For those of you who read this SF Signal post, there’s nothing new here. But one of the joys of expanding my literary horizons to the US market, is that I’ve finally been reviewed by Harriet Klausner, who was formerly Amazon’s Number 1 reviewer (until they changed the system), with over 21,000 reviews. First, here’s her review of Nights of Villjamur:
As the ice continues to spread as forecasted decades ago across the Jamur Empire archipelago and when it became obvious the sun was dying, increasingly humans and others coming from all the islands take refuge in the ancient city of Villjamur. Some of the horde of thousands comes for more insidious reasons. Thus stability of leadership even if the top person is insane is critical at this time although some in power like Chancellor Urtica choose personal ambition over what is good for the island empire. When the mad emperor Jamur Johynn dies suddenly, placing his untested heir, his elder daughter Rika as the queen, Urtica plans to act to replace her with himself immediately. His strategy is to foster hatred of the desperate immigrants flocking the city before he leads a coup d’etat and an ethic cleansing of all outsiders.
As Rika sits on the throne precariously though sympathetic towards the plight of her people, her mentor Randur Esteyu advises and encourages her while her sister Eir supports her, but her council wants to use her for personal power. Meanwhile someone murders Councilor Ghuda leading to Inspector Rumex Jeryd a nonhuman rumel to investigate at a time the city and kingdom needs unity, not divisions and conspiracies plotting to overthrow the monarchy.
Although the plot starts just a bit faster than the encroaching ice age, Mark Charan Newton creates his world of human and nonhuman; once set (just under a third of the way), the fantasy thriller turns into a police procedural that grips the audience. The cast is solid whether they are human, banshee, rumel or other; but the key player, the dying sun fed ice never feels as if it threatens to destroy all life. Still this is an entertaining tale as death squads initially sent by Johynn and now employed by Urtica use eradication to solve problems though sometimes the dead come back.
Ignore the poor sentence construction, grammar, detours from the actual plot and so on – I’ve left it as I found it. What I’ve found particularly interesting, via the medium of Google Ego Alerts, is how the post has made it onto several blogs: notably, Genre Go Round Reviews, Worlds of Wonders, The Merry Genre Go Round Reviews, and Alternate Words. It’s cut and paste stuff, basically, on simple template blog sites for the most part, and will certainly appear on commercial sites like Amazon soon.
Okay, I think it’s pretty important it goes the other way, and that blog reviewers copy their reviews to commercial sites. Why? (1) Collectively, it forces internet standards to be raised (never a bad thing). (2) It weakens the effect when people hide behind avatars. (3) Bloggers mostly focus on new releases anyway, which serves customers who don’t have the time (or who have poor Google-fu) to trawl for reviews online. Though (4) perhaps the most deep analytical reviews are not likely to be appreciated on Amazon. But (5) ultimately, bloggers might get some new readers, which is all good.
That out of the way, I just can’t see the point in these kind of multiple blog fronts. There’s no personality, and ultimately, what can be gained? To boost search engine rankings, perhaps, but why? I like to think I’m pretty clued up about online activities, but where does the benefit come from this?
Still, as David Louis Edelman says, a review’s a review, right? But I’d like to know how bloggers feel about this industrial, scatter-shot approach to reviewing.