— Mark Paxson
A couple of weeks ago, in our last posted video chat, Audrey, Berthold and I talked about our favorite indie authors. After the chat, I decided to read books from several of the authors we discussed. Mostly from authors I had never read before. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve read three books on that list. Here are my thoughts…
Shame (F.L. Rose)
This is the newest book from an author I recommended. F.L. Rose has also published under the name Fallacious Rose. She has written and published stories that can be placed in many different genres. Shame is her newest novel. Here’s the description of the tale from Amazon:
When Julian Fitzwarren asks them to investigate the death of his ex-wife Diana on a remote coastal property, their history comes back to bite them. Alix’s house of cards will soon come tumbling down around her, while Kate too must confront her demons.
Who was Diana? Is Fitzwarren truly driven by grief over the death of his ex-wife, or does he have a hidden agenda? And who was really responsible for Diana’s lonely death?
In general, this is a murder mystery. Although whether it is even a murder is part of the mystery. But, it is about a lot more than just the murder. This story packs so much more into it than a simple mystery. It is about sisters and family. Abuse and violence. Male domination and manipulation. Dishonesty and secrets. The abuse of the aboriginal people of Australia. And more. So much more. It is a well-paced story written by somebody who knows how to pull the reader in and keep him or her wanting to turn the page to find out what’s next. I highly recommend it and just posted a five-star review of the book on Amazon. Go check it out. F.L. Rose deserves a larger audience. (Actually, all of the authors mentioned here do.)
Eagle Ascendant (Lorinda J. Taylor)
Eagle Ascendant is a science fiction tale about the human race several centuries in the future. A time when interspace travel is common, but scientists and government officials are working out the details to jump beyond our galaxy and to travel much deeper into space.
I don’t read much science fiction anymore, so I wasn’t sure what I’d think of this story. I shouldn’t have worried. It’s a really good story. Taylor does a good job of providing some technical details about space flight and the concept behind jumping through space to get out of our galaxy, but she doesn’t overdo it. This is much more a story about the people behind the effort and the main character’s dreams of flying to the stars, than it is about the science aspect of the fiction.
There is one drawback to the story. This is the first book in a multiple-book series telling the story of Robbin Nikalishin. As such, the reader can’t expect a fully complete story at the end. The problem, however, is that the book ends in the middle of the climactic scene. To find out the ending of the scene, therefore, requires the reader to buy the next book. I’m all for writers finding ways to motivate readers to keep reading and buying their books, but I think the quality of the story was good enough to do that. I definitely would have bought and read the next book, but now I’m not sure I’m going to because of this issue.
Why does this bother me so much? I don’t know. It didn’t bother me when I read The Lord of the Rings multiple times over the years. It didn’t bother me when I read other science fiction and fantasy books that covered multiple books in my teens and 20s. But the thing is, more recent trilogies I’ve read, and even some of those older ones, haven’t done this — drop the ending of one book right in the middle of the story’s climactic scene and force you to buy the next book to know what happened. I’m thinking Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter, Divergent. I may be wrong about some of those, but my recollection is that most, if not all of them, gave you a clean break at the end of each book. Harry Potter and Hunger Games definitely did that.
I still gave the book four stars because the storytelling is that good, but be forewarned about how this book ends.
The Bone Wall (D. Wallace Peach)
Essentially, a dystopian tale that includes some elements of fantasy and science fiction, The Bone Wall is a hard, dark story to read. If you don’t want to read about rape (not in detail, but referenced frequently) and war and conflict, don’t read this book. If you read it, you’ll read a great story about a world in the future when the human race has been divided into different camps. Some are in “gardens” protected by walls and domes that are failing. Most are outside those gardens. Called Biters or the People, those who are outside live a horrible existence and constantly seek to attack those in the gardens.
There is more. A Colony and a Fortress, each with different rules and ideas about humanity than those who live in the gardens. But I’ll skip any more details because you just need to read the book. Peach subtitles this book A Post-Apocalypic Search For The Truth. There is a lot to be said for that subtitle. The Biters are violent and vicious and sadistic. Doing whatever it takes to survive. Those who live in the gardens are believers in God’s law and that compliance with that law will keep them safe. The occupants of the Colony are trying to find a way to move the human race beyond its divisions and conflicts and to forge a path towards a more peaceful coexistence. The occupants of the Fortress are doing the same, but with a different set of rules and conduct that compels them to reject many of the occupants of the Colony.
This all sets up a story that is more than just a story, but a search for, as Peach says, the truth. What is the best way to move forward as a human race — war and violence, following God’s laws, seeking unity but only for those who are worthy and whole, or seeking unity among all, regarding of their worth or completeness. Beyond those big questions, the characters are well-developed and, by the end, you can feel their pain and loss, joy and happiness. As dark and desperate as this story is at times, it is actually a beautiful story that ends on a note of hope.
Now, I need to go leave my five-star review on Amazon.
* * * * * *
I purchased another book from our discussion, but I only made it a few pages in before I realized that it just wasn’t going to work for me. I won’t name that book here. We’re here to support writers.
The books described above are incredible examples of the value and quality of indie writers. I encourage you to check them out, as well as the other books by these authors.
One final word … whether you are a writer or a reader, when you read an indie book that you like, please post a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Your reviews help indie authors pursue promotional opportunities to get their books before more readers — opportunities that typically can only be taken advantage of with a minimum number of reviews. And, if you have social media accounts, whether Twitter, Facebook, a blog, or something else, again, if you like a book by an indie author, let your followers know.
Sorry you don’t like cliff-hangers, Mark Paxson. Personally, I like them because if a book seems complete in the first volume, I figure why bother to read any more? Anyway, if you would message me on Twitter @TermiteWriter or Facebook, I’ll give you a Smashwords coupon for a free copy of The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part Two: Wounded Eagle.
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I really, really enjoyed the story. I appreciate the offer of a coupon, but it’s not necessary. I likely will read Part Two some time soon, after I get through a few other books.
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I’ll just warn you – all the books in the series end with some kind of cliff-hanger, but none of the others are as extreme as Part One.
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I can take it!!!!
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