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The Stars Were Right

(The Bell Forging Cycle #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  257 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Caravan Master Waldo Bell didn’t expect to return home a criminal. He just wanted a relaxing month off between jobs so he could explore the city of Lovat, enjoy a soft bed and a few decent meals. Instead, he’s arrested—accused of killing old friends and hacking off body parts.

Escaping custody and on the run, Wal becomes a citywide fugitive fighting to clear his name. As th
Paperback, 364 pages
Published December 11th 2013 by K M Alexander (first published August 20th 2013)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  257 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't read Sci-Fi or Fantasy novels too often, at all. I had only received this via Book-bub which is an e-mail platform that offers deals on select titles each day. So I looked it up, saw great reviews and decided to download to my kindle and give it a chance. Needless to say, I was wary of what I was about to get into... especially after having read bigger titles such as The Dark Tower I or Queen of Bedlam. I was worried that I was going to give this a DNF and claim that this 'wasn't for me' ...more
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure how I would describe the tone of this book - urban fantasy with a bit of steampunk, a space western but not in space, a touch of Laird Barron with the ability to fight back?
In any case, I enjoyed it. Sometimes I suffered from what I think of as the Alien syndrome: I wanted to pause the story and say, "Ok, plot is all well and good, but look at this world! Can we just go explore its backstory for awhile?" Some universes deserve to be Tolkien'ed up like that!
C.N. Crawford
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an action-packed fugitive story set in a vibrantly-detailed world. The main character, Waldo Bell, ends up on the wrong side of the law when his friends and acquaintances start turning up brutally murdered. Waldo is charming and relatable - sort of an everyman who finds himself caught up in an otherworldly situation. He's not always super quick to figure things out, but he's funny, and I appreciate his food obsessions. While he's on the run from the police, we get a tour of the city's un ...more
Rob Hayes
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I was given this book to read as a judge for the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off.

The Stars Were Right is noir-esque fantasy with a Lovecraft'ian bent. There's a good chance you already know if this one is for you or not.

Waldo Bell is a caravan master used to carting valuable loads between the cities of a world that has been changed by rising of the great ones. After completing one such job, he wants nothing more than to sit down with a nice meal and a bottle of vermouth. Unfortunately for him, h
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, dystopia
Really enjoyed this indie book that I heard about through the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast. The thing I loved best about The Stars Were Right (and the reason I decided to give it four stars) was the world building. Unique and interesting, I really enjoyed learning about the world of Lovat. The characters were likable, and I really grew to care about them all.

The writing is adequate, but I think K.M. Alexander has a lot of potential. As a new author, he's probably still finding his voice, whic
J. Rushing
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a fun read. The world K.M. Alexander created is vivid, visceral and above all, uses the perfect amount of description. I can fully visualize the world around the characters without being force fed every detail. It lets me exercise my own imagination which is much appreciated. Definitely one I'll recommend to others. ...more
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fun read. I loved the buildup, with interesting characters and a fascinating and rich world. Once the action really began to accelerate, I found myself reading every chance I got — I had to know what happened next! Definitely looking forward to future books in this series.
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
i won this book through the goodreads giveaways and what a treat!

the author included a personal note, bookmarks and stickers - it's obvious that he's supporting this effort with all the best intentions and i hope he gets back everything and more. big cheers and wishing great success to him and to this project!!!

the book itself was an entertaining and quick read - it providing me with a new world to explore, lots of new characters and plenty of notable settings. the adventure was well paced and
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
My reading patterns don't often include the works of unpublished authors, so it was a very pleasant surprise to find myself so swiftly and and enjoyably drawn into the world of K.M. Alexander's Bell Forging Cycle. A rich world, made a pleasure to explore through the eyes of protagonist Waldo Bell, as he is dragged deep into the machinations of a strange, demi-God worshipping cult and their plans for the end of the world. Well paced, textured and witty, with enough food references to keep you jus ...more
Hillary Pincus
Feb 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, tbr-2015
Not what I was expecting at all! A local author's slight homage to Lovecraft.

Waldo runs a caravan and after his latest run, he wants nothing but food and a shower. His arrival back to Lovat finds him soon Public Enemy Number 1 as his friends and acquaintances are being murdered. Not just murdered...mutilated.

Running from the police and The Children, trying to clear his name, Wal finds out the "why" of it all is far stranger than he could've imagined!

Not normally one for sci-fi, but I enjoyed th
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Stars Were Right" was full of interesting characters, in a fascinatingly well-imagined world. I found myself getting hungry for foods I'd never tasted, in places that don't exist (at least in our universe). Once I got into this book, I couldn't put it down! I'm looking forward to future adventures in this world for sure. ...more
Ben Vanik
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, scifi, to-buy
A gritty adventure through a city rich with life and death, in the style of a tale told over some cheap whiskey at a dusty dive bar on the outskirts of a bizarre Lovecraftian town. Excellent pacing, excellent lead character, and excellent world building.
Scott Smith
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Some of the best worldbuilding I've read, and I loved the story set within the unique, palpable world. The Stars Were Right kept me engaged from page one, which is hard to do. Can't wait to dig into the next book. ...more
Jennifer Chan
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great, great world-building!
Dwayne Clare
Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic story with a genuinely likeable protagonist and plenty of suspense. Fast paced and lushly detailed. A very enjoyable read. I look forward to further works from this artist.
Marco Subias
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Stars Were Right is thriller set in a strange, distant, H.P. Lovecraft-inspired future, in the city of Lovat, a wonderful blend of the familiar and the alien. The main character is an everyman who has to untangle a mystery before it kills him, along with everyone he cares about.

While I like my Lovecraftian fiction to feature an appreciable degree of cosmic nihilism, and this story didn’t, I liked the book more than enough to buy the next in the trilogy. I love the setting. I very much liked
Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it
The Stars Were Right by K. M. Alexander
Reviewed of a TBRindr copy from the author.

This is a noirish murder mystery in a post-Lovecraftian apocalypse city, when "the stars aligned" and various nefarious beasties arose to send the world into chaos. Now, however, things are overall OK, and the world seems at peace. It just happens to be populated by various non-human sentient races in addition to traditional humanity.

The story follows a caravan master named Mal Bell who returns from a voyage only t
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of K.M. Alexander until he posted to the Cthulhu subreddit that his ebooks were on sale for only $.99. As both a diehard Lovecraft fan and a supporter of indie authors, I decided this seemed like a great deal, and wow, I was right! Alexander does a fantastic job evoking a tangled, towering city of hidden alleys, bustling markets, colorful inhabitants, and plenty of those hole-in-the-wall diners with the best local cuisine you've ever had. As a dedicated urbanist, I just love th ...more
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An awesome new world to obsess over!

This book did what no book since Stephen King's Dark Tower series has done for me which is get me as engrossed in the setting as much as the plot and characters. The Lovecraftian elements are perfectly balanced out as not to be over done and only add to a very original world with a rich (and mysterious) history. Great for anyone who likes there noir with a shot of weird.
Lynn Willis
Apr 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic, entertaining read

I've had this book in my Kindle library for about a year now, and I am so glad that I finally decided to dive in.
From the first sentence, I was amazed at how rich and vibrant the characters and settings were. The narrative is very descriptive without being tedious. The
plot moves along at a swift pace as our hero sets out to prove his innocence when a string of bizarre murders get pinned on him.
I can't wait to dig into the next book!
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved the dialogue and the flow of the book!
A. Fae
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Oh great, another fantasy book, I thought. Although it is the primary genre we get requests for reviews for, I can honestly say that it has never been my favorite genre of book; but, we all occasionally grab one we aren’t necessarily fond of. So I pulled up my big girl panties and settled in to read The Stars Were Right by K.M Alexander.

Wow! Talk about knocking me off my snobbish pedestal. This book changed the way I look at fantasy as a whole. It was also loaded with a ton of what I’d consider
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A richly imagined, fast paced adventure story in a weirdly familiar world of various co-habitating original species. Includes a laconic assertion of mythic ambition, as if Johnny Cash were providing brief back-story for the apocalypse.

The prologue is a starting gun -- its crisp pop gets things moving and sets an ominous tone. The story slips a bit immediately after but gets stronger as it progresses.

The city of Lovat, where the action takes place, is a grand dream on the outrageous scale of a Te
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Stars Were Right is a great effort for a first book. Author K.M. Alexander creates a vivid and complex fantasy world with likeable characters.

The book is set in the city of Lovat, which is built up in levels. The higher levels are occupied by the rich and the lower levels are where the poor reside, not unlike a caste system. This reminds me of the city of Sharn in the Eberron setting of Dungeons and Dragons (which was one of my favorite 3.5 edition worlds). The world has a steampunk-fantasy
Shannon Flowers
One of the foundations of Lovecraftian fiction is the idea that at some point, the stars will be right and the Great Old Ones will return. In K.M. Alexander‘s The Stars Were Right we are presented with the world that is left after that happens.

Initially the setting in The Stars Were Right doesn’t come off as particularly Lovecraftian. The city of Lovat, where the story takes place, seems like are fairly typical fictional post-apocalyptic city. As the story progresses it becomes more clear that t
Joel Flank
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful first novel, The Stars Were Right is set in a world after Cthulhu and the First Ones came to Earth as in the Aligning, causing massive devastation. The world that Waldo Bell lives in is many hundreds or thousands of years afterwards, when a civilization has been reborn, but with all sorts of residents. Not only are humans around still, but deep ones, horned dimanians, octopoid celphels, seven fingered maero, hasturian priests, and more.

Waldo Bell returns to his home city of Lovat, a
Ben Birnstiehl
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I fell in love with the protagonist Waldo from the start. Almost as much as I love the world in which he lives. The gritty, neon lit streets and layers of the city Lavat with it's diverse citizenship & classes, and the histories sewn into them, are a delight to read.

The pacing is near perfect. And the story is well-told and well thought out. It was a hard book to put down. So much so that I didn't and ended up regretting it at work the next day having had almost no sleep.

The only complaints I ha
Jason Vanhee
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Loved the setting. Loved the writing. The main character was good. But the fact that he could take such ridiculous amounts of punishment and just push on; and that he was an untrained combat badass; and that he constantly escaped and succeeded and so on, was too much. The last few chapters were completely over the top in this regard, and while that may work well for some people, I couldn't buy into it.

Another thing that may work for some and not others (it worked for me) was the tone: it's a po
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Received a signed copy from Goodreads First Reads

This book takes several crazy things (fantasy creatures, the awakening of an ancient evil, cults, and grisly murders) and combines them in a following of a caravaneer named Waldo Bell.

I debated for a while on whether or not to give this book a three or a four, because, while some ideas were wonderful and new to me, there was a certain air of predictability in the storyline. I was a bit disappointed that I had already correctly anticipated some of
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I don't usually read science fiction (I remember reading one book in grade 7... Oh and the Dan Simmons series more recently) but I loved this one. It's hugely creative; the world described is rich with detail and your imagination has no problem running with it (but it doesn't do that thing that some science fiction novels do of having to describe every last detail to you. The author gives you just enough detail to let your own imagination fill in the gaps, which added to the r ...more
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K. M. Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native and novelist living and working in Seattle with his wife and two dogs. His work explores nontraditional settings within speculative fiction, bending and blending genres to create rich worlds and unique approachable characters.

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Other books in the series

The Bell Forging Cycle (4 books)
  • Old Broken Road (The Bell Forging Cycle #2)
  • Red Litten World (The Bell Forging Cycle #3)
  • Gleam Upon the Waves (The Bell Forging Cycle #4)

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“The spectacle shop was old, long, and narrow, with a glass front and a small thin door that opened onto a somewhat busy avenue in the antiques district on the South side of Lovat. It was a quiet enough area, away from the rougher warrens, but not particularly elevated. Across the cramped street hawkers sold vases, while up the road outside a rug merchant's shop a man sold antique suits. There was also Dubois' new storefront to the East; he dealt in religious artifacts and trinkets. The shopkeep hadn't liked when he had moved in; it had somehow changed the feel of the warren. Odd folks had started showing up shortly after Saint Olmstead Religious Antiques opened: black-clad priests, Hasturians in yellow robes, and a few Deeper cultists dressed in their gray sackcloth rags. It had set the entire warren on edge.” 0 likes
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