Robert Bevan is an author I’ve been reading for years now. His Critical Failures books in the Caverns and Creatures series are some of the most re-read books on my Kindle.
Between each Critical Failures books he puts out 6 short stories which eventually get bundled into their own six-pack. These are the most recent two which I read one after another (I was behind a little since it took a few weeks for them to get onto Kindle Unlimited).
While the title seems somewhat literal, you need to understand the short stories Mister Bevan puts out are always puns or jokes on whatever the theme is. Cornholed for example, isn’t about what you might think. Probing the Annis is another.
Anyway, a subset of our usual heroes are tricked into following a sorcerer through a portal where their doom awaits them. Not an uncommon occurrence for the hapless heroes, but Bevan always manages new and disgusting lows in which to take the story.
Tricked into becoming slaves / target practice for stone giants, the boys must escape. Through a series of misunderstandings they’re not sure which fate they’d prefer.
Continuing the tradition and possibly one of the grossest covers yet, From the Bowels of Hell Hounds finds our heroes as escorts of a wagon filled with magical goodies on its way to an interesting character I really wouldn’t mind seeing more of, maybe in the canonical series.
Count Fabulazzo welcomes them, calling off his hell hounds just after they’ve barbequed the groups horses. PS – If you’re a horse lover then this series (not just this book) isn’t for you. They meet their demise in a startling array of horrors.
Tricked, of course, into accepting the mission which is really a ruse for them to become the fall guys for the real mission, they’ve no alternative to accept the quest set to them by the Count to retrieve what was stolen.
Fans of the podcast Authors and Dragons will enjoy the appearance of a religious zealot by the name of Sinas, who I couldn’t help but read in the voice of Rick Gualtieri’s “Silas Kane” voice.
Both of these were lots of fun to read. They’re non-canonical to the overall series so can be enjoyed as individual reads. What happens in these has no impact at all to the main story, but knowing the background of the characters helps understand their motives so if you haven’t yet, go read Critical Failures.
Robert Bevan is someone I’ve been reading for a long time now, getting into his books a few years back and reading them all multiple times. His latest book in the series, Critical Failures V, has left me a little on the fence.
While each book in the series so far has followed the standard formula of problem at start -> solved at end + new cliff-hanger (introduced to keep you wanting the next one), this one meandered along without much urgency and ended without any real satisfaction.
In this one, the expanding cast of unique characters has been split into multiple groups as they set out to find Tim who they believe is trying to abandon them all in the game. The splitting of the party was something I particularly enjoyed as it allowed some lesser characters the chance to shine on their own, giving us a chance to get to know them better.
Mister Bevan does a great job at pulling together all the divergent paths the characters have taken by the end, but this is where it fell down for me. I looked at the progress bar on my Kindle and thought it must have been malfunctioning. It said 99% and I felt that the climax of the book was about to kick into gear, but instead I was left with a cliff-hanger ending without any real feeling of satisfaction.
I would have gladly waited another 6 months or a year or more to have this storyline play out to a more satisfactory conclusion. As it is, it feels like I only read half a book, and for a book that’s close to 100,000 words, it felt kind of short. Read the rest of this entry »
My latest novel – The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior – has been accepted by KindleScout and will be live for thirty days on their site. If after the 30 days are up the KindleScout team like what I’ve written I can be signed up for publishing with Amazon.
Want a shot at getting a copy for free? Well, all you need to do is nominate my book – click here to go straight to it – and if Amazon choose to pick up the publishing rights everyone who nominated it scores a free copy! Simple as that.
So what is the book about? The blurb:
This is the story of a true Viking hero you won’t learn in schools. Gustav the Great. Gustav the Powerful. Gustav the Dragon Slayer. A story so fantastic and shocking not even the History Channel would dare turn it into a TV series.
Every word of it is true. Totally true. How do I know? Because it’s all about me. Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior.
Experience the awesomeness of my unexpected voyage to an undiscovered land where I survive shipwrecks, arena death match spectacles, rampaging rhinoceraptors, naked and rather surly giants, and even dragons! Well, a dragon… all in my pursuit of fame and glory.
So basically a mash-up of multiple genres: Vikings, comedic fantasy, sword and sorcery, and a little bit of Dungeons and Dragons all wrapped up into a fictional biography which I hope you’ll find entertaining.
I’ll post further updates on my books progress over at KindleScout. The campaign will run through to about the 22nd of May, then I’ll find out within 2 weeks of that if I’ve been successful.
Wish me luck and don’t forget to nominate me for your chance to get a free copy!
Another lunch break and another piece of flash fiction inspired by Writing Prompts on Reddit.
[WP] You’re usual D&D group was a no show for your campaign, jokingly you wish for interesting players to play with… That’s when 3 people from history appear at your table complete with character sheets.
“For the last time, no, Julius, you can’t cast magic missile,” I said as I rubbed my temples, thinking that perhaps wishing for these idiots was a bad idea. Maybe if I wished hard enough my usual gang would show up and I could kick these guys out.
“Why not?” asked the Caesar, breaking my train of thought. “I have prepared my spells.”
“Yes, but you’ve already cast your limit for today. Who was next in initiative order, JFK or Genghis?” I said, consulting my notes.
“Me,” Genghis Kahn growled from across the table. His eyes studied the map laid out before him. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been a little while since I’ve posted an update on my comedic fantasy work in progress – The Totally True Adventures of Gustav Gustavson – Legendary Viking Warrior (TTTAOGGLVW for short, lol).
Well, it’s going really well, about 95% complete or thereabouts, and is now officially the longest single work I’ve written to date. Currently weighing in at a little over 47,100 words, I’m aiming to get it above 50,000 by the time I wrap it up.
Why? A couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s a nice beefy number for a novel, and make it a good 10,000 words longer than my second longest. A decent sized read and makes for a nice thick book on the bookshelf. 🙂
Between the books in this series (Spells, Swords, & Stealth), the Caverns and Creatures series by Robert Bevan, and the Authors and Dragons podcast, I’ve learned everything I know about the D&D universe (and the similar but legally distinct worlds portrayed in these novels). 🙂
I mostly became aware of the works of Drew Hayes after listening to the Authors and Dragons podcast. At the time I was only familiar with works by Robert Bevan and Rob Kroese, but since then I’ve expanded my reading list to include most of the other authors involved in the podcast.
As it happens I’ve read both NPCs and book 2 – Split the Party – shortly after book 2 came out (about 12 months ago). I’m re-reading them now because Mister Hayes has recently released book 3 – Going Rouge – and I wanted to re-familiarize myself with the universe. It also gives me a good opportunity to expand the book review section of my site. Read the rest of this entry »