Monthly Archives: November 2012

Review: The Moon Dwellers (David Estes) (Spoilers)

3/5

At some point in the future, humanity is wiped out from the surface of the globe and forced underground. Society splits into three factions, the elite Sun realm, the working drones of the Moon Dwellers and the underclass of the Star realm.

Adele Rose is in prison for no reason other than her parents were branded as ‘traitors to society’. Her family torn away from her, she waits to rot in prison. Tristan Nailin, son of the Sun Realm president, is a prisoner too…a prisoner of his fathers empire and expectations.

When he drives by the prison where Adele is a ‘guest’, they find themselves powerfully physically and psychically affected by their encounter, even though they don’t meet.

That night, both Adele and Tristan break out of their lives and go on the run. Adele to find her sister and parents, and Tristan to find what spell Adele has cast over him.

David Estes has written a technically flawless book. The characters are all fleshed out, the dialogue sharp and witty, the chapters all end on cliffhangers that keep you glued to the page. The plot bounces along and doesn’t lag. The world he creates is consistent and logical. I did spot a few errors with a few things…being electrocuted on barbed wire fence would make you clutch it tighter, not throw you off, and would humanity a thousand years underground know what cardboard was? But those are minor points.

So why don’t I want to give it five stars?

For me, the characters didn’t gel. I never connected with them in any meaningful way until close to the end. I had a feeling that I’d seen them all before a dozen times: Feisty yet vulnerable female heroine. Handsome yet insecure male hero. Minor characters for some comic relief and tension, one of who dies.

When Cole is killed near the end of the story, I should have been moved. I should have felt chills when soldiers footsteps echo from the next stone corridor. I think what was missing for me was atmosphere. I should have smelt the damp air of the caves and the chill breeze as it moved around me. I didn’t get a feeling past a physical description of how different the sun realm was from the moon dwellers, for instance. It took me twenty or thirty percent of the book to realise the light was lower in the moon caves.

I also felt that towards the middle of the book, Estes suddenly realises he has a sequel in mind. Thus, characters suddenly start talking about ‘The Secret’, and there is no explanation for Adele and Tristan’s odd psychic bond.

Adele’s father talks only in elliptical sentences for the few pages he’s in the book, then is quickly pushed out again, taking Adele’s sister with him. Two plot points tied up in one swoop. The same with the super killer Rivet, who is quickly dispatched…so much for being a super killer.

Ultimately though, despite the excellent writing, pacing and characters, everything about the book felt like I had seen it before, and towards the end it started to feel like a setup for the sequel.

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Do I need a webpage?

This is a little involved, but bear with me for a moment while I tell you a story. I’m good at that, so my reviewers say. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve been playing with the settings on my webpage recently, trying to iron out some random noisy statistics.

For those who don’t know, there are automated ‘spiders’ and ‘bots’ that index webpages for search engines. They crawl through the entire site, picking out keywords and then report back to their makers. Or something like that.

Anyway, I’ve been getting a lot of traffic from random places like China and South America, and as much as it inflates my ego to think that my fame spreads across the globe, looking closer tells me another story. There are bots and spiders out there that steal images and content from your site and eat up your bandwidth. In webpage terms, more bandwidth = more cost, and these bots can get bad enough to eat it all if you don’t stop them, with the result that the people hosting my webpage will turn it off.

I think the steps I’m taking to combat these bots are working, and when I look at my statistics for my webpage, I know by the traffic drop-off that they seemed to have stopped. And so does everyone else, for that matter: zero visitors yesterday. Compared to Facebook, which had thirty or so visits and a few people talking about me.

Another thing on my mind is that my webpage is ‘rented’ by me from a hosting company, and the renewal is up in December. It’s quite cheap, but money is money at the end of the day.

So here’s the thing: The sudden drop in statistics, the renewal thing have all got me thinking:

Do I need a webpage at all?

It’s in all the how-to-become-an-internet-successful-author books, right there at the top: Get a webpage, get on Facebook, get on Twitter, get yourself virtually out there and networking.

And the webpage is the least successful of all of those. My webpage sits there, passively, in a kind of Zen state. Nothing changes, except when I write another book (and I am!).

I could tweak it and put in a blog, download some applications to do that. But why? That’s what WordPress is for. I drop in links to where my books are sold…again, WordPress.

I could tweak it and put in a forum, do some social networking. But why? That’s what Facebook and Twitter are for.

I could drop in a secure store, but I’m happy to link back to my booksellers on Amazon and Smashwords.

So my point is that everything on my webpage I could spend weeks doing myself (or a small fortune paying someone else), I can do somewhere else. Simpler, faster, cheaper, more interactive. So why do I have a webpage? For instance, I’m posting this on two blogs โ€“ not my webpage.

Almost, the personal webpage is becoming redundant. The links on it point to other pages where people can at least interact with me โ€“ I’m having a fun debate on Facebook on making up some futuristic profanity for my work-in-progress at the minute.

I’m not planning to dump it tomorrow โ€“ for one thing, I get free email hosting tony-talbot@tony-talbot.co.uk, which I like.

I’ll keep you updated when the site comes up for renewal in December 2013. And where will that update be?

Not on my webpage, that’s for sure.

Are personal webpages irrelevant? What do you think?