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Phillip J. Johns was born in Coventry in 1980, before moving to Nuneaton where he spent most of his formative years. Later, he went on to study for a degree and masters in Archaeology at the University of Leicester, and loved the city so much that he has since stayed there.
Phillip has always considered himself to be a writer, having written stories since a young age. His very first story was written at the age of 10, and consisted of 6 pages of an exercise book. However, it would be another 18 years before he began his first novel.
Phillip has the unfortunate habit of being easily distracted by games, and can often be found playing around on xbox live (avoiding the trash talk some use), either riding off into the distance to deal with some gang as a cowboy, or cowering in the bowels of a space station.
on Oct. 11, 2011 :
Liberator's Ruin by P.J. Johns was a wonderful book. It takes place in a world of interesting technology. It has a bit of a steampunk feel to it, but there is not the steam driven technology that is required for that genre to truly fit. The truly unique feature of the world is a mineral that is used in what are basically anti-gravity engines. That is what allows the giant airships to rule the skies and even enables floating island colonies.
There are some wonderful characters in the book, my favorites being Nathaniel, Fran, Grekhis, and even Thomas. There are several story lines active through the book following the different characters and no surprise I enjoyed Nathaniel's crew the most by far. They have some great interactions and all seem to be good people despite the morally gray area that many of their jobs fall in.
I despised the character Anna. Now that seems bad, but in reality I think it reflects very well on how she was written. If I was apathetic to her it would show much less depth to her character, however I wanted terrible things to happen to her.
Liberator's Ruin is an extremely enjoyable read and well worth the .99 that it costs for a copy.
Review copy provided by the author.
(reviewed long after purchase)
Charlotte E. English
on Sep. 29, 2011 :
It’s hard to know how how to classify this book. It’s been called steampunk, which it certainly isn’t. It’s full of gadgets, yes, but the level of technology is more twentieth century. There are cars, planes, radios, movies and telephones. It makes for a very interesting world; I don’t think I’ve ever read a work of fantasy fiction (including a form of magic) that featured essentially modern technology. A refreshing change.
The story centres around the country of Illum, which has been conquered and absorbed into the Rhivellian Empire. A deposed princess is determined to take it back, but a High Inquisitor stands in her way. And around the edges of this is one airship captain and his crew, just trying to make a living.
The characters are a high point in this story. One thing I liked best about the book is the lack of real heroes. Everyone has an agenda, everyone has their strengths and their moral weak points. My favourites were Airship Captain Nathaniel and his crew; there’s a hint of Firefly about this group that’s highly appealing. The ending also turns some expectations around, giving a resolution that’s something of a surprise. Like I said, there are no heroes.
The book is sadly let down by very poor editing. I noticed typographical errors on nearly every page, and there are areas where the writing needs some tidying up. It says a lot, though, that I thoroughly enjoyed the book anyway. My rating would hover between four and four-and-a-half stars if not for the editing issues. As it is, I give three-and-a-half, rounded up to four.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)