Book Review: Hilt Cyan by Blair Selph

Hye bookies! Sara wrote another review for us. She has been an awesome partner with us and has been helping with reviews pretty much since we established Breakeven Books and we are super grateful for her.  Go check out her Etsy shop Adorkable Little Crafties and support her little yarn creature creations if you are into that! This one was called Hilt Cyan by Blair Selph.

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Book Synopsis: What is the knowledge of the Shiron? Georgia Millward, a mercenary living in a steampunk land of floating islands, wants to know. After a mission goes awry and she’s caught by the police, Georgia’s given a chance at that power by Henry Entwistle, the vice president of the monolithic Bell Industries. If she travels with him to a far off world and survives a deadly sniper tournament where all of her skills and magical equipment will be put to the test, she will become a Shiron.

Can Georgia defeat the other competitors, who want to become Shiron just as much as she does? Can she learn from her mistakes, or will she be controlled by her guilt? Can she find love under these life-threatening conditions? And what do memories of her past, of a childhood and a relationship long gone, have to do with this journey? Find out in the pages of Blair Selph’s first novel, with artwork by Amy Hao and editing by Kiran O’Farrell.

Hilt Cyan by Blair Selph is a strange book about a person? creature? named Georgia (she and all the other characters seem to be human, except that they have cat ears. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this as its never actually addressed in the book, the character’s ears just start moving). In the book, Georgia is a hit-woman, and is invited to join in on a battle to the death with other criminals to become a Shiron. What is a Shiron? We’re never told. All we know is that they are gifted with the knowledge of the universe.

Throughout the book, Georgia has short, supposedly comedic conversations with the other characters, that never develop them beyond the surface level. We are given short flashbacks into Georgia’s life that don’t really enable the reader to understand her or the world any better, beyond the fact that she had a rough upbringing, apparently primarily because she was gay.

This book feels like it was an interesting idea that never got fleshed out. We don’t get enough action in the action scenes, we learn almost nothing about this interesting world they exist in, we barely get to know the characters, and many things are left unexplained. In this world that is supposed to be steampunk, futuristic, action-packed, and interesting, we only get a glimpse of what I imagine the author wanted to show us.

As is common with first novels, it has some gaps that would have been great if they were filled in. This seems like a neat idea that never quite got off the ground. I just wish there was more to it!

P.S. The ending was irritating and anticlimactic. On purpose, I think, so I can’t tell if that makes it funny or not?

Book Rating: 2.5/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us by the author in ebook format to read and give an honest review.


I recently got back from my vacation to Ireland and Scotland and made a video about it. Feel free to check it out if you want to see how my trip went!

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Author Interview: J.L Mulvihill

Hey bookworms, I joined a book tour and decided to do an author interview! This author is promoting her new Steel Roots Series.

About the author:  A California native born in Hollywood, J.L. Mulvihill has made Mississippi her home for the past seventeen years. Her debut novel was the young adult title The Lost Daughter of Easa, an engaging fantasy novel bordering on science-fiction with a dash of Steampunk, published through Dark Oak Press in 2011. The sequel to this novel is presently in the works.

Her Most recent novel, The Boxcar Baby of the Steel Roots series, was released in July 2013 through Seventh Star Press. Steel Roots is a young adult series based in the Steampunk genre and engages the reader into a train hopping heart stopping adventure across America. Book 2, Crossings released December of 2014.

She is also the co-editor of Southern Haunts; The Spirits That Walk Among Us which includes a short story of her own called Bath 10, and a fictional thriller involving a real haunted place. Her poem, The Demon of the Old Natchez Trace, debuts in Southern Haunts part 2, Devils in the Darkness.

J.L. also has several short fiction pieces in publication, is very active with the writing community, and is the events coordinator for the Mississippi Chapter of Imagicopter known as the Magnolia-Tower. She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Gulf Coast Writers Association (GCWA), The Mississippi Writers Guild (MWG), as well as the Clinton Ink-Slingers Writing Group.

And now on to the author interview that I conducted with her!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

1. How did you start writing?
I have been writing short stories and poems for as long as I can remember I just never saw myself as a writer so I never did anything with them. One day I had a very queer dream about being chased through the woods by a giant spider. That bizarre dream turned into my first novel, The Lost Daughter of Easa, which sold out at DragonCon in 2011 at its debut. I have been seriously writing ever since.

2. Who is your favorite author?
I have way too many favorite authors but I can tell you the authors that have influenced this series is L. Frank Baum who wrote The Wizard of Oz books and Laura Ingalls Wilder who wrote The Little House On The Prairie series. Some other great authors I admire would be Robert A. Heinlein, Mike Resnick, Terry Brooks, Nevada Barr, Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, David Blalock, Kimberly Richardson, Michael West Alexander S. Brown and Stephen Zimmer and. Those are just a few of my favorites like I said I have so many it really is hard to pick.

3. What goes into your writing/planning process?
If I am writing a novel and/or series I plan out at least an outline of plot points. After that, I just go with it because I want the story to be as free and organic as possible. I do tend to do a lot of research of places, people, and things. Though I am writing fiction, I try to make the story as real and plausible as possible. Of course, there are no children eating trolls living in America, as far as we know but if you do your research you will find it is very possible that a carnivorous race of beings could very well have crossed the ocean hidden on the boats with the immigrants and settled down in caves and eventually abandoned mines in the United States.

4. What do you like about reading?
I like reading all genres as you can tell by the wide variety of authors I like. Any kind of a book that can take me away on an adventure either on earth or in space I love. Any kind of a book who can take me through a mystery and engage me in the game of who done it I enjoy greatly. Any story that can send shivers down my spine and quicken my heart with anticipation thrills me. Any kind of a book that can make me think about the world around me and the possibilities of what is and what could be amazes me. So, I pretty much like reading just about anything as long as it holds my interest which it will if written well.

5. Where is your favorite reading spot?
I don’t have a particular reading spot just anywhere quiet where I can immerse myself into the story. A good cup of tea and a cuddly blanket in my easy chair of my office is good. I do a lot of driving so Audiobooks work great for me as well, especially if it is a large series of books, for instance, The Game of Thrones series got me across the country and back.

6. What words of advice do you give to readers of your book?
Never stop reading because it opens the minds and feeds the soul. If you want to write then read everything you want to write about and then write your version of a story. Also, pay attention to your characters but they are so real and sometimes they will lead you down a better path of the story than you had planned on. Always be true to yourself and don’t jump on the bandwagon. Enjoy the adventure and find yourself along the way.


That’s all for this author interview! Feel free to answer some of the questions yourself in the comments below because I would love to know 🙂

You can find J.L Mulvihill on Twitter and Facebook.

Talk to you later bookworms.


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