Tag Archives: Ann Aguirre

Vanguard, by Ann Aguirre

17 Aug

Please be advised: back in 2009, I was Ms Aguirre’s virtual assistant, for about ten months. I was also one of the first beta readers for Razorland, the manuscript that became Enclave, the first novel set in this world.

Despite how much I like Ms Aguirre’s work, I have not reviewed any of the novels in the series, or anything else by her written or published after 2008, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Given that said relationship, as well as my beta reading any of her work, ended about eight years ago, I decided I would review this novel, no matter what. Keep in mind that we are still friendly online.

I was lucky to get an ARC about three weeks ago; I really wanted to publish this review on release day, but…well, you know what happens to plans.

Caveat: there is some violence on the page, as well as violence in most of the characters’ past.

Vanguard, by Ann Aguirre

This story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity is recovering from, basically, a zombie plague. (Except these are not truly zombies.)

If you have not read the Razorland books, you will definitely have questions about what happened before, especially because there are repeated references to past events, by pretty much all characters. You will also have questions because the world is presented with very little background explanation. It’s not hard to extrapolate and come up with your own conclusions as to what brought the world to this point, but if you truly want all the whys and wherefores, you will end up reading the rest of the series.

Which is pretty damned good, so it’s a win-win.

If you are a fan of the Razorland series, you should know that this is not the beginning of a second trilogy; it is not even a direct continuation of the original trilogy. You should also know that Vanguard is told in third person, from three deep points of view. This is Tegan’s story–one I had very much hoped to read since meeting her in the ruins, during the events narrated in Enclave.

Oh, alright; it’s also about Szarok and Morrow, but the best parts are about Tegan.

Here, have a blurb:
Continue reading

Congratulations, Ann Aguirre!

29 Jul

Once upon a time, I beta read for author Ann Aguirre–which I enjoyed immensely.

The last novel I beta read for her was the post apocalyptic young adult Enclave, first in her Razorland trilogy.

I inhaled that story in one sitting and immediately emailed her to tell her how much I loved the characters, their journey and the world she created for both. If memory serves, the email was something along the lines of “holy fuck, this is absolutely amazing, you are going to sell it immediately” (which was a consideration, as it wasn’t written under contract).

Indeed the book and its (at the time) yet-to-be-written sequel¹ sold in a snap, to great success–and last night it was awarded the 2012 RITA® for Young Adult² at the RWA National Conference.

Huge congrats, Ann!

~~~ * ~~~

¹ Said sequel, titled Outpost, will be out on September 4.

² In case you don’t know, the RITA® is quite the big deal for romance writers.

Less than a month to go: I’m waiting for…Enclave

11 Mar

Enclave (previously Razorland)Originally Razorland, this YA dystopian postapocalyptic novel by the always awesome Ann Aguirre will be released by Feiwel and Friends on April 12th.

I had the privilege of being one of the book’s first readers and was absolutely blown away by it. Keep in mind, as you read that, that I don’t read YA as a rule. Enclave was, in fact, the first new-to-me, not-adult book I’d read in at least three decades (not counting Harry Potter–I do have kids, after all).

But if you don’t think you can trust my word on the awesomesauce that is this book, check out the trailer:

* * *

Nota bene: Some of you may remember that, for a while, I did some promotional work for Ms Aguirre. I have not done so for close to a year now, so I believe there is no conflict of interest in my recommending this book–or indeed, any of her work–to other readers.

Not every reader spends a lot of time online

11 Aug

Doubtful smiley - raised eyebrow

I find that we—those of us who blog, blog-hop, participate in message boards, readers/authors loops and groups—tend to forget that we are, in fact, a minuscule percentage of the total of readers.

This is, of course, not an original observation—Super Librarian Wendy has often talked about this—but it seems to be a frequently held belief that online readers are, in fact, the majority of romance readership.

What brings this on, you ask?

Well, when news that author Anne Stuart will have books under a different pen name with her new publisher, Janet W. said (among other things) that “…we always know that Jane Smith is now Sally Jones when she’s not writing as Judy Smart …”

Yes, we—people who are active online or are avid followers of Ms Stuart—may know this from the get go, but there will be many readers who will not have a clue. Readers who shop primarily at brick and mortar stores, and whose method of choosing something to read is check out the covers, then read the back cover blurb. Those are the readers the publisher is hoping to entice to read these books by the same author under a different name.

Continue reading

Diff’rnt strokes, indeed

14 Jul

I find it interesting how people have such widely different reactions to the same things.

As I mentioned in my review of Parker’s Price, sometimes I understand where people are coming from, but others… well, other times, I’m just flummoxed.

This is what happened: I posted the just revealed cover for Ann Aguirre’s upcoming YA debut, the awesome Razorland (yes, it’s awesome–it sucks that I won’t be able to review it, since I beta read it, but it is absolutely awesome)… Anyway, I posted the cover to a forum I contribute to and got a “what a terrible cover!” in reply.

o_O

Seriously?

Please keep in  mind that this is a post-apocalyptic novel–here’s the unofficial blurb from Ann’s website:

“(Razorland is) about a girl from an underground enclave in which no one lives past the age of 25, who is exiled out of darkness to the uninhabitable surface in punishment for a crime she did not commit.”

Now, look at the cover:
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Credibility and reputation: a dilemma

29 Jan

Recently I have been asked about my ability-and willingness-to remain as honest and objective as I possibly can in my reviews.

The question is valid, in two different contexts.

In one case, I cross post my reviews to Suzanne Brockmann”s message board-including reviews of her books. It is no secret anywhere that I’m a fan of her work, and so far I haven’t been disappointed, but… what if I were? Would I write an honest review giving a low grade to one of her novels and then post that review at her board?

Yes, I answered, I hope I’ll continue to be honest when reviewing any and all books, regardless of who the author is and my relationship (or lack thereof) with them. Continue reading

Eerie synchronicity and execution

25 Oct

Have you ever heard of synchronicity?

How someone is banging away at an idea somewhere, and somewhere else someone else is having the same flash of genius?

Darwin and Wallace had it, right?

Okay, not really; they were aware of each other’s work, and it was more a matter of who finished first and got it published. Still, they started their research and came to their conclusions independently from each other.

To my amazement, I have been witness—if not quite part—to something eerily like that (though obviously not on that scale). Continue reading