Pandragon Dan

Pandragon Dan

Author/Reviewer/Blogger

Pandragon Reviews - A Stiff Kiss

 

I was very lucky to be featured on Avery Olive’s blog last year for a special 13 Days of Christmas giveaway that she did, featuring my book Trapped on Draconica. Later in the year, she reviewed my book and gave it some very good comments – which I’m thankful for. In return, I promised that I would read her book A Stiff Kiss and do a review of it. Well, it took me a while – but I am finally now ready to fulfil my promise to her!

 

A Stiff Kiss is a book that has been getting some very positive reviews on Amazon/Goodreads – which is fantastic given that this is her first novel, so I’m pretty sure that I’m in for a great ride here! Of all the books I’ve read and reviewed, I’ve yet to review a Teen Romance novel (with the possible exception of The Pack: Retribution), so I’m kinda excited about this one. So let’s dive into A Stiff Kiss and see what I thought.

 

 

About The Author (provided by the author)

 

Avery Olive is proudly Canadian. She is married, and when she’s not helping raise her very energetic and inquisitive son, she can be found working on her latest novel-where she devilishly adds U's into every word she can.

 

When she is looking for a break Avery enjoys cake decorating, losing herself in a good book, or heading out to the lake to go camping.

 

The release of Avery's first novel proves to her it won't be the last. As long as her family continues to be supportive, she can find the time, and people want to read, Avery will keep on writing.

 

 

Important Links:

 

Avery Olive’s Blog: www.averyolive.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002656782468

A Stiff Kiss Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Stiff-Kiss/255522414458899

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/averyolive

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13411964-a-stiff-kiss

Crescent Moon Press: http://crescentmoonpress.com/index.html
 

A Stiff Kiss Buy Links:

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Stiff-Kiss-Avery-Olive/dp/193725433X/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stiff-kiss-avery-olive/1108801919?ean=9781937254339&itm=1&usri=a+stiff+kiss

The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Stiff-Kiss-Avery-Olive/9781937254339

KOBO : http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/A-Stiff-Kiss/book-EVkI1tu1i0aIblX9rTpFgQ/page1.html?s=rV2OQX8vnUy_80fF6iZxGQ&r=1

 

 

 

Cover

 

Considering how most Teen Romances tend to have bright colours, this one seems a little morbid at first look, with its dark colours and image of our heroine Xylia lying next to a graveyard. But death is the major theme in this book, as is Xylia’s obsession with it. The cover could have easily been just the two main characters on the front, looking at each other lovingly like so many other romantic books – but I actually like the fact that Avery Olive didn’t go with the obvious and just describe the theme of the book. I also like the way the kiss is drawn and coloured (as red is both the colour of love AND blood).

 

Overview

 

Since the death of her mother, Xylia has had an almost unhealthy obsession with death – visiting graveyards and supposedly haunted places. Her father is worried for her and tries everything to quell her obsession, but to no affect.

 

Landon is the school jock and rising football star (yes, I know he’s a soccer player – but I’m British and we call it football, dammit! Ok, rant over, lol), and Xylia is head over heels in love with him – despite the fact he’s already taken. During a football match, Landon drops and dies in the ambulance. Visiting him in the morgue, Xylia steals a kiss from Landon’s corpse, which brings him back to life!

 

It’s a classic tale – boy meets girl, boy dies, girl kisses boy, boy comes back to life, balance of life and death is thrown out. It’s a classic tale!

 

Ok, all fooling aside, I did actually think this was a very well done story. Each chapter is told from the point of view of the main characters, Landon and Xylia – so it was good to get the different viewpoints of the characters. And both the main characters are finely crafted and likeable – Xylia is morbid and somewhat emotionally detached, but does still have feelings and Landon is a bit arrogant and up his own backside, but also pines for a better life and his world is turned upside down when he’s brought back from the dead. At times, I found Xylia a bit mean-spirited and nasty, especially towards her dad – but then, she’s a teenager, which teenager isn’t a pain in the backside sometimes?

 

The secondary characters are very well detailed also. I particularly liked Xylia’s father – he brilliantly written as a sympathetic man still coping with the loss of his wife and dealing with the stress of a daughter with a dark obsession. He does do some things that upset Xylia, but at no point did I ever think he was a bastard in any way – he genuinely wanted to help his daughter and I did feel sorry for him when Xylia was horrible to him.

 

In actual fact, this book is much darker than you would think – it deals with themes of loss, death, depression and also letting go. It’s not the typical “high-school romp” that you get with most teenage stories – it has genuine depth and layers that most other books lack. Landon and Xylia help each other through their particular problems and both come out stronger because of it – through love. The emotion is definitely real and very moving.

 

But, as much as I loved this story, there were one or two little plot holes that come close to affecting the story. WARNING! The next part includes spoilers, so I’m going to write it in italics to show this.

 

Firstly, when Xylia and Landon go on their trip to various locations (graveyards and churches), Landon doesn’t seem to be recognised. Given that earlier in the novel, his death and resurrection is widely publicised, it seems strange that no one would recognise him, especially since this is the age of social media where news travels fast. That felt a little strange to me.

 

Secondly, throughout the story, Xylia and Landon are chased by a couple of “angels”. Both of them seem to want to take Landon back to the dead and restore the balance – but one of them seems to hesitate. Why is never explained, especially given that their mission is of utmost importance. Also, it’s never really explained HOW Landon came back to life through Xylia’s kiss.

 

Finally, the ending was just really confusing. Did Xylia go back in time? Was this another day? If so, why wasn’t Landon dead? And how did the gift appear in her bag? I have no problem with the book having a happy ending, but this ending I found a little disjointed and, again, not really explained very well.

 

Despite all this, I did enjoy reading this book very much and the above points could easily be overlooked given it’s a brilliantly written novel. I would gladly read another of Avery’s books in the future!

 

PROS (love conquers all):

  • Primary and secondary characters written very well.
  • Deals with a lot of real life issues not really looked at in most romance novels.
  • Has real emotional depth.
  • Romance is heart-warming and fans of romantic novels will love reading it.

 

CONS (dead man walking):

  • One or two plot holes almost spoil an otherwise brilliant story.
  • Very little is explained in the plot.

 

 

Summary

 

This one I highly recommend! Despite one or two plot holes, A Stiff Kiss has much more depth and emotional layers to it than most books I’ve read. Even the secondary characters have depth to them that makes them as interesting as the main ones – which is a rare skill in writing. Definitely one to check out – read it!

 

FINAL SCORE: 4/5

 

 

Pandragon

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A ma-husive thank you

Well, on the whole it's been a pretty damn good week! I'm gonna use this opportunity to talk a little bit about my recent sponsume campaign - but first I'd like to say a few words about Mrs Sue Grafton.

 

Some of you may remember my post last Sunday about the recent interview with Mrs Sue Grafton, and her rather insensitive comments she made about self-published and indie authors. Well, turns out that I wasn't the only one that took issue to this as, during the week, I've read numerous other posts on blogs by other authors/publishers who were quick to shoot down Mrs Grafton's argument in flames. It got so intense that Mrs Grafton later issued an "apology" - although I think it was one of the most insincere apologies I've ever read since the Governments apology for creating a panic in fuel buying. But that doesn't bother me - the point is that we made our point and showed Mrs Grafton for what she really is, and I think it will take a LONG time before she recovers from this one.

 

I may not have been the first to post about her (and I certainly wasn't the last), but I actually felt elated to be part of this "revolution", for lack of a better term. It was so reassuring to see so many writers come together for a common cause, standing up for what they believed it. We raged against the machine and the internet took note. It made me proud to be a self-published author - so to all the indie/self-published authors out there, give yourselves a pat on the back. Also, to the published authors out there that also supported us, thank you for proving that not everyone is as ignorant as Mrs Grafton.

 

Anyway, onto my next point - recently my Sponsume campaign for the Legacy of the Dragonkin finished and, thanks to your support, we managed to raise around £300 towards the project (after fees). I am astounded by the support we got for this - to be honest, I never thought I would get ANY sponsorship for it, but was blown away by the support. Considering that my first book is still to really break through the writing world, this was a humbling feeling.

 

 

Already, I'm putting the money to good use. We have started work on the front cover AND a possible animated trailer for it in the following months. No sitting on my backside here!

 

So therefore, my thanks to everyone who supported, sponsored, retweeted, blogged, or did everything and anything to get the name of this campaign out. It is appreciated. Your gifts will all be sent out sometime early next year - but to show my appreciation, I will have a special something planned in the next few days for you all.

 

Until then, have a great weekend folks!

 

 

Pandragon

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Pandragon Reviews - Vixen by Nic Silver

If I’m being honest, I’ve never really been into vampire stories. It’s not that I have a problem with them and don’t appreciate their popularity – I just think that there are too many of them these days. And many of the vampire stories I read just tend to be copies of Twlight, Interview with the Vampire, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and of course, Dracula. Also, my main problem with vampire stories is that I’m kinda against the idea of making a romantic figure out of what is essentially a killer. Of course, this is just my opinion and I do not wish to offend any fans (or writers) of the genre. I can respect why the genre is so popular – it’s just not one I’m into personally.

 

So I was a little worried when I was first asked to review Vixen by Nic Silver, given that I feared that my bias towards these stories would affect the way I reviewed this book. But, like with any book, I always put aside my own personal preferences and just reviewed it like I did any other book – giving it a fair chance. Did I enjoy it? Let’s find out.

 

 

About The Author

 

Nic Silver lives like a hermit on the edge of the woods, but haunts used bookstores like a wraith. He fully expected to be found someday as a mummified, beardy old corpse crushed under a toppled to-be-read pile, but the rise of e-books has made that somewhat less likely, though the books will always outnumber even the dustbunnies. Nic will read just about anything, including the instructions on the back of medicine bottles, but has a particular fondness for good stories with a hint of magic. He writes dark, sexy urban fantasy, and sometimes dreams in black and white.

 

A few links:

 

my blog: http://liesthroughsilver.blogspot.com/

my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/NicSilver

my twitter: @liesthrusilver

my Goodreads profile: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5422937.Nic_Silver

White Raven Press site: http://press.whiteravenarts.com/

 

 

Cover

Not a bad cover I must say. I like the use of colour and the heroine affectionately touching a mosaic of a fox. Why a fox, you ask? Well that would spoil things if I told you. The affectionate way the heroine touches the picture is both a metaphor for the sexual themes of the book and also hints to a very important plot point.

 

 

Overview

 

Vixen is a dark fantasy novel that is set around Su Fuchs, a half-Asian woman that spends her time as a pickpocket – and also a part time vampire hunter. At the start of the story, she has just fought off a vampire rapist (Su is a pretty woman – maybe a little too strong to be human) and is enjoying a little drink. It’s here that she meets Evgeny, a new born vampire that is dazed and confused. Despite the fact that vampires are known for being pretty dangerous, she senses this vampires vulnerability and takes the vampire home with her (despite her conscience telling her not to).

 

As it turns out, Evgeny is actually a sweet, gentle and kind young man – but he possesses a great power that the vampires want for their own. And when Evgeny gets kidnapped, it’s up to Su to kick ass and get him back. But along the way, she learns about her mysterious powers...

 

For the sake of spoilers, I won’t go too much into detail about the plot – but I will say this. Even though the story is pretty standard, I actually do like what Nic Silver has done here. Whereas vampires seem to be the key supernatural elements, werewolves and witches also get their time in the story. But before you accuse this of being a Twilight clone, I’ll have to stop you as Nic Silver actually does try to do something a little different. For one thing, vampires get off of sex and rape as much as drinking blood, and werewolves are also serial rapists in some cases – it actually feels more akin to True Blood, except with more likeable characters. I think these changes do bring a fresh aspect to the myths we are used to.

 

Given the above, it goes without saying that this book is intended for adults. There is a lot of sex in this book – sometimes maybe a little too much. Whilst most of the sex was justified, there were a couple of times when I felt it was put in just for the sake of it – and even in a erotic fantasy, the sex needs to be justified. It also mixes it up with some LGBT themes that I felt were justified. Although, there was a subplot that I thought was going to involve a love triangle between Evgeny, Su and Alex, a former love of Su – in actual fact that didn’t go anywhere and felt a little pointless to the plot.

 

As a heroine, Su is decent and likeable enough. She’s a badass, but she does have human weaknesses. And she has a pretty high sex drive, hence the title Vixen. I couldn’t help but think maybe this could have been toned down just a little, but otherwise she was well thought out. I did like the “reverse damsel in distress” storyline where she had to rescue her boyfriend. And in fairness, once you realise her tragic past, you do actually sympathise with her as a character.

 

Overall, I did enough this book. It’s not really the sort of thing I would read religiously, but it did keep my interest the whole way through. One or two typos/spelling mistakes did kind of spoil the flow of the piece, but it was still readable and you can overlook these.

 

 

PROS (foxy lady):

  • Raunchy and will appeal to those who like erotic fiction.
  • Interesting take on popular myths.
  • Good role reversal of the damsel in distress.
  • Characters are, on the whole, fleshed out and believeable.

 

 

CONS (I want to suck... your blood):

  • Minor typos occasionally spoil the flow.
  • Plot has one or two missed opportunities.
  • Not recommended for younger readers.

 

 

Summary

 

Vixen is not a book that I would recommend to younger readers due to the dark content, but if you want a good supernatural story, with plenty of erotic content, then do give this a read. Sometimes the content is a little unnecessary, but it does try to do something different with popular myths and the story is easy to follow and can be enjoyed if you give it a chance.

 

 

FINAL SCORE: 3.5/5

 

 

Pandragon

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According to this author... all self-published/indie writers are lazy wannabes!

So I was all ready to just settle down and do some writing over this weekend – then I read this interview. Now, normally I enjoy reading author interviews, especially by big name authors , I love reading their insights into their inspirations behind their writing, their success and even advice into helping authors with their works.

 

But reading this interview with author Sue Grafton, author of the Kinsey Milhone series (which is a number of novels done in alphabetical order like  A Is for Alibi, B Is for Burglar, C Is for Corpse, all the way up to V Is for Vengeance)... well, let’s just say THIS was my reaction to it!

 

 

Ok, it will probably be best if you read the interview first to understand where I’m going from. Long story short, she seems to have this idea that self-publishing is a crime against publishing and any who do it are “lazy” and “wannabes”. Check out the link below first, then come back to this blog to understand why I’m so utterly amazed at how much of an epic fail this is.

 

 

http://louisvilleky.com/2012/08/louisville-author-spotlight-welcomes-sue-grafton/

 

 

Read it? Good. Moving on.

 

Now, if that is the way Mrs Grafton thinks about self-publishing – fair enough. That’s her opinion and she is entitled to it. I actually would not have a problem mentioning this as part of her interview in of itself. But what concerns me is that the question prior to all this was “Do you have any words of wisdom for young writers?” Therefore, she wasn’t actually giving this information as an opinion but rather ADVICE to all authors out there. This troubles me because someone of her statue should know better – considering that even authors like J.K Rowling don’t seem to have a problem with self-publishing.  And, as a supporter of self-published and indie authors (and being one myself), I feel that I just can’t let this go.

 

Now, this post had already been discussed by author Benjamin X Wretlind, which is how I found out about the interview (I’ll leave a link to his blog below), so I have asked him if I could also do my own blog on this, which he kindly agreed to. Whereas his blog was extremely impassioned  (and I respect him for speaking his mind), I’m going to take a more subjective view on this post and give my thoughts on this.

 

Before I start, I want to say that this is NOT a personal attack on Mrs Grafton, nor is it a personal attack against any of her fans or any published authors. I just disagree with many of the points she raised and feel I should express an alternate view. Additionally, I am not claiming to speak for all the self-published authors out there (I would not be so arrogant) and I am aware that many authors can speak their own mind, so the points I raised are purely based on my own opinion and life experiences. Please bare that in mind when reading this blog.

 

What I have done is taken a few segments of the interview that I think are particularly bad and put my thoughts underneath. Let’s get to it.

 

 

Don’t self-publish. That’s as good as admitting you’re too lazy to do the hard work

 

Sorry to pour water on your fire, but what you said here is utterly, completely WRONG! Being self-published means you HAVE to do all the hard work. You have to promote  your own work however you can, you can’t just sit back and wait for the monies to start rolling in – because they won’t. In fact, many authors get turned off by self publishing when they realise what hard work is involved. If anything, you need to be prepared to work twice as hard if you decide to self-publish.

 

By your argument, I could say that YOU are lazy getting your work published through an agent/publisher as they are the ones that do all the work for you and all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the royalties. But then again, that would be an ignorant statement wouldn’t it?

 

Perhaps you should try self-publishing before bitching it. You may actually prefer it. Just saying.

 

 

The indie success stories aren’t the rule. They’re the exception

 

Surely ANY success story from any author (self-published or otherwise) is good. Why should you say that indie author successes don’t matter? That would be like saying Tom Daley doesn’t deserve our respect because he only got a bronze medal in the London Olympics!

 

Yes, I will admit it is always a heart warming tale to hear of an author being accepted by a big name publisher and becoming a bestselling author – but surely it’s equally as amazing learning about an indie author becoming a bestselling novelist without the support of a major publisher. And it has happened! M.R Mathias, author of the The Wardstone Trilogy  is one of the best selling indie authors out there, for example as is author L.M Preston, who’s book Bandits was the number one best selling free ebook, alongside The Hunger Games, which was the number 1 purchased ebook. Surely that must count for something?

 

ANY success story deserves to be praised as far as I’m concerned, regardless of where it’s from. Discounting a book's success just because of the way it’s published is just stupid.

 

 

The self-published books I’ve read are often amateurish. I’ve got one sitting on my desk right now and I’ve received hundreds of them over the years. Sorry about that, but it’s the truth

 

That's actually a legitiment argument - at least to a certain extent. I have read some self-published works that are pretty bad and often put together very roughly or poorly – but at the same time I have also read a large number of self-published works that are beautifully put together, formatted and printed to a professional standard. So, to me, saying that self-published books are amateurish is as ignorant as saying all blondes are dumb (they aren’t by the way).

 

Also, what you said is YOUR truth, not THE truth – there is a difference.

 

Don’t forget that not every author is as lucky as you, we can’t all get a publishing deal – that’s why self-publishing is offered as an alternative. And with the release of the ebook, it’s now easier than ever for an author to get published themselves. But just because an author isn’t publishing through a major publisher doesn’t make them any less readable than a publisher author. Again, you’re making judgments without actually doing any research into it.

 

 

The hard work is taking the rejection, learning the lessons, and mastering the craft over a period of time

 

Surely self-published authors can do this WHILST they are putting their work out? I’ve learned more about my writing craft through self-publishing (from reviews and tips from other readers/authors) than any English class I ever went to. Writing is always a learning curve and authors are always learning as they go along. I find it very hard to believe that any published author gets it right first time – they still learn all throughout their lives and improve on things to be a better writer. Well, most of them anyway.

 

And again, why should they have to go through rejection from publishers/agents when they can just do all the work themselves? No, for me the hard work is learning to take criticism for their work and learning from the reviews of their books. I think so anyway.

 

 

To me, it seems disrespectful…that a ‘wannabe’ assumes it’s all so easy s/he can put out a ‘published novel’ without bothering to read, study, or do the research

 

Actually, most self-published authors DO research the world of publishing in their selected writing field – and many of them are readers as well. How else are they going to learn how to write and publish a book.

 

To me, it seems disrespectful...that an ‘author’ assumes that a ‘self-published’ writer doesn’t do their research or reads any books without actually doing some research themselves to make sure her point is justified. Just saying.

 

Oh, and one more point, many authors prefer to go down the route of self-publishing because they would rather have control of a project themselves. That was one of the reasons why I decided to self-publish. The major advantage of this is that indie authors write the story the way they want to write it and you often find that they go against many conventions to tell a unique story. Some of the most original books I’ve read have been self-published books.

 

 

Self-publishing is a short cut and I don’t believe in short cuts when it comes to the arts

 

No it isn’t. It’s an alternative. I’ve covered this before so don’t need to go over it.

 

 

I compare self-publishing to a student managing to conquer Five Easy Pieces on the piano and then wondering if s/he’s ready to be booked into Carnegie Hall

 

And I compare you, Mrs Grafton, to a troll! Someone who publishes comments on the internet without properly researching or having any logical thought to their comments and then expecting everyone to go along with them.

 

 

 

In all fairness, Mrs Grafton is entitled to her opinion and if that’s the way she feels then fair enough. However, the fact that she was trying to pass this off as actual advice to aspiring writers did actually make me cringe. Once again, I like to reiterate that I am not doing this post to discourage fans of Mrs Grafton, nor am I trying to give her a bad name. I just felt that her comments were (with all due respect) elitist and ignorant – and someone of her standard should know better. Don’t forget, despite what you may believe, indie authors are readers too – and based on the amount of negative comments on the interview post, I worry that you may have bitten the hand that feeds you. If you anger readers, you can see your sales drop pretty quickly.

 

Then again, I don’t know Mrs Grafton personally and I’m sure she’s a nice person at heart. Maybe she meant no harm in these comments, but she certainly should have phrased them better. Reading her comments, they just come across bitter and laced with jealousy that so many indie authors are topping the Amazon bestsellers lists (or at least doing very well). I would hope that she would look back at this interview and realise what a big mistake she had made, if she hasn’t done so already.

 

Perhaps the title of her next book should be W is for What the hell was I thinking?

 

Be sure to also check out Benjamin X Wretlind’s original post on his blog at http://bxwretlind.com/blog/2012/08/18/f-is-for-f-you-sue-grafton/ and please do follow his blog for some interesting insights on the writing world. Please also leave your comments about this post below to let you know her thoughts.

 

Thanks for reading guys! Until next time!

 

 

Pandragon

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Why Character Deaths have to matter

(Warning: This post may contains spoilers for Star Wars, Final Fantasy, The Land Before Time and To The Moon. If you are either planning on watching or playing any of the above, please read at your own risk)

 

For some reason, I’ve been a little down recently (insert violin music here) – so I figured what better way to cheer myself up than making everyone else depressed! Don’t worry, that’s just a joke.

 

Seriously though, today I wanted to talk a little bit about a scene that, in fiction terms, many consider somewhat overused and clichéd – but in actual fact I still believe that this is one of the most powerful writing tools that a storyteller has at their disposal, if it’s done correctly.

 

The death of a character is something that can be both shocking to the reader and upsetting – especially if it’s a character they are heavily invested in. Sometimes we get so attached to a character that when something bad happens to them, we feel like we’ve lost a part of ourselves – and that is one of the things that makes a character death so powerful, moving the reader to tears when they realise that their favourite character is no longer going to be with us.

 

One example of this that I can use is in the video game Final Fantasy VII. Perhaps everyone knows of the shocking death of Areith halfway through the game at the hands of Sepiroth. I was SHOCKED when I first saw this as I never saw it coming and it took me by surprise. Areith may not have been the most powerful character of the bunch (In fact I rarely had her on my team), but she was genuinely likeable and so it did make her death rather sad. What’s even sadder is that she STAYS dead – making her death all that more powerful. But, I will admit, Cloud does kind ruin this scene a little with his dialogue. It just sounds too cheesy and silly.

 

But at the same time, it doesn’t always have to be a main character – sometimes the death itself can bring on huge emotions. I recently played a video game called To The Moon, which dealt with a dying man reliving his childhood memories and his dreams of going to the moon. This was a really emotional video game and one of the first to REALLY move me (proof that video games can have emotion), mainly because we get to see the man’s life, all the way back to his childhood and saw the struggles he went through in life. And the ending... well, let’s just say you will need a box of tissues for it. So sometimes, just a way a character dies (ie, old age, cancer, etc) can have a big effect on us, especially if they have gone through an experience like that. In the case of the above example, death is something we ALL have to face – and I guess the scariest thing about death is how we will face it when the time comes, and did we live our lives the way we should have?

 

For my Top Five Memorable Death Scenes blog (see here for the original post), I mentioned one of the most memorable death scenes in film was the death of Littlefoot’s mother in The Land Before Time – and I still do. Main reason being is that Littlefoot now has to complete the journey on his own, and he’s still only a kid. Prior to this scene, Littlefoot’s mother sacrificed her own life to protect him from the villain, Sharptooth, so it makes this death all the more sadder. We feel for poor Littlefoot in this case, because I think a lot of us can relate to this kind of death. We’ve all lost loved ones and family members in our life so this does affect us emotionally – I’ve never watched anyone I loved die, but even so I know that some people have and I’m sure these types of deaths in films/books/etc can have a great impact on them.

 

But the one thing that really get me is when a character dies and then gets brought back to life (usually through convoluted reasons). I always found this a cop out – although, again if it was a character that I really liked, I loved the idea of them coming back into the story – and in some ways it completely negates the emotion behind their death the first time. Sadly, this is all too common in fiction these days and this is one of the reason why the death scene has become less impactful. I’m actually with George R R Martin when he said Lord of the Rings would have been a much more interesting story if Gandalf stayed dead, seeing as he was pretty much overpowered. I’m not saying this is wrong, I just think it undoes the character death a little. I appreciate that sometimes, for the sake of the plot, a character has to be brought back, but I’m just not a fan of it. Myself, if I kill a character off, I try to make sure they stay dead and if they DO come back, it’s usually temporarily. The exception to this rule is villains. They are usually deceitful and so it makes sense that they would deceive people into thinking they were dead.

 

Now onto one of my biggest pet peeves – storytellers that try to shoe-horn in a death scene just for the sake of it. Sadly, many Hollywood blockbusters do this in the hope of showing that their movie has substance. Sorry, but it DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY! As I said before, for a death scene to work, we have to care about the character and be emotionally invested in them. But if we never cared for them in the first place, then why should be care if they are killed off? One example of this is in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, when Qui-Gon-Gin n’ Tonic (sorry, Qui-Gon Jinn) gets killed off. At the risk of upsetting Star Wars fans, I REALLY didn’t care for this character. He had no personality and only really served as a plot device for bringing Anakin into the story, though in my opinion the story would have functioned just as well without him. So when he died, I was like “meh”. But that’s not the reaction you should have to a character death!

 

Worst still, in some stories, sometimes a character dies and then they are forgotten about. A death of a character should have lasting consequences – so when I see a character die and forgotten about, to me this just screams lazy writing. I actually read and reviewed a book once (of which I will keep the name and the author name secret) and in one scene one of the main characters was killed off – quite an important character as well. After that, never mentioned again – the hero didn’t even seem that affected by it! This annoyed me because why would you kill a character off and then forget about them? It just didn’t feel right. I think that when a character dies, you should honour them and show how it effects the rest of the protagonists.

 

That being said, as a writer myself, I will admit that these scenes are – for me personally – the hardest scenes to write. As a writer, my preference has always been for Fantasy/Science Fiction with a lot of action, larger than life characters and exciting storylines – but I don’t  consider myself good at doing emotional scenes. That’s not to say that I won’t try every now and then (because I believe emotion is just as important as comedy), but I do have worries when I write a character death scene (for example) and wonder if I will capture the emotion perfectly for the piece. There is a death scene in Trapped on Draconica that I was worried about when I first wrote it, worrying that it wouldn’t come across with enough emotion. Thankfully, a few reviews I’ve had seem to like this scene, so hopefully I did it right.

 

To sum up, a character death should have a lot of power and impact behind it – but it just seems to get overused these days to the point where sometimes it just comes across as laughable. But I still believe that a character death can have meaning – as long as the character is cared for enough for it to work. In the hands of a talented writer, it can be equally as moving as the death of Romeo and Juliet. In the hands of a band writer, it’s just another Qui-Gon Jinn.

 

Thanks for reading and please leave a comment below if you agree or disagree or have any further thoughts to add. Just to give you guys a heads up, due to certain circumstances in my life, I’ll no longer be able to blog three times a week like I was doing before (due to thousands of commitments that I have at the moment, not at least reviewing and, of course, writing). So I’m purely just gonna blog once a week, usually around Friday time. Pandragon Reviews and guest blogs will still be on Wednesday as and when, but regular blogging will be restricted to once a week from now on.

 

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

 

 

Pandragon

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