I’m getting terribly behind in my reading.
There are some reasons for this – I had a review lined up of Wendy Leighton-Porter’s fifth book, Shadow of the Volcano, but realised it fits perfectly into my A to Z Challenge for P in April. You’ll see why later. Then I didn’t get through as many books as usual in January for three reasons: one of which was getting ready to launch new community project in my village (which starts today). The second was deciding not to finish my bookclub book for the month, because I found it tedious and uninteresting (and time-consuming without getting anywhere) and I had other things to do, like read the book I have to review for a Blog Tour on 21st Feb. I haven’t started the one for Feb 28th yet, but I have finished the one for the 21st – which means I can’t post it today. And the final excuse is that I was writing my first draft of the first part (probably of three) for Book 7 in the Princelings series, provisionally called The Chronicles of Willoughby the Narrator (but that’s a bit long, as is the first draft).
I first invented the concept of Narrators, who travelled around from castle to castle, telling stories and generally being the “wandering minstrel” of the realms, way back during my first year of the A to Z Challenge. Then Willoughby got in the act when I wrote The Talent Seekers at Camp NaNoWriMo (then called ‘The Way West‘). He’s the sort of character you can’t put down, and has appeared in a number of short stories, mostly on the Princelings website, since. I felt he was the ideal person to take us through the next few years of the Princelings saga, since he has the ease of movement and ability to poke his nose into other people’s business that most of the others have not. But I decided to start with his back story, and having already used him in one place, I had to write his point of view of the siege of Castle Deeping to tally with the Talent Seekers account.
That meant I had to reread the Talent Seekers – so one more book read in January, but not counted in my reading lists!
It’s a funny thing, going back to your own books. It’s nearly two years since I published it, so nearly three since I wrote it. There’s always a worry that you’re going to find thing wrong in it, and worse, that it’s rubbish.
I was pleasantly surprised. My fears were groundless.
Actually, I thought it was jolly good!
It stars Humphrey, a gentle soul who can hear things through solid rock, and develops that to be able to hear what’s going on, and who’s saying what, from miles away. He’s a loner, escaped from Castle Arbor, where he was ill-treated, and he is rounded up by the baddies of Castle Deeping, but escapes, and ends up being recruited by the people at Castle White Horse, who have elite squads of people with special talents. Humphrey finds a home and friends for the first time in his life, but not without heartache.
It’s much darker than the earlier stories, with hand to hand fighting and some cruelty, although nothing graphic, I hope. As with Traveler, some have suggested it’s more YA or Adult, but then I go and read something like WhipEye, which I found horrific, and find other reviewers raving over it and encouraging their ten-year old daughters to read it. So I have no idea where to go with the conflicts in my series now. I feel Talent Seekers is on the same level of violence as Gregor the Overlander, but I’m not a good judge. What I did find was that I kept turning the pages, and really couldn’t put it down, with the result that I’m going to have to go back through it again to map out what Willoughby did from hour to hour, even though that won’t all get in the new book. I had the vital information about his activities in my head all along.
It’s quite possible that I’m totally biassed because character Humphrey is exactly how I related to the personality of my dear guinea pig Humphrey, who died on 1st October. It’s nice to have this memory of him.
But I really enjoyed reading the Talent Seekers again, after a long break. I hope you do too, when you read it for the first time. No prior knowledge of the series is needed, although there are references later to things going on in parallel (it overlaps with the end of the Princelings and the Lost City).
The Talent Seekers by Jemima Pett. Use code NB46C to get it for just $1.50 (62% off) for your ereader at smashwords.com until 1st March 2015.