Figured I’d get the biased part out of the way. Usually when reviewing a new series I’d start off telling you what I know about it going in, and this is the same… it’s just we’ll realize I’m a little one-sided on this very soon.
I’ve spent a little time on Shakespeare. I will say that, on the subject of Shakespeare, I like the comedies more than the tragedies or the historicals, but that’s really just a matter of personal taste. I will also gladly state that I don’t particularly like reading Shakespeare. It wasn’t meant to be read. Shakespeare wrote them to be performed, and you can’t tell me that if he’d realized they were going to be required reading a hundred years later he wouldn’t have made different choices. I love interpretations of the work, however… just about all interpretations. I like adaptations that take place in a historically-correct time period, I like adaptations that take place in modern times, I like other work that borrow from it like Gargoyles… I like it all.
So that’s the genre, what about the comic in particular? Well I know the writer, Conor McCreery. We met at the first Hal Con back in 2011 and played tag during my book launch of Infinity. That’s literal tag. McCreery is a kid at heart in all the best ways, and we’ve been thorns in each other’s sides every year since. I like Conor, so I’m going to say right now I am biased but will try to be fair. Continue reading Kill Shakespeare, IDW | Other Indie
A Quest of Heroes is a 2012 high fantasy novel written and published by Morgan Rice. This is the first novel in The Sorcerer’s Ring fantasy series by Rice, which has produced sixteen sequels to date, with her latest entry, The Gift of Battle, having followed in November 2014.
This book takes its cues from the works that cemented the “heroes journey” storytelling technique into the modern culture. There are shades of Tolkien and George RR Martin noticed and appreciated, but more importantly there are elements of the authors which inspired them: there are strong hints of influences of the epic Greek poems, strong hints of affection for the Odyssey, and iconography like the Dynasty Sword allude to Arthurian legends and folklore. There is a lot to unpack with this book from even just a meta-textual perspective, so much so that I’m genuinely shocked it hasn’t gotten more critical attention than it has: it’s a gold mine of world-building lovingly pieced together from fragments of the epic fantasy worlds that came before it, from an author who recognizes how those elements can fit together to make something fresh and new. Continue reading A Quest of Heroes by Morgan Rice | Other Indie
Making Family is a 2016 contemporary Newfoundland novel by debut author Jennifer White and self-published via the Smashwords print-on-demand service. It tells the story of Rose, a lonely old woman who comes home one day to find a distraught teenager named Hannah, who claims to be her granddaughter, sitting on her front porch. Set in Newfoundland, this is a story of strong women. Hannah seeks out Rose when the unthinkable happens to her and she needs somewhere to turn. Her mother is unreachable and Hannah really needs a woman to talk to. Rose sets out to help her through a difficult time, but worries that Hannah will want nothing to do with her once she learns about the past – after all, it’s the reason Hannah, her father, and brother never knew that Rose was still alive. Continue reading Making Family by Jennifer White | Other Indie
‘Other Indie’ is a bi-annual e-zine in which the best in independent publishing is highlighted by authors and editors that have worked in the field for over a decade, in the hopes of helping readers break through the cluster of books they may not be sure about in an age when anyone can publish via digital formats. This issue’s spotlight: Carrots by Colleen Helme, in which we review, interview Helme about her work, and include a short excerpt. Also included, review of: Damnation Code by William Massa, A Daughter’s Gift by Jacqui Tam, Flight or Fight by Scott Bartlett, Zombies on the Rock: Outbreak by Paul Carberry, Kowloon Walled City, 1984 by Nicholas Morine, and 15 Minutes by Jill Cooper, as well as an excerpt from 2016’s smash hit, Call of the Sea by Amanda Labonté!
Other Indie, Early 2017 Issue
The Engen Staff
Other Indie, Early 2017 Issue (amazon.ca)
Other Indie, Early 2017 Issue (chapters.ca)
Other Indie, Early 2017 Issue (amazon.com)
Other Indie, Early 2017 Issue (Barnes&Noble)
Kindle EBook: Other Indie, Early 2017 Issue (amazon.ca)
Kindle EBook: Other Indie, Early 2017 Issue (amazon.com)
||Feb 02, 2017
Knight’s Surrender is a 2014 YA Fantasy novel by Heather Reilly and published through her own small-press publishing company, Reilly Books. This is the first novel in the Binding of the Almatraek series of a planned five books, three of which are currently available. This is the first in a series a reviews of quality indie fantasy leading up to our Spring 2017 release, Fantasy from the Rock.
From what I’m seeing of the fantasy genre, and I am new to it, the evolution of the genre happens not through innovations in setting or circumstance but through style. More than any other genre I can think of, fantasy reads best if you understand the history from which it came, and the authors that came before and (possibly) inspired the author, either knowingly or unknowlingly.
To that end, I can see the connective tissue linking JRR Tolkien to George RR Martin, and now from George RR Martin to Heather Reilly. With each passing generation of fantasy scribe, elements of the previous are transferred over while adding twists and changes and refinement: that’s how the genre can seem to outwardly the same but so functionally different all these years later.
Continue reading Knight’s Surrender by Heather Reilly | Other Indie
Damnation Code is a 2015 supernatural thriller by screenwriter William Massa and produced by the intensely-successful small press publishing platform Critical Mass Publishing. It stars Mark Talon, a Delta Force Operator who has spent nearly a decade as a career soldier fighting America’s enemies abroad becoming entangled in the fight against a techno-savvy supernatural death cult after his reporter girlfriend is ritualistically murdered for getting too close to their operations. This book is the first in the Occult Assassin series, of which there are currently six titles (4 main entries and 2 side-books).
This novel is the perfect blend of genre and off-genre elements that proves Massa is a gifted, intelligent author. He knows exactly how to manipulate the reader — in a good way — using the tropes and recognizable storytelling elements of familiar genres. That’s what nobody ever tells young writers: tropes aren’t a bad thing. Tropes are just elements that recur over and over again in a particular type of literature. As humans we’re very good at noticing these patterns, and using them to predict what will happen next. A smart author — like Massa — will use these tropes to subconsciously set up expectations in the reader’s mind, only to subvert them at a critical moment. And without digging too deep into spoilers, that’s what happens here.
Continue reading Damnation Code by William Massa | Other Indie
A Daughter’s Gift is a 2010/12 (depending on the edition) IPPY Award-winning memoir written by the acclaimed and accomplished Jacqui Tam. It chronicles the life of her father, Richard Joseph Barron, and his struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as she and her family’s coming to terms with it. It is unique in that it can be read as a memoir from two points of view: both as Tam’s account of her father’s illness and as a posthumous memoir of the man himself, preserving the memories of this great man in a way his illness, sadly, prevented him from doing.
Tam writes: Richard Joseph Barron had sailed the world over, fought in war, and returned home to Newfoundland to raise three children with his beloved wife. His life had been full of adventure, and he shared his stories without malice or ego, whenever he was asked. Until they were stolen from his memory. When ‘Dick’ Barron fought Alzheimer’s, awareness of the disease was still limited. He knew that he was forgetting, but not why. His family knew that he was disappearing, but not how. Yet beneath the shadow of that slow tragedy, the spirit of his life was not lost. Emerging from the darkness, his daughter learned an important truth: what the mind forgets, the soul remembers.
Continue reading Standing Tall, A Daughter’s Gift by Jacqui Tam | Other Indie