Spirit’s Destiny by Ken Dawson – Nothing “Dreadful” Here …

Yeah, I know … my titles are rubbish: but they make sense to me  and the author, so who cares?

This is my 4th blog post in 3 days – good God! I’m doing well!

Ok, this is my review of Ken Dawson’s (KD) book “Spirit’s Destiny” – a  fast paced space adventure aimed at the late teen market.

Sci-fi is often a neglected area in literature, it’s difficult to write (contrary to popular opinion) and those that read it are often “purists.” They prefer a set plot, a set style and nothing more, so hats off to KD!

(There’s a promising newbie author by the name of Ross Harrison releasing his sci-fi book in a few weeks – I’m rather excited and looking forward to reading Shadow of the Wraith, but I’ll save that for another time …)

So, what’s Spirit’s Destiny about and why is it good?

Well, we’re quickly introduced to the feisty protagonist Ella Bland and her life, awkward, a little lost, and about to start university (she’s a character that a lot of young females will be able to identify with). She’s thrown into a world of robots (or droids) manipulation, war, destiny and organisational interfering. There are secrets around each corner and the characters are not what they seem. It’s exceptionally difficult for me to talk about the plot without revealing some of the twists.

This is the Amazon description/blurb: “…When Ella Bland leaves home to attend university on another planet, the last thing she ever expected was to be dragged into a secret, ancient and bloody war.
On one side stands Eclipse – a genocidal creation hell-bent on slaying all humanity, whilst on the other lies a shrouded organisation that will do anything to make sure that mankind’s annihilation never happens.
As the violence senselessly rages between both sides, Ella must place her trust in a young secret agent and an unusual female droid if she is to have any chance of escaping this gory nightmare alive.
Yet as she becomes deeper involved, Ella discovers her role in this conflict will be far greater than she could ever possibly imagine …”

When reading the book, I immediately clicked with the authorial voice and how it guided us through the story without ever taking over or being a pretentious or overpowering show of ego. What a lot of readers don’t realise is just how hard it is to write a YA book. The language, pace, scene and setting have to appeal to an audience who don’t have the attention span (younglings, please don’t hate me!) for long, complex books on moral rights and wrongs/specific literary issues or complex themes.

KD manages this very well, while he pitches this for the late teen market – personally, I think it’s suited better for the mid to late teen age range; his original artwork and the style of his drawings paired with the dialogue and vocabulary will definitely appeal to teenagers whereas adults might find the story a little simplistic and if it’s pitched purely as late teen and adult – he’ll miss out on a HUGE fan base and potential sales.

Now, that sounds like a criticism – it’s not, not at all  – modern (not classical sci-fi like Dick or Wells) adult sci-fi is usually long and complex, with pages and pages of explanation detailing the engine management system, fuel and resources, oxygenation system … Zzzz … but you get the picture. I read recently that there is no market for space operas or light and action packed sci-fi (a report written by a mainstream published sci-fi author with an ego the size of the moon)- but I disagree, I think adults will happily read (sci-fi) books tagged as YA or a light-hearted space adventure as long as they don’t pretend to be something they’re not.

Spirit’s Destiny is pure and transparent. It’s fun, it’s a great ride with a nice pace and, a FABULOUS case of characters that each have their own traits and issues (S.A Gemma Chapman is just excellent). I knew from the moment I read the blurb that this was going to be a nice easy-to-read story that I could pick up and switch off to. It didn’t disappoint.

I’m not without criticisms, I do think that there were a few areas that could have been improved, the description of the ship for example, a bit more on Ella’s background and there were some small issues with commas in the direct speech – but (and I know people hate the word but) this is the first book in a series – so I imagine there will be A LOT more to come, and the grammar/punctuation is a small niggle, I actually feel harsh mentioning it.

Why do I feel bad? Because Ken Dawson has done something that most “wannabe writers” never do – he has taken a leap of faith in his story and writing and published his book, investing in print copies and throwing hours of work into some really amazing cartoon drawings. I think anyone who chases their dreams is worth my respect.

I think the book is currently priced at £4.11 on the kindle – which some will feel is quite pricey for a SP book of this length. Normally I would agree with the masses – but the artwork inside makes it worth the price. I have to admit however, I’ll be buying a paperback copy when available (believed to be a couple of weeks) because I think the difference in price is well worth it – oh, and the author can sign it for me!

Overall, this is a 4 1/2 * book – but, as we’re taught in maths, you round up – so it’s a 5* tale.

I recommend to anyone who wants and enjoys pure escapism on a rainy afternoon, a train journey or something for when you just want to kick back and relax.

I’m not one for long author interviews, but I asked Ken a few questions and thought I’d share his responses.

Q. Why did you write the book?

A. After school I went to study graphic design and art, in the hope of doing something vaguely related to manga or animation. Slowly I wrote little stories to go with the paintings I did in my spare time. Eventually the stories became more important than the actual images. Originally I had three big ideas. I used one of them called ‘Time Eclipse’ for my final piece of my animation degree. Soon after that I decided to write a full tale of it, but include all my close friends as characters. I guess the only reason for doing it was simply a desire to.

Q.What advice do you have for budding writers?

A. My only advice to budding writers is ‘Get it started, and get it written!’ Forget all spelling, grammar and plot holes until the piece is fully written. You can smooth those things over later.

Q. What problems did you come up against when publishing?

A.  I think the problems of getting published is that there is no clear direction of how to go about it. Researching everything and everyone will avoid you handing over your hard earned cash to unscrupulous people promising you fame and fortune. It take time but it’s worth it.

Q. Apart from “The Tapestry of Fates” series – do you have other stories planned? 

A. Well apart from the two books that follow Spirit’s Destiny, I have a free monthly horror vampire novel on my blog called Fallen Tears. I also have several other projects that will expand the universe of Spirit’s Destiny, as well as a set of novels based around an idea called ‘Phoenix’ I had at sixteen for which I have hundreds of pieces of art for. It is mentioned briefly in Spirit’s Destiny.

 

Spirit’s Destiny has a dedicated webpage, where Ken has uploaded character bios and pictures:-

http://www.tapestryoffates.com

The book can be bought on Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Spirits-Destiny-Tapestry-Fates-ebook/dp/B006YJR88S/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1

Those who enjoy vampire stories that don’t involve bloodsuckers that sparkle or prance around full of teen angst can find Fallen Tears on Ken’s blog:-

www.kennydreadful.com or on Harper Collin’s site for writers (Authonomy) http://www.authonomy.com/books/41727/fallen-tears/

And those that link his artwork can find more at:-

http://kenny-dreadful.deviantart.com/

 

I’ll add here, none of these reviews are for personal gain. I won’t give gushing praise and I won’t mince my words. 

 

 

Juggling

I haven’t updated this in ages, I do apologise … Not that I expect many people to care, but those that do read it – I’m sorry!

I’ve been rather busy and my life seems to have been taken over by two things 1) Authonomy and 2) My OU course


Authonomy is the brain child of Harper Collins (HC) and is a website predominantly for  fledgling writers looking to get their work reviewed, read and critiqued by their peers.

I’ve joined, I’ve devoted far far too many hours to the site, but ultimately, I’ve met a cracking bunch of people and actually made some nice friends. Oh the “Alliance of World Builders” how I love you all!  Oh Mr Muir how wonderful you are! You are by far, one of my favourite Scotsmen!

On the forums, a member each week runs a ‘flash fiction’ (FF) competition and last week, the theme was “horror” and “416 words, no more, no less.” – It was a massive hit and there were literally tens of entries. They were so good that they’ve been compiled into an e-book and it’s available free  here …

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/97935

Please download and enjoy, it doesn’t cost you anything and you’ll be able to revel in the talents of so many writers …

My own little story “Diamonds” is there *blush.* It’s not great – but it’s a bit of fun!

So …. Apart from Authonomy, my time has been spent reading and researching my OU module.

If I’m honest, I think I underestimated just how much time it will take, but I think it’s doable. I basically have one assignment a month to write, but a lot to read.

I’m at the writing stage of my assignment and I’m finding the whole referencing malarky a chore! I appreciate why these things are a must, but seriously …. Arghhhhhhhhh!

Hopefully if work is quieter in the next few days, I can organise my scraps of paper and post-it notes into a comprehensive and thorough report … Yeah right!

I’m not allowed to post on social media or networking sites for help with the course (OU sent an email to everyone, this is apparently a no no) but if any Cleopatra / Antony / Plutarch experts want to offer their views to the way that P viewed C & A’s relationship … I won’t say no!

I’ve also got to compare two pieces of work by  Cezanne and Zurburan respectively.

I’m still finding it difficult to understand what a “picture plane” is – any idea?

Personal life update …

Nothing really to update! My sis had her 18th birthday and is currently in Singapore with her friend. I’m the same healthwise – EG falling apart!

Got to play “Heroquest” the other week with some friends – Oh how I’ve missed RP games!!! I cannot wait to start D&D again!!!

Our tenants have signed for another 6 months, so that’s Coalville house forgotten about until the start of May 2012! Happy times! The central heating system there does need a powerflush though and at £300, it’s going to sting! Got to keep the tenants happy though, they are lovely and we’ve been so lucky with them!

My own central heating system isn’t working either, the RX1 receiver in  the Danfoss thermostat has broken. Only £50 to replace, but got to wait until the end of the month … Socks and jumpers!!!

We finally let “evil cat” out of the house … His name is Riker, but he is called evil cat. All he used to do was pee everywhere and eat. He would glare at humans and never EVER allow us to touch him. He hated being an indoor cat and after 2 1/2 years, we were still at square 1 with him. So we let him out … he’s not come back. I don’t ever expect to see him again …

Part of me is sad, the other part knows that he’ll be much happier outside and in the fields that being in the house with humans.

Running – I’ve not been able to go running for a while. I’ve had strange pains in my hips and lower back, I know it sounds like an excuse, but it really isn’t! I’ve subbed walking for running though and started walking to work as well as walking back from work. A good 3 miles total at least.

I’d like to shift some more weight before Christmas, but I don’t know if I have the willpower. I’ve turned into a chocoholic recently and practically drool over the thought of a wispa … It’s pathetic. I’m pathetic. I’m sorry.

Christmas, hmmmm …. That’s not far away either! We’ve set a strict budget this year and we’re only buying for those we really care about. I’ve not spoken to my mum and that side of the family all year, so I doubt I’ll bother getting them anything this year. It’s not because I don’t care, it’s just that it seems like a waste.

I don’t know what to get the husband for Christmas. 2009 he had a surprise trip to NY and a camcorder. 2010 a new Xbox 360 and kinect, 2011 …??? Probably a clementine and some socks. I’m so poor this year it’s unbelievable! Damn you overtime cuts! Damn you expensive OU!! Damn you alll!!!!

Ciao.