I have been thrilled with the feedback and reviews I have been getting from people who have read Aetna Rising. They have been fantastic! So many people have enjoyed the adventures of Jack. There just seems to be one little problem. I didn’t do nearly a good enough job making sure that everyone understood this was clearly a serialized story. Mae culpa!
Boy some people can get mad on the internets! Yikes!
To be perfectly honest, I thought that might happen. When I first started thinking about writing a novel set in the Unity the very first picture I had in my head was of a man who thought he had it all together finding out he wasn’t in control. I pictured the character that would become Jack running away from his girl, too cowardly to stand up and fight for her, and I knew that is where I wanted to end my story. Rather, I should say that is where I wanted to end the first part of my story.
So am I nothing more than some kind of sadist who takes pleasure from torturing his victims? Ummm… no. I have a point and I am comfortable that my point is there for those willing to try and find it.
I will admit that as sales tailed off dramatically in January, I wasn’t happy with the angry reviews. I hate that they affect my ability to get my book in front of other readers who will get it. On the other hand as many people pointed out to me, I wasn’t boring anyone. Everyone, whether they liked the book or not was heavily invested in Jack and Aetna.
Some of those who were the most upset were the most articulate in their critique. My favorite response on Amazon came from Anne Graham. I include it below in its entirety and my subsequent conversation with her. It will give you some insights in to why I would end my book with that ridiculous cliff hanger. (Here is a link to the original review on Amazon.)
This is my first ever review after reading and enjoying many hundreds of Sci Fi titles on kindle. It is also the first time I have been angered the conclusion of a story. Actually angry…! I am upset that the author chose to leave me hanging within inches of the climax of the single building serious plot line…. and leaves me with a solicitation to buy the next installment in 6 months..?? This is a teaser, not a novel…it is a chapter or two perhaps in a serious novel… I do not recall ever being angered at such a thing before but there it is. The kicker is that the story is excellent and engaging as far as it goes….everything the other reviewers have written…but the lack of a denouement and the manipulation of the reader thereby threw cold water on me. I will not be reading any more of his work as my only way to express my irritation. Too bad he didnt wait to package a full novel out of it….that way it would have been excellent
(Spoilerish comment from the author)
I have to say, that I so understand. I knew this would be a huge risk when I wrote the book the way I did. But I wanted it to end exactly where it did. It isn’t meant to be simply a teaser. It is without denouement on purpose because in the first part of the whole story Jack learns about love. In a traditional fairy tale what comes at the end of this book would be “And they lived happily ever after.” But in life this isn’t the way it goes. In life when you choose to love you choose to hurt. So I didn’t want a happily ever after for Jack. Happily ever after endings are hard earned, and if Jack and Anna are going to get one they have a long ways to go. I hope you stick around to find out where we are going. I promise I’ll try to make the wait as short as possible.
Actually I care a lot less about the love story than the reason VP Randall is taking over the installation. I care to see the bad guys ‘get theirs’ I care to see how the revolt o the citizens gets resolved….etc, etc. There are so many unresolved threads building to some climax that you avoided giving any resolution I felt like someone took me off the roller coaster ride at the top of the first rise out of the station… missing the fast paced remainer of the ride. Your book; your style, of course. But I still think you would do well to cram this story in front of your next one as a single full novel rather than piecmealing it. Regards….
Thanks for the time to give me the feedback. I appreciate it greatly. This story is a prequel to the three book series which comes after this. I decided to avoid the classic mistake of writing the prequel afterwards. I am glad that you are invested in Randall’s comeupance. That tickles me as a writer. I will endeavor to do my best to make it worth the wait. That said, the second half of this book will make for its own completed story which is why it isn’t a four book series, but rather a stand alone followed by a trilogy. So I don’t want to give away here on Amazon what comes next but some threads will be resolved and others will carry through to that series.
Thanks again for your feedback. It is always so very helpful.
When all 3 of the coming trilogy are available at once, I will relent and buy them. 🙂
You do write well and have created an engaging and unique enviroment for this story.
Anne Graham via Email:
Hey ErikThis is Anne Graham who has been having an enjoyable exchange with you on the Amazon site. I had an additional thought, and felt that the Amazon review has concluded well….and so I dug out your email from the story. I was reminded suddenly of The Princess Bride…. at the point in the story when the grandson interrupts the narrative of the grandfather to exclaim something like this…..” …so who gets Humperdink?”….“…what do you mean?…”“…I mean who kills Humperdink????!!! SOMEbody has got to get him..!.. who? who?”‘”… nobody….Humperdinik lives….”” GEEEEZE GRANDPA !!…what did you read me this for ???LOL !! It is a near parallel to my reaction to the ending of your story. I only write this additional email in case you are a Princess Bride fan ( who isnt?) and would appreciate the parallel… 🙂regards,AnneErik Wecks via Email:Anne,You made my day. It is a tradition in our family to try to fit in a Princess Bride quote of the day. So yours will be the quote for the day. We are huge fans. I actually saw that film for the first time in a theater with 400 other people on opening weekend.I don’t think I have ever laughed harder in all my life. I really like the conversation on Amazon as well. It is a doozy of a cliffhanger and I recognize that it will cause a certain amount of discontent. Now I just have to get the rest done. I have it all outlined in my head and I have everything to the first marker outlined on paper. I even wrote the first scene. So we are on the way.Thanks for writing.Erik