Sunday, April 13, 2014

Unrequested Critiques (assorted)

Who's puppy shall I kick today? More stuff being advertised on the author forums. I don't want friends anyway.

With Fingers Gray and Cold

E.W. Pierce

I really like the title of this book. Very evocative.

The blurb says:
In the frozen lands beyond the edge of civilization, charlatan Marten the Magnificent swindles villagers of their valuables in exchange for superstitious charms. But when faced with a true monster, Marten is forced to rely on his own useless trinkets, or risk losing his life.
That's dull for a blurb, but mostly doesn't scare me away.

The sample? Dull. We're really looking at a short story here, as the work is 30 Amazon pages long.

The simple criticism is this: if you are going to write a 30 page story, it's got to grab me in the first few paragraphs. You don't have time to dick around. I can already hear the response. "But I've got to..." Yes, and you STILL have to grab the reader in the first few paragraphs.

Sarya's Song

Kyra Halland

The blurb says:
In a world where music is magic, composers and singers weave powerful spells with melodies, harmonies, and voices. Sarya dyr-Rusac has risen from her destitute childhood to become a talented, respected Arranger of musical magic rituals. Then a wedding ritual she wrote goes horribly wrong.  
While in self-imposed exile for her failure, amidst a growing number of disasters which the musical Service has been unable to control, Sarya hears music on the wind - music that no one else can hear, music that suggests that there are forces at work in the world unaffected by the practice of musical magic. In search of answers, she returns to the Service, where she has to face the mistakes she made in the past and her complicated relationship with the gloriously talented (and obnoxiously perfect - or is it perfectly obnoxious?) Adan Muari. 
Then a nameless man begins to appear in her dreams - a beautiful man in chains, who begs her to sing him free. Is he too dangerous and powerful to deal with, a threat to the man who loves her and to their world, or is he the key to solving the mysteries that threaten to tear the world apart? 
 Dark romantic fantasy for adults and older teens.
The cover is a fairly romance-esque cover.

This is #6 or so for the author. (I didn't really count. The review doesn't count unless I count.) Anyway, no puppies to kick here. She's got a really good patter that kicks in immediately. Hell, she even accomplishes a peppy plot dump to get the reader going. Peppy plot dumps? That's a good trick to have.

The cover agrees with her blurb, hooking the correct audience. The blurb needs work. It really needs the same pep as her text. I wish Kyra many sales.

Everliving Kings

J.D. Ravynsmoon

And the blurb says:

Nottinghamshire England 1191 A.D.
William Brewer, High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, had been plotting and panning his careful but brilliant political coup for almost four years now. He was so close to getting that drunkard fool of a Prince, John, to just hand him the title of Regent he could almost taste it. Now however, he has returned home to Nottingham Castle, to find a four thousand year old Risen corpse in his dungeon and Lord Rathbone, the most powerful man in the country outside of the Royal family, is the one who dropped her off.  
What’s worse, the Risen turns out to be Anya First, the Queen of the vampires; and she doesn’t plan on being held captive for long.  
Thinking on his feet, Brewer managed to arrange a deal with the undead, that just may get him the crown of England, but for that to succeed he will need some help and a whole lot of Luck. First he will need to get Prince John to help him, then place his trust in the vampire Queen and finally outsmart one of the few things on earth even more dangerous than the Risen herself…her Father.  
The plans are made, the traps are ready, the French mercenaries and the Prince are on the way to Nottingham and now, to top it all off, the Sheriff must deal with another dangerous foe; the ‘wolfshead’ Robin Hood and his shape-shifting band of outlaws and Irish werewolves! 
With unstable loyalties and secret motives abound, no one is harmless. Fur and fangs are sure to fly when ancient adversaries and political foes square off for the battle to control medieval England.
This is so trope laden that I'll buy the author a Guiness if I ever meet her. Whether that is purposeful or not, I don' t know.

The cover is a chick in chainmail, and it covers her body. It's never bad to put a pretty face on the cover. It is definitely a self-made cover. There's some basic typography issues in the titling.

Basically, this is a vampire vs. werewolves novel, and shamelessly so. My only critique to the writer is to turn up the blurb to 11 and shamelessly wallow in your wonderful trope.