First of all, the Indiegogo campain fell a little short of the stated goal, but it's exactly what I needed to get this finished. You guys rock so hard it is incredible. I have no idea how I'm going to make the next segment, but that's on my own lookout, not yours. I may run another campaign someday (IE several months from now) but not immediately. You guys got me through an INCREDIBLY hard time in my life. Someday real soon I'll explain exactly what it meant that ya'll came together like this.
Speaking of which: DONATORS: I will require your addresses please.
OTHER GOOD NEWS: Edits on my end are done. It flows as well as I can make it, and it will be sent off to the editor very soon. (YOU GUYS ROCK. Have I said how much you guys rock? YOU GUYS ROCK) ETA is now the weekend of the seventh. I'll know more when I get some dates back from the editor. BUT WE ARE NEARLY THERE. And that means next week THERE WILL BE ARTWORK.
Now, for the not so great news: I am going to publish the next Gray Prince book without an editor. Yes, Editor-Nonnie, I know that's not kosher. But my finances are strapped tight for the foreseeable future. When I started the editing, my circumstances were real different, and I had to make a few judgement calls that put my personal welfare over being able to afford making the books read pretty. Getting the editing was a good call for the books, but it was the wrong call for other reasons. I am still really, really glad I got it, and I'm going to try to keep the habits it gave me so that the next time I have the cash--and I'm gonna try really hard to have it set up solid for the next Starbleached run--the writing itself will be better, and it won't be quite so expensive.
Now, if things change between now and then, you bet your freaking buttons I'm gonna let you know.
Second item on the not-so-good news list: I need to take time off from publishing to write more books, so I make no promises about the next Gray Prince book. I really, really, really want it to drop in November, but I also want to have a little bit of a backlog to plow through. We might be looking at December. IDK, I'll let you know. Just, you know, be aware.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE bring up concerns in the comments if you have them. This is now officially a cooperative thing between me and you guys, and your feedback, even if it's completely negative, is very valuable to me. Like I said: I would not have made it through the last six months without you guys.
Oh, and I haven't posted an excerpt yet because EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER contains massive spoilers for the end of Part One. I've spent the entire editing period going "Well, we could post this part...no. How about this...no. This one? Nope. Well, here's a sentence that maybe...nope. Well, damn."
Right. On to crazy book.
I have a massive issue with this first paragraph. Lia sees Kione show up and thinks about how seeing the fact that he'd suffered and loved had given him a touch of humanity:
You couldn’t judge someone’s humanity on a sliding scale. And being human didn’t guarantee goodness and light.The problem I have with this is something I've already touched on: the non-human characters are only good (AND WELL DEVELOPED) when on the good guy side of the book.
I love David Weber. I love Honor Harrington. Mostly because the cast is freaking awesome, on BOTH sides of the line. Honor is cool because Honor. And then you've got Scotty and Harkness and Alice Truman and Queen Elizabeth and Nimitz and Benjamin and Berry and Ruth and Alistar McKeon (sob) and Andrew LaFollet (SOB!)...and then on the Honorverse version of Team Evil AKA The Republic of Haven you've got Pritchard and Thiesman and Tourville and Shannon Foeraker and Giscard and Cachet AND I CAN GO ON LIKE THIS ALL NIGHT. Many many MANY of the battles in those books were exciting because you genuinely liked both sides, and much as you wanted Honor to kick Thomas Theisman's butt AGAIN, you also didn't want Thomas and Shannon and their awesome awesome underlings to die.
Which is why one sided villians are a bad idea. Even when Weber HAD one-sided villians (Rob Pierre, Oscar St. Just, Esthar McQueen, oh holy fuck Cordelia Ransom) (Yeah, let's see if you can guess what period in history Weber's working off of) they had plots and ambitions and concerns that had nothing to do with Honor or Manticore. It's not the most subtle of books (Yes. Seriously. One of the villains is a revolutionary government leader named Rob Pierre who almost immediately starts killing anybody who calls him a blood thirsty idiot.) but you liked the good guys and the good bad guys, and the only thing better than watching the real bad guys plot was watching them die.
That's not happening here. We don't know who the five vampires are, save for being rapist scumbags. Whoo hoo, Christine/Seven was once Fin's girlfriend....aaaaaannnnnnnd that's all she gets. (At least Weber gave the fucking Committee of Public Safety--yes, Rob Pierre's government really is called that--hobbies, romances and guilt trips) Adam is an asshole, but so are Utah and Fin and they've got...uh...relatively more depth? The other side is about as faceless as the storm troopers for the Empire, and they were clones in fucking face masks. You quite literally do not give a flying fuck about these bad guys winning OR losing, and the only reason you root for the good guys is they've got the Designated Good Guy Flag flying outside of Fin's condo.
It'd be boring if it weren't about dinosaurs and vampires being driven around by Otherkin.
It doesn't really backfire until the characters start trying to play this sympathy for the vampires card that never gets extended past the immediate cast. Kione is good because Designated Good Guy Flag. Christine is bad because they say so. And they SAY they want to kill humans, but they haven't so much as kicked a puppy onscreen yet, let alone made a pencil disappear.
For all the attempts at shades of gray moralizing, it looks pretty black and white to me.
Oh, and Adam called Utah and Lia in because he's made a deal with Christine. Like we couldn't see that coming from six blocks away.
Adam’s eyes glowed with excitement. “She’s leading more than just vampires. Once she’s gone, I’ll control all the shifters, demons, and other nonhumans she’s gathered together.” He licked his lips. “I’ll control the world.”Yeah. Lia, if you couldn't smell the meglomania coming off this dude before, you're dumber than a bag of rocks.
...still smarter than Bella Swan, though.
Adam tries to make Kione disappear with incantations and whatnot. It works about as well as you'd expect:
Utah waited until the moment Adam’s attention switched to Kione. That moment was all he needed.Utah switches to Raptor and...yeah, I have yet to get ONE paragraph of description on the raptors. Or ANY of the dinosaurs. I mean, I've stablished my headcannon is feathery death cannons all around, but for fuck's sake, could we get a color?
Meanwhile, Lia goes utterly batshit insane and starts pulling vampire heads off, and this is actually REALLY good. Finally a Random Dude pulls her out of the bloodlust and back to reality. Utah is a little freaked and Kione is still doing his emotionless Spock thing.
...we're seriously going to keep playing that "I don't think I can love you" game? Seriously? We're still wasting words on that?
Oh, and there's a random murder snake. No big deal.
DO YOU THINK I AM KIDDING?
“That’s an inland taipan, also known as the fierce snake. One bite has enough venom to kill one hundred adult humans.”...did the wiki article tell you all that?
This is Shen, who I think brought everybody coffee once and then disappeared. So yeah, random murder snake.
...why would vampires die from snakebite venom? How would that even work?
And Adam escaped. Nice that Lia was too lost in bloodlust to notice.
Talking about bloodlust. “Don’t get any closer.” Even now, she could feel the compulsion to turn and kill him tugging at her. “Oh, and so we keep my killing urges straight, what I’m feeling now is Zero’s compulsion. What I felt back there was just a new vampire’s killing high.” She made an impatient noise. “I always thought I could control the bloodlust when I became vampire. Shows what I know.”Also, nice that becoming a vampire didn't teach Lia how to talk like a human.
Lia's freak out over her bloodlust continues through the tunnel, outside where they trade cracks with the dino-guys who apparently just came for the show, and into the car, where she scrubs down with wet-naps until she's rubbed places raw. Because, you know, it's bad for somebody to enjoy their own bloodlust. And the best way to show that badness is hysterical cleaning breakdowns.
Lia and Utah discuss her compulsion rationally...ish...and decide to go to Seir for help.
The last time you listened to him you walked into a trap. I DO NOT THINK THIS IS A GOOD IDEA. However, Lia begs and Seir agrees to help Fin fix her head, as long as they do it outside. Fin zips right down, though he takes the time to curse at them for moving without his permission.
This is a lovely cast. Isn't it just a lovely cast?
Seir takes just enough time to let everybody know that he hasn't touched either of his brothers in a long time because weird things happen, clarifies that "half the world vanishing" counts as weird, and then grabs Fin's hand.
End of chapter.