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 Post subject: "Storm of Fire & Blood" - Taylor Marshall
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:07 pm 
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Journeyman
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Has anyone read this yet?
I read both the 1st and 2nd. The 1st was a lot better than I was expecting. A really enjoyable read and his handling of the end was very good. That's usually where I assume an author is going to drop the ball... but that wasn't the case with Sword & Serpent.

The 2nd book, Tenth Region of the Night.... I just forced my way through. There were some interesting storylines but the book had a lot of annoying quirks. And the book just felt like it dragged on. For one of the annoying quirks: everyone was always "hissing" at each other. "He hissed his response to her", "she hissed through her teeth"... hiss hiss hiss.... The funniest part for me was at one random point towards the end of the book (right after the word "hiss" had been used a large number of times) Taylor used the word "sibilant" to describe someone's reaction. Not knowing what "sibilant" meant I looked it up to find out it meant "to make a hissing noise". It was hard not to laugh.

That being said - I'd like to pick up the 3rd, but I'm not certain. Now, it has alot of great reviews on amazon (an unusually large amount - heck, John C Wright doesn't get that many reviews) and their all very positive: but it's that way with all 3 of the books. It makes me leery of trusting those reviews.
Has anyone read it and have an opinion they would share?

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 Post subject: Re: "Storm of Fire & Blood" - Taylor Marshall
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:18 pm 
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I have never read, and at present have no plans to read, any of Taylor Marshall's works of historical fiction.

However, most of the reviews on Amazon of most books are positive. That's not unusual. I can only speak for myself, but I generally only write a review of at most 1 out of every 10 books I read, if even that. I only write a review if I really, really love a book or if I really, really hate it, and there are very books that I really hate, so about 99% of my reviews are five stars with no commentary. For me, five stars are like, barely even a passing grade, I have to really, passionately hate a book to not give it five stars. I start out assuming that my rating will be five stars and I take away a star only if something in the book really pisses me off. And I suspect most people are like me.

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 Post subject: Re: "Storm of Fire & Blood" - Taylor Marshall
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:31 pm 
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Journeyman
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When a book has over 100 reviews you can glean some criticism by looking at the low votes on the book; there tends to be some of those.

Sword & Serpent has close to 400 reviews with only two 1 star reviews (and one of those was a complaint about the type size on the ebook)
And the other two are both edging on 300 reviews and both have zero 1 or 2 or 3 starred reviews. That is pretty unusual.

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 Post subject: Re: "Storm of Fire & Blood" - Taylor Marshall
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:35 pm 
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p.falk wrote:
And the other two are both edging on 300 reviews and both have zero 1 or 2 or 3 starred reviews. That is pretty unusual.


Not when you're talking about a self-published book that is read only by the people who read his blog. This isn't a major published book we're talking about, it is a self-published book that is read only by his hardcore fans. This is not an audience that is likely to be highly critical.

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 Post subject: Re: "Storm of Fire & Blood" - Taylor Marshall
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:37 pm 
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Point taken.

So, back to my desire for some input from someone who has read it and can offer an evenhanded review.

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 Post subject: Re: "Storm of Fire & Blood" - Taylor Marshall
PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:33 pm 
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Disclaimer (or something): I was given an advance copy of the book.

Here's my amazon review:

    If you've read the previous installments in this series (Sword and Serpent, Tenth Region of the Night), then all you need to know is that this book is a fitting continuation of the series. Quit spending time reading the reviews and go read the book itself

    If you're a newcomer, then let me explain what's going on. Taylor Marshall started with the story of St. George, famous for killing a dragon and thereby saving a maiden. He added a backstory, added a few characters of his own invention, added a few more saints (St. Nicholas, St. Christopher), added authentic historical detail, and mixed them together using story-telling talent developed by telling stories to his children. (This happens to be how Tolkien honed his skills. Marshall isn't Tolkien, but then who is?) That gave the plotline for the first book in the series, Sword and Serpent. Oh, and the sword Excalibur is in there too. And (not to spoil the outcome), St. George does indeed kill a real dragon by the end of the book.

    For the second book, Tenth Region of the Night, Marshall added another saint to the mix, St. Catherine of Alexandria. There's also a large chunk of Roman imperial leadership including the Emperor Diocletian, his subordinate emperors (Caesars) Galerius and Constantius, and emperors to-be Maximian and Constantine. By the end of this volume, the characters are scattered across the Mediterranean, fleeing from the beginnings of the last wave of Roman persecution of Christians.

    That's quite a lot of background for the current volume, and there is no summary of past events given within the book, so you will want to have read the others before jumping in here. But it's well worth your time. In Storm of Fire and Blood, meet old King Cole (Coel), who is suitable merry (though probably not associated with the nursery rhyme), travel to the Isle of Avalon and meet its mystical Lady, see Excalibur saved away for safe and taken again for nefarious purposes, be present at famous martyrdoms and sudden conversions, and witness an event that's taken three volumes to happen. (I don't want to spoil too much.)

    I have a few quibbles--there are occasional awkward jumps in time, and one critical event would be more convincing if we could see what was passing through a certain character's mind as he's making a momentous decision--but nothing that makes the book one bit less worth reading. So quit reading this and begin reading the series!

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 Post subject: Re: "Storm of Fire & Blood" - Taylor Marshall
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:23 am 
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Thanks for posting your review.

I'm a big fan of buying physical books. i'll give this one a shot.... but as an e-reader.

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 Post subject: Re: "Storm of Fire & Blood" - Taylor Marshall
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 3:47 pm 
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Doom wrote:
I have never read, and at present have no plans to read, any of Taylor Marshall's works of historical fiction.

However, most of the reviews on Amazon of most books are positive. That's not unusual. I can only speak for myself, but I generally only write a review of at most 1 out of every 10 books I read, if even that. I only write a review if I really, really love a book or if I really, really hate it, and there are very books that I really hate, so about 99% of my reviews are five stars with no commentary. For me, five stars are like, barely even a passing grade, I have to really, passionately hate a book to not give it five stars. I start out assuming that my rating will be five stars and I take away a star only if something in the book really pisses me off. And I suspect most people are like me.


This. All of it.

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 Post subject: Re: "Storm of Fire & Blood" - Taylor Marshall
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 3:48 pm 
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Doom wrote:
p.falk wrote:
And the other two are both edging on 300 reviews and both have zero 1 or 2 or 3 starred reviews. That is pretty unusual.


Not when you're talking about a self-published book that is read only by the people who read his blog. This isn't a major published book we're talking about, it is a self-published book that is read only by his hardcore fans. This is not an audience that is likely to be highly critical.


And this.

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 Post subject: Re: "Storm of Fire & Blood" - Taylor Marshall
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2018 4:04 pm 
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I'm hard to please. I don't do a lot of five star reviews. A four star book is pretty doggone good when I rank them. Five is outstanding.

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