Month: April 2016

Starving Review: A Spark Ignites (The Spark Superhero Series #1) by Michael Lachman

Check out J.B. Garner’s book review of A Spark Ignites!

J. B. Garner - Musings of a Starving Author

29508618A Spark Ignites (The Spark Superhero Series #1) by Michael Lachman (Amazon, Goodreads)

After some big meals down the gullet, we pull up a light novella of a meal with A Spark Ignites.  A recipe spun up in a new contemporary superhero setting, it offers up a quick bite of superhero delight to enjoy.  Considering my own preferences and inclinations, this should be a great meal … or will my taste buds be biased by my own preconceptions?

Before we discover the truth, let’s flip over our ID cards and read the Starving Review bylaws:

  1. I attempt to rate every book from the perspective of a fan of the genre
  2. I attempt to make every review as spoiler-free as possible

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Starving Interview: Michael Lachman, Author of A Spark Ignites

Hey everyone! Check out my interview on fellow author J.B. Garner’s blog!

J. B. Garner - Musings of a Starving Author

Good morning, my literary foodies!  This fine Friday, we start the day by sitting down in the kitchen with Michael Lachman, the chef behind today’s meal, A Spark Ignites.  Let’s see what is what!

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You Made a Mistake

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Obviously, before putting out a book, a writer will do everything within his or her power to make sure the product is as flawless as possible. That’s why its always a little embarrassing to be told that someone found an error in your book.

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However embarrassing it is, I find myself grateful to those who bother to let me know. Honestly, constructive criticism and being told how you can make your book better is far more useful than praise . As a writer, I want to put out the best book I can. But as a human, I’m prone to mistakes, and when it comes to my own writing, I can often be blind to it. So when something is pointed out to me that should be fixed, be it a typo, a factual error regarding the city layout, or a suggestion regarding possible stylistic improvements, I try to fix it as soon as I’m able. And what is amazing about digital and print on demand is that these errors can be fixed almost instantaneously.

Every writer wants to improve, but we can’t learn from our mistakes if we aren’t aware of them. Slight embarrassment is a small price to pay to put out a better book.

Book Review: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

516lvwmprbl-_sx303_bo1204203200_It’s no secret that Brandon Sanderson is a master of his craft, and The Stormlight Archive is his magnum opus. At first glance, the books are intimidating — with each one a 1000+ page brick. But don’t let that stop you. You’d be missing out on a fantasy series that rivals, and in many ways surpasses, A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones).

When I started to read the first book in the series, The Way of Kings, I was immediately turned off. The book begins with a prologue that in all honesty has no business being there. Half the words are made up, you have no idea what’s going on, and it doesn’t give you any information you don’t learn later on. I think including it was a huge misstep. Luckily, the book really picks up after that. The book focuses on several different characters, though it mostly spends time on three: Kaladin, a lowly former soldier, Dalinar, the king’s uncle, and Shallan, a girl from a lower, unimportant house. There’s politics, action, magic (with clearly defined rules),  deception, everything a fan of fantasy could want. Not everyone’s story is as interesting as you’d like, but there’s something there for everyone. (And Shallan’s story, which is arguably the most boring, really picks up toward the end of the book, and she’s given the most interesting story in the next one.)

What makes this book stand out compared to the other fantasy books out there is the world. Sanderson builds a world unlike anything I’ve ever read. This isn’t a world inspired by Tolkin (and that in and of itself is a rarity in the fantasy genre). The inhabitants, the societal norms, religions, money, animals, even plants and physics, all of it seems utterly alien and original. And yet (with the exception of the prologue) it is never unfolded too slow or too fast. You can’t help but become enamored with the world he created.

In short, The Way of Kings is not only an immensely entertaining book, but one of the most creative fantasy books I’ve ever read. If you like fantasy, check it out. Just be prepared to carve out a ridicules amount of time to finish each book, and then wait years for the next one. (Maybe the Song of Ice and Fire comparison is more accurate than I realized.)