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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A look at some novels by Indie authors.


Today I thought I would talk about a few novels I have read recently. All are books by Indie authors, i.e. they are not books published as mass-market works. As an Indie author myself, I feel I need to help spread the love when it comes to showcasing what the Indie community has to offer. For many decades, readers only had access to certain types of books, chosen by publishing companies for their market appeal and hence, greater sales potential. Did this mean the public had access to great books? Yes. Did this mean that Publishers only produced books worthy of publication? No. Did this also mean that many worthy stories fell by the wayside, or remained at the bottom of an ever-growing slush pile in just about every Publisher's office? Yes.
Up until recently,  I had not even considered self-publishing. Maybe a part of me yearned for the sudden rocket to stardom that we see occasionally from the likes of Paolini and Rowling, falsely believing that all it would take was one publisher to glance at my work and become hooked, thus propelling me to stardom!! Alas, this has not been the case. Is this some slight against the quality of my work? Possibly :) Though part of me hopes it has more to do with my market appeal. As a fantasy author, one only needs to look at the many thousands of Indie works doing the rounds of the fantasy market, with hundreds more each day. A tough market to break into! That's why I would like to give Kudos to some of the works I have read recently, all by Indie authors.....

The Prophecy - Book 1 of the Bakkian Chronicles, tells the story of Steve and Sarah, husband and wife from Idaho, whose lives are turned upside down when they are transported through a magical gate to the world of Lentari. On this magical world, they find themselves empowered with the ability to use jhorun (magic), and after finding themselves before the King and Queen, discover they are prophecised protectors of Prince Mikal, sole heir to the throne. Not too much is spoken about the 'threat' to the Prince, which I would have liked to have been fleshed out a bit, but it does give indication of future conflict.

The outworlders soon have the idea of returning with the Prince to Idaho, out of harms way, but in order to do so they need to have a magical key created by a dwarven Smith. Thus begins their journey through dragon / griffin / bug infested lands to find the dwarven home. I won't give too much away, but the story is excellent as it follows the evolution of the couple's self-taught magical tutelage on their way to secure their magical Key. The author weaves together realism, humour and a healthy dose of adventure in what is a very entertaining read. The book can definitely be classified as a YA read, though anybody between the ages of 12 - 120 would find it enjoyable.

The only criticisms / observations / cons I found with this book are very minor. Another edit could tighten up the flow of the novel. Over-use of the word 'that' is evident throughout (although perhaps it was because I had just finished a very long editing of my own two novels, thus in my own editing mode). A couple of re-mixed paragraphs focusing on the mis-use or repetition of some words would iron out the kinks.
Another thing (more of a personal issue this one) was the cloying use of the word 'babe' between the couple. It seemed every second sentence contained the endearment (or something similar). Although the banter / relationship between the husband and wife was for the most part enjoyable, this just seemed to detract from the overall 'soul' of the book (for me). If I could give half-stars, I would have given this one 4.5, but I feel that with the tightening I mentioned above, it would raise this to a 5-star gem!

I look forward to reading the next in this series.

* * *

Gatehouse: The Door to Canellin follows the story of modern-day boy, Wes, who stumbles across a mysterious house in the woods behind his grandparents house. The "gatehouse" is home of doorways which lead to various worlds and universes. Wes finds himself pushed into one such doorway by the mystical dwarf-like figure, Pomander, who tells Wes he needs to slay an evil dragon to return to his world.

What follows is an entertaining and well-written story as Wes first comes to terms with the medieval environment of the `Collegium' where he finds himself, as well as the knowledge that he is capable of magic. I won't go into detail and spoil the story, but what follows is a quest undertaken by Wes and an old soldier, Gideon, who aids him in escaping the collegium to begin the quest. unknown to Wes, his father Ryan also enters the portal to Canellin, searching for him. Finding Wes had left weeks earlier, the result of time distortion between worlds, Ryan gathers his own companions and sets off after Wes.

The two story lines offer an entertaining perspective to the story, giving the reader the chance to relate to multiple characters. It also explores the father/son relationship between Ryan and Wes, giving it a modern twist in a medieval realm. Jones' narrative voice is excellent as he draws the reader into the world of Canellin, with very few typo's or grammatical errors, no more than you would find in most mass-published books. I couldn't fault it, and although the sudden power the two earthlings learn rapidly seems a bit too convenient, it was explained well and did not leave me feeling too ripped off. Perhaps a little more description here and there wouldn't have gone astray in terms of setting up a likeable world and people, as I didn't really feel a connection with the plight of the common man.

With a second book in the works, I look forward to returning to the Gatehouse.
* * *

From A Far Land: Jaben's Rift
Loved it! Excellently written, with very few blemishes. The only thing I thought could have improved it was a bit more fleshing out of the main character, Jason. Some of his actions seem a bit contrived, and maybe not how a (other worldly) teenage boy would act under such circumstances. There were a few typo's and formatting errors, but nothing another edit wouldn't patch up, and hopefully remove over-use of 'that'. I found the world immersive but possibly a little shallow and needing a bit more depth, while the magic system and premise of the book are what fantasy is all about! I will definitely be waiting for Book 2 to arrive to continue the entertainment.

So there you have it. Some excellent additions to the fantasy Genre, from some talented Indie authors. If you are a fan of fantasy, or just a fan of good books, give them a try. Also, help out the Indie authors by spreading the word, as well as leaving a review when you are finished. By doing so, we can all help add to the growing pool of amazing reads available.

~Robert Day


  1. You chose 3 excellent books to talk about. I will add your two to the list of books that people interesting in indie fantasy should check out though. I am looking forward to the third installment for sure.

  2. Hi Rob -

    Thanks for the mention on your blog! I definitely think your two books are worth checking out, too. With that said, I'm looking forward to #3!!