Tag Archives: Chuck Wendig

The Hunt, by Chuck Wendig

The-Hunt

It’s Atlanta’s senior year of high school, and she is officially infamous. Not only has she saved herself from a predator, brought down an untouchable dogfighting ring, and battled a pack of high-school bullies, but she’s also proclaimed to the Internet her willingness to fight for anyone who needs help. And Atlanta can’t believe what’s coming out of the woodwork. From an old friend to a troop of troubled girls with connections to a local fracking company, there’s definitely fire in the water. As always, the girl with the unforgettable name is not afraid to burn it all down if it means making things right. But as high school races toward its inevitable end and the hornets begin to swarm from all directions, Atlanta must decide how much of herself and her growing group of friends she is willing to risk … before it’s too late.

We’ve all felt the sting of betrayal. Some of us have reconciled. We often forgive, but we never forget. I mentioned in my review of Atlanta Burns that at one time we either knew or needed someone like her. Most of us have done something that we regret later, and Atlanta Burns and her friend are no exception.

Wendig writes compelling characters that are believable. I grew up part-time in western Pennsylvania with family in central PA. I was never aware that events described by Wendig could have happened. Whether that was youthful naïveté, a world separated by two decades, or the vivid imaginings of a talented author, I’ll never know.

I felt that The Hunt had been toned down a bit. The grittiness that I enjoyed in the first book seemed missing from this one. I wasn’t expecting just a younger version of Miriam Black, but I’d hoped that the ‘feel’ of the first book kept on trucking. The story moved on as expected, and I wanted to be disappointed that Atlanta hadn’t learned from book one, but that wouldn’t have worked for the story.

The Hunt is still in your face, with subtlety pitched out the window and continues to chronicle the misadventures of a very broken young woman. Whereas the first book was Atlanta versus a world occupied by uncaring adults, this one seems to have at least a few grown-ups that want to do what is right. While the latter appears to be more in line with reality, it just doesn’t make for the “me versus an uncaring world” adrenaline rush the first book had.

The Hunt is still an exciting read, and I look forward to another outing with Atlanta before she outgrows the genre. The Hunt is a four-star read and a must-have for any fan of Chuck Wendig.

Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter and game designer. He’s the author of many published novels, including but not limited to: Blackbirds, The Blue Blazes, and the YA Heartland series. He is co-writer of the short film Pandemic and the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. Wendig has contributed over two million words to the game industry. He is also well known for his profane-yet-practical advice to writers, which he dispenses at his blog, terribleminds.com, and through several popular e-books, including The Kick-Ass Writer, published by Writers Digest. He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, tiny human, and red dog.

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http://www.terribleminds.com/
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Atlanta Burns, by Chuck Wendig

Atlanta-Burns

You don’t mess with Atlanta Burns. Everyone knows that. And that’s kinda how she likes it—until the day Atlanta is drawn into a battle against two groups of bullies and saves a pair of new, unexpected friends. But actions have consequences, and when another teen turns up dead—by an apparent suicide—Atlanta knows foul play is involved. And worse: she knows it’s her fault. You go poking rattlesnakes, maybe you get bit. Afraid of stirring up the snakes further by investigating, Atlanta turns her focus to the killing of a neighborhood dog. All paths lead to a rural dogfighting ring, and once more Atlanta finds herself face-to-face with bullies of the worst sort. Atlanta cannot abide letting bad men do awful things to those who don’t deserve it. So she sets out to unleash her own brand of teenage justice. Will Atlanta triumph? Or is fighting back just asking for a face full of bad news?

Chuck Wendig nails the fragile toughness that is Atlanta Burns. While it’s been a decade or two since I was in high school, I still remember the zoo that was the high school I attended. I don’t look back on it with fond memories, so I guess that I was Atlanta Burns, knew her, or needed her at some point.

I read the Bait Dog Kickstarter version with Shotgun Gravy as a prologue. I know that when Skyscape acquired the rights to this and the second book, they re-edited Bait Dog/Shotgun Gravy into this first book. I haven’t compared the two, and Chuck said on his blog that there was a lot of editing, but he felt that it didn’t detract from the story.

I’ve read a lot of Chuck Wendig, and there is a particular voice and agency I expect from his writing. Atlanta Burns does not disappoint. I could almost see Atlanta Burns as a younger, less-jilted version of Miriam Black, one of Wendig’s best characters, albeit with less supernatural, and more a shotgun-toting downtrodden-rescuing bringer of pain.

I’ve always been a fan of Wendig’s economy of words. He writes tight sentences, short scenes, and no-nonsense description. You feel immersed in the setting, albeit sometimes grim, but immersion nonetheless.

Like a lot of Wendig’s work, Atlanta Burns is better experienced rather than explained and is easily a 4.5-star read.

Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter and game designer. He’s the author of many published novels, including but not limited to: Blackbirds, The Blue Blazes, and the YA Heartland series. He is co-writer of the short film Pandemic and the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. Wendig has contributed over two million words to the game industry. He is also well known for his profane-yet-practical advice to writers, which he dispenses at his blog, terribleminds.com, and through several popular e-books, including The Kick-Ass Writer, published by Writers Digest. He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, tiny human, and red dog.

Amazon
Goodreads
http://www.terribleminds.com/
Twitter


The Harvest, by Chuck Wendig

The Harvest

It’s been a year since the Saranyu flotilla fell from the sky, and life in the Heartland has changed. Gone are the Obligations and the Harvest Home festivals. In their place is a spate of dead towns, the former inhabitants forced into mechanical bodies to serve the Empyrean—and crush the Heartland. When Cael awakens from a Blightborn sleep, miles away from the world he remembers, he sets out across the Heartland to gather his friends for one last mission. As the mechanicals, a war flotilla, and a pack of feral Empyrean girls begin to close in on the Heartland, there isn’t much time to make their next move. But if they can uncover a secret weapon in time, Cael and his friends might just find themselves with the power to save the world—or destroy it—resting in their hands.

The epic conclusion of the Heartland Trilogy floored me like a punch from Mike Tyson in his prime. Books one and two seemed to move along steadily. In book three, Wendig must’ve pressed the button and injected nitrous oxide leaving me with a surge of speed akin to the wheelie-popping scene from Fast and Furious.

When I saw The Harvest was available via NetGalley, I immediately downloaded it and moved it to the top of the to-be-read pile. I tore through his words in less than twenty-four hours and was satisfied with the ending.

All the familiar characters are there from the first two books, and they continue to be written in a compelling manner that makes them likeable, despicable and above all real.

The adrenaline rush from the opening prologue to the epic showdown between the Heartlanders and the Empyreans was only topped by a new villain that was both scary and sympathetic. Cael made this villain in such a way that reminded me of the Batman/Joker dynamic.

The ending of The Harvest wrapped up the series, but still left a thread of more stories to come if the author so chooses. I for one would like to continue reading the aftermath of The Harvest and its epilogue.

Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter and game designer. He’s the author of many published novels, including but not limited to: Blackbirds, The Blue Blazes, and the YA Heartland series. He is co-writer of the short film Pandemic and the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. Wendig has contributed over two million words to the game industry. He is also well known for his profane-yet-practical advice to writers, which he dispenses at his blog, terribleminds.com, and through several popular e-books, including The Kick-Ass Writer, published by Writers Digest. He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, tiny human, and red dog.

Amazon
Goodreads
http://www.terribleminds.com/
Twitter


Blightborn, by Chuck Wendig

Blightborn

Cael McAvoy is on the run. He’s heading toward the Empyrean to rescue his sister, Merelda, and to find Gwennie before she’s lost to Cael forever. With his pals, Lane and Rigo, Cael journeys across the Heartland to catch a ride into the sky. But with Boyland and others after them, Cael and his friends won’t make it through unchanged. Gwennie’s living the life of a Lottery winner, but it’s not what she expected. Separated from her family, Gwennie makes a bold move—one that catches the attention of the Empyrean and changes the course of an Empyrean man’s life. The crew from Boxelder aren’t the only folks willing to sacrifice everything to see the Empyrean fall. The question is: Can the others be trusted?

I’ve never tried to hide the fact that I’m a Chuck Wendig fan. If you’ve read my review of Under the Empyrean Sky, you know I was unhappy with the ending. Blightborn still has a cliffhanger, but it’s not as severe as UTES. I found the plot to be more streamlined than UTES, and it felt more akin to the Miriam Black series Chuck does with a fast moving storyline and some in-your-face moments.

I felt that the characters, specifically, the villains had improved greatly since UTES. There is a love triangle that’s explored in Blightborn, and we’ll need to stick around for The Harvest to see what happens there.

The descriptions of the lifestyle, dress and attitudes of the Empyreans, paint a vivid picture of the fight between the haves and the have-nots. I’m not sure if the author intended it to be a commentary on American society and its trend towards waste and opulence, but these descriptions, along with a beautiful cover made me feel like the flotilla could be a place I could visit.

It’s amazing that the quality of content has improved since the first book, since I find Chuck’s writing to be fabulous. Blightborn is a testament that we can all improve as writers no matter where we are in our writing careers.

Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter and game designer. He’s the author of many published novels, including but not limited to: Blackbirds, The Blue Blazes, and the YA Heartland series. He is co-writer of the short film Pandemic and the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. Wendig has contributed over two million words to the game industry. He is also well known for his profane-yet-practical advice to writers, which he dispenses at his blog, terribleminds.com, and through several popular e-books, including The Kick-Ass Writer, published by Writers Digest. He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, tiny human, and red dog.

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Goodreads
http://www.terribleminds.com/
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Blightborn Selfie Contest – Vote Now

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Chuck Wendig of terribleminds fame is giving away a paperwhite to one of seventeen participants in his Blightborn selfie contest. Head over to his site and vote on your favorite. While you’re there, check out his Heartland Trilogy (the series Blightborn is from) and his Mirriam Black series.

Under the Empyrean Sky, by Chuck Wendig

under-the-empyrean_full_700

Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It’s the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow—and the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables. But Cael’s tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He’s sick of the mayor’s son besting Cael’s crew in the scavenging game. And he’s worried about losing Gwennie—his first mate and the love of his life—forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry—angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn’t seem upset about any of it. When Cael and his crew discover a secret, illegal garden, he knows it’s time to make his own luck…even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.

There were several low-star reviews complaining about language and sexuality. Since television pours these things, along with violence into people’s heads, I find I difficult to get behind their rage. I work in a video game store and every day I see parents allowing their pre-teen boys to play games rated ‘M’ for mature. I try to caution them these games have extreme violence, offensive language, and sexuality with nudity – to no avail. Come on, people! UTES has less sexuality than a PG-13 movie and less language than in music and the aforementioned movies. We bury our heads in the sand and decry the downfall of civilization – guess what? Society has been sucking for quite a while. Anyway, on to the review:

I avoid stories with wording like ‘trilogy’ in the title unless it is a reissue of a completed trilogy. I find planned trilogies use weak devices like cliffhangers. Unfortunately, UTES delivers just that – a cheesy cliffhanger. I actually thought my kindle was malfunctioning, when I couldn’t read beyond the last page. There are several parts of this story that are laughably predictable – but no more so than any other dystopian YA fiction. I won’t take away stars for the predictability or the perceived language, or even the comically cliched villains, but Chuck loses a star for the incomplete ending.

This is not a negative review, I enjoyed every moment spent reading it. Chuck is a great writer and I will be reading the other heartland books when they come out.

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Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter and game designer. He’s the author of many published novels, including but not limited to: Blackbirds, The Blue Blazes, and the YA Heartland series. He is co-writer of the short film Pandemic and the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. Wendig has contributed over two million words to the game industry. He is also well known for his profane-yet-practical advice to writers, which he dispenses at his blog, terribleminds.com, and through several popular e-books, including The Kick-Ass Writer, published by Writers Digest. He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, tiny human, and red dog.

Amazon
Goodreads
http://terribleminds.com
Twitter