Originally Posted by Teresa Edgerton
Thanks, Gollum. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Yes I did. So much so I've been doing a little bit of promoting of your book elsewhere in cyberspace. Interestingly enough I have started corrseponding with Janny Wurts whom I believe knows you. Janny is something of a prose idol for me. She wasn't aware of your name change so I suggested she might like to check out Hidden Stars
, which she seemed interested to do, so I hope you don't mind? She relayed the fact that she enjoyed your Gnome's Engine quite a bit. I'm not a published author but I'd imagine it must be nice in particular to gain praise from one's peers.
Here's a short critique I did on Hidden Stars from a literary standpoint in case any other members might be interested: Whilst there are obvious influences from Tolkien including the use of invented languages and the plot has its fair share of fantasy tropes I felt there was enough originality in Howard's world to keep me interested. The prose on the whole is well crafted without being spectacular and in parts reminded me of a hybrid along the lines of authors such as McKillip and LeGuin but maybe that's just me as it certainly had in sections that magical quality one associates with hearthside tales told on cold winter nights. Howard's strength as a storyteller in her ability to neatly balance various elements of a story is obvious. I certainly felt as a reader that I was in pretty competent hands. The level of worldbuilding however whilst not insubstantial to my liking may have been better fleshed out in terms of a history and backstory but then in fairness to the author I suspect it will be in subsequent installments. The battle scenes were fair but not as detailed or “in your face” as I would’ve personally preferred, however other aspects of Howard’s descriptive prose like the various landscapes and cities visited were a particular highlight for this reviewer. The character development is engaging without being deeply multi-layered (in fairness to this point in time, although I'm sure as the story develops so will the characters) and the dialogue, which is always a difficult thing to perfect, is very well suited to the storyline.
The absence of a map was a mild annoyance although I understand it's available via Howard’s website and the way the story was developed it was easy enough to follow the geography. I liked the way the various magical concepts and words were introduced although I believe a list of characters and magical elements at the back of the book wouldn't have gone astray.
In short not one of the novels to rank as a Masterwork but a more than solid contribution to the Genre.
For those who follow so-called rankings or ratings I give this book 7.5 stars out of 10, although if I was more into traditional style fantasy these days I’ld probably rate it closer to an 8.
Well done Teresa on a solid start. I for one intend to follow this series through to its conclusion