Until I started writing I never realised that ‘Dave’ and ‘Jude’ were the same name. I felt safe in my envelope… I’m worried now. It had to happen eventually I guess, but so far I have generally been blessed with professional reviewers at least who have been very kind, but would describe Animal Farm as a ‘well-written animal story’. Okay, there be morons occassionally too, like the twat who said SLOW TRAIN TO ARCTURUS brought nothing new to space opera. The company that hired this brain-dead genius should rather hire Harriet Klausner. She at least usually manages to read the right blurb for the book she ‘reviews’. (SLOW TRAIN isn’t ‘space opera’ by _any_ definition. The Karres books (by the same authors -for a miricle) are. The ‘new’ part also kinda made me do fish-imitations. It’s nearly on a par with the critic who said my South African Heroine in PYRAMID SCHEME was too American, and I obviously had never met anyone from South Africa. Anyway, aside, DRAGON’S RING seemed to fail to get any first rank professional reviews – Locus, PW, Library Journal etc. Seeing as there wasn’t even one and the roll-out DR was what might politely be called a total septic abortion, (I can’t blame my editor, as she bought the sequel, after this, but it’s hard not apportion malice to what might possibly be total incompetance somewhere up the chain, possibly at S&S – who are supposed to do distribution. I look at my bookscan figures and its not hard to work out that ‘distribution’ of them is something that just doesn’t happen in a lot of states in the US. ) Anyway, there have been some good reviews — the Galveston County Daily News – http://galvestondailynews.com/story/146197/ from other tiers of review. On the next tier down there have been a lot of good reviews, well barring one rather dumbass woman who didn’t quite get the simple story, let alone anything else — which I suppose says that, yes, I need to be aware that some of the potential readers are challenged by Janet-and-John, Run-spot-run and want a LOT of spoonfeeding. Well, yeah. But I could dumb down so far that 1) I hate writing it, even if it might get me a ‘literary’ award, (where apply with a trowel or steam shovel your ‘message’, which should simple and currently PC) 2)I lose my existing audience, some of whom appreciate the underlayers.
I like the nuances. I like characters and situations which are are ‘grey’ rather than black and white… I like to challenge existing views. I like layers. Dragon’s Ring is a simple adventure story. It’s a coming of age story. It’s a morality play on values – just what is ‘right’? Who is ‘good’? It delves into the mythological origins of the fantasy species (which of course have cultural, historic and mythological referents and implications. Such as the Brisingamen mention – which puts a very different slant on Fionn.) There are layers of puns and in jokes and snide comments… and of course the core theme — Tasmarin is a place — cobbled together from everywhere else, where dragons who were formerly oppressed and used can have a place of their own. Dragons are powerful and certainly in their own eyes noble and deserving. They are also capable of being anything else, if they wish to. This place, where the formerly oppressed now rule was only achieved by co-operation between species — including some of their erstwhile oppressors. And now… the once oppressed have become the new oppressors, as well as free from domination. Not pretty, certainly not politically correct (where victims are always nice people, who behave nicely after they are lifted from victimhood, and of whom criticism is intolerable for ever after). I hold it as accurate, however, in disparate examples. Given my background it was specifically written about a socio-political situation I was shall we say coping with. The place is a cobble of many places, people and cultures. Perhaps Fionn’s solution is the right one. Perhaps Meb’s is. Perhaps losing one’s beloved is the only way to save it… well. Thoughts. Not prescriptions… Anyway, I finally got an Animal Farm is possibly about communism review – http://shinybookreview.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/dave-freers-dragons-ring-intricate-rousing-action-adventure/. So I’ll have to be more obscure next time ;-/