Straits called a “must read” Speculative Fiction title of 2012 by Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist!

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Last year, The Winds of Khalakovo nabbed the Debut of the Year from Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist. Pat pinged me shortly after and asked if an ARC for The Straits of Galahesh was available. I said of course an ARC was available and promptly arranged for one to be sent with Night Shade’s publicist. Truth is, though, I’ve been biting my fingernails ever since. Authors are always looking for high marks, but those marks also set up high expectations for the next novel. You want to do better each time. So I was, well, not worried, exactly, but anxious about how Pat would respond to Straits.

Well, Pat finished up his read of Straits and just posted it on the Hotlist. Let me excerpt just a few paragraphs from the full review.

In addition, I’m not sure Bradley P. Beaulieu sat down and had a beer with George R. R. Martin at a convention in between books, but it looks as though he became fond of creating living and breathing protagonists that readers care about, only to kill them off when you least expect it. Indeed, The Straits of Galahesh features a body count that both GRRM and Joe Abercrombie would approve of. At one point I was left wondering who the hell would be left to make it to the third volume!

I had a bit of a chuckle at this. GRRM is one of my literary heroes. And while I don’t focus on body count, I’m not shy of it. This is a world in flux, and conflict is part and parcel of the story, and à la Glen Cook and GRRM himself, I want it to be muddy and bloody when death does come. I want it to have impact, and I don’t want to sugar coat it.

Interestingly enough, I have to give my editor, Ross Lockhart, a hat tip here. One of the characters who dies does so in a rather spectacular way at the tail end of a windship battle. He didn’t die a very spectacular death in the first draft. I had meant it to be a statement the senselessness of war, but Ross pointed out, correctly, that that’s a pretty crappy way for a hero to die. And damned if he wasn’t right. Fiction makes a different sort of sense than reality, and in this case it meant the character’s death should mean something to the plot, to the other characters, and perhaps even to himself. In a way, his death ended up being a statement about his own views on life, and I’m very glad I ended up changing it. (If you’re not sure who I mean, ask me at a con sometime. We’ll chat.)

And then this:

Dark, ambitious, complex, populated with a great cast of characters that leap off the pages, The Straits of Galahesh is just what the doctor ordered if you are looking for a quality read that’s different from everything else on the market today. The Winds of Khalakovo turned out to be one of the very best SFF works of 2011. Somehow, Bradley P. Beaulieu has raised the bar even higher for this sequel, making The Straits of Galahesh a “must read” speculative fiction title for 2012.

As I said above, we’re always looking to get better, and while I felt that I had, thinking you did is not the same as reader response. I’ve been very gratified by the reviews so far, in that they’ve all said that Straits takes a strong step forward, and I’m elated that Pat’s high expectations were met as well.

Click here to read the full review.

3 Comments

  1. Ryan

    May 1, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I read the full review and I agree with Pat. Winds was great and STRAITS really takes everything to the next level.

    Personally, I enjoyed STRAITS a lot more than I enjoyed G. R.r. Martin’s “Game of thrones.”

    As Pat said: “Two thumbs way, way up! Do yourself a favor and give Beaulieu’s series a shot. You’ll thank me. . .”

    Cheers,

    Ryan

    • Brad

      May 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm

      Thanks, Ryan. That’s high praise indeed. I love GRRM’s stuff, but as I’m reading ADwD, I’m finding myself getting progressively more antsy to get back to the stuff that made me fall in love with the series in the first place. At a certain point, the expansion becomes too much. I want to read about the characters I fell in love with.

      This was a big reason why I stuck to 3 POVs in the first two books. I did jump to 4 POVs in Book 3, but that felt necessary to tell another aspect of the story. But several dozen POVs? I was actually ok with like twelve or so POVs, but somewhere between the first and second dozen, I lost interest. That isn’t to say that I don’t care about the Starks and Tyrion. I do. I just want more of them without all of the noise.

      • Ryan

        May 1, 2012 at 2:01 pm

        yes.

        It also reminds me of Jordan’s Wheel of time series. I loved the first books, but then his books split into so many points of view, after a while it felt like each book only advanced each point of view a small amount (if at all) and then the book was over! Even though I had just read 700+ pages, I felt the plot had barely advanced.

        I remember scanning through the book to find the next sequence with the characters I liked the most.

        A couple of other points that I thought you got right.

        1) the level of politics. If the politics and the scheming dominate too much, I personally lose interest. I thought
        STRAIGHTS hit a good balance for my taste.

        2) Who lives and who dies in the story. As you said, it’s a world in flux so it makes sense not everyone
        survives, but which ones? Sometimes, if the wrong character perishes, it can seriously harm the story. I also thought STRAIGHTS hit a good balance for this as well.