Let me get this out of the way: I hate reading reviews. I mean, I HATE HATE HATE HATE it! Even if it’s a favorable review, which it usually is, I start to wonder whether there is some bias involved, or if the praise might skew my ego in the wrong direction. The only type of review I value are those that are constructive, and in a very specific way, as in, “That thing on page 12; I didn’t get it. Please clarify.” That’s something I can work with.
What is perhaps most aggravating are the negative reviews from readers who probably shouldn’t be trying to read anything too challenging in the first place. I don’t want to come off as vindictive, but when someone critiques my writing, calling my story “messy,” in a nearly incomprehensible garble of words, without any concern for the rudiments of grammar and spelling, you really have to wonder if they wouldn’t be better off sticking to comics. Sometimes, the reviews are so baffling I am not even sure what they are trying to say.
When I completed The Princess of Aenya, I was certain no human being could dislike it. I mean really, this was my magnum opus, what I’d spent a lifetime learning to write. Then I get comments from readers stating that they don’t like “religious agendas,” and that there are too many (5000!) characters, despite the fact that I seem to be the only person on Earth who dislikes Game of Thrones specifically due to its plethoric cast, while MY book has about seven main characters in it: Radia, Demacharon, Davos, Ecthros, Eros, Ugh, and Zaibos, with some minor people thrown in to flesh out the setting—a lot fewer than Harry Potter, even.
The moral of the story is this: you cannot please everyone, no matter how well you write. Think of the most beloved book ever written, and I guarantee you at least one guy on Amazon has given it a 1 star. Which is why, I think, it’s best to focus on the positive reviewers, because these are really the only people I need to please, my future fanbase.
So here’s a look at just a few of my favorite Princess of Aenya reviews:
A combination fantasy/fairytale of a book that never leaves you lacking and wanting the next chapter. I loved the characters that were well presented, well loved, and rounded out with the detail that made me feel like part of their world even if they were a different race. We all have our favorite characters and I won’t spoil anything by telling readers who mine were in this book, but needless to say, I could see them and almost feel their presence. In total, I loved this book. At times I wondered where it was going, but it all comes together beautifully, and each character has its place and time and reason. Thanks, Nick, for a truly awesome read, and for making me lose myself in another world during this time we are living in now. It wasn’t hard to get away at all as long as I had this book. It will long live in my mind and heart.
I loved this book!! I read a lot of fantasy novels and the world created was refreshing. It’s told from different people’s perspectives which I felt added to the dimension of it. The story was unique and I was captivated right from the beginning. Highly recommend!!
The first thing I noticed about this second book in the Aenya series is how well written it is. Alimonos is a gifted writer who skillfully arranges words to create for the reader all manner of visions and moods, places and inhabitants, ideas and sensate responses. It is a rare pleasure to read such sentences and paragraphs. His prose is both literate and accessible, and he uses the language of antiquity especially well. The reader will encounter allusions to Greek mythology, Shakespeare, the holy books of various world religions, and much more. Here are adventure, holy quest, metaphysics, and depth psychology wrapped in one beautiful package. This is a saga of myth and fantasy, and like other good examples of these genres, it evokes prehistory, ancient history, recent history, and even the present day, offering timeless insight and wisdom. This is my second immersion into the world of Aenya, having read and deeply enjoyed the previous volume, AGES OF AENYA. THE PRINCESS OF AENYA surpasses the earlier work, which is quite an achievement. PRINCESS comes to a most satisfying conclusion, but the closing chapters leave a few hints and enticingly open doors to build interest for the next book. A major publishing house would do well to pick up this series for promotion and distribution, not only because it belongs among the best known in this field of literature, but because it would benefit the company financially (and deservedly, also the author).
I finished this book a couple of days ago and I can’t stop thinking about it.
The Princess of Aenya is that rare book that blends unbelievable optimism with total despair and somehow sticks the landing. The characters are incredibly believable; a lot of work is put into making Demacharon a sympathetic man with a monstrous past, Radia’s humanist philosophy is matter-of-fact, never on the nose, yet still contagious, and Zaibos is almost a moustache twirler, but one that us so well written and characterised that you’d never notice. All of the characters feel very, very real.
The world building is also phenomenal, with almost every other chapter cutting away to some minor supporting character’s perspective, which really fleshes out the story and gives the climax a truly epic and engaging finale. The world of Aenya, and particularly the city of Tyrnael, is as well developed a character as any other in the book.
Finally, the story is enrapturing. I rarely use the term, but unputdownable is apt here. It does not delay in throwing you into the action, which is fast paced but very well written, and then there are the quieter moments with Radia’s melancholy mixed with hope or Demacharon’s guilt and struggle to be a better man. The grand scale of the story has echos of Tolkien in the depth of it’s worldbuilding, Burroughs in it’s swashbuckling and wardrobe choices, and LeGuin in it’s creative and novel approach to a well-trodden genre.
The Princess of Aenya is even better than the first book in the series, Ages of Aenya, and I am very excited to read Gods of Aenya when it is finished.
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