2018/01/05

Most Memorable Read of 2017

Reader Prince Laqroix has written one of those rare book reviews that will leave any author grateful and humbled, no matter his level of monetary success.
I’ll just come out and say it; The Secret Kings is a fantastic read. It hits the floor running and doesn’t stop until the thrilling, yet satisfying conclusion. While not without some  minor issues, the series as a whole might be the most memorable thing I’ve read in 2017.
That opening paragraph alone would have been enough to gladden my heart, knowing I had satisfied  loyal reader, but Mr. Laqroix had more to say:
The plot moves along quickly and never really stops to smell the roses, which I really like. Something is always happening to push the plot forward. As a result, the book is very hard to put down. Best of all, various plot threads from the previous two novels are interwoven throughout The Secret Kings. As such, paying attention to small details throughout the previous novels makes for some satisfying payoffs.
[Lightly redacted to avoid spoilers] After reading through the first three books, it’s awesome watching the author improve his characterization. Astlin, Teg, Elena and Nakvin have surprising depth to them and really make you care for them. They have their own personalities and quirks and motivations, and it makes for some great reading watching these characters interact with each other...
In addition to the protagonists, the villains are awesome. Shaiel, in particular, is given awesome god-like dialogue. You can practically feel the cold ooze off each line of dialogue. A lesser writer would likely have ruined Shaiel’s character and turned him into something cheesy and laughable. In Niemeier’s hands, Shaiel is truly menacing in a way that few evil god-characters have been. The Anomian creatures are genuinely creepy Lovecraftian monsters that do not feel like Cthulhu pastiches. Other great villains abound, but these two really stood out to me.
I will say one thing as a precaution to other potential readers. This series is deep and does require a bit of careful reading. Simply zipping through these novels in an afternoon is out of the question. I attempted to zip through this one and found myself scratching my head a few times. Luckily, I was able to search through the Kindle version for key words, and it helped clear things up. I probably could have saved myself the confusion had I paid more attention. The series demands attention and reflection.
Mr. Laqroix's advice is correct. The Soul Cycle doesn't lend itself to light skimming on the bus or during coffee breaks. There are layers of interwoven meaning. But as this reader found, committed reading yields deeply satisfying rewards. I'm also told that the included glossary and list of main characters are more than sufficient to keep most readers up to speed.
I’ve recently come across an interview with the author over at the Castalia House blog. After hearing what the author was trying to do with the series, I’ve come away with much deeper appreciation. I practically never reread books, much less series. But after this interview, I really want to go back and reread everything and mine the depths of this series because I plan on sharing this series with my children when they are old enough to read.
The greatest potential fruits of the various indie literary movements emerging in this new Dark Age won't be monetary rewards for the authors. We will, if God grants it and we pursue our work with fidelity to the embattled virtues of Western civilization, build a new canon enshrining truth, goodness, and beauty for our children and their children.

Those who don't mind a few spoilers should read the whole review here.

Buy your copy of Dragon Award finalist The Secret Kings here.

The Secret Kings - Brian Niemeier

12 comments:

  1. There audiobooks coming?

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    1. Thanks for your interest. The Soul Cycle audiobooks are in Castalia House's hands. All inquiries regarding SC in audio should be addressed to them.

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  2. Brian,

    Thanks for the link back to my site. I stand by everything I said and wish you continued success as an author. I hope to start "The Ophian Rising" soon, right after I finish "Hymn of the Pearl". Keep it up.

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    1. You are most welcome. In fact, I'm the one who should be thanking you for reviewing SK and reading Hymn of the Pearl. It's gratifying to know that you're having fun with my books. I look forward to hearing what you think of HotP and OR.

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  3. Brian.
    And in business news: the Big 5 official bookstore (tm) saw its sales decline during the Christmas period
    https://the-digital-reader.com/2018/01/04/barnes-noble-reports-holiday-revenues-6-4/
    xavier

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    1. B&N has one foot in the grave and the other on Clark Griswold's sled. When they go down, it's on.

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    2. Brian

      Sorry clark Griswold? i take it that he's a horror character from a movie? I look him up and learn something new :)
      It's sad that publishers and bookstore have such a fetish for paper. Their goal should be to publish books nuture writers and satisfy bookreaders.
      O well business failure provide case studies of what not to do and to remember satisfying a need or want diligently is profitable

      xavier

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  4. Replies
    1. Bitte schön. I was imagining the Big 5 (clinging to the mummified corpse of B&N) crashing in the Wal-Mart parking lot when you mentioned the sled.

      What a face they'll make!

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    2. Man of atom
      Thanks. I haven't seen the movie though I know it

      xavier

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  5. More business news
    The death of the textbook publishers
    https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2017/09/oer-materials-drive-student-engagement-and-savings-study-finds?utm_content=buffer8e7d6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
    xavier

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