All you need to know: I read more books in a week than most people do all year. I'm also a writer. I'm a proud geek chick who loves power metal and chai lattes. I can do pretty good death metal growls with enough absinthe in my system.
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Smashwords book reviews by Kym Reed
- The Silurian, Book 1: The Fox and The Bear
on July 22, 2011
I love gritty retellings of the Arthurian legend and for the mosst part, this one does not disappoint. The Fox and The Bear is told from the point of view of Bedwyr (or as he's better known Bedivere), a prince of the Goddodin. He is the friend, foster-brother and companion to a young Arthur.
This is a dark story, filled with blood, lust, companioship and shades of homoerotic love. There's nothing sanitized here--Dark Age Britain is cruel, cold and brutal as were the lives of many of the people who lived back then. War abounds as does betrayal. One takes their pleasures when they can, and Arthur (as a randy young man) couples at will, all the while plotting to become Supreme Commander of Britain.
The characters--Arthur (the Silurian, also called the Bear), Bedwyr (the Fox), Medraut (the Snake) and Uthyr--are all complex men. Heroic at times, self-centered at others. It was especially hard to read about how Uthyr abused his own son then repudiated him publicly. Bedwyr loves Arthur and yet cannot reveal his feelings, but he spends most of the book declaring himself and putting himself at great risk to remain at his side.
I have to admit a certain fondness for the troubled Medraut, son of Lot. His love for Arthur knows no bounds--literally--and he will do for his friend and Supreme Commander what he knows Arthur cannot bring himself to do. Medraut makes no secret of his preference for men, nor of his taste for receiving pain. One gets the sense that he's supposedly the villian, and perhaps that may happen, but his life and his loyalty unto death to Arthur make him very sympathetic.
The battle scenes are so well-crafted I could see them playing out in my mind. I kept hearing the Carmina Burana as I envisioned hundreds of mounted warriors riding into battle, the red dragon banner flying overhead. Wilson does not skip the details and each encounter with the enemy--be they the Saxons or the Picts--left me holding my breath, wondering who would be wounded or lose their lives on the battlefield.
The place names for cities in this era are called by their Roman names, which if one is not familiar with Arthurian legends, will make one wonder just where the hell they are. Never fear, Wilson includes a glossary at the end of the book that fills in the gaps.
What kept this from five stars were the instances of jarring modern language moments where the characters sounded more like contemporary young adults rather than figures from Dark Age Britain. Be that as it may, I will be reading the sequels. Wilson paints a vivid portrait of a time that happened and a legend from the distant past.
- Lancelot And The Wolf
on March 09, 2012
Normally I am a fantasy purist. When I read high fantasy--especially high fantasy that likens itself to George R.R. Martin--there are certain things I expect. One of those is language. Fantasy characters are not supposed to sound like the guys down the street. High fantasy characters have a certain cadence, way of speaking that lets me know as a reader I've been transported into another place and time. The narration is more literary (sometimes). Having said that, Lancelot and the Wolf should have been rated four stars instead of five for often failing to maintain that sense of high-fantasy language that I'm used to. So why did I rate it so high?
Because author Sarah Luddington has done something amazing with a tale that's as old as the hills and with a character who tends to receive short shrift in Authurian legends--that of the noble Lancelot du Lac. What I mean by short shrift is that he's often depicted as the epitome of chivalry, an amazing warrior and good friend of King Arthur. We know his story--that he falls in love with the beautiful Guinevere and thus their forbidden relationship heralds the fall of Camelot. But Luddington sweeps all that aside to give the reader a Lancelot who's far from the perfect knight. This Lancelot drinks, gambles and sleeps with practically anything that moves. This is a much more earthy and raw Lancelot and I enjoyed reading every moment of his raweness and his passion. He's not a noble knight, but a well-honed killer. And because of the earthiness of the character, the language actually fits.
In this retelling, Lancelot has been flogged to within an inch of his life and exiled from Camelot for having had carnal relations with the Queen. He's also a man in love with his best friend Arthur. When we meet him, he's on his way to a dark tavern in Le Havre, having been stripped of everything he once held dear. He's bitter and cares very little for his life. Unfortunately, that code of chivalry ingrained into him leads him to rescue a young boy from the clutches of some would-be rapists and thus sets the stage for a quest involving the Fae and the fate of King Arthur himself.
Luddington does an excellent job of fleshing out the main players in the drama--from a depressed and perhaps enchanted Arthur, to a scheming and devious Guinevere to the mystical Merlin. The characters are less archetypes and feel more like real and often flawed human beings. It's not a traditional M/M romance either--there's no Gay For You trope happening here. Lancelot and Arthur really do love each other but fate, duty (and perhaps something else) has conspired to keep them apart.
This is one of those novels that was just too damn short and even though there's a sequel--the fae cannot be vanquished quite so easily--one simply cannot wait long enough for the author to finish it. So Ms. Luddington, you've got an eager fan here. Hurry it up, LOL! Even with some of the more glaring editoral errors, Lancelot and the Wolf is a wonderfully engaging and fascinating read.
- The Wretched Tales 1.1
on Oct. 20, 2013
There are six books in the series and they're all free. I figured with a title like "Metalrotica: The Wretched" it had to be at least worth checking out. Okay, this is an IR story, though there's going to be M/M and other pairings as the series continues. You've been warned. Not to mention the erstwhile bassist and our hero Corey considers himself pansexual.
Heavy Metal? Check.
The author got the feel of being at a metal show dead on. Most venues frown upon mosh pits (and considering the level of fuckwittery that I've experienced from idiots out to hurt people rather than have fun, it's a sane policy). For all that, B.L. Morticia obviously loves metal just as much as I do. Any author who knows who Gorgoroth are gets two \m/ \m/ from me. Yet I still can't envision what the band sounds like. Yes this is important, though the lead singer was likened to the awesome Ronnie James Dio (RIP). I would have liked a longer stage scene, but that's just me.
Interestingly enough, the love interests of Corey and his lead singer Nicholai are black women, and unlike a similar novel in which the heroine's ethnicity was maddeningly oblique, there's no guesswork here. It's refreshing because there are black metal fans and musicians--Alexis Brown of Straight Line Stitch, Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust, and Diamond Rowe of Tetrarch--easily come to mind.
Poor Corey's at the horns of an enema (*grin* a Married With Children's Kelly Bundy line). He's stuck between a rock and his hard place, having fallen for Deborah, the black woman rock journalist, but wanting to boink his lead singer, as well as his lead singer's metal version of Olivia Pope, Renee. Unfortunately he's way in the closet so in order to not have any untoward questions about his masculinity, is on his way to sex up two typically busty blonde groupies. What's a poor pansexual guy supposed to do? Off to read the second book to find out.
Corey Patrick is the new bassist for the popular metal band, The Wretched. It's a dream come true, but not all's well in heavy metal paradise. Corey is pansexual--guys, girls, transfolk--it doesn't matter. Problem is, in the testosterone-fueled world of metal, heterosexuality is standard-operating procedure (Rob Halford notwithstanding). Unfortunately, Corey's got it bad for his lead singer, the charismatic Nicolai Zander--who apparently sounds like the late Ronnie James Dio and looks like Udo Dirkschneider of Accept. Add to that his infatuation with a black heavy metal journalist named Deborah and Nicolai's girlfriend Renee and what a tangled web he's weaved.
This short book isn't perfect, mainly mild grammatical errors, the most annoying one being the name of the band--are they "Wretched" or "The Wretched"--both names seemed to randomly appear. Where it scores big time is the quirky characters, especially Deborah and Renee, black chicks who love metal (just like me) as well as nailing the backstage and touring craziness dead-on (and I've seen some crazy stuff firsthand) I can only hope the rest of the series gets better.
Off to listen to some Maiden now!
- The Wretched Tales 2.1
on Feb. 10, 2014
I have been a fan of this series from the beginning and was fortunate enough to be asked by the author to beta read this newest installment of the Metalrotica series.
While there are a lot of rock n' roll-type romances/erotica out there, very few of them get the feel of what being a musician is really like, especially onstage and backstage. Fewer still evoke the sex, drugs and rock n' roll madness. This series is like listening to 'Ace of Spades' cranked to eleven. It's raw, raunchy, politically incorrect and a hell of a lot of fun. It's also written by someone who's been a part of the metal scene and knows how to bring this frenetic world to vivid life.
Now we get Nicolai's point of view. The lead singer of The Wretched is brash, foul-mouthed, driven and very very bi. The object of his affections besides his woman Renee, is Corey his bass player. Nicolai is utterly ruthless when it comes to getting what he wants. He reminds me of a cross between Udo Dirkschneider of Accept, Axl Rose and Rob Halford (and not for the obvious reason).
Yes, Metalrotica is good, trashy fun. Just like the Crue back in the day. Leave your inhibitions and your gray matter at the door, put on some Testament and enjoy the ride.
- The Wretched Tales Tales 2.2
on Feb. 12, 2014
Whatever Nicolai wants, Nicolai gets. He wants his sexy bass player (who wants him too). He gets more than he bargained for. Wear asbestos gloves with this installment. If a hot guy getting pegged by his woman freaks you out, oh well, your loss! Sex, drugs and rock n' roll hasn't been this much fun and decadent since the Sunset Strip days. Renee could easily out Bobbi or Tawny as a metal video girl.
- The Wretched Tales 2.3
on April 14, 2014
I love this series. I eat it up like a bar of Sea Salt Soiree and a maple bacon cupcake. If you like sex, drugs and metal, this series is perfect. It's raw, raunchy and a lot of fun. It's also FREE, so you really have nothing to lose.
Yes I beta read for the author, but that doesn't mean I'd let stuff slide. For all the raunch, this is solid writing. Nicolai, lead singer of The Wretched is a first-class asshole but I love him anyway. This is is story and he tells it all with a Lemmy Kilmeister-like glee. He's rock n' roll excess personnified and unapologetic with it. However, that saying be careful for what you wish for may be coming true for him in regards to the bass player of his dreams, Corey. Oh yes, Nicolai wants it all. He might get it, but what will it cost him?
B.L. Morticia is a metalhead. She KNOWS the scene firsthand. When it comes to writing about the metal scene, she's the benchmark by which other authors are judged.