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DEATHWATCH

I See Dying People…

By TheStorymonger, author of The Firewall Saga

Apr 14, 2016: For me, Deathwatch was a delightfully refreshing discovery. Set in an intriguing fantasy world with airships, subtle magic, and diplomatic intrigue, the story stars two young military cadets whose forbidden love for each other launches them on separate journeys.

Kieron ends up on a military airship, where his condition allowing him to predict the deaths of others presents an unusual danger.

Jet is captured by slavers and sold to a powerful man who controls minds and likes to hunt other people, Most-Dangerous-Game-style. It soon becomes clear, however, that his plan for Jet isn’t hunting, but something much more disturbing.

Jones’s writing style is unique and rich, at times waxing a little Dickens-ish. The story begins a little slow, but quickly picks up pace, and the characters are interesting and likable, and only strengthen as the story deepens.

Also, the story is almost 200,000 words and growing. If you’re looking for some serious binge-reading, if you like well-written, angsty speculative fiction and airborne battles and the occasional heart-rending death scene, look no further.

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DEATHWATCH

Editor’s First Impression

By Chris Poirier, editor

Mar 21, 2016: Nice, vivid writing. Story’s on the dark side, right from the start. If you enjoy dark fantasy, it’s definitely worth a look.

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GOD CURSED

Editor’s First Impression

By Palladian, editor, author of Super

Apr 20, 2014: To begin with, there are a number of things to like about God Cursed. The author has created a fully realized world, full of vampires and cat-people, as well as regular humans. The story is drawn in a gothic/regency setting, which is lovingly described. Explanations for the existence of each race of people is tied into the mythology of the world, and comes through in pieces of fascinating stories as the characters discuss the world around them. In general, I found the writing itself of good quality and edited with a minimum of typos.

The major problem I had with the story eventually sucked away all my enjoyment for it, however, so that I couldn’t read any further than the twelfth chapter. The protagonist, Seraphin, begins by letting the reader know that he’s been inducted into vampirism by force at the hand of Alexis, a much older vampire. At first, I felt sympathy for him about his situation, especially since he seems to have been raised in a religion that is devoutly against vampires, but as the story went on and on and Seraphin did nothing to change his situation, simply going along with everything Alexis does (including killing people) with only snarky replies to show his disapproval, I became weary of hearing about it. In short, the protagonist is that complaining friend you don’t take calls from anymore. You know, the one who whines endlessly about their job/life/significant other/etc. You felt sympathy for them at first, and tried to make helpful suggestions, but eventually, after hearing the same complaints again and again and because they made no attempt to change their situation, you started avoiding them. In Seraphin’s case, there are a number of opportunities that come along during the story that could enable him to break away from Alexis and make a new start, but he doesn’t take any of them. This, and the fact that he’s a grown man and could simply walk away from the other guy at any given time, made me tire of this story quickly.

In order to build this story in such a way that a reader continues to have sympathy for this character, I’d recommend the author show the audience that he’s actually trapped in his situation, rather than just have Seraphin assure us that he is. For example, show us that when he tries to leave he gets sick, or when he wakes up after running he ends up back with Alexis regardless of where he’d gotten to, or something. Also, in order to keep the story interesting to a reader, Seraphin needs to grow or change. I’m assuming the author is going somewhere, but I recommend getting there sooner, before you exhaust your readers’ good will. By the dozenth chapter, I thought it was well past time for your protagonist to make a decision, which as you’ve set things up seems to be that he either gets out by any means (up to and including death), or he accepts his situation and decides to become what he reluctantly finds himself as.

At any rate, for those of you out there who are big fans of vampires, cat-boys, or male/male romance, you may want to check this out, especially if you have a lot of patience for endless mental complaints.

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