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  1. #1
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Revenge of the Elves by G. Wassner Official SFFW Review

    OK folks, I just posted my latest review. GemQuest IV: The Revenge of the Elves by our own Gary Wassner. Here's a sampler from my review:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B
    The story follows on from the previous volume, as the characters attempt to recover from the devastating battle that concluded the action in The Shards. Many of the characters are on differing narrative paths, much like previous volumes. Despite that, the pace is not broken and if anything, Gary is able to keep the momentum going with each “narrative ball” he juggles.
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    That is, with each passage and chapter, Wassner’s narrative becomes increasingly difficult to separate from yourself. By the halfway point, and even more so with only about a third of the novel remaining, the ranging plot elements come together in a crescendo of tension and anticipation.

  2. #2
    Lost in a large book nicba's Avatar
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    Good review. It managed to give me a good idea of what this book is about, without any spoilers - even though I haven't read books that has gone before in the series.

    But the title! Ugh! Gary should really, really hire someone to help him make up some better book titles. GemQuest sounds to me like the title of an old 80's computer game, one of those with a little blocky guy running around collecting diamonds and avoiding falling stones. And Revenge of the Elves?!

    It reminds me of a note of C.J. Cherryh's, about one of her books called The Kif Strike Back:

    never, ever joke about titles: your publisher may use one
    Nevertheless, I would really like to read the series. I loved all the "similar" ones you listed at the end of the review. Yet the books are so hideously expensive. Nealy £18 (on amazon.co.uk) for a used paperback copy of "The Twins"! And that's before adding the postage! Surely there are less expensive ways to purchase these books?

  3. #3
    Hello, hooray!! Fuxxy Elf's Avatar
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    The Kif Strike Back? Is that the first ever Futurama tie-in novel? Sorry couldn't resist

    Can I echo nicba's sentiments, I've wanted to read these ever since coming to this site, but they don't seem readily available in Britain, is there any chance they will ever be on general release over here?

  4. #4
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Gary's publisher in the States is a small press, Windstorm Creative. So while you can get the books easily enough in the States or Canada, it won't be at mass market prices as they are large trade paperbacks, and getting them in the U.K. and elsewhere is harder. But Gary's working on it. I like the title "The Shards" myself. And you can't beat the cover art, which really does fit the books.

  5. #5
    A servant of Lord Arioch FitzChivalry's Avatar
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    Why being in a small press means the book is not published as Mass Market Paperback?

  6. #6
    Uh, Moderator
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    For whatever reason the publisher has decided the books aren't produced in mass market paperback size (they're actually B format, not trade paperback) - I don't think being a small press has anything to do with it. Lots of releases these days (in Australia at least) are in B format rather than MMPB.

  7. #7
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Just a note for those of you overseas who are interested in buying my books.

    If you log on to http://www.windstormcreative.com and follow the link for international orders, you can buy them direct from my publisher at a substantial discount. Besides, the dollar is so weak against the pound and the Euro, it should be a bargain.


    http://www.windstormcreative.com/shop/customers.htm

  8. #8
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Trade paperbacks -- what they call anything above rack size in paper covers in the U.S. -- have more status still. Putting Gary in trade paperback gets him a better chance at reviews, library sales and various other things. His press may put out a mass market paperback version later, but I would imagine it would be much later, so people probably don't want to wait for it. If you're not in North America, contacting Gary's publisher directly through the link he gives is probably the best way to do it.

    Now back to regular programming. What's your favorite part of the book Rob?

  9. #9
    looking for coffee redhead's Avatar
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    great review Rob!

    i hope you don't mind, i'm going to pull some quotes out of your review?

    with Revenge, Gary’s writing is more unrestrained. He isn’t holding anything back here.
    that is SO true. right from the beginning, there is less of the formality, less politeness between people, less softness, of the earlier novels in the series. and that isn't a bad thing, at least for me. everything is suddenly in sharp contrast. Colton isn't kidding around when he says he's going to kill people. The "council" of Chosen aren't kidding around when they discuss something that's a spoiler so I'm not going to mention it, but would mean the end of their life's work.

    The mystery behind the title of the novel eluded me for much of the novel.
    same here. i was 3/4 of the way through the book, still wondering why that title. then i got to that bit and the end. about a page before it, i figured out what was going to happen. all i could say was "please God, no. you don't have to do this." then i realized who was doing what to whom, and that no amount of begging would change anything. talk about a WOW moment.

    see what Rob means, that you can't separate yourself from what's happening???

    Robyn is my favorite character right now. his life will be exacting an exorbitant price from him.

    and the twins? i have all sorts of guesses about their future.

  10. #10
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    And people assume so much, Redhead! They assume that the title is just some trashy sword and sorcery title. So much for assumptions. The sad thing about it though is that, as Nicba and Fuxxy Elf stated, people actually hesitate to purchase them because of what they assume from the titles. The choices were my responsibility, but I never imagined that a title would be a reason to buy or not to buy a book. It never was for me, but then again I was never a genre reader. I've clearly come to realize that both the title and the cover unfortunately have a lot to do with the sales and with the preconceptions a reader brings to the table.

    There's a lot about this series that seems to be traditional. I intended to do that, and I hoped to be able to push the traditional envelope as far as I could. I hoped to attract both readers of Epic Fantasy and readers who were looking for something more thoughtful perhaps and more serious. The title of the series was a ruse on my part, a carrot for the unsuspecting. But in some cases, it backfired and turned away the exact reader I was really hoping to encourage. I just thought that reader would be attracted by the reviews and not turned away by the titles. When you're well known, that strategy might work. When you're a new author and no one really knows what you're all about, it may not be the smartest way to approach gaining a readership. And in many respects, it turned reviewers away as well, so it really backfired for me. They too assumed from the series title far too much than they should have in their capacities as critics of literature. But you can't fight the system all the time, and I was too naive and too green to the industry to realize. Live and learn.

    The title of book V is quite different, though the series title is the series title. At this point, that can't be changed. The next book is When Monsters Call Out The Names Of Men.

  11. #11
    looking for coffee redhead's Avatar
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    When Monsters Call Out The Names Of Men.
    so who are the monsters???

    and who are they calling, and why are they calling them??


  12. #12
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Well, you know there are more of the genre readers who read sword and sorcery works and judge a title by its content than there are "discriminating" readers who judge a work solely by its packaging. Which, given that the cover art is reminiscient of the much respected artwork that used to grace the Moorcock Elric novels, and is not a standard sword and sorcery image at all, you would think they would be drawn to the book, not dismissing it as not suffiiciently in vogue.

    When did the genres get taken over by fashionistas any way? Maybe I'm watching too many "Ugly Betty" episodes, but I'm getting a bit tired of people declaring themselves to be SFF pundits on the grounds that they feel all of SFF is lousy and in need of a makeover. If you aren't going to review a book because of its title, I'm not sure you should be reviewing fiction in the first place. It's kind of like a six-year-old refusing to try a new food because it "looks funny."

    In any case, don't count the masses out yet. Maybe you'll get a lot of new readers who were too intimidated by the series before. And please don't back off promoting and taking pride in the work. As you know, faint heart never won fair lady.

  13. #13
    Lord Deceiver estranghero's Avatar
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    I'm curious Gary, if ever you get a chance to reprint your books with one of the major publishers, would you change the titles of your books? (Except for the last one; the title of book V is cool.)

  14. #14
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    I'd perhaps drop the series title, but I'd keep the subtitles for each book. In fact, The Revenge of the Elves is very meaningful and quite ironic. But in order to understand the irony, you need to read the book. A catch 22 maybe, but one that I particularly revel in.

    KatG, I do keep the faith. I'm trying my best to promote it, but it's hard, you know. If I push too much, people resent it, and if I don't push enough, no one is aware of it. I believe in my heart that I've written something with this series that is both entertaining and meaningful. I know that those who read me almost always enjoy the series and find it particularly intelligent too. But despite the nice reviews my books seem to get, I don't have any marketing behind them. And even here at SFFWorld, my home away from home, despite RobB's support and yours KatG, and a few others, really very few members read my books here. Is it the perception of what I'm doing? The titles? The traditional tropes? I'm not sure. And as far as the SFF establishment's concerned, I may as well have never written anything. Other authors are supportive - Vandermeer, Duncan, Bakker, Stover - we've come to know each other over time and respect each other. But PW? Locus? Kirkus Reviews? IROSF? They won't give me the time of day. Isn't it what we write that matters, not who publishes us or what we choose to name our books?

    Sorry, my frustration seeps out everytime I get into a discussion of this type. I really am grateful for the opportunity to talk about what I write and to have it discussed here. I am SO grateful for SFFWORLD and the people here who give us all a chance when so many of the other doors won't open to us.

    Meanwhile, my publisher is convinced that Revenge is the break out book of the series. I hope they're right. I'm continuing to write no matter what. That's not a choice. It's a necessity.

  15. #15
    bmalone.blogspot.com BrianC's Avatar
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    Actually Blunt over at IROSF liked the first version of my review, but gave me essentially the same critique that Niall did: send us a review of Revenge, not the first three books lumped together. But at that point I didn't yet have the ARC, and since IROSF is currently offline . . . I chose to go with SH.

    (Keep your fingers crossed, I have yet to hear from Niall).

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