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  1. #1
    Loveable Rogue Moderator juzzza's Avatar
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    The Awakening... **SPOILERS**

    ***DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT FINISHED THE BOOK***

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    Okay, so I finished book 2 yesterday and I have to say, the only thing that calmed my disappointment at it ending... was knowing 'The Shards' was waiting in my 'to-read' pile.

    Calyx the Mourant, is simply my favorite character and creature in the series so far... he was in the first book too... I guess I am just a cat person.

    Gary, the big difference for me and what made this book much better than 'The Twins', is your pacing. I didn't actually notice whilst reading the first book that it was just setting the scene, mostly because the world you were building was so interesting and of course you have your climactic battle, but the second book has so much going on and I love the threads you start to weave and leave open!!! Great ending to a book, talk about leaving your reader hanging. You manage to build this suspense expertly with your thread hopping from chapter to chapter.

    Your dialogue was much more natural and you handle the emotional scenes extremely well, Treestar and his wife in particular.

    I loved the ice princess plot, although you will get the inevitable 'Lord of the Rings' comparisons with your army of the damned coming to the rescue and your elvish city in the trees. Again, as I have said elsewhere, you are original enough and talented enough as a writer to impress most cynics with your obvious love of Tolkien's work and what you add to the genre.

    Teetoo was an interesting character too and I enjoyed his scenes very much although I would like to know more about this creature, his background and what happened to the rest of his race.

    I thought the transformation of Alemar's brother from coward to hero was a little too quick... I would have liked you to have shown me this u-turn rather than have him reflect quickly on his epiphany in the wilderness only to dive in-front of the projectile meant for his sister.

    Colton was given much more depth in this book, and I love the way you describe the hold he has over his minions from said minions' pov. The whole loving/fearing thing and their obsession with pleasing the dark lord is excellent although I still have a desire to understand his goal of dissolution more... as a dark lord myself, I can't help feeling he is cutting his nose off to spite his face.

    Tomas' fear that he has been betrayed by his Lalas is very intriguing and I have to say that, that is one resolution I am looking forward to reading in book three.

    The sisters of the tower are wonderful, wonderful characters and I loved that plotline, I am really looking forward to reading about their progress with the magic they have discovered in themselves and the planting of the new Lalas. I must admit though, I find the whole quest to throw the map down the well puzzling, if they want to prevent Colton from finding the map why not set fire to the thing? Or do they not wish to destroy it and simply want to hide it?

    Maus, what rape? Are you talking about the sorceress who pretended to be that elvish traitor's girlfriend? Man you must be a sensitive soul!

    I loved the black pods that rained down onto Seramour and then turned into those seemingly indestructible insects!!! Nice work, Gary.

    You have a real talent for building visualizations in your readers' heads, I could dream about the tubes and airshafts in Seramour and also I love how you build little details into your descriptive text, like the ice domes for growing crops, complete with self-regulating irrigation systems... that kind of stuff works for me.

    I prefer gritty realism in my battle scenes, so scenes with people getting cut in half with one swipe, standout for me as unrealistic but I understand that I am reading a literary, almost poetic tale and in that context it was fine.

    Contrary to someone else's comment (I think it was Maus?) I didn't think the end of book 2's battle was the same as The Twins at all. It was nicely done and Seramour certainly suffered and we have yet to find out what happens when Colton is confronted by his brother... although I know who I would put my money on!

    Apart from 'that' word cropping up again (you know the one, Gary) the only negative thing I have to say, is that you still seem unconfident either in your ability to make your point first time round, or that your readers won't get it first time. By that, I mean that you seem to repeat certain things. I think Robyn stated three times in as many chapters that Dav is going to be much easier to train than he first suspected... I GET IT!!!

    All in all, The Awakening is an excellent book. A rich world, likeable, well-built characters, excellent pacing, suspense, literary and intelligent writing and of course... a Moulant!

    As a writer, I really enjoyed your work and as a reader, I loved your world. Well done, Gary... Great Job!

  2. #2
    Where have I been? Moderator JRMurdock's Avatar
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    Maus, what rape? Are you talking about the sorceress who pretended to be that elvish traitor's girlfriend? Man you must be a sensitive soul!
    I had said it caught me off guard more than didn't like it. At the time I had read it, I wasn't expecting it. The book had a sexless innocence to it. When I'd gotten to that point in the story, I was shocked. The first romance (sex) in the novel turned out to be twisted and false and led down a path of deception. I guess it was a blow I wasn't prepared for.

    Contrary to someone else's comment (I think it was Maus?) I didn't think the end of book 2's battle was the same as The Twins at all. It was nicely done and Seramour certainly suffered and we have yet to find out what happens when Colton is confronted by his brother... although I know who I would put my money on!
    Yes, it was me again. I had much to say and a lot of it was good.

    The reason I felt this ending was similar to The Twins was that both books get the characters into an impossible 'feeling' situation and Bang! here's something that washes away all the baddies. In book 1 it was the water that washed away the wood trolls. In book 2 it was the army of the damned destroying all the really cool insects that were eating up the trees. To me es mismo.

    Other than those two points, I also felt the book was fabulous. I had mentioned missing certain characters as many more were brought into the mix. Gary weaves a large web and needed more threads to throw into the mix. He did this beautifully. It was just hard being away from characters that I'd spent so much time with in book 1 suddenly doing more in the background while other characters were built up. I also missed my moulant. What a cool beast.

    I also, as you know Juz, am a writer. Reading something like this gives me hope. It challenges me for too many stories that I read are cookie-cutter stories and I can usually figure them out before I am half-way through. That makes finding a good book a challenge. Between Gary and Scott (Bakker) I've found two very challenging authors. Kevin (Radthorne) also created a good reading fantasy novel. My difficulties lie in the fact that I'd rather spend my free time writing rather than reading and I'm torn between the worlds I want to read in. Sometimes I just don't want to think that hard and I'll pick up an easier reading book or collection of short stories.

    Either way, I'm glad I found this forum, and Gary's book. I do hope that one day I'm as lucky as you were, Juzz, to get to NY to meet Gary. The man behind the story.

    Hey Gary, sorry to keep talking about you in the third person like you're not reading this. Heh heh.

    J.R.

    Oh, Juzz. Put up some more tunes in your podcast. Great stuff. WHen I had heard the acoustic guitar, I had thought you were going for a Jack Johnson type of thing (I despise Jack Johnson's music). I was quite surprised. You're great! I'm not just blowing smoke here. You've got real talent. I was impressed.

  3. #3
    Loveable Rogue Moderator juzzza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maus99
    I guess it was a blow I wasn't prepared for.
    SSSSSSSSSSSPLLLLUUUUUUUUUUUURGE!!!!!

    That was my coffee all over my keyboard... over here, that expression is something we DIE to tell our mates, when describing the night out we had the previous evening!

    The book had a sexless innocence to it.
    Are you kidding me!?! The tower is brimming with lesbian sexual tension, the stuff Gary doesn't say is far more powerful than the stuff he does say! All those frustrated woman fawning over a scroll (how phallic) in a giant penis-shaped tower!

    ahem... okay I am lying, I see your point Maus.

    here's something that washes away all the baddies.
    Yea, again I see your point although I actually thought that was pretty cool, it's better than Colton's bro and Teetoo zapping everything. I liked the idea that ice was the anti-bug and I must admit back in the ice kingdom when Alemar met the army of the dead, I didn't see it coming, DOH!

    You've got real talent. I was impressed.
    Thanks mate, everyone knows how I like to plug my music in Gary's forum
    PM me your address and I'll send you a CD... and stick some more up in the podcast too.

  4. #4
    Where have I been? Moderator JRMurdock's Avatar
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    heh heh

    I'm at a loss for words at the moment.


    Okay, I'm back. *Whew*.

    I'm curious to get to the end of Shards to see if Gary uses Steam at the end. Bring to play the third state of water. So far he used Liquid and Solid. Next would logically be gas, right?

    Hey Gary, how many people do I need to get to gang up on you before you get book 4 over for publication?

  5. #5
    Loveable Rogue Moderator juzzza's Avatar
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    Mate, if 'the R scene' in Gary's book made you take a break from reading... you better sit down before getting to the end of the Shards.

    I have it on good authority that the fourth state of water is used to wash away baddies in book 3... urine.

    And I thought Alemar was such a lady!

  6. #6
    Where have I been? Moderator JRMurdock's Avatar
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    So we went from PG to R to NC-17 with each book? Golly, I might blush by the time we get to book 4.

  7. #7
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    So you see a pattern in the endings? Uh oh, I better go rewrite the conclusion to The Shards.

    I am a big fan of enexpected drama. Sorry. I can't help it. I love the emotional scenes where the silence of the hilltop is broken by the emergence of a solitary person, and then the masses surge up in support behind that person to win the day. I love to write them too, when your heart goes into your throat and the trumpets blow.

    I am a gay rights advocate, Juzz, but I am surprised you were so astute and read so accurately into my symbolism. All kidding aside, Maus was correct in his description of my books as sexless innocence. But the few hints at sexual tension are so much more powerful by virtue of that. One can still write an adult book without explicit sex. It is possible and I don't think anyone really misses it. People generally don't read Epic Fantasy for the sex.
    If you are going for realism, that's a different story. But for me, I am not pretending to write history. I want to tell a great story that makes you think, and I want it to be interesting and exciting, but intelligent. Besides, since I write cinematically often, I couldn't just have my characters perfunctorily touch and be intimate. It would have to be thoroughly graphic, and then I would be in another genre altogether.

  8. #8
    Where have I been? Moderator JRMurdock's Avatar
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    Well if your story starts to include 'Golden Showers' to heal the Lalas, I'll start to get worried.

    As far as 'People don't read Fantasy for the sex' you'll have to check out the 'Sex in Fantasy' thread in the Fantasy section. I was surprised.

  9. #9
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    I didn't say that they don't like it in fantasy. I said that they don't read fantasy for it. If they want explicit sex, there are plenty of other places for them to go these days.

  10. #10
    Loveable Rogue Moderator juzzza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maus99
    Well if your story starts to include 'Golden Showers' to heal the Lalas, I'll start to get worried.
    Maus, I thought you were good at working out plotlines!!! What do think 'Revenge of the Elves' is about!?!?

  11. #11
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Not what you might think, my friend.

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