Tag Archives: Jason Halstead

Why I Review Self-Published Books

As someone who is writing a book and intends to self-publish, I want to support other authors who self-publish. That is why I review them.

You see, while I’m reading traditionally published books in physical form, I also read self-published books on Kindle. I usually have two books going at the same time, and I when I have a little time, I read the eBook.

But aren’t self-published books garbage? Absolutely not! There are some that are very good. Here are three that have received publishing deals after originally being published online or as self-published eBooks:

  • Riyria Revelations, by Michael J. Sullivan
  • Wool, by Hugh Howie
  • The Martian, by Andy Weir

Although I don’t have Wool, I have the other two, and will read them soon. I have also read some that don’t have a publishing contract and are very good. Sure, just like traditionally published books, you find some that aren’t very good.

Below, you can watch the review of the first self-published novel I ever read, Voidhawk, by Jason Halstead.

The original review is here, which I did nearly four years ago.

Do you read self-published books? Let me know in the comments below.

Book Review – Voidhawk

Voidhawk by Jason Halstead is the first novel I read with my Kindle app on my iPhone.  I’m not used to reading eBooks, but I found that there were some formatting problems.  That may be the fault of the app or it may not have been edited or formatted properly.  However, this will not affect my review.

This was both a very interesting book and a very unusual book.  It was interesting because of the setting.  It’s quite unique.  Halstead created a universe in which traditional fantasy races traveled in wooden boats in the Void.  The Void is their word for space.  So, this was fantasy in space!  It is in no way science fiction.  The only thing that separates it from the usual earthbound fantasy is the fact that it is in space.  I really enjoyed how he set it up with planets being the unusual locations for people to go, while most were in the Void in vast artificial settlements and on asteroids.  These places had their own atmospheres.  In fact, every ship had its own atmosphere and gravity plane.

What I found unusual is how its very episodic.  It doesn’t seem to have a single storyline, unless you count the central romance or the characters’ increasing familiarity with each other.  There are many smaller adventures, mostly in life or death situations.  But that doesn’t mean it’s a serious book.  I found it filled with humour.  Some of it was a bit childish and unnatural.  I couldn’t put my finger on it until later in the book when I realised that the humour was quite similar to that of Japanese animation.  Male characters tend to be very embarrassed by female nudity.  While they seem to be adults, they behave like awkward teenagers who have never seen a nude woman.  And yes, there is plenty of nudity and adult humour in this book. It’s not for kids.

The characters were an interesting bunch.  Dexter Silvercloud is the Captain. He’s daring, impulsive, occasionally responsible, and seems to have the most internal conflict.  Kragor is the dwarf first mate who never seems to be serious. A lot of humour comes from him.  He’s a decent character that I liked.  Jenna is the elf. At first, headstrong and stubborn, but she shows the greatest development.  Bekka is the half-elven pilot, and I didn’t find her character to be very deep.  Other characters come in to join the crew, such as Jodyne, Rosh, Bailynn, Keshira, Xander, Willa, and Logan.  My main difficulty with the characters is how they changed emotions suddenly and irrationally.  They didn’t seem very natural.  I don’t know if Halstead noticed this, but every character “chuckled” all the time. That word was overused.

I believe this is his debut book, so his style probably hadn’t been firmly established yet.  But despite the problems I saw, it was a fun read.  It has good entertainment value, but don’t expect to find a deep story.  I’m looking forward to reading the second book in this series, though.

I will give this 3 stars.  It’s not amazing, but it is a decent first book. Recommended to those who enjoy some humour mixed in with their fantasy. Also recommended to those who like unique settings.

Reading Indie Books

People question why anyone would want to read an indie book, also known as self-publishing.  With the new age of e-publishing and Amazon making it extremely easy for anyone to publish a book, completely bypassing the traditional publisher, it makes people wonder if the quality is even good.  I would say that they’re right to question the quality.  I often do, too. However, I want to support indie authors.  There are some surprisingly good books that usually go completely unnoticed.

I have already reviewed an indie book on here, and am currently reading two others. The ones that I’m reading are completely different.  One is in print, the other is an ebook.

The print book I’m reading is Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist. It’s written by Baye McNeil, also known as Loco in the world of Japan blogs. I’ve been reading his blog for quite some time, and so I bought an autographed hard copy of his book earlier this year.  I’m reading it slower than I should.  I read it at home, where my daughter often doesn’t let me read anything.  However, what I’ve read so far is very good.  Baye is a very talented writer and author. One of these days, I think I’ll have to make it to a tweet-up that he’s attending.

The other book I’m reading is Voidhawk by Jason Halstead.  I’m reading it on my iPhone with the Kindle app.  This book is an interested one.  It has a unique premise, high fantasy involving elves, dwarves, mages, battles on wooden ships, pirates and more, but all of it is in space.  It’s not high tech.  In fact, it seems completely magical.  This is actually the first indie novel I’ve read, and I’m enjoying it so far.  It’s got a sense of humour to it, so I can’t completely take it seriously.  There are editing issues, such as typos and formatting problems, but it doesn’t detract from my reading experience.  It’s not an amazing book, but it is a fun read so far.  Also, this book is available for free!  You have nothing to lose by trying it.  You may like it. Unfortunately, I’ve been taking my time with this book.  I’ve been reading paper books during my free time on the train and my lunch break at work, while Voidhawk has been what I read when I have to stand on the train.  Bad excuse, but I hope to devote more time to it. When I finish it, I’ll be writing a review.

I have downloaded many other books to my phone, though I haven’t read them yet.  I will review all of them as I finish them.  It’ll be interesting to see how good or bad some of these books are, but I want to give them all a try.

On a somewhat related topic, ebooks are a great way to read classics for free.  As they are no longer copyrighted and in the public domain, they are available for free in ebook format.  Many you can even read on your computer.  But as far as Shakespeare is concerned, I’d prefer to have a paper copy with good explanatory notes.  I’m not so sure if electronic forms of Shakespearean plays have that.

Are you reading indie books?  Please leave a comment and tell me why you do or don’t read indie books.