ve got a bit more work to do between now and the 15th, including an interview about the book that’s been sitting in my inbox for more than a month. D’oh! I’ve been so focused on Terminal Peace, a lot of other things have gotten pushed back.
I think that’s it for the moment. Tune in next week to see Jim perform the traditional New Book Freakout Dance of AAAAAHHH!
Happy book day to my friend G. Scott Huggins! He’s releasing his fantasy novel All Things Huge And Hideous today. As you might have guessed from the title, this is a humorous veterinary magic adventure, which is in my opinion a much-neglected sub-genre.
Here’s the official summary:
Everyone says it was better in the Good Old Days. Before the Dark Lord subjugated us. Before he gave all the good land to his ogres, orcs and trolls, reducing the civilized races to serfdom and the dirty work: pig farming, sewer cleaning, veterinary medicine.
But even before that happened, things weren’t that much different for the veterinarians. Everyone cheered the heroes who rode their unicorn chargers into combat against the Dark Lord’s dragons, but no one ever remembered who treated the unicorns’ phosphine burns afterward. The only real difference is that now I’m treating the dragons. Today I have to save one’s life. Know what fewmets are? No? Then make a sacrifice of thanks right now to whatever gods you worship, because I have only a few hours to figure a way to get them flowing back out of the Dark Lord’s favorite dragon. Yeah, from the other end. And that’s just my most illustrious client.
I’ve got orcs and trolls who might eat me and dark elf barons who might sue me if their bloodhawks and chimeras don’t pull through. And that doesn’t even consider the possibility that the old hag with the basilisk might show up.
The only thing that’s gone right this evening is finding Harriet to be my veterinary assistant. She’s almost a witch, which just might save us both. If we don’t kill each other first.
This is an expansion of an earlier work by Huggins, which was a lot of fun to read.
One of my favorite parts of these stories is the veterinary details. Huggins’ wife is a veterinarian, and there’s a sense of real truth to the protagonist’s frustration with neglectful pet owners and the various challenges of keeping all these magical animals healthy.
You can read an excerpt on Huggins’ website to get a feel for the story and the humor.
The 29th marks one year since we lost Amy to cancer. People say the first year is challenging, but I think 2020 has taken things a little too far… I’m supposed to be adjusting to the “new normal,” but how exactly is that supposed to happen when nothing is remotely normal? It’s just rude.
I still miss her. I still love her. I don’t expect either of those things to ever stop, regardless of what else happens. And she’s still a presence in my life. Not in a religious or mystical way. But we were married for 15 years, and friends for almost 15 more before that.
I know her so well I can hear her commenting on things. I can converse with her in my head, and I think I generally know what she’d say. Which is, I think, a good thing. I’ve occasionally had days where I felt overwhelmed, and I’d grumble about not knowing what to do, and sometimes I could imagine what she’d say or do, and it helped.
That’s pretty cool.
It’s been almost two years since we lived together. For the roughly nine months she was sick, she was either in hospitals or staying at her mother’s place, which was safer for her limited mobility. I still stay on my side of the bed out of habit.
A running theme with my therapist has been making sure I remember to keep living my life. Keep reaching out, keep looking for joy, keep doing things. I think I’ve been doing pretty well there, all things considered. I’ve been in an online D&D game, took a trip to the zoo with the kids, took my son to his first drive-in… We’ve also been doing video chats with Amy’s parents every week.
I don’t think there’s such a thing as being “over it,” but I’m proud of how well the kids are doing. And I think I’m doing well, overall. I’ve gotten back to work on writing, and should have Terminal Peace ready to turn in within the next week or two. I’ve been actively thinking about the future instead of being stuck in the past.
One of my biggest regrets is how much she and I took for granted. If I could change anything (aside from, you know, getting rid of the cancer), it would be to make more of an effort to cherish and take advantage of the time we had together before she got sick.
Looking back over the past year, I know I haven’t gotten everything right. I know I’ve dropped the ball sometimes. But overall, I think she’d be proud of me.