Dead of Winter #Review

I admire people like Olga and Robbie, who make writing a wonderful review seem like child’s play. I struggle with reviews, and I feel bad, because I like supporting the authors whose work I enjoy. As anyone familiar with this blog already knows, I am a long-time fan of Teagan Geneviene. I love reading her serial stories on her blog, and I’ve bought many of her books, including the “bookized” versions of those stories. That said, I think I’ve written precisely one review (which is one more than I’ve written for most authors).

When I read good reviews, I marvel at how the writers share information and emotion without giving away too much. I find that difficult. I find it even harder for “Dead of Winter” since the epic novel is being presented in wonderful, albeit novella length monthly Journeys. I don’t how Teagan does that. Not only does she have to figure out where to make the breaks, in order to compartmentalize the story, she has to keep our interest from month to month, journey to journey – she does both with apparent ease. And, she has to create a new cover each month, but we all know how well she does that. When the times comes that I need a book cover, I know where I’m going.

Teagan is nine journeys into the adventure, and I think it’s about time that I say something.

What is it that I like most about Dead of Winter?

I like the world Teagan has created and the fact that the realm of the living is barely separated from the realm of the dead. I love the fantastic notion that the heroine can travel past that barrier – not that it’s always something she wants to do. The places, the forces of nature, the ruins and the wagons – as a woodworker, I am seriously impressed with the wagons. And Teagan hasn’t just built a world like a Hollywood prop, she knows the history of her world, and how power has moved from people to people, how buildings have been destroyed and how the dead are to be feared. I joke about the wagons, but the people whose story Teagan is sharing are on a journey of their own, and the wagons and horses are important.

What do I like about Teagan’s writing?

I so admire Teagan’s ability to describe places, things and events and I am constantly amazed at her ability to create characters that are alive to me. After eight journeys, I feel I have spent an afternoon getting to know Emlyn, Mercedes, Osabide, Tajin and Zasha and so many others.

Emlyn is the star of this story. I have feared for her safety. I have learned by her side, and I have done a virtual fist bump as she has escaped from those who would have her killed for her thoughts and dreams. Osabide, the teacher is a wonderful woman, someone I think I would trust the instant I met her. Tajin, the swordsman leaves me in awe of his prowess and makes me wonder about his past and his future. Mercedes is a font of knowledge about the past. A member of the Deae Matres – a society of women on a mission to preserve knowledge. Zasha, perhaps my favorite character. At first, I was jealous of her (on behalf of Emlyn) but I have grown to enjoy the scenes where she is featured.

Did I just say I was jealous of a character in a book?

Yes, I did. That’s how powerful Teagan’s writing is. That’s how closely I was drawn into the story.

How does this serial thing work as opposed to reading a big, long book?

It’s hard for me to answer this. The epic stories I’ve read were all assignments for a high school or college class. I can’t think of a fiction book as long as this would be that I’ve read in recent years. I think the serial process works. I love starting and finishing a new Journey each month. Teagan has left us hanging a few times, but that’s ok.

If you haven’t yet read any of the Journeys of Dead of Winter, or if you read one or two and stopped, click yourself to Amazon and get started or get caught up. You will not regret doing that.

Thanks to Teagan for supplying the images from the Journeys. To those of you in the US, I hope you’re enjoying the long Labor Day weekend.

105 comments

  1. I admire anyone who can write a story, let alone anything so complicated! A very interesting review — I am especially intrigued by “The Three.” I also love the puddle with Maddie and the tree, and, no, I’m sure I couldn’t resist! I hope you too are enjoying your long weekend.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks. The I forgot to mention is that she wrote this epic story in the first place. While I can babble on endlesly, crafting a long complex story is a daunting task.

      Maddie seems to like those puddles. She always goes to it, and I try to get her to stand still to capture her reflection. And, I can never resist that foot.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks very much, Maureen. I’m trying not to give anything away, so I’m choosing my words carefully… “The Three” is an element of the story that is mysterious for several installments. However, it relates to the relationship between three main characters, Emlyn (the heroine), Osabide, and Zasha. It is also tied to the history of Emlyn’s world, an ancient prophecy, and very loosely inspired by some of my real-world research.

      I wouldn’t be able to resist MiMi’s foot either. =^-^= Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Your review is wonderful, Dan. You didn’t give away any storyline, but managed to say to a reader: ‘You see why I love these books?!’ So well done! I (reluctantly) wrote a review one time for a friend who asked me to. I am not good at that at all, but she insisted. I struggled, but did write it. Don’t you know she told me she was gonna change it–why didn’t she just write it in the first place?!
    I LOVE the ‘are you coming?’ photo of Maddie. She looks beautiful. Have a great week.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Lois. I had to laugh at your experience – “I’m gonna change it…” Seriously, why not just listen to me?

      Once Maddie knows were going to go outside and sit, she wants us to be there. She waits for me to sit, and then she lays down. Sometimes, I take too long (putting down my coffee, phone, newspaper, etc.)

      Have a great week, too.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, that’s groan-worthy, Lois. Even when someone gets a story element wrong, I don’t ask them to change a review. I’m just pleased that a story can touch different parts of the imagination in different people. (The only time I’ve ever taken any action about a review was for a different series. Someone posted a positive review, but then through and revealed every single “surprise” element in the story. Even then I didn’t go to the reviewer. I asked the hosting site to put a spoiler alert on the review.)
      I’m on cloud nine about Dan’s review. Thanks very much for reading and commenting. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Dan, you treasure! Even though it’s only the 6th day of the month, I think I can safely say that you’ve totally made my September. Truthfully, I’m thrilled if somebody just says “I really liked this story and I liked ___.” and gives 5 stars. To me, that’s a review. You have gone above and beyond. This works great as a comprehensive review of the series. I’m honored, especially by all the thought you put into it.
    Thanks for making the slide show of my book-interior images. Your gallery was a delight as always. LOL, Maddie really did look impatient. I think I will save this to reblog as my midweek post. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Labor Day to you too, Dan. I hope you’re not laboring today, at least at anything that isn’t enjoyable. I understand how you feel about book reviews. There are so many books that I love and have read multiple times but have never reviewed. Teagan’s books sound like something my sci-fi/fantasy-loving husband would enjoy. As usual, I enjoyed your photos. :-)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you kindly, Janet. “Dead of Winter” is a high fantasy. I focused on the world building and characters. The fantasy element escalates gradually. There’s magic and ghosts, but it is not heavy on the “sword and sorcery” type of fantasy.
      Happy Labor Day. Hugs on the wing!

      Liked by 2 people

    • I wouldn’t even call myself a serious fan of fantasy, Janet, but I enjoy well-told stories and Teagan excels at storytelling. By the end of each month, I’m waiting for the next Journey to arrive.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What a wonderful review, Dan! Thanks for the mention, but I am sure many authors wish you would review their books as well, because you clearly only review a book when it means a lot to you, and that’s something that comes through, and other readers will appreciate. I share your feelings about the journeys, and I’m ever so happy we still have a few more journeys left. In any case, I’m sure we’ll remember Dead of Winter and its characters for a long time to come. I hope you do write some other reviews in the future, because I’m sure other readers will appreciate your opinion (and the authors as well). Stay safe and thanks for all the inspiration. ♥

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Great review – it is a skill, or is it an art? I have been reading Teagan’s latest, and it is hilarious. And I’m also in awe of her writing Teagan explained to me she is a “panster” (hope I’ve spelt it correctly) and wow !!!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You did a wonderful job writing this review, Dan. Your review is lively and shows how much you were into the world and characters of the book. I agree with you that Teagan “knows the history of her world, and how power has moved from people to people, how buildings have been destroyed and how the dead are to be feared.” I know how much research she’s done when writing her books. The presentation of your review is a delightful read.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m greatly enjoying The Dead of Winter journey too and don’t want it to end! Like you, I appreciate Teagan’s ability describe interesting settings and characters who are like dear friends. The dipolomatic Mercedes is my favorite.The stories are easy to read, yet not simple. There is depth in the characters and their struggles. I love that a group of intelligent and adventurous women rescued young Emlyn from the oppression and danger of an archaic male dominated culture. Maybe I should copy this to start my own review!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Wonderful review. I really like how you have personalized the characters. I may borrow that trick for some future review of one of Teagan’s Journeys. As a librarian, I have fallen in love with the Deae Matres.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Excellent review, Dan. You outdid yourself! And Teagan is right that authors appreciate every single review, even if it’s only one sentence long. I think this one had her doing a happy dance. A great serial that she can be proud of. ;-D

    Liked by 2 people

  11. What a great post and topic, Teagan! I’m realizing that many readers feel the same way as I do about writing reviews. Each time I gear up for the task, I get nervous. But thanks for referring to Chris’ post too because his advice was exceptionally helpful. And Dan’s review on your books was fantastic! It’s great to know that we can toss some of that pressure we’ve put on ourselves. I know I’ve been grateful for the reviews I’ve received on my books, and like I wrote on Chris’ blog, the bottom line is to help out the authors. By the way, I’ll soon begin Journey 5. :)
    Lauren 💗

    Liked by 2 people

    • Holy Hannah, you are really catching up, Lauren. Wow! The fifth one is unique in the series, with all the ghostly vignettes at the beginning. However, each of them gives a glimpse into different areas of the big world that Emlyn eventually ventures into.
      Dan did such a relatable review, it’s uniquely his style. I really am honored.
      Thank you for being part of the journeys. Hugs on the wing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! The reaction to this post has inspired me to leave some simpler reviews on books for the authors whose writing I enjoy. I know the actual reviews on the sites like Amazon do more good for the author, so I will try more often.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Love that you did this for Teagan! I also am a huge fan!! Your review was great and I am in awe of writers reviews on each other. So back to your review: loved it and it summarized the serial very well!! Once I start reading any of her writing….I can’t put it down! I started and finished 6 on a flight we just took from LA to Seattle. I know I’m slightly behind, but love each installment!!

    Liked by 2 people

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