Our Author Gang Favourite Reviews
Nicola McDonagh Our Author Gang Member Page
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The authors of Our Author Gang celebrate and appreciate the readers by posting our favorite reviews between September 10 and 22. Every day a different author of the group posts about their books and quote from their readers’ favorite reviews.
Thank you for your interest in our books and happy reading!
My Favourite Reviews
This review pleased me a lot. I had taken a chance when writing this sci-fi/dystopian series by introducing a slang-based language. I wasn’t sure whether or not it would work, and whether or not readers would be put off. Judging by the feedback, I am glad to say, it seems to have worked exactly they way I wanted it to.
Great beginning to an original tale
I enjoyed 'Echoes' in this book series, and so expectations were high for this, the prequel. The dystopian world is fully imagined and a treat for any fantasy reader seeking proper escapism. The characters are lovely, with a gutsy heroine to get behind, but for me what really stands out is the dialogue and language, which sets this series apart. Think 'Lord of the Flies' meets the wild children in 'Beyond Thunderdome' and you're somewhere close. It's fascinating to come across the phrases and words that are disjointed from our own yet not entirely different; chinese whispers from our language passed on through the years and slowly changing as they are passed from ear to ear.
The story is fast paced and hits the ground running from the moment the sinister Praisebees enter the fray, and the tempo doesn't let up. A pleasure to read, I look forward to more in this series and from this visionary author. By R T Worth
I love this review because the reader really understood what I am trying to say with this series. It isn’t just a dystopian adventure, but an appeal to my fellow man to save our beautiful planet. The reviewer appreciates my efforts as an author to create a unique world and draw the reader in .
A great story full of fun wordplay, great imagery, and an underlying commentary about the frailties of mankind.
"Echoes from the Lost Ones" is set in a dystopian future where tremendous stress is being put upon the characters in the book by the "Agros" who control both the creation and distribution of food. In the world of the novel, humanity is divided into geographically (and genetically) segregated groups that often view one other with distrust and prejudice, a situation which is aggravated by the scarcity of food. Wildlife has been nearly wiped out and only birds have any degree of abundance due to their ability to evade human predation. But the main character of the book, Adara, has a special and highly sought after skill: she can lure birds from the sky with her voice. She has left her home in "Cityplace" to search for her lost brother who has been taken by the Agros for an unknown purpose.
While there are sometimes grim landscapes peppered with the burnt and rusted wreckage of the past, the novel is not post-apocalyptic: whatever calamities brought civilization to this point seem to have been gradual and due to the foolishness of mankind. I think this is an important point and hints at some interesting commentary coming up in the series about the state of mankind today. I am excited to see what Nicola McDonagh has in store for us.
For me, though, the thing I liked best about the book are the various dialects of the characters in the book, and most specifically that of the narrator, Adara. The story takes place hundreds of years in the future and it would have been an easy out for the author to just give us plain old English. But McDonagh goes the extra mile and creates specific jargons for the distinct groups of people in the novel. For me this gave the story a deeper authenticity and helped to accentuate the prejudices between the characters - a seemingly important theme in the upcoming series. The dialects were not only very understandable, but often very clever and humorous, and Adara's narration was like a mixture of Stanley Unwin, Alex from "A Clockwork Orange", and the voice of Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky",
As a reader I felt myself caught between the sometimes silly naivete of the characters and the frightening reality of the world they occupy. This created a degree of anxiety that really pulled me into the story and, coupled with the subtle hints about the current state of mankind, gave "Echoes of the Lost Ones" great depth and humanity. All in all a great read. I eagerly await the next book in the series! By G. Bowdish
This review made me feel quite humble. I was so nervous about publishing this collection of short stories because they are examples of the kind of writing I feel most comfortable with, strange, off-beat, surreal. Not to everyone’s taste, so when I started getting 4 and 5 star reviews, I was shocked.
Sparkling jewels of short stories
‘Glimmer and other stories’ is a miniature treasure chest of jewels. I absolutely loved these short stories. As I was reading, I fell into a trance of adjectival excess... they were mesmerising, masterful, original, eloquent, lyrical, clever... There are some books I know I will return to, to savour them again with the same pleasure, and this is one of them. Nicola McDonagh’s use of language is subtly poetic; the words flow with a sensuous rhythm that carries the reader along on a wave of colourful narrative, sprinkled with uniquely painted descriptions that I found enchanting. Here are some of the most memorable examples:
In ‘Glimmer’– “I felt the sun on my cheeks and heard its heat melt away her frown...”
In ‘Scarecrow’– “The moon shone bright and made drops of water that clung onto the cobwebs shimmer like diamonds... like necklaces left out to dry by ghosts.”
In ‘Daub’– “...shadows... crawled along the skirting boards and up the walls like dirty fingers groping for something clean.” The story itself was imbued with a mystical quality that made all the stories such compelling reading. Nicola McDonagh has perfected the art of letting the deeper meaning lurking in the shadows of her stories creep up on you. And when it does it is shocking, even a little disturbing, but for me always satisfying.
I was overcome with a fit of superlatives again while reading ‘On the Eighth Day’. For me, it was an exquisite exemplar of sophisticated eroticism, an intriguing mystery that built up to its climax so stealthily that its chilling significance only gradually dawned.
There are seven bright jewels in this collection, and I have left descriptions of the rest for you to discover for yourself. You will not be disappointed. I believe you will be entranced, as I was, by the language, the story telling, and the beauty of these well-crafted stories. Nicola McDonagh has published two novels: ‘Echoes from the Lost Ones’ and ‘A Silence Heard’, both part of a series aimed at young adults. This is definitely an author to watch. By Lesley Hayes
Thank you for reading my favourite reviews. They really do mean a lot to an author. Good or bad, reviews help the author to become a better writer by taking note of what readers say about their work. So, if you do read a book, please leave a review, however short.
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