I had a number of writers tell me over the weekend that they don’t read reviews. Maybe I’m a little odd or maybe I’ve just been very fortunate that the reviews I’ve received are intelligent and insightful, but I enjoy reading them. That includes this one from Fangs for Fantasy which is a little different.
Fangs for Fantasy’s reviews are a little difference in that they put the spotlight on social justice. It means that they are really going to look into how you handle diversity and call you out where you fall short.
I was genuinely interested to know how well I’d done. I knew I wouldn’t be perfect – there’s that balance between story and ensuring that everyone is represented correctly that is very hard to perfect (and I’m not sure needs to be absolutely perfect) but there’s a world of difference between making a conscious story decision and wilful ignorance.
It looks like I did OK on gender. There was a few issues they raised but most of these will become clearer (and hopefully less of a concern) as the series progresses.
Sexuality I didn’t do as well on, and it’s highlighted to me that whilst I do feature LBGT characters in the novel there’s not a particularly positive gay character in the novel. That surprised me and I hope to rectify it in future books.
Race I had some fail on. I thought I did quite well not once mentioning Nanny Voodoo’s skin colour but the review has shown me how some other things could easily be perceived. I’m taking these points on board so hopefully I’ll improve next novel.
And as is typical of me, I jump to these elements and beat myself up over how I can use this to improve as a writer, and don’t read the review in full which is concluded:
“This book was huge – truly, immensely huge. It has a huge world, it has a huge story, is has a huge cast of characters, it has huge issues. We didn’t embrace the hugeness with this first instalment – and yes, I want more and part of my disappointment is not getting more – but despite that it also doesn’t forget the people in the hugeness. In this vast vast vast world with a storyline clearly touching on epic forces, we’re not losing sight of the actual people that drive it who, consequently, are very strong, very grounded, very real and very human characters. It also gives us chance to digest the hugeness of the world without being overwhelmed. An excellent start to a series and a very good book as well.”
Be sure to check out the whole review.