Review: The Crown Conspiracy by Michael J. Sullivan

Posted in Reviews at 7:36 pm by Fiona

The Crown Conspiracy The Crown Conspiracy by Michael J. Sullivan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My original assessment of this book stands, it’s too darned short! It’s a nice story, I just wish it would have been fleshed out more. Unfortunately, it, like so many other great stories, fell victim to that “first publication by a new author” problem that so many writers fall into these days. Publishers don’t want to take a chance on a new author by publishing a true epic fantasy of 300,000 or more words so they put the word out that they want 80,000 to 100,000 word manuscripts and that’s what they get.

Michael’s writing is good. The story is interesting. It has a few twists and turns, but not as many as I would have liked, but those would all take words and when trying to keep within such a meager word count cannot be done. I really wanted to learn more about the religion in this world that built such a political system allowing for the long term development of Percy Braga’s ascension aspirations. I wanted to understand how the monks of Myron’s monastery fit into everything. I wanted to know more about the magic system that produced a wizard such as Ashrendon. I wanted to know more about the Dwarves magic and skills. I wanted to know more about Arista’s sorceress training. And I don’t want to have to read the next ten books to learn these things.

There were a few points in the book where I felt as though I was getting an information dump rather than being shown why things were the way they were, such as the whole back story on the Pickerings. Again, showing takes more words than telling. I almost feel as though I read the “abridged” or Reader’s Digest version of the story and secretly hope one of these days I will stumble across the complete unabridged version that will make my heart soar because even though I felt things were abridged, I fell in love with the characters and story.

J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was within the “first publication by a new author” guidelines, but as her story about young Harry caught on, her books grew and grew to where by the 3rd and 4th book she was putting out 300,000 plus word volumes. I can only hope Michael’s books catch on enough that he can grow to larger and larger volumes because he certainly has the talent to do so. And speaking selfishly on my part, I’d like to read what he can write once he no longer has any sort of word count restrictions imposed on his work because like I already said, he’s a good writer!


Review: A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay

Posted in Reviews at 5:14 pm by Fiona

A Song for Arbonne A Song for Arbonne by Guy Gavriel Kay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this much, much more than Tigana. Where I felt the writing was a bit choppy in the beginning, either I got used to Kay’s style or became so swept up in the story it didn’t matter. I loved all the twists and turns the story took, the subtle discoveries of hidden agendas and politics, the world, the sociology of the people, gee I think I just loved it all! I particularly liked the sociology of the Arbonnais people with their love of music and the concept of “the court of love”. I particularly enjoyed how good won out over evil in the end and the happy ending (yeah, I guess I’m just a romantic at heart) but even that happy ending took some fascinating twists and turns. Kay is such a marvelous storyteller! He is also a penultimate writer. There were so many times I would encounter anywhere from sentences to entire paragraphs or pages that I wanted to strike through with my yellow highlighter as spectacular examples of beautiful prose. I know it’s early in the year, but this is the best book I’ve read this year!