Pandragon Dan

Pandragon Dan

Author/Reviewer/Blogger

Totalitarian Warlords and Termination Squadron Episode 3

Just an update - the latest video in my Totalitarian Warlords And Termination Squadron series is now up on Youtube to watch. For those that have been waiting for the next episode, apologies for the wait.

 

In this episode, the Man in Shadow introduces a new member to the team, they debut their new villain song and the Man in Shadow lets us know what he REALLY thinks of a certain Disney song - which could prove to be his undoing. There is also a little nod to a classic anime for all you otaku's out there ;)

 

Check it out below and feel free to leave a comment to let me know what you think.

 

 

 

 

-------------------------

PANDRAGON

 

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Interview with Andrez Bergen

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. Things have been a little tough at work recently and, what with the release of my new novel in a couple of weeks, I've been keeping myself busy.

 

Nevertheless, I intend to make up for that today, as I once again have the pleasure of my favourite author back with me. He took time out from his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his work and a little about his upcoming novel (which he briefly talked about on my blog a few weeks back). He was willing to impart his knowledge about writing to me and also a little about his forthcoming novel.

 

Whaddya say? Let's get down to it!

 

 

 

1. Thank you for taking the time to appear on my blog. Can you tell my readers a little about yourself?

 

Thanks for having me, Dan. In a nutshell? I'm an Australian (born and reared in Melbourne) who's lived in Tokyo these past 13 years. I'm a journalist and I do electronic music under aliases like Little Nobody and Funk Gadget, but since 2011 have focused on writing fiction — with no particular genre holding precedence, though everyone knows I love my noir.

 

 

2. Wow! Sounds like you keep a busy lifestyle! So what first inspired you to get into writing?

 

I've been pushing a pen since I could hold one — and before I could spell, apparently, if you look at some of the old stories my mum kept from primary school. I love doing the thing. It's a form of escapism and adventure in which I have no idea of what direction we'll take. Later reading people like Graham Greene, Raymond Chandler and Philip K. Dick inspired me to bird-dog the passion into novels.

 

 

3. Thumbs up for the Philip K. Dick mention! Who are your favourite authors?

 

Definitely still Chandler, and I still pick up Greene and Dick occasionally. Dashiell Hammett, Nicholas Christopher and Angela Carter. More recent people like Michael Chabon and China Miéville.

 

 

4. Do you have any other hobbies other than writing or is that your whole world?

 

No, no, I have way too many of the things. I really enjoy making music, as I mentioned, along with catching up with experimental electronic sounds. I love movies and anime — I was a film reviewer for several years — and I'm a comic book buff. That's where I'm right into other writers like Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction. I'm right into trying new, obscure foods. And I also make comics too.

 

 

5. Is there no end to your talents? Ok, that's not my real question. Haha. Do you have a favourite genre to write in?

 

Anything goes — seriously. I've brushed up against fantasy, surreal, slipstream, magical realism, farce, sci-fi, dystopia, coming-of-age. They're all fun. But hardboiled noir often undercuts the lot.

 

 

6. Without giving away too many spoilers, can you tell the nice people (us) a little bit about your new book?

 

Yep, that's a toughie — a few reviewers have already commented that it's hard to talk about this story without giving away essential parts of the yarn. Basically, it's the story of a teenage high school girl growing up in Nede, pronounced 'Needy', which is a surrogate city for Melbourne in the 1980s. She comes from an abusive family, discovers herself through music and subculture, and then stumbles across a possible murder-mystery — or is it just plain madness?

 

 

7. Ah, sounds interesting. I'm gonna add that to my to be read pile! Where did you get the inspirations for this?

 

Some of it is based on my own childhood with an abusive older brother, as well as the tales of friends who went through a similar experience, particularly in the goth/post-punk scene in the 1980s and '90s. The rest is pure fiction, directions that I didn't plan and came out of nowhere.

 

 

8. Do you have any favourite characters in the story?

 

Um... definitely Mina. Without giving away much, I've worked with her before and will do so again. I love the hidden strength of her character. She reminds me of a female Sam Spade — if he were a teenage girl with a passion for post-punk tunes and bubbly. So I guess Spade mixed a little with another Hammett creation, Nora Charles from The Thin Man. I also loved working with Animeid, and felt regret for Mina's friend Sarah.

 

 

9. If your book was turned into a film/TV series, who would you get to play the characters? Do you have a favourite director you would choose for this? Also, can I have a bit part in it?

 

XD  Ha Ha Ha — yep, of course you can! We can work together as the toilet cleaners at Flinders Street Station during the crowded mardi gras scene! This one's always a tough, and constantly changes depending on what I'm exposed to at the time, cinematically speaking, and their age. Obviously I think Chloë Grace Moretz would be awesome, and she's the right age (17) — but she's American. I'd prefer an Australian, British or New Zealand actor to play Mina. Mia Wasikowska? Perfect if she were 7 years younger. I'm not really up on current Aussie actresses having lived in Japan all these years. But ideally? Brigitte Bardot when she was a brunette in the early '50s, or Michelle Pfeiffer circa 1980. Don't get me started on the other characters — you'll stop paying attention before I'm half-way finished. Director? Five years ago I would've said Peter Jackson. Now I won't — The Hobbit scarred me a bit. He's still great, but needs to go back to his roots. I love what Christopher Nolan does, and I'm a Terry Gillian fan from way back — in fact he'd excel with the middle part of the book. I'm tempted to say Spike Jonze. But if John Schlesinger were still alive, I'd opt for him — Billy Liar, The Falcon and the Snowman and Cold Comfort Farm are still brilliant films.

 

 

10. Some good choices for directors there. And I did used to work as a cleaner as one of my old jobs. XD Which, in your opinion is more important – story or characters?

 

Can I say both? For me, definitely both, with characters (and their dialogue) only slightly edging the plot.

 

 

11. Of course you can say both. It's your interview after all. ;) What do you look for in a good story?

 

Something that keeps my attention from wandering. A good yarn that builds to something special, with characters I dig even if they're not the most likeable of people.

 

 

12. So I understand that one of your other books, Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat is being turned into a graphic novel. Do you have plans to turn any of your other works into graphic novels?

 

Yep, I just wrapped up that graphic novel in May, and it's being published in August. I did the artwork as well, and it was a mind-blowing experience. I realized partway into it that it was impossible to do the entire novel, and concentrated instead on the first 100 pages, plus added some new plot-twists that have occurred to me over the ensuing three years since TSMG was published. I'm also currently developing my novel from last year, Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?, as a continuing comic book series — which is appropriate since it's heavily influenced by golden and silver age comics. But another graphic novel? I haven't thought that far ahead... yet.

 

 

13. What’s the best advice you can give to authors?

 

Perseverence is the thing to hang onto. Don't give up just because you get knocked back a few times. And you need to have faith in what you do. I know that's hard. But if you don't believe in your work — who will?

 

 

14. I agree with you wholeheartedly on that one. And indeed that's something that I myself have come to blows with sometimes. Ok, now for the REAL question of the interview – and this is real life or death here! The fate of the world rests on this question and could cause a time collapse that will wipe out all life in the Universe. So think carefully before you answer. What DOES the Fox say?

 

Yikes — this question. Was praying you wouldn't ask. So I'm going to dip back into my favourite Dr Suess tome, since this is the wisest fox in the world: “When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle's on a poodle and the poodle's eating noodles... they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle.” Exactly.

 

 

Thank to Andrez for an amazing interview! Be sure to check out his novels here:

 

Amazon Page

 

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

-------------------------

PANDRAGON

 

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Website:  LINK

Pandragon Reviews: Blue on the Horizon: Troll

Today I’m reviewing a very interesting piece on trolls. No, not the type that cause chaos on the internet, but rather the mythical creatures. Now trolls often get a lot of bad press in Fantasy stories, but this time they are the central characters, which is a refreshing change to say the least.

 

This one is heavily stepped in Norse mythology, but also adds a lot of social commentary. Which is an interesting concept that made me want to read it. So, why don’t we dive into the world of Fantasy and review Blue on the Horizon: Troll by Rebecca Ferrell Porter.

 

 

About The Author

 

I wasn’t provided any links from the author, so I got a link to her Goodreads page. Feel free to check it out if you wish to follow this author.

 

Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

Cover

 

The cover certainly matches the title, and it is a nice cover. You can see the blue eyes with the aurora borealis, looking over the horizon – so it’s Blue on the Horizon! Get it? Ahem, anyway, I think it works well and certainly attracts attention.

 

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

 

They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul, but what if those eyes reflect your worst fears? Fairies have planted a changeling in the poor troll village of Torv. Gaven’s blue eyes blink out at a world where only fairies bare the pale eyes of the fey. She is declared an abomination, and as the fear oozes through Torv, Gaven is banished and bullied, left to linger in the marsh, where alone, she will not survive. Then, mere heartbeats from the snapping jaws of a fearsome predator, Gaven finds a friend: Azool, the most feared fairy in the valley. How could the trusting trollkin have understood the implications as she enters into an apprenticeship with the duplicitous blue fairy of Torv?

 

The treachery expands as Azool orders her swarm to invade the dragon lair where she forces the mysterious creatures into colorful saddles, and uses the murderous lizards to incinerate the wealthy village of Breen. Azool and her swarm assume everyone is dead, but as Uredd stumbles from the only home he has ever known, his mother’s words echo in his head, ‘he is the one’.

 

With both ends of the valley in turmoil, the fairies start to squeeze the middle, but Azool’s changeling has grown stronger. Still, it will take everything Gaven has to survive the events that follow, but with help from her squabbling friends, she might avoid a fate worse than death.

 

 

What I liked

 

The first thing I liked was the role reversal of the trolls and fairies. Normally, fairies are considered the good guys and the trolls the bad guys. But here, it was the mirror opposite – in fact the fairies are actually really nasty to the poor trolls, wanting to destroy them all, burn their village and even use poor Gaven as part of their plans. It kinda felt like a social commentary, the fairies representing the “master race”, wanting to wipe out the inferior species.

 

In fact, Blue has quite a few social commentaries. Gaven is an outcast because of her blue eyes and is often bullied for it. It brings up a lot of ideas of bullying and the fear of those that are different – something that I’m sure everyone can relate to. It’s a good message and it works well in this context. Thankfully, Gaven does work hard to find acceptance from her people and in the end is able to use her fairy powers to her advantage. Overall the book has a very good moral – and being a Young Adult story that’s important to have.

 

Uredd is the only troll that accepts Gaven for what she is and I have to say the paring worked well together. I have to say, I didn’t really like him as much as Gaven as he didn’t really do a whole lot – but he was there for Gaven where it mattered so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. The dragon (Stump I think his name was) was also a great character – he’s one of the funniest and wittiest characters in the books. Think Yoda, but more sarcastic!

 

Each chapter is a POV of the main characters and this is something that I really like, hearing the characters thoughts and seeing things from their own POV. Each chapter is actually pretty short as well (usually about 3-4 pages or so, at least on my kindle) and you can breeze through it in a few moments. I actually read through about twenty chapters in one sitting without realising it. It makes this book really easy and very quick to read.

 

 

What I didn’t like

 

This is where I kinda will contradict my earlier statement. Despite what I said about the short chapters and it being quick to read, not a lot really happens in the book. I’m not saying that there isn’t any storyline, because there is, but most of the time it just focused on Gaven and Uredd’s relationship and trying to settle in and setting up a new home after their first one was destroyed by Azool. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I just felt that some stuff that could have been cut out to get to the action a lot faster.

 

Also, if I’m being honest, I found the final battle with Azool a bit of a cop out. I can’t really say why as it would spoil the ending (and I like to keep spoilers down to a minimum in my reviews as much as possible) but I think the last fight could have been a little more epic, considering all the build up it had. But that’s probably just me nitpicking – I guess once you’ve seen The Battle of the Blackwater or Helm’s Deep, you expect every Fantasy battle to be huge. XD

 

 

PROS (I’m a troll man):

  • Interesting role reversal of the trolls and fairies.
  • Strong moral message.
  • Short chapters makes the story quick to read.
  • Accessible to all ages.

 

CONS (Trollololo):

  • Balance of action and story could have been better for me.
  • Ending a bit of a cop out.

 

 

Summary

 

A nice Fantasy story with a strong moral, based around the theme of acceptance – all set around a magical world of trolls and fairies. If you like stories with a strong message then I recommend you check this one out. It’s suitable for all ages so anyone should enjoy this tale.

 

FINAL SCORE: 4/5

 

 

 

-------------------------

PANDRAGON

 

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Pandragon Reviews: Blue on the Horizon: Troll

Today I’m reviewing a very interesting piece on trolls. No, not the type that cause chaos on the internet, but rather the mythical creatures. Now trolls often get a lot of bad press in Fantasy stories, but this time they are the central characters, which is a refreshing change to say the least.

 

This one is heavily stepped in Norse mythology, but also adds a lot of social commentary. Which is an interesting concept that made me want to read it. So, why don’t we dive into the world of Fantasy and review Blue on the Horizon: Troll by Rebecca Ferrell Porter.

 

 

About The Author

 

I wasn’t provided any links from the author, so I got a link to her Goodreads page. Feel free to check it out if you wish to follow this author.

 

Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

Cover

 

The cover certainly matches the title, and it is a nice cover. You can see the blue eyes with the aurora borealis, looking over the horizon – so it’s Blue on the Horizon! Get it? Ahem, anyway, I think it works well and certainly attracts attention.

 

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

 

They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul, but what if those eyes reflect your worst fears? Fairies have planted a changeling in the poor troll village of Torv. Gaven’s blue eyes blink out at a world where only fairies bare the pale eyes of the fey. She is declared an abomination, and as the fear oozes through Torv, Gaven is banished and bullied, left to linger in the marsh, where alone, she will not survive. Then, mere heartbeats from the snapping jaws of a fearsome predator, Gaven finds a friend: Azool, the most feared fairy in the valley. How could the trusting trollkin have understood the implications as she enters into an apprenticeship with the duplicitous blue fairy of Torv?

 

The treachery expands as Azool orders her swarm to invade the dragon lair where she forces the mysterious creatures into colorful saddles, and uses the murderous lizards to incinerate the wealthy village of Breen. Azool and her swarm assume everyone is dead, but as Uredd stumbles from the only home he has ever known, his mother’s words echo in his head, ‘he is the one’.

 

With both ends of the valley in turmoil, the fairies start to squeeze the middle, but Azool’s changeling has grown stronger. Still, it will take everything Gaven has to survive the events that follow, but with help from her squabbling friends, she might avoid a fate worse than death.

 

 

What I liked

 

The first thing I liked was the role reversal of the trolls and fairies. Normally, fairies are considered the good guys and the trolls the bad guys. But here, it was the mirror opposite – in fact the fairies are actually really nasty to the poor trolls, wanting to destroy them all, burn their village and even use poor Gaven as part of their plans. It kinda felt like a social commentary, the fairies representing the “master race”, wanting to wipe out the inferior species.

 

In fact, Blue has quite a few social commentaries. Gaven is an outcast because of her blue eyes and is often bullied for it. It brings up a lot of ideas of bullying and the fear of those that are different – something that I’m sure everyone can relate to. It’s a good message and it works well in this context. Thankfully, Gaven does work hard to find acceptance from her people and in the end is able to use her fairy powers to her advantage. Overall the book has a very good moral – and being a Young Adult story that’s important to have.

 

Uredd is the only troll that accepts Gaven for what she is and I have to say the paring worked well together. I have to say, I didn’t really like him as much as Gaven as he didn’t really do a whole lot – but he was there for Gaven where it mattered so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. The dragon (Stump I think his name was) was also a great character – he’s one of the funniest and wittiest characters in the books. Think Yoda, but more sarcastic!

 

Each chapter is a POV of the main characters and this is something that I really like, hearing the characters thoughts and seeing things from their own POV. Each chapter is actually pretty short as well (usually about 3-4 pages or so, at least on my kindle) and you can breeze through it in a few moments. I actually read through about twenty chapters in one sitting without realising it. It makes this book really easy and very quick to read.

 

 

What I didn’t like

 

This is where I kinda will contradict my earlier statement. Despite what I said about the short chapters and it being quick to read, not a lot really happens in the book. I’m not saying that there isn’t any storyline, because there is, but most of the time it just focused on Gaven and Uredd’s relationship and trying to settle in and setting up a new home after their first one was destroyed by Azool. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I just felt that some stuff that could have been cut out to get to the action a lot faster.

 

Also, if I’m being honest, I found the final battle with Azool a bit of a cop out. I can’t really say why as it would spoil the ending (and I like to keep spoilers down to a minimum in my reviews as much as possible) but I think the last fight could have been a little more epic, considering all the build up it had. But that’s probably just me nitpicking – I guess once you’ve seen The Battle of the Blackwater or Helm’s Deep, you expect every Fantasy battle to be huge. XD

 

 

PROS (I’m a troll man):

  • Interesting role reversal of the trolls and fairies.
  • Strong moral message.
  • Short chapters makes the story quick to read.
  • Accessible to all ages.

 

CONS (Trollololo):

  • Balance of action and story could have been better for me.
  • Ending a bit of a cop out.

 

 

Summary

 

A nice Fantasy story with a strong moral, based around the theme of acceptance – all set around a magical world of trolls and fairies. If you like stories with a strong message then I recommend you check this one out. It’s suitable for all ages so anyone should enjoy this tale.

 

FINAL SCORE: 4/5

 

 

 

-------------------------

PANDRAGON

 

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Website:  LINK

Final Ragnarok Release Date

Exciting news guys! Final Ragnarok: She Returns, the third book in the Draconica series, has a scheduled release date.

 

The novel will be available on the 7th August 2014 - through ebook and paperback! Check out the front cover, done by the amazing talented AtelierEdge (Carlos Montenegro), who also did the interior art as well.

 

 
And below is the official synopsis for Final Ragnarok: She Returns.
 
 

She is Coming...

 

When Daniar Dragonkin heard those words, she had no idea of the full horror that would follow. Now, enemies converge to bring to life a monstrous plan that will spell the end of Draconica.

 

With her family threatened, old enemies returning to torment her - and a civil war in Baalaria that prevents any help from her sister, Daniar faces the darkness moment of her entire life.

 

Heroes will die, evil will rise - and Daniar’s sanity will be pushed to breaking point.

 

She Returns is the first book in the Final Ragnarok saga - and the darkest moment in the Draconica series so far. The countdown to Draconica’s ultimate fate has begun...

 

 

As if that's not enough, I have recently created a Facebook group so that you can follow everything on the lead up to Final Ragnarok's release date. They'll be competitions and teaser art a plenty! For you on Facebook, the link is below.

 

 

FINAL RAGNAROK FACEBOOK EVENT

 

 

Put 7th August in your diaries people - it's gonna be an exciting time for the Draconica series! :)

 

 

 

-------------------------

PANDRAGON

 

Facebook:  LINK

Twitter:  LINK

Website:  LINK

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