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review 2016-10-22 16:47
I Couldn't Forget it: The City of Ember | Review
The City of Ember - Jeanne DuPrau,Wendy Dillon

A Post-Apocalyptic MG book that refused to disappear into the back of my brain.

 

Many hundreds of years ago, the city of Ember was created by the Builders to contain everything needed for human survival. It worked…but now the storerooms are almost out of food, crops are blighted, corruption is spreading through the city and worst of all—the lights are failing. Soon Ember could be engulfed by darkness…

 

But when two children, Lina and Doon, discover fragments of an ancient parchment, they begin to wonder if there could be a way out of Ember. Can they decipher the words from long ago and find a new future for everyone? Will the people of Ember listen to them?

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


BOOK DETAILS:

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, read by Wendy Dillon, published by Listening Library (2004) / Length: 7 hrs 6 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #1 in the completed "Book of Ember" trilogy, all of which are available on audio.

 

SUMMARY:

The first time I listened to this book, I enjoyed it but wasn't really that impressed. I did not add it to the list of books I was considering buying. However, after the second time I re-borrowed it from the library and listened again, I realized that there was just something about the characters and their story that appealed to me. The next time a deal was available, I snapped it up.

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review 2016-07-16 16:31
Now SF Also: The Disappearance of Ember Crow | Review
The Disappearance of Ember Crow (The Tribe) - Ambelin Kwaymullina,Cara Gee

The previous book was a YA Post-Apocalyptic Paranormal Dystopia. This one has something for the SF lover as well.

 

After a daring raid on Detention Center 3 to rescue their trapped peers, Ashala Wolf and her Tribe of fellow Illegals - children with powerful and inexplicable abilities - are once again entrenched in their safe haven, the Firstwood. Existing in alliance with the ancient trees and the giant intelligent lizards known as saurs, the young people of the Tribe do their best to survive and hide. But the new peace is fractured when Ashala's friend Ember Crow goes missing, leaving only a cryptic message behind. Ember claims to be harboring terrible secrets about her past that could be a threat to the Tribe and all Illegals. Ashala and her boyfriend, Connor, spring into action, but with Ashala's Sleepwalking ability functioning erratically and unknown enemies lying in wait, leaving the Firstwood is a dangerous proposition. Can Ashala and Connor protect the Tribe and bring Ember home, or must they abandon one to save the other?

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Audible = $3.99.

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


BOOK DETAILS:

The Disappearance of Ember Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina, read by Cara Gee, published by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio (2016) / Length: 9 hrs 35 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #2 of 3 in "The Tribe" trilogy. Book #3, The Foretelling of Georgie Spider, has already been published in Australia, but no U.S. publication date has yet been announced.

 

**This review contains spoilers for the previous book.**

 

SUMMARY:

I didn't rate this one as high as the previous one (which got 4.5*) because I felt like it took a while to get started. (And possibly because I was a bit sad to see conflict between Ashala & Connor, although I believe it was realistic and well handled.)

 

I liked the cover of this one better than the last one, although the just showing one eye theme means we don't get to see Ember's mismatched eyes.

 

This is another instance in which Audible placed a YA books in the 11-13 age category. I'm not sure what's up with that.

 

I tagged this one with Diversity, since it features an Australian Aboriginal character & beliefs and is written by an #ownvoices author.

 

 

CHARACTERS:

Ashala & Connor: There were so many things I wanted to say about this relationship in my review of the first book, but couldn't since they were all spoilers. One of those things was the fact that this was a case of semi-Instalove that I didn't mind. I believe that Connor was already half in love with Ashala before they ever met, due to having carefully studied her file. Then when Ashala actually shared his memories, she developed feelings for him. Her acceptance of him into the Tribe in such an intimate way (being willing to share a memory of her own), sealed it for him. (Going back and finding the evidence of their true relationship is a joy.)

 

In this book, Connor is growing and changing; and like any good partner, he helps Ashala do so as well. Although I hate to see conflict, I love the way Connor stands up for what he needs and for equality of expectations & risk. (I'm not one of those people who thinks that true love means doing anything for and taking anything from the other person. A healthy relationship requires communication and boundaries, and we get to see that here.)

 

Ember Crow: The fact that Ember has secrets is a central point of the book, so I don't think it is a spoiler to say I could never have seen this twist coming when I started, wow. Yet it all remains consistent with what has come before.

 

Georgie & Daniel - I am guessing that they are going to become a couple in the next book. It will be nice to learn more about 2 people who have been so important to the survival of the Tribe. / Jules - I am anticipating seeing more of him and how he might change & grow in the next book.

 

WORLDBUILDING:

We get to see more of the world in this one. Ember visits Fern City, which is a city constantly battling being taken over by the jungle. And a good portion of the book takes place in Spinifex City, where everyone is obsessed with a local drink but otherwise very laid back for this world. We also learn some very important things about about how the current dystopian state of their society developed.

 

PLOT:

As I said in the Summary, I felt like this one got off to a bit of a slow start. It wasn't until Ashala got a message that there was finally news from Ember that things started to take off.

 

Flashbacks through shared memories continue to be an important part of the narrative, and so this book isn't straightforward or chronological.

 

The previous book ended with the feeling that, although they hadn't changed the world, they had reached a stopping point. This one has a cliffhanger. The ending is nice, and some personal stuff is resolved, but there is a lot hanging over their head.

 

HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:

  • Nicky
  • Although it isn't pointed out directly, there were a couple of instances where I felt like Ember was emulating Ashala's best qualities
  • Jeremy Duoro (a normal human fighting for Illegals' rights) - I didn't get much of a feel for him in the last book, but the scenes related to him in this one were some of the best.

 

OTHER CAUTIONSCaution: There are some hints of intimacy between certain characters. / One character is still mourning his deceased male lover.

 

NARRATION:

Note: I am not sure how fair a review of the narrator this is. I really liked Candice Moll's narration of the first book, especially the Australian accent. Plus I very rarely like it when they change narrators mid-way. It would have been different if the majority of the book had been from Ember's POV, thus making it logical to have a different reader. But the central character is still Ashala.

 

Character voices differentiated = Only "sort of" / Opposite sex voices acceptable = just barely, I wasn't fond of Connor's voice at all / Accents good = Not applicable / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = Good / Emoting = Good / Speed = Slow; I listened on 1.5 instead of my usual 1.25

 

BOOK DETAILS:

The Disappearance of Ember Crow (The Tribe trilogy #2) by Ambelin Kwaymullina, read by Cara Gee, published by Candlewick (2016) / Length: 9 hrs 35 min Buy Now | +Goodreads

Talk to Me (pretty please)

  • Can you recommend any other books that mix paranormal and scifi?
  • Do you think Instalove is ever justified?

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review 2016-06-25 16:30
Finally Available in Unabridged (Full Cast) Edition: Battlefield Earth | Review
Battlefield Earth - L. Ron Hubbard,Roddy McDowall

A sprawling SF saga that probably should have been a trilogy

 

As big as Star Wars. As desperate as Hunger Games.

 

On August 20, 1977, we sent a message into space.  Only recently did Voyager 1 go beyond the outer reaches of our solar system and into interstellar space.  On it was a map of Earth, our solar system and details of our planet–it was also printed on a plate of gold, one of the rarest metals in the galaxy.  And one day we got an answer…

 

A thousand years in the future, an alien empire has overrun the planet, and the human race has become an endangered species. Now all that stands between mankind and total extinction is a courageous young man determined to rally the scattered tribes of his species to take on the technologically advanced oppressors.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Source: I received this book free in return for an honest review.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard, read by a Full Cast, published by Galaxy Audio (2016) / Length: 47 hrs 32 min

 

SUMMARY:

I read this book way back "in the day" and, despite its length, even reread it once. I was very excited to see that there was an unabridged version. Something I learned in listening to it this time is that I apparently did a lot of skimming, particularly of the parts where the Psychlos were just interacting with each other.  I am giving the book a 4* rating; this is an average. There are parts that I love and would give 5 stars to, and one part that I really disliked and would give 0 stars to (see below).

 

I won't ever relisten to the whole thing from start to finish again, but I will bookmark my favorite parts and revisit them occasionally.

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review 2016-06-08 16:55
Ruthless or Worthless?: Nice Dragons Finish Last | Review + Narrator Interview
Nice Dragons Finish Last: Heartstrikers, Book 1 - Rachel Aaron,Vikas Adam

A quirky and enjoyable NA Dystopian Urban Fantasy that sucked me into it's complex world.

 

Audie Award, Fantasy, 2016. As the smallest dragon in the Heartstriker clan, Julius survives by a simple code: keep quiet, don't cause trouble, and stay out of the way of bigger dragons. But this meek behavior doesn't fly in a family of ambitious magical predators, and his mother, Bethesda the Heartstriker, has finally reached the end of her patience. Now, sealed in human form and banished to the DFZ - a vertical metropolis built on the ruins of Old Detroit - Julius has one month to prove he can be a ruthless dragon. But in a city of modern mages and vengeful spirits where dragons are considered monsters to be exterminated, he's going to need some serious help to survive this test. He only hopes humans are more trustworthy than dragons...

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Kindle + Audible = $6.98.

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Source: I purchased this book myself from Audible.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron, read by Vikas Adam, published by Audible Studios (2014) / Length: 13 hrs 2 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is #1 of 2 (so far) in the "Heartstrikers" series. Book #3, No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished, will be out in August with the audiobook being released, "by September or October at the latest."

 

SUMMARY:

Can I describe a book as light if the main character is in danger of being eaten by his mother for his failure to measure up? What if I add in the fact that it takes place in a post-apocalyptic dystopian city where you have to pay the police to show up and dangerous magical creatures roam the squalid underbelly of the city, which is where the majority of the people live. This is not a place I would want to live, and yet I enjoy spending time there as long as I'm with Julius.

 

I am labeling this as New Adult because Julius is 24 and Marci is a year older, and they are both having to learn to make their way in the world. There isn't anything explicit in the book.

 

The covers of this series are great.

 

 

CHARACTERS:

Julius Heartstriker: The dragon equivalent of the guy living in his mother's basement and playing video games all day. He's just trying to stay under everyone's radar and stay alive. His human form is gorgeous, all dragons' are; but he is the furthest thing from the typical arrogant, amazingly attractive, smoldering, controlling jerks I've been getting sick of lately. He's not only the nicest dragon, he's the nicest anything. And every once in awhile he surprises us with a reminder that, even as the least of the dragons, he's NOT just some human slacker.

 

Marci Novali: As a Socratic Thaumaturge, she's the mage equivalent of the computer nerd who insists that their OS or language is the best. She's more dragonishly ruthless than Julius sometimes, but also gets all fangirly over magic and magical creatures.

 

Julius & Marci: I'm not sure how this relationship would work if it becomes romantic. Would Julius give up his immortality somehow, or would Marci gain it in some way? I wouldn't mind if they end up just being really good friends and co-workers, although they are cute together. (As a side note, I think I would love a television show about the further adventures of Julius & Marci in the DFZ. One of those "will they or won't they?" kind with lots of nerdy bookish banter.)

 

I think my favorite supporting character is Julius' sister Chelsie "the enforcer," probably because she's sounds so totally "bad." Although I also love the clueless & pushy Justin's straight-forward caring for his "little" brother.

 

WORLDBUILDING:

This world is incredibly complex. The premise is that a natural disaster returned magic to the world and awoke all the magical creatures. They weren't very happy with what humans had been doing and proceeded to make that very clear.

 

You have dragons and their complex schemes & ambitions. You have Spirits (elementals), who want their bits of the earth back. And you have human mages of many different varieties.

 

Most of the book takes place in the DFZ (Detroit Free Zone) where life is great - if you are a Spirit, or a fish. Not so much, if you are a human. And it's illegal to be a dragon.

 

Despite the presence of magic, technology has not stopped developing. Self driving cars and augmented reality phones are common.

 

PLOT:

The book begins with an introduction to Marci's situation that raises more questions than it answers, in a good way, before jumping feet first into Julius' problems. Because he is newly arrived in the DFZ, we are able to get a good introduction to the city and the background of the world that doesn't feel awkward.

 

Once Julius & Marci begin working together, we get a series of adventures that just keep getting bigger, with nice interludes between. Despite the relatively short time covered by this novel, Julius' character growth seems very natural and satisfying. I especially like that his changes involve embracing and improving on who he is, rather than becoming what everyone else wants him to be.

 

HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:

  • Great bookish references:
"In addition to the mini fridge and the lamp, she’d acquired a couch and a gigantic wooden wardrobe that looked like it might contain Narnia."

“You don’t have to come with us if you don’t want to.”

“No way,” she said, shaking her head. “I said I’d stick with you and I will. I just want to get all this out now so I can say ‘I told you so’ later when we get eaten by a Balrog.”

Despite everything that had happened, Julius couldn’t help smiling at that. “I can’t believe you know what a Balrog is.”

She gave him an arch look. “Who doesn’t? I mean, really.”

  • I love Julius & Marci's first meeting, her sweetness & vulnerability contrast with the ruthless dragons he's been dealing with, and also with some of her own actions later.

 

I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: Some swearing, including one instance of the Lord's name


OTHER CAUTIONSCaution: The other dragons’ morals are almost as bad as their ethics (but there is nothing explicit). / Marci's ethics are a bit shady as well, which is understandable given her background.

 

NARRATION:

Since he just won the Audie award, you don't need me to tell you he did a good job, but I will anyway. / His Marci is one of the better male-voiced females I’ve heard. And I love how menacing Chelsie sounds. / The speed is good (My usual 1.25 is a bit fast) / Accents sound good to me although I can't judge their accuracy.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers #1) by Rachel Aaron, read by Vikas Adam, published by Audible Studios (2014) / Length: 13 hrs 2 min Buy Now | +Goodreads

Talk to Me (pretty please)

  • I have struggled with Urban Fantasy (since so much of it tips over into erotica), can you recommend other books such as this that don't?
  • In fiction, everybody seems to love the bad boys. Do fictional nice guys really finish last?

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  • If you are a first time visitor, how did you discover my blog?
  • I recently debuted my redesigned blog. What do you think?

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Bonus Narrator Interview (Part 1)

The remainder of the interview will be included with my review of Book #2

 

So, Congratulations, how does it feel to be an Audie Award Winner?

Thank you very much!  It feels amazing to be honored this way.  I was on Cloud 9 just being nominated alongside Simon [Vance], Robin [Miles], and Tim [Gerard Reynolds].  They are all so immensely talented with Robin and Simon being audiobook royalty (with good reason) and Tim being one of the most respected narrators out there that to be in their company was a gift. More so than the win though, was the amazing tsunami of love and congrats I received from my peers that night and after.

Who was your favorite character in the book and why?

Ohhhh, Julius is always great (his heart and purity are anchors) but I’m extremely partial to Bethesda and Bob.  I’m drawn to the wicked and the zany as well, what can I say?  Bob, in addition to his zany side, is probably one of my favorites to narrate because of his multidimensionality (did i just make up a word?) and the numerous choices he affords me to explore.  Where is he playing?  Where is he teasing?  Where is he communicating something of great peril?  Where is he walking a fine line in giving information?  Everything he says is for a reason.  So the way he says it is calculated and chosen because he wants to have a certain affect on the characters he’s interacting with.  It’s a puzzle and it’s a testament to Rachel’s writing that she doesn’t just launch him in with funny lines for nothing.  That’s one of the reasons I feel fans of the series really gravitate towards him.

Who was the easiest to narrate?  The hardest?

Oh, the lovely trio: Estella, Svena, and Katya.  I’m reading the book for the first time and going, “Okay, Svena is Russian, no probs [I then meet Estella] ohhhhkay another Russian sister, yup, yup...[and then Katya comes on board] Oh man, how am I supposed to differentiate three young looking beautiful sisters who are all Russian??"  I recall talking to Rachel and she laughed and apologized for doing that.

 

I decided that since it was sonic theatre, the Russian accents would differentiate them from the other characters but in order to tell them apart age wise (older, middle, youngest) as well as characteristically, I affected my voice pitch and tonally so that Estella as the oldest and the Seer of that clan had the lowest ‘I’ve seen the world and everything across time” voice, while Katya as the youngest was breathier and higher with still a youthful rebellious streak; Svena fell somewhere in the middle pitch wise but was the most sensual of the three with power aspirations so I could play with those tones too. 

 

Bob took a bit to find as well.  He started off as a surfer dude and I tried it and felt, “Nooooooo that’s too stereotypical.  He’s much more nuanced.”  So I played with him a bunch more and found where he would launch into a sing song vs speaking directly but then find his ‘real’ and serious voice as well.   Once again, a testament to Rachel’s writing.

Which actor/actress do you think should playing the lead character(s)?

I don’t know if I could cast specifically per se.  I do know that I would love to see the main Heartstriker clan members populated by actors of various colors, united by their green eyes. It’s about the energy of the actor and how they can effectively breathe life into these creatures. I don’t know who should play Julius, Bethesda, Marci and company but I do know that I would LOVE to play Bob.  Hands down. I’d be fascinated to explore his movement and the ability to play with communication and thought process visually would be an incredible opportunity!

For more information:

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review 2016-03-01 18:40
Exile by James Cormier (Audiobook Review + Bonus Author Interview)
Exile: The Book of Ever Volume 1 - James Cormier,Gabrielle de Cuir,Evil Toad Press
Interesting YA Post-apocalyptic SF that’s not quite dystopian.

Centuries after the Fall, the United States has been wiped away. The crumbling remains of the great American empire are home now only to savage, lawless tribes and packs of ravening Damned - the twisted children of the apocalypse. Most of those few who survived humanity's destruction spend their short lives in a violent struggle for survival. But some light still flickers in the darkness: the Blessed of Bountiful live in seclusion, relying on walls both physical and spiritual to protect them from the Desolation.

Disclosure: Hovering over the cover and purchasing may give me a small commission (yippee, book $).

 

SERIES INFO: This is Book #1 in the “Book of Ever” series which, according to the author, is “planned as a trilogy.” Book #2, “which will be titled Extinction” will be out “sometime in 2016.”

I’m not labeling this one as dystopian because I felt that, despite it’s flaws and the dissatisfaction of some of it’s citizens, neither the founders nor current leaders of Bountiful were malevolent or deliberately oppressive. No society is perfect, and there will always be those who feel they don’t quite fit in (especially among the young).

Ever (18): is a Saint (someone gifted with supernatural powers) living in a fundamentalist religious society. She starts out with the ability to heal and begins to develop additional gifts along the way. She chafes against both the restrictions on women inherent in her society and the narrowness of her world, necessitated by very real dangers from outside. While her abilities are definitely “special,” she isn’t obnoxiously over talented. I like that she has a reasonable amount of self-defense & weapon skills for someone living in a dangerous world but isn’t unusually skilled. There are things she has to depend on others to do.
Jared (17): At first, like Ever, I disliked him. But he quickly proved his caring nature and determination to do the right thing. While he may have been a bit over competent for his age, his emotional responses seemed appropriate. He wasn’t controlling or dismissive. He let her do what she was good at and contributed his own skills to the mix.

Ever & Jared: I understand why she doesn’t really consider herself to be married, but their relationship was still a bit disturbing. They support each other with words & actions, and I liked them together; but I would like to have had more interaction between them earlier on, to develop the relationship. Note: it is clear from the beginning that something is going to happen with them, so it isn’t really a spoiler to discuss it.

Erlan: (Ever’s sort of husband) - deserves no mention; I seriously don’t understand him.

At first I had to write down the full names of Ever’s traveling companions, since sometimes they were called by their first names and sometimes by their last. As we went along, however, they began to be distinguished by their personalities.

I would have appreciated learning where Bountiful was in the pre-apocalyptic world sooner.
Boston area.
(spoiler show)


The prologue didn’t work for me as a beginning. The jump back in time from it to chapter one was too abrupt. That could have been resolved by simply saying “2 weeks earlier,” but it also made me impatient to get back to where we started. Note: I often have this response when the prologue is from a time soon after the beginning of the next chapter.

A couple of times I thought I knew what was going to happen but the author found a different, not so obvious, way to accomplish the same end.

I was thinking that it was nice that her society, despite be religious fundamentalists, nevertheless accepted those that were gifted; and the author highlighted that by introducing someone whose people didn’t accept his gifts.

It was also nice to get to see several different societies that have developed in isolation over the past several hundred years, from good to bad.

The ending can be considered a cliff-hanger since nothing is resolved, and a lot more questions have been introduced, but we don’t end right in the middle of a plot line. I will definitely be reading the sequel.

NARRATION: I wasn’t liking the reading at all, until I bumped up the speed. I listened on 1.5 speed (rather than my usual 1.25), and it was still a bit slow. However, I liked it much better on the higher speed. / The main distinction between character voices is through subtle accents. There is less distinction between the characters from Bountiful.

FAVORITE PART(S): Jared confronting Erlan, giving him a chance to “man up.” / Ever & Jared not really needing to speak.
“You’re making the concerned face,” she said
“You’re making the decisive face,” he countered. “You’ve decided to go through with it.”
I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: swearing (was an unexpected, unpleasant surprise more than halfway through and included blasphemy) / torture (thankfully not described)
OTHER WARNINGS: In case you missed it in the summary, Ever lives in a religious community. This group is descended from members of the LDS (Mormon) church who survived the apocalypse.

MY RATINGS:
--Narration: AVERAGE (LOW on it's native speed)
--Enjoyment: HIGH
--Re-readability: AVERAGE

I received this book free in return for an honest review, courtesy of Audiobook Blast dot com.

Exile by James Cormier; read by Gabrielle de Cuir; produced by Evil Toad Press in 2015 / Length: 14 hrs 52 min (Unabr) / Available through Audible & Amazon plus iTunes [affiliate links]

 

BONUS AUTHOR INTERVIEW

 

Tell us something about your lead character(s) that we don't already know.*

Religious belief is a big theme throughout Exile, but what may not be immediately obvious (at least at first) is that the two main characters, Ever and Jared, struggle with their beliefs quite a bit. Neither of them is quite sure they believe it all, and most of the motivations that drive them in fact run pretty contrary to the Blessed's beliefs. The attraction between the two characters is illicit, at least according to their people's values, and they share a desire to see more of the world and do more with their lives than is offered by the quiet life of Bountiful. They also see a great deal of stagnation in their society. The sequels to Exile will explore these aspects of the characters in greater detail--and there might be a few unexpected surprises along the way!

 

*He revealed it here first.

 

What motivated you to sit down and write your first book?

I've wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Exile was the first novel I completed, though, ironically, it wasn't the first novel I intended to write. I was in the process of writing an epic fantasy and a number of other things when I started it. I sat down one day in front of a blank Word document and just started writing, and the prologue to Exile was what came out: Ever Oaks' diary entries from before she started her journey north. The rest of the story spilled out of me relatively easily, and relatively soon thereafter I realized I had to put my other work aside and finish Exile first. I'd written a lot of unpublished fiction by that point, but this was the first time I really understood what it meant for characters to "come alive" as I wrote them. It felt a lot more like uncovering a story that already existed than creating one as I went along.

 

I've always loved post-apocalyptic stories--in any medium. So that was a big motivation in writing Exile. The story really clicked for me when I thought about what characteristics might enable a society to survive such a catastrophic event as the one described in the book. And I don't mean just literal survival: what would assist a people in maintaining a particular way of life in the face of overwhelming odds? Usually the post-apocalypse stories you read involve survivalists roaming a wasteland, alive only by the grace of their toughness and grit. And they're usually loners, unwilling or unable to be part of a community. But it occurred to me that inter-reliance, or codependency, I suppose you might call it, might also be enough to keep not only a single person but a community alive and running. An intense, common belief system, such as a particular faith, if practiced devoutly and with determination, might keep the fabric of a community strong enough to withstand even an apocalyptic event.

 

The Blessed are loosely based on Mormons, who have a strong pioneer background and emphasize, even today, the necessity of things like food storage and financial independence and survival training. They also tend to be somewhat removed from the secular world, for a number reasons. It struck me as a set of traits that might translate well to the type of holdfast community that Ever and Jared come from. It wouldn't be as much of a transition for them, in other words.

 

But that same dogmatic belief system might also eventually hold them back, for instance, if their continued survival involved thinking outside the proverbial box. So that was the premise, and the story evolved naturally from there.

 

Tell us something about yourself that we might not already know.

I'm a lawyer by training. I was an Assistant District Attorney and then a defense attorney for years before I started writing full time. It's an experience that I'm still mulling over, trying to figure out how, if at all, to work it into a book some day.

 

Audiobook / eBook / Paperbooks? Which is your favorite and why?

I'd have to say I prefer ebooks, especially lately. I love paper books as objects, I love the smell of them and the feel of them and the craft of making the really fine ones. I love collecting them. Ideally speaking, I'd probably read paper books over anything else. But the convenience of reading a book on my iPad is undeniable, which is why I usually end up reading ebooks. I can read at night in bed with the lights off, and download new books immediately rather than having to wait to go out and buy them.

 

Audiobooks are wonderful as well, and when I was commuting every morning I listened to them constantly. I don't often listen to audiobooks these days, but when the question of whether to release Exile in audio arose I didn't hesitate. It's a wonderful medium and, I've discovered, the primary way a huge group of people discover books.

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The best place to learn more about me and my books is at my website, www.jamesdcormier.com. You can find links to all my social media profiles there, or just google me!
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