Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Midnight Reviews

One of the best surprises a writer can receive is an unexpected good review. My two vampire novels, 100,000 MIDNIGHTS and ACROSS THE MIDNIGHT SEA, each were recently reviewed by Bradley Krawchuk, who had some great things to say about both books. I thought I'd share those reviews here today.

In the interest of full disclosure, I do know Brad, though not very well. We've never met in person, so I guess we're what you might call friendly internet acquaintances. We first met several years ago on a forum devoted to the work of prolific comic book writer/ artist John Byrne. I later became Facebook friends with a handful of people from that forum, including Brad.
Brad is a voracious reader, going through hundreds of a books a year, many of which he reviews on Facebook. I did not ask Brad to read or review my vampire novels. In fact, I didn't know he'd purchased them until he posted his thoughts on the first one, so these were not solicited reviews.

Here are, in his exact words, Brad's comments:

"100,000 Midnights by Aaron Smith - Now, why didn't Facebook highlight Aaron Smith's name there? Ah! There it is! Hey Aaron, cool book! Dude, the "Miracle" was awesome - and a good name, too! And Perfection? That was just X-Filesy goodness.
So at first I didn't like it. I read a couple chapters and I thought I knew where it was going, and then when I realized I didn't, I assumed I knew where it was going anyway, and then I figured out where it was actually going but not, and then I understood it was just doing whatever it wanted and I held on for the ride. That's when it got really fun!
A young man with an old soul meets a young looking but much older vampire, and then proceeds to go on many crazy and (seemingly) disconnected adventures with her. That's pretty much the gist of it right there. It reads like an old fashioned serial adventure story; if you took out things like cell phone references (and an entire chapter about rock n' roll), substituted carriages for cars and steamers for airplanes, you could almost fool me into thinking this was written back in the early 20th century. John Carter, Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes... you put a chapter a week in a pulp 100 years ago this would almost fit in. Almost.
Because while the serialized adventure style of the book hearkens back to a bygone era, the references to classic sci-fi and fantasy literature - both overt and subtle - has a decidedly nostalgic and sentimental undercurrent that makes it seem much more at home in modern literary times. It feels like it's of the past even while it yearns to be part of that past, an interesting and very entertaining line to walk.
The sheer lunacy of the ideas and the many disparate elements that get tossed in and taken out makes it feel like it could go in any direction, and like I said, once I understood I shouldn't anticipate anything, I left myself open to be pleasantly surprised by where it went. By the time I got to who was living in that castle, I was pretty much beaming as I said "of course!" As such, I can hardly wait to see where it goes next in the sequel!"

And, concerning the second book:

"Across the Midnight Sea by Aaron Smith - The follow-up to Smith's 100,000 MIDNIGHTS sees Eric (our human narrator) continue his relationship with the newly Elder vampire Siobahn, and his continued employment by Phillip, an older vampire with a mysterious past that isn't so mysterious after this volume.
The book picks up days after the end of the previous adventure, and while there are some twists and turns the novel overall has a more focussed narrative thread, without the numerous serial adventure side missions. There are certainly still nods to different popular stories, but this second outing delves less into the general supernatural themes of the first and spends time deepening the lives of the main characters. Phillip's aforementioned mysterious past is revealed, Eric's family naturally comes into the picture, and a possible love triangle emerges when Eric befriends an entirely human female closer to his own age than the near 300-year-old (and immortal, and vampiric) Siobahn.
Think of the first book as a rollercoaster, and this one like a Ferris wheel. You hardly catch your breath with the first, with the second you take time to stop and look around, but they're both still fun rides. I have no idea what the third book will be, and that's a good thing."

Those 2 reviews each made my day and I'm glad Brad (and other readers, I hope) looks forward to the next book in the series.

I found it interesting that Brad, being an observant reader, noticed certain differences between the two books, specifically what he calls the serial nature of the first book and the more focused narrative thread of the second. He's right on the money, and there are reasons for the differences (and I'm glad he seemed to enjoy both styles). The first book was indeed originally written as a series of short stories and intended to be a serial. I first created the character of Eric and Siobhan in two short stories, "100,000 Midnights" and "A Study in Shadows," which were published in Pro Se Press's magazine FANTASY AND FEAR. After writing those, I couldn't get enough of them, so I kept writing. I came up with plot after plot and soon had eight stories. It was then that I decided to try to put them all together as one novel. Those 8 stories became the 14 chapters of 100,000 MIDNIGHTS. After that book was accepted by Musa Publishing, I wanted to do a sequel. That story, ACROSS THE MIDNIGHT SEA, was meant from the first page to be a novel, which explains the difference in style from the first book. 

I do plan to write a third novel continuing the story of Eric, Siobhan, Phillip, and the other cast members. I haven't started it yet, but I have a few ideas. 

Those interested in my vampire novels can find them on Amazon for Kindle:

or for Barnes & Nobles' Nook e-reader:

or at the Musa Publishing site.  

Thanks again, Brad, for the great reviews!