Some writers simply ignore them; others lust after them like junkies after their next fix. Still others try to navigate the middle ground, seeing them as a necessary thing but not giving them more weight than they deserve. I’m talking about reviews, and while I’d like to stay aloof and ignore them — nay, stare down my nose at them like some post-modern Nabokov — I must honestly say I do so very much enjoy getting them. It’s pure validation . . . in the positive, it’s validation of the imagination and work inherent in telling a good story; in the negative, it’s validation for what he or she has always known: that they’re a no-good hack who would be better served hawking produce at the farmer’s market or waiting tables at a dive bar (I’m a creature of polarities . . . it’s either wonderful or it’s shit).
The very first review my books receive — especially early first reviews — is always important to me. It is the one that comes without preconceived notions; it’s not been influenced by Marketing or by the tastes of others. It’s often the most honest: “You’ve never heard of this book, and it’s not out for a few months, but it’s well worth your time!” That first review is validation in its purest form, love or hate, unsullied and uncut.
A Gathering of Ravens received its first review this morning, from the legendary Parmenion — a top reviewer out of the UK whose interests include ancient history, historical fiction, Medieval reenactment, historical fantasy, and LOTS of reading. I am pleased beyond words that he chose to review Ravens. About it, he says in part:
Oden has done a marvelous job of weaving his tale of myths, legends and history into a tale that feels like an ancient chronicle a fable for warriors, remembering their history, recounting the glory of the old gods in the face of the new one. There are many times in this book that you lose track of what may have been taken from facts and fables and what is from the mind of the author, which for me is a true triumph.
Read the whole review here.
My thanks, Parmenion, for endeavoring to read A Gathering of Ravens, and for the kind words.