Dynamistress is still flawed, still trying to be a hero, and is still more of a hero than she can admit to herself. The memoir approach to the story works, although in this book, we get into the first person point of view of a few more characters. Having mental narration from more than one “I” can be tricky, but this book pulls it off smoothly.
Redemption feels like the middle of a trilogy. Mostly because it is. But also because the storyline is not the typical three act story structure. It is several events in Dynamistress’ life. These events are sequential, most lead to the next event. Still, in the hands of a less skilled writer, I would expect that to lead to a disjointed and bumpy story. But this works. It feels more like real life, and real life can be bumpy.
There are things set up that I KNOW will be dealt with in book three. It does not look like it will be a happy book. But I know I will DEVOUR book three when it comes out.
I originally, and accidentally, gave the book 5 stars due to my putting the review for book one in the wrong place on Amazon. But I cannot see any reason to take off any stars, even with what I mentioned in the storyline: that still works. I look forward to meeting the author (Vincent M. Wales) again at a comic con and talking about that. Nice guy. I’m writing superheroine stories also (more comedic, I like to laugh), and I can learn from him.
Reckoning (the many deaths of Dynamistress) is about a superheroine, but its pace is not comic book fast. It is slow and deliberate, much like the movie Unbreakable. I did not think that would draw me in, but it did. Dynamistress does not have a happy life, but she carves out her path, including her superpowered origin. She goes through a lot of downs, which make her ups so much more satisfying. Her relationships give her grief and occasional happiness. She does not always handle them well: she is flawed emotionally, and admits it in her memoir-like mental dialog. Yet, she is a hero, even though she does not see herself as one. But when the going gets toughest, watch out, villains!
This book has a soul-baring feel. Its chapters often end on cliffhangers that made me feel tension (done with better effect than the constant cliffs in the Duh Vinci Code). The start of the next chapter is then a quick flashback setting up the upcoming action, making me WAIT TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS!!! This is nicely Hitchcockian: it draws out suspense.
I give it this book a high recommendation: the day I finished it, I started reading the next book in the series even though I have many other books to read. I care about Dynamistress, dammit!
At Baycon this year, one of the panelists, Sarah Kuhn, mentioned she had written a book about a fangirl at a comic con. I love comic book conventions. So I bought One Con Glory. I read it. I liked it a lot.
Sarah knows comic book nerds. I am one of those. I learned from her. This book has plenty of trekkie and Buffy and Battlestar and other nerdy references; it has a strong and smart and sarcastic and flawed and lovable heroine; and it has the sights, sounds, and smells of the San Diego Comic Con. Sigh, I miss that.
You will laugh with the cutting remarks, choke up at the roller-coaster romance, and you will want that geek girl to lower her shields and get the cool yet geeky guy. A touch of The Hangover, a touch of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (no real superpowers though), and a lot of wonderful witty dialogue.
I spent a couple weeks rewriting and restructuring the start of a story. The hook that grabs readers and reels them in. Finally, I think it only needs a little editing and that’s it.
Speaking of the first five pages, check out The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. It has great writing advice, often dispensed in a hilarious fashion: lots of examples of really bad writing. Noah worked as an editor at publishing houses and draws upon the dreck that has passed under his nose that made him wince, and us laugh. The “Oh, Henry! Oh, Margaret” melodramatic example and “The boy ran. Into the woods. It was dark. Scary,” example are practically worth the price of the ebook. If you write, buy this book. You will laugh and learn.
(I posted this as a review on Amazon. It went through okay. Yay.)
I know James from the Peninsula Writers Club. Among other things, he runs the open mic. His story about the Tea Party guy who grew an extra head was one of my favorites. At the open mic, when James reads, we writers listen. And we are entertained. So I bought this book. I knew I’d find interesting characters in it.
Many of his characters seem to emerge from his years as a department of corrections counselor and as a probation officer. Like in The Siege, with, as James puts it, a towering drag queen named Trinesa. A Conduct Adjustment Board member whose voice was as dry as powder, his gaze as steady as an eagle’s. A squat excitable commander of the prison emergency squads who nodded reverently and positioned his thumbs into the effigy of a steeple. A Henry Yoakum who, when about to testify, looked like a turkey vulture sipping from a well. I can learn from James.
P.S. I mentioned a comedian at the Red Rock open mic in a previous blog post. His name is Ellis Rodriguez at https://www.facebook.com/ellistrated (I wonder if he would like a new friend?). I think that next Monday, he will be headlining at Red Rock, meaning he’ll show up around 9 or so. I think. (I did not make the open mic this week; I was at the South Bay Writers club.)