Now, if there’s anything an author likes, it’s reviews. We hunt them down like bloodhounds, scoffing down each morsel as we howl “they love me, they really love me!”
So some reviews are rolling in for my latest epistle “Defy the Grey Kings” (now available over at Beneath Ceaseless Skies). Bust out the crayolas and colour me tickled pink! When I read this first review, I actually lost my mind and cracked up laughing. Best reviewer ever!
(artwork by Daniel Watts, from the lamented Terra mag)
Any review called “If Babar Were a Bloodthirsty Death Machine” is bang on the money. This reviewer actually goes through and offers a detailed comparison of the Babar books with my own story, in which blood-thirsty elephants have enslaved humanity.
“Babar enjoys quiet strolls through the woods with friends, or relaxing in a hammock after a busy day. Ascaro, a respected and feared bull of an elephant, enjoys getting drunk on melon wine and murdering his human slaves by stomping on them until their bones are ground to dust or they’ve choked to death in the mud.”
“Neither Babar nor Fischer’s ‘Grey Kings’ aspire toward Nabakovian levels of character complexity, but what they offer instead are rich, imaginative worlds in which a conflict (e.g., Which bow-tie will Babar wear to the picnic? or: How will the half-crippled slave-warrior Ghost manage to stab a spear directly into his drunken master’s brainstem? etc.) is addressed by an invested, active character.”
OMFG. Seriously, I love you FictionFeed. Keep on being rockstars. Rest of the best review ever can be found here - http://www.fictionfeed.net/if-babar-were-a-bloodthirsty-death-machine/
Next up is a review from Tangent Online in which reviewer Joshua Berlow says:
“We’re not overwhelmed with the details of the elephant kingdom’s politics, history, religion, and whatever else. Instead, we’re given pertinent, interesting details regarding the life of these slaves and we get into gladiatorial action quickly. Ghost is selected to be Rothai, human slaves that fight atop their master elephant in battle. The elephants amuse themselves and determine hierarchy in these deadly tusk-to-tusk battles on Blood Meadow.”
“This story has cinematic potential as well, if somehow intelligent elephants and their battles could be portrayed effectively on film. Altogether a rousing and engaging story that redeems Beneath Ceaseless Skies#180.”
Full review here: http://tangentonline.com/e-market-bi-weekly/beneath-ceaseless-skies/2887-beneath-ceaseless-skies-180-august-20-2015
Next up is a review from Charles Payseur at Quick Sip Reviews, who offers a well-considered review of my story. He says:
“This is a much darker story, though one that deals with the harsh realities of slavery and torture and death. In some ways it is a difficult story to read, because it follows Ghost, a slave to elephants, as he suffers and kills for his master’s benefit and slowly sees everything around him rot and die. Raised to be of no value, he witnesses the cruelty of the elephants, how they treat their slaves, and dreams of the day when he can be free. His plan of action, though, does not go well. Not well at all. Again, it’s a rather difficult story to read at times, because it is very, very dark. Bleak. And I’m not entirely sure what to think of that. The world building is fine and interesting, the elephants quite terrifying antagonists with their size and cruelty. But then, the elephants become devils because they are seen as only evil, as cruel without anything really redeeming about them.”
“Again, I like many aspects of the story, and it is gritty and dark and brutal. And it does show how the cycle of violence continues, how slavery poisons people, makes them see the world in terms of master and slave without a way out, without thinking to take the system itself down. I like the message that slavery must be fought, and I hesitate to say that such fighting has to be nice or non-violent, but I do believe that it should be a struggle to eradicate slavery and not just changing who is on top and who on bottom. Still, a story worth grappling with, and I’m sure there are many who will have more fun with it than me.”
The full review can be read at this link: http://quicksipreviews.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/quick-sips-beneath-ceaseless-skies-180.html
Seriously, head over and read what the reviewers have to say about my story and others. Reviewing is a hard road to hoe, and when done well you can get a great feel for what an anthology or magazine is like before you put your dollars down. Whether the reviews are positive or critical, someone put down some serious time to read the piece and offer detailed commentary, and that makes them a legend in my book. I seriously love reviewers!