Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday Review: The Sowing by Steven Dos Santos

Title: The Sowing
Author: Steven Dos Santos
Published: March 8, 2014
Source: Amazon Purchase
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
My Review of The Culling, Book One of The Torch Keeper Series


This time, there are no choices.

Lucian “Lucky” Spark leads a double life. By day, he trains to become one of the Establishment elite. At night, he sabotages his oppressors from within, seeking to avenge the murder of his love, Digory Tycho, and rescue his imprisoned brother.

But when he embarks on a risky plot to assassinate members of the Establishment hierarchy, Lucky is thrust into the war between the Establishment and the rebellion, where the lines between friend and foe are blurred beyond recognition. His only chance for survival lies in facing the secrets of the Sowing, a mystery rooted in the ashes of the apocalyptic past that threatens to destroy Lucky’s last hope for the future


Holy Freaking Cow Batman! This book was so effin great!! I am not even sure where to start because yeah, I loved it that much!! So part of this review will just be my thoughts as a reader because I just feel like I need to say some things, and other parts will be directed towards the actual book. So take a deep breath and here we GO!

The Sowing picks up after the imp training comes to an end and Lucky is about to move onto the next round of life. Of course, the insurrection is trying to take over and push the Establishment out of office and who do they get to help execute this plan? The Torch Keeper himself.

I felt like the plot was top notch. I was really worried that I wouldn't love this book as much as I loved The Culling because my expectations were so high after such a bang for the start. At about 25% of the book I realized I needed to put that thought out of my mind because this book had me swept up into it.

Once again Steven did a phenomenal job with not only the quality of writing but the characters and their depth along with the plot.

While this book is written in first person present tense (which is actually my favorite as a reader) his excellent description and character development actually allows you to connect with ALL of the characters, not just Lucky.

Now onto a side note about just how I feel when I am reading LGBT books ... this is not normally a genre that I like to read. I find it very difficult to connect to the characters because most often the 'men' I am reading do not come across very manly. That isn't saying that they can't be emotional or affectionate, because I think very manly men still have the soft and tender side. But I just typically feel like the m/m characters are written very ... non-manly. It is a real put off for me because (and maybe it is because I am a woman and I like men who are rough and very Alpha) I need a male character with strength, inside and outside. I need to hear the command in his voice, feel the convictions in his thoughts and actions. And most importantly need to be able to actually see a man saying and doing these actions.

This series, in my opinion, The Torch Keeper, is the only series where each of the m/m characters come across like a man would in my own visions. This book makes me want to read more LGBT books, and more young adult books.

(potential spoiler) There was a love scene in this book and even though there was no description (because it was a young adult book) it was one of the most intense love scenes I have read. I was so moved by the two characters that my heart felt like it was swelling.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about Steven's writing and this series. I have already told him that I cannot wait another year for book 3 ... I might have to go to Florida and stalk him until he gives me the ending! haha.

Overall this book is a 5 star read because not only does it keep you on the edge of your seat, it gives you the feeling of actually being apart of this horrible world that I pray our existence never goes to.


A Follow Up Interview With Steven Dos Santos
Ashley: Wow, just freaking wow!!! How did it feel when those plot twists happened? All that betrayal ... I mean, that had to be emotional for you as an author.
Steven: It was an Emo-Palooza! Each twist and betrayal in THE SOWING was a thrilling discovery for me as an author, which I relished in, followed by an intense feeling of anticipation to share them with the reader. I felt extremely heartbroken for what my poor characters had to endure in this installment, but I wanted to up the ante for fans of THE CULLING in every aspect, make the story even more suspenseful and emotional, and I hope I succeeded in creating a worthy continuation.
Ashley: Where did the ideas of The Sowing come from? Did you always know that it would happen like this or did you develop the twist and turns as the story developed?
Steven: I had a basic idea for the story of THE SOWING when I sat down to write it. But all those juicy deets came into play while I was at my keyboard. It was like the proverbial bag of delicious potato chips. Once the twists started happening, I couldn’t stop at just one. And the final twist just felt so perfect for me and fueled so much to explore in the next sequel.
Ashley: Book Three? Title? Estimated finish date? Sneak Peak??????? PLEASE!!
Steven: I am working on Book Three as we speak. I estimate that I’m almost halfway done. I hope to finish it by this summer, and then begin the process of revising and editing. I can’t reveal the title just, but I think that it works on many different levels (Yeah, I know I’m a big tease). The book should be released next year. I can’t really give out any plot deets without spoiling, but I’ve already written the ending and I promise there will be a definitive resolution (is that vague enough for you?)
Ashley: Is it hard for you to write for a young adult audience? What about the LGBT audience? Do you find these targets make things easier or harder?
Steven: I actually love to write for the Young Adult audience because I feel that characters in that age group tend to be more passionate about life, and there’s a certain excitement to being young and having a whole life ahead of you that adds a whole layer of excitement to the mix. While having LGBTQ protagonists has presented challenges regarding mainstream publishers, I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to include these characters in genre fiction where they have been so woefully misrepresented. I hope the trend continues to have more LGBTQ heroes and heroines in Young Adult fiction, where their sexuality is not an issue in the story at all.
Ashley: After The Torch Keeper series is over, what do you have planned?
Steven: A nice long vacation! LOL. I actually have a few ideas for a Young Adult horror novel which I’d like to write. The plan is to make it REALLY scary, the kind of psychological fear that hits you when you are lying in bed in the dark and keeps you awake. Those kinds of frights are challenging and I’m definitely up for it!
Ashley: Who do you pull from for inspiration?
Steven: I would say early works by Stephen King have been inspirational, the kind of writing that holds no punches and is quite visceral. I want the reader to feel like they are experiencing everything my characters are going through, no matter how unpleasant that can be.
Fast Five! Time to list the Top Five of each thing....
- Movies: Star Wars, The Godfather Part II, ALIEN, The Thing (1982), Ben Hur
- Books: The Stand, The Shining, East of Eden, The Golden Compass, Giovanni’s Room
- Songs: Eleanor Rigby, What I Did For Love, Seasons of Love, I Can’t Live (If Living is Without You), How Deep is Your Love?
- Dates: 1/22/09, 6/10/11, 6/1/31, 3/8/13, 3/8/14
Ashley: And Last ... but not least ... What is the one thing you are most looking forward to when The Torch Keeper has been completed?
Steven: Seeing all three books of the trilogy lined up side by side and knowing I have completed the odyssey I set out to write, while at the same time contributing in some small way to the inclusion of diversity in Young Adult fiction.

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