So my default project when I’m not working on challenges, or novel work is to ‘test read’ Ruzkin‘s Century of Sand trilogy. I say ‘test read’ but really, the first of the series was so tightly written that all I could really complain about was the occasional spelling mistake, despite it being a first draft.
Book two, I do have a little more to comment on, but I curse his ability to put pen to paper and produce something so tight on first draft. I can’t really complain. His work ethic is one that means if he’s not a novel published author in the next year, there’s no justice in the world.
So ‘test read’ isn’t so much work, as being honored and lucky enough to just be reading a fantasy trilogy where I have a direct line to the author and can say ‘so when’s the next book due out?’.
Century of Sand has a lot to answer for when it comes to me. I’m very hard on fantasy these days, so I’m overly delighted that I’m reading something that hits all my buttons fantasy wise. Also, reading book one inspired me in a lot of ways. If Ruzkin can conjure up the sort of fantasy I want to read, then I can too. After having completed reading through book one, I was already thinking on my own fantasy.
I’m going to take a moment to rave about Century of Sand, despite the fact that it’s only in draft. Actually, it’s not entirely unfair that I do so. If you want to check out the novella that eventually turned into Century of Sand, you’d want to read the Ant Tower. This is part of a recent compilation Ruzkin released. In the meanwhile, I’ll rave.
Century of Sand is my sorta fantasy. It follows a man and his daughter on a journey to the tower that is home to a demon. Cunningly interspersed with their travels is the story of another mans trip to the tower, the same man who is now pursuing Richard. Backstory through a character telling stories is sometimes a dangerous distraction, but it just feels perfect here, and nicely circular in terms of what’s going on.
Also, it’s set in a desert, where the typical european type kingdom is far from the focus. There are burnous’, and cultures refreshingly different. Here magic that is whispered into life and lovingly woven with even the most minor of effect. Some parts make me think of Dune, others of epic fantasy like Conan, where the main character runs ramshackle over cults and long established communities. Book two has hints of all hell ready to break loose.
At the moment, when I’m not working on a current writing project, I’m catching up on ‘test reading’. Barely work at all, and almost cheating really. Now if only all writing projects were such an easy ride. Not to worry, by the way. Ruzkin looks to be working on getting book one out there to publishers before the end of the year.