Liane Merciel - The Novels of Ithelas

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by PeterWilliam, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. PeterWilliam

    PeterWilliam Omnibus Prime

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    After finishing this debut novel (alternate world, epic fantasy), I've posted a review. Let me first confess that I like reading alternate world, epic fantasy (probably my favorite). This is an author I will follow and pick up future works from. From the blog:
     
  2. Bastard

    Bastard Jack Bauer

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    Interesting... will be looking forward to more opinions, there aren't many from what I can see, to see the overall reaction to the novel. Suciul seem to think that this wasn't good, and yet you highly recommend it. There's no happy-medium here is there? Hehe.

    I saw a forum where Merciel apparently is a member of, and she doesn't seem to be that confident in her work, as you can read from her reaction to suciul's comment in goodreads:

    Maybe an overreaction to the first "review" of her novel?
     
  3. Jussi

    Jussi Registered User

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    Blurb and cover art:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  4. PeterWilliam

    PeterWilliam Omnibus Prime

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    Yeah, I saw Liv's review. Admittedly, Liv reads a ton more than I do. However, I really like alternate world, epic fantasy fiction. That having been said, I'd like to think I can distinguish between the decent and the cloned.

    Ms. Merciel, should she persevere, will have a nice series on her hands when she's done. I'm hopeful she will continue, undeterred, because I believe what she's been able to do thus far could rival the "big boys."

    The book had several POVs. One was centered around the search for redemption, a second was centered around the cynical, skeptical, hard-bitten and mercenary view of life, a thid was centered around power hungry betrayal in the form of fratricide, a fourth was centered around love close enough to touch (literally), but forbidden and a fifth was centered around the love of a mother for a helpless infant. All five POVs were well done, the characters strongly realized and the world in which they live, including the events unfolding therein, easily imagined.

    The tale avoided the typical quest objects and "super-powered" artifacts and characters. These elements are the 'crutch' or usual suspects endemic to the kind of alternate world, epic fantasy I consider to be less than satisfactory. For me, it takes away from Weeks' work a bit. My only exception would be Erikson/Esslemont who manage to make it work, because the extraordinary is fairly,.....well.....ordinary.

    I'll definitely be following Merciel's Ithelas tales.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2010
  5. Bastard

    Bastard Jack Bauer

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    I'll keep an eye on it then, but the book seems a bit expensive at the moment particularly given the mixed reviews so far.
     
  6. Liane Merciel

    Liane Merciel Registered User

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    This may be the slowest Summon Author spell of all time, but up until now I didn't have a lot to add to this thread beyond, uh, serving as an object lesson in how everything on the Internet is public. Oops?

    However, the publicist over at Gallery Books is running a promotion for book bloggers, so if anyone's got a blog and is interested in taking a look at that in the next couple of days, there's information on that here:

    http://bookblogs.ning.com/group/poc...roup/forum/topics/march-picks-the-river-kings

    Additionally, I've put up a couple of sample chapters on my website:

    http://lianemerciel.com/works/

    The post that Bastard quoted above is indeed an newbie author's overreaction to a first review. I'm deeply chagrined to see it reposted.

    All I can say is that it is a unique and bizarre experience to work in isolation on a project for months or years with very little feedback about how it might be received on the public stage... and then it goes out there, and you wait with bated breath to see what real live people will think, and if the very first response is "this sux!!" then there's a temptation to go omg ack my work is terrible I must cast myself into the Pits of Despair so that no one will see my shame.

    At least if you're me.

    Of course no book is universally beloved and someone will always say "this sux!!" about anything, and that is inevitable and expected and part of the game. But when it's the first response to a first book and there's no way of telling whether the review should be interpreted as "this apple is a terrible apple!" versus "this apple is not a banana!" then it's easy to read, or misread, it as whatever you want, which in my case is generally the worst possible thing. Then we end up with embarrassing posts that leave me blushing two months later on a totally different board.

    That's the story with that. Hopefully no feelings were permanently hurt. In the meantime I've gotten enough feedback to be reasonably confident that the apple is a decent apple, although if you prefer bananas you will still probably not be thrilled with it. But at least now you can try it for free!
     
  7. ChrisW

    ChrisW Banned

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    Just because he's read more books than you means didly squat. Granted he might be able to see more cliches but that only matters if you are one of those people who tink cliches are automatically bad. Personally I don't follow any of the professional reviewers around here much as they have different tastes to me and the only one I even remotely respect is rob.

    You seem to be putting yourself down as much as the author did.

    As to this book, I read the first chapter and started the second before deciding it was not for me. Nothing was wrong with it per se, it just didn't grab me. I tink i'm getting harsher in my old age.

    Good luck with the book though Liane.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
  8. Liane Merciel

    Liane Merciel Registered User

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    's cool, just as long as my delicate nerves don't have to withstand accusations of having raped the Wheel of Time. I'd have to retire to my fainting couch, and then where would we be? ;)
     
  9. Obtuse

    Obtuse ‪Ominous, I'm In Us

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    Someone's done her homework...and that is one of the funniest posts I've seen on SFFW in some time.

    No offense, Chris.
     
  10. ChrisW

    ChrisW Banned

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    I'm offended that you think I'd be offended!:)
     
  11. Haliax

    Haliax Registered User

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    I read the review up at Fantasy Book Critic and had almost decided I would get the book when I read the comment that the next book is a fantasy-horror hybrid. I'm not big on horror. And if that is the case, I'm not sure I will read this first one either.

    So my question for you then, Liane, is how pronounced are the horror aspects going to be in the next book? I may give the first one a go anyways.
     
  12. Liane Merciel

    Liane Merciel Registered User

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    Hi Darksbane,

    That's a tough question for two reasons.

    First, it's impossible to give an objective answer. What I see as a heavy horror influence you might consider negligible, or vice versa. Fantasy and horror shade into each other such that it's hard to say where one ends and the other begins. There's not a clear line at 25%/50%/75%.

    I think it's about 50-50, but you might disagree.

    Second, the manuscript has been finished and turned in, but it has not been through editorial revisions. Even if I could give you a straight answer about the fantasy/horror balance, that answer will probably be different after my editor gets through with it. She might think that the horror influence should be played up or toned down, and that will change how the final book comes out.

    What I can say is that the books are written to be linked but separate, so it's easy to stop after the first book if you think that the second one will not be to your tastes. Each deals with mostly different characters in different parts of the world. While they do have a couple of characters in common, there isn't much connection between them otherwise.
     
  13. PeterWilliam

    PeterWilliam Omnibus Prime

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    Yeah, wow. That someone comes, a newly minted member, onto the sight and picks up on that right away...I actually laughed.

    ChrisW is good humored enough to laugh with it, though. One of the best starts to a thread I've seen.

    Given how the first story ended, it is rather easy to see how the second book will slide into the horror realm. After having read the first book, I would say I can probably predict precisely who the main characters for the second book will be.

    I look forward to book two and will keep an eye out.
     
  14. Haliax

    Haliax Registered User

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    Guess the only thing to do then is try the first one and go from there. :)
     
  15. Bastard

    Bastard Jack Bauer

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    Ignore this post. Bookdepository had some misinformation.

    As to not waste the post, the sequel will be Heaven's Needle set to be released in April.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2011
  16. mjolnir

    mjolnir Registered User

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    Had forgotten about that. Thanks for reminding me I'm looking forward to it.

    Later edit, after a trip to the 'zon: Dude, amazon's listing Heaven's Needle as being released in mass market paperback only. [The River Kings' Road was a hardcover original.] Is this so? If so, is it a case of Pocket cheaping out on a very promising author just because the first book didn't bust through the roof in terms of sales? Or is it actually a good thing? I know I now have no qualms about picking up the book on release, even though it's in a month along with several other things that I must have.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2011
  17. Liane Merciel

    Liane Merciel Registered User

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    It is so: RKR debuted as a hardcover original but HN is coming out as a paperback original.

    The push for that came from the big chains, who felt it would sell better in that format. I think they're probably right; people are probably more likely to try a new and relatively unknown author at a lower pricepoint.
     
  18. Heather Myst

    Heather Myst Chocolate.....Count Me In

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    Liane,
    I was interested in your book after reading the reviews on Amazon but your Wheel of Time crack makes my purchase a slam dunk. It reminds me of some of Joe Abercrombie's wicked humor posts.
     
  19. mjolnir

    mjolnir Registered User

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    Thanks very much for the update on what's going on with Heaven's Needle. It's interesting as a reader to be reminded how much influence retailers -- especially big retailers -- have on a book's creation process. In a way it's kind of a shame -- there's something about a hardcover [at least for a book nerd], the heft of the book, and a certain amount of "yo, I'm a hardcover, gotta take me serious now", I guess. But if it gets more people trying the book that can only be a good thing. I admit I got RKR from the library in hardback because, well, hardcovers are pricy in Canada; now I can buy HN straight off when it's released at the same time as I pick up my paperback of RKR. The change helps someone who already geeks out over the books as much as the casual buyer [though it's the casual buyers who're really needed, I know]: now a choice doesn't have to be made between the new Daniel Abraham or Abercrombie or whatever and trying the work of a relatively new author at a high price.

    I dunno if you're okay with talking about the book, now it's getting closer, or if you'd rather hold off until it is upon us in April, but the one-line blurb on amazon is ... well, it's kinda half-assed. It mentions a woman setting out to save the knight she loves. For those who've read the first book, might that woman possibly be Bitharn, getting a central role in this book? That would be cool.
     
  20. Liane Merciel

    Liane Merciel Registered User

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    Heather - thanks! I hope you enjoy it.

    Mjolnir - thanks for letting me know about the Amazon page. I'll have to pester my publisher about trying to get that fixed. Amazon is really responsive to authors in some ways and less so in others; I've been trying to get the PW and Booklist reviews on the RKR page for ages (because, obviously, I'd like prospective readers to see good reviews), but no dice so far.

    Here's the marketing copy from the HN jacket (which is much more dramatic than my own description would be -- I'd probably just put "um, here's a book. It's about stuff. Thanks for looking?" and this is why they have marketing people do that job instead of me -- but is pretty accurate as to what the book's about):


    (warning: mild kinda-sorta-maybe spoilers for RKR follow)