Book review. The Final Empire.

Title: The Final Empire.
Author: Brandon Anderson.
Genre: Fantasy.
5 stars.

Mistborn

This was a big book. Big in size and big in surprises. I discovered surprises behind many a corner, and each flip of a coin (yes, this relates to the story in so many places) bounced me to new places and allowed me to meet new characters.

The only thing I sometimes wondered about while reading this book was: would it be possible to convey the same information in this story with fewer details. I think that is what turned this book into such a long one. Don’t get me wrong: the book was never boring. I just wonder about this as I am a writer who tries to keep as many details away from people. I think it’s good for the reader to develop their own interpretation of a world, a building or a person.

The get-together

Dear reader,

Imagine an alternate universe, reserved for characters in books. And in that universe there’s a bar where they can all come together. What would it be like? In this blog post I’ll try to give you a glimpse of such a first occasion…

Let me transport you to this alternate universe where you become a character in a book and the characters from  books are having a drink and a chat…

The place was rather empty. Behind the bar were Billow and Willow, who usually ran the tavern in Sunrise. “They’re late,” said Billow. His wife reminded him that some of the guests had to come from far away, and that the witch and her wizard had their own time table.

The door opened. “Ehm.” A reptilian-looking woman peeked inside. “Is this the backroom bar?”

“Reny, it has to be,” said Sabas who pushed the door open wide.

“Welcome,” Willow said as she came from behind the bar. “Find a seat. Can I get you anything to drink? I’m Willow. There’s Billow. You’re the first ones here so your round’s free.”

“Willow…” Billow didn’t like his wife’s generosity too much. It was bad for business.

Slowly the bar filled up. Eric Paul Carmichael and his wife Sandy came in, relieved that they were out of their spaceship for a while, followed by Clara in her red dress and Ron, the man who’d initially painted her. “It looks nice here,” said Clara. Ron complained about the smell, to Willow’s dismay. She assumed  it was the stew she was preparing but Clara told her not to worry. “If he doesn’t smell paint he’s not happy.”

Then a cat came in, followed by a young woman carrying a bunch of paper. “Frankie, get off that table! I’m so sorry about that,” the woman apologised.

“Don’t worry about that,” said Willow. “We’re used to cats.”

Slowly the bar filled up with people and creatures who found places to sit, things to drink and others to talk to. The main topic was of course all the situations that their mental father put them in.

Ron: “Can you imagine how odd it was to end up inside a painting?”

“What? That’s weird.” Sabas scratched his head. “I got the better end of it.” He reached for Reny’s hand and had to explain how he’d gotten the strange skin. By the time he was almost done, Hilda and William came in. Obsi and Grim were with them, who joined Frankie on the table. It was as if the three had arranged to meet there.

“Crappedy crap. Crowded in here. Where’s my coffee?”

Billow waved at the witch. “Coming right up and you’ll love this. The real deal.” The wicked witch watched him make a serious mug of coffee and asked William if they could have such a machine at  home.

The wizard said they could but… “We don’t have electricity to run it on so it would be just a waste of space.”

Hilda agreed. “The kitchen probably wouldn’t take well to it either. It’s too different from what we have.” She took the cup from Billow’s hand and smelled. “Hmmm. It’s different.” The witch frowned. “I think I’ve gotten used to what you make, wizard. Billow, better give me some tea. I have my personal coffee wizard with me.”

All characters mingled and chatted, exchanging ideas and problems they’d run into. Everyone had wonderful advice for the others, but the problem of course was that in the world of Sabas and Reny, magic didn’t exist, while for Ron and Clara the concept of huge Walkers and fights with Lergesh were impossible to grasp. Despite all their differences they got along fine, and the time to go home to their own homes and stories was there before they had scratched the surface of their accounts.

As Willow and Billow stood near the door, everyone said goodbye and promised they’d do their best to come back to the backroom bar another time.

An amazing bout of energy in the early morning

Yes, amazing bouts of energy…

Earlt morning sky

This was what I saw when I got up. I admit, it’s not the time for normal people to get up but then, I’ve never claimed to be one of those. I took this picture at 4:23 in the Ante Meridian, also know as silly o’clock.

There were two reasons to be up this early. One was an incredible amount of sirens around 4am. That hardly ever happens here so something big (bad…) must have happened. I still don’t know what the upheaval was.

The other reason was that I was awake, which is as good a reason as any to get up. I like getting up early. It gives me views as the picture above.

Wanted: adventurer

I’m still working on getting all the edits for that in place. Carol’s been working very hard to locate every typo and mistake I carefully hid in the text. She’s doing an extraordinary job at nit picking so I may have to find some better nits…

Wanted: hero “Wanted: adventurer” is, as you may have guessed, the sequel to “Wanted: hero“. At first I was very reluctant about writing this second book, but comments and gentle pressure from some sides made me give in. It’s better to start a new book with all your fingers attached to the proper hands to write it, trust me.

And so this book is becoming a reality. The cover is still underway but I hope to see that soon(ish). There’s still enough work to do on this book. This morning I sat myself down and worked out more three chapters with edits. That inevitably resulted in some changes, tweaks and other adjustments, but all for the greater glory of Sabas and Reny.

I have 8 more chapters to go through, then I’m putting the book aside again and read it from start to end, to see if there’s anything that still needs a wiggle.

And that’s about it for this tiny update.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Paul

I know there’s a severe shortage of imagery from Hilda’s world…

Really. I know. You want more pictures of the witch, William, Baba Yaga, Shevaughn, Charisma and Green.

Sorry. That’s not going to happen for a while. Really, I’m sorry about that.

BUT!

Not all is gloomy at yonder… something. I’ve been working on Secret Project Beta X. It’s a yonder something from Hilda’s world. And today you’re invited to come and have a look…

Continue reading “I know there’s a severe shortage of imagery from Hilda’s world…”

Book review. The Windup Girl

Cover of “The Windup Girl”

Title: The Windup Girl
Author: Paolo Bacigalupi
Genre: Cyberpunk
Stars: 5 of 5

This is a difficult book. Very difficult. That makes it all the more worthwhile to read.
Dystopian? Check.
Cyberpunk? Check.
Threatening? Check.

This book is loaded with genetics, manipulation, history, views and visions, hopes, dreams… you name it and I probably found it somewhere.

All of this and also the background of each character is intriguing and takes you on a trip through a Bangkok you’ve never seen before. I think that’s a good thing, although having a peek at a Megodont would be amazing. It’s difficult to say much about this book without giving things away. If you like a peek into our possible future you need to read this. Again, it’s not an easy book if you really read it.

Would you like to spend the night at Quay Hotel?

Yes, dear reader,

This is a very serious question. Quay Hotel isn’t your average hotel, as the main character in this short story realises all too well. In a way it’s like ‘Hotel California’ by the Eagles. You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.

This is my first attempt to write a horror story. It came out ‘horrorbly’, I think, but I’ll leave the final word to you.

As to what this book is about:

A man somehow gets lost in his own town after dropping off his girl at the airport. He has to spend the night at Quay Hotel. It‘s a night he‘ll never forget…

The e-book is available at Amazon, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.nl, Amazon.it, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es, Amazon.ca, Amazon.au, Barnes&Noble, Apple iTunes, Kobo, Scribd, Page Foundry/Inktera.

You may notice there’s no paperback available. That’s because the cost for that would be totally unbalanced to the size of the book. Maybe someday I’ll have written enough ‘horrorble’ stories to compile all of them into a paper book.

 

Reasons to be cheerful. Am I really that good?

Dear reader,

Tooting my own horn
Tooting instrument.

I have the need to toot my own horn.

It has happened a few times already that my writing has been compared to that of other writers. So was “The Story of the Mimosa” compared to the “Hitch hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy “by no one less than Douglas Adams. Such praise is amazing and always welcome for a writer.

A few days ago, on a social medium called Ello, I was mentioned by someone so I had a look at the post. What I found there surprised me in the best way.

Someone wrote:

Since Terry Pratchett is gone I found on Ello a new favorite writer for fantasy literature. @paulkater

lucky me: he is alive and very creative… and I didn’t read all of his books, so I will have some more to read. but I took a new one with me called ‘The Magic of The Bull’. I read seldom the little texts on the backside of books, so I didn’t know anything about it. I read this book in two days, it’s so amazing. The beginning sketch a normal family with two kids in the funny age and the usual fightings between brother and sister. All is normal and not fantasy like until to a thunderstorm. Step by step send Paul Kater the heroes of this story on their way in the history of their living place…

I can only say: read it!

@paulkater thank you for this book, I had a great time to read it!

This is the kind of praise that touches me deeply. Being compared to the man that I admire highly, Sir Terry Pratchett, is more than I had dared to dream of.

Sir Terry Prachett
Sir Terry Prachett

I think I’ve read most of his books. The famous Discworld series is something that will stay in my memories forever. The witches he has developed and portrayed, the noble men of the Nightwatch, the great turtle Atuin on which the entire world travels through space, all of them are things that make me happy.

After finding that amazing review I found it too good not to share so I dropped a tiny bit of it on Twitter, and what happened:

Discovered on Twitter

Someone agrees.

I’m almost inclined to believe that it’s true. (And if it’s not true I’ll ignore your comments to that respect and float off in my little, happy bubble, knowing that there are at least a few people on this earth who know the truth! 😉 )

Anyway, this is where the tooting ends and the real work of a writer continues. Writing. Coming up with more stories. Working on continuing the dream.

I’ll leave you with a quote from one of Sir PTerry’s books:

‘Ankh-Morpork!
Brawling city of a hundred thousand souls! And, as the Patrician privately observed, ten times that number of actual people.’

– Guards! Guards!

Wishing you a wonderful day…

Paul

Book review. Miss Peregrine’s home for remarkable children.

Title: Miss Peregrine’s home for remarkable children.
Author: Ransom Riggs
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 stars

About the book.

A peculiar book. Very much so. At first I found the book was very slow in picking up speed. Perhaps it was necessary to solidify the background of the main story but I feel it could have been done a bit quicker considering it’s not a very long story. That’s why I cut off half a star.

All in all however it was a very interesting and engaging story, painting a remarkable (peculiar) world inside our world. An enjoyable read for certain.

Note – there be spoilers and such after the cut, so proceed at your own convenience…

Continue reading “Book review. Miss Peregrine’s home for remarkable children.”

A new book: The Magic of the Bull!

Yes, dear reader,

There is a new book out in the wild. It’s a book that I originally wrote in Dutch as a labour of love. What’s it about?

The Magic of the Bull

Cuijk, a small town in the Netherlands. After lightning hit the statue of the famous Exporum Bull, strange things are visible there… but not for everyone! Fleur, her brother Bram and even their parents experience something they could never have suspected in their wildest dreams. Around the Bull things happen that bring back the past and also pose two major questions: “How do we get home?” and “Who looks after the dog?”

The e-book is available at Draft2Digital, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, (and DE, NL, IT, FR, ES, CA, AU), Barnes&Noble, Apple iTunes and Kobobooks.

The paperback is available through Createspace.

A fun little detail is that the statue really exists. Most of the details in the book are based on historically correct facts as far as I could uncover them. Researching this book took me about 3 years. I hope you will enjoy it!

Book review. A long way to a small, angry planet.

Title: A long way to a small, angry planet.
Author: Becky Chambers
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 5 stars

This book had my attention from page 1 until the end. Reviews had already prepared me for something good with their references to Firefly. They were right.

The story takes us on a journey along the stars and through worm holes that are being made while we travel along on the Wayfarer. Meeting all the crew was a wonderful surprise (I fell in love with Kizzy, tell her ‘hi’ if you happen to meet her).

If you like adventurous science fiction with humour and a big slab of Firefly feeling then this is a book you shouldn’t miss.