December 9th, 2013 by Ravven
I loved this book and found it both utterly charming and a fast, entertaining read. Steampunk elements were handled well, with just enough explanation for the reader to have an overall view of the tech without being bored by a nuts-and-bolts explanation of how things work. It features the classic steampunk character: the plucky girl adventurer. This is not a bad thing.
Emilie is who I wanted to be as a child. My fantasies may have centred more upon running away to join the circus, but any adventure involving running away and doing dangerous things in exotic lands would have worked. She is perfectly written as a girl standing on that precise point between childhood and adulthood, an occasionally gauche mixture of awkward child and capable adult. She barges in where she doesn’t belong, embarrasses herself occasionally and lets her bravery carry her through perilous situations. Lovely!
I liked this book so much that it makes me wish that my daughter was young again so that I could buy this for her in hopes of her own dreams of danger and derring-do catching fire. Take risks, follow your dreams and damn the consequences.
Highly recommended overall as an entertaining, classically cinematic book with great characters and high adventure.
Note: I am trying to catch up on reviews. This is one I had written some time ago on Netgalley, but at the time you couldn’t go back and see your reviews so I couldn’t post it here after publication.
UK Print & Ebook
Amazon.co.uk | Book Depository | Waterstones | WHSmith
North American Print & Ebook
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | BarnesandNoble.com | IndieBound.org
Global DRM-Free Epub Ebook
Robot Trading Company
Other Books in This Series
Emilie and the Sky World (March 2014)
December 6th, 2013 by Ravven
Things are looking up a bit. Phil interviewed for a job and was offered it the same day. It’s way under what he normally makes…but it’s a job. I’ve gone back to doing book covers, and am trying to do some writing on the side. We’re cautiously optimistic. :)
We’re still waiting for snow, although it’s been very grey, windy and rainy here which is pretty standard for England during this time of year. I need to get the Christmas boxes out of the loft crawlspace and decorate for the holidays – I love the way the house looks when all sparkly.
So, fingers crossed and not trying to tempt fate, but I think we might be ok.
November 26th, 2013 by Ravven
A few days ago I was getting ready to take a bath. It was afternoon, actually, as mornings in a drafty English house are too cold for me – I’m like a cat, I hate being either cold or wet. But anyway. Phil knocked on the door and said “I lost my job.” He was sitting on the stairs as though in shock, no surprise there. I turned off the tub and we both sat on the stairs, stunned.
I still feel stunned, and it’s been difficult to work on anything or know how to move forward. We’ve been in a bizarre situation for a couple of years now and it dawns on me that I have been living very much like a ghost, drifting through the remnants of a life. After the beginning of the recession and the demise of Top Sekrit Projekt, I did take another job which turned out so badly that I still feel like someone suffering from PTSD. The environment was so toxic that I wanted to die every single day; I just wanted to go to sleep, fade into darkness and never wake up. I always had to though, even when each Sunday was ruined because my stomach was in knots knowing that Monday was coming. I was broken.
Then I went freelance, and slowly built up a book cover art business – nothing that made any real money, of course, not enough to survive on, but at least I had something that I could say that I did. But I never actually became a real person again, not in any real sense. I barely left the house. I worked through my revised bucket list: I wrote the book I’d always dreamed of writing, and did a few small things. No real dreams, as we were now poor. There was no travel to exotic destinations, no running of the bulls, no survival treks through the desert.
Are you real if no one ever sees you, talks to you? Sometimes it’s difficult to say for sure. Are you real if you don’t feel like a real girl?
NaNoWriMo was a writeoff, and I haven’t written anything since. Too empty. We’re both looking for work, and I’ve been revising our business sites in hopes of either of us picking up freelance work. My technical skills are no longer current, and the thought of competing with 25-year-old boys for development jobs fills me with dread. We’ve discussed selling the house, we’ve talked about going back to the States, but there are no good choices to be made. I just feel empty, as insubstantial as a dust kitty. Drifting.
November 18th, 2013 by Ravven
I’m working at my desk when Laurence (our big, fluffy black cat) comes in and starts crying loudly behind my chair.
CAT: Come quick! Timmy fell down the well!
ME: We don’t have a well.
CAT: Come! It’s an emergency!!!
ME: Nor is there anyone here named Timmy.
CAT: Help! You have to come now!
ME: You can see the bottom of the cat food dish, can’t you?
CAT: Fine. Yes.
November 13th, 2013 by Ravven
I’ve been struggling to get back into writing, as it has been such a very long time since I’ve written anything. I’ve gone a month or so without doing a blog post, for gods’ sake. As of today, I’m under my target wordcount, but my words-per-day to finish on time is still under 2k/day, so that is entirely doable. So far, it’s been a bit painful and each target has been met after many agonised hours spent sitting at my desk, staring at Scrivener and asking why this all wasn’t more fun.
What I don’t want to do is hit that 50k and trigger that “Yaay, I’ve won!” feeling, because it is very hard to continue past that point. I’m trying to think of this as a habit that I am setting which will continue month in and month out.
I am glad that I’ve arranged a small hiatus from cover work, because if I had any pressure, much less the inhuman schedule that I had last year, I would have used it as an excuse to punk out. I know I would have.
That said, this afternoon I did some personal artwork, and it felt fantastic. Here is “Crow Girl” – click for info about stock credit.
November 13th, 2013 by Ravven
Since launch I don’t think The Secret World has ever disappointed me. The story is incredible, the game is challenging without being stupidly hard, the voice acting cutscenes are some of the best that I have ever seen in a game, and the world is engaging and immersive. I don’t do nightmare modes or endgame content, but have been content with just doing quests, playing through new issue content and generally enjoying the world. I usually play solo, and have soloed through all content in the game without much trouble.
Scenarios are the first thing that has really disappointed me. I’d been so excited about Issue 8 and new content, but after playing the the one scenario that was available to me prior to being able to purchase the content, I’ve decided not to buy this issue. And that is something that I never thought I’d say about this game.
My gear isn’t the best – mostly green QL10 stuff with a nice neck from doing dailies in Transylvania. I have a fair amount of room to play with builds, as I have 46% completion on the ability wheel. I don’t play consistently, but I have a few builds that I am satisfied with and can play decently with. I don’t think I suck…but perhaps I do.
I get slaughtered on Hotel solo normal mode. I haven’t finished successfully even once. I’ve switched builds, I’ve researched and tried builds from the forums (I think the one that I presently have active is one of those frankenbuilds – normally I go with a solo/survival AR/fist build that I am comfortable with). Nothing works. As the encounter ramps up, I can’t take the roving packs down quickly enough, people start dying off, and the whole thing turns into a huge monsterfest. Not a hope.
I don’t want easy games, I do like challenge…but I would expect that a “normal” setting could be accomplised by any reasonably capable player in normal gear. I’m not loaded with purplez, I don’t raid or run nightmare modes…am I no longer the type of player that base-level challenges are tuned for? Very disheartening, as I genuinely love this game.
The worst thing is that successfully running the scenarios is a prerequisite for having access to Tokyo, and I very much wanted to experience that content – and with that, I move from disappointment to outright pissed-offness. I really, truly hope that the TSW devs re-think and re-tune at least the normal mode for scenarios. I would hate to be locked out of the rest of the game because I simply cannot get past this gate.