Tag Archives: indie publishing

Review: Legend Unleashed by M. Latimer-Ridley

“Little Alice here is taking a trip down the rabbit-hole with you then.”

Regular readers will know that I interviewed M. Latimer-Ridley about Legend Unleashed before Christmas. Now that No More Books 2012 is over and I’m free to buy books again, I didn’t waste much time in picking up a copy. Thanks to the preview on their website I already knew it started with some brilliantly intriguing imagery. But how was the rest of it?

A wide black oak grandfather clock towered in front of him. A figure had been chiselled into it; a snarling animal with human hands trying to escape. Roughly carved and splintering in places, it was fused to the ground in a mixture of stone and wood. Numerous white rocks encircled it in a symbolic ring of salt, old magic that was supposed to trap demons inside.

Temperance Levinthal is a regular girl who finds herself caught up in a conflict between wizards and werewolves and finds out more about herself than she expected. Maybe that sounds like standard fare but it’s written with a wit and a warmth that keeps you engaged. There’s no overblown dramatics and not much teenage angst either. M. Latimer-Ridley hit the right tone unfailingly and that made this book an absolute pleasure to read.

“Poor crazy Levinthals, I hope you’ve taken your medication today, you’d be mad not to!”

The Twilight series has made paranormal romance seem rather hundrum now. In fact it’s difficult to make paranormal YA stand out. And Legend Unleashed doesn’t take massive steps to do so. Rather it folds in quirks and foibles that are memorable enough to make the story feel fresh yet comfortably familiar.

For example, Temperance is well aware that she suffers “hallucinations” and takes pills to keep them at bay. She relies on them for stability and it’s a very nice touch to see her rely on them more and more as her world is increasingly filled with impossible things. I do wish more had been done with this idea, but perhaps this will come up in a sequel. For now it’s a nice wrinkle.

A part of her had always wanted to find someone as lonely as she was.

This is a book that wears its Young Adult audience on its sleeve and I loved it for that. There is an enormous influx of YA titles of late and you get the feeling that a lot of writers are chasing the Twilight dollar. No such feeling here. This is true YA. It’s not a dumbed-down “adult” book; it’s written for its target audience. And, like all great books, it can be enjoyed by anyone.

It was nice to see wizards as well. We’ve seen lots of witches and werewolves and vampires but the poor wizard seems to get short thrift. So kudos to M. Latimer-Ridley for resurrecting the wizard.

If I have one complaint about this book it is this: it feels too rushed. M. Latimer-Ridley weave a nice world but I didn’t feel I was given enough time to explore it and settle in. Events happen at a breakneck speed and even major revelations don’t seem to have quite enough space to breath. It was quite a shame as I think I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if the pacing had been a bit calmer. As it was the plot always seemed to have one eye on the horizon. I’d have preferred its full attention on the moments as they unfolded.

That said, if werewolves and YA are your thing then this book is for you and I can definitely recommend it. Legend Unleashed has a well-crafted world with some great characters and a nice, twisty plot. But all I can really say is that I would buy any sequels: what greater recommendation is there than that?

Book Trailers: Are They Any Good?

Personally I don’t like the idea of a book trailer. I think trying to use a visual medium to advertise a book is akin to putting wasabi on your chocolate digestives; they just don’t go together. Yet indie authors, with cost-free hosting in the form of YouTube, are making book trailers in their thousands.

Fair play to them. Indie authors don’t have access to book shops and the Internet is a noisy place. It’s a struggle to be seen at all. But I wonder if a book trailer is the best way to be seen. Most of them seem to be fuzzy cover stills overlaid with hyperbolic tag lines and clichés. The lack of budget is obvious. After all the hosting is free but the production is not.

And even if Peter Jackson directed your book trailer with an epic budget, wouldn’t a cast and a set and a soundtrack kill the reader’s imagination stone dead? Half the fun of a book is turning black and white text into a rich and vibrant world in your head. If a book trailer does that for you, isn’t the experienced tarnished?

(Having said all that, M. Latimer-Ridley have created the only book trailer I have, to date, ever liked. They made it themselves and the result shows real care and creativity. It also keeps the door to my imagination open whilst still generating an atmosphere. Excellent stuff!)

Indie authors seem to love book trailers right now, but I’m interested in readers’ opinion. Have you ever bought a book on the strength of the trailer? Have you ever been put off by a trailer? Has a trailer ever encouraged you to track down a book or author? Post a comment and let me know.