Roll the Dice on Orconomics and Gain +4 Happiness

imageOrconomics: A Satire
(The Dark Profit Saga Book 1)
Author: J. Zachary Pike
Publisher: Gnomish Press
Pages: 385
Genre: Satirical Fantasy
Twitter: @jzacharypike
Facebook: JZacharyPike
Website: JZacharyPike.com

One of the things I love most about the fantasy genre is the how easily I can emerse myself in that particular world. While I never had the opportunity to play Dungeons & Dragons as a youth, I did play World of Warcraft. What an amazing experience! A world of endless borders where I could walk end-to-end, and even without seeking out battles or quests, I could simply explore the world of Azeroth.

Of course it was easy to lose oneself for hours, nay days on end: Farming for coins and saving to purchase epic armor or weapons, traveling to city centers to get the best deal on a trade, selling items I created through my “talents”, talking to Non Player Characters (NPC) and searching for quests. I definately can not leave out the time honored tradition of looting our defeated enemies, ending up with either torn animal hides or a Legendary Weapon.

It’s been a few years now since I last played since I played WoW and I have to say I often miss it.

Why the walk down nostalgia lane? Because while reading Orconomics by J. Zachary Pike I was immediately transported to those fun days running quests and looting my dead enemies. When I was approached with an offer for a free copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review, I did not know wha to expect. My past camping experience aside, the premise of the novel is intriguing enough to pick up.

J. Zachary Pike

J. Zachary Pike

The adventuring industry drives the economy of Arth, a world much like our own but with more magic and fewer vowels. On Arth, professional heroes are hired to slay fantastic creatures with magic weapons. The beasts’ treasure is hauled back to town and divided among investors.

Since his career as a professional hero ended in failure decades ago, Gorm Ingerson’s life has been a cycle of petty crime, heavy drinking and avoiding the Heroes’ Guild. But when the Dwarf helps a Goblin secure its NPC documents, he quickly finds himself in the clutches of the guild’s enforcers.

It will take all of Gorm’s Dwarven resolve to survive political intrigue, fundamentalist lizard men, purse kobolds, healing potion addicts, and worse. Yet even if he succeeds, it may not be enough to protect his party from the dark secret behind their quest.
Orconomics is a joy to read. J. Zachary Pike is a Master Dungeon Master and weaves a fantastic tale that is funny, full of adventure and

If you’ve ever sat around a table with multi sided dice, creating wild adventure and trying to determine if the spell your wizard cast indicted +4 physical damage or -2 Intellect drain, or if you’ve immersed yourself in an MMORPG, then this novel is for you. Even if you have NO. IDEA. WHAT. I. JUST. WROTE,  but you enjoy the lighter side of Fantasy, then this novel is for you.

Roll the Dice. Get ready to Level your Fantasy Reading this Summer.  Orconomics should be on every fantasy lover’s reading list this summer.

+4 Stars out of 5.

Download your copy of Orconomics by J. Zachary Pike today! CLICK HERE. 

Special thanks to Sage Adderley and Sage’s Blog Tours for letting me participate in this tour.

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Spotlight on Astounding Authors

We have a great selection this week! This installment of Astounding Authors features a fantasy crime noir, a sci-fi action adventure, a dystopian tale and more. Support our Astounding Authors by reading one of these exciting novels today. Stop by our Facebook page and let your friends and family know you found an exciting new author on Astounding Books!

 

imageBest Left in the Shadows
by Mark Gelineau and Joe King
Publisher: Gelineau & King (2015)
Pages: 80
Genre: Fantasy Crime Noir
Twitter: @GELINEAUandKING
Website: gelineauandking.com

The body of a Highside girl is found dead in Lowside, beaten and murdered. Daxton Ellis, Magistrate Inspector, and friend to the girl’s noble family, comes to find answers.

He knows the doors of the underworld open only to its own kind. His only hope lies with an old lover, Alys, a daughter of the underworld gangs, and the one person he swore he would never see again.

She agrees to help him, but for a price.

First they must gain the approval of Blacktide Harry, the boss of Prion and the king of rats. Then, deeper they go, traveling into the dark heart of the underworld in search of a killer.

Like everything in Lowside, nothing is as it first appears, and everything has a price.

Interested? Click here to read Best Left in the Shadows and support our Astounding Authors!

 

imageInevitable Ascencion
by V. K. McAllister
Publisher: KZA, LLC (September 2015)
Pages: 242
Genre: Sci-Fi / Action, Adventure
Twitter: @VK_McAllister
Website: Inevitableascension.com
Facebook:  Inevitable Ascension

The innocent never waver from doing what’s right, even if it means drowning the world in fire.

Violina, a girl polarized by love and loathing, finds herself thrown into a post-apocalyptic world with mankind on the brink of extinction. Discovering the means to travel back in time, she sets out to save the world by preventing the events leading up to the apocalypse. But as her quest advances, she becomes increasingly disgusted by the evil inherent to humanity and seeks lethal justice against all who wrong her—a list that grows exponentially until it encompasses all of mankind. By the end of her crusade, she realizes the future cannot be changed, and it was she who brought about the apocalypse in the first place.

You can purchase a copy of Inevitable Ascension here!

 

imageSystem_Failure
by Justin March
Publisher: BookRix (March 2015)
Pages: 300
Genre: Futuristic/Dystopian
Twitter: @AmericanHex
Website: Americanhex

In the near future, wealthy “patricians” access the internet through a chip embedded within their flesh, while scavengers eke out a meager existence in the slums that surround their walled cities. All technology that is not approved by the company running this network, known as the “bionet,” has been banned, so scavengers live off the grid.

A teen scavenger named Clark finds an illegal laptop and befriends a fellow scavenger named Starla who gives him access to a power supply. Together they learn how to hack into the bionet, but in doing so, Clark is intercepted by agents working for the CEO of the mega-corporation that runs the network. Impressed with Clark’s brilliance, he offers to make Clark a patrician. The operation to insert a biochip will wipe out Clark’s memories of Starla.

Clark must choose between remaining a scavenger and becoming a patrician, between freedom and wealth, between Starla and absolute power. When the plan Clark hatches to have it both ways goes awry he finds himself in a fight for his life against the world’s largest corporation and its CEO.

Read System_Failure! Click here to purchase.

 

imageImmaculate Conception 
by Guilherme Solari
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services (October 2015)
Pages: 81
Genre: Cyberpunk / Young Adult
Website: Guilhermesolari.com
Twitter: @Solari
Facebook: Guilhermesolaricom

The year is 2116. Millions of American and European refugees run from the destruction of the war-torn Northern hemisphere and flood into Megasampa, the urban sprawl formed by the combined metropolitan areas of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

They gather in the Novo Bronx ghetto, a place of vice, death and hardship, but also of refugees just trying to rebuild their lives. Novo Bronx was never a quiet place by a long shot, but now unrest grows as a series of macabre murders strike fear into the heart of the populace. Murders attributed to a creature the locals are calling Bebê Diabo, the Devil Baby.

The Proctech private police quells the rebellion for the time being, but the gruesome deaths are unlike anything they have ever encountered. Reluctantly, they call out of retirement the only detective insane enough to solve an insane case.

A detective called Cascavel.

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION is the first book in the CYBERSAMPA series.

Your door to Immaculate Conception starts here! Click to purchase a copy.

Thanks for stopping by this week. Stop on over to our Facebook page and let us know what you thought.

Aftermath Sets Stage For New Star Wars Canon

imageStar Wars: Aftermath
Author: Chuck Wendig
Publisher: LucasBooks 2015
Pages: 400
Twitter: @ChuckWendig
Website: TerribleMinds.com

I’m writing this the Monday after the big Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens premier. My mission before watching the current installment of the popular franchise was to finish a sort of “Prequel” novel: Star Wars: Aftermath.

Now I know there’s a gag reflex that goes along with the word prequel, but this novel is set immediately following the battle of Endor and the repercussions of the events in Return of the Jedi. It does nothing to spoil the new movie, yet it does add to the world building that is the new canon for Star Wars. And yes, there are a few references in the novel that show up later in the new movie.

I’ve never been a big fan of the former literary Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU). I read and enjoyed the Timothy Zahn Thrawn novels and picked up a couple other EU books. With the release of TFA, the old EU has been thrown out and a new canon is being built. The EU, to me, became a so convoluted in scope that I just didn’t have the time nor the desire to get that immersed in the timeline. With Aftermath, the Star Wars literary universe resets and re-launches.

The novel is really split between two sections: one story of a rag tag group of misfits trying to find their place in a new galaxy, a world without a Death Star, Darth Vader or the Emperor; the other thread consists of short, chapter length stories that deal with more “aftermath” from the viewpoint of, essentially, citizens from across the galaxy.

The main story revolves around a former Imperial, a bounty hunter, a former Rebel fighter and her son. There is also a droid, of course. Their lives converge on a planet where the remnants of the Empire are meeting to discuss the future of their reign and what to do about the Rebels, or now, the New Republic.

Intermittingly there are stand-alone chapters that tell the stories of characters and planets across the galaxy, including a chapter with Han Solo and Chewbacca, other notable Star Wars characters, and the planet Jakku.

While the novel is titled Aftermath, it seems more like a Prologue to what will surely be numerous new canonical stories set in the Star Wars Universe, connecting Return of the Jedi to The Force Awakens. The initial story arc and the sub-plots are not really memorable, but they do serve to initiate new world building and set the tone for future novels… and that’s ok.

Fans of the Star Wars cinematic universe will recognize familiar characters and locals. Fans of the animated Star Wars universe will see and read very familiar situations. Similar to what they are doing with their Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney seems to be supervising the interconnectedness of their Star Wars properties. That’s good news for fans.

Overall, Aftermath does a good job of arranging the building blocks of a new Star Wars universe. It’s a quick read filled with action, twists and new heroes with questionable motivations. Can a former Imperial or Bounty hunter change sides and be a force for the light side? (Could a former Stormtrooper be a hero?)

Star Wars: Aftermath, while not essential reading, is good filler material and enjoyable to say the least. It’s escapist reading, meant to fill the time between movies.

Three Lightsabers out of Five. 

To purchase a copy of Star Wars: Aftermath, CLICK HERE!

Don’t Turn Down The Palace Job: A Witty, Fun Adventure

The Palace Job (Rogues of the Republic)

imageAuthor: Patrick Weekes
Series: Rogues of the Republic (Book 1)
Paperback: 438 pages
Publisher: 47North; October 2013

 

Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

A Death Priestess, 2 escaped convicts, a 16 year old virgin, a shape shifting unicorn, an illusionist, a former monk slash contortionist, a safe cracker and a talking Warhammer that used to be a King come together to pull off a heist in a floating magical city.

Whew! Wait…there’s more.

The Palace Job is a long con that is a fun, witty, humorous romp of a story that stays three steps ahead of the reader. It pokes fun at common fantasy / adventure quest tropes and simply enjoys itself as the story runs ahead of itself.

Patrick Weekes, a writer for BioWare (a computer gaming company) has written for all three Mass Effect games and now brings his talents to write a series of books that is worthy of being the successor of Terry Pratchett. Well, almost. It’s up there. The comedy and dialogue is sharp and Weekes uses the Rule of Three masterfully in setting up his jokes. (The Rule of Three is a comedy principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things.)

With a cast of thousands (or at least a couple dozen), Weekes give equal time to all of his characters. They all get a chance to shine. Their traits and identities are smoothly revealed throughout the novel. He masterfully juggles all of his characters and gives the reader just enough of their backstory to lay the ground work for future adventures.

For example: There is a magical, talking Warhammer named Ghylspwr (Ghyl to his friends.) It/he doesn’t speak English, rather, it/he spouts phrases like: “Kun-kabynalti osu fiur’is!”

And everyone knows what Ghyl is saying.

Frankly, by the time the novel ends, you will laugh at the perfect comedic delivery of Ghyslpwr.

The Palace Job is fast paced and that leads to a little confusion with dialogue. Context is everything. It’s really a question of writing style. You’ll get used to it quickly.

Behind the comedy, behind the action, is subtle and not so subtle political and social commentary. I liked that. It added some depth into the adventure and gave it some layers worth exploring and thinking about. News reports are scattered throughout the novel, delivered by a trio of marionettes consisting of a dragon, a Minotaur and a griffin. The three represent different political factions of the story.

The plot is your typical quest/heist/get-the-crew-together/adventure/escape fantasy. Throw in a military coup, a mysterious black shadow and an Inspector Javert-ish character in hot pursuit of our scoundrels. Just when you think you think you know what the plan is, it quickly falls apart and the back-up plan might have been the plan all along. Got that?

I received a free copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. As a result, I think the formatting of the novel was a bit off. Its conversion to eBook format was horrible (I read it on a Nook so I had the epub version). It doesn’t ruin the book, just makes the reading a bit frustrating. Don’t let that deter you though. I got this for free, so really, no complaints. I haven’t seen any formatting complaints from people who purchased this novel in a long while, so I’m going to chalk it up to the review process.

As of this review, there are two additional novels in this series. Head on over and pick up a copy of The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes by by clicking here. I highly recommend this novel. You’ll enjoy reading it.

Four Stars out of Five