Saturday, 5 May 2012

Spirits of Glory: Review & Guest Post

Hey everyone! Today, I've got a two-part post for you all! First, I am going to review the book, Spirits of Glory and then there will be a guest blog by the author herself. Enjoy! :)

Author: Emily Devenport
Edition: Smashwords Ebook
Published: October 24th 2010
Rating: See below review.

One morning, the people of the North woke up and the people of the South were gone. That’s the first thing every child learns on the colony world of Jigsaw. But for one girl, knowing about The Disappearance is not enough. Hawkeye wants to know why. Her curiosity won't let her refuse a journey to the Forbidden Cities, even though she's going into more danger than she can imagine.

There's something really magical about finishing a book and realising that, whilst reading it, you were absorbed up into a completely, different world. And no. I'm not talking about the feeling you get with every book once the last page is turned, that feeling that you've been on an adventure with the characters. I'm talking about the feeling of having experienced a completely, different world which, during reading, you were part of.

Spirits of Glory is a unique and unusual page-turner that will have you swooped up into an adventure from page one. I'm not quite sure why, but I just loved the whole uniqueness of it all and found it very refreshing. I managed to finish the ebook in a day because I just couldn't tear my eyes from the very much unusual adventure.

The main character, Hawkeye (aka. Amber) was strong and brave but the one quality that stood out the most for me, was the love she gave to her assistance animals. Actually, come to think of it, I really enjoyed the roles of Brat and Wolfy (her very intelligent cat and dog). Unlike most stories now-a-days where the heroine is usually perfect and beautiful, Hawkeye is crippled. However, this just makes us see how strong she is for struggling through. Another character I quite liked was Boss. Boss is a Neighbour (part of a species that live alongside the humans in Jigsaw) and I liked how he was a reserved character at the start and more forthcoming toward the end.

Another reason I really liked this book is because it is a mixture of genres. It has some mystery, fantasy, sci-fi and even a little splash of romance. Meaning it can appeal to all types of audiences. The only criticism I have is that a few times I did get a little bit confused but most was resolved near the end so it was all good!

Overall, Spirits of Glory is a very enjoyable read with a unique storyline, strong characters and a mixture of genres which can appeal to everyone. I definetly recommend giving this a read to anyone and everyone - if you're not fond of ebooks maybe it will interest you to know that it's relatively short and at great prices both on Amazon and Smashwords!


Guest Blog by Author, Emily Devenport:
The Best Advice I Ever Received About Writing

I had already been published for ten years before I got the best advice I've ever received about writing, and it was so practical, so beautifully nuts-and-bolts-y, I wish I had heard it years before. The guy who passed it on to me was an author named Michael A. Stackpole. Among other things, Michael wrote an online newsletter called The Secrets. He called it that because when he (and I) started writing, we had to teach ourselves the skill – few professionals seemed willing or able to pass on the lore of writing to beginners. If we were lucky, we'd eventually sell a novel and start working with a really good editor, and they would teach us a bunch of stuff about how to write well.

It was a long road. When you first get bitten by the writing bug, there are a lot of things you don't know that you don't know. (No, that's not a typo.) You may have a way with words, and maybe you've been a voracious reader all of your life. You've learned something from those writers you enjoyed so much, and now you have this overpowering drive to write your own stories. Perhaps you got “A”s in high school and college for stories and essays. But even the best of us don't realize that we can't spell as well as we think we can. Thank goodness for spell-check – back in the bad ol' days, we had to spot those boo-boos ourselves, and we often failed. It was pretty embarrassing.

Another thing that trips writers up is that even if we know there's a difference between it's and its; there, their, and they're; you're, your, (and even yore), we often type them incorrectly – and the spell-checker won't catch them. So you may think the great advice I mentioned earlier is that you should hire an editor to go over your manuscripts. That actually is pretty good advice, but there are a couple of other things we all need to do before we even get to that point. The first thing is about attributives (he said, she said). The second thing is about the overuse of the word was.

Clarity should be any writer's first priority. Attributives clarify who is speaking – a nice thing to know if you don't want to get confused. But attributives also slow down the action, so you should try to use them as little as possible. Fortunately, there are some tricks that can help you with that. Using action with speech is a good tactic. Take the following example:

George shone his light into the closet. “No monsters in here, Boss. You want me to check under the bed?”

We know George is the one who's speaking, so we don't need to type he said anywhere in that paragraph. Another trick is to clarify who's speaking at the beginning of an exchange, then just let the characters run with it. For example:

“I”ll check under the bed,” said Dr. Van Helsing. “You check the attic.”
“Ah, Boss,” said George, “Do I have to? I'm allergic to dust.”
“Wear the gas mask. That's why we brought it.”
“Oh. Yeah. I forgot.”

Keeping your attributives to a minimum will let that scene roll along at a nice clip. Now let's look at the word was. Consider that sentence about George and his flashlight. Some writers would say:

George was shining his light into the closet.
rather than:
George shone his light into the closet.

That's a less direct way to express something. It's not wrong, but it's more passive. You sacrifice clarity when you're not willing to let your verbs do the work they were designed to do. Does that mean you should never use was in a sentence? Not at all. It's really up to you how much you'd like to use it. And sometimes you can't help it. For example:

Dr. Van Helsing aimed his crossbow at the vampire. “I was going to shoot you with the silver- tipped shaft, but I decided that would be overkill.”

Was is a very useful word. But using it too much is lazy. If you can't rely on it every time you have a bit of action to write, you actually have to think about what's going on. Likewise, if you can't scribble he said or she said after your characters speak, you have to clarify where they are and what they're doing. That helps you advance the story instead of slowing it down.

That's why these two bits of advice are so helpful. If you understand them, you feel more in control of what you're doing. Once you've got the nuts and bolts in place, you can concentrate on characters, setting and plot. Even if you're not quite sure where it's all going yet, you'll have the confidence to tell your story. That's the most important thing any of us can learn.

Nine of my novels were published as mass market paperbacks by NAL/Roc before I started publishing ebooks. I wrote under three pen names and was published in the US, the UK, Italy, and Israel. My novel, Broken Time, was nominated for the Philip K. Dick award. Now I write exclusively as Emily Devenport, and I've written some new novels, including a YA Dystopian titled Spirits Of Glory. It's available in ebook format on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, and other ebook sites. I'm married to artist/writer Ernest Hogan. I'm studying geology and I volunteer at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. Here's my blog: http://www.emsjoiedeweird.com/

Thanks, Emily!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: I'd like to thank the author for giving me the opportunity to read and review this ebook! :)

4 comments :

  1. Awesome post!! This book looks really good, and the guest-post is brilliant! Thanks so much!!
    Beth xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. I never heard abou this book, but looks great.
    I'm following your blog.
    Mariana - World of Tori Vega.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Bookaholic007 - It is! :D

    @Beth - Thanks! It was definetly a good read! You're most welcome! :D

    @Tori Vega - It is! Thanks! I wasn't sure how to follow your blog as there is no GFC following widget but I liked your facebook page! :D

    ReplyDelete

Hey there! Thank you so much for commenting! I love receiving comments and will always try my best to return the favour back on your own blog (if you have one)! I love meeting new bloggers too, so, if you're new here, don't be scared to introduce yourself!

Thanks again! *hands you cupcake* :D