Elitist Reviews takes on Winds

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Elitist reviews just posted their thoughts on Winds. They had some very nice things to say, along with a couple of issues.

Here's a short excerpt from the full review:

One of the main elements of this novel that really had us nodding in appreciation was the setting. The use of an archipelago for the country/kingdom felt fresh. Beaulieu focuses on one main area, while still giving subtle nods to a much larger world. The use of airships in this novel was very well done, and felt completely natural. Mainly though, it was the inclusion of two distinct cultures that was fantastic. The characterNikandr Khalakovo and his betrothed Atiana Vostroma are very Russian, from traditions to language, to dress. It comes across smoothly and effortlessly. The other main culture is the nomadic Aramahn who feel extremely Middle Eastern influenced—perhaps Turkish or Persian. What is impressive is how these two wildly different cultures can coexist in this novel and feel natural together.

Overall I'm pleased. In your heart you want everyone to love your work unreservedly, but given that that's impossible, I'm glad that Steve enjoyed the read overall.

I'll say this, too. Some authors totally avoid reviews because they think it will be too difficult or that it will affect their writing. I'm not this way. I've waited so long to get this book out there, my first book, that I'm going to see what folks think about it. And if they have some negative things, they hurt, but I'm not going to shy away from them. I'll internalize what I think needs to be internalized and essentially "take it under advisement" for future works. So in this respect I think reviews can be healthy. After all, personal reading tastes and preferences aside, these guys read a lot, and they have some good insight to pass along.


  1. Steve - Elitist Book Reviews

    June 15, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Brad –
    Glad you liked the review, and thanks for linking it!
    Reviewing is interesting.  A review is just an opinion, but I like to think of them as post-publication writing groups–some of the stuff you just disregard, but other things maybe you nod and say, "You know, there may be a nugget of truth there".  When I review something, I try to state what the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the novel were…but I realize that what I say may not be shared by others.  That's totally fine.  What I do like is when and author "gets" what good reviewers are trying to do.  I wanna help authors if at all possible.
    Anyway, I enjoyed your novel.  A good, solid debut.

    • Brad

      June 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      No problem, Steve, and thanks for the read and the review. I really appreciate it.

      I like the comparison to a post-publication writing group, and even though it would largely be for the audience of the book, I think authors can learn a thing or two as well, especially those of us on the early curve of our career. And while on the one hand the book was as good as I could make it, that doesn't mean I can't use observations to grow as a writer.

      It's also interesting to see the variety of opinions. As you say, a reviewer can only give their perceptions, and everyone has their own preconceptions and tastes regarding what makes a book hum. Some have differing opinions, but at the union of those sets is probably the place for an author to take note.

  2. Paul (@princejvstin)

    June 15, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    I sense some parallels between their review and mine as far as the elements of the novel's geography and culture.

    • Brad

      June 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      I noticed that too, Paul.