Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Seabird by Sherry Thompson

This review is a part of the CFRB tour running this week. For more information, see the links at the bottom of this post.

Seabird is an alternate-world fantasy with a reluctant heroine dealing with issues of confidence and calling as she travels on her unintended journey in a fairytale-like fantasy land full of bizarre colours and cultures as well as sinister forces and imaginatively-contructed monsters.

Cara is unwillingly snatched from her beach holiday after buying a mysteriously compelling seabird necklace. She finds herself in a world of purple foliage and periwinkle skies, and of the Three Peoples who wait for the visit of this Outworlder. Understandably shocked, she tries to tell them there's been a mistake - she can't possibly be the one their prophecies speak of. So she runs from the tasks they tell her she must complete, thus encountering trouble of even more immense proportions.

The character of Cara is highly endearing, trying to deal with a situation that's put her far out of her depth. She's in over her head and it shows in her halting attempts to take action. Disasters aplenty make for exciting reading. How will Cara and her new friends get through?

The best thing for me was seeing Cara turn from denial to acceptance of the call she must answer if the Three Peoples are to be saved. It's not easy by any stretch of the imagination - but it's the easiest thing in the world to let yourself be drawn into the story.

Technically, the book cold have used some more editing in places and a little polish on the cover design. But it's a terrific first effort and I look forward to seeing more from this wonderfully imaginative author.

This is a book that's definitely worth re-reading to appreciate new depths.
You can buy it here.

Check out these other member blogs this week for more info.


Laura J. Davis said...

Grace, I agree about the cover and a few places could use some editing, but for a first novel Sherry did a remarkable job, didn't she? She is very talented. I also enjoyed the part where Cara finally realizes she is the only one who can help the Three Peoples. Great review!

David said...

I personally took Sherry over the coals before the tour began, but not because she is a poor writer. Quite the contrary. I realized that she was of such a significant talent that she should attend to some areas that needed smoothing out or polishing. I had a teacher who taught me that. It wasn't eh mediocre student who should be ashamed of their grade, so long as they tried their best, but the advanced student who missed a perfect score by one question. Her argument was that if they knew the rest, they should have known that question as well. So I tend to be toughest on those who are best. I was tough with Sherry, and like the top notch person she is, she thanked me for it.

David Brollier

SherryT said...

I'm grateful for everyone's commentary about "Seabird" -- both in public and in private. Especially when people write suggestions that help me improve my craft.

I began "Seabird" in 1979 and I had created many tales for my own amusement before then. In spite of this, I still feel like I'm flailing around a bit when I am writing. The inspiration is there but the execution is lacking.

Right now, I'm busy revising "Earthbow", the sequel to "Seabird". While I believe that Earthbow may become a stronger novel than Seabird, I still feel like I'm wandering around bumping into things. Rather like a bumblebee on the wrong side of a window, trying to get to the flowers.

David, Grace, Laura, anyone who reads this: I welcome your commentary and advice!

Sherry Thompson

cyn said...

I thought Seabird was extremely well-written and had no problems with the editing.

I find it interesting that authors are much more critical of a fellow author's work than the average reader.


David said...

Sherry, just tell the tale. If EARTHBLOW is anything like SEABIRD in quality you won't have any problems. I always advise people to get the story out first. They can always go back an check for errors. The way I find my errors is having others read my work and point them out to me, because, like you, I'm blind to them. I don't have the flare you have, which can be seen even in your post here. Your imagery is just awesome.


SherryT said...

David wrote in part:
I always advise people to get the story out first. They can always go back an check for errors. The way I find my errors is having others read my work and point them out to me, because, like you, I'm blind to them.

Ah, but you see, David, I have finished writing Earthbow. The first -- sort of the second -- draft is complete. (Except for a scene I lost when my computer crashed this summer, but that's another story.)

I am in the process of "going back and checking for errors". And I am at an impasse. Right now, I have three different beginnings for the novel based on three different points of view. Unlike Seabird, Earthbow has to be told from multiple points of view.

I've run the opening chapters past my local writers' group members. They liked them well enough, though I sensed a lack of enthusiasm there.

I ran them past an online group to which I belong. For the most part, they hated them, or wanted me to do away with one or more of them, or advised me to present them in a different order. (They're currently in chronological order.)

Finally, I sent everything I have so far to my editor/publisher, Dave Wood. He's so busy, he hasn't had a chance to read any of the latest revision yet.

cathikin said...

Actually, I kind of like the cover. I don't know enough about art to say what style it is or anything, but it seems to fit in with fantasy to me. She's holding a sword whose power has to do with water and to me that has an effect on the illustration.

Nice post, Grace. I look forward to Earthbow.

Rick Copple said...

Seabird sounds like a fun read. I'll have to get a copy sometime soon.

Good review, Grace.

SherryT said...

Thanks, Cath! Yes, the sword of Living Water has a role to play on the cover and in the book. I like the cover for the most part, but then I saw some of the alternatives!

Dave Wood is my editor, my publisher, and at times my email buddy -- but -- DW would not know how to design a book cover if it fell on his foot and bit his big toe. We had -huge- wangling on the subject for months in mid-2007.

I really like a couple of the books in the Gryphonwood catalog besides my own. I only like one other cover.

To Rick: I hope you like the book. Some of it is certainly fun, though I doubt that's the first adjective that would come to Cara's mind. ;-)

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Make that "up and running" and "hole". Where's the rewind button on this thing?

cathikin said...

Well, Grace, you don't get anything but satisfaction out of this, but the winner of a copy of Seabird commented on this site. It's Jessica Thomas. Congratulations to Jessica!

Amy Deardon said...

Sherry, congratulations on your first novel!

Brandon Barr said...

Cool review. Congrats Sherry.

SherryT said...

Congratulations to Jessica! I just need an addy to send your copy of Seabird winging on its way. Please contact me at
KhivasMommy AT gmail DOT com

To Amy & Brandon:
Thank you for your congratulations.

I hope to hear everyone's opinions of Seabird some day. It's fascinating hearing other people's takes on the story and characters.

SherryT, aka Sherry Thompson
author of Seabird, a fantasy novel.