ARC Haul: A Shattered Empire by Mitchell Hogan

The wonderful people over at Harper Voyager US were awesome enough to send me this ARC review copy this week! I have heard nothing but great things about this book and series. Been wanting to read this one for a while now. Thanks Harper Voyager US! I can’t wait to read and review!

A Shattered Empire by Mitchell Hogan is OUT September 13, 2016!

So go get a copy!

 

 


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A Shattered Empire by Mitchell Hogan

  • Series: Sorcery Ascendant (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (September 13, 2016)
  • ISBN-10: 0062407287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062407283

 

In this gritty and breathtaking conclusion to the Sorcery Ascendant Sequence, the award-winning fantasy series, a young sorcerer must learn to wield his extraordinary powers to defeat two warring empires.

In a battle of armies and sorcerers, empires will fall.

After young Caldan’s parents were slain, a group of monks raised the boy and initiated him into the arcane mysteries of sorcery. But when the Mahruse Empire was attacked, and the lives of his friends hung in the balance, he was forced to make a dangerous choice.

Now, as two mighty empires face off in a deadly game of supremacy, potent sorcery and creatures from legend have been unleashed. To turn the tide of war and prevent annihilation, Caldan must learn to harness his fearsome and forbidden magic. But as he grows into his powers, the young sorcerer realizes that not all the monsters are on the other side.

And though traps and pitfalls lie ahead, and countless lives are at stake, one thing is certain: to save his life, his friends, and his world, Caldan must risk all to defeat a sorcerer of immense power.

Failure will doom the world.

Success will doom Caldan.

 

Also Available:

A Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan

Sorcery Ascendant (Book 1)

Blood of Innocents  by Mitchell Hogan

Sorcery Ascendant (Book 2)

 

 

 


When he was eleven, Mitchell Hogan was given the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to read, and a love of fantasy novels was born. He spent the next ten years reading, rolling dice, and playing computer games, with some school and university thrown in. Along the way he accumulated numerous bookcases’ worth of fantasy and sci-fi novels and doesn’t look to stop anytime soon.

His first attempt at writing fantasy was an abysmal failure and abandoned after only one page. But ideas for characters and scenes continued to come to him and he kept detailed notes of his thoughts, on the off chance that one day he might have time to write a novel. For a decade he put off his dream of writing until he couldn’t stand it anymore. He knew he would regret not having tried to write the novel percolating inside his head for the rest of his life. Mitchell quit his job and lived off dwindling savings, and the support of his fiancé, until he finished the first draft of A Crucible of Souls.

He now writes full time and is eternally grateful to the readers who took a chance on an unknown author.

A Crucible of Souls won the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel.

Mitchell lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife, Angela, and daughter, Isabelle.

Website
Twitter
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Book Haul: Spellbreaker by Blake Charlton

The wonderful people over at Tor were awesome enough to send me this review copy! Thanks Tor! I can’t wait to read and review!

Spellbreaker

by Blake Charlton

IS OUT August 23, 2016!

So go get you a copy!

CHECK OUT MY GIVEAWAY FOR THIS GREAT BOOK:

 

Giveaway: 1 copy of Spellbreaker by Blake Charlton and Tor books!

 

 


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Spellbreaker

by Blake Charlton

  • Series: The Spellwright Trilogy
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (August 23, 2016)
  • ISBN-10: 076531729X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765317292

 

Leandra Weal has a bad habit of getting herself in dangerous situations.

While hunting neodemons in her role as Warden of Ixos, Leandra obtains a prophetic spell that provides a glimpse one day into her future. She discovers that she is doomed to murder someone she loves, soon, but not who. That’s a pretty big problem for a woman who has a shark god for a lover, a hostile empress for an aunt, a rogue misspelling wizard for a father, and a mother who–especially when arguing with her daughter–can be a real dragon.

Leandra’s quest to unravel the mystery of the murder-she-will-commit becomes more urgent when her chronic disease flares up and the Ixonian Archipelago is plagued by natural disasters, demon worshiping cults, and fierce political infighting. Everywhere she turns, Leandra finds herself amid intrigue and conflict. It seems her bad habit for getting into dangerous situations is turning into a full blown addiction.

As chaos spreads across Ixos, Leandra and her troubled family must race to uncover the shocking truth about a prophesied demonic invasion, human language, and their own identities–if they don’t kill each other first.

Spellbreaker is the long awaited sequel to Blake Charlton’s Spellbound, which was listed by Kirkus Reviews among the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2011. This final installment of the Spellwright Trilogy stands alone as a complete story; however, fans of the series will find in it answers to the questions raised by the previous books about Leandra’s parents, Nicodemus Weal and Francesca DeVega.

 

 

 


Debut novelist and medical student, Blake Charlton is a new face in both fields working to establish a dual career in fiction and medicine.

Currently, Blake is writing fantasy novels, science fiction short stories, and academic essays on medical education and biomedical ethics. Wander over to http://www.blakecharlton.com for a blog, free reads, and more.

Website
Twitter
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Guest Blog: Geomancy in Breath of Earth by Beth Cato author of Breath of Earth.

As part of my Guest blog series for authors and fellow bloggers I am proud to present another guest blog spot. Beth Cato the author of Breath of Earth has been kind enough to write a guest blog post for MightyThorJRS today. I am very excited and I would like to thank Beth and Harper Voyager for the opportunity to host this Guest Blog. 

 Breath of Earth by Beth Cato is Out TODAY! August 23, 2016

So go get your copy!

 

 


Geomancy in Breath of Earth

by Beth Cato

My previous series, The Clockwork Dagger, is known for its emphasis on healing magic. When I set out to create a new steampunk series based on the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, I realized that geomancy should be my new focus. I can’t hide the fact that a major earthquake happens in the book, but WHY it happens is very different from our history.

 

In the world of Breath of Earth, the United States and Japan are allied as the Unified Pacific and angling for world domination as they take over China. One of their major assets is technology: they combine the steampunk-inspired mechanical brilliance of Japan with the mineral and labor resources of America.

 

I created a new kind of crystal, kermanite, that acts like a battery when it’s filled with earth energy. This is what powers airships, tanks, and even mundane items like flashlights.

 

Geomancers fill those rocks by acting as conduits during earthquakes. They not only feel the movement of the earth, but they take in the released magical energy like a fever. During a major earthquake, this can sicken or kill a geomancer within minutes. However, if they are in contact with kermanite, the energy will flow through their bodies and into the rock instead. The power will be trapped there until tapped by machinery.

 

I decided this would be a rare ability, one that manifests in boys about the time baby teeth start to loosen. Yes, boys are–supposedly–the only ones who inherit this power. These children are sent to Earth Warden auxiliaries to be schooled in academics and magic.

 

I break the “No Girls Allowed” rule of my world on the very first page of the book. My heroine, Ingrid Carmichael, is a woman geomancer stifled in her role as a secretary for the wardens. Not only can she take in earth energy, but she can do so with sensitivity and fortitude beyond any male geomancer.

 

That’s the great joy of world-building like this: I make the rules, then I shatter them.

 

In Ingrid’s case, a lot of shattering is bound to happen, too. An attack on the Earth Wardens auxiliary eliminates the buffer that holds back earthquakes in San Francisco. The city is in terrible danger, and tensions rise between the United States, Japan, and Chinese refugees. Ingrid’s geomancy could be San Francisco’s salvation–or the cause of its annihilation.

 

 

 


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Beth Cato is the author of the Clockwork Dagger series from Harper Voyager, which includes her Nebula-nominated novella WINGS OF SORROW AND BONE. Her newest novel is BREATH OF EARTH. She’s a Hanford, California native transplanted to the Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, son, and requisite cat. Follow her at BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato.

Website

 

Twitter
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  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (August 23, 2016)
  • ISBN-10: 0062422065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062422064

 

In an alternate 1906, the United States and Japan have forged a powerful confederation—the Unified Pacific—in an attempt to dominate the world. Their first target is a vulnerable China. In San Francisco, headstrong Ingrid Carmichael is assisting a group of powerful geomancer wardens who have no idea of the depth of her power—or that she is the only woman to possess such skills.

 

When assassins kill the wardens, Ingrid and her mentor are protected by her incredible magic. But the pair is far from safe. Without its full force of guardian geomancers, the city is on the brink of a cataclysmic earthquake that will expose Earth’s powers to masterminds determined to control the energy for their own dark ends. The danger escalates when Chinese refugees, preparing to fight the encroaching American and Japanese, fracture the uneasy alliance between the Pacific allies, transforming the city into a veritable powder keg. And the slightest tremor will set it off. . . .

 

Forced on the run, Ingrid makes some shocking discoveries about herself. Her powerful magic has grown even more fearsome . . . and she may be the fulcrum on which the balance of world power rests.

 

“The acclaimed Cato creates an alternate early 20th-century San Francisco of stunning detail. Drawing on the power struggles of the refugees and women’s work, this vivid reality will keep readers intrigued to the very end.” (Library Journal (starred review))

“Cato, author of the Clockwork Dagger books, begins a new steampunk fantasy series with supernatural creatures, action-packed adventure, mystery, humor, a touch of romance, and more to come.” (Booklist (starred review))

“BREATH OF EARTH is that rare gem, a thought-provoking, imaginative adventure of the highest order, chock full of wonder as well as heart-wrenching what ifs. It’s reminiscent of Jules Verne at his best, with brilliant characters who linger in the mind and heart. Bravo!” (Julie E. Czerneda, author of The Clan Chronicles on BREATH OF EARTH)

“Beth Cato gives steampunk a magical, global twist in an action-packed adventure that keeps the pages turning in anticipation. And if you don’t fall in love with Ingrid Carmichael after reading this, you have no soul.” (Michael J. Martinez, author of MJ-12: Inception and The Daedalus Incident on BREATH OF EARTH)

“Cato cleverly brings her colorful Barbary Coast-era San Francisco to life, highlighting the neglected perspectives of the outsiders and the dispossessed who made up the majority of its populace.” (Publishers Weekly)

 

 


Giveaway: 1 copy of Spellbreaker by Blake Charlton and Tor books!

As part of the promo for Spellbreaker by Blake Charlton, the awesome folks over at Tor books have given me 1 copy of Spellbreaker by Blake Charlton to giveaway! *1 copy to the U.S. and Canada only (no P.O. boxes please)* 

To enter all you have to do is send an email message to mightythorjrs@gmail.com. Be sure you put “Spellbreaker” in the subject line.

For BONUS points please share this post, like it, comment on it, and follow my blog.

For EXTRA BONUS points you can follow me on twitter: @MightythorJRS and please tweet about the giveaway.

(Yes I will be watching:) )

I am also on various other social media, links on the home page.

Giveaway starts with this post on 8/22/16 and will end on 8/28/16 (midnight CO time.). I will draw the winning name and notify them via email. If the winner doesn’t respond within 48 hours, I will draw another name, and so on until I find someone who wants this Awesome fantasy novel!

*1 copy to the U.S. and Canada only (no P.O. boxes please)*

 

 

Spellbreaker by Blake Charlton

is out August 23, 2016!

So go grab a copy!

 

 

 


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Spellbreaker by Blake Charlton

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (August 23, 2016)
  • ISBN-10: 076531729X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765317292

 

Leandra Weal has a bad habit of getting herself in dangerous situations.

While hunting neodemons in her role as Warden of Ixos, Leandra obtains a prophetic spell that provides a glimpse one day into her future. She discovers that she is doomed to murder someone she loves, soon, but not who. That’s a pretty big problem for a woman who has a shark god for a lover, a hostile empress for an aunt, a rogue misspelling wizard for a father, and a mother who–especially when arguing with her daughter–can be a real dragon.

Leandra’s quest to unravel the mystery of the murder-she-will-commit becomes more urgent when her chronic disease flares up and the Ixonian Archipelago is plagued by natural disasters, demon worshiping cults, and fierce political infighting. Everywhere she turns, Leandra finds herself amid intrigue and conflict. It seems her bad habit for getting into dangerous situations is turning into a full blown addiction.

As chaos spreads across Ixos, Leandra and her troubled family must race to uncover the shocking truth about a prophesied demonic invasion, human language, and their own identities–if they don’t kill each other first.

Spellbreaker is the long awaited sequel to Blake Charlton’s Spellbound, which was listed by Kirkus Reviews among the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2011. This final installment of the Spellwright Trilogy stands alone as a complete story; however, fans of the series will find in it answers to the questions raised by the previous books about Leandra’s parents, Nicodemus Weal and Francesca DeVega.

 

 

 


Debut novelist and medical student, Blake Charlton is a new face in both fields working to establish a dual career in fiction and medicine.

Currently, Blake is writing fantasy novels, science fiction short stories, and academic essays on medical education and biomedical ethics. Wander over to http://www.blakecharlton.com for a blog, free reads, and more.

Website

Twitter
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Guest Blog: Favorite plot twists By JC Kang author of Dragon Scale Lute

As part of my Guest blog series for authors and fellow bloggers I am proud to present another guest blog spot. JC Kang the author of Dragon Scale Lute has been kind enough to write a guest blog post for MightyThorJRS today. I am very excited and I would like to thank JC for the opportunity to host this Guest Blog.

Dragon Scale Lute

by JC Kang

is Available NOW!

So go grab a copy!

 

 


Favorite plot twists

By JC Kang

The Bad Guy is a Good Guy.  The Good Guy is related to the Bad Guy. The Bad Guy isn’t really dead. The Bad Guy really isn’t dead, is secretly a Good Guy, and is related to the Good Guy.

Many stories have plot twists. They can be mind-blowing game changers that completely reinvent the way we contextualize the story.  Others are haphazard, as if the storyteller just wanted to spice things up, but didn’t lay much of a foundation.

I personally prefer plot twists we should have seen coming, because the storyteller gave us all the clues beforehand.   In movies, you get the OMG feeling, followed by the desire to rewind and see how it was set up.  Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense.  Lady Liberty at the end of the Planet of the Apes.  The surprising reveals in Memento or Dead Again.

 When done right, the same effect takes place in the written word as well, making us want to flip back and see how the author did it. Controlled Information from limited Points of View can give us enough pieces of the puzzle to frame a picture, while the final reveal completes it.

It all comes back to the set-up.  Done right, and you relive the Forcegasm you had when Darth Vader revealed who Luke Skywalker’s father is; done wrong, and you groan like when you find out who Anakin Skywalker’s father is.  The great ones might develop over several books in a series, like Sawyer’s Long Game in Lost; but they can fall flat if drawn out as long as Lost.

Here are some of my favorite twists in fantasy fiction (SPOILERS!!!).

5.  The Killer Is Not Who You Think

To me, George RR Martin is the master of the plot twists, so much that this list warrants two entries from Songs of Ice and Fire.   The inciting incident in Game of Thrones is the Starks’ belief that the Lannisters are behind the murder of Jon Arryn, Hand of the King.  With this is mind, Ned leaves his beloved Winterfell to become the new Hand, which sets off all the future twists and turns.  It turns out his sister-in-law and Littlefinger are behind it all.

4.  God is a Crazy Old Man

The Dragonlance series is old-school fantasy, an Omniscient POV story that serves as a transition between Lord of The Rings and many modern-day fantasies.  Based on a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, it features dragons prominently.  Even the two main gods are dragons—except when they wander the world in human form.  One of the most endearing characters was Fizban—a befuddled old mage who seemed to be there just for comic relief… until you find out he is one of the two main gods.

3.  The Big Boss Was A Henchman

The Lord of the Rings might be the granddaddy of Epic Fantasy, but parts of the back story, released as the Silmarillion after JRR Tolkien’s death, describe how his world was created.  It is not really a plot twist in the classic sense, but still it reframes the way we look at the series.  Sauron, the Lord of the Rings, is Henchman to a bigger, badder guy; while Gandalf is revealed to be an angel.

2.  Bad Wizard, Good Wizard

Fantasy fiction has evolved over the years, but plot twists remain constant.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone introduces us to an interesting cast of characters, perhaps none as enigmatic as Severus Snapes.  Harry is pretty sure Snapes is out to get him, in the worst possible way, but in the end, we learn that he’s been looking out for Harry the entire time.  Brilliant!

1.  L+R = J

The granddaddy of them all, one which GMMR fans have suspected.  GMMR might not have written it yet, but the popular L + R = J theory was finally confirmed in the TV series, Game of Thrones. At the start of the story, we have no reason to disbelieve that Jon Snow is Ned’s Bastard… until you put all the pieces together, revealed over a long time, the truth was there all along:  Jon is indeed the love child of Ned’s sister Lyanna and Targaryen heir Rhaegar.

Those are my favorite plot twists in fantasy.  What are yours?


JC Kang’s unhealthy obsession with Fantasy and Sci-Fi began at an early age when his brother introduced him to The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, Star Trek, and Star Wars. As an adult, he combines his geek roots with his professional experiences as a Chinese Medicine doctor, martial arts instructor, and technical writer to pen the Daughter of the Dragon Throne, a multicultural epic fantasy.

The first two books, Dragon Scale Lute and Dragon Charmer were published earlier this year, with the final two set for later this year.  The series follows Kaiya as she rediscovers the lost art of evoking magic through music, and grows from awkward teen to confident adult. Each story has a plot twist that will hopefully blow your mind!

Here’s JC talking about the series:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4Xpf0VM_9Q
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BUY HERE:

 

Kaiya’s voice could charm a dragon. Had she lived when the power of music could still summon typhoons and rout armies, perhaps Cathay’s imperial court would see the awkward, gangly princess as more than a singing fool. With alliances to build and ambitious lords to placate, they care more about her marriage prospects than her unique abilities. Only the handsome Prince Hardeep, a foreign martial mystic, recognizes her potential. Convinced Kaiya will rediscover the legendary but perilous art of invoking magic through music, he suggests her voice, not her marriage, might better serve the realm. When members of the emperor’s elite spy clan– Kaiya’s childhood friend and his half-elf sidekick (or maybe he’s her sidekick?)– discover mere discontent boiling over into full-scale rebellion, Kaiya must choose. Obediently wedding the depraved ringleader means giving up her music. Confronting him with the growing power of her voice could kill her.

 

 

 


Book Haul: Ordination: Book One of The Paladin trilogy by Daniel M. Ford

The wonderful people over at SFWP were awesome enough to send me this review copy this week! I have heard nothing but great things about this book. Been wanting to read this one for a while now. Thanks SFWP! I can’t wait to read and review!

Ordination: Book One of The Paladin trilogy by Daniel M Ford 

is OUT NOW!

So go get a copy!

 

 

 


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BUY HERE:    Ordination: Book One of The Paladin trilogy by Daniel M Ford

  • Series: The Paladin Trilogy
  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Santa Fe Writer’s Project (June 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1939650348
  • ISBN-13: 978-1939650344

 

For generations, warlords fought bitterly for dominance in a land without a king, leaving a fractured, war-torn country plagued by thieves, slavers, and the servants of dark gods and darker magic. Allystaire Coldbourne travels a treacherous path toward his Ordination as a holy knight of legend, a Paladin, a savior of the people. But to fulfill this role, he—and the unexpected allies he finds along the way—must face the demonic, sorcerous evil that stalks the land, the wrath of gods and men, and his own dark past.

 

 

 


Daniel M. Ford was born and raised near Baltimore, Maryland. He holds a B.A. in English from Villanova University, an M.A. in Irish Literature from Boston College and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, concentrating in Poetry, from George Mason University. As a poet, his work has appeared most recently in Soundings Review, as well as Phoebe, Floorboard Review, The Cossack, and Vending Machine Press. He teaches English at a college prep high school in North East, Maryland. Ordination is his first novel.

Website
Twitter
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Guest Blog: World Building By Daniel E. Olesen author of The Eagle’s Flight

As part of my Guest blog series for authors and fellow bloggers I am proud to present another guest blog spot. Daniel E. Olesen the author of The Eagle’s Flight has been kind enough to write a guest blog post for MightyThorJRS today. I am very excited and I would like to thank Daniel for the opportunity to host this Guest Blog.

The Eagle’s Flight

by Daniel E. Olesen

is Available NOW!

So go grab a copy at his site www.annalsofadal.net

 

 

 


World Building

By Daniel E. Olesen

One of the pillars of the fantasy genre is world building. Whether the story is set in a completely separate world or our own with a few tweaks, it is a prerequisite. Before I started writing my novel, I spent years developing the setting first, and even now as I write more stories, I often find the plot changing according to the necessities imposed by the world surrounding it. In this post, I will talk about 6 aspects of world building, how and why they matter both to fantasy writers and readers and using examples from my own work or other fantasy books.

  1. Language

When I say language, I do not mean the writing style, but the actual vocabulary employed. Languages are organic entities that evolve over time, and they are greatly affected by historical events. English, for instance, had a huge influx of French words after the Norman invasion of 1066, changing the makeup of the English language significantly, as did the Viking invasions of the 9th, 10th, and 11th century. These are all things to consider. Using Norse or Anglo-Saxon words will evoke that culture in the reader’s mind, e.g. using burg rather than castle, calling it a lore house and not a school etc.

On the other hand, if we want to summon the knightly culture of medieval France with its jousts and code of chivalry, describing the surcoats and gambesons outfitted with emblems of heraldry, fighting in the grand mêlée at the tournament, then it is an entirely different set of vocabulary that matters.

Obviously there is some leeway in fantasy, because we are not directly writing about e.g. a Norse culture, but a fictitious one. But if there are people venturing forth in longships to raid other lands, the more we align the vocabulary used to describe them (and most importantly, when writing their dialogue), the easier it is for the readers to immerse themselves.

  1. Culture

This leads me to perhaps the most important part of world building, which is culture. By this, I mean the society of the setting with all that entails. Vocabulary is one way to build this, but obviously, that is just a start. Culture is both the structure of society (tribal, feudal, urban, city-state etc.) but also the very way of life as lived by the characters. Festivals and feasts, rituals for birth and death, traditions, all make a culture seem real and genuine; they infuse the text with believability. This does not have to be wholly separate from the plot either, making it seem like mere flavour. Consider The Rains of Castamere, which not only works to make the culture of Westeros seem more genuine, but also acts to characterise Tywin Lannister and to foreshadow latter events of the story.

Rituals permeate our lives. They impose order on the chaos of human existence. Every culture celebrates birth in some way, every culture mourns their dead in some way. Rites of passage, the initiation into adulthood, are also universal, whatever form these rites may take. If a fantasy world is to convince the reader, it must have a culture as rich in rituals as those of our world.

  1. Religion

This brings me to my next item, religion. This is a little complicated for fantasy, as it can easily tell a story where the gods are actively involved as characters. If so, that naturally imposes many requirements on the story to make that all fit together. I’ll steer away from that and simply discuss religion as part of world building. To me, culture and rituals are inexorably tied together with some form of belief system. It does not have to be organised religion per se, but whatever the specifics of this fantasy world, its inhabitants must believe in something.

Now, some stories may only have any kind of religion as a vague element in the background to focus on other aspects. In my own work, I chose to make religion important, because the general theme of my writing is power, and spiritual or religious power is one aspect of this – especially in a medieval world, where the influence of the clergy would be substantial. This made it necessary for me to define the various religious orders. Both in a simple manner such as their clothing and symbols to distinguish them from each other, but also more complex in their tenets and the goals they worked towards. See an example here, Priesthoods of Adal.

Of course, to define each religious order, I had to first define the gods they serve. Some writers may go entirely freestyle with this, but I found it very useful to study the mythologies of the world for inspiration. The three most well-known in the West would be the Judeo-Christian, the Greek and the Norse ones, which all provide plenty of incredible stories to build a pantheon from. Myself, I went a little further as by chance, I had been reading the works of Eliade, a scholar of comparative mythology. I took several cues from him to create my pantheon, The Faiths of Adal.

Having a pantheon is just one possibility, of course. Some cultures might fit much better with a shamanistic tradition or worship of ancestors. It all depends on what setting makes sense for the story being told.

  1. History

I have noticed in some fantasy works that the history of the world is only mentioned when relevant to the plot. On some level, this is not necessarily bad; some authors do tend to ramble on, wanting to showcase the details of their world, even if it is has no bearing on the plot and messes with the pacing of the story. So this is not to advocate that authors should heap piles of backstory into the text.

But if you have ever been in a city with at least a moderate amount of history, consider how its history is woven into its fabric. Monuments on squares and plazas, often depicting a historical figure all but forgotten by now. The street names may similarly be to honour some long dead person, or they are of practical nature that has grown obsolete (e.g. Ropemakerstreet, because centuries ago, this was where the rope makers lived). In this and other ways, the history of the city is present.

That is often all it takes. If a story is describing the surroundings anyway, such details take up very little space, but they hint of a rich, complex past. They impress upon the reader that people have lived in this city for centuries, that entire wars have been fought in that span and forgotten again etc. I think that is often an underappreciated device by a writer; adding clues and remarks like that without necessarily going into detail, thus keeping the flow of the story smooth while building up the age of the world in a natural way.

  1. Technology

I often feel that many fantasy worlds are depicted as static in terms of technological advances, or there is an implicit assumption that they are. Maybe because they are often (European) medieval in setting, and we tend to think that between the fall of the Roman empire and the Renaissance, European civilisation remained in status quo for all those centuries.

Pushing aside that even the medieval age saw plenty of advances, I find a static world to be intrinsically against human nature. There is always someone trying to do things a better way, or find new solutions to old problems, and then new solutions to the new problems that arise because we solved the old ones.

There are exceptions, of course. Maybe a world full of magic would have little use for developing new technology or machinery (though I imagine they would be developing new ways to use magic instead). Maybe the story is set in a remote location and a society so simple that change happens at glacier speed.

If the story is set in a hectic society, however, change would inevitably take place. Especially some place like a city that has trade routes and connections to other lands, other cultures; there are few ways technology spreads as fast as when seeing how people do it elsewhere and bringing their good ideas back home. So far, I have encountered very few fantasy stories that incorporated the element of technological advancement, but being such sparsely used territory, maybe future writers will begin to explore it extensively in search of innovation.

  1. The whole is more than the sum of its parts

Stealing a quote from Aristotle, the most important part of all this is how all these aspects connect. The vocabulary, phrases, idioms and the like are not only important ways to make characters seem vivid and genuine. Language is intrinsically bound with history, changing in pace with historical events. Whatever happened in the history of this world, it would have left its marks on the language. Rituals are typically considered a domain of religion, but they are also unavoidably tied together with culture. A people that believes in certain gods or folklore would have related superstitions as an effect, perhaps avoiding travelling on certain days or not eating a certain part of the animals they raise. Similarly, swear words or curses and something as mundane as the names of the weekdays tend to have their roots in religion, tying that aspect closely together with language again.

If a world is to be truly genuine to the reader, it is not enough that each of these aspects have been considered in full. They must connect effortlessly; the transition of detail from history to language to culture must be fluid. In this manner, a truly immersive experience awaits the reader.

 

 

 


Daniel E. Olesen holds a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, specializing in fantasy. Check the Town Crier at his site for more blog posts about fantasy, literary theory, etymology and the like. The site itself contains detailed information on the world of Adal for interested readers, including downloadable maps in high resolution.

Website, www.annalsofadal.net

FB fanpage, www.facebook.com/annalsofadal

Patreon, www.patreon.com/chronicler


forside skåret

The Eagle’s Flight, free to download from www.annalsofadal.net

Peace in the Seven Realms of Adalmearc is only as strong as those who rule them. With the death of the high king and his heir too young to assume the throne, political intrigues fill the landscape as the leading noble families scheme and plot their way to power. Meanwhile, enemies abroad sense the changes and make their own preparations.

Standing as a safeguard against both foreign foes as well as enemies closer to heart are the Order and its knights. Keeping the realms of Adalmearc united and at peace is their foremost duty. But when the strife turns political and the enemy is difficult to discern, when alliances shift and allegiances are torn, even the hitherto unassailable honour of a knight may become stained.

The Eagle’s Flight compiles the first three of the Chronicles of Adalmearc. It is a journey into the world of Adal, its realms, peoples, cultures, and conflicts.

“I spit on your honour, Isarn.”

– Theobald, captain of the Citadel

“Rats will reign when eagles sleep.”

– Proverb

“I have lost all control.”

– Theodoric, jarl of Theodstan

“When night falls, my vigil begins. When dawn rises, so do I.”

– The Squire’s Pledge

“Away he rode with all his men, and never to return again, his eyes are closed, his body cold, the Dragonheart, who was of old.”

– a bard’s song

“War is like a river. We may suppress its flow, but eventually it will break through and do so with greater force.”

– Adalbrand of House Arnling

“There are many who would say it is not for a woman to rule.”

– Theodora, queen of Hæthiod

“I gave him direct orders! I will have his spurs for this and then his head!”

– Reynold, lord marshal of the Order of Adal

“Men may ride, but the raven will fly.”

– proverb

“Politics is about being pragmatic, not about being right.”

– Irene, dowager queen of Hæthiod

“My sword fears not death. My shield defends the weak. My armour protects the realm. This is my oath. I am a Knight of Adal.”

– From the Knight’s Codex