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REVIEW: The Warlord’s Daughter (Borderlands Book 2) by Susan Grant

Dear Ms Grant,

037377361701lzzzzzzzWhile SF isn’t what I read the most, I still enjoy an occasional foray into the genre. I like that I don’t have to worry about historical accuracy since the very nature of the beast allows you, the author, to literally make it up as you go along. All I have to do is hang on for the ride.

The war is finally over. But Wren’s life is in tatters. The only living offspring of the notorious Drakken Warlord, her genes could very well start a new dynasty of terror. And the Coalition can’t have that.

She alone holds the key to finding a legendary treasure. Having seen enough bloodshed, shy, petite Wren vows to destroy it before anyone, Drakken, Coalition or Earth, can get their hands on it-’but she’ll need help.

The Drakken’s ruthless evil turned Aral toward the Coalition years ago. War is all he knows, until he finds passion and love in the most unlikely of women-’the Warlord’s daughter. But will trusting each other with their secrets risk not only their hearts, but their lives?

One of the things I like so much about this series is that a reader doesn’t have to have read the first book, “Moonstruck” or the “Otherworldly Men” series in order to follow the action. It’s possible to pick this one up and jump right in.

I do like how this series isn’t written strictly in order. There is overlap with some of the past books. Also, I feel you keep new readers up to speed with past events without bringing the action of this book to a screeching halt while the backstory is filled in.

Given that I don’t read much SF, I still think that the world building is done well. Readers with more experience in the genre might disagree but for the SF layman (or woman), it works. The suspicions and tensions of all sides for the others that we saw in “Moonstruck” still make sense. A 1000 year old war has just ended months before and it’ll take a long time before everyone is one happy family. The reasons behind Aral’s betrayal of the Drakken Horde are understandable and I had no trouble following him into his actions.

Some things aren’t handled as I would expect – which is good. I thought Wren would get her health problems fixed and escape or she would pose as priestess and escape or Keir Vantos would take her to the treasure while they escaped Aral or she would somehow flee Aral. But then none of this would happen and I had to mentally rearrange my expectations of the plot. I like being surprised like this.

I also wanted to know what would happen next. How were Wren and Aral going to work things out? Would Bolivarr regain his memory and what would be the implications from that for him professionally and in his relationship with Hadley? Would Vantos get to rise above hauling chem-toilets and show the devilish streak I could see in his character?

The story kept me flipping ebook pages and eager to see what you’d do next. So keep that in mind while I now nitpick. This might piss you off but I think it shows how closely I was following the plot and how much I wanted from the book.

Wren and Aral meet one time 10 years ago and he just instantly knows that they’re in love? And keeps her close in his heart for that long til they meet again? Then when they finally meet, Wren wants the trappings of marriage – by which I guess she means nookie – but not marriage. At first she’s infuriated at Aral’s presumption of their marriage then – suddenly! – she seems to have agreed that they’re married and is soothing him and looking forward to a complete marriage. It’s not often that something is both drawn out and rushed at the same time.

As I was reading, I noticed lots of repetition of sometimes the exact same phrases such as to describe the intentions of each side during the war or Wren’s feelings on wanting the trappings of marriage but not the trap. And if Goddesses ruled this world and are the ones prayed to, then why do the characters constantly say “by the Gods?”

There are lots of plot threads. Some from previous books and new ones as well. There’s a ton of stuff going on here and while some of it is knit together well, the ending does feel rushed. As if you’d loaded the story with elements then suddenly realized you were running out of space to tell them all. Will some threads be resolved in later books?

Some readers might feel the story is a little heavy handed with religious politics. It feels sometimes as if you want to comment on current world affairs and are using the book as a platform. I could be totally off base here.

Aral becomes an emo guy fairly quickly. He’s been a top ranked Battlelord for years, has done some nasty things but suddenly is giving Alan Alda a run for it when he realizes how he doesn’t want to pressure Wren and angsts over how she feels trapped by marriage, etc. Bolivarr is also a very emo guy for someone who was a big, bad wraith.

Hadley comes across a few too many times as the uncertain “farm girl from Talo.” Though I did like her maneuver which earned her a pass to the rank of captain. To her credit, she displays sound leadership skills while traveling to Ara Ana. But, after mooning like a schoolgirl over Bolivarr and wanting to smooth locks of his hair off his brow, for a short time she seemed ready to quickly give up on the man she loves and their chance at happiness.

I kept being told how wonderful Wren is, how she has an inner core of steel but…I just didn’t see a lot of this. Wren comes across as small, plain and, well rather like her name, a little brown wren. Then suddenly she’s a take charge leader. I never felt I saw the change in her before she rises up and take command. I guess this is supposed to be her warlord DNA coming out in a good way.

I’ve mentioned in other reviews that I want to see villains punished for what they’ve done. So when the villain here is taken out way too quickly and easily, I felt cheated. Everyone fears him, hates him, hunts him then with little effort, KABAM!, he’s gone. It was kind of anticlimactic.

After paragraphs of harshing, you’re probably disgusted with me again. Damn Jayne hardly ever gives me a good review, the beyotch. So I’ll end with some rainbows and happy bunnies. Vantos reminds me a little of Han Solo though Kaz is definitely not Princess Leia. But both intrigue me and I plan to be along for whatever you’ve got in store for them. C+

~Jayne

This book can be purchased in mass market from Amazon or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

32 Comments

  1. Helen Burgess
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 05:09:01

    I really looked forward to this book and having read it was left with mixed feelings. I agree with the Alan Alda comment – Imagine a Alan Alda warlord!. I felt as if a big chunk of the middle of the book was missing. The change in Wren was to sudden and extreme. A sheltered woman who has never taken charge of anything is suddenly a big bad warlord type – that lost me. Is this an instance of an author having to write to a word count and suddenly realising the story needed more and so just cut our a few chapters to fit with the publishers or did Ms Grant get bored or tired and just wanted the story done. I was disappointed.

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  2. Jayne
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 06:55:26

    I was hoping we’d see some of the badass side of Aral. After all, we’re told that in his past as a Battlelord, he’s some some horrible things. But that must all be behind him now as he moves into the sweet life.

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  3. Heather Massey
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 08:36:42

    Thanks for reviewing another science fiction romance, Jayne!

    I agree about Susan Grant’s worldbuilding. She offers enough details to ground the reader but not so much that it boggs down the story. Imho the balance she strikes allows for a nice focus on the romance as well as the action/adventure aspects.

    Your comments about the ending feeling rushed make me go grrr. I’m off on a rant now about word counts. While not all SFR stories need to be 500 pages long, the scope of many stories demand a longer word count than authors are typically allowed. I understand the realities of publishing, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

    I’ve read a couple science fiction romances recently that worked given their length. But more often than not (for me, at least), others were just too short, and either the plot or the romance arc was shortchanged as a result. Sometimes just an extra 50 pages would help provide more depth. Ok, rant over.

    The Borderlands series is turning into an intriguing group of books. Can’t wait to see the tale she creates for her lady space pirate Valeeya Blue!

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  4. Jane A
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 09:42:28

    I gave this one a C-. There were three romances in the book, and the secondary one between Hadley and Bolivarr was much more interesting than either of the others, including that between the main characters Wren and Aral. They felt flat and one dimensional to me and I found them boring.

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  5. Jayne
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 10:06:48

    There were three romances in the book, and the secondary one between Hadley and Bolivarr was much more interesting than either of the others, including that between the main characters Wren and Aral. They felt flat and one dimensional to me and I found them boring.

    And perhaps this was the problem. With three romances – or a partial in the case of Vantos and Kaz – there’s just too much to cram into the wordcount. With one cut out, there would have been more room, IMO, to flesh out the others and give them their due time.

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  6. Jayne
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 10:08:59

    I've read a couple science fiction romances recently that worked given their length. But more often than not (for me, at least), others were just too short, and either the plot or the romance arc was shortchanged as a result. Sometimes just an extra 50 pages would help provide more depth. Ok, rant over.

    Yes, even 50 more pages would have helped. I’m not looking for door stopper weight here just 50-100 more pages to add more depth to the characters while allowing for all the information about the Borderlands world.

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  7. Moth
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 10:15:04

    I can’t really get over naming the hero “Aral.” I mean, there’s already a popular, fabulous SF character named “Aral,” and it’s not like the name “John” or “Bill” where I can accept more than one. Aral is a distinct name, and I see “Aral” I think of Aral Vorkosigan and no one else. This was probably an in joke or something but I think it wasn’t the best idea.

    (and I don’t read e-books so that little name-changey option is not open to me. And I would probably feel weird doing that anyway. I agonize so much over naming my characters it feels wrong to rename someone else’s. )

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  8. Becca
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 10:37:07

    oh, thank you Moth! I thought the same thing: there are just some names that are so associated with characters in other books / series that they just shouldn’t be reused. I think if I read this book I’d constantly be comparing Grant’s Aral with Bujold’s Aral Vorkosigan, and find Grant’s Aral lacking.

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  9. GrowlyCub
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 11:09:32

    Becca and moth: this always comes as a surprise to me as a loyal Bujoldian, but there are a rather significant number of people who have never heard of Bujold or Aral Vorkosigan. I work hard to change that! :)

    My first thought upon hearing of anybody named Aral is how weird it was for their parents to name them after a German chain of gas stations and I flash back to the blue and white logo and gas station design… grin.

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  10. Estara
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 13:06:21

    @GrowlyCub:

    My first thought upon hearing of anybody named Aral is how weird it was for their parents to name them after a German chain of gas stations and I flash back to the blue and white logo and gas station design… grin.

    LOL! Me, too ^^. Ah, I love the internet and the way you can trip over associations from different cultures now. Like our “handys”, hah!!

    Although Aral for a sf hero also would always recall the Vorkosigan saga for me, eventually.

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  11. Moth
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 14:06:01

    but there are a rather significant number of people who have never heard of Bujold or Aral Vorkosigan.

    Yes, but that seems less likely for a SFR writer, doesn’t it?

    Honestly, (and I could be wrong) but I assumed Grant chose “Aral” as a sort of in-joke or homage to Bujold.

    I do that sometimes: name one of my characters after an old favorite character. It just seems like not the wisest choice, to me, in this instance since both “Arals” are SF heroes. The association is too close; as opposed to say naming the character in your contemporary romance after your favorite fantasy heroine or something.

    Even then you have to be careful of the name, though, if its too distinctive. Like the one book DA reviewed a few weeks back where the hero’s name was “Severus”, with Harry Potter fever still going strong, how is anyone going to read that name and not think of a greasy, hook-nosed potion master? Although that author said she had never read the Potter books and was unaware of the Snape association.

    Which might be the case with this too, but, again, since they’re in the same genre I doubt it.

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  12. GrowlyCub
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 15:16:54

    Moth,

    As you said the author who used Severus wasn’t aware of the connotations, why assume that Grant has read Bujold and ascribe motivations that may not be there. I guess we could just ask her since the internets are making that so nice and easy! :)

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  13. Moth
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 15:25:26

    why assume that Grant has read Bujold

    Because they both write SF, and Bujold is kind of a big name in SF.

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  14. Miki
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 16:59:23

    I like Susan Grant, but haven’t read Bujold. Yet.

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  15. GrowlyCub
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 17:18:29

    Moth,

    I was curious enough about this to email Grant to ask if she’s read Bujold and if so if her using the name was deliberate. :)

    I’ll report if I hear back.

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  16. Tae
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 18:24:02

    well it would make sense to pay homage to Aral V. he was called the “butcher of Komarr”

    anyhow, sounds interesting enough for me to want to read it (Grant, since I’ve already read everything by Bujold)

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  17. Audrey
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 18:57:34

    I’ve read everything by Grant so far and was looking forward to this one, too. I’m a little worried about the religious politics thing you mentioned – Grant has made a couple of snitty remarks about non-religious people in previous books but it wasn’t quite enough to make me stop reading her. Am I going to hurl the book against the wall and go to sulk in a corner about the loss of one of my auto-buy authors?

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  18. Jayne
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 19:05:43

    Audrey, I could be reading my own feelings into what Grant wrote. And the basis of the 1000 year war in the books is the religious split between the two sides so it makes sense that religion will be mentioned a lot throughout the story. This didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the book but the comparison between what’s going on in our world and this one did seem a nagging undertone while I read it.

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  19. Kimber An
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 20:57:05

    Since you ladies usually give a C to the books I love, I’m really looking forward to this one!

    I’d never heard of the name Aral anywhere, although it does resemble the name of a Russian mountain range, I think.

    Don’t assume all SF or SFR folks love Bujold, female or not. Obviously, she’s brilliant, but I’ll take Linnea or Susan over her any day.

    So far, I’ve read only the prologue to WARLORD’S DAUGHTER, but I was blown away by the primal conflict inside Wren in relation to her father.

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  20. Susan Grant
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 02:09:15

    I'm answering from my layover in Shanghai where my lack of a reliable Internet connection necessitates that I copy the blog and comments to a WORD doc I'll TRY to paste in as a comment. Hope that works or I'll just reply when I get home Friday. I normally use my Blackberry on trips, but I got a note from “Growly Cub” and thought I'd rather come over and answer in person. Please be patient with my answering this way.
    a reader doesn't have to have read the first book…in order to follow the action. It's possible to pick this one up and jump right in.

    Thank you, Jayne. It's just a favor I like to do for readers jumping in mid-series. I plan for the entire Borderlands series to be this way.

    But then none of this would happen and I had to mentally rearrange my expectations of the plot. I like being surprised like this.

    Something I strive to do as a writer is take my first impulse to write something a certain way then do the exact opposite. My first instinct was to have her flee. Then I thought, what would a thinking woman do? Wren decided she'd be safer with him, more of a known quantity, than a total stranger. It was a calculated risk.

    I also wanted to know what would happen next…The story kept me flipping ebook pages and eager to see what you'd do next.

    Thank you! This is what readers loved about the book, the “see what happens next” and what would occur once they all ended up on the same ship. I've been getting so much nice mail:
    “I just finished reading WLD about 15 min ago. It was great, I could hardly put it down.”

    “The plot was complex and full of suspense. I liked having main characters and sub-main characters. To me, Hadley and Bolivarr, Wren and Aral were all main characters although I suppose Wren and Aral were the main, but the others were not far behind. Then Vantos and Kaz were backup. “

    “This book had just a really good plot, full of twists and turns. I loved it. I’m looking forward to the next one in this trilogy.”

    For example: So keep that in mind while I now nitpick. This might piss you off but I think it shows how closely I was following the plot and how much I wanted from the book.

    Jayne, absolutely my reaction isn't to get angry. If anything, I feel bad, as if I failed you. I feel sad I couldn't write the reading experience you wanted. Do I feel it's unfair to be nitpicked? Yeah, a little. I admit it. I think I get nitpicked more than other authors, and don't know why that is. Jayne, I KNEW this particular book wouldn't stand up to nitpicking. It's why I didn't send you a copy. :) I was kind of hoping you'd be so busy I'd slip by unnoticed. But alas you found me, and again, I deeply appreciate your time and effort reviewing. That is sincere. I just hope that some visitors here understand that TWD works very well as entertainment (why I read, FWIW) if you let it sweep you along and don't overanalyze.

    Most of my stories don't stand up to nitpicking. They just don't. I think my longtime readers have learned that when they pick up a Susan Grant book they are getting “Saturday afternoon at the movies,” a grand, fun adventure, not a complex book club pick or a dense read one could write a 20 page essay on. I just don't write those kinds of books, nor desire to. My books are fun, and they are smart. I take risks with race and gender and plot that many of the most successful authors never do. In my upcoming book, my pirate captain is a single mom. I've written heroines in their 40s, heroes who are sterile, and, yes, emo-battlelords who are child-abuse survivors. (where's Aral's black guyliner?) I'm proud of this.

    Wren and Aral meet one time 10 years ago and he just instantly knows that they're in love?

    AAR said this, too. They are NOT in love. Aral makes the internal promise to SAVE HER. They see in each other a kindred spirit in the most despicable circumstances imaginable. If anything their attraction is a very strong curiosity, and for Aral, it gives him something to live for. As an abused child, he NEEDS to know there is goodness. Wren represents that. If I failed in anything it was in my ability to convey that to you.

    > As if you'd loaded the story with elements then suddenly realized you were running out of space to tell them all. Will some threads be resolved in later books?<

    I wanted the book to be about 50-100 pages longer. I begged for more time but already late, I was denied. I would like to put out only one book a year, but publishers want 2, and there are a 100 hungry authors looking to take my place if I balk at that too much. I won't give up trying to get more time. Still, I think it is a good book.

    Some readers might feel the story is a little heavy handed with religious politics.

    This I don't get. This isn't MY belief system. I'm MAKING STUFF UP. Half the society is very religious. I have to get inside their heads to understand how they react to the world because that's not how I react to MY world in real life. In fact, many of their views and reactions are opposite what mine would be. That's called good world building. I don't see comments about condoning serial killing being attributed to the author when it comes to suspense writers, or erotic writers being accused of advocating threesomes. Sure, I might pull from current news as well as history to form my world(s), but why people think the religions I make up are somehow related to my own beliefs has me scratching my head. Maybe because some authors (like Brockmann) DO use their books as platforms? In fact, it makes me feel successful at my world-building if people feel it's that real enough to think it's my own beliefs.

    Alan Alda a run for it when he realizes how he doesn't want to pressure Wren and angsts over how she feels trapped by marriage

    Eeuww. Alan Alda? Bad mind picture, Jayne! No way! Keanu Reeves maybe. :)

    Bolivarr is also a very emo guy for someone who was a big, bad wraith.

    Yup, and why he is this way is explained in the book. Again, it's no one's fault but my own that I failed to convey that. In the hands of an author will more skill, perhaps this better would have worked. Again, it did for many others, so for those of you on the fence, you may indeed enjoy this modern-day, science-fiction-romance, emo fairy tale.

    for a short time she seemed ready to quickly give up on the man she loves and their chance at happiness.

    Nope. Duty and country first. ESPECIALLY if Hadley was in doubt of his loyalties. Which she was for a time. Don't forget she knew him before his memory returned. Now she was dealing with a whole different animal. She had a crew to look after, a mission to protect. Again, not the typical avenue a romance writer chooses. That's why I did it. I LIKE when women officers don't go all mushy and dump everything for love. She had backbone, even though she was “girly” and she made the right decision IMO. Go Hadley!

    So when the villain here is taken out way too quickly and easily, I felt cheated..

    Yeah. Sorry. This was something I wish I had done better. Wanted to. But editor liked it and so did others at publisher, and I was late, so I had to let it go.

    you're probably disgusted with me again. Damn Jayne hardly ever gives me a good review, the beyotch.

    It's not pleasant, no, but I think, I hope, you see now that's not at all how I see it. I thank you and I mean it. The important thing is that you want to read the next one. Isn't that's what it's all about?

    I'll attempt some of the comments now. In my next cut and paste. :)

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  21. Susan Grant
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 02:54:52

    1 by Helen Burgess wrote:
    The change in Wren was to sudden and extreme. A sheltered woman who has never taken charge of anything is suddenly a big bad warlord type

    Helen I truly am sorry this didn't work for you. As the creator, I saw Wren had doubts about herself to the end. It was more of the meek mouse being pushed into action thru desperation, and yes, her genes turned on, too. Both her mother and father were very strong.

    or did Ms Grant get bored or tired and just wanted the story done. I was disappointed.

    I'm so sorry. I did try my best (as I do with each book). I never set out to short change the reader. Ever.

    Heather wrote: Thanks for reviewing another science fiction romance, Jayne!
I agree about Susan Grant's worldbuilding. She offers enough details to ground the reader but not so much that it boggs down the story.

    Heather, thank you! And yes it IS great to see SFR reviewed here. I agree with your comments not all SF needs to be huge tomes. Do all one's meals need to be elaborate sit down affairs? No, some are delicious and quick. Like a bag of cheeto twists. Did I just call my books fast food?

    Jane wrote: “There were three romances in the book, and the secondary one between Hadley and Bolivarr was much more interesting than either of the others, including that between the main characters Wren and Aral.”

    Again, I took a risk and wrote an “ensemble book.” No, it didn't look like the typical romance and for that I knew I'd take some heat and disappoint some. I got a letter the other day from a reader who thanked me for focusing on more than just the h and h. So some did like that more than others. I do love the man with the glorious back on the cover, but a more accurate cover would have been more sf, several people depicting the various couples. If you found Wren and Aral boring it was because I failed to engage your emotions with them. If I had managed to get you invested in the characters, it would have worked, no matter how little screen time the romance received.

    OK, many people mentioned my naming of Aral. My characters' names just come to me. I named him after the Aral sea which far predates Bujold. The Aral sea is bleak, poisoned and nearly dead. Massive ecological intervention is underway to bring it back to life. This reminded me of my character and what I wanted for him. He is nearly insane when the book begins. Wren helps him come back to life.

    Believe it or not, not everyone is a fan of the Vorkosigan books. :) I read the first two a long time ago in a 2-fer about the parents (something Campaign?? Kovar?) and enjoyed it but never got into the rest. Didn't bond with the style, plot, or characters. They just didn't move fast enough for me. Do I see a pattern emerging here? YES. Fans of those books perhaps may not bond so well with my particular style (though I know fans of my work who do love both) So anyway, the very last thing in my mind was that I was using a characters name from a series I didn't read. Aral is Aral Sea to me and always will be.

    Audry wrote: 
I've read everything by Grant so far and was looking forward to this one, too. I'm a little worried about the religious politics thing you mentioned – Grant has made a couple of snitty remarks about non-religious people in previous books but it wasn't quite enough to make me stop reading her. Am I going to hurl the book against the wall and go to sulk in a corner about the loss of one of my auto-buy authors?

    My CHARACTERS did. They have their beliefs and I have mine. How boring it would be if all my characters shared my opinions! One of the most enjoyable and therapeutic things to me about writing books and making up stories is that I get to BE someone else for a time. As for me and religion, I grew up in a dual religion home, fell in and out of beliefs myself in my younger years, and about 15 years ago became officially Catholic because of the influence of a very liberal and wonderful Irish priest who saw nothing wrong with women being priests and who felt science could exist side by side with religion and God. I have Wiccan friends and Fundamentalist friends, tend toward liberal with my religious views, and would love if something like the DaVinci Code were true, and can't understand what happened to female/goddess centered religions like a lot of women do. TMI? Perhaps. But I don't want this conversation to go any further and people guessing etc. I have utterly no statement to make about religion, or lack thereof. But my characters often do because that is THEIR issue. Do I censor them? PS–thank you so much for reading my books. I appreciate it, truly.

    
Kimber wrote: Since you ladies usually give a C to the books I love, I'm really looking forward to this one! 
I'd never heard of the name Aral anywhere, although it does resemble the name of a Russian mountain range, I think. 
Don't assume all SF or SFR folks love Bujold, female or not. Obviously, she's brilliant, but I'll take Linnea or Susan over her any day.
So far, I've read only the prologue to WARLORD'S DAUGHTER, but I was blown away by the primal conflict inside Wren in relation to her father.

    THANK YOU for saying that. Seriously, a lot of readers did love the book. I have a feeling that many here are NOT my target audience and that's okay. I wish you did love my books but not everyone will just as I won't love all of what you do.
    I may not be able to pop back in to comment before heading home but I thank you again for the opportunity to clarify some of my thoughts as I wrote this book and my others. ~Sue

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  22. Susan Grant
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 05:38:19

    http://www.romantictimes.com/podcasts/2009-02-susan-grant.mp3

    I thought you might enjoy listening to this…as it gives an idea where I’m coming from where I write my books, as well as how I incorporate my military background in the stories.

    Also, for those who love SFR or are willing to give it a try (I hopes so!), I’d like to give a plug to my good friend and one of my all-time favorite authors Linnea Sinclair whose Hope’s Folly has JUST come out.

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  23. Jane A
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 09:24:13

    Susan,
    Thank you for your thoughtful responses to several critical remarks, including my own. I would like to add to my comments that although this book didn’t work especially well for me, most of your books have and you remain on my autobuy list. I do not doubt that you will have future books that I will enjoy and re-read, just as I have with previous books from you.
    Jane A.

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  24. Moth
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 09:45:37

    Believe it or not, not everyone is a fan of the Vorkosigan books. :)

    @ Susan Grant: Never said they were. I simply assumed that a SF writer would be familiar with another famous SF writer’s works. I stand corrected.

    But thank you for dropping by to let us know where you got the name from. Good to have the debate settled.

    Don't assume all SF or SFR folks love Bujold, female or not.

    @Kimber An: I’d like to know where I said I thought everyone loved Bujold. Can someone point that out? Because all I remember saying was since they both write SF and since both the Arals are SF heroes it was probably some kind of homage. I don’t remember arguing that everyone on the planet loves Bujold and MUST have heard of her.

    Obviously, [Bujold]'s brilliant, but I'll take Linnea or Susan over her any day.

    See, and I was never that impressed with the Sinclair books, and I couldn’t even finish the two Susan Grant books I tried. Yet I devoured Bujold’s entire backlist in under six months. Go figure. Different strokes, different folks.

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  25. Kimber An
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 10:32:36

    “I'd like to know where I said I thought everyone loved Bujold.”

    I never said that you said that.
    ;)

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  26. Moth
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 13:11:30

    “Me: I'd like to know where I said I thought everyone loved Bujold.”

    Kimber An: I never said that you said that.

    Then what did you mean by:

    Kimber An: (earlier)Don't assume all SF or SFR folks love Bujold, female or not.

    Whatever, doesn’t matter. I maintain someone should have told Grant to change the Aral because there’s already a SF hero named Aral.

    /threadjack

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  27. Jayne
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 14:08:09

    Susan, thanks for your thoughtful replies to the review. One thing I know for certain is that when I review one of your books, you won’t go postal on me. We don’t review as much SF or RSF here as historicals and contemps (or at least I don’t) but I will generally make an exception for authors or series I enjoy. You fit nicely into that category.

    Re: Bolivarr and Hadley. I think my disappointment with Bolivarr and his emo side is that you had mentioned wraiths and implied how bad they are and how people in this world were so fearful of them. I wanted to see some of this. Ditto Aral as a bad Borderlord. So when these characters shifted to something different, I wasn’t ready to go with them. Perhaps my dark side coming out?

    With Hadley and her romantic relationship with Bolivarr, I was tying her emo-ish actions before they headed out on this mission (note to self: I must stop using the term emo) with what I saw as a slight weakness in her willingness to give up on Bolivarr almost without a fight. I can see what you’re saying about mission first and not being sure of his loyalties but I guess I expected the possibility of a showdown with Kaz over him to bring out her fighting instincts as well.

    The name Aral didn’t bother me as I’ve never read Bujold. And the allusions to the Aral sea again make perfect sense.

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  28. Jayne
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 14:13:00

    Regarding the religion – I’ve run across other books or read other’s reviews here where they mention the fact that the author seemed to have an axe to grind or appeared to be using their book as a soapbox to preach about an issue. I wasn’t sure if this was the case here or not. In the review, I said I could be offbase and it appears I am. Sorry about that.

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  29. Jayne
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 14:18:51

    I just hope that some visitors here understand that TWD works very well as entertainment (why I read, FWIW) if you let it sweep you along and don't overanalyze.

    I think my longtime readers have learned that when they pick up a Susan Grant book they are getting “Saturday afternoon at the movies,” a grand, fun adventure

    Okay, I hope this will help me get myself into a different mind frame when I read your next book (and I do plan on doing that) and simply allow myself to be swept along for the ride. Knowing my mind, I might find myself starting to analyze plot points but if so, I will ruthlessly attempt to steer my mind back to fun and entertainment.

    Again, thanks for stopping by and adding your thoughts to the discussion. Have a safe flight back home.

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  30. Susan Grant
    Feb 26, 2009 @ 17:55:35

    Jayne wrote: “Re: Bolivarr and Hadley. I think my disappointment with Bolivarr and his emo side is that you had mentioned wraiths and implied how bad they are and how people in this world were so fearful of them. I wanted to see some of this. Ditto Aral as a bad Borderlord. So when these characters shifted to something different, I wasn't ready to go with them. Perhaps my dark side coming out?…”With Hadley and her romantic relationship with Bolivarr, I was tying her emo-ish actions before they headed out on this mission (note to self: I must stop using the term emo) with what I saw as a slight weakness in her willingness to give up on Bolivarr almost without a fight. I can see what you're saying about mission first and not being sure of his loyalties but I guess I expected the possibility of a showdown with Kaz over him to bring out her fighting instincts as well.”

    Jayne, yeah, I see what you are saying. I wish I could have done a better job with that. (Slaps head) wishing someone would point out these things to me when still in draft form. Say, what can I buy you in Shanghai to be my critique partner?! :) :) Thanks again to you, Jayne, your co-host Jane, and to all the readers who took the time and left such thoughtful comments. I appreciate them all and DO learn from each one even when I don’t necessarily agree.

    Thanks for the good wishes flying home. I will channel Sully and hope for a smooth (and dry!) flight!

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  31. Miki
    Mar 12, 2009 @ 21:26:40

    I just finished this today and overall enjoyed it. I’ll agree about the anticlimactic part, though. Got through that scene, started forward, and thought I’d maybe flipped through too many pages at once on the PDA (wonky button and all). Nope.

    I wish I knew how to do the spoiler tags…I’d comment on that a little more. Ah, well.

    I also agree about there being almost too many couples to concentrate on. This is actually the third book this month I’ve read where there were at least two love stories going on at the same time, and I felt a little “cheated” at getting rushed storylines for the pairs because of it. Oh, not enough to stop reading the author or anything, but just enough for a little internal whining. ;-)

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  32. Jayne
    Mar 13, 2009 @ 06:26:52

    Miki, I don’t think there’s a way to do spoiler black out tags in replies. Which does make it difficult to discuss spoilers. Bummer. Anyway, I almost did the “did-I-flip-too-many-pages?” thing myself.

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