Customer Reviews


10 Reviews
5 star:
 (7)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warbirds, wigs, and warriors, April 26, 2011
By 
T. D. Kozan (Greeley, CO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Especially with Warbirds, what's not to like?

James Grant has returned to showcasing his writing skills instead of his talents as an cartoonist, and high time. It's been too long since he wrote _On the Banks of Lethe_ but it's been time well spent. He's still coming into himself as an author and it's obvious as you read _Velan_, his style improves, even as the story progresses, and he becomes more comfortable with his storytelling.

_Velan_ could easily have turned out to be just another Conan sendup but, in spite of the sardonic humor familiar to readers of Flem Comics, Grant also displays a genuine respect and appreciation of Howard's work in a novella that is the best tribute to Howard's Conan since John Jakes' _Mention My Name in Atlantis_.

Downside? It's a novella; it just doesn't go on as long as you'll wish it would. Upside? It's a novella; as a result it's a quick, affordable read. Also, since Grant's already at work on a sequel, we can look forward to a steady supply of twisted entertainment for the foreseeable future.

Buy the book. It's the best four bucks you'll spend today and if it encourages Grant to keep writing, as well as illustrating, we all win.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Velan sucks you in, and doesn't let you go quietly..., April 29, 2011
The titular character of "Velan," while the driving force behind the book's main action, takes a back seat to the other two main characters in the book, Tygus, a farmboy turned revenge-seeker, and the Scarlet Retalia, a buxom mercenary who could easily take Red Sonja in hand to hand combat.

This novella has two extremely well executed facets. First, it is a coming of age story that follows Tygus in his quest to revenge his town, which was massacred by a rampaging horde. Seemingly hopeless at first, Tygus soon shows his reticent mentor, Velan, that he has a lot of hidden potential. Often bemused and confounded by the world outside his now-smoldering village, Tygus provides the reader with a front row seat to some of the most realistic (well, as realistic as fighting ruby-eyed scorpions can be) action scenes you'll read.

Second, this novella is a tongue in cheek homage to famed action heroes such as Conan the Barbarian and the aforementioned Red Sonja. We learn, for example, that having long, flowing hair isn't always the most practical hairstyle for a female mercenary, that honor is NOT the better part of valor, the life of a mercenary (aka "hero") is brutish, short, and likely to end badly, and that scavenging Warbirds can be very, very patient.

This novella is not perfect, however.

For one thing, it is too short. It promises us sequels, however, which will hopefully explore the character of Velan more fully. He remains shrouded in mystique (perhaps by his own design) for most of the novel.

A few passages are confusing, and require re-reading, but all in all, a very clever, very funny book that will leave you wanting more.

If you like books such as the Discworld novels, that simultaneous pay homage to and make fun of the fantasy/action/sci fi genre, this is right up your alley.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can you DIG IIIIIIIIIIIT?, April 28, 2011
Grant has created something truly special in Velan the Reticent. Not since Harry Harrison's 'Bill the Galactic Hero' have I been so enamored by a satire hero ... then along came the awesome that is Valen.

I read this incredibly interesting, bizarre, super-funny, ultra-violent, strange, and exciting (did I get enough adjectives in there?) adventure/satire from cover to cover in a single sitting. And I loved ever word of it. I highly recommend this title to any fans of the fantasy, sci-fi, and/or satire genres. I can say with confidence that this work is MORE than worth the cover price.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloody, Hilarious!, April 24, 2011
The life of a warrior is full of hardship. Long journeys, bad food, the constant annoyance of people trying to kill you. Despite being a veritable one-man army, Velan's journey is a constant struggle. Somehow, taking on an apprentice did not make things any easier.

James L Grant creates a marvelously parodic scenario and drops us square in the middle of it. He gives us people to care about, and fun things for them to do. If you're a fan of violence, folklore, or smart-ass birds, Velan the Reticent should def be on your to-read list.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really funny parody is an engrossing story in its own right, April 25, 2011
"You have been warned", reads one of the blerbs.

It's a good warning, because Velan the Reticent is addictive.
Good thing it's short enough to be called a novella. Its length, or rather the lack thereof, might reduce your chances of getting caught reading it when you're supposed to be working.

Only, you will be caught. For one thing, you're going to be noticed when you try (probably unsucessfuly) to choke it back when you get ambushed by your own laughter. Repeatedly.
Or, when you have to clean the keyboard on which you just sprayed a noseful of coffee.

If you ever loved "Barbarian" sword & sorcery, whether as a full-on fan or as someone sneaking a guilty pleasure, Velan will satisfy.
If you ever thought Howard's Conan series could have been better written, or privately found aspects of his writing a bit over-the-top..you will find vindication in Velan the Reticent.

This book is a parody, it's satire, it's full of snark. BUT it's also an homage, being a damned good Conan-esque tale in its own right.

Yeah, I loved it; can you tell?
There's one part in particular, in the middle, where I literally about fell out of my chair. I won't tell you which; you'll know when you come to it.
AND I DO KNOW WHAT THE WORD "LITERALLY" MEANS, SO I DON'T USE IT LIGHTLY!

Enough already; go buy this thing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good even if you're not a fan of the genre being sent up, July 28, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Velan the Reticent (Paperback)
Barbarian sword-and-sorcery books have never been of great interest to me. It's one of those genres, like military science fiction, high fantasy, and paranormal romance, where I can see where there are elements that other people might be drawn to (and are, in great numbers) without being drawn to those elements myself. So I came to Velan the Reticent, a novella suggesting a send-up of works such as Conan the Barbarian and Red Sonja, I was not entirely sure it would work for me. Parodies I like; parodies of things I've never seen or read, less so.

Fortunately, James L. Grant has wrote a book that is both funny and entertaining regardless of how much or little one knows about the genre. He does it the old-fashioned way - by creating real, complete characters who deal with the strange situations they face (scavenging warbirds, scheming townspeople, hidden temples) in realistic (for the genre) ways. The humor flows from the characters and their situations, rather than any forced wordplay, joking, or overt silliness, and is all the more effective for it. While I suspect there are depths I missed due to unfamiliarity with the genre, I nevertheless thorougly enjoyed the book and look forward to Velan's return.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swords and sorcery for the twenty-first century reader., May 8, 2011
By 
Kristan O. Overstreet (Livingston, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Don't be fooled by the somewhat whimsical title; Velan the Reticent is both more and less than a parody of Conan and other sword-and-sorcery tales. Nor is it a deconstruction, satire, or commentary on the genre. It is, plain and simply, a reinvention of the genre for a new generation- a generation less interested in tall tales and superhuman characters and more interested in keeping their fantasy grounded in common sense.

Don't get me wrong- there's quite a bit of humor in the book, but the comedy does not take over the story or the characters. Of the three major characters- Velan the mercenary, Tygus the farmboy, and Retalia the Amazon-esque warrior- none of them ever stoops to clowning or outright idiocy. Even Tygus, who begins the story as green and inexperienced as they come, is allowed moments of intelligence, cunning, and even competence when the other two come up short. Only minor (and generally nonhuman) characters play the role of strict comic relief, and that sparingly enough to make it relief when they appear.

The result is a quick, satisfying adventure story that's fun to read, made all the better by James Grant's crisp, clear writing style. The writing dragged me by the nose (because nothing more sensitive was in reach) from beginning to end in one sitting. The ending, although providing closure enough for one story, leaves the reader wanting more- in my case, demanding it. I'm looking forward to the next installment when it comes- and to getting all my friends hooked on the first one.

-- Kris Overstreet
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just a taste, June 7, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Excellent story, engaging and humorous. Unfortunately, it sets the stage for a ripping yarn, then ends without telling it! Because the obvious next book in the series remains unwritten, this is quite frustrating. Four stars for the feeling that the story is not complete within the book, otherwise a five-star read. Here's hoping the next installment comes soon...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fortune Favors the Bold, May 6, 2011
From deep in the bowels of the mind, across continents and ages, James conjures forth a hero like no hero before. Out of the frigid cold of the north comes the legendary Velan, who's legendary adventures are the stuff of legends...

Velan is a quick and entertaining read that leaves you wanting more. Tygus is a likeable sidekick that amusingly drives Velan crazy.

This is definately a must read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars velan the can't put it down, May 7, 2011
Fun story. Excellent character development. You become entranced by the players and don't want to put it down and miss something. There MUST be a follow up! I need to know how the boy develops, what the woman warrior gets into next and what happens to Velan!
A fun read, I smell a series.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Velan the Reticent
Velan the Reticent by James L. Grant (Paperback - April 18, 2011)
$8.35 $7.52
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.