Category Archives: Reading

Book Review: The Last Champion

There’s a lot of epic fantasy out there that feels dark, depressing, and populated by unpleasant characters who backstab one another for fun.  The Last Champion is not that kind of epic fantasy.

The titular Champion character is heroic.  The world he populates is under threat, the people he’s charged to protect are under threat, and he does his best to protect them.  Korr is a warrior who does what he does because he’s very, very good at it.  He’s a man who sticks to his customs and ways because that is all he has left, all he has to him, in an almost ronin-esque fashion that provides a gripping story.

There is plenty of action, plenty of character growth.  The characters are vivid, the scenery is epic in scale, and there’s so much potential in the setting that as a reader, I was always hoping for more looks at the greater world.  This really is epic fantasy, there’s a scope to the world that makes it feel big, feel populated, even though we only see a small part of the larger world.

It’s really rare that I can’t put a book down, but the story caught me and I read it in just a few hours.  My only complaint about the book is that it ended and I’ll have to wait on a sequel.  I highly recommend it.

Here’s a link to it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/39Ar4ia

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker Movie Review

If you’ve already made up your mind about Star Wars, this review isn’t for you.  Go ahead and move along, because if you’ve decided to love/hate it because of politics/gender/(insert stupid thing to care about with space wizards) then go elsewhere.

I did my very best to leave all my preconceptions of Star Wars, other movies,  Directors, Producers, Actors, Politics/politicians and all the rest when I went to see it.   I didn’t watch the trailers, I didn’t read spoilers.  I wanted to see what JJ Abrams and cast could do.

And I enjoyed myself.

The Rise of Skywalker starts of jerky and comes in a tumbled rush.  The first half of the movie, the pacing is awful, the editing is jerky, and it’s something of a hot mess.  But it’s also fun.  Poe and Fin work well together, and both are given opportunities to put actual character into their characters.

Rey actually has character growth and has to struggle.  It’s a foreshortened struggle, compressed into the too-packed movie, but it’s there and it’s interesting, it made me actually care about her as a character.

The fight scenes are impactful and I had some emotional attachment when characters were in peril.

They make use of a lot of movie cliches and they pay total homage to every bit of fan service they can.  It can be eyerolling, at times.  But it gets back to a central part of Star Wars: hope and redemption.   That people can change the universe for the better and that what you do is more important than where you come from.

It’s not a great movie.   We are not getting the Extended Universe books in movie form that all the die-hard fans (including me) wanted.  But it was an enjoyable night out, the movie closed the chapter on the trilogy, and it’s something I can show my kid and share in his enjoyment, as well.

At the end of the day, that’s enough for me.

Kal’s July 2019 Forecast

Hey everyone, it’s July!  For my fellow Americans, I hope you had a happy and safe 4th of July.  For everyone else, well, I ate lots of food and hung out with friends on your behalf.

I’ve just finished off Army Space Corps: Vernian Space Gun, which is headed to a potential publisher.  It was a blast to write and I hope that you guys will be able to see it soon.  The story sort of hijacked my brain and I didn’t get a lot else done while working on that.  On the other hand, I’m finishing off the seventh Shadow Space Chronicles book and I hope to have it finished off soon.

Next up in the cue is the follow-on series that starts after the events of Valor’s Stand.  I’ve got it outlined and as soon as I get The Star Engine finished I’ll work on knocking that out.  Then I have to hop back to the next Forsaken Valor book.  It should be a very busy next few months as far as book releases.

Speaking of busy, I’m moving in the near future.  The move is going to eat up a lot of my free time, so posts may be a bit scarce, but I will be trying to release books and get my writing done.   I am pretty much done with conventions for the year, mostly because moving, starting a new job with the Army, and lots of other life drama.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

Now Available: Stolen Valor

Hey everyone!  Stolen Valor, Forsaken Valor book 2, is now available on Amazon.

https://amzn.to/2Wlgiob

They stole my life, so I stole one right back.

My name is William Alexander Armstrong.  I come from a long, honorable, military family.  My grandparents were heroes back home… but not me.  Kidnapped by pirates, I’ve had to fight to survive on the streets of an alien world.  Only now, I’ve got a way out.
 
The only trouble is, my way out is to serve in the enemy’s military, hidden under a stolen identity.  I’ve got to hide who I am, build alliances, and hope to keep my head down at a military institute where one in three trainees don’t survive.
 
But hiding isn’t in my blood.  I’m an Armstrong, I’m born to fight, born to lead… and in this case, that might be the only thing that saves me.  Because something is rotten at the Heart of Drakkus Prime, and stolen identity or not, valor may be the only thing to save the day.

Kal’s June 2019 Forecast

Hey everyone, June is here!

If you haven’t heard already, Stolen Valor, the second Forsaken Valor book, comes out June 8th.  I’m really excited for this one, it’s a pretty intense book.

I’m working on The Star Engine, this month, which is the seventh book of the Shadow Space Chronicles.  My goal is to have that one out for the end of the month.

I’ve also started working on Heir to the Fallen Duchy, the 4th book of the Eoriel Saga, my epic fantasy series.  If all goes well, that one will be coming out soon, too.

What else is going on?  Well, in a real-life plot twist, I’ve been called back to active duty in the military.  There’s going to be a lot of changes for me and my family.  The short term effect is that in a couple of months, we’ll be moving.  That in itself is going to be an adventure.  I hope that the long-term effect is that I’ll be able to focus more on having just two jobs: the Army and writing.   While I’ve enjoyed civilian life, more than once it’s been hard to focus on that while also being a reservist.  Throw in the author stuff on top of that and it’s been stressful trying to balance everything.  While going on active duty orders for several years was somewhat unexpected, at the same time, I’m excited to see what challenges it brings.  If nothing else, I’m certain it will give me a lot more fodder for writing, and who could ask for more than that, right?

That’s all, for now, thanks for reading!

 

Stolen Valor: Forsaken Valor Book 2

They stole my life, so I stole one right back.

My name is William Alexander Armstrong.  I come from a long, honorable, military family.  My grandparents were heroes back home… but not me.  Kidnapped by pirates, I’ve had to fight to survive on the streets of an alien world.  Only now, I’ve got a way out.
 
The only trouble is, my way out is to serve in the enemy’s military, hidden under a stolen identity.  I’ve got to hide who I am, build alliances, and hope to keep my head down at a military institute where one in three trainees don’t survive.
 
But hiding isn’t in my blood.  I’m an Armstrong, I’m born to fight, born to lead… and in this case, that might be the only thing that saves me.  Because something is rotten at the Heart of Drakkus Prime, and stolen identity or not, valor may be the only thing to save the day.
Stolen Valor is coming June 8th