Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction Book Clubs => Fantasy Faction Book Club => [JUN 2016] The Stone Road => Topic started by: JMack on May 10, 2016, 01:05:44 AM

Title: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: JMack on May 10, 2016, 01:05:44 AM
Geoff thinks his book breaks into 3 parts easily. So, instead of the usual 4 breaks, let's just follow a 3 part structure.
We'll begin n officially in June, but by now you'll have noticed had impatient and bad at dates I am.  8)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: tebakutis on May 10, 2016, 05:01:28 AM
Sounds like a plan. \m/
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Kitvaria Sarene on May 30, 2016, 01:10:39 AM
As it isn't a 1000+ pages book, that should work fine ;)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 02, 2016, 10:11:45 PM
As it isn't a 1000+ pages book, that should work fine ;)

I don't write 1000+ pages books... I haven't the patience :)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: JMack on June 04, 2016, 02:37:52 AM
Chapter 21. Very fun.
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Eclipse on June 05, 2016, 08:48:06 PM
I wasn't expecting a laugh out loud moment in this book but Haung and his baby with the mid wife was hilarious along with Chen and Shen

The Wu is interesting to learn about, looks like the emperor is the dragon spirit.it reminds me slightly of the wit from Robin Hobb but only slightly.

Boqin is cool

Edit: I've Read further on, the statue of a dragon with no emperor.I've got a theory this might mean there is no emperor just a dragon spirit which is masquerading as the emperor.The emperor has been consumed by the spirit or something and the emperor sleeping in the body
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: ScarletBea on June 05, 2016, 09:02:50 PM
The Wu is interesting to learn about, looks like the emperor is the dragon spirit.it reminds me slightly of the wit from Robin Hobb but only slightly.

Boqin is cool

Ooooh if you like this, then you'll LOVE book 2 :D
That was my reaction too, when I finished this one "I want to learn more about the Wu!!!", to which Geoff kindly pointed me to book 2  ;D
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 05, 2016, 09:20:54 PM
The Wu is interesting to learn about, looks like the emperor is the dragon spirit.it reminds me slightly of the wit from Robin Hobb but only slightly.

Boqin is cool

Ooooh if you like this, then you'll LOVE book 2 :D
That was my reaction too, when I finished this one "I want to learn more about the Wu!!!", to which Geoff kindly pointed me to book 2  ;D

I'll happily point everyone to book 2... I keep hearing it is the best in the series :)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Kitvaria Sarene on June 05, 2016, 11:44:17 PM
I'll happily point everyone to book 2... I keep hearing it is the best in the series :)

Disagree! Book one was good, book two amazing, book three bloody brilliant! ;)
I absolutely adore the Wu and their storyline, and there will be sooo much more of them!
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Eclipse on June 06, 2016, 12:14:57 AM
Okay finished what an amazing closing chapters at the end , very exciting fighting scenes

I was thinking of giving this 3 and a half it was enjoyable but had some flaws for me but those chapters pushed it up to four.

I'm being slightly dim but what is Zhou spirit aspect?

I can't work out the emperor ,so I think his a good mysterious character.I do think that statue of a dragon with no rider meant something.

Oh I need to see more of the Dryad and her magic

Chapter 35, page 295

go home for a relaxing drink. Good might to you , might?

Chapter 36, page 311

the two Marbus , does it need a 's


Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 06, 2016, 07:17:37 PM
Okay finished what an amazing closing chapters at the end , very exciting fighting scenes

I was thinking of giving this 3 and a half it was enjoyable but had some flaws for me but those chapters pushed it up to four.

Thanks! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I had no idea how nervous I would be with everyone reading it... and commenting :)

I'm being slightly dim but what is Zhou spirit aspect?
The chapter where he finds the spirit - a large Cat (a panther). More of that in Book 2 :)

I can't work out the emperor ,so I think his a good mysterious character.I do think that statue of a dragon with no rider meant something.
There are only two chapters that step outside of Haung and Zhou's PoV... one mentioned above, and the very last one. Oh, and it does :)

Oh I need to see more of the Dryad and her magic
More in book 2 and book 3... where I hope readers go... "Oh, so that's..."

Chapter 35, page 295

go home for a relaxing drink. Good might to you , might?

Oops! Yep. Good catch :)

Chapter 36, page 311

the two Marbus , does it need a 's

It is the plural of Marbu... you shouldn't use a 's to indicate a plural. At least, as far as I can recall :)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: ScarletBea on June 06, 2016, 09:22:54 PM
The chapter where he finds the spirit - a large Cat (a panther). More of that in Book 2 :)

Panther? Panther? How come I never made the connection? DUH! ???
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 06, 2016, 09:39:16 PM
The chapter where he finds the spirit - a large Cat (a panther). More of that in Book 2 :)

Panther? Panther? How come I never made the connection? DUH! ???

Now I need to know what you thought he was? :)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: ScarletBea on June 06, 2016, 09:43:35 PM
erm... a true large cat? Maybe leopard or something like that?
Do you ever mention his colour?
It makes perfect sense, but I never really thought of that
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 06, 2016, 09:48:04 PM
erm... a true large cat? Maybe leopard or something like that?
Do you ever mention his colour?
It makes perfect sense, but I never really thought of that

You know, that's a good question. I can't remember :)

I think in book 2, when they are (go away you lot, you haven't read it yet and it really will spoil it for you)...

fighting in the Spirit Realm/Plane there is more description of the panther.
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: ScarletBea on June 06, 2016, 09:51:19 PM
I'll check, thanks ;D

Found it!
You actually mention panther, I don't know why it didn't register. You also mention "big back cat" ;D
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Eclipse on June 06, 2016, 09:55:02 PM
Is Zhou wife and son really dead or did there escape?


I'm glad I enjoyed the book bit nervous reading fantasy faction /goodread friends incase I don't connect with their stories.
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 06, 2016, 10:02:29 PM
I'll check, thanks ;D

Found it!
You actually mention panther, I don't know why it didn't register. You also mention "big back cat" ;D

Phew! :)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 06, 2016, 10:06:12 PM
Is Zhou wife and son really dead or did there escape?


I'm glad I enjoyed the book bit nervous reading fantasy faction /goodread friends incase I don't connect with their stories.

I can understand that :)

As for Zhou's wife and child... I hesitate to say, it really would ruin the next two books.  ;D
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: ScarletBea on June 06, 2016, 10:07:23 PM
As for Zhou's wife and child... I hesitate to say, it really would ruin the next two books.  ;D
My reaction exactly ;D
Anything I thought of writing would give the game away one way or the other hehe
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Eclipse on June 06, 2016, 10:15:30 PM
Okay I believe them to be alive only for Zhou to lose them all over again.I see what the others think when there get to the end :-)

The Midwife scene did you laugh when you were writing it down?
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 06, 2016, 10:32:15 PM
Okay I believe them to be alive only for Zhou to lose them all over again.I see what the others think when there get to the end :-)

The Midwife scene did you laugh when you were writing it down?

Definitely :) The book was very grim by that time, and something was needed to lighten it, to build some humour into the characters.
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Raptori on June 06, 2016, 11:51:13 PM

Finished! Very good second half of the book, and felt it was a solid 4 stars throughout. Also really enjoyed the Wu stuff, good to hear there's a lot more of that in the sequels. I'll definitely be reading them, once I've read the ~30 books I have left on my bingo list.  :P

Okay I believe them to be alive only for Zhou to lose them all over again.I see what the others think when there get to the end :-)
I've been certain of this for the whole book, except that in the scene where Zhou fights the Duke, he sees his son's dead body, no? I guess that could be either imagined or some other child, but I thought that was confirmation that he had actually seen their bodies...  :-\
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 06, 2016, 11:59:52 PM

Finished! Very good second half of the book, and felt it was a solid 4 stars throughout. Also really enjoyed the Wu stuff, good to hear there's a lot more of that in the sequels. I'll definitely be reading them, once I've read the ~30 books I have left on my bingo list.  :P

Okay I believe them to be alive only for Zhou to lose them all over again.I see what the others think when there get to the end :-)
I've been certain of this for the whole book, except that in the scene where Zhou fights the Duke, he sees his son's dead body, no? I guess that could be either imagined or some other child, but I thought that was confirmation that he had actually seen their bodies...  :-\

Interesting... :)

And thanks for the great comments :) I hope this book fits something on your Bingo card!
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Raptori on June 07, 2016, 12:52:46 AM

Finished! Very good second half of the book, and felt it was a solid 4 stars throughout. Also really enjoyed the Wu stuff, good to hear there's a lot more of that in the sequels. I'll definitely be reading them, once I've read the ~30 books I have left on my bingo list.  :P

Okay I believe them to be alive only for Zhou to lose them all over again.I see what the others think when there get to the end :-)
I've been certain of this for the whole book, except that in the scene where Zhou fights the Duke, he sees his son's dead body, no? I guess that could be either imagined or some other child, but I thought that was confirmation that he had actually seen their bodies...  :-\

Interesting... :)
Hey, no being mysterious. Totally not allowed.  :P

And thanks for the great comments :) I hope this book fits something on your Bingo card!
Thanks for the great read! :D

It could potentially fit three actually: Self-published/Indie, Novel with fewer than 3000 GR ratings, and Novel inspired by non-western folklore/myth. I'll probably be putting it in the third one  ;)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: SJBudd on June 08, 2016, 05:13:02 PM
So I've just got to chapter 30 still really enjoying it. I'm loving that Zhou's getting even more bad ass now that he's got special powers.

I also still really like Haung, (managed to get the girl in the end  :) ) he shows his good side by sparing Zhou's life when he captured Hsin and possibly saved his life. Something I'll think he'll regret. I think there will be a big face off between them at some point.

Anyway I'm off to read some more... ;D
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: m3mnoch on June 08, 2016, 05:41:32 PM
i'm on chapter 31.

had a long drive (2 hours each way) up and back from the home office up in l.a. yesterday.  listened to my phone reading all the crazy adventures to me the whole way.

i should be able to finish listening to it on my run this afternoon.
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 08, 2016, 08:18:40 PM
I think there will be a big face off between them at some point.

That would certainly be an interesting battle :)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 08, 2016, 08:19:13 PM
i'm on chapter 31.

had a long drive (2 hours each way) up and back from the home office up in l.a. yesterday.  listened to my phone reading all the crazy adventures to me the whole way.

i should be able to finish listening to it on my run this afternoon.

I hope you enjoy the ending :)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Lanko on June 08, 2016, 09:24:10 PM
I read Chapter 21 to 30 in a blaze (less than an hour, what the heck).

So Zhou's sudden "skill" in swords was actually magic. Interesting, I totally didn't see the connection between the snakes and black/white vision. Also liked the big bad dragon and how even him is afraid of the Bear.

I'm gonna be honest and say that contrary to everyone else apparently, I didn't enjoy Huang because there was no challenges for him to bypass, no moral choices to make or even a hard battle, while Zhou had all that. Huang's biggest problem was "do I marry this pretty girl or not?".

Well, that changed when he got his own kid and is now being threatened, as he got some tension in his life and his chapters are now much more interesting.

Speaking of his marriage, I now have this wild theory about Jiao:

That she is a Jiin-Wei herself.

Wait, what? First, let's consider the culture of the ancient China that served as inspiration: extremely rigid and hierarchy based. So Jiao's behavior, like actively chasing her man is abnormally out of place and pretty much she encourages and pushes him to marry her.

Also, how easily he got the permission to marry, despite everyone saying it was forbidden and an anomaly.

At chapter 22, she says she heard about a lot of married Jiin-Wei with children. Yet at chapter 28 we see that Huang passed months in the secret archives of the order searching for this and concluded married Jiin-Wei were a total anomaly, even if they were the duke's bodyguard and only one who fathered a child - and outside of marriage.

So even if she says it was from stories, it's curious she, who I think was a servant girl, knows more about his order than he himself who is pretty much a high officer with access to a secret archive. Also, if a Jiin-Wei can have permission to marry, there's nothing that says they can't be ordered to marry someone, is there?

He didn't even need to court her or anything, felt like she was obsessed with him for no reason, it was just too easy. Easy come, easy goes, right? And how the Emperor seems to know something about Huang, and who is better to give that info?

This is very wild, of course, it could just be records got destroyed and that one specifically preserved to be found by Jiin-Wei with similar thoughts but stories survived down the ages, but if this ends up happening later on it the other books it would blow my mind.

And last, what the heck with the blurb of book 2, G.R.? I just opened Goodreads, someone put book 2 on "Want to Read" and now I know the duke dies, a traitor is slain (Marbu probably) and the city of Yaart is destroyed. *Rages*
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 08, 2016, 09:45:01 PM
And last, what the heck with the blurb of book 2, G.R.? I just opened Goodreads, someone put book 2 on "Want to Read" and now I know the duke dies, a traitor is slain (Marbu probably) and the city of Yaart is destroyed. *Rages*

Ah... I really struggled with the Blurb for book 2. How to give the idea that the story continues without giving anything away!

One, maybe two, people from The Stone Road are now trying to find out something that happens or to prevent something happening. One, maybe two of them must learn some new skills and...

I really struggled to make it work. Maybe it deserves another look... but blurbing without spoiling is art :)

The battle for The Stone Road is over. Now the winners and losers must look to the next challenge; advancement or survival. On the horizon, a new threat emerges. One the Emperor had feared and yet knows little about. More than a city is at stake and discovering secrets is what the Jiin-Wei are for.


I love your thoughts about Jiao!
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Kitvaria Sarene on June 08, 2016, 11:29:50 PM
I also still really like Haung, (managed to get the girl in the end  :) ) he shows his good side by sparing Zhou's life when he captured Hsin and possibly saved his life. Something I'll think he'll regret. I think there will be a big face off between them at some point.

One of my favorite scenes! Other one is the one with the mother...
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Lanko on June 09, 2016, 08:52:15 AM
Finished it! Great ending, with very interesting places, people and some magic.

My theory about Jiao was wrong, but I was totally right in that there was something really strange going on with her, so there's that!  ;D

Huang only grew on me in the final quarter, but hey, his competition was Zhou, who was clearly the better character as only handsome, intelligent, witty, strong and charming people like me and him go for the diplomatic career  ::)
 
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 09, 2016, 05:20:23 PM
Finished it! Great ending, with very interesting places, people and some magic.
Thanks... and I am really glad you enjoyed it!


My theory about Jiao was wrong, but I was totally right in that there was something really strange going on with her, so there's that!  ;D
There is more to her in book 2 and 3.

Huang only grew on me in the final quarter, but hey, his competition was Zhou, who was clearly the better character as only handsome, intelligent, witty, strong and charming people like me and him go for the diplomatic career  ::)

It is a fair point :)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: JMack on June 10, 2016, 01:01:32 PM
Finished!  Now I get to read this thread.  ;D
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Eclipse on June 10, 2016, 01:07:53 PM
Finished!  Now I get to read this thread.  ;D

It's like an extra chapter for the book!
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: JMack on June 10, 2016, 01:12:57 PM
Finished!  Now I get to read this thread.  ;D

It's like an extra chapter for the book!

And I just purchased Book 2  8)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: JMack on June 10, 2016, 01:30:54 PM
So let's start by saying how much I enjoyed the book. So many times I said to myself: "Man, I hope I can write like that at some point."

The magic and action were great, and the world is filled with mystery. The emperor himself is like a feature of the world as well as being one of the most interesting characters in the novel.

But, I'm looking forward to book 2 mainly because of the promise of fleshing out certain characters. One of the weaknesses of book 1, I think, is that the characters are somewhat generic. I expected Jiao to be a harriden, but as soon as she gets Haung, she fades into grey. Once Zhao becomes a wu, I find him to be comprised only of two things: stubborn revenge and wu-ism. All his pre-existing faults sort of get smoothed away. And Haung is a quiet hero, but I don't get a sense for his weaknesses, foibles, or things that make him utterly unique as a character.

Finally, if I were to adjust the very last two chapters (cheeky bastard that I am), I would have put some lovely magical imagery at the end of Chapter 36 to show that the golden mirror was being activated. As it is, when you flip the page to Chapter 37 and the Emperor emerges, my mind said "Emperor ex machina"! I get, it makes sense; but I think the abruptness of it could be softened.

One more thought, since I'm doing stream of consciousness here. Some foreshadowing of the duke's manipulation of Jiao would be in order.

Now the heck with all that.

This was fun! Great stuff, Geof. I'm so glad we chose your book for our first F-F Authors Book Club read.
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 10, 2016, 05:41:10 PM
So let's start by saying how much I enjoyed the book. So many times I said to myself: "Man, I hope I can write like that at some point."
<blushes>  :-[ but thanks :)

The magic and action were great, and the world is filled with mystery. The emperor himself is like a feature of the world as well as being one of the most interesting characters in the novel.
More of him in Book #2 and #3 ... and you are very close to being right  ;)

But, I'm looking forward to book 2 mainly because of the promise of fleshing out certain characters. One of the weaknesses of book 1, I think, is that the characters are somewhat generic. I expected Jiao to be a harriden, but as soon as she gets Haung, she fades into grey. Once Zhao becomes a wu, I find him to be comprised only of two things: stubborn revenge and wu-ism. All his pre-existing faults sort of get smoothed away. And Haung is a quiet hero, but I don't get a sense for his weaknesses, foibles, or things that make him utterly unique as a character.
Zhou's faults don't vanish, but his life is changed utterly by those two events. It is bit like being reborn, and he must grow again into a different person.

Haung, yep, I can see that. Hopefully, if you follow his story you'll see some of those things. He is put under a lot more pressure and his comfort is a transient thing.

Finally, if I were to adjust the very last two chapters (cheeky bastard that I am), I would have put some lovely magical imagery at the end of Chapter 36 to show that the golden mirror was being activated. As it is, when you flip the page to Chapter 37 and the Emperor emerges, my mind said "Emperor ex machina"! I get, it makes sense; but I think the abruptness of it could be softened.
Ah the 'golden mirror' :) I can see you're point, and maybe that would have highlighted it more. I like the Emperor, even if I don't trust him :)

One more thought, since I'm doing stream of consciousness here. Some foreshadowing of the duke's manipulation of Jiao would be in order.
Yep. When I started out, I was determined to write this in a focused Third-Person limited PoV, so you experience the world through their eyes only (bar the Cat and Emperor mini-chapters). That's why things seem to jump occasionally in time and space, and in an effort to keep the pace up... I like pacey books, they keep me reading in times when I actually don't have much time to read.

Now the heck with all that.

This was fun! Great stuff, Geof. I'm so glad we chose your book for our first F-F Authors Book Club read.

I'm really glad too! It has been a nervous experience, I woke up a few nights, mind racing about the comments that would come in... would people like it? Hate it?

As a Self-Pubbed author, and The Stone Road being my first ever book, it was worrying. I think the book gets better the further you go through it... and as a man that doesn't have a plan, I think it worked out pretty good. In each of the next two, the scope of the world widens out, and you see more of it... plus some of my favourite characters get a proper introduction in Book #2 :)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: JMack on June 10, 2016, 07:08:59 PM
My idea of foreshadowing, for what's it's worth, would have been Haung puzzling over some momentary oddness in her eyes, or such.

But as you say, the heck with all that!  ;)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Lanko on June 10, 2016, 07:18:47 PM
My idea of foreshadowing, for what's it's worth, would have been Haung puzzling over some momentary oddness in her eyes, or such.

But as you say, the heck with all that!  ;)

I noticed something was very wrong with her (see my theory in the previous page), but I certainly wasn't expecting mind manipulation. I thought she had orders, actually
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Justan Henner on June 11, 2016, 08:44:39 PM
Finished.

I liked the worldbuilding a lot. The small cultural 'quirks' (for lack of a better word) were well done; the golems, the spirits, the titles "Honorable, Honored, Venerable Hsin, etc - I really liked those, and kind of wish I could get away with them irl  ;D.

I felt a few places were under-explained, or at the least I missed some crucial details. I felt as though I often knew what the character was doing, but not his motivation for doing it. As an example, I'm still not sure why Zhou wandered into the mountains after the siege, (the only motive stated at the time was revenge, but I didn't quite understand how going into the mountains would help with that goal), though I could see why he needed to in order to meet Boqin.

The misspelled, misused, and missing words were a bit distracting. At one point (about 75% of the way through) the paragraph indentation goes wonky for about a scene, which really put me on edge, haha, but I think that says more about me than it does the book.

The Emperor, Boqin, and the spirit animals are what really pulled things together for me. When Boqin and Zhou meet the emperor in the spirit world was the first time I got a sense that there was a lot more going on here than I thought. It makes me wonder what I was missing at the first, as I'm curious if there are a few of these 'special list/Wu' individuals who I missed at the first. The subsequent conversation between the Duke and the Emperor was, I think, my favorite part of the book.
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Justan Henner on June 11, 2016, 08:47:21 PM
Sorry to double post, I just had to comment on this:

Edit: I've Read further on, the statue of a dragon with no emperor.I've got a theory this might mean there is no emperor just a dragon spirit which is masquerading as the emperor.The emperor has been consumed by the spirit or something and the emperor sleeping in the body

That's funny, I took it as an anarchist symbol. A dragon without a rider, as in the nation without its emperor. I figured they were anti-emperor rebels.
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: JMack on June 11, 2016, 08:49:41 PM
I thought the same.

Meanwhile, I completely missed that the dragon in the spirit world is the emperor. Well, duh.
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: m3mnoch on June 12, 2016, 03:49:40 PM
i finished this last week, but i figured i'd finally get around to writing up a quick note about my thoughts.

a lot of the reason for my delay was my crankiness over the emperor in the end.  i felt like i was being a baby because i hated his appearance.  jmack and i had the exact same thought -- emperor ex machina.  it felt very much like the characters were being railroaded for the sake of plot.

there were a few other times along the way where i had the same feeling, but it wasn't as strong.  the early disbanding (not that it was disbanded at all, but that it was disbanded early - i would guess both yaart and wubei would disband them simultaneously) of the army.  when haung (see!  i can spell it!) set zhou free.

but, the emperor stepping in and wrapping things up neatly in a bow was bothersome.

also, there was some head-hopping happening in that last chapter.  perspective shifts from the emperor to haung.  for example, from "As soon as the young lady with the child left" to "the emperor was saying as Haung and Jiao left the hall".

that being said -- haung sticking the paper/gripping the throat of marbu?  YES!!  loved that.  i cheered.

That's funny, I took it as an anarchist symbol. A dragon without a rider, as in the nation without its emperor. I figured they were anti-emperor rebels.

*whew*  me too!  glad i wasn't the only one.

and, boquin, zhou, and the emperor (tho, i didn't realize it was the emperor until he did his creepy eye party trick), when the groundwork is laid with the wu, that chunk through there was probably my favorite part in the whole book.  like justan, i was all "whoa!  so much cool stuff is going on!!"

overall, i enjoyed the book, even with its freshman flaws.  there have been lots of books i threw in the dnf pile written by famous and popular authors, so believe me when i say i am not afraid of abandoning a book as "not worth my time".

with this one, there were more than enough fun surprises and interesting questions that needed answers to make up for the mechanical problems like lack of foreshadowing in places and the railroading of characters.

often, when i stumbled across some of these pointier mistakes, i couldn't help but wonder about how awesome of a book it would have been with the help of a professional editor.  not just fixing the typos, but helping to spot and adjust some of those structural issues behind the common feelings we readers all having.

but, for sure!  mad props to geoff being brave enough to throw his baby to the wolves!
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews 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 (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 :)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: SJBudd 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 (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=31990) for writing the book and to @Jmack (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=37094) for hosting  ;D

Can't wait for the next one!

Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews 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 (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=31990) for writing the book and to @Jmack (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=37094) 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!
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: tebakutis 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. :)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews 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!)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: JMack 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.
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: tebakutis 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!

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.
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Kitvaria Sarene 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...
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: tebakutis 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. :)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: JMack 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!

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
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: DrNefario 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.
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 20, 2016, 05:43:47 PM
Thank you for reading it :)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Kitvaria Sarene 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:)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Lanko 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.

Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Eli_Freysson 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 (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=31990).
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on June 21, 2016, 06:51:19 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 (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=31990).

Thank you... and yeah, I agree about the bludgeoned thingy :)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Delaney on June 27, 2016, 12:11:57 PM
Finished!

Helloooooo... Anyone still there?

It's been a slow reading month for me but I got there in the end, and thoroughly enjoyed it! I thought after a slow start it really came home strong. I'm looking forward to seeing where the journey goes from here, wherever that is I'm hoping there will be more magic?!?
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: ScarletBea on June 27, 2016, 12:18:30 PM
I'm looking forward to seeing where the journey goes from here, wherever that is I'm hoping there will be more magic?!?
That was my reaction too, I went and bought book 2 and was definitely not disappointed - lots more magic ;D
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Delaney on June 27, 2016, 12:53:30 PM
I'm looking forward to seeing where the journey goes from here, wherever that is I'm hoping there will be more magic?!?
That was my reaction too, I went and bought book 2 and was definitely not disappointed - lots more magic ;D

Yussss :D
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: JMack on June 27, 2016, 12:53:43 PM
Finished!

Helloooooo... Anyone still there?

It's been a slow reading month for me but I got there in the end, and thoroughly enjoyed it! I thought after a slow start it really came home strong. I'm looking forward to seeing where the journey goes from here, wherever that is I'm hoping there will be more magic?!?

Hi, @Delaney (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=41290), glad you read with us and enjoyed. I'm with you - expecting great things from books 2 and 3 when I get to them. If you're still game, I hope you'll join us for the July read!
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Delaney on June 27, 2016, 12:59:45 PM
Hi Jmack, you know what? I might just do that. The Copper Promise has been on my TBR list for quite a while, what better time to read it then now.
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Kitvaria Sarene on June 27, 2016, 02:22:22 PM
I'm looking forward to seeing where the journey goes from here, wherever that is I'm hoping there will be more magic?!?

As ScarletBea already said - there'll be a lot more magic in it!
I "only" liked the first, loved the second and devoured the third. You can actually see how GR learns more and more with every book. :)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: JRTroughton on July 03, 2016, 05:57:08 PM
Finally finished this.

Overall, 'It Was Good.' I found the final 3rd fairly lacklustre in comparison to the rest of the book, but I think that was more likely due to the break I had in reading it which meant I lost the flow of the story somewhat and is therefore an unfair judgement. The final chapters were exciting enough, but the build up to Zhou's arrival dragged for me, and the dryad didn't really catch me. As I say though, my reading had become very disjointed and I wasn't really giving it a fair crack.

A thoroughly enjoyable read though, and something I wouldn't have picked up without the book club, so hooray for such things. :)

Good stuff, GR.
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on July 03, 2016, 10:22:57 PM
Thanks for reading it!
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Nino on July 11, 2016, 12:02:58 PM
Ok, before I read and comment on everything everyone else wrote, here is my thoughts on the third part of the book.

The start of this section (roughly 50%-70% on my kindle) felt like I was reading a new book. I had no idea where it was going and to an extent felt like I had to get to know the characters from  scratch. I did not prepare myself for this and struggled a bit through that bit. For this section Zhou was my hero who kept me reading. I really struggled through the Haung chapters.

So, now with the down side out if the way, the upside... I enjoyed Zhou's journey a lot. My favourite part was probably the "tree" inn and I think I can probably read a whole book just on that. I also found the scenes where Zhou managed to get into Yaart quite exciting, especially since we knew what was happening with Haung at that stage and I kept wondering when they were going to run into each other again. The ending also worked out well and gives me enough reason to read the second book in the series.
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Nino on July 11, 2016, 04:24:16 PM
The chapter where he finds the spirit - a large Cat (a panther). More of that in Book 2 :)

Panther? Panther? How come I never made the connection? DUH! ???

Panther?! I also did not catch that one. Why did I continue to think that he was some sort of snake thing?
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Nino on July 11, 2016, 04:26:46 PM

Finished! Very good second half of the book, and felt it was a solid 4 stars throughout. Also really enjoyed the Wu stuff, good to hear there's a lot more of that in the sequels. I'll definitely be reading them, once I've read the ~30 books I have left on my bingo list.  :P

Okay I believe them to be alive only for Zhou to lose them all over again.I see what the others think when there get to the end :-)
I've been certain of this for the whole book, except that in the scene where Zhou fights the Duke, he sees his son's dead body, no? I guess that could be either imagined or some other child, but I thought that was confirmation that he had actually seen their bodies...  :-\

I made the same conclusion here...
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on July 11, 2016, 07:21:48 PM
Ok, before I read and comment on everything everyone else wrote, here is my thoughts on the third part of the book.

The start of this section (roughly 50%-70% on my kindle) felt like I was reading a new book. I had no idea where it was going and to an extent felt like I had to get to know the characters from  scratch. I did not prepare myself for this and struggled a bit through that bit. For this section Zhou was my hero who kept me reading. I really struggled through the Haung chapters.

So, now with the down side out if the way, the upside... I enjoyed Zhou's journey a lot. My favourite part was probably the "tree" inn and I think I can probably read a whole book just on that. I also found the scenes where Zhou managed to get into Yaart quite exciting, especially since we knew what was happening with Haung at that stage and I kept wondering when they were going to run into each other again. The ending also worked out well and gives me enough reason to read the second book in the series.

The 'tree' Inn is vital to the trilogy ;)

In a sense, I hope, you are reading about a new Zhou... a man bereft of everything and having to learn to live again. At least, that is what I was going for!
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Nino on July 12, 2016, 07:48:59 PM
Ok, before I read and comment on everything everyone else wrote, here is my thoughts on the third part of the book.

The start of this section (roughly 50%-70% on my kindle) felt like I was reading a new book. I had no idea where it was going and to an extent felt like I had to get to know the characters from  scratch. I did not prepare myself for this and struggled a bit through that bit. For this section Zhou was my hero who kept me reading. I really struggled through the Haung chapters.

So, now with the down side out if the way, the upside... I enjoyed Zhou's journey a lot. My favourite part was probably the "tree" inn and I think I can probably read a whole book just on that. I also found the scenes where Zhou managed to get into Yaart quite exciting, especially since we knew what was happening with Haung at that stage and I kept wondering when they were going to run into each other again. The ending also worked out well and gives me enough reason to read the second book in the series.

The 'tree' Inn is vital to the trilogy ;)

In a sense, I hope, you are reading about a new Zhou... a man bereft of everything and having to learn to live again. At least, that is what I was going for!

Ah, great to hear that!

And yet, I am experiencing a 'new', changed Zhou.

Overall... Well done Mr. Matthews! Especially for being so open to criticism and taking it in your stride.
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: G_R_Matthews on July 12, 2016, 08:28:02 PM
I am always open to criticism :)

If I'd written the perfect book, I would be a millionaire :) and The Stone Road was the first book I'd finished that felt good enough for others to read.

More than anything, I wanted the book to be about the growth and change of the two principal characters. I suppose many authors want the same :) As long as people enjoy it, that's all that really matters... though it would be nice to be a millionaire :)
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Peat on August 06, 2016, 06:19:06 AM
This one finished last of all.

One merely posts to observed that in the case of the revered Zhou, rebirth has but disturbed the topsoil. His behaviour at the Dryad's inn shows the same flaws as shown in alienating the venerable Hsin. He still estimates his intellect exceedingly high in comparison to others and acts rashly and arrogantly on this false premise. One enjoys that and hopes this slight flaw in his nature will continue to be present in books 2 and 3, which will most assuredly be read.

May the author know the benevolence of heaven for his generosity.
Title: Re: Part 3: Chapter 21 to the End
Post by: Kitvaria Sarene on August 09, 2016, 10:24:27 PM
One enjoys that and hopes this slight flaw in his nature will continue to be present in books 2 and 3, which will most assuredly be read.

This one made a wise choice, as books 2 is assuredly better than book one and book 3 is formidable!