I have been known on occasion to promise to write a review for fellow authors. I have some fair firm rules on these promises, in that I don’t write a review unless I genuinely like what I’m reviewing. If I don’t like a book I won’t write a review, because there is enough negativity in the world and frankly just because I don’t enjoy something doesn’t mean someone else will not love it.
There is however another reason why I occasionally fail to write a review, sometimes while I intend to do so I get swamped with other stuff and the review falls off my list of things to do. (reviews are not alone in this, I forgot to cancel my sons mobile phone contract for over a year, because it kept dropping off my radar) What I mean by this is I am exactly as organised as the average writer with a day job a video game addiction and the attention span of….
Sorry what was I saying…
Oh yes, reviews, the ones I promised to write in the last year or so because I really enjoyed the books in question and haven’t found the time because ‘its been a year’. Indeed so far the 2020’s have ‘been a decade’ and we are less than 18 months into them. So in an attempt to right the balance a little, here is the first of some brief, but honest reviews of some wonderfulness, wonderfulness that has at least made this decade a little better with the sparkling of joy they contain.
I am, it is fair to say, much enamoured of the isle of Hopeless Maine. The brain child artist Tom Brown and writer Nimue Brown, its a weirdly beautiful isolated world all of its own. A place of spoon-walkers, fog monsters, witches, tentacles, mad-science and arcane magic’s. All rendered beautifully in prose and picture, but it has grown to encompass more than just the Browns imaginations made strange, unforgettable, creepy and delightful life. For the Browns are more than happy for, indeed actively encourage, others to come play in their sand pit. The Oddatsea is the result of this openness to other imaginations.
The second of two stand alone illustrated novella’s, the first of which ‘New England Gothic‘ was written by Nimue, The Oddatsea was written by Keith Errington. When I approached the book I did so with some minor trepidation. While it was illustrated just as gorgeously by Tom as I had come to expect, the writing of Nimue is to me just as important as the art, so could a different writer capture the same quality of fay eeriness that I find so enthralling about Nimue’s work? The answer was of course no, but as it turns out that was a good thing, for if Kieth had been trying to replicate Nimue’s style I doubt this would have been half as good a read as it turned out to be. Kieth Errington has his own style, as every writer has, and he embraces it in this story, making the world of Hopeless Maine his own. Or at least this slice of it. A perfect counter point to New England Gothic and companion novella, though the style is different the world is the same strange dark reflection of the real world. Though in the Oddatsea it is a world encountered firstly from beyond the fog bound shored of Hopeless isle. A world viewed through a different lens, the lens of submarine search light looking for a land beyond the fog bank.
You can I believe still get your tentacles on copies of both The Oddatsea and New England Gothic via the kick-starter page, here, if not you could contact the laird and lady of Hopeless Maine themselves via there website the hopeless vendetta, I am sure.
Next up will be those books of Nils I have been reminding myself to review for the last six months …