‘The Accursed Kings’, a review of the series

As to get some inspiration for my book, I thought it best to read some books which orientates around medieval warfare and politics, so one day, I picked up Maurice Druons ‘The Iron King’.

This book was fantastic, thrilling, fast paced, and captivating, containing descriptive politics, murder, betrayal, trajectory, love, and very long winded ways of describing things which don’t really make sense. The first two books I read, which I couldn’t put down (The Iron King and The Strangled Queen) were very good, making you want to really want to read the next page, then chapter, then the rest of the book. The third book however…lets talk about the content first.

So it’s based in 14th Century Europe, and follows the family of Philip the Fair, and his sons and successors. A well articulated plot, with meticulous story-lines and characters. It talks of the fall of the Templars (don’t worry, that’s not ruining anything if you read it) and the King’s reign. It’s, moderately executed, being translated from French to English, George R.R. Martin states that it is ‘the original Game of Thrones‘, which I am about to start reading.

My main issues. Yes the first two books of the series are very well done, drawing me in further and further, but, after getting the third book as a present from my editor, I see myself drawing away from the book. I did read ‘The Matarese Circle’ between the second and third book, which may have been a mistake, since I was on a slight high from reading what I thought was one of the best books I’ve ever read. The characters in the series present so much promise, but never have I found myself (maybe bar one) wishing for something to happen to them, good or bad. The author has presented a brilliant opportunity to create some gutsy and solid characters, but as I read on, I don’t really give a sh*t about any of them, if I’m honest. This is supported by the next issue, the pacing. There is fast, slow, slow burning, or this, the trailing fire of the DeLorean from Back to the Future! It goes so quickly that I have no idea what’s going on! It’s a skeleton without tissue or organs, it is its bare story which is hard to follow from all the expansive old words that I don’t fully understand. Along with that, and the issue with not expanding the characters to their full potential, means when something happens, I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. Because of the extensive list of characters and their actions, the pacing makes it impossible to follow, first someone is doing this, then bounces over here, then rebounds to this part, just too much happening in such a small amount of time, which makes it not enjoyable to read, which is a shame, because the first two were good, but the third ‘The Poisoned Crown’, was a different story. I believe, when reading a book, for it to be good, you need substance of characters, descriptions of surroundings and feelings, you don’t get that with this series, and a great shame it is. The next thing is, and I cannot stand this and I am to make sure I do none of it in my book, with my editor backing me on it, is sentences at the end of paragraphs that basically give away the story and what’s about to happen, the books are full of them and it’s not speculation, it’s ruining the book, because now I know what will happen without any thinking effort, again, a real shame.

So the main issues, characters and whether I’m supposed to like them or not, the pacing (way, way too fast), badly written foreshadowing (I know what’s going to happen before I’ve finished the first part), and the lack of substance to the plot. What are the character’s motivations? Why am I reading a book that feels like a historical report of certain events? Why does the speech feel like it’s being read to me, rather than me reading it? Who do I like and hate and why? I think it’s clear that if I’m having to ask this many questions about a book, it’s unlikely to be my favourite, and unlikely to win a few people over, which is a true shame.

2.5/5

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Crikey, today is a bit of a wonder!

So, after looking through my feed, having a gander at some of people’s posts, I came across a post written by ‘The Daily Post’, encouraging people to come together and share their site with other bloggers, regardless of what their blog focuses on. Giving it some thought, I decided to put my name out there, reading some very influential and heartfelt posts about real life issues, it was clear to me that I needed to expand my horizons on wordpress, and I’m glad I did! Reading some very touching posts, I wanted to use this opportunity to say thank you to ‘The Daily Post’ for allowing me to post my blog on their ‘First Friday’ post to try and get bloggers more followers and appreciation. This kind of action I thoroughly endorse, and encourage everyone to take part, regardless of followers or how long you’ve been on wordpress, get out there and explore the world of wonder, because it seriously is a massive eye opener!

I would also like to add my personal thanks to Michelle W., The Daily Post for giving me support on this project! As always, everyone’s words of encouragement is much appreciated and highly valued!

Here is the link to those that are interested!

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/27030/posts/1428683823

The halfway mark! A massive thank you!

So yesterday I made a small post about why I hadn’t done much writing recently, and at the end, briefly mentioned that I am halfway through writing this book.

Thinking about it last night, I didn’t emphasise how important this was, and was only made aware when I told my editor and my friends about it. So this is a special post to say thank you to all my followers, visitors, and viewers for all your support! I hope in the coming year that I’ll further build up my fan base as the book progresses, and the content I post captivates yourselves as much as your favourite book (maybe a bit too ambitious)!

To finish off with, I’ll quickly update you about where I am with ‘A Monarch’s Gamble’. We’ve finished with the events taking place in Pravum (the main plot for the series) and are now heading to Integer for an event of mourning and sorrow for a character that died fairly early on (I won’t say who). The story surrounding Integer won’t be as intricate and meticulous as the plot in Pravum, but will still be desire and supremacy orientated, with people fighting for power.

Keep tabs on things!

‘Stay cool, hot one out there today!’ – Parks and Recreation, Season 5

Another update…’an intense game of tetris’

So it has been a while since I wrote something about the book, which is what this blog is all about. But, again, I have been busy with both cycling and Uni work, however, last night was different, last night I got things going, starting to wind things up now! I have finished the negotiations chapter, and the chapter after, describing what the other people were doing briefly during the treaty signings, now, Palt and Scott have become ‘temp investigators’ trying to decipher one of the militias at Dalimaey, using the information Scott acquired from Nathanial. Everything fitted into place, like an intense game of tetris. Loose ends now have meaning, and the setup for the rest of the book, and the books to come are now in place, it’s just a case of executing it well enough to keep you interested.

The Plysters and Fermata leaders have now left Praevalidus, to travel to Mentior for the coronation…which I’m really looking forward to writing. However, this won’t happen until summer, at the earliest! But fingers crossed!

And another thing, I am now, officially (according to mine storyboard) halfway through the book! 😀

‘The Matarese Circle’ – this book will blow your mind if you love thrillers!

So today, I decided to finish reading, what is now one of my favourite books, ‘The Matarese Circle’ by Robert Ludlum. Now before I go any further, I need to specify that I have read his stuff before (the Bourne Trilogy) and that was fantastic. But this, this was on a new level! A completely new playing field, taking thrillers up to a new level.

His classic writing style is how I write, in a way, but not explicitly. The way he describes things, activities, scenes, thoughts and feelings, the way it flows is captivating. I found the Bourne books a struggle to get into, but once things started rolling, they really rolled. Well, for this book, things start rolling from about 75 pages in, and it draws you in further and further every time you start reading it.

The book is about an undercover, terrorist organisation, called the ‘Matarese’, formed long before the setting of the book. Two agents team up to try and take down this organisation before it becomes too powerful and influential in the global world of politics and global conglomerates.

That’s all I’m saying about the story.

It’s a must read for the thriller for those who like this kind of writing. The meticulous nature of the story makes your mind think for hours after, trying to piece together the puzzle, however, the story you put together is never going to be the real one. While you think something will happen, Ludlum draws you in further and further, catching your mind, making you think something, where actually, his writing deceives you, and you’re left there looking like an idiot. Yeah, it’s that kind of a book!

I loved the story, the characters, and the way it was articulated. As with all his books I’ve read, the story is pretty much airtight, although there are some bits where you think, hang on, how does that work. But that might be me not reading it properly. But due to its intricate and detailed intertwining nature, you can’t expect anything less from Ludlum. At the end of the book, you still have some thought about whether so and so has forgiven this other person (I don’t want to spoil it), and that’s what I love. The character buildup is fantastic, and you feel like you really know what’s going through their minds during certain events.

Yes, there are cliches, I guessed something midway through the book, that turned out to be correct, but again, I think that’s because I’ve read Ludlum’s books before. Being an old book, there are words that will stump you, and some phrases that aren’t supposed to make you feel uncomfortable, but since our views on certain issues in this world at this current point in time differ from those that existed 20-30 years ago, you can’t expect anything different.

Overall impression: one of the best books I’ve ever read! I real captivating jaw dropper that will have you pinned down in your seat until your eyes hurt! A must read for the thriller lovers!

4.5/5!

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A little update

So I haven’t been very active on wordpress recently, neither have I been heavily, knee deep in writing, and there are a couple of reasons, the main one is, being at home for Easter means great roads, and with great weather at the moment, I’ve been spending a lot of time on the bike.

Along with cycling, I’ve had to commit somewhat to the three assignments I have, all due back the week I return to Uni, so that kind of take priority.

BUT! I am chugging away, bit by bit at ‘A Monarch’s Gamble’, and the ball has really started rolling now. The negotiations (bulk of the book’s story) has been done and dusted. When I say done and dusted, completely rewritten so, A. It makes sense, B. It’s a lot more entertaining, and C. It’s coherent. My editor did not like the original at all, and to be honest, neither did I.

With that over and done with, I will continue to write as much as a I can, with updates coming more often. I’m sorry if I’ve been pretty absent recently, but I promise to get back on it!

Osgar Veart – An excerpt from ‘A Monarch’s Gamble’

The day was warm in Praevalidus, the population busy with their daily routine, many of whom work for the stronghold as either blacksmiths, hands of the council, or selling their own produce at the local markets. The city was a myriad of interactions and appointments, most notably in the underground city of Iron Fall. The mining city was built specifically to supply Praevalidus with building materials for new and improving constructions, and to mine the ore to create weapons, armour, utensils, and parts for farming equipment. Located directly beneath the stronghold, the mining city is renowned for its inhabitants; hardy, no-nonsense, and loyal attitude ensures that when work is needed, it is done swiftly and to the highest standard, there is nowhere else in Faraday like the underground city. The workers and families who live in Iron Fall are well respected by the ‘common surface folk’. Many of the people living in Iron Fall are shorter in stature, but are still as strong as those who live on the surface. The dwarfs are stubby, but incredibly strong and witty, with a die-hard attitude, they come across aggressive Sounds like a pleasant story to tell, and but, in reality, are the most loyal people found in Pravum. They are sometimes stubborn, and are often known to begrudge against the requests of the surfacers but, in truth, they enjoy the work and the tasks they are given.
Osgar Veart, the leader of Iron Fall and the most revered miner in the underground city, commands the mining parties in search for more materials and ores for weaponry, utility items, and for building more structures in Iron Fall and Praevalidus. His short stature matches his temper, when challenged or disagreed with, his calm attitude turns into a raging torrent of anger and frustration when he is not obeyed or listened to. Osgar earned his respect from his prestigious mining technique and achievement, starting his mining career from when he was just twelve, he excelled at finding ores, and picking the best places to mine, and, very quickly, earned much respect from the elder miners. Now, in his mid-forties, he still has his fuzzy brown beard that stretches down to his chest, short brown hair, and many scars across his face from mining accidents. Osgar is a distinguished and easily identifiable character, who still is one of the best miners in Iron Fall, although he spends a lot of time serving at the high council, he is the best representative for the people of the underground city. Whenever called upon in meetings, his loud, gruff voice is clearly understood and always listened to.
A new day had arrived for the mining city, with all the miners and inhabitants scurrying around to their work, Osgar was in his chamber waking up to a day he was resenting. His chamber was a large room, scattered in no particular order, with various objects he had found in his mining career. Items ranged from useless but attractive looking stones, to bones and special types of ores, which never really found a use. The room was an unordered mess of pickaxes, shovels, books, clothes, boots, and his beloved mining helmet, which he had forged himself at the Forgemasters’ Keep. He didn’t care about untidiness, it was his room, and in his mind, a place which didn’t have to be clean and tidy, just a place where he could offload and relax, and block out the world outside his door.

Just a quick one…

I’m writing this quick post, since I haven’t done an informative post for a while, and feel obliged to do so. Also, its quick cause I’m going to cook dinner in a sec, and rest my brain from writing! This is more of a quick update rather than a meaningful, sincere post about what I think about when writing.

So while I was in Tenerife, my editor had a look through what I had written, and completely scrutinised it! Which is a good thing! Some of the stuff I had recently written I felt wasn’t my best, although she did like my fight scene, yay! But anyway, the main part of the book (now being rewritten) was ripped to shreds as it wasn’t: A. Coherent, B. Engaging. I was told that she was lost and confused at quite a lot of it (bit concerning) with some parts having not enough emphasis, and other parts having to much, so a simple concept of give and take. It was clear to me where I went wrong, and what I should have done, which I suppose is a good thing, if I can acknowledge my work as not in-keeping with what I’ve already written. Another good skill to have, the ability to scrutinise your work, to make it as coherent as possible. Currently rewriting the negotiations, which happens to set the scene and foundations of the series, I feel more confident about what I’m doing, and how I’m doing it.

In terms of other parts of the book that were criticised, were things like: this has already been mentioned, why don’t you change this so it has a better effect, I thought this was this, why have you put this here, makes no sense. That sort of thing. I guess, as you progress with writing, and understand and acknowledge your writing style, you begin to realise how much you need to change in the early parts of your writing/book; and since I’m taking on a load of suggestions, I’ve changed quite a bit in the beginning. Thus, everything that I’ve posted (all the excerpts) from ‘A Monarch’s Gamble’, will inevitably have been changed to sound more dramatic and engaging.

Sorry if you liked the excerpts before, but, I promise what has been scrutinised and edited, and edited again, will be better and more coherent! Exactly what I want!

Now to go and cook Rigatoni All’ Arrabbiata Con Salmone! Yummy!

Nathanial Plyster – An excerpt from ‘A Monarch’s Gamble’

At daybreak, the convoy was in full flow. Maria and Davos were in their personal carriage, driven by her secret lover, the guards were on horseback bringing up the rear of the convoy, in-between the carriage and the front riders were various advisors to the Plysters, who were fundamental to Davos’ negotiations with the Fermata’s, and at the front of the convoy was Nathanial Plyster, Davos and Maria’s eldest son. Nathanial was a tall and proud man, whose appearance resembled many of his mother’s features, his personality emulating his father’s. Nathanial had light brown hair, that covered his temples, the top of his forehead and the top part of his ears. His blue eyes were deceiving, they gave the impression he was a soft and understanding character, but behind them, deviant and illustrious ideas that could cause so much calamity to Pravum. Davos was proud of his son, but continuously reminded him that the Fermata’s were not their enemy, but soon to be under their leadership.
Nathanial looked forward to the day that his family would become Pravum’s reigning monarchy. He had a lust for power and strived for it in any circumstance. The only problem in his life was his bastard sister. In his eyes, an ugly bitch who had no place in Pravum, and deserved to live in the dirty lands of Integer. How he hated her and her presence. But he hated the relationship between her and his mother. Nathanial often wandered how such an abomination entered the world through her, an attractive lady married to the must proud and zealous husband, with respectful children. He hated the fact that his mother had given birth to Raelyn. He hoped one day his father would force Maria to disown her, then the annoyance would no longer be around, even though Raelyn was riding at the back of the convoy, away from sight.
Riding alongside Nathanial was Davos’ personal advisor. Ligal and Nathanial had always been friends, Ligal took care of Nathanial whenever his parents were away from Mentior, or working and couldn’t offer the attention he needed. On many occasions Ligal would personally train Nathanial how to wield a sword and how to defend himself in dangerous combat situations. Nathanial was a natural at handling his sword, and Ligal was impressed by him. Ligal shared many stories with Nathanial, which further inspired him to become a conqueror and follow in his father’s footsteps. Ligal could be mistaken for Nathanial’s father if it were not for Davos’ existence. The pair trusted each other implicitly with personal opinions and stories of their activities when not attending their duties to Davos.

Maria Plyster – An excerpt from ‘A Monarch’s Gamble’

After a few hours of drinking and socialising, each party within the convoy went their separate ways to their tents. Davos and Ligal remained in the main tent drinking into the night. Maria knew that it would be hours until the two of them finished to rest for the night, which made her happy that she could spend some time alone, at least, that’s what most people thought. Before the drinking, Maria had talked with her bastard daughter, Raelyn, asking her how she was and whether Melissa or Nathanial were giving her a hard time along the journey. Even though Raelyn was a bastard, and children who were bastards were always treated badly and frowned upon, Maria loved her daughter dearly, and didn’t care about what others thought about their relationship. Raelyn was Maria’s most beautiful and loving child she had given birth to, and that’s what made Davos and the rest of the family hate her so much, because she was the smartest and most strong-willed. It infuriated Maria’s children that Raelyn was the best out of all of them, but she was only the best because of the way Maria had brought her up.
It was a little past ten o’clock, and Maria was undressing in her tent to rest for the night. Untying her boots and emerald green dress and placing them on a chair in the corner of her tent, she picked up her white nighty when there was a knock on the wooden post next to the tent flap. She spun round, a slight smile appearing, and a glimmer in her eye, she would not be spending the night alone. Maria walked over to the tent, and gently pealed part of the opening back to see who it was. She knew it wasn’t Davos, since he doesn’t know the courtesy of knocking, it was her assistant, hers and Davos’ horseman. Maria smiled at his presence and he bowed in respect of seeing her.