Watcher Of The Dead (First Impressions, Spoilers!)

A Cavern of Black Ice” is absolutely one of my favourite story-books. There are a number of chapters, scenes within the book that capture time and space and fragmented weaving of minute details with far-reaching actions and foreshadows and .. Oh, the joy.

I’d known “Watcher of the Dead” was coming out here soon, but even so when we found it at an Angus and Robertson bookshop in Burwood Westfields, I nearly leapt out of my skin.

WOTD (nice, this is the way cool people do it, like for GRRM’s ASOIAF books, or RJs WOT books, or .. ahem) is the fourth book in the Sword Of Shadows series.

It continues the story of Raif Sevrance, a.k.a Watcher of the Dead (or a number of other very cool names). There are a good handful of pov characters, and they all tell an amazing story.

Impression: GREAT READ.

The book feels tighter and more .. dense .. that the others, if that’s possible. It’s shorter by a couple of hundred pages, and I think that makes it feel perhaps go quicker than the previous books. That could also be because I sat and read it through over two night-time sits.

Re-Reads will bear out my initial thoughts, but I have to say that there was one particular revelation in the last chapter of a pov that cause me to go back to the previous page (which on a first read I almost never do), to check if I’d missed something. I’m eager for the next read, to see if there were any fore-almost-shadows of it.

Okay, to Raif.

Back in Cavern (oh wait, ACOBI), Raif was near death and met with Death, who seems rather female if I’m not mistaken. Anyway, she made a promise to him about killing an army.

Now, for the first three books (I’m slow) I pretty much thought that just meant he was going to bring the hurt on many, many, many folk (loved ones and acquaintances included). But now I’m thinking that while this is true, there’s another meaning.

A specific army.

It’s just a hunch. We’ll see what happens.

Anyway, JVJ (hey Julie!) is moulding Raif towards herculean abilities in battle. In this book we see how (at least, one of the steps, but it’s a big one). There’s Moon Snakes and rebel Sull and a friend dies and well, not for the delicate this reading is.

The final Raif chapter must have been incredibly hard to write. Not-Raif as a character, who is the same character but not at all the same, has minimal thought process and higher-level brain function. At least, that’s how it seemed on the read. It felt like I was reading through a cloud. Like there was a block, “more beast than man” (Simpsons quotes for everything), which really came through.

When I think about Cavern, while there’s a great deal of pain and sadness, there is a sense of beginning which gives hope. The start of the journey.

This book, Watcher, is the nadir point. Truly. It’s the base line level where every single chapter is tinged (or coated) with sadness and despair.

I guess in a way that made it a hard read. Don’t hear me wrong, it’s a great read, but it’s hard.

Here’s to the dawning of hope.

JVJ writes with passion and diligence. She has exceptional depth of emotion in her characters, reaching far into the big themes of hope and loss and pain and death and redemption.

Kudos Julie on the fourth installment in this epic tale. Cannot wait for the next one!

Oh, and FINALLY .. The Scarpes get some comeuppance!

Stu Talk #4 – My Kudos for Gary’s "Good People Day" (GPD08)


I say "Props" way too many times. Zero would be better. Apologies for that.

Gary really is bringing a lot of energy and inspiration and joy and life to the community. Gary .. Thankyou for all your hard and crazy work!

I’ve been hearing a lot of "good people" kudos to folk within the twitter-web-dev-tech community. I’d like to add another segment to that .. our favourite book authors.

So here are two of mine, George R. R. Martin and J.V.Jones (my sig on the forums is "theUnguru").

What’s Doing

Okay. I’m very trashed. Going to just list a random order of things happening lately.

– played a bit of WoW again, finally. Missed the crack-e-ness.

– played a very tiny bit of the Witcher with the new patch that lessens load times. Made it much more enjoyable. Will have to continue with that.

– movement on the Tech Evangelist role for SV (Clarion).

– decided on a revamp for Pimp My Clarion, as of now going to create it in NetTalk, host it myself.

– got the web server and basic web system functionality into the Freight system.

– almost got the Tafres (Freight System) web site finished and ready to launch. Just need to fill in some of the content.

– working on a new patch for Jaymoe. Still trying to do too much though. Changing the UI. It’s not going to happen easily or quickly. Going to have to work out which way to go.

– a new beta of Dr. Explain came out. Looking forward to getting stuck into the added features.

– actual work is getting pretty convoluted. I took some initiative and started assuming the role of Team Leader for my project. Noone has corrected my assumption yet, although had to deal with some wierdness.

– read some interesting stuff about Ruby on Rails .. 1. here and 2. here. Well, the second link has a more global topic. Warning .. Extreme Language, specially in the Zed rant. But very interesting. It sounds like a complicated mess, with massive egos and guys who don’t know much about programming, and guys who do, all fighting together over important and not-so-important stuff. Which is of course a global and lame statement. Ha ha. If you want to find out about what’s going on in the Rails community .. read Zed’s rant.

– Sword of Shadows (JVJ’s site) came out! Read it asap and loved it. This series is one of my all time favourites. Got one of the most awesome fantasy quotes ever. "Kill an army for me Raif Sevrance. Any less and I might just call you back."

– almost finished watching Heroes Series 1 through again. Just finished "Five Years Gone" last night while exercising.

– Exercising like a maniac on the bike we got as a combined christmas pressie. 30 mins to 1 hour a night, 5-7 nights a week. It’s crazy. But awesome because you can do it in front of the telly. Ahhhh. However, really cuts into .. well .. time.

That’s enough for now. Regular updates will hopefully be more .. regular.