Audiobook Review – “Artemis Rising” by Cheri Lasota

Artemis Rising – click to buy

4 STARS

Utterly atmospheric. A story woven from the golden threads of myth and mastery.

I didn’t know what to expect when I first started listening to Artemis Rising. It’s not normally a book I would have chosen, it being a YA romance, but I’m glad I did. I loved the historical aspect of this. While the story itself was abstract, almost floating above reality in a sense, fantasy and fantastical, the setting did the plot justice. The Azores are exotic and new to most, full of lush landscapes and open seas, the Portuguese language foreign to most ears. The time was right, as well, the late 1800’s when the world blossomed out, as did the world’s women from the ties of oppression – just like Ava in this tale.

Keeping the story ethereal were the intricate threads of the myths – those of Arethusa and Alpheus and Tristan and Isolde. Now, I wondered, how in the hooey is Cheri going to wend these two unrelated and vastly different myths together, but dang it… she did. I wondered, in a way, while listening to this, why Ava/Arethusa allowed herself to be so tied down to the myths? Why, in turn did Tristao? To me, it was the parental influence trickling down into the children themselves… and then when the children came into their own minds and their own lives it made sense. Much of it was more figurative and symbolic than realistic, and that was just fine with me. It was almost as if Artemis Rising was a new myth, a new tale to be told by the firesides and hearths.

I’ve read other reviews that discuss Ava/Arethusa making her choice between Paganism and Christianity, but I honestly don’t think that’s what it was. Her choice is between allowing external forces to control her life and her destiny, and taking her course in her own hands. I loved the use of name choices in this story, and while an abstract thought, the name truly defined each character, and that was a masterful stroke.

I enjoyed listening to this book but I think I may have enjoyed reading it more, and I may just do that. The narrator’s voice, while lilting, fine, and beautiful, almost song-like, was sometimes heavy handed, too high-pitched or strange in intonation, inflection and diction. I had to go back to the text sometimes to figure out what she was saying with certain words such as Marques. Granted, much of that was my lack of familiarity with the Portuguese language, so I take that bit of blame. I think, however, that the narration was right for the story. It was at times like listening to a mother or a beloved teacher reading to me, and given the poetic, beautiful language of this book, I think that makes sense, and it is a good fit.

Bottom line, I was entranced by the story. I was heartbroken, frightened, on the edge of my seat, and I felt all of the anger, fear, irritation and love right along with Arethusa. And I may have fallen a little bit in love with Tristao. 🙂 I would recommend this to a friend, and in fact, I have. I received the audio book for free, but I intend to buy a Kindle copy so I can revisit it whenever I like.

(E.L) James and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Q&A.

Sneaking round the internet on my lunch hour yesterday, salad in the bowl before me, I couldn’t help but click on a link from Buzzfeed.com, one that carried the headline “E.L. James Held a Twitter Q&A and it Went Horribly, Horribly Wrong.” The article, then, did just what it said on the tin. It quoted numerous Twitteristas who threw shade upon the author, some funny, some sarcastic, some honest, some rightfully angry, and some… downright abusive.

Now, allow me to preface with this: I am not in any way a fan of E.L. James’ body of… er… work. I admit when I first tried to read Fifty Shades of Grey, I got through the second chapter and had to stop. I am, if asked, a critic of her writing, her word choice (salsa dancing? oh please), her story telling… her glamorization of abusive men and weak women and unhealthy relationships. I do not think Christian Grey as a male role model. I do not find the story romantic in the least, quite the opposite. It disgusted me. (I did ultimately skim through the rest of the thing, giving it a chance, and giving credence to my complaints, so please don’t accuse me of criticizing something I didn’t read.)

But then… it’s fiction. 🙂

That being said, I was, as a writer, really saddened and dismayed by what happened to Ms. James on Twitter yesterday. Not for her, per se, but for the rest of us writers. The Twitter frenzy, beyond the honest criticism, was gross. It was mob mentality at its worst. It was petty and jealous. Spiteful. It was hypocritical to the extreme — those who accused and derided Ms. James of glorifying abuse became the abusers themselves. Abusers quite unlike Christian Grey who stood face to face with his victim. These abusers were cowardly, hiding behind their computer screens and keyboards, flinging virtual stones, raising virtual pitchforks and setting virtual conflagrations beneath her feet as she stood on the stacks.

As for Ms. James, I’m sure she was able to handle it. She’s a very successful writer with loads of money now, and a hefty, beefy publisher to back her up. She’s been the brunt of criticism and backlash ever since Christian and Anastasia burst onto the scene. She’s had her fair share of negative Tweets and emails and the like. She’s been on the receiving end of (founded) criticism and confrontation about her work and her attitudes. She’s been called out about her main character’s hatred of women, her portrayal of what she considers a romantic relationship, and she still does. It’s old news.

But… many of the tweets yesterday went far, far beyond that into the realm of bullying, of mudslinging for the sake of mudslinging, for the sake of maybe getting a tweet reposted on Buzzfeed, for example. For throwing stones for the sport of it. For the fun of it. To show off wit. To be funny at the expense of another. Downright disingenuous.

I wonder if she even saw a fraction of the Tweets that came across yesterday. I wonder if her publicist was running the show. I wonder if she even knew there was a Q&A. 🙂 I wonder if she even cared about what the masses said. Probably not.

Anne Rice posted on Facebook about this, noting that the internet inflicts such abusive behavior upon independent authors all the time – in reviews, on Goodreads, on Shelfari, elsewhere — upon artists who do not have the fortress of protection of a major publisher or a publicist or the like. It does. I’ve seen it. I haven’t been the victim of it other than one hiccup with a rather cranky reviewer, but not to any escalated level. Thank God.

While this sort of internet violence likely did not even faze Ms. James, it has the potential to tear apart, shred, and ruin an up and coming writer (or musician or actor or artist, what have you). It can choke the life out of a creative individual. And this is a symptom of the internet age. Criticism is one thing, if it’s honest and founded. Abusive, demoralizing hate speech in a mob mentality is quite another. It’s frightening, isn’t it, how humans behave? It’s as if we have devolved into computerized cave dwellers, grunting and howling and beating our clubs on the ground. Ugh.

Furthermore, to say that the Twitter Q&A was a failure is maybe, just maybe, a misconception. In spite of the negativity, in spite of the flurry of Twitter vitriol, what was the end result? Hm? What was it? Think about it for a second.

The end result was this — people are now talking about E.L. James. They are talking about Grey. Her name is on the news sidebar on Facebook. Her name is trending on Twitter. Her name is on the news aggregation sites. Her name is on the nightly news. And so, while those who decry James are sitting back rubbing their hands together about how terribly the Q&A went and how witty they were, I can’t help but wonder if her publicist is doing the same thing. I can’t help but wonder if her publicist is rubbing her hands together, relishing in all the delicious exposure this has gained her client.

Maybe this was their plan all along.

Food for thought.

(or maybe they’re not that smart and it really did backfire.) 🙂

Indie Pride Day July 1!!

Join in and show your love for Indie Books and Indie Authors!

Lift the Indie Author Industry as a whole and bring awareness to Indies!

Build readership and become competitive with the mainstream market!

Make indie trendy!

Just tweet a pic with you and your favorite Indie Book – or Books with the hastag

#IndieBooksBeSeen

Promo quoted from here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/103350473339010/

Quick result listing of promo sites used for Free promotion today.

As of 2:52 pm Dry Land is at #6 free in Hard Sci Fi. Broke the top 2000 free books. 122 units downloaded. Other than posting like hell on Facebook on my own and using Slack Social and Postcron, and posting to Twitter, these are the sites to which I submitted listings for the free promotion of Dry Land.

ETA: When the free promo closed down, there were 309 units downloaded. Ranking was in the top 1000 free and #2 in hard sci fi-free. Shortly thereafter, three paid sales. 

I write this post with the thought that my results may or may not be typical and may be useful to others in deciding whether to list with a book site. 🙂 Hope this helps!

And the results:

***

http://manybooks.net – emailed me that they didn’t have room for me today. Boo.

http://www.indiebookoftheday.com – didn’t post my book even though I got confirmation that my submission went through. Oh well.

http://www.readingdeals.com – didn’t see book listed. C’est la vie.

http://www.bettybookfreak.com – said no as I had already had a promo with them in Feb. That’s fair.

http://www.ebookstage.com – promoted my book as its “Book of the Day.” Biggest bonus of the day for me RIGHT HERE. Bless them.

http://www.ebooklister.net – promoted my book

http://www.digitalbooktoday.com – listed my book

http://www.ebookstamp.com – site was down

http://www.ebookasaurus.com – promoted my book

http://www.book-circle.com – promoted my book

http://www.readcheaply.com – couldn’t list my book as I already had a promo with them in February. Again, that’s fair.