It's a double post day here on the blog! Even though Monday is my day for the Blog Ring of Power interviews, I wanted to get an early start on the holiday and help celebrate other independent authors. Yes, I'm part of the INDIE-pendence Day Blogfest hosted by The Indelibles. (Click the link to see all the participating blogs.) Today we're supposed to highlight great indie books, so I'm going to mention two I read this year: The 19 Dragons by SM Reine and the Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey.
The 19 Dragons is a blend of fantasy, steampunk, and mystery. I don't remember how I learned about this one, though it was probably through a blog. A Land with 19 pillars is home not just to people, but to nineteen dragons in human form. When someone renders the dragons mortal and starts killing them, the Land starts dying as well. Told as a series of vignettes, the story visits each dragon in turn, although a couple of the dragons reappear over and over. It was well-written in a poetic style and fast-paced. I enjoyed this unique story and unique voice.
I learned about Hugh Howey's Wool stories through The Passive Voice blog. The science-fiction saga began with a single short story; when reviewers demanded more, Howey wrote the sequels, successfully increasing the scope of the world and the stakes each time. In a future sterile world, humanity survives in an underground silo. Anyone expressing the wish to go out is exiled--a death sentence. The first story begins with a sheriff whose own wife was exiled; other characters are featured in later stories. Ultimately a young woman engineer becomes the focus of the series. I have to admit I was a little confused in the beginning, but once I understood the workings of this world, I was drawn in. The world-building is believable, as well as the characters. There are several surprising twists in the story, along with scenes where characters I cared about were put into jeopardy. The formatting and copy-editing of this story are of professional quality (and even better than some traditionally published e-books). I don't often give a book a full five-star rating, but I felt this one deserved it. The omnibus edition of Wool has five parts. There is a sixth book out, which I need to read once I clear a few more books out of my "To Read" collection.
If you're on Goodreads, you can find more books featured in this blogfest on this list. Go forth and celebrate the Fourth with an indie book!