So, Team-Ups and Crossovers has been out a week. What’s in a week? About 1,000 sales, that’s what. TUAC has hit #1 in one of its Amazon Categories at least twice, and would have hit #1 in the Superhero Novel category were the space not completely crowded out by vampire erotica. In general I’ve been quite happy with the launch; a couple of things are great, a couple of things not-so-great.
Great: The Amazon Reviews. With 15 Amazon Reviews up so far, TUAC has a solid 4 1/2 Star-Rating. Thanks, everyone who has taken a few minutes to review the book there—and I encourage everyone who enjoyed the latest Wearing the Cape book to go there and make their feelings known! (This is me being subtle.)
Not-So-Great: A couple of errors slipped past the editing process, including a code-error that causes some readers to show large blank spaces in the Astra Gets Grrl Power story. There is an easy fix; just change your reader’s background color (sepia is fine) or highlight the blank spots. However, I am working on the problem, and will re-upload a fixed file as soon as possible before asking Amazon to send all current owners a notice of the fix. (Once Amazon approves, you’ll be able to download a corrected copy.)
There has been great buzz on the Velveteen-crossover stories, and readers have been lamenting that the first two Velveteen Vs. books are no longer available on ebook. Well, Seanan McGuire knows this, and so for her fans she has kept the individual stories that make up the two book available to read on her author-blog:
The first story is Velveteen vs. The Isley Crawfish Festival. Enjoy; it’s fascinating to read from the beginning and see how her superhero-concept evolved over time (plus it’s hysterically funny).
Dave Barrack’s Grrl Power fans have really been enjoying the Astra/Halo crossover story, and he has set up a page dedicated to talking about it. For anyone who hasn’t yet bought the book and intends to, I highly recommend going to Dave’s page and clicking on the book cover image to go to Amazon; if you do, then Dave will make a little extra money for the sale (and for a full-time indie writer/artist like Dave, every little extra bit counts).
Reception of some of the stories have been mixed. A few readers have not appreciated the voice of K.F. Lim. One reviewer thought A Traveler’s Tale the worst story in the book. I knew going in that, with the shifts in style between many of the stories, most readers would enjoy some stories more than others. I would love to hear back from everyone as to what their favorite stories were and why.
So talk to me. Let me know what you think we did right. Tell us what made you laugh. And thank you for all your support.
17 thoughts on “And We’re Rolling.”
SPOILERS: I really enjoyed the development of Jacky’s narrative and Hope’s relationship with Kitsune. And Ozma’s plot is just too exciting – I hope that the Young Sentinels will journey there soon for a dedicated adventure (and the Ozma and Brian’s relationship was very intriguing).
As a fan of Grrl Power and the Velveteen universe, I thought those sections were very fun, especially in the way the government agents commented on the situation in Velveteen’s universe. It really is a dark, messed up place. 🙂
I do think that the Typhoon story was a very different experience from a “normal” Hope story. Typhoon is very believable, though I found her friend/teammate quite grating (though I did sense that the author didn’t completely approve of the character’s actions, even though the author did like that character a lot more than I do). I thought Astra’s voice was pretty perfect by Lim, and the extrapolations of the world and powers were really well done. It felt inessential, but was a nice cool-down for Hope after the stress of 12 jumps through some pretty dark worlds (and some just pretty goofy :).
I’d say my favorite stories were Jacky’s tale, Ozma’s tale, and the overarching thread of Kitsune chasing Hope. What can I say – I’m a sucker for the Wearing the Cape core cast. 🙂
George/Marion: I liked all the stories. They aren’t all fives, though- but the book as a whole is absolutely a five in my book. My short review (titled I’m Jealous) is already up on Amazon, with an obvious typo in it in the last line that they will not now let me fix. It’s a hell of a job, and for me, ALL of the stories work, some in different ways (suited to the millieu in which they are set). And I loved the agent notes between stories! I love Santa, the world he rules, Astra’s second visit to his realm, Oz, and every crossover in it.
(For me, The Seanan McGuire link to the Velveteen stories above doesn’t work)
Go to seanan-mcguire.livejournal.com and look down the right side for the Velveteen tag. Click the tag and it will give you every Vel-related post, including all of the stories. The first story is Velveteen vs. The Isley Crawfish Festival.
What worked for me, what didn’t:
Dating Games – thought it was a good set-up and I loved the idea of Kitsune doing awful things to her bad dates.
Killing Sleeping Beauty – eh, it was fine, it was good, but it had me spending the rest of the book waiting for Artemis to show up, and when she finally does there isn’t much pay-off for the build-up. Not sure whether that’s a critque of this or of Everybody vs. the Team-Up.
Velveteen vs. The Crossover – liked
The Oz Job – liked, but I kept waiting for a later followup in the agent reports, and it was never there. Sure. Ozma is trying to get Astra back, but what else is she doing? (Talking to the gadgeteer and the personification, obviously, but that doesn’t connect back to freeing the Wizard and a bunch of rebels — oh, sure, it may have been one of the things she talked to them about, but I think it’s likely she’d’ve wanted to talk to them anyway.)
Through a Bright Mirror – liked
The Traveler’s Tale – didn’t work for me at all; don’t think it was the quality, which seemed good-to-excelent, it just didn’t do anything for me personally … too much a genre difference to work for me, I think?
Grimworld – liked a lot, there was a horrible plausibiltiy to it, and “this is the *good* EMP weapon future” running through the back of my head.
Wargames – just loved this. Seeing Astra from a non-supers perspective was great, and it’s so *Astra* and she so doesn’t belong there, but that doesn’t mean she can’t make a difference for the bette rwhile she passes through.
Astra Gets Grrl Power – liked a lot, really wanted more
Everybody vs. The Team-Up – Weird thing here: when I read it, I like it; when I think back on it, I think ‘eh.’ Really not sure why. There was the big climatic fight, check; it was something other than a smash-em-up, good; there was a reason to close the gate, check; there was time passage in Vel’s world, interesting; there were amusing misunderstandings, good; there was good characterization of both your characters and Seanan McGuires, excellent. All the checkboxes seem to be checked or better, and I like it when I read it, but when I think back on it, it just goes a little flat.
Historical Accuracy – it was good, it was funny, and it didn’t feel *at all* like it belonged. Not that it doesn’t belong in Astra’s world, but that it didn’t belong in this book. I didn’t like having the end of a travelogue be “home again, but spending a weekend not door.” The end of a travelogue is supposed to be “Home again, see how I’ve changed” or “Home again, see how home has changed” or a combination of the two. I would have felt more kindly to it if it had been the penultimate story – marooned on the island within sight of home can work in a travelogue – but as it was it was my least favorite story by a lot, not because it was bad but because it was completely at odds with the narrative structure I expected and wanted. Again, I think it was a good story. I just really really didn’t like the placement.
DSA Field Reports – I loved these; I really felt for the poor agent, and I liked how matter-of-factly Directly Kayle endorsed the recommendation to close the rift as soon as Astra returned.
As a whole, I really liked the book — not as good as Ronin Games, but Ronin Games really rung the bell for me. Assuming my opinion doesn’t shift with time and rereads, about the same as Small Town Heroes, Young Sentinels, and Villains Inc. — which one of them is best really depends on my mood. It is technically more proficient than Wearing the Cape, but I adore worldbuilding, and that’s the book where I meet your world, and I really appreciate the willingness to let the world change, which the first book showcases so much more than the others. (The other books have additions, but not much in the way of lasting subtractions.) So while your writing is technically better than it was when the series started, Wearing the Cape ties Ronin Games for my favorite book in the series.
Wow! Thank you.
There is one thing I really think has been lost along the way in this series. The end of the first book set the expectation that this is a hard world and anybody can die. Since book one, despite the apperent threat level ramping up none of the named characters have died.
On this book specifically. the Velveteen crossovers where an excelent endorsement of that Seanan McGuire’s work, and finally convinced me to go and read them, which I did. When (if) the books become available on Kindle I’ll buy them. Further crossovers with that universe would be entertaining. After all both sides have a means of interdiemensional travel now. An extended Astra and Velveteen teamup where they actually have some joint goal to shoot for would be most welcome (at least for me).
My favourit bits where thouse that actually advanced the stories, so Astra in lighter and darker versions of her world, and the Aritmas and Ozma stories. You really do like shooting down romances off stage don’t you? I really expected that Jackie and Paul to at least have a relationship espcially when she returned to New Orleans with a pulse.
As I noted Historical Accuracy really didn’t do it for me as a story. My partner is fillipino, so I got the jokes, but that was part of the problem they played to stereotype a little too heavily. And the level of tolerance that was given to an out of control verne type just didn’t feel right for Astra’s world, expecially after the Omega Night incident.
Thanks for your thoughtful and detailed response!
I should add, that as a light interlode in a book like this I actually liked Traverlers Tale. It was nice and brief and got to the point without dragging too long, and the change in style was refreshing. I don’t think the same would work as a longer piece but that is often the case with good short fiction.
I really enjoy both your world and Healy’s Just Cause series. I was hoping maybe Jackrabbit would hop over and say Hi, maybe next time.
Ack, I left a long post over in the normal reader comment section! Check it out there.
Great book, time to finish it.
Kudos to your artist on drawing Astra for this cross-team-up. I like this one and her outfit. The skirt and boots are so much better than the pants.
I’m one of those that didn’t love the last story, but wanted to note I thought it was well written. Each reader, among other choices such as genre, finds authors whose “voice” they enjoy. Everyone’s tastes are different, and the odds of folks liking another random author could be approximated by the size of the set of authors they chose to avoid…i.e. 1/a large number (esp in my case). So, that person very likely has a potentially devoted audience. I’m just not in that group, nor would I expect to be; I’m pretty picky these days (and the explosion in self pub means we have lots of choice). The support char was excessively annoying but was likely intended to be funny. I don’t find “embarrass the protag” to be the basis of all great humor, so I didn’t care for the f bomb sequence too much. But that’s just me. I’d encourage her to continue writing and to find her niche, even though it wasn’t a story I liked much. The span of personal taste is wider now than ever (at least at the margins, you’re right that some days it feels like the center of the curve is 1,000,000,000,000 people all reading rehashed vampire pron).
Things that I liked:
Dating games setup. It was interesting, plausible, and fun. Great way to start things off and it had a good connection to some of the later Kitsune material.
Velveteen vs. The Crossover. Found this to be super interesting and it worked just fine for me. Of all the mutli-author crossover material this is the one that most made me want to read the material I was less familiar with. Velveteen was an interesting character.
Oz Job, mostly because of what it shows about both Ozma & Grendel … and because it left me wanting to read what will *hopefully* be the long-term follow-up, the liberation of Oz.
Through a Bright Mirror & Grimworld. Both stories allowed Hope to see what might have been and were interesting “what if” scenarios. I thoroughly enjoyed them both as thought experiments and for how Astra reacted. These were EASILY the parts of the book that I enjoyed the most.
What I didn’t think worked as well:
Killing Sleeping Beauty. I like Jacky and it was kind of nice to see her getting to awesome. That said, I’ve never really liked the idea of vampires being a “common” breakthrough in the “astraverse” and things like the MC even existing just seem like they don’t fully fit well to me. You can chalk this up to my taste rather than anything more, but when I read Astra material I’m not really looking to get urban fantasy. It also felt a bit out of place in that it didn’t significantly move Astra’s overarching story forward in this work, though I do see that this might be important later. The development of a relationship between Shell & Jacky could be important, and setting up Jacky to potentially be more active in Chicago could be important I suspect.
The Traveler’s Tale. I’m just not a fan of this kind of writing. I’ve suffered through entire books in outdated styles where I like the characters and I did so here willingly. The concept was good, the writing was fine, and this story did move the overall narrative forward fine. I didn’t hate this … I just didn’t get much enjoyment from it. Not a fail for me just more of a bunt or walk to first.
Wargames. I liked the writing. The perspective was fine. But it was ultimately so short and so meaningless in Hope’s narrative (since we never got to see her full reactions or get any sense of what this meant to her) that I wasn’t sure that it belonged. Even the Traveler’s Tale got referenced later, but if Wargames did then I missed it.
Astra Gets Grrl Power. I feel bad putting this here since I love Grrl Power and read it faithfully. First the writing was not quite as … sharp … as some of the other sections. Second I personally felt that some of the attempts to write typical Grrl Power shenanigans just didn’t translate as well to prose as they do on the screen. The visual humor just wasn’t as effective in my imagination, which is actually something of a complement to the Grrl Power art IMHO. And finally, the meeting & reactions felt a bit forced to me. Just seemed ‘off’ in several ways.
Everybody vs. The Team-Up. I’m honestly still unclear on what happened in this story. The action was all over the place, and followed up so closely on the Grrl Power boss fight that my mind just didn’t absorb it well. I’ll probably have to re-read this at some point, but I’m not feeling much internal incentive to do so.
Historical Accuracy. Both the story and K.F. Lim’s writing had something to recommend to them. I probably wouldn’t mind reading more. Mostly though this felt subtly out of place. I think that this would have worked better as a crossover dimension of some sort rather than something that was set in the “Astra” universe. The bar scene felt forced. The final battle was really “meh.” I’ll re-read portions of this book, but Historical Accuracy isn’t going to be one of them.
What game/story was wargames set in? I’ve been wracking my brain but can’t seem to find anything with Biolords and/or twists. Please help me and let me get some sleep.
Wargames was simply a generic take on all the sci-fi first person shooter games. In other words, I made it all up.