Child of Fire reviews part 10 (plus health care)


Today, I have four copies of Child of Fire wrapped up and addressed for mailing. Two are addressed to my senators, one to my congressional representative, and one is addressed to the president. Included with each book is a nearly-identical letter stating, in essence: This is my work. This is what I do. If we had decent health care reform, I could give my day job to someone else who needs it and write books full time. Pass health care reform, please.

I expect none of them will see the book or the letter, but it’s something I needed to do.

And now, the reviews:

1) Donna at Fantasy Dreamer’s Ramblings didn’t care for it much: “In the end, I felt like I really didn’t get know the main characters as well as I would’ve liked.” She also links to a bunch of other negative reviews, too.

2) Samuel Kleiner posted a glowing review on Usenet: “This book was so good it promoted the author immediately to my Hardcover-buy-on-sight list. Highly recommended.” The whole thing is very nice, and he obviously gets the story.

3) “Janicu” says mostly nice things in a very disengaged way: “The writing is good and there is plenty of action which meant I kept picking it up and reading it when I had the chance, but it has a lot of violent bits which left me with an unsettled feeling throughout. If you like gritty tales, you will be fine I think.

4) Gail O’Connor at Disorganized as Usual gives it a “highly recommended:” “I am not much of a fan of urban fantasy, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and will be buying the sequel, Game of Cages, when it comes out.

5) charmed1ofdoom said “It was a quick read, I finished it in a day. You know something, I would like to read the second book in the series “Game of Cages” while, like I said before, I have no interest in continuing with Dresden Files. You may buy this one.

6) (Fellow Team Caitlin member) Lane Robins put it on her Best Books of 2009 list. “This is a rocket-paced urban fantasy with a great lead character, an ex-con who’s gotten hold of a little bit of personal magic and has been drafted into working for a dangerous magical society. I loved the magic here, thought it felt really fresh.” :) I’m tempted to just stop there and post this, but I traditionally hold these until I have seven, so I’m going to be patient.

7) LiveJournaler rysmiel gives it a recommend, although they didn’t much care for the fact that Ray doesn’t know much of what’s going on and has no one to explain it: “The ensuing in-at-the-deep-end feel is almost too much, particularly as Lilly’s narrative shares this tendency to not tell the reader anything, and the question of how and why he got to this point is told in incidental bits and fragments, deliberately avoiding the provision of a coherent context. Other than that aspect, which I suspect would be less irritating to some readers than to me and would be completely off-putting to others, this is a tight and competent paranormal thriller. Recommended.

More disenchantment with the lack of exposition. Oh, well.

3 thoughts on “Child of Fire reviews part 10 (plus health care)

  1. Michael B Sullivan

    I did some critique for an aspiring SF author (he never got published, and eventually seems to have backburnered that ambition), whose stories were very short on exposition, leaving the reader to puzzle through a lot of gaps. He commented that he got a lot of negative feedback about that.

    But I like it. It engages me with the book when I have to read carefully for little hints, and then put my faculties to work to put it all together. I get more engrossed, and read more carefully.

    I note that some, shall we say, very successful authors have made use of the technique. I’m reading Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey/Maturin series right now, and he very regularly skips forward in time and leaves you to work out what happened in the skip by casual references in dialog, later on.

  2. I enjoyed that Ray wasn’t clued into the whole story and so that we’d get to explore the world along with him. The rookie as protagonist is a good technique in general when introducing a world that’s very different from our own.

    I also think it’s good that he’s not on the high end of the magical power spectrum. I’m a big fan of spellcasting urban fantasy, but one problem fiction in the genre has is that it’s too easy to pull a magic spell out of nowhere and then the solutions feel like deus ex machinae. By giving the POV character clearly delimited powers that can be used in inventive ways, you strike a good balance between making the solutions feel grounded and including a few surprises.

    This is actually one advantage roleplaying games have. The magic is pretty clearly described by the rules so when someone does something inventive, it doesn’t feel ginned up.

  3. Thanks, guys. I like a low-information setting, too, which is why it’s taken me a while to see that people unhappy with the so little exposition were looking for context rather than cool backstory. For me, an implied context is plenty (if everything else works) but that’s not how most people roll, I guess.

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