Reviews!

I sent out my ARCs (Advanced Reviewer Copies) at the weekend and I have three positive reviews back! I am so amazingly happy and over the moon about this. Of course you want to know what they said don’t you?

You can read the first one I received from Benjamin Beaulieu here.

Then SloopJonB sent over this one:

The official blurb: 

No one escapes the Wyrd Sisters. Thalia gave it her best shot. She ran away and devoted her life to tricking black market traders out of their money. She could only run for so long. They always catch up with you, one way or another.

Wyrd Calling is a dark urban fantasy, the first in a projected series, Wyrd Bound, concerning the trials and tribulations of a shifter, Thalia. Thalia is bound to the Wyrd Sisters (the three Norns of Norse myth) to perform such tasks as they might assign her. Wyrd Calling opens as she is re-assigned to her fate again after some considerable time on the lam. Somebody – or something – has been killing sirens in the city, and the Sisters would like it stopped. One way or another.

Two things to say here before the review proper. First, full disclosure, I was provided with a free advanced review copy for the purposes of this review, as I am acquainted with the author. I promised an honest review, though, and that I will try to deliver. Second, dark urban fantasy isn’t really my thing, so I’m not really very well up on the conventions and tropes of the sub-genre. All I have to compare it with is a read of a couple of Harry Dresden books some while ago. So, DUF fans, excuse any naivety here.

OK, this is as I say the first volume in a series, so readers expecting to have every T crossed and i dotted will be disappointed. We do discover a lot about Thalia and her backstory as the book progresses, but by no means all, and there are a lot of loose ends left over to carry forward into the next book. There is, necessarily, a lot of set-up as we are introduced to Thalia and her pack, and the plot thus takes some while to get going, but the material on the lives of shifters and the dynamics of the pack is interesting. Suppose there really were people who were part wolf (amongst other things); how would they live? How would they interact? What would drive them? These questions are quite thoroughly explored and the answers require very little disbelief to be suspended to be convincing. These shifters are neither cuddly nor sparkly … these dudes are dangerous, and Thalia is quite possibly the most dangerous of the lot.

Thalia comes across (despite many hints of her great age) as a bit of a wild child; she likes dancing, drinking, flirting, stealing and hunting down victims ruthlessly. Unlike most werebeings in fantasy fiction Thalia has three aspects, and the interplay of these is a fascinating character study. (While the psychology of shifting is explored in some depth, the mechanics aren’t, and I really, really wanted to know what happened to her clothes each time). We also get to see some of – or rather some of the aftermath of – Thalia’s complicated love life, and her two … or is it three? … maybe four … love interests present something of a contrast to one another; the emotional and tormented Alex, the cool and enigmatic Lee (who always calls her Suriel, for reasons presently mysterious) … and then there’s Kit the fae, and I for one don’t believe her protestations that she’s not interested in Dan. Much more to come on this front, clearly.

In summary, fans of dark urban fantasy will find much to interest and fascinate in this story, with a lot of world-building and revelation yet to come, and the question left in their minds after reading will be what happens next?

Wyrd Calling  will be published in e-book form in November 2014, and the sequel,Feathered Touch is already in preparation.

SloopJonB 

To finish the trio, I had Matthew Cloke give me this one:

I don’t normally write reviews for books but Wyrd Calling certainly deserves one. I absolutely adore this book, I couldn’t put it down! Shen Hart has managed to create a dark and interesting urban fantasy world in which she tells the tale of a reluctant anti-hero Thalia. Shen does a great job of teasing bits of information about Thalia, the wyrd-bound shifter, without giving away too much, this certainly left me wanting more! I enjoyed reading the interactions between Thalia and her new pack, as well as the other characters, which you can tell have all been thoroughly planned. You can tell as you get deeper into the story that Thalia, although somewhat reluctant is dedicated to doing what she feels is right, and sometimes that isn’t to everyone else’s liking.  I really like the direction this story is taking and I can’t wait to read the next in the series to find out more about Thalia and her allies.

I have to extend a huge thank you to all of my advanced readers, they’re all stars and I’m eternally grateful for the time and effort they’ve put into reading and reviewing Wyrd Calling. I can’t wait to release it in November!

First Review!

I sent out the ARCs (Advanced Reviewer Copies) of Wyrd Calling at the weekend and I got my first review back earlier!

A quick book review! I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of Wyrd Calling by +Shen Hart . You can’t find this for sale yet, but when it goes up, you may want to get a copy!

Do you enjoy reading books with shallow characters and a barely realized setting? If that’s the case… don’t pick this up. This thing goes deep. From the very beginning, it’s clear that both the characters and the world have been given considerable thought. I read the book and knew that we had just barely skimmed the surface of what there was to see. The main character is not a shallow bimbo or a straw dummy used to advance a story. She is someone with a long, complicated history and an actual personality. We get glimpses of her past as the story unfolds, but we don’t need to have everything spelled out. You don’t get your hand held with the cliché “history of everything told by a third party”. You experience the story and touch its history as you go along. The relationships between the characters are just as deep and intricate as the world is. The people in the world (Is “people” the right word? You’ll see what I mean!) don’t all have the same voice (something new writers seem to have a problem with), wants, skills, or personalities. They aren’t just static pieces that dance to the author’s tune (Dance, my pretties!). They grow and change and the entire experience is better for it. I don’t want to give away the story, but it’s a magical adventure from the very first word and leaves you crying out for more.

This genre (urban fantasy) is not my usual fare, but I’m almost sad I’m reading the book now. If I was reading this a few years from now I could keep reading the next books, which is exactly what I want to do!

Benjamin Beaulieu

To say I’m happy is a huge understatement! I am grinning like a Cheshire cat and bouncing around like a fool. To see people enjoying my work is an absolutely incredible feeling.

I have thanked them a number of times before but I have to do it again – thank you to all of my advanced reviewers, you’re all absolute stars and godsends.

Shen.

Sirens.

A little bit about the sirens in the world of Wyrd Calling

“Why sirens?,” I hear you ask. Well, because the Wyrd Sisters send Thalia off to stop a serial killer who’s murdering them in Wyrd Calling.

Sirens are not viewed positively. A lot of people, Thalia included, see them as nothing more than parasites. They’re often found in colonies around the base of cliffs and near bridges on large rivers. Sometimes, however, there just isn’t room or a young siren feels the need to go off and explore the wider world, and that leads to them heading into cities. It’s not such a bad thing when they’re in a colony, as they cause the suicides where people jump off the cliff or the bridge or wreck their boats on the jagged rocks. They can’t do that in the city, although they are usually to blame when someone drowns in the water obstacle on the golf course or that particularly crafty puddle.

The reason that they’re generally considered parasites is because they don’t have a positive place in the scheme of things. They kill people but they give nothing back. Fortunately, they only need to eat once every few years, but that leaves them with a lot of free time to be particularly entitled, lazy, obnoxious, arrogant, and all round unpleasant princess types.

Updates!

Wyrd Calling is going absolutely fabulously. We’re onto the copy-editing and formatting stages already! I’ve also heard back from my cover artist which means that I have the hopeful date of November 7th as the release date, how exciting. <Happy writer dance>

I’m taking a short break from Wyrd Calling to let it sit so that when I go back over it I’ll be more likely to spot any little problems, that same thinking applies to my wonderful editor. I’m not sitting on my laurels though, nope, I’m still working hard. I have the rough plot in my head for Feathered Touch which is the sequel to Wyrd Calling. I’m really happy with the ideas and arcs I can ‘see’ so far. I also have the opening scene written. 😀

I’m currently making notes on various key scenes and points in Feathered Touch and should start writing it properly in the next couple of days. It has a very different tone and outlook to Wyrd Calling but I don’t view that as a bad thing.

 

All in all, great news, everything is going swimmingly!

 

Thalia.

This is the digital portrait by the fantastically talented Tressa Green of Thalia! I couldn’t be happier with it. 

Thalia17

 

Tressa captured her sad eyes and the way that she’s ready to rip someone’s throat out at a moment’s notice. The background is where Thalia loves fae bars with their hallucinogenic drinks.