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Author Topic: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End  (Read 15677 times)

Offline G_R_Matthews

Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
« Reply #45 on: June 12, 2016, 06:48:47 PM »
Thanks for reading the book... and all your thoughts :)

I suppose, regarding the emperor at the end, it could easily have been left with Haung (I can spell his name too) and Zhou facing off... a cliff hanger for the next book... you can pretend it ends there ;)

There are, to me, some satisfying 'deaths' in this book... where the bad guy gets his/her comeuppance :) They balance out, I hope, the sadder deaths.

With regards Haung and the children scene... I viewed Haung as a young man, raised with tales of glory and honour, who sees the reality of war, of conflict and invasion. In all the tales, war is honourable, a majestic thing, where men (mostly) can prove themselves. When he finally gets to see the reality, in Wubei... the impact on innocents, he changes. That may just be me though... others might see it differently. And that's why he sets Zhou free... the man he manipulated, and through his actions, caused to lose his wife and child. There is a sympathy for him, a sense of making amends... again, to me.

The dragon without a rider is a good symbol, I hope, and I am glad that so many saw something in it. There is a good explanation of Chinese Roof furniture here, which I used and adapted... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_roof_decoration

A good editor would be a great thing to have, as would a contract, a publishing deal and a lottery win :) I do have, now, a team of folks (all amateur) who read my stuff, proof and suggest, which I didn't have for book 1... there is a whole chapter in Book 3 because of them :)

I said at the beginning, of the book and this, that I am happy to own all the muck-ups  - they are mine and I am even strangely proud of them :)
« Last Edit: June 12, 2016, 10:59:46 PM by G_R_Matthews »
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Offline SJBudd

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Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
« Reply #46 on: June 12, 2016, 10:56:19 PM »
Just finished! It's a really good book and when I finished I was like wow, just wow!

Will definitely be reading book two!

Thanks to @G_R_Matthews for writing the book and to @Jmack for hosting  ;D

Can't wait for the next one!


Offline G_R_Matthews

Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
« Reply #47 on: June 12, 2016, 11:01:21 PM »
Just finished! It's a really good book and when I finished I was like wow, just wow!

Will definitely be reading book two!

Thanks to @G_R_Matthews for writing the book and to @Jmack for hosting  ;D

Can't wait for the next one!

And that's great to hear! A good end to my day :) The trilogy (everyone writes a trilogy) is complete and if you do continue on, I hope you enjoy!
Staff Writer and ponderer of many things @ fantasy-faction

The Stone Road (4/5* Bookwormblues.net) : myBook.to/thestoneroad
Silent City : myBook.to/silentcity

www.grmatthews.com

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
« Reply #48 on: June 15, 2016, 04:24:52 PM »
I finished a few days ago! I enjoyed it and thought it was less formulaic than lots of stuff out there. I'll offer some more detailed thoughts soon, but overall, I'd give it 4/5 stars. I'll post a review to Amazon and Goodreads in a bit.

Now I'm going to read over everyone's comments. :)

Offline G_R_Matthews

Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
« Reply #49 on: June 15, 2016, 06:07:01 PM »
I finished a few days ago! I enjoyed it and thought it was less formulaic than lots of stuff out there. I'll offer some more detailed thoughts soon, but overall, I'd give it 4/5 stars. I'll post a review to Amazon and Goodreads in a bit.

Now I'm going to read over everyone's comments. :)

I'm really glad you enjoyed it! (I'm really, really glad!)
Staff Writer and ponderer of many things @ fantasy-faction

The Stone Road (4/5* Bookwormblues.net) : myBook.to/thestoneroad
Silent City : myBook.to/silentcity

www.grmatthews.com

Offline JMack

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Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
« Reply #50 on: June 15, 2016, 06:58:43 PM »
I finished a few days ago! I enjoyed it and thought it was less formulaic than lots of stuff out there. I'll offer some more detailed thoughts soon, but overall, I'd give it 4/5 stars. I'll post a review to Amazon and Goodreads in a bit.

Now I'm going to read over everyone's comments. :)

Everyone who finishes should post a review. I did mine on Amazon last week.
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)
www.starlit-lands.com

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
« Reply #51 on: June 15, 2016, 07:40:34 PM »
My review is pending on Amazon. I'm reposting it here, since it covers the bulk of my thoughts. Thanks again for the chance to read The Stone Road, and for hanging out to answer questions!

Spoiler for Hiden:
Although The Stone Road is the first book in a trilogy, it does a nice job of telling a relatively complete story while setting up characters and events for the following books. While the story takes a little while to get started, once events get moving in earnest the story moves forward at a respectable pace. There’s honestly enough story here to fill two books, but Matthews doesn’t linger too long on any one event or draw things out beyond what we must see to understand the story. I found this refreshing.

Without summarizing the book, a war between their provinces turns the lives of the two protagonists, Zhou (a sheltered diplomat) and Haung (a magic-wielding spy) upside down. While both men have positive and negative qualities, it is clear they fight for honor and country, and neither is obviously “good” or “evil” ... they are simply characters with believable motivations. As in any war, both sides of the conflict see themselves as in the right, and both men grow and change on their journey through the war.

Unfortunately, the same doesn’t necessarily feel true for the provinces of Wubei and Yaart. While we know their war has gone on for decades, Yaart ends up coming across as the “evil” province of the two, with few (if any) positive aspects. Because we were seeing protagonists from both powers, I felt a bit disappointed that Haung’s country were basically just a bunch of evil jerks (though Haung is not). It wasn’t Yaart’s ruthlessness or dishonesty that bothered me (war is neither fair nor honorable) but that their actions felt more moustache-twirlingly evil, rather than a genuine desire to protect Yaart’s people.

Besides that, the only other issues I had with the book was that Haung makes a decision I didn’t understand about midway through the book (it felt inconsistent with everything I’d learned about his character up to that point) and that it was sometimes difficult to understand the motivations and goals of the various people betraying their own province and others. There were a number of people conspiring beyond the sphere of the two main protagonists, and I was sometimes unsure what motivated those characters. However, a first book is never perfect, and these issues did not detract from my enjoyment of the story.

In addition, there were many elements I enjoyed. Matthew’s magic systems were interesting and original, with lots of nods to Eastern mythology. The arcs followed by the characters did not feel formulaic, and I loved that my sympathies for each waxed and waned as their journey continued. And despite my gripe about Yaart feeling too “evil”, I found the shades of gray present in the world interesting, particularly as they manifested in the Emperor of Wubei, Yaart, and every other province.

As a literal god (at least, that is how his people see him) even warring provinces with decades of animosity between them both swear allegiance to their Emperor. They willingly set aside their own feuds, when necessary, to serve him, and the idea that provinces and people could simultaneously be at war with each other while serving the same ruler is a fascinating set up for a fantasy novel.

While the Emperor’s touch in manipulating events is light in the first book, and his motives aren’t necessarily clear, his presence is felt throughout the book and he was perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the story beyond the characters of Zhou and Haung. I felt the book had a satisfying conclusion but left a number of roads open that will lead into the rest of the trilogy.

Offline Kitvaria Sarene

Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
« Reply #52 on: June 15, 2016, 08:13:46 PM »
I finished a few days ago! I enjoyed it and thought it was less formulaic than lots of stuff out there. I'll offer some more detailed thoughts soon, but overall, I'd give it 4/5 stars. I'll post a review to Amazon and Goodreads in a bit.

Now I'm going to read over everyone's comments. :)

Everyone who finishes should post a review. I did mine on Amazon last week.

I write a goodreads review for EVERY book I read ????  And be it just a few sentences...

Offline tebakutis

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Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
« Reply #53 on: June 15, 2016, 09:30:24 PM »
I write a goodreads review for EVERY book I read ????  And be it just a few sentences...

And as an author, let me just say THANK YOU for that. :)

Offline JMack

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Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
« Reply #54 on: June 16, 2016, 12:45:30 AM »
My review is pending on Amazon. I'm reposting it here, since it covers the bulk of my thoughts. Thanks again for the chance to read The Stone Road, and for hanging out to answer questions!

Spoiler for Hiden:
Although The Stone Road is the first book in a trilogy, it does a nice job of telling a relatively complete story while setting up characters and events for the following books. While the story takes a little while to get started, once events get moving in earnest the story moves forward at a respectable pace. There’s honestly enough story here to fill two books, but Matthews doesn’t linger too long on any one event or draw things out beyond what we must see to understand the story. I found this refreshing.

Without summarizing the book, a war between their provinces turns the lives of the two protagonists, Zhou (a sheltered diplomat) and Haung (a magic-wielding spy) upside down. While both men have positive and negative qualities, it is clear they fight for honor and country, and neither is obviously “good” or “evil” ... they are simply characters with believable motivations. As in any war, both sides of the conflict see themselves as in the right, and both men grow and change on their journey through the war.

Unfortunately, the same doesn’t necessarily feel true for the provinces of Wubei and Yaart. While we know their war has gone on for decades, Yaart ends up coming across as the “evil” province of the two, with few (if any) positive aspects. Because we were seeing protagonists from both powers, I felt a bit disappointed that Haung’s country were basically just a bunch of evil jerks (though Haung is not). It wasn’t Yaart’s ruthlessness or dishonesty that bothered me (war is neither fair nor honorable) but that their actions felt more moustache-twirlingly evil, rather than a genuine desire to protect Yaart’s people.

Besides that, the only other issues I had with the book was that Haung makes a decision I didn’t understand about midway through the book (it felt inconsistent with everything I’d learned about his character up to that point) and that it was sometimes difficult to understand the motivations and goals of the various people betraying their own province and others. There were a number of people conspiring beyond the sphere of the two main protagonists, and I was sometimes unsure what motivated those characters. However, a first book is never perfect, and these issues did not detract from my enjoyment of the story.

In addition, there were many elements I enjoyed. Matthew’s magic systems were interesting and original, with lots of nods to Eastern mythology. The arcs followed by the characters did not feel formulaic, and I loved that my sympathies for each waxed and waned as their journey continued. And despite my gripe about Yaart feeling too “evil”, I found the shades of gray present in the world interesting, particularly as they manifested in the Emperor of Wubei, Yaart, and every other province.

As a literal god (at least, that is how his people see him) even warring provinces with decades of animosity between them both swear allegiance to their Emperor. They willingly set aside their own feuds, when necessary, to serve him, and the idea that provinces and people could simultaneously be at war with each other while serving the same ruler is a fascinating set up for a fantasy novel.

While the Emperor’s touch in manipulating events is light in the first book, and his motives aren’t necessarily clear, his presence is felt throughout the book and he was perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the story beyond the characters of Zhou and Haung. I felt the book had a satisfying conclusion but left a number of roads open that will lead into the rest of the trilogy.

waaaay more intelligent than my review  :P
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)
www.starlit-lands.com

Offline DrNefario

Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
« Reply #55 on: June 20, 2016, 02:04:43 PM »
I've finished. I enjoyed it. Good finale. I'm happy that it was fairly complete, and there aren't too many loose ends for book 2. That means I can take my time getting to the rest of the trilogy, if I decide to pursue it.

I thought, initially, that the dragon wu must have been the Emperor, but that doesn't really square with what we learn about him. (Also, kind of a western dragon, wasn't it?)

I liked it, but I can't say I loved it. I felt a bit detached. The stakes didn't seem to be very well established. I didn't get much of an idea of what life was like before the start of the book; what the war meant, and what it was costing the two duchies or the two protagonists. The motivations seemed kind of heavy-handed and one-dimensional: "you killed my wife and child", "you threatened to kill my wife and child". It was nice to read something a bit different, though.

Offline G_R_Matthews

Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
« Reply #56 on: June 20, 2016, 05:43:47 PM »
Thank you for reading it :)
Staff Writer and ponderer of many things @ fantasy-faction

The Stone Road (4/5* Bookwormblues.net) : myBook.to/thestoneroad
Silent City : myBook.to/silentcity

www.grmatthews.com

Offline Kitvaria Sarene

Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
« Reply #57 on: June 20, 2016, 10:19:14 PM »
I liked it, but I can't say I loved it. I felt a bit detached. The stakes didn't seem to be very well established. I didn't get much of an idea of what life was like before the start of the book; what the war meant, and what it was costing the two duchies or the two protagonists. The motivations seemed kind of heavy-handed and one-dimensional: "you killed my wife and child", "you threatened to kill my wife and child". It was nice to read something a bit different, though.

I can promise you that book two is better than book one (that was exactly my reaction too, and as I am a picky reader I had no intention of reading the next ones. Only picked them up again after reading and loving silent city - his other book), and book three is even better than book two.
So it'll definitely be worth your time if you will pick them up someday:)

Offline Lanko

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Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
« Reply #58 on: June 20, 2016, 10:36:22 PM »
Yea, things get more complex in book 2 and 3. The magic and the world are expanded and the writing goes up and the typo/formatting issues pretty much disappear. They still have some issues, but they are visible improvements. I think some of us commented about them in the "currently reading" thread.

Book 3 is the best one for me too. It's the longest and I read it in two days.

Like you said, book one stand on its own, so you don't need to rush, but you definitely should give book 2 a try sometime.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Lanko's Year in Books 2019

Offline Eli_Freysson

Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
« Reply #59 on: June 21, 2016, 12:40:53 PM »
Okay, clearly I'm way, way, WAY behind, but I'm finally done.

I really need to work on my reading pace.

Anyway, overall a good book. It definitely got more interesting as it went on. And I like that getting bludgeoned into lengthy unconsciousness is actually treated as the serious injury it it.

I feel that The Stone Road would definitely have benefited from better proofreading and a more gripping opening, but it winds up being a fine fantasy story. Well done @G_R_Matthews.
I'll notify your next of kin... that you sucked!