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Newsletter #86 June August, 2009

Short Recommendations
by Don Blyly

        About a year and a quarter ago I recommended Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia, which at that point was a self-published trade paperback at $21.95. Shortly after the recommendation, Larry signed a contract with Baen Books and had to take the self-published version off the market. We still managed to sell 21 copies of the self-published version in a short period of time, and almost none of them came back as used books. The Baen Books edition of the novel (which I assume received some editing) will be out as a $7.99 paperback in early August.

        Karen Miller’s first fantasy series consisted of Innocent Mage ($7.99) and Awakened Mage ($7.99), and I’ve recommended them here before, and they’ve sold very well. Her third fantasy series (published under the K.E. Mills pseudonym) started with The Accidental Sorcerer ($7.99), a wonderful humorous fantasy which I’ve recommended before. The second in that series,  Witches Incorporated ($7.99), will be out in early July.
        In between those two series, she put out the Godspeaker Trilogy: Empress ($7.99), The Riven Kingdom ($7.99), and Hammer of God ($7.99). I noticed that our sales of the second volume was only about half of the sales of the first volume, which is normally a very bad sign. When I started asking customers about the series, some people told me that the main character in Empress was so nasty that they didn’t want her running around in their head for two more fat books, while other people told me that the second and third books were so much better than the first that it was very much worth reading the entire series. I decided to try the series because I had enjoyed the other books so much.
        Hekat, the main character in the Empress, starts out as a very bitter little girl (for good reasons) and grows into a very ruthless and powerful woman. In a land ruled by a nasty desert god, symbolized by the scorpion and very much into blood sacrifices and smiting, Hekat forms a special relationship with the god and convinces it to conquer the world. As the conquest of the world begins, the reader is shown in great detail how nasty and blood-thirsty Hekat and her god are.
        In The Riven Kingdom, the story moves to the small island kingdom of Ethrea, where the king is dying, his sons recently died, and his tom-boy daughter Rhian wants to take the crown of the land that has never been ruled by a queen. Many are plotting against her, and she needs help from an interesting batch of characters and must learn to be ruthless when necessary in order to save her land. Hekat appears in about a dozen pages, on the other side of the world, still nasty and conquering more countries.
        In the final book, the battle takes place between Rhian and the allies she’s managed to secure (including the god of her land) against Hekat and her forces and her god.
        I enjoyed the series, but can see how Hekat could be too much for some readers.

        I’ve recommended David Weber’s Off Armageddon Reef ($7.99) before. The second volume, By Schism Rent Asunder, is coming out in early June as a $7.99 paperback. The third volume, By Heresies Distressed, is coming out in mid-July as a $27.99 hardcover. The series gets better with each book, and I’m already eager for the next volume.



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