John is a graphic designer and voice-over artist, who started writing Tales of the Left Hand as a side project to give himself practice narrating longer pieces of work, such as audiobooks. The demo he put together using excerpts from Book One has led to a number of professional narration jobs, now available on Audible. But he also discovered that Left Hand had taken on a life of its own, and there were more stories in the Frees to tell than could be covered in just one book.
He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife (and is about to add fatherhood to his job description in early December) and two cats, satisfying the minimum required feline ownership for fantasy writers.
I enjoyed this, though less so than the first book.
One of the problems with Book 2 of a fantasy series that's planned to be at least a trilogy is that it can contract Two Towers Syndrome, and be about people moving around and getting in position for the next book. We've had our introductions in Book 1, now Book 2 is "people travelling and their adventures along the way".
There are plenty of adventures along the way here, though they take a little while to get started. There are sword fights and a ship chase and a murderous bigot and desperate magic that goes horribly wrong. I'm not saying the story wasn't exciting, just that it was more transitional than it was conclusive.
The other thing I wasn't so keen on was the worldbuilding. I'm not a fan of the worldbuilding approach where the author takes whole Earth cultures - or the stereotypes about them - and just uses them unaltered. It annoyed me a little in the first book, but there it was mainly the accents and names of the people from various islands - there was a German one, a French one and so forth. (I'm listening to the Podiobooks version, narrated by the author, and different accents is part of how he distinguishes the characters. His voice work is very good, by the way.)
Here, though, we have a captain from the "French" culture, and he actually drops French words into his speech (and is a wine snob). We have a "Caribbean" character, as well, who speaks in a wince-inducing patois and wears dreadlocks. (He also, for some reason, speaks about himself in the third person, always an irritating habit in a character.) He comes within about an inch of being a Magical Negro, in fact, though the usual fate of the black character is barely averted by another trope: magical ability discovered under pressure.
So, less successful than Book 1, for me. Still, it's a good adventure yarn at its core, and I'll stick with it for Book 3.
Ok, so I listened for free on librivox and I wouldn't say it's the best book I've ever read, but for a free one...it's great. It's interesting and a bit of a different take on magic and elves. I still love the idea of the Right and Left Hand. The narration (by the author) is honestly the best part and he may actually be one of my favorite narrators, the first two being Jim Dale and RC Bray (two of the very best IMO). That ending though...Dang you, Meagher!
This book was enjoyably slow, taking it's time to describe the legends, the science, and the action of the events that happen. I was slightly disappointed that the timeline of the book was so short, but the action described on their journey fascinated me and the twists in the book was exciting. I greatly enjoyed this book and I recommend it for a great fantasy adventure. I'm really glad to head John is continuing with his world.
The worst thing about this book is that the next one doesn't appear to be available yet! I thoroughly enjoyed this second book--it's a fine followup to the first one. I'm hoping Book 3 is not far off...
This book was awesome. I laughed. I got all teary and I even embarrassed the fool out of myself by shouting in celebration with the characters. All things I haven't done in nearly 18 years of reading. The last time was all the way back in 7th grade. Lol I loved this book. Highly Recommended!