Tag Archives: fantasy

Review: Necromancer Awakening

Introduction
Necromancer Awakening is book one of the Mukhtaar Chronicles by Nat Russo and follows Nicolas Murray your av

image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu
image by Stancu Alexandru via sxc.hu

erage Joe who was just about to graduate from college and was engaged to Kaitlin, the girl of his dreams, when he begins having strange dreams about a floating skull chasing him. The dreams get worse until on the day of his father’s funeral he is whisked away to another world where he must learn to become a necromancer if he hopes to survive and find his way back to his world.

Along the way Nicolas meets Mujahid Mukhtaar who takes him under his wing and teaches him about being a necromancer and the going ons of Erindor, the world he finds himself in.

The Good
Overall I really liked this book. The world building was phenomenal and was done in such a way that it made you want to know more as the story progressed. I loved how Nat Russo laid out the rules of necromancy and showed us how it worked via Nicolas and his thoughts and actions.

I also liked how Russo didn’t pull any punches and kept upping the ante so you never knew if Nicolas or the other characters would get out of the tough spots they found themselves in.

The bad
Overall besides a few mistakes with character names there isn’t much bad I have to say. Sure it was a bit cliched how it was revealed that Nicolas was really the son of Archmage Kagan and heir to the Obsidian Throne and was also the subject of a prophecy, but Russo handled these topics in such a way that it didn’t matter these tropes had been done before.

I also wasn’t a fan of how fast Nicolas mastered necromancy but Russo handled this well by having other characters like Lamil and Mujahid be better versed in the art than him.

The Verdict
Overall if you’re looking for a good fantasy read checkout this book. You won’t be disappointed.

Writing Update

Well this is a first for me but I figure some people will want to read this so here I go. This week hasn’t gone according to plan and I haven’t gotten much work done on the Phoenix Diaries, my science fiction/fantasy young adult trilogy.

I’m coming to the end of book two and I’ve been dragging my feet on completing it this last month or so. I’ve been trying to make more time to write but I keep putting it off because it just doesn’t feel right. Honestly I know I have to get it done and then worry about making it better in the rewrite.

Yeah I know it will take time to finish the trilogy and I have to keep motivated until I reach the end of this project. Sometimes I feel like I’ve taken on too much to handle with this project, but then I think about all the things I want to accomplish with this series and that’s what keeps me going.

Sure I could be spending time working on other projects, but I know in my heart I have to get this story on the page or I’ll go crazy.

Part of me is a little scared about spending so much time and energy on this trilogy only for it to fall flat. I know I can let my fears overcome me, or I can face them and write any ways, because that’s my job.

I know to temper my expectations because most books only sell a few hundred copies and most writers don’t make much from their work. Yeah it’s scary to think about what ifs but if I go down that path it’ll lead me to self doubt and depression, so instead I’m going to focus on writing the best series I can and worry about the outcome later.

A Love Letter to Sci-Fi&Fantasy

image by wemedge via sxc.hu
image by wemedge via sxc.hu

The “Star” Wars

So tell me which do you prefer and why? Stark Trek or Star Wars? Having watched both the original trilogy and the sequels I was not impressed with Lucas’s work. While enjoyable if you grew up on a steady diet of kung fu movies, and anime where the characters can wipe out entire galaxies with one attack, Jedis are weak sauce.

Moreover all Lucas did was rip off Asian mysticism and the larger culture. The Jedi are just Samurais, the Sith are ninjas, and the Force is a rehash of the concept of chi/ki. Love Yoda while I do, dude is a straight rip off of every wizen kung fu master ever.

And the conflict with the evil empire is nothing but Feudal Japan set in space. I do give Lucas credit where it’s due for creating a fun and engaging universe, but I don’t get what others find so special about it.

I always found Star Trek to be the superior franchise, save the original series which I couldn’t stomach because of its campiness and Shatner’s hammy acting, but I respect what Roddenberry was able to do with the series re: diversity and civil rights.

Prophets of Sci-Fi
One of the things I love about science fiction is the exploration it allows for. Thanks to authors like Arthur C. Clarke, Sir Cannon Doyle, Asimov, Heinlein and others much of the technology we have today exists because they dreamed it up. The internet wouldn’t exist if Clarke hadn’t proposed and then help design geostationary satellites. It was Orwell that dreamed up CCTV and the concept of the modern surveillance state in 1948.

While we still don’t have hover cars or light sabers, the leaps seen in technology in my life time alone are staggering. We’ve went from commodore 64s to tablet PCs, from the Atari 2600 to the PS4, from cell phones the size of a bread box to those that fit in the palm of your hand, all in less than thirty years.

Not bad all things considered. though it’d be sweet to zip around in a TARDIS. Who knows maybe one day a fan will build one like the physicist who designed a theoretical warp drive.

Deeper Questions
While enjoyable, when done well science fiction asks us to explore questions like what does it mean to be alive? What is the nature of reality? How do we live together without wiping each other out? Yeah the technology is cool but it is the exploration of these philosophical questions that keeps me engaged and coming back for more.

The other thing I love about sci-fi is it provides a construct upon which to question social norms and values. Growing up in the 90s the X-men was one of my favorite cartoons, however it wasn’t until I was older I got the subtext of the series. The Mutants were proxies for marginalized groups in our society. While the conflict between Professor X and Magneto represented to two approaches to gaining civil rights: Integration/pacifism and segregation/militarism.
Girl Power
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was another favorite from my childhood. The way Whedon took the metaphor of high school as hell and made it literal, while being witty and irreverent, made my geeky heart swoon.

Buffy, and to larger extent Faith, are exactly the type of girls I love. Strong, independent without being a bitch about it, intelligent, and sexy. And I would be remiss if didn’t mention the fabulous Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenburg.

Excuse me for fan-boying but her character arc was one of the best of all times. Second only to Prince Vegeta’s, in terms of depth and enjoyment. The moment she becomes Dark Willow still takes my breath away to this day.

While the season ended with her being defeated with the power of “wuv,” Whedon gets a pass for his otherwise flawless execution.

Charmed was another guilty pleasure of mine, granted they used the monster of the week formula perfected by Buffy, the thing that differentiated from other shows in the genre was the research that went into the world building while Constance M. Berg was with the show runner.

As someone who studied magic and the larger occult, before settling on being an agnostic atheism, it was nice to see they paid attention to the little things. Like the difference between a hex and a curse, or that spells had to be recited at the proper time to have optimum effect. However Shannen Doherty’s departure started the long decline of the show and by the end it had gone from so bad it’s funny to plain bad.

The show closest in tone and theme since it went off the air is Supernatural. The thing best about the show is the chemistry between the siblings which drives the show. However much like Charmed when Eric Kripke left the show at the end of the fifth season it nose dived into recycling the same plots and villains.

I mean you can only slay so many demons before it gets boring, and if the Winchester boys died one more time only to be brought back I was going to lose it.

One of the best series to this day was First Wave. Sure alien invasion stories had been done before but not set to Nostradamus’ quatrains complimented with the conspiracy theories of protagonist Cade Foster’s side kick “Crazy”Eddie Nabulous.

And of course I can’t forget The X-Files. Beside Star Trek:TNG it was one of the few shows my dad and I watched together. Like the other shows listed in its hey day The-X Files was a joy to watch, when I wasn’t wetting myself in terror.

Conclusions
Though I’ve grown up and work replaces the time spent enjoying shows I haven’t lost my love for science fiction and Fantasy. It just takes more to catch and keep my attention. Like everyone else my attention span has shortened, so memo to the other writers out there: get to the point and make it interesting.

This doesn’t mean you have to create something new. Put a new spin on an old trope and you’re in business. But first and foremost don’t pander to us.

We’re smart enough to know an orc or vampire when see one and for the love of the flying spaghetti monster stop with this paranormal romance crap already.

So what things about Sci-Fi /Fantasy do you love/hate?