Guest Post: “Progressive World-building: Screw Restoring Order to the Kingdom” by Jon Skovron

SkovronJ-AuthorPicNow look, I love Shakespeare. Like, a lot. In fact, I was actually a classically trained actor who did a fair bit of Shakespeare back in the day (mostly the comedies, although I still think I could have killed it as Richard III). And not only did I act in Shakespeare, but my first Young Adult novel was called Struts and Frets. As in:

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

My book was mostly about a kid in high school who starts an indie rock band while dealing with his grandfather’s dementia. But throughout the story, he’s reading Macbeth for a school assignment, and passages from it keep coming up relevant to his life. Because for a play mostly about killing people, it’s remarkably thoughtful. Continue reading

Review: HOPE & RED by Jon Skovron (Orbit)

SkovronJ-1-HopeAndRedAn entertaining new fantasy series

In a fracturing empire spread across savage seas, two people will find a common cause.

Hope, the lone survivor when her village is massacred by the emperor’s forces is secretly trained by a master Vinchen warrior as an instrument of vengeance.

Red, an orphan adopted by a notorious matriarch of the criminal underworld, learns to be an expert thief and con artist.

TOGETHER THEY WILL TAKE DOWN AN EMPIRE.

There’s a lot to like in Hope & Red: the characters are interesting, often fun and they get caught up in a lot of action. The world is well-crafted and appropriately fleshed-out, but also leaves plenty still to be explored. While there were a couple of flaws, Hope & Red is entertaining, fast-paced and quite gripping. I enjoyed it. Continue reading