2017/06/09

More Praise for Nethereal

Nethereal - Brian Niemeier

Daytime Renegade offers a thorough and thoughtful review of my first novel, Nethereal.
Take the good parts of Dune and Star Wars, mix them together with a heaping dollop of Dante, a dash of high fantasy, and a whole lot of horror, and you’re beginning to almost approach Brian Niemeier‘s self-published Nethereal, book one of his three-part Soul Cycle series. 
Is it sci-fi? Is it science-fantasy? 
Who cares? It’s fun. 
Nethereal reads like the best console or pen-and-paper RPG you never played. Imagination abounds. 
Fitting, as Brian is a figure in the burgeoning #PulpRevolution. 
Nethereal focuses on space pirate Jaren Peregrine and the crew of his ship, the Shibboleth, as they seek revenge against the Guild, a quasi-governmental entity that dominates the Spheres (think: planets). 
Jaren is half-Gen (think: Elf), and the Guild destroyed his race, and his family, and now they’ve got to pay. Chief among Jaren’s crew is mercenary Teg Cross, steersmen Deim Corsurunda and Nakvin (no last name given), and the mysterious Vaun Mordechai, a late addition with mysterious motives. 
Pursued by the Guild, Jaren and crew meet a rebel force and end up commanding the mysterious, powerful Exodus, whose unsettling cargo takes them through the depths of hell…and beyond. 
Even stranger is Elena, a half-woman, half-machine who appears to be the Exodus’ source of power. 
I don’t want to spoil anything here, but suffice it to say Nethereal is one of the most imaginative works of fiction I’ve read in a long while. 
And the heroes are–gasp!–heroic!
My comment: I consider it my first duty to entertain my readers. Saving science fiction from dull, preachy message fic and the stoic despair of Big Men with Screwdrivers comes a close second. I'm honored to have succeeded at both in DR's estimation.

But let's not get too self-congratulatory just yet. Every book has room for improvement, and DR believes he's found a little in Nethereal.
I do have nits to pick–this is the Internet, after all. Some of the characters are a little tough to connect with, particularly Jaren, who beyond single-mindedness really has little else going for him–I don’t quite get why he is such an inspiring leader. Deim is similarly inscrutable. And I did feel some of the characters’ attempts at glib humor fell flat. 
The world and its structure, culture, and mythology is a little confusing too, though the glossary included helps, and things begin to make more sense as the story unfolds. And Marshal Malachi is a bit disappointing as a villain. 
But the rest of the villains provide one of the deadliest, vilest, and flat-out creepy rogues gallery you’ll find most anywhere. Each player has their own goals and motivations–and reasons for stabbing their purported allies in the back.
Marshal Malachi fans are disappoint!

Heads up, DR. I'd watch out for those guys, They tend to be INTJs.

With his examination of the book's blemishes out of the way, our intrepid reviewer continues:
There’s also gun fighting, swordplay, warrior-priests, demons, the undead, body-swapping, necromancy, and heavy theological discussions about life, the soul, and everything else that matters.
The pacing is brisk, which helps a book of this scope keep from getting bogged down. And I can offer it the highest praise any book can get: Nethereal was incredibly difficult to put down. I cannot wait to start book two, Souldancer.
Highly recommended.
Thanks to Daytime Renegade and the thousands of readers who've given Nethereal a shot. You can buy the first book in the award-winning Soul Cycle here.

Already have Nethereal? The third and penultimate book in the Soul Cycle, The Secret Kings is on sale right now for only $0.99!

The Secret Kings - Brian Niemeier

5 comments:

  1. Brian, long time reader (and listener- going through the Geek Gab archives right now), but I haven't posted and thought I should. I heard about you through Russell Newquist, who's a friend. I've read both Nethereal and Souldancer and I enjoyed them both. Your world building is impressive in both scope and quality. Looking forward to reading more from you.

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    1. Welcome! Russell draws a lot of water around here, so if you're his friend, we're cool.

      I'm delighted that you enjoyed the first two Soul Cycle books. If you haven't picked up the third, now is a good time since it's on sale for 99 cents.

      Can't wait to show you what's next.

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  3. Brian I'm glad you took criticism in the spirit with which it was intended. As always, everything is personal: What didn't work for me might work for 99% of everyone else, and I'm sure I'll learn more about Jaren, Deim, and the rest of the cast as I read more.

    Overall I hope you know that I enjoyed the hell out of Nethereal...critique does not diminish that in the least.

    And thanks again for writing it.

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    1. My pleasure. And I've had far worse criticism. You don't get to where I'm at without amassing a stack of rejections.

      If I wanted a job where I was totally unaccountable to the folks who pay my salary, I'd have gone into politics.

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