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Sunset (Pact Arcanum, #1)
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Book of the Month: Other > Urban Fantasy BotM March: Sunset

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message 1: by Scott, Fabled Reviewer o' Tales! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Scott (bookblogger) | 1315 comments Mod
This month's Urban Fantasy winner is Sunset by Arshad Ahsanuddin. This is a fantastic book and the beginning of a great series. I have become a huge fan of the characters in this book. The political situation is also extremely interesting and for me to say that it means something.

I'll start things out by asking a question that will make sense when everyone has read the book: Daywalker, Nightwalker, or Sentinel?


message 2: by Jeffrey, Lentarian Fire Thrower (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeffrey Poole (authorjmpoole) | 2287 comments Mod
Sunset. Urban Fantasy, huh? What's it about? Guess I can go look for myself. :)


message 3: by Mia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mia Darien (mia_darien) | 425 comments Ooh, I actually have a book-buying budget this month, so I will definitely have to check this out and try to get in on the conversation. :)


message 4: by Jeffrey, Lentarian Fire Thrower (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeffrey Poole (authorjmpoole) | 2287 comments Mod
Vampires. Hoo boy. :) Janet proved me wrong once, so the least I can do is see if I can be proved wrong again!


message 5: by Scott, Fabled Reviewer o' Tales! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Scott (bookblogger) | 1315 comments Mod
It's not really a normal vampire story. I can't come up with an explanation that does it justice, but this series is one of my favorites by far.


message 6: by Jeffrey, Lentarian Fire Thrower (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeffrey Poole (authorjmpoole) | 2287 comments Mod
Hmmm, ok. I'll definitely give it a try. I've had all my usual beliefs shattered since joining this club. Vampires, werewolves, horror, dark fantasy. Stuff I typically avoid has turned out to be pretty good.

The least I can do is give it a try!


message 7: by Jeffrey, Lentarian Fire Thrower (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeffrey Poole (authorjmpoole) | 2287 comments Mod
First off, I love the cover, Arshad!


message 8: by Arshad (new) - added it

Arshad Ahsanuddin (pactarcanum) Thanks! Did it myself.


message 9: by Jeffrey, Lentarian Fire Thrower (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeffrey Poole (authorjmpoole) | 2287 comments Mod
You did? Damn! That's impressive! Are you an artist, or do you dabble with Photoshop?


message 10: by Arshad (new) - added it

Arshad Ahsanuddin (pactarcanum) I used to be an amateur photographer, and I learned Photoshop to do post-production once I no longer had access to a darkroom.


message 11: by Jeffrey, Lentarian Fire Thrower (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeffrey Poole (authorjmpoole) | 2287 comments Mod
Very nice! I'm going to try my luck with Photoshop here shortly. I'm hoping I can figure it out. :)


message 12: by Scott, Fabled Reviewer o' Tales! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Scott (bookblogger) | 1315 comments Mod
It's even cooler when you get to the reveal of what the item on the cover is in the book. Super awesome stuff. Started reading the book again tonight and I'm already getting sucked back in.


message 13: by Arshad (new) - added it

Arshad Ahsanuddin (pactarcanum) Just as an aside, each cover image reflects an aspect of the major character(s) of that book.


message 14: by Mia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mia Darien (mia_darien) | 425 comments I second the motion that says it's an awesome cover. I also like the book trailer, and particularly because it has the voice-over. (I have several friends who are blind, so text based videos don't do much for them and it's been something on my mind while contemplating my own book trailer. End random.)

Anyways, I just started reading "Sunset" this morning, and wow! It gets off to one heck of a start right out the gate!


message 15: by Scott, Fabled Reviewer o' Tales! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Scott (bookblogger) | 1315 comments Mod
Finished the book up this morning. I'll say that Icarus is a hardcore dude. Well done once again Arshad those are great characters.


message 16: by Jeffrey, Lentarian Fire Thrower (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeffrey Poole (authorjmpoole) | 2287 comments Mod
I'm just getting started. It's looking pretty good so far!


message 17: by Mia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mia Darien (mia_darien) | 425 comments I finished reading yesterday, but my internet went out last night (ACK!) and so I am just now getting to post my review on my review blog and GoodReads here. :)

Wow. It was very good!

To answer Scott's first question: Can I has Fire Sentinel? (See my review blog, I have an affinity for the type. ^_^)

And also: definitely agree. Icarus was great.


message 18: by Scott, Fabled Reviewer o' Tales! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Scott (bookblogger) | 1315 comments Mod
I would have to go with Daywalker or Water Sentinel.


message 19: by Scott, Fabled Reviewer o' Tales! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Scott (bookblogger) | 1315 comments Mod
Anyone have any thoughts on the dynamic between the different meta humans and on the meta humans as a whole against the normal humans?

It must be tough to be a Sentinel trying to live with an enemy that is encoded in your genetics.


message 20: by Mia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mia Darien (mia_darien) | 425 comments I found those dynamics to be done so intricately that I'm not even sure I can write out a coherent opinion on it without writing, like, a term paper. (This is a compliment.)

Though I can certainly agree that it must be a tough beat for the Sentinels in that way. Though tough for all meta humans, and humans in the book's scenario, constraining large parts of their nature to fit the situation and juggling N. America versus the rest of the world.


message 21: by Jeffrey, Lentarian Fire Thrower (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeffrey Poole (authorjmpoole) | 2287 comments Mod
Man, I need to finish the book. Brother. I'm falling behind again. Jeeeeez, how does that keep happening?? :)


message 22: by Sky (last edited Mar 16, 2012 07:17PM) (new)

Sky Corbelli | 114 comments Okay, I finished the book and should get a review up shortly. It was very well written and frequently engaging. That said, I didn't enjoy this book.

Well... maybe that's too harsh. There were portions of this book that I liked, but about halfway through I realized that it felt like I was reading two distinct books.

On the one hand, I had a vampire romance novel. Everyone falls madly in love with the main character (despite the fact that he's apparently highly self-abusive and generally unsympathetic whenever he steps out of the scene... I guess that makes him tragic or something), there's lots of passionate sex and secret longing, and the fact that everyone has superpowers is practically ignored. This was not a book that I wanted to read, and true to form, I loathed it.

On the other hand, I had a well-crafted urban fantasy novel. Action scenes and supernatural political intrigue abounded, superpowers were fueled by darkly complex backstories, sacrifices were made and suspense was high. I had fun with this book. I wish there had been more of it, I wish it had focused on different characters (more Icarus/Sentinals infiltrating the Armistice), but it was enjoyable overall.

It was actually almost funny how clear the divide between the "books" was. Sure, some of the motivations in the urban fantasy novel developed because of the romance novel, but looking through it again, most of the big stuff was started, developed and resolved in the urban fantasy portion. It was hard to care about the intricacies of Nick's love life when I knew that superhuman secret agents were out there doing interesting things.

So I feel bad, because I really enjoyed half of this book and really hated the other half, and I'm fully aware that the main reason I disliked it is that I don't like the genre. So, Mr. Ahsanuddin, thanks for writing the book, there are obviously people who enjoy it, and I'm sorry that I am not one of them. At least you'll get a sale and a review out of me.


message 23: by Arshad (new) - added it

Arshad Ahsanuddin (pactarcanum) Sky,

No problem. I have heard similar criticisms from a number of reviewers, who enjoyed the world-building but thought the romance was terrible. I can understand the dichotomy.

I'm glad you found some aspects you enjoyed. It's one thing for me to fail on some levels, yet succeed on others; as opposed to a complete lack of engagement. So far, people seem to have strong feelings one way or the other, even if it's to just throw the book across the room in disgust.

So that's something, at least. :)

Cheers,

Arshad Ahsanuddin


message 24: by Mia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mia Darien (mia_darien) | 425 comments As I wrote in my own interview, I had some issues with Nick as a character but he made it up to me in the ending sections. I actually like romance - in life, in reading, in writing my own works, so that part didn't bother me outside of my issues with Nick. :)

Everyone has such different tastes. It's always interesting to see how different people take different things away from the same story!


message 25: by Arshad (new) - added it

Arshad Ahsanuddin (pactarcanum) It's kind of "everything and the kitchen sink" kind of tale, all based on a hobby story I tinkered with in my head for fun for about a decade before I wrote it down. It developed a bizarre level of complexity down multiple different tangents over the years.

Sometimes I'm surprised that anyone finds my internal narrative logic to be accessible at all, let alone enjoyable to read. The fact that a lot of people come away with a positive impression, even if only in regard to focal aspects of the story, gives me incentive to keep writing and improving my skills, to try and chip away at the flaws in the next book.


message 26: by Scott, Fabled Reviewer o' Tales! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Scott (bookblogger) | 1315 comments Mod
I generally am not impressed with romance stories at all especially if there is a lot of pining by the characters, but I still loved this book. Since I have read all the books I had a bit more insight on the relationships that led to the obsessions with Nick and I think that Sunrise would be very enjoyable for you Mia. It covers a lot of the same info, but there is a lot more info (view spoiler). That spoiler will only spoil stuff if you haven't read Sunset.

I'll say that the terrorist threat at the beginning sucked me in and it's a good thing as I got pretty confused after all the characters started getting introduced with all of the House lineages and everything, but as I read I got it all sorted out.


message 27: by Mia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mia Darien (mia_darien) | 425 comments Yeah, I got pretty confused too but the more I read, the easier it was to keep track.

Oh, as time and money allows, I fully intend to read them all! I'm glad to hear that it expands on some of the things I wanted to see more of.


message 28: by Arshad (last edited Mar 18, 2012 12:17PM) (new) - added it

Arshad Ahsanuddin (pactarcanum) The complexity has been an issue for some readers, such that they get bogged down and give up.

I designed the Introductions in each book to act as handy quick reference sheets, so that readers could keep the characters and terminology straight. I would have preferred them to be appendices, since they're very information-dense. In the end though, I thought it would be better to have them up front, so that the reader would know they were there if they they needed them, even if they skipped over them in the beginning to get right to the story.


message 29: by Mia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mia Darien (mia_darien) | 425 comments I've got that going on with the paperback I'm reading now. (Steven Erikson's "Gardens of the Moon") I flip back to his Dramatis Personae list a lot to help keep things straight.

I think it didn't work as well for me with "Sunset" though was because it was an ebook. I have a dinosaur ereader, so hopping from middle to front to middle isn't so easy. In any other sort of format - like a paperback - I probably would have found it very useful.


message 30: by Arshad (new) - added it

Arshad Ahsanuddin (pactarcanum) Hmmm. Good point. My brain still thinks in terms of paper, though I've become pretty good at converting the content to electronic formats.

Maybe some kind of popup text or glossary would work better. I'll have to check with a programmer, since that's beyond my level. Thanks for the suggestion.

Anyway, I'll shut up now. I didn't mean to be so intrusive into the discussion.


message 31: by Scott, Fabled Reviewer o' Tales! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Scott (bookblogger) | 1315 comments Mod
I think having the author included in the discussion adds quite a bit Arshad. No need to feel unwelcome just because it's about your book. Also the more books we discuss the more it makes me realize I'm terrible at internet discussion. The more input from others the happier I am.


message 32: by Mia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mia Darien (mia_darien) | 425 comments Don't be too hard on yourself, Scott. Leading internet discussions is a lot like herding cats. Or Pugs, in my case.

And yes, I like being able to talk about a book with the author, so your input is perfectly welcome in my eyes, Arshad.

In terms of pop-up or something similar, that probably would help most, though I know my reader wouldn't handle it. Like I said, dinosaur ereader!

That aside, as long as the story can keep you engaged until it all makes sense - and it all does make sense at some point - then I find I can tolerate the up front denseness.


message 33: by Arshad (new) - added it

Arshad Ahsanuddin (pactarcanum) Suppose I inserted a line that said something like "This Introduction is meant to be used as a reference. A printable version can be downloaded at XYZ."

Would that be more helpful?

Arshad


message 34: by Mia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mia Darien (mia_darien) | 425 comments Actually, yeah. Whether printable or not, a note of where you could find it online or something would probably be very useful.

Maybe some flow charts to keep up with Nicholas' entanglements? ;)


message 35: by Arshad (new) - added it

Arshad Ahsanuddin (pactarcanum) Only for you (SPOILERS!):

http://pactarcanum.com/wp-content/upl...

Click to advance (requires MS Powerpoint).


message 36: by Mia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mia Darien (mia_darien) | 425 comments LOL! Thank you. I appreciate that. ;D


message 37: by Jeffrey, Lentarian Fire Thrower (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeffrey Poole (authorjmpoole) | 2287 comments Mod
Approaching the finish line here. Feeling out of the loop. Sheesh!!


message 38: by Jeffrey, Lentarian Fire Thrower (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeffrey Poole (authorjmpoole) | 2287 comments Mod
Should be done in less than an hour... Been a busy week!


message 39: by Arshad (new) - added it

Arshad Ahsanuddin (pactarcanum) Mia wrote: "LOL! Thank you. I appreciate that. ;D"

Just to follow up on the earlier discussion, I've made some changes to the layout of my books, so that the material contained in the Introductions is now part of the back matter, broken into more functional units: Glossary, Principal Cast, and Timeline. These all appear as separate section headings in the Table of Contents, which should allow for easier navigation to the specific information you might be looking for.

So far, I have updated Sunrise, Moonlight, and Starlight to the new format. I'm still working on Sunset.

Arshad


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