One of my favourite podcasts is The Geeks Guide to the Galaxy – it mostly features interviews with Science Fiction and Fantasy authors, or non-fiction authors writing about Geeky subjects – the history of D&D – that kind of thing. I recommend having a listen – if you don’t like it then at least fast forward to the end for the outro credits which encourage the listener to leave good feedback about the podcast and if they have anything bad to say, to say nothing – Tell No One!
It’s a bit of fun and a tongue in cheek way of encouraging listeners to leave reviews on iTunes, but it also illustrates the importance of reviews on social media and websites for today’s content creators. All podcasters want lots of 5 star reviews on iTunes, and all authors want 5 star reviews on Amazon. To such an extent even that some are prepared to cheat and pay for them. Recently Amazon has had to crack down on what amounted to fake reviews.
But why the stress about customer reviews? Well Amazon has created an ecosystem that is really driven by reviews and has encouraged customers to rely on reviews of other customers when making purchase decisions. Many people of course don’t bother leaving a review, so whether Amazon reviews reflect accurately the quality of a product is debatable. But in the world of Amazon, iTunes et al reviews are all important and drive products to the top of search lists and determine whether books get noticed and promoted or not.
So as The Geeks Guide to the Galaxy would say, “If You Liked One of My Books, Write a Review on Amazon – If You Didn’t Like Them, Tell No One”!!!
Published August 5th 2014 by Crown Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2014)
ISBN 0385387784 (ISBN13: 9780385387781)
I don’t usually read many Middle Grade of Young Adults books, but I decided to give this one a go after hearing Lou Anders interviewed on the Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing podcast. I’d heard of him as an editor of Science Fiction and Fantasy, but didn’t realise he was an author as well. He came across really well and his book sounded cool – I really liked that he’d actually made the game that was featured in the book – Thrones and Bones – and the viking inspired fantasy world that he talked about appealed to me as well. I got lots of ideas about world building from the interview – including using Fractal Terrains map making software – which I looked at after the podcast (didn’t buy yet it but played around with the demo – it’s good!)
Anyway enough of the asides, onto the book! Frostborn is about two main characters: Karn, a human boy who is more interested in playing Thrones Bones than learning about farming, and Thianna, a half-giant girl. They both have enemies. Thianna’s is fairly obvious – some of the other giants don’t like her, but Karn’s nemesis is a bit more veiled, so I won’t spoil that part of the plot. Thianna also possesses a horn which was given to her by her dead mother, which seems to have special powers – and that brings in a good part of the thriller element of the story. Karn and Thianna both end up on the run from their respective societies. Lots of escapades result and the plot keeps moving at a good pace. There’s also some funny bits in at as well – for instance the skeletal inhabitant of a barrow and associated ghouls who chase Karn.
Needless to say everything gets resolved in the end and the villains get their comeuppance. I liked the humour of the book – the lack of too much seriousness meant that it was a much easier read than many other epic fantasies that begin as rites of passage stories. Both Karn and Thianna had a sense of humour as they struggled to assert themselves, and I found that really refreshing. The viking style fantasy setting was well done–fairly simple, not too many kingdoms etc. I thought it was a good fantasy novel for young readers – and adults alike. Just need to have a go at Thrones and Bones now – you can actually buy the game apparently!
If you’re interested in buying Frostborn (or anything else) then click on one of the Amazon links below. You’ll also be supporting this blog.
Alone in space, one little boy is a long way from home.
His ship has been damaged beyond repair and he is the only survivor. The boy’s only chance of rescue is a spaceship captained by Paddy Smith. But this spaceship belongs to an opposing civilisation that believes in the benefits of Artificial Intelligence. The boy’s own Kingdom of Kes regards Artificial Intelligence as an abomination.
Caught up in a war between two ideologies how will the little boy find his way home?
Little Boy Found is a science fiction short story.