World Spectrum: Birthday Presents, Hobbit-Style

In The Lord of the Rings, the Hobbits have an interesting take on birthday presents. Rather than giving presents to the birthday boy/girl, the person whose birthday it is will shower presents on their loved ones. It shows both the good nature of the Hobbits, and their practical — this results in everyone getting more presents over the course of a year.

Cover art for "Rage of the Old Gods, the First Book of the World Spectrum" by Tyler F.M. EdwardsI like the idea, so I’ve decided to partake of it myself. My birthday is in a few days, and through then, I will be holding a sale on my trilogy of science fantasy epics, the World Spectrum.

Book one, Rage of the Old Gods, will be free, while Children of the Gods and Human Again will each be 50% off, meaning you’ll be able to get the full trilogy for about the price of a cup of coffee.

* * *

Humanity was not born free.

Long ago, humans were slaves to the Old Gods. They rebelled, overthrowing the Gods and establishing their own societies, but peace did not last. Humanity slaughters itself in petty wars.

Now, an army of war Automatons threatens to destroy the land of Eastenhold. To save her people, a young woman named Leha travels to the to the lost worlds of Tyzu and Sy’om, whose alien powers defeated the Old Gods in ancient times.

But there is worse to come. The wars of humankind only hasten the Old Gods’ return, and even Leha’s newfound powers may not be enough to save her people from the Gods’ fury, or from the hatred in their own hearts.

* * *

If you’ve been enjoying my free chapters of Rage of the Old Gods, now is the perfect time to buy the full book and save yourself waiting for the next chapter.

Here’s how it works:

Cover art for "Children of the Gods, the Second Book of the World Spectrum"Copy the appropriate coupon code below, click the buy link on the book’s Smashwords page (accessed via the links below), and input the code when prompted to receive the discount.

Rage of the Old Gods code (free!):

MW79R

Children of the Gods code (50% off):

YW87N

Human Again code (50%):

MV87U

Codes are not case sensitive.

Please note that these discounts only apply to purchases through Smashwords. You will not receive any discount on purchases made through other retailers. But do keep in mind that Smashwords provides ebooks in all major formats, so you should be able to enjoy my books regardless of your preferred reading device.

Also note that these codes will cease to function on July 6th, so make sure to take advantage now.

If you’d like to learn more about the series before you buy, check out the official site for oodles of back information, reviews, author interviews, and bonus material.

Enjoy!

Review: The Lotus War, Book Two: Kinslayer

For the last little while, life has been too hectic to afford me much time to read. Now, I’ve finally managed to get into some books again, and the first one I dove into was the second book of Jay Kristoff’s Lotus War series, which I had been looking forward to since I finished the slightly flawed but mostly impressive first book.

Cover art for "The Lotus War, book two: Kinslayer" by Jay KristoffIt wasn’t worth the wait.

Kinslayer wastes no time in establishing a new set of problems for the heroes to deal with. Still consumed with grief from the loss of her father, Yukiko finds the Kenning, her ability to telepathically commune with animals, is growing agonizingly strong, her mind and body breaking under the strain, and she and the gryphon Buruu fly far into the north in search of a cure.

Bereft of Yukiko’s protection, the renegade Lotus Guildsman Kin finds himself increasingly unwelcome among Shima’s rebels, and when another Guild renegade joins their cause, bloodshed is inevitable.

Meanwhile, the Tiger Clan and the Lotus Guild scramble to prevent civil war following the shogun’s assassination by Yukiko. They settle on Hiro, Yukiko’s treacherous former lover, as a replacement ruler, having brought him back from the brink of death with the aid of Guild machinery.

I noticed almost immediately that the author seemed to be trying too hard to be dark and gritty. The constant and often overwrought descriptions of Yukiko’s endless physical and emotional torment quickly became wearing. And that was just the beginning.

Book one wasn’t exactly cheery. This is a dystopia, after all. But it still had some moments of levity and humour, and some very endearing characters.

Art of Yukiko and the gryphon Buruu from "The Lotus War, book one: Stormdancer"Kinslayer has largely lost that. It’s just an unrelenting spree of pain and misery from beginning to end, and it is equal parts depressing and repetitive. You can only cram so much rape, torture, and tragedy into a single book before it stops being entertainment and becomes an endurance test.

Kinslayer also leaves one with few people to root for, few characters to pin their hopes to. It is made abundantly clear that the rebels Yukiko has signed on with are not in any way better than the corrupt culture they seek to bring down.

I appreciate a story where the line between the good guys and the bad guys is blurry, but there’s a difference between some moral ambiguity and just not caring about anyone, hoping that they all just kill each other. Stormdancer stayed on the good side of that line, but Kinslayer most definitely does not.

Even on the level of individual characters, there’s little to inspire. Yukiko devolves into a ball of anger, bitterness, and pain, only overcoming this very late in the book and with no real explanation given as to how or why. Kin is twisted from an idealist to a cold-blooded killer, though at least in his case it’s hard to blame him. Buruu remains likable, but is given a disappointingly small role.

Overall rating: 4.7/10 Rarely have I seen a series go from so promising to so disappointing so quickly.