And it’s time for another book review! As my book group continues through Matthew Stover’s Acts of Caine series, I’m continuing my own reviews here. Today, we’re looking at the third book in the dark fantasy series, titled Caine Black Knife. My previous review for Blade of Tyshalle can be found here. (Maybe someday I’ll get around to doing a proper review for Heroes Die, since I loved it so much…)
Wow, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?
The last true book review I did on here was The Bands of Mourning—16 months ago. (I promise this isn’t the first book I read between then and now.)
Anyway, Blade of Tyshalle is the second book in Matthew Stover’s The Acts of Caine series, and the sequel to Heroes Die. Where Heroes Die was one of my favorite reads of 2017 so far, my thoughts on Blade of Tyshalle are a bit more complicated.
As this is the second in a series, there is one large spoiler for Heroes Die after the jump.
Earlier today, I stumbled across this article from Hannah Jane Parkinson at the Guardian. In it, she talks about her experience with creative writing classes and workshops, and whether or not she agrees that they’re a “waste of time.”
The verdict: yeah, she thinks they’re pretty much a waste of time.
Now, like Parkinson, I spent four years and a sizable amount of money getting a degree in creative writing. But I think I had a slightly different experience from what she writes about.
You might remember this book I wrote called All Flames Cast. It was a while ago, I know. There really hasn’t been any news to report, beyond the typical querying process—a couple of full requests that turned into rejections, one partial request, and a whole bunch more outright “no”s—and so much of what has happened in the last 18 months has been in the revision realm.
Now, revisions have gone well. Of the 15 chapters I have posted here, only one hasn’t had any changes to it. The good news is that the book is a heck of a lot better, now.
Writing is a strange venture for a variety of reasons. It has demands, both physical and mental, that don’t align with a lot of other professions or hobbies. But one of the most peculiar things about writing, I’ve found, is one of the most common attitudes among writers. This is something that has popped up its ugly head a few times, recently, so it’s been on my mind.
Writers, as I’ve seen many times in many different forums or environments over my brief decade as an active writer, tend to be competitive. Now, being competitive isn’t necessarily a bad thing, nor is it unique to writing. I myself am extremely competitive, both from my years as the youngest of six children and from playing hockey at a reasonably high level for two decades. When nurtured, competitiveness can be a big help in getting a step forward in life.
Chapter One – Winter Falling
The wind was soft but cold, so high along the rampart of the citadel. It whispered the night’s embrace, pulling gently at the lapels of Gemmen’s coat. The skin on his close-shaven scalp prickled with goosebumps. It was cold, yes, but the winter twilight was far preferable to the stifling heat and conversation in the feast hall.
Torches burned, spaced every hundred feet along the walk. Gemmen could see guards posted, silhouetted against the lights as they leaned against the white stone or squatted for a brief escape from the breeze. He ignored them as he moved by, just as they ignored him.
The first flakes of snow began to flutter down as he walked. The night was not still, but it was silent; the wind stirred and the snow traced lines down to melt on the wall, but even the guards quieted themselves. There was a feeling of abeyance in the air, a muted pressure.
Gemmen loved nights like this.
And so we approach the end of another year.
In many ways, 2016 was a great year for me, personally. I hit some major life milestones in the past twelve months, not the least of which were getting engaged and buying a condo. All in all, it was a successful year on that count.
But on the writing side, 2016 was much more of a failure. I hoped to achieve a few things, none of which got done.