I say that because the Kirkus Indie review of my novel has finally arrived. Actually, it arrived last week, but of course the policy at Kirkus is that an author cannot use their review until after it’s up and on the Kirkus website --- which is fair enough, no complaints there... particularly given the content in their review of Gryphon’s Heir. It is now, so I’m free to quote from it and comment on it.
(For those of you not in the loop of the publishing world, Kirkus is one of the big-name outfits who review various books. They have a widespread reputation as one of the pre-eminent reviewers in the business. Last year, they established the Kirkus Prize, a $50,000 literary prize. The Kirkus name carries with it both weight and credibility in the publishing world.)
So what did Kirkus say about Gryphon’s Heir? Well, the full text of their review can be found at https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/dr-ranshaw/gryphons-heir/ and also on this website under ‘Reviews.’ And... I may also have put a few of the comments on my home page. Particularly the ones that say: “A literary epic apparently inspired by grand classics such as T.H. White’s The Once and Future King and the poems of Alfred, Lord Tennyson... sharp and absorbing... fabulously layered mythmaking.”
Wow. Really? I was quite blown away by those comments. You can compare me to T.H. White and Tennyson any old time you’d like. And ‘fabulously layered mythmaking?’ That’s extremely gratifying.
Now, I’ve had many family, friends and colleagues tell me how good the story is and how much they’ve enjoyed reading it. And that’s great, don’t get me wrong. But it’s really nice to hear from an outfit like Kirkus that they like the story, too. Why? Because they’re more impartial than family, friends and colleagues, who either have to like the story or have to pretend to (although not everyone has), in order to spare an emotionally needy writer’s feelings. But Kirkus is under no such constraints. They don’t know me from Adam, as the saying goes, and a positive review is by no means guaranteed. In fact, I had to give my permission for them to publish the review on their website. If I had withheld that permission, the review would have remained private... which implies that sometimes, particularly with indie authors, the review is not especially glowing.
(Well, it got me thinking. You gotta tell it like it is. As a teacher, I’m frequently confronted by the same thing. However, as a teacher, I’m also keenly aware of the positive power of affirmation when it’s warranted. Most people love to hear from others --- both known and unknown to us --- when we think we’ve done a good job. And unfortunately, affirmation seems to be a much rarer commodity in our world than criticism. We’re quick to tell people when we think they’ve messed up, much slower to dole out praise. Why is that? It’s rather a sad state of affairs when it’s simpler to point out someone’s faults than it is their strengths.)
Anyway... check out the Kirkus review. If you’ve read Gryphon’s Heir and enjoyed it and agree with Kirkus... I’d be really grateful if you’d tell a few people and encourage them to get the novel.
If you haven’t read Gryphon’s Heir, read the review anyway, and then... well, what are you doing just sitting there?