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Author Topic: Part 1: Prologue to Chapter 9  (Read 7711 times)

Offline Kitvaria Sarene

Re: Part 1: Prologue to Chapter 9
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2016, 12:39:32 AM »
In rereading I find I once again click with Haung right away, but have a harder time to get a connection to Zhou.
But that may be because I'm really more used to fighters and martial arts training than to politics in fantasy. ;)
Also right now with just the first two chapters read the "wiser, stronger, braver" doesn't help him to get into my good books...

Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: Part 1: Prologue to Chapter 9
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2016, 06:19:05 PM »
Well, it seems I'm a bit behind but I just finished the ninth chapter.

I'm going to have to agree that the prologue isn't very effective. There's just no character to focus on, whose reactions to the whole thing we engage through.

The rest is definitely different. I generally prefer simple, black-and-white stories, but some variety is nice too, and I quite like not having a clear hero or villain yet. It keeps things unpredictable.

Haung is interesting, but seems to be involved with some very bad company, Zhou is rather lacking but I suppose there is room for some interesting growth, and Hsin is a puckered little anus, but he's clearly supposed to be.

@G_R_Matthews, I have a question: Did you do a lot of research on ancient China for this whole thing, or just create a setting and then stick a Far Eastern aesthetic on it? I think either is a perfectly valid approach to fantasy settings.
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Offline G_R_Matthews

Re: Part 1: Prologue to Chapter 9
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2016, 07:18:48 PM »
Research, research, research... have to love it :)

And in answer to your question; I read the 'China A History' book, and when writing knew what I was aiming for - and researched those pieces I needed. Things like food, little customs (two taps on a table), colours (very different in China), animal symbols meanings, names, places - though this is more a book 2 and onwards thing. I looked at architecture, clothing and a myriad other things. Most of it was to give flavour, to let the reader learn about the world as Zhou and Haung go about their 'business'.

What I didn't want to do was confuse the reader with so much research and info-dumping that the story got lost. So everything is, I hope, portrayed from the two character's eyes. The reader sees the world as they do, learns about it from their experience rather than some godly knowledge dropped from the Jade Heaven.

So, yes, there is a fair amount of research in the three books, but not too much. I hope it was Goldilocks research; just enough.

Haung is definitely more identifiable early on. Zhou is functionary, an administrator in an Empire of administrators, a cog in a machine.
Spoiler for Hiden:
I hope from Chapter 10 onwards you start to see his growth and change... some teeth may break off the cog, maybe :)
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Offline Justan Henner

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Re: Part 1: Prologue to Chapter 9
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2016, 02:34:29 PM »
I've read up to Chapter 11 now. I've liked the scheming so far, but didn't really connect with the characters, aside from Zhou's first chapter, until chapter 10, but that's for next week. I'm interested to see what the purpose of the road is, though I refuse to click the spoiler box to learn what myth this is based on.

Didn't mind the prologue so much. Bit abstract, but it was short and sweet, and hints at mayhem to come.

Offline JMack

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Re: Part 1: Prologue to Chapter 9
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2016, 04:09:59 PM »
I've read up to Chapter 11 now. I've liked the scheming so far, but didn't really connect with the characters, aside from Zhou's first chapter, until chapter 10, but that's for next week. I'm interested to see what the purpose of the road is, though I refuse to click the spoiler box to learn what myth this is based on.

Didn't mind the prologue so much. Bit abstract, but it was short and sweet, and hints at mayhem to come.

See my spoiler-free note in the 2nd section thread.
Both characters are much clearer and more interesting at that point.
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)
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Offline JRTroughton

Re: Part 1: Prologue to Chapter 9
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2016, 06:35:15 PM »
As per, I didn't connect with the prologue in this. However, I'm enjoying the story more than I thought I would, if I'm being completely honest. I'd like to have seen more of Haung's training - It felt like that should have happened at the time, and I was a touch surprised, though I suppose it wasn't needed -  but the plotting and trickery has been really enjoyable.

Colour me impressed. I didn't like Zhou at first but I'm on chapter 12 now and latter developments have made him much more interesting. :)

This is the second self-published book that I've read (The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids being the first) and I must say it is A Good Book Indeedâ„¢.

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Part 1: Prologue to Chapter 9
« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2016, 06:52:44 PM »
These first few chapters also took me a while to get into.
The scenery/characters/world were all quite alien, the politics were making me wonder, Zhou too 'bland' and in the background of the action.
At this point in time Haung was my favourite...
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Offline G_R_Matthews

Re: Part 1: Prologue to Chapter 9
« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2016, 09:56:16 PM »
As per, I didn't connect with the prologue in this. However, I'm enjoying the story more than I thought I would, if I'm being completely honest. I'd like to have seen more of Haung's training - It felt like that should have happened at the time, and I was a touch surprised, though I suppose it wasn't needed -  but the plotting and trickery has been really enjoyable.

Sarah Chorn felt the same way about the training when she reviewed for last year's SPFBO.

Colour me impressed. I didn't like Zhou at first but I'm on chapter 12 now and latter developments have made him much more interesting. :)

Thank you! And yes, I agree about Zhou... he changes as the book(s) progress. As does Haung... it was those changes I wanted to write about. All good books are about characters growing and changing (not Reacher books though, and they, to me, are good books)

This is the second self-published book that I've read (The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids being the first) and I must say it is A Good Book Indeedâ„¢.
The winner of last year's SPFBO... good company :)
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Offline SJBudd

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Re: Part 1: Prologue to Chapter 9
« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2016, 02:38:32 PM »
Just finished chapter 8

Personally I didn't think there was anything wrong with the prologue, thought it was quite a good set up showing the reader that there was going to be magic used in the story  ;D and that sh*t is going to kick off!

Really liked the following speech from Zhou - You must listen between the rain. A change when it comes will step lightly before it kicks like thunder.

I really liked the build up so far it seems everything has ulterior mtovies. I'm starting to question why Zhou's father in law was so keen for Zhou to go is he involved in some murky plot.

Yeah agree with others that so far I like Haung more than Zhou.

I like the commander's plan to allow Hsin and Zhou discover the cattle and for them to figure out that Yaart are in pretty big trouble. I don't think they have any intention of letting Wubei have the cattle. They just want that road built.

Will be interesting to see what happens next, whether the diplomtas get back safely with the signed treaty.

I also agree it's hard to see who the good guys/ bad guys are which I like as I don't like black and white stories.

All in all it's a good start and enjoyed reading it so far

Offline Lanko

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Re: Part 1: Prologue to Chapter 9
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2016, 01:44:04 AM »
Just finished chapter 9.

Prologue: I had the same problems others mentioned. However, as the story progressed, I now have the theory that

Spoiler for Hiden:
Those twelve men who melted and became fiery puddles are actually the Jade cattle ("From those puddles, new shapes rose"). Although that still leaves the question how that will actually damage Wubei.
If that's the case the prologue serves as a nice foreshadow, and I wonder, if it was taken out how we would react if later we find out "Wait those statues were sorcerers in disguise? How did this happen? This came out of nowhere!" So in this case it works pretty much like the prologue in GoT.

Huang: It actually took me awhile to realize he was working for the Yaart. The Commander works for the Emperor? Wubei? Yaart?

Zhou: Years ago I entered a course of diplomacy sponsored by the government. It was just some classes and "prep talks" to see how the career would start and go on.
But what made me quit was when I realized I would have to agree, and worse, back up policies or treaties and deals based on ideologies that not only I may not agree but downright knew would not bring benefits at all, because the higher ups have to please the people who shout the orders, who have to please their power base who keep them in charge.
I couldn't see myself doing all this and keeping a poker face because the pay was reasonably good, so I quit. And also because the main tests were ridiculously subjective and of course, ideologically compromised.

So I can quite understand Zhou's reactions. Well, not doing it in front of the enemy diplomat, of course, but Hsin is also guilty of that. Why the heck would he tell his tragic backstory in front of all the enemies?
That he feels so much hatred for Yaart is information that can be used to emotionally manipulate him, which is exactly what they do. Hsin was just the guy they needed.
I loved the irony of the Duke of Yaart "I could wish that Wubei had sent someone else but the past cannot concern me now, only the future of my people." 

Ironic, isn't it, that Zhou is demoted for his personal opinions, but it's Hsin's own personal desire of vengeance that might bring the doom upon them.
But one thing politics is sure to have is hypocrisy, isn't it?

Well played, sir.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2016, 05:18:23 AM by Lanko »
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Offline JMack

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Re: Part 1: Prologue to Chapter 9
« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2016, 02:07:34 AM »
@Lanko, I totally missed that linkage from your spoilered theory. That seems very right, and does change my thinking about the prologue.
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
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Offline G_R_Matthews

Re: Part 1: Prologue to Chapter 9
« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2016, 10:15:09 AM »
OK... you're all scaring me now :)
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Offline m3mnoch

Re: Part 1: Prologue to Chapter 9
« Reply #27 on: June 04, 2016, 04:56:24 PM »
whew!

okay.  so i'm caught up with everyone in this first part.  i've got a few thoughts so far.

1 - i really, really like the whole "all is going to plan" stuff from the yaart guys.  love the setup there.  finding out how that's going to play out is my primary motivation for reading on.

2 - huang is 'aight.  he's a little flat, but it seems like he's supposed to be.  i suspect he'll come about, obtaining a broader view of the complexities in the world.  get annoyed with his commander.  go 'rogue'.

3 - zhou is a twit, as he's supposed to be.  i feel like he's going to steer into the non-arrogant, man of the people kind of guy.

4 - hsin is omg-irritating.  i just want to punch him.  nice work on eliciting that kind of passion, geoff!  because, man, i hate that guy.

5 - the supporting cast are also kind of flat, but, at this point, i'm not sure if it's because there's this "going to plan" thing and everyone is acting like they're supposed to act.

6 - the mashup of asian flavor with traditional fantasy is kind of fun.  i love the fact that there's a duchy (instead of states and governors), but everyone sits on cushions at low tables and drink tea.  and there's not a samurai to be seen!

7 - the writing is kind of a mixed bag, but ends up being totally functional.  for every cringe-inducing "the road he had followed to get here petered out", "which was way above average", sweaty forehead, or humid interior, there's a fun "alchemical factories turning grass into gold" or "accept the darkness and cold of the universe into your heart" string of words.  but, yeah, the badass ringer has totally been "change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder".  brilliant!

8 - um.  the cows.  i'm going to reserve judgment on them because of the "going to plan" plotting involved.  i'm hoping they're a trick.

my thoughts on where it's going:
Spoiler for Hiden:
overall, it feels like a buddy-cop setup where huang and zhou hook up, rebel against the establishment, and save yaart and wubei from the machinations of supernatural forces smashing the two duchies together.

kk.  now i'm going to go read what the other readers have posted.  maybe chime in again with more comments after reading their thoughts.

Offline Eclipse

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Re: Part 1: Prologue to Chapter 9
« Reply #28 on: June 04, 2016, 06:21:10 PM »
Kindle loc 815

when we meet to tomorrow does it need the to?

wave an angry finger at his aide, resulting in the aid stepping back aid stepping back

As for the story I'm enjoying it a lot more then Bloodrush  ;D
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Offline G_R_Matthews

Re: Part 1: Prologue to Chapter 9
« Reply #29 on: June 04, 2016, 06:27:58 PM »
Kindle loc 815

when we meet to tomorrow does it need the to?

wave an angry finger at his aide, resulting in the aid stepping back aid stepping back
Ah bugger... really :) Thanks for letting me know!

As for the story I'm enjoying it a lot more then Bloodrush  ;D

Don't tell Ben! I'm hoping he buys me a beer at BristolCon... once I've finished the one Mark Lawrence has promised me (kind of) :)
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