Review of Abendau's Heir

  1. mgilmour

    mgilmour Author of The Mindwars

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    Just posted the following review on Amazon, SFFAuthors and about to tweet and FB it.

    Jo Zebedee should be proud of her debut scifi novel, Abendau's Heir. From the first page the reader can feel her love of the genre and her love of the characters that inhabit her universe. It’s clear that she has been percolating the story for many years as the depth in the characters and subtle nuances that they display, in a continually shifting plot, are impressive.

    Abendau’s Heir is not a book that I would normally pick-up off the shelf and it’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s a dark universe where the reader is immediately confronted with a torture scene that underpins the interactions of many of the characters throughout the book.

    The main character, Kare, is on a personal quest of redemption to prove himself to those around him while not being controlled by those same people. The author’s skill in navigating this difficult knife’s edge is evident as Kare grows into a character that you love, pity and admire.

    Once you buy-in to the author’s unusual grammatical style you will find Abendau’s Heir difficult to put down. There is one particular scene where Kare is discussing some of the things that had happened to him with another character. Without giving away any spoilers the sensitivity in which the author handled the incredibly tense conversation was worth the read alone.

    Although lacking in the typical scifi technical gizmos, Abendau’s Heir more than makes up for this with some quite amazing psionic powers. Some of the powers reminded me of Julian May’s “Exiles saga” and John Wyndham’s “The Crysalids”. Two of my favourite authors.

    By the end of the story the author has setup an intriguing scenario for the final two books in the series. This combined with the characters working through multiple personal crisis has me hooked to find out what’s going to happen next. I’m looking forward to the second and third instalments in “The Inheritance Trilogy”.

    Well done Ms Zebedee! For a debut novel you are up there with some of the best!
     
    May 21, 2015
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  2. Jo Zebedee

    Jo Zebedee writes books about people.

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    Many thanks, Michael, after five hours wrestling with my tax return this is lovely to see. :)
     
    May 21, 2015
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  3. mgilmour

    mgilmour Author of The Mindwars

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    Jo,
    It's the very least that I could do. Thank you for inviting me into the world of Abendau and taking part in the precious gift of the imagination.

    Michael
     
    May 21, 2015
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  4. Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    Interesting that you commented on the grammatical style, since it never struck me as unusual.

    Perhaps it's because Sam, the copy editor, is American and the grammar leans that way. Might be disorienting if you were expecting it to be pure British English.
     
    May 21, 2015
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  5. Gary Compton

    Gary Compton I miss you, wor kid.

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    I would rather it did lean toward the American market as it is so much bigger. TBP just made alot of effort getting Ralph Kern's Endeavour Americanised for amazon.com

    In an ideal world we would have UK and US versions but Rome wasn't built in a day, especially when I was in charge. :)

    US sales dwarf UK sales on that book. But this is all subjective. Thanks for a great review Mr G (still waiting for that blog we discussed)
     
    May 21, 2015
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  6. Jo Zebedee

    Jo Zebedee writes books about people.

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    It was written to be fairly inoffensive to either and neutral in tone. But I do have a voice which may not be to everyone's taste (but if anyone can show me the one that is...) I also think, sometimes, the colons and semi colons (which both Sam and I use so were in agreement with :D) throw people. I have an early sentence mentioned by a few people which is a conjoined list following on from a colon with two semis - it is accurately punctuated but we see it rarely these days so seems to throw people as a hellishly long sentence rather than three joined clauses. We could start a whole thread on semis!

    It's a great review, which picks up on the areas I hoped were strong, including the characterisation. :)
     
    May 21, 2015
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  7. Gary Compton

    Gary Compton I miss you, wor kid.

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    Maybe a colonic irrigation may help. LOL :)

    I'll get my coat before I get a slap.
     
    May 21, 2015
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  8. Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    Was it semicolons, then? But there is nothing eccentric at all in the way Jo uses them. She uses them correctly, for British or American English. Lots of people don't understand how semicolons work (which I don't understand because the rules are quite simple) and won't use them in their own writing. This makes them resistant to them in other people's writing. I believe that you said in another thread that you were allergic to them, Michael? Meanwhile, the vast majority of readers don't notice them in published books at all. (If they were paying attention to them as they read all through the years they had been reading, everybody probably would have figured out how to use them in their own writing by now.)

    The use of colons, on the other hand, seems to have changed quite a bit in the last 60 years or so. I was surprised, once I started noticing them, how often and in what unexpected ways Tolkien used them in The Lord of the Rings. Considering that he was a long time academic and a life-long student of language, I assume that his usage was correct for his time. The first five or six time I read the books—that is to say, before I became serious about my own writing and started paying attention to such things—they went right by me.

    Jo, I am almost certain there is already a thread about semicolons somewhere in GWD.
     
    May 21, 2015
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  9. Gary Compton

    Gary Compton I miss you, wor kid.

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    I think semis are easy to understand. You can use them where 2 independent clauses (that could be sentences on thier own) but want to link them together - hence the semi-colon.

    Colons though...
     
    May 21, 2015
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  10. Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    That's right, Gary. But you should also use semicolons when you have a list after a colon, and some parts of the list have internal punctuation of their own.


    For instance, if I wrote

    As I opened the door, I knew they would be waiting for me outside: friends, enemies, relatives, former teachers, and members of the teams I had belonged to when I played high school sports.

    Then it would be correct to use commas, as I just did above.

    But if I wrote

    As I opened the door, I knew they would all be waiting for me outside: all my friends and enemies; my sister Mary, Cousin Ruth, and Aunt Mathilda; Mrs. Jones, my math teacher, and Mr. Smith, my history teacher; my team mates from the days when I played baseball, soccer, and basketball.

    Then there would be the semicolons so that everything would be neatly divided up and make sense.

    Of course a writer can avoid the whole thing by not writing that kind of list to begin with, and that would certainly be a viable option in terms of style. But so is the other.
     
    May 21, 2015
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  11. Jo Zebedee

    Jo Zebedee writes books about people.

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    Colons are for clauses not directly linked, iirc. (Waits for the grammaticians to turn up.) But they also head lists eg

    There are a number of grammaticians on the Chrons: @The Judge, the slinky, young one; @Ursa major, he who should really have had the last post by now; and @HareBrain, who is otterly wonderful. ;)

    That's where I most commonly use colons - it indicates the head of the list and each clause should be seen as a separate thing. A comma can be used instead of a semi but makes it very hard to separate the clauses later.

    I find not using colons and semis makes things terse for me, and disrupts the flow.

    @Teresa Edgerton - use does seem to have moved in. Tolkien uses more double semis (not in joined lists) than I ever would, for instance. I suspect, given that many are anti-semis that they will decline in usage. :(

    And you beat me to it... :D
     
    May 21, 2015
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  12. Gary Compton

    Gary Compton I miss you, wor kid.

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    This is why I delegate these matters to Teresa, Sam, Jeff, Jennifer and Chrispy so if it all goes wrong I blame them :)
     
    May 21, 2015
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  13. Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    I suppose it depends on who is for them and who is against. If all the most influential writers avoid them, then they will die out altogether. But if someone who uses a lot of them comes along with a monster hit, we'll probably start seeing so many of them that even those of favor of semicolons now will get a bit tired of them.
     
    May 21, 2015
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  14. mgilmour

    mgilmour Author of The Mindwars

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    Hold on everyone....hold the horses!

    I want to make sure that EVERYONE understands that I wrote a very positive review and gave the book 5 stars.
    Punctuation is often a style issue that is greatly influence by language, culture and upbringing. Sure, there are some rules but a writer can make a choice to rewrite a sentence (or two) to eliminate the overuse of punctuation. When there is a lot of punctuation it's because the writer has chosen to go in that direction....it's all about style.

    I've spoken privately to Jo about this and her style is very different from my own. Neither are wrong and reflect the manner in which we both approach writing and reading.

    For example, here are the second and third sentences in the prologue of Abendau's Heir.

    upload_2015-5-22_11-31-18.png

    I would have written it without any colons or semi-colons but that would be me writing and not Jo. The last time I checked Jo wrote Abendau's Heir and not Michael Gilmour. If Jo wrote my own book, Battleframe, it would have been very different.

    What I took away from Abendau's Heir was the tightness of the writing and the way she addressed the characters....it was actually really special to read. This was fantastic timing for me as Battleframe was all characters being driven by plot (alien invasion, hi-tech, action etc.) while my second book is all about the characters driving the plot. It's very likely that I will refer back to Abendau's Heir as a reference in how Jo treated her own characters with such respect.

    So please, everyone, don't misunderstand that in my opinion Jo has done an awesome job.
     

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    May 22, 2015
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  15. Jo Zebedee

    Jo Zebedee writes books about people.

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    It was a fantastic review, and I was delighted and thank you.

    Hee. That was the sentence. And it is an absolute monster of a sentence, right at the start, and has been mentioned to me lots of times. I think, based on the comments received, most writers would have broken it up. :)

    We just made the mistake of talking about the dreaded colon/semicolon usage - such conversations have been known to take 6 pages to decide on one placement, or non-placement... :)
     
    May 22, 2015
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  16. HareBrain

    HareBrain Bunny of Wonder Staff Member

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    A lot of writers these days would have replaced the semis/colon with full stops, reducing it to a list made of sentence fragments, effectively bullet points. Grrr.
     
    May 22, 2015
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  17. Warren_Paul

    Warren_Paul Banishment this world!

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    Oh this conversation again... I feel like we've been here before not all that long ago... ;)

    I like semi-colons, but half the places I try to use them typically result in my hand getting slapped in a critique. :rolleyes:



    Nice review. Jo, it sounds like you've done a huge ton of work since that early draft of yours I critiqued all that time ago. Will have to go hunting for a copy.
     
    May 22, 2015
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  18. Jo Zebedee

    Jo Zebedee writes books about people.

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    Oh, it's changed a lot. An awful lot... :) As these things do.
     
    May 22, 2015
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  19. mgilmour

    mgilmour Author of The Mindwars

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    May 22, 2015
    #19
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  20. Warren_Paul

    Warren_Paul Banishment this world!

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    Last edited: May 22, 2015
    May 22, 2015
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