Ron C. Nieto
Ron C. Nieto is a fantasy and romance author who has been writing in her secluded fortress for the longest time. Recently, she had a talk with her cat and decided that she should share her creations, because it was selfish to hoard them all for herself.
If you would like to know more about her, please visit her website.
Where to find Ron C. Nieto online
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The Wild Hunt
Lily has a problem. She has just discovered that faeries are real, dangerous, and out to get her. She doesn't trust her savior, she doesn't understand his rules... but if she doesn't play and win, death might be the least of her worries.
Two hundred years. Two lovers. One curse. Discover the ending of Ghostly Rhapsody.
Alice had it all... By day, that is. By night, she had a secret she'd never admit. Not even to herself. Except, if she doesn't acknowledge it, it might be lost forever. It would be easy to let go--if the price weren't his soul.
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Smashwords book reviews by Ron C. Nieto
- The Black God's War [A Stand-Alone Novel] (Prelude to the Splendor and Ruin Trilogy)
on Sep. 01, 2011
Remember when I reviewed The Black God’s War – a novella? Remember how I said it was an elegant, great tale and I’d be looking forward to the whole novel? Well, finally, I got my hands on it.
And I couldn’t let it go.
Most of what I said about quality holds in this stand alone novel, but on a different level altogether. For example, characters were deep, well developed and had a purpose, a reason to act as they did beyond “fulfilling the plot”. But after reading the first instalment of Splendour and Ruin, I feel they are more than just three-dimensional characters. They are human. They change and evolve and mature in reaction to the plot, and they take believable action. Because of this, we have a hard time deciding who’s evil and who’s the good guy: in fact, by the time the book was done, I had switched sides about four times! Why? Because there’s no conflict for conflict’s sake: there’s people who is trying to do the best they can, and whose goals happen to collide. Fantasy is leaning towards this view as of late, perhaps, but it’s still rare to see an author who can make us feel for both sides with equal sympathy.
That is not to say I didn’t have a favorite character, or a character whose death I’d not regret (or, more accurately, would plot for) but I could understand them even when I screamed for them not to do something. And that’s another great point: when the plot took a nasty turn or my favourite character... didn’t have much going for him, I’d not wonder, “Why did you have to do this, Mr Siregar?” but “Damned, stupid war!”. It was that kind of real, if that’s the right word for an outstanding fantasy.
While characters are fundamental, the story was fast-paced and action-filled, with short respites and ever-building tension. As I commented before, Moses Siregar III is touching some very thought-provoking themes in his book but he’s not forceful about imparting a message: he allows the story to move forward, weaving it with threads of the reality of war, of fanatism, of what it takes to break one’s innocence, of how far one would go for revenge, or (my favorite) whether love comes before doing the right thing. And then, you can choose to see those threads and to follow them on your own, or to just admire the tapestry (which is one hell of a masterpiece, if I may say so). I particularly loved this aspect, and I’d probably enjoy just pointing out different thoughts and aspects I picked up or I ended up reflecting upon, but I think it’s better if you pick up the book yourself and let it talk to you. I’m sure it’ll tell you something different from what I learned.
Now, to indulge my inner geek, a side comment on references. Remember when I said that chapter titles and flow, as well as the gods, reminded me a bit of classic literature? Well, after writing that review I went and listened to this interview, and I learned that Moses Siregar loves the Illiad (almost as much as I do, apparently) and had actually planted small homage-like references in his book. If you don’t like Homer this won’t sway you one bit (though I don’t know why you’d not like him), but if you do, it was a pleasure to read and try to find those bits and pieces, and wonder whether this scene might refer to that other scene, and so on and so forth.
Okay, now that I said that and I’m happy, I can say in short that I, obviously, recommend reading this book. There’s not a single thing I’d change about it (except, perhaps, I’d have liked the part of Caio’s romance to take a bit longer). The editing is very good and you won’t find bothersome mistakes or typos. The style flows and is well paced, catering to action and development.
And it should make you grow as a person or, at least, think.
So, what are you waiting for?
on Oct. 30, 2011
You know when you go into a book expecting something good and somehow the result turns out to be just plain amazing? That’s what happened with Lastborn: the blurb was promising, but the book? It blew me away!
First off, I loved the main characters, and I think you’ll like them too. They are well developed, in that we can see the way they change as a consequence of their actions, and how their actions depend on where they are mentally at the moment – they are coherent in their progression, and it’s a progression that’s fully justified by the plot. Because of this, it was too easy to put myself in their place, to sympathize with them, to understand them. Just this aspect would be enough to score a major point with me, because I don’t love anything quite as much as inner logic, but there was more: they were unique. Nara-ya was a mystery wrapped in a bit of an enigma, and I became invested in her self-discovery journey from the beginning, but the revelation was Donovan. I mean it, because, how many pacifist heroes have you read about?
Not the kind where scruples keep them from acting in the critical moment, so that there might be a proper climax later one, but real, deeply convinced, well-founded pacifists. The kind who will take a beating and still refuse to take up arms against their aggressor. I know I couldn’t name any single character fitting those terms, and that’s the reason I loved Donovan so much. Not only he was good: he believed in good, in non-violence... and he had his beliefs shaken in a harsh, violent world. He didn’t live in a sheltered, rose-colored world: he knew the price for his actions was steep, and he wasn’t always even sure about following the right path... and in the end... Well, in the end, after his trials, he’s still unique and real.
Those trials he faced were another strong suit for the book. They are fairly well summarized in the blurb, but even then I was unprepared for the depth and detail of this fantasy world built in a semblance of the Industrial Revolution, with hunger and fear and oppression as mighty an enemy as the sorceress queen herself. I think this shift from the classical medieval setting was very clever, and extremely well done: there are fantastic creatures, yes, and there’s magic, yes, but mostly there’s humans, who are both good and evil, who defend different views in a moment where change’s in the air.
The deviousness of the political side, the struggles of the Resistance... completely sucked me into the setting.
But of course, that’s not nearly all there’s to it. While life is anything but easy in the civilized lands, and their shaky peace with the wild Makeda (the northern country, reminiscent of a native american tribe system) seems to be just one step from crumbling... The real worry comes from the sorcerer queen herself, her slaver kingdom, and the lengths she’s willing to go to in order to... what? Expand her borders? Find more slaves? Hunt something in particular?
I didn’t know, and I confess that I could never tell until that point where events start spiralling and pieces start falling into place... and then I saw the big picture, and it wasn’t what I thought it would be! I had only seen one small part of the whole, and by the time realization hit I very nearly screamed, “no! it can’t be!” Mostly, because I checked how much book was left and I thought, “it can’t end like this”.
Good news? It doesn’t. There’s a crazy climax that will leave you reeling, and somehow it’ll all make sense before it’s over.
Even better news? That does not mean that there’s no room for a sequel. A sequel I’m very much looking forward.
I guess the bad part is that now I’ve got this great world alive in my head, all this characters chattering away and begging to tell me how their travels end –and begin-, but that I’ve to wait.
Still, I will wait. Because it’s so worth it. Meanwhile, I think you should read Lastborn.
- Heaven 2.0
on July 13, 2012
This is one of those books that are hard to review. It falls mostly outside of my usual genre choices, but when I got the review request, I just couldn’t resist the concept. I’m glad I read it, and yet there are things that keep me from gushing about it.
Plot and characters are fairly straightforward, for example. It’s not simplistic, just simple. The story cuts to the chase and leaves out anything that doesn’t propel the plot, which means character development scenes are nonexistent, meaningful relationships are scarce, and the action itself sometimes reads too convenient. I can deal with the character issues, because this kind of story is more about mankind than about any particular person and the author got me invested successfully in the general plight—namely, destroying that crappy 28th century society and doing so by yesterday if at all possible. I truly disliked them with this uneasy feeling in your gut that you reserve for really abhorrent people. In that respect, kudos to Heaven 2.0... because not only it was dreadful, it was also entirely possible.
The plot part was a bit harder to swallow. I think a good comparison for this book, in the movie world, would be the Isle (you know, with Ewan McGregor?). It’s that kind of desperate fight against impossible odds, of individuals against the system, of claustrophobia... except that everything was so matter-of-fact, so quick, so straight, that there was no tension. Even when the real action takes place, I had no expectations about the results because it was too farfetched to work. And later, things just fell into place: after all, if you don’t know anything about a huge compound called Hell and you just venture in, how likely are you to actually find the two people you’re looking for in the first try?
Another aspect that nagged me a little was the science side of things. The level of tech here is mind-numbing; it needs to be in order for Heaven to exist. In general, breezing through all that as if it was normal, as if it was magic, shouldn’t be a problem, but some sci-fi fans like to have an attempt at explanation behind all the evolution. I liked some details, like pen and paper no longer existing, handwriting being considered a Dark Ages activity, or people crammed up in Mars. Even space-time travel, I could handle. The refrigerators, which are actually matter generators and voice-operated, confused me a bit more, which I understand is ridiculous after you’ve gone an accepted the engineering of Heaven.
Perhaps I had trouble transitioning to the future because I had only a very sketchy idea about how we got there. Or perhaps I would just have been happy if you’d thrown in some buttons with the frigs... In any case, a warning here because there’s a lot of progress to take in.
Should you read Heaven 2.0? Well, I certainly enjoyed the read. I liked the concept, and I always like to read about human nature. That said, though, I think this novel could have used a few more pages (that’s weird... usually I complain about the opposite!) in order to allow for more detailed characters to make the reader’s investment more personal and in order to muddy up the convenient line of events to create more tension. It’s really short as it is, though, so if you have a chance to check it out you should probably see how you feel about it.