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J.A. Clement lives near London with her partner and a sneaky but handsome lurcher with a predilection for gingerbread. She writes her fantasy series "On Dark Shores" whenever she can, mostly in her lunch hour (which probably explains the excessive number of bacon sandwiches that have to be edited out later).
The main series is accompanied by the 'Parallels' series which features other stories set in the same world. Her "To-Write" list is as big as your "To-Read" list (and covers several genres, but she just needs to finish this series first...)
For advanced warning of new releases, you can sign up to her newsletter via her blog, or she's happy to be contacted by readers via email at jaclement [dot] ondarkshores [at] gmail [dot] com. She is happy to answer any questions she can without spoilers, and does love a good gossip with fellow bookworms. You have been warned...
A. F. Stewart
on July 20, 2012 :
The second volume in the On Dark Shores series, The Other Nereia, lives up to the promise of the first book and expands the story in an ever-twisting spiral of strange and secretive happenings. Like the first book, it is a plethora of sparkling language and delicately woven story.
The Other Nereia begins where the first book ended, with the immediate gathering of the dangling plot threads from The Lady. From there we see the consequences of Nereia’s recovery, Copeland’s continued descent into madness, Blakey’s worsening addiction, and more on Vansel, Jack, Mickel and their secrets. Also, we see other characters, such as Madam, begin their rise to the forefront.
As I stated in my review of On Dark Shores: The Lady, JA Clement’s prose is enchanting, and her subtle touching at twisting the plotlines is just as marvellous in Book Two. Layer by layer her characters get more complex and her story more intriguing. As a reader I was engrossed, speculating at where Nereia’s fate journeyed, feeling sympathy for Blakey, despite his thuggish actions and wondering what fortunes would befall the rest as dangers loom.
I can’t say enough good things about the On Dark Shores series, and I highly recommend The Other Nereia. Of course, now I have to wait patiently for the remainder of the story.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
on June 27, 2012 :
"The Other Nereia" is the second novel in J.A. Clement's On Dark Shores series which follows on directly from the finale of the first novel entitled "The Lady" which I have previously read. As Nereia lies unconscious, recovering from the injuries inflicted by the nefarious Copeland, her mind is taken to another plane of existence where she meets a being that appears to looks exactly like her. This other Nereia wants help to restore the damage within her own world, but this help is based around taking control of Nereia's body. Whilst she tries to come to terms with this request, the other inhabitants of Scarlock are faced with their own choices as Copeland's increasingly violent fall into madness and the arrival of soldiers within the town threaten to end the lives they all had previously known.
I was happy to see that the Clement has tried to progress the development of Scarlock and the various characters that inhabit the town. I really found that both the town and characters to be interesting, believable and easy to imagine which really helped me relate to their troubles. Without doubt, the main push of this novel appears to be in developing the characters and their history which is good as it was lacking a little bit in the first novel due to its short length.
The only issue with this concentration on character development is that the plot suffers a little bit due to the novel's short length. The overall progress made is very limited and whilst we learn a lot more about the characters and how they think, it didn't really feel like any of their individual adventures moved forward much. Don't get me wrong, the story is still full of dark suspense and intriguing mystery to the point that it was still entertaining but just don't expect any real forward momentum.
One of my biggest issues with the previous novel was that it was rather unsatisfying as an individual story due to its sudden ending and concentration on developing an overarching plot. Whilst the ending this time does feel a little bit more refined in terms of the point reached in the story, I still think it struggled to stand as a satisfying novel in its own right. In fact, the first chapter in the novel is actually quoted as being "Seven" which follows on from "Six" which was the final chapter in "The Lady". This to me really shows me that the author had no real plan to make the book stand alone in some manner which disappointed me a little.
Overall, I found this to be a rather interesting, if rather short fantasy novel like its predecessor, however it once again didn't feel like a story in its own right. I do think that anyone who has read the previous novel should appreciate the character development even it did come at the expense of some of the plot's forward momentum. For those of you who haven't read the previous novel, then I have to warn you that if you are someone who dislikes unfinished stories, then it would maybe be best for you to wait on the series being completed first. However, if you are interested in following the progress of an intriguing and enjoyable fantasy world as it is developed then you should look at picking up this series now, but just be willing to accept that each novel is more like one chapter of some overarching story.
(reviewed 61 days after purchase)
on May 23, 2012 :
Things are about to get darker and stranger in Scarlock as more forces come into play. No longer is it just Mr. Copeland, the thug who runs the town, whom our heroes have to worry about. An army, a demon and a fugitive enter the streets of this sleepy seaside town. But that’s not Nereia’s biggest worry.
Continuing with the same elegant writing of #1 in the series, the sequel maintains the tension and the mystery, adding other elements to it. We continue to learn more about the characters and their secrets. My only major complaint is that #2 just ended without a resolution of sorts, so now I’m waiting for the sequel. Sigh. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys dark, epic, realistic fantasies.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on May 06, 2012 :
To be honest, I have book one, but I just have not found the time to sit down and read it (sorry JA!!!), so I started book two with a lot of questions. I haven't really gotten to know the characters previously, and I literally dropped in the middle of the story. But, when I got about halfway through, I was completely immersed. I still have questions, and you can be sure I'll be reading book one very soon, but book two was enough to get me hooked on the series. It certainly left me wanting more… in a good way.
JA is a fantastic author. Her writing is vivid and descriptive and perfectly gripping. The settings are easy to imagine and the characters are completely relatable. The tale is dark and suspenseful, and it is interesting to follow each character as they grow and evolve and come together in different ways.
A great fantasy series—I can't wait to catch up on book one and then dive into book three!
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on April 25, 2012 :
If I hoped for a more complete ending from this second of J.A. Clement’s On Dark Shores series I might be disappointed. But Nereia’s tale does come to a fascinating turning point and the oddly ambiguous bad guy, Blakey, begins his approach to redemption. Meanwhile the Mother lies waiting in the wings and armies start to gather, and I'm hooked.
The world of this series is nicely complete with history, present and future waiting to unfold. Characters interact with pleasing dialog and genuine feeling. The streets, stores and shores of Scarlock feel very real. And there’s no sense of author intrusion as the story propels itself forwards. The fiercely addictive contents of Blakey’s snuffbox and the haunting appearance of Nereia’s Dark Shores visitor add depth and mystery, making the reader eager for more even though the mysterious Mother has yet to be revealed.
Expert world-building combines with good writing, great characters and dialog, and a sense of increasing tension to make this a thoroughly enjoyable series—just as long as you’re willing to wait for the end. If incomplete stories really annoy you, I’d suggest you place this high on to your future read-list. But if you’re looking for a nicely worked-out fantasy world to spend some reading time in, this is the series for you.
Disclosure: I received a free ecopy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest review, and I hope book 3 comes out soon!
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)