Beta 1, General Impessions (Spoilers, duh)

Welcome To Astlan Forums The Heavenly Host Beta Beta 1, General Impessions (Spoilers, duh)

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    Interesting on several points.

    Ender…OK, I think he must have done that much later, since I don’t remember that series…he had kind of a lull in the late 80’s early 90’s and I think I sort of tuned him out…or that’s my rather scrambled impression…

    Actually, the point you make about splitting the series is something I have seriously thought about. I think the logic becomes far more imperative as you get further along. Let’s revisit at the end…but I think that’s a good thought. The logistics just need to be worked out.


    Excellent Info thanks for some critical information.

    Will need to discuss this more and how to deal. I do really get the pre-100 part. It was wrapping up book 1.

    It’s really all about how to slice and dice a much longer story.

    A lot of the stuff you want to cut is actually quite important for later. Such as the Asmeth story line.

    BTW I think your Tizzy conclusions may over inflate his ego…you might have gone too broad in your assumptions.


    Well, some betas are writing their impressions. I present mine.

    -Lack of intensity. Into the Abyss has a very strong forward push that ends with a bang. Things keep escallating till it peak in a burst of action in the form of the fight between Tom and Talarius. It was intense. The Heavenly Host, in turn, is dull. While there are some escalations like Tom being made a demon prince and gaining an army, overall the events are low key.

    -A lack of overall cohesion of the story strands. This book has lots of characters or group of character and each has an overall story and minor stories but many of these stories doesn’t contribute to a whole. There are also stories that is going nowhere or not reaching any form of conclusion and is left hanging.

    -A lack of momentum. Well, you know, after reading a book, you have this desire to continue reading. If there are further adventures, you want to read it. I call this momentum. Into the Abyss has it in tons. I really want to know what happens next. The Heavenly Host lacks that. After reading it, I don’t feel like continuing.

    -lackluster conclusion. The end of the book should have give you a sense of satisfaction. It rewards you for your troubles. The Heavenly Host doesn’t give you much. After reading the story, you end up with something that doesn’t feel like it deserved the work to get it nor is it satisfying.

    -lack of humour. Into the Abyss gives us a rather interesting humour that we derived from the strange situation the characters are in. It was subtle but still ammusing. The Heavenly Host is more straightforward and vulgar but is less successful. Green jokes, poop, schadenfreude. Some works but many don’t.

    Things that I do like:

    -D’Orcs. They are awesome. They give Tom the power he really needs.
    -Vaselle. Hey, he is not much now, but this character opens a lot of potential.
    -Hilda. She provides a really interesting side of the story. Not to mention she is awesome a character herself, though she is so obsessed with her wines.
    -Tom as reincarnation of Orcus. Well, that was an interesting development.

    Stuff I don’t like:

    -Trevin D’Vils. She adds nothing. She offers nothing. Her dialogue is garbage. She is full of info dump. And her character is repellant.
    -Many of Gastrope and Jenn’s trek. It was boring. It adds nothing to the story. It is loaded with info dump.
    -Those pointless views from various characters. Uhhh… why would I be interested about them now?

    WTF – They might be good, they might be bad, but I seriously question their inclusion.

    -Reggie. He come and goes, come and goes. Seems to have something but we are given nothing.
    -Randolf/Crispin. Does the story improve in some way because of this? Do you have some plans in the future for their relationship?
    -‘N’ and company. How do they relate to the story?
    -Various Gods. They come and they go and leave me scratching my head. They are imporant characters in the story but they are making me confused at the moment.
    -Tizzy reveal. Uhhh… now what? Should something incredible be happening becuase we now know something about Tizzy?

    Star rating = ** – two stars.

    It has its great moments but it is otherwise overshadowed by tiresome and superfluous sections, lack of vigor and an unremarkable ‘ending’.


    @The Deposed King

    Yes! The time between the start of the book and when he acquire the wand was so… empty. Most of the first half is dull and lacking. Not something to expect following Tom’s fight from the first book. I really feel that that first half needs to be filled out.


    I just finished the book and I think having to cut back due to word count hurt. I do not mind the fluff in fact I think it adds to the story but book 2 really feels like a bridge book as you put it. It feels like right when things start to really get interesting along the main story arc it stops.

    Mainly I feel book 2 isn’t long enough to support the side stories even though they will be important as the story progresses. I have more but I don’t want to type it all out on this iPad. Plenty of things I liked as well.

    So currently I am still happy with it but I am going to reread it before giving a final review. I spent time I should have been sleeping reading.


    The 1st half of the book had too little Tom and the Jenne/Gastrophe sub-plot just wasn’t carrying the water.

    Really enjoyed the second half of the book.

    My advice revise and expand. Give it a hard look and slide a couple Tom chapters back a bit and create another Tom-in-the-Abyss sub-plot. Maybe created around the Knight Rampant exposed to the Abyss there wasn’t a whole lot of that and if that doesn’t cut the mustard then throw in a minor conflict with a fiend or major demon. A minor property dispute in the mountain/cave area maybe. 10-15k words? An irascible old codger demon complaining about the noise and leaving the corpse of dragons/former neighbor out on the lawn. Could weave that guy back in for book 3 without changing the second half of the book. Could get some more funny Knight Rampant angsting against Tom as a person if even his demon neighbors are complaining and then go into the conspiracy Greater Demon its all a plot angle.

    The Deposed King


    So, I’ve finished the book and will be making scene specific observations later, but here are some general thoughts.

    Things I disliked:
    #1 – The dates. Except for the DOF +X the rest of the dates are meaningless and honestly would leave me confused unless I read the forum posts.

    #2 – This is supported by the dates for each chapter, but the pace is really slow. Once Mount Doom is up and running the pace is better, but prior to that (1/5th of the book!) is argh!

    #3 – The Jenn & Gastropé storyline was pointless. It just stopped and contributed to nothing in the end. Same with Captain Asmeth. If you removed them the story wouldn’t suffer. Maybe they would be better for side stories?

    #4 – Dual is not the same as duel. Alter is not the same as altar. [-x

    #5 – The overall timespan, noted upon by others in the story, feels too fast. Simply reading it the impression is that it took a few weeks rather than one week as noted by the dates on the chapters.

    #6 – When I finished Into the Abyss I was hooked for Heavenly Host. When I finished Heavenly Host I was not hooked for Book 3. I could see the the whole Tizzy thing coming once they got into the caves and the wand was found it was clinched that someone was directing things and well, I suspected and did not stop to suspect Tizzy. Also, the bit about the book at the end? It did not shock me. Unfortunately, neither reveal at the end made me go “Oooh! I want to know more!”

    #7 – The reveal Vulcan felt our of place. Would have been better if Vulcan had gotten in contact w/ Tom. Tom was just starting to establish allies when the story stopped.

    #8 – Talarius wasn’t enough of a foil to Tom. Instead that role seemed to be adopted by Hilda albeit remotely. One of things that was good in Book 1 was this clash of What is Good? vs. What is Evil?

    #9 – Xanatos gambit plotline coupled with plot-induced blindness. Too many coincidences and I felt myself going “really?” at several points.

    Things I liked:
    #10 – So, Tizzy built the Abyss? Huh.

    #11 – The D’Orcs were very interesting

    #12 – THe contrast of the Hilda story w/ Tom’s was very nice. I like how they complement each other and yet create a wonderful misunderstanding. However, nothing actually came of it… so sad.

    Overall I understand that a lot of what was originally for Book 2 was moved to Book 3 due to size and trying to stop the story at the right point. But I feel that a lot of padding was added that can be eliminated to maintain tension bewteen Tom’s POV and the forces of Tiernon. I had the expectation that Talarius was to serve that role, but it became Hilda which is okay. However, the tension wasn’t really there due to a lot of other POVs. [u]Maybe stuff moved to Book 3 can be added back to Book 2 after the padding is removed?[/u]


    Edited my original post now that I’ve finished Beta 1.

    Overall, a decent story. Not very engaging and until around Chapter 100 I was forcing myself to read it. If I were to give a rating on Amazon: 3 out of 5.


    Yup Orson Scott Card is the one. Specifically the Shadow Saga, after the Ender series he wrote a followup series that followed what happened with the people Ender left behind after the war. The book I was referring to as a possible example of a way to keep the detail you want without having to bounce around too much is Ender’s Shadow, it is the Ender’s Game story all over again except from the perspective of Bean. So essentially you would write the books in parallel, publish them as separate books, but they would happen simultaneously from different perspectives in the storyline. It could allow you to make things incredibly complex for those of us that want to know absolutely everything that is happening across the multiverse yet still have each book be easy to follow and full of interesting occurrences.

    Might even make it easier to write too as you wouldn’t have to release them at the same time, Tom is the primary protagonist so as long as you aren’t finding out what happens to him next from a parallel storyline its all just icing on the cake. It would also let you write for each character/faction as inspiration strikes without having to worry about trying to get it all to fit into a single book that has limited space.

    I would venture to guess that it wouldn’t be feeling rushed or as if you are bouncing around too often if it weren’t for the limited space issues.


    OK, was thinking 92.1 was % and I’m like damn…speed reader…92.1 is scene…ok…totally gone…been eating too many cookies I guess.

    [SPOILER]But, getting “cookied” comes much late than Chapter 92.1[/SPOILER]


    On a side note though, so far I have only noticed a few wrong word errors which, if the rest of the book is the same, means you are probably going to be your editor’s wet dream.



    Interesting. I get the point, when you say Card are you saying Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game) to make sure. Not that I can think of anyone else, but I haven’t read anything of his in well 20+ years. BTW ‘A Planet Call Treason’ was my favorite work of his. I think I read it like 6 or 7 times. “Ender’s Game” of movie fame was good. (2+ reads)

    Thanks. You are both adding to my own fears ( =d> ) Seriously. I have had such thoughts. Not sure what to do yet…so looking for more thoughts.

    So far, excited by results/comments! All technically good, if not wish fulfillment! 8-[ But still very happy. Need this.

    Maybe Alpha Demons should be next. Not sure how many could be that brave…but really only need a few.



    Yeah the dates depend on the calendar. People skipped/were bored by the calendar/moons/astrology appendices and such (OK, all the technical stuff). Perhaps a re-emphasos on the history/timeline in appendix.

    Not sure what 18% is. Chapter/Scene makes more sense to me.

    [SPOILER]First…sort of half is reactions of others….second half is Tom….problem is, right now he is stuck in a cave while other stuff happens…this [SPOILER] is a purposeful reminder for later when [SPOILER]things get crazy for him[/SPOILER][/SPOILER][/SPOILER]

    But I take your point. If Tom is the core protagonist (and he is) there needs to be more him. Was talking WoT before with many. Biggest annoyance with WoT was not enough Rand…who gave a crap about most of the other crazy people and their cults etc.

    As an author, and this is different from my perspective as a reader/fan (WoT above) as an author I judge on comments and reactions I get from people. Oddly when it came to specifics I got quite a bit of commentary on other characters and others reactions, less on Tom. The problem as with anything governance/help desk/issues at work. [b] Squeaky wheels get heard.[/b] Things people like are assumed. So when I hear…”I want more of this/that” that gets heard above the silence of those who like where things are.

    Your point is interesting but I can’t discuss it more until you get further along….it also plays into bigger considerations I have for the series which is something I want to discuss with Beta Demons who’ve read the book. The goal is going to be to balance long term needs to set the stage vs short term satisfaction. This is something I struggle with and need advice on. I call it “Second Bookitus” Second books (starting with Trilogies…but still true today) are always “bridge novels” the question is, by the end, do readers get enough meat to keep them around for book III?


    I sorta feel the same, up to 92.1 now and it feels like a lot of the little scenes could likely be cut. Its kind of interesting to see how the different factions are reacting to what is happening, but it feels a little too busy. I like the Hilda scenes too and as more happens with Jenn and Gastrope those are getting more interesting too, but everyone else seems like almost an information overload.

    It might be a little late for it at this point but a possible solution would be to take a card from….well, Card’s deck, and cut out all but one or two viewpoints from each book and instead put the other characters viewpoints into their own books that parallel the storyline. That would allow you to skip around a lot less, get farther with each book, develop the new characters more without squeezing out the existing ones, and still be able to flesh out the story and world the way you want.

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