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review 2016-08-01 04:48
The Vagrant by Peter Newman
The Vagrant - Peter C. Newman

The Vagrant is a harsh fantasy set in the aftermath of what may be best described as a demonic invasion. They’re not exactly demons, but they’re referred to as “infernals” and they came bodiless into this world and stole human shells to house their essences, basically. The original civilization in this world was technologically advanced, but things have pretty well fallen apart now, at least in the south. I’m calling it harsh because some people are left for dead and the infernals who build themselves bodies by reanimating and joining corpses sound gruesome.

 

The Vagrant himself is a fairly noble character and does try to save a lot of people that others want to leave for dead, but he also has a mission (to bring the sword he carries to the Shining City in the north), and is carrying around and caring for a small baby, so he has his own priorities.  The start of the book did start to get annoying because the Vagrant kept getting double crossed by people trying to steal the baby. An “untainted” baby is a rare thing in the south because normal humans who are exposed to the demons can become tainted by them. And then they usually start to mutate. The book does eventually move on from the baby-stealing plotline, however.

 

The novel does get a little awkward in places, but it usually turns interesting again shortly afterward. By awkward, I just mean that some of the conversations turn awkward and there are some places where the parts of the plot just seem to resolve themselves very abruptly. We’re thrown into the deep end at the start but we learn more about the backstory of the Vagrant and his world as the story progresses through flashback chapters.

 

I will note that the book was written in the present tense, but I’m not counting this as a mark against it since I actually felt it worked well here. It allowed for minimal information to be given out about the characters while retaining a sense of immediacy. Usually use of the present tense bothers me (as in it’s irksome) and it didn’t here. I can’t speak for others, however.

 

Looking back at the book from the end, the overall story arc is resolved although there is enough left over that is open-ended to leave room for a sequel. Not everything gets wrapped up but there is an end. Overall, you get enough details for the story but you won’t get much more than that and the information will be handed out piecemeal rather than at the beginning before any action happens. This book isn’t for someone who wants everything spelled out in minute detail. It’s certainly not as obscure as some other books that I’ve read, but you have to be patient.

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text 2016-07-24 02:52
Reading progress update: I've read 117 out of 404 pages.
The Vagrant - Peter C. Newman

I'm not entirely sure what to make of this. So far there's a sword-wielding man, who refuses to speak, carrying a baby around and travelling through a kind of post-apocalyptic fantasy land with demons. It's weird and kind of interesting. Fortunately it doesn't spoon-feed you information but avoids being completely inscrutable.

 

Everyone wants to steal the baby and sell it to the demons, of course.

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review 2016-07-10 15:57
Book Review: The Malice by Peter Newman
The Malice - Peter C. Newman


In the south, the Breach stirs.

Gamma’s sword, the Malice, wakes, calling to be taken to battle once more.

But the Vagrant has found a home now, made a life and so he turns his back, ignoring its call.

The sword cries out, frustrated, until another answers.

Her name is Vesper.

 

 

Thanks to Harper Voyager Australia for the review copy. 

 

I love Newman's writing. It's as poetic as it is intelligent, beautiful as it is brutal. However, The Malice wandered about feeling plotless for the first 300 pages. I just didn't feel.. Involved? Not sure if that's the right word exactly, but when a book takes me a month to finish, there's usually a good reason that it's just not gripping me by the lapels and screaming into my face to finish it. In this case, I believe it's because it felt muddled until around page 350..

I suppose I could understand it from an academic standpoint; there's possibly a literary device there to help underpin and highlight Vesper's unplanned adventure. The reader feels just as lost as the MC. You feel that 'not sure what's next' feeling. I just didn't really want to feel so lost.. I've got real life to do that in.. :)

 

 

To be utterly honest, the most empathy I felt for a character, was for the kid goat... And I really need that connection to at least one character, to feel truly involved. I don't have to like the characters, but I do need to feel something toward them. Dislike  is just as powerful..

 

It's entirely possible it was just the wrong time for me to read it, as I felt nothing of this during The Vagrant. I almost feel like I'm betraying The Vagrant by being so apathetic toward The Malice! 

I will absolutely still read #3; there's a need in me to understand this world more fully, and the enjoyment I feel from Newman's wordery is worth every second spent. So, let the adventure continue.... 

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review 2016-02-06 09:18
Book Review: The Vagrant by Peter Newman
The Vagrant - Peter C. Newman

Another audio review! To listen either go to SoundCloud through this link here, or check out the player at the bottom of the post!

 

Thanks to Harper Voyager Australia for supplying a copy of The Vagrant for review. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buy at: Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo

The Vagrant is his name. He has no other. Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape, carrying nothing but a kit-bag, a legendary sword and a baby.

His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the sword, the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war.

But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.

 

 

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photo 2016-02-02 07:47
The Temptation of Saint Anthony by Hieronymus Bosch
My image!
The Vagrant - Peter C. Newman

I find the connection between how mental images are created in a readers mind, through the use of mere words on a page, extremely intriguing. I really have no idea how it's done, and there's been raging debates throughout the centuries about the concept; philosophers, psychologists, and neuro-scientists have all had a stab. There's new theories coming out of the woodwork all of the time, as technology allows us to track the brains workings.

 

In any case, I've been reading The Vagrant. And throughout, my mind has been conjuring Hieronymus Bosch type imagery. Usually, my minds eye flings up movie type scenes, quite realistic in nature. However, The Vagrant is throwing out a flowing, almost animated, Bosch-type apocalyptica. I don't know why this is, and I find it a curiosity. Is it Peter Newman's style of writing? It's certainly unique, it has a harsh, yet poetic nature about it. Is the connection between his style, and how I view Bosch's art? Maybe!

 

Many people know I have a neurological disease, and sometimes I wonder if as it progresses, there something changing in the way I process words and images. Are the connections between my memory, occipital lobe, and parietal lobe starting to get just a tad screwy? I don't know that either! Maybe someday, somebody will figure out how to map all those connections directly..

 

So, I decided to experiment, challenge my brain a little: what happens to the mind's eye's creation, when actually trying to re-create that image, on paper (or screen in this case)? So, I tried it out. I let my brain figure it out, I decided not to force Bosch's stylistic approach on to the image, but still recreate the images that are in my minds eye. It turns out, in my case, my minds eye buggers off. If you compare the two images (One is Bosch, one is mine) you'll see absolutely no comparison, even though my intention was to re-create how my mind was processing Newman's words, into imagery.  I couldn't even get close! There was a total disconnect between what my mind's eye saw, and what the more rational part of my brain wanted me to see/create.

 

I think there's a kind of lesson in that.. Not sure what it is yet! Just felt the need to share!

 

K.

 

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