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Velan the Reticent Paperback – April 18, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James L. Grant is best known as a guy who draws cats and bad things. His short fiction has appeared in Weird Tales Magazine, Bloodlust UK, Gothic.net, and various other strange places. His first novel, Pedestrian Wolves, was sold to Wildside Press in 2004. After that came On The Banks Of Lethe, on Stonegarden Books, and everything's just gone downhill in the world ever since. James lives in Dallas, TX, with his wife and co-creator, Mel Hynes, with his daughter and three whiny cats.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 146110419X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1461104193
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,137,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. D. Kozan on April 26, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition
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.
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