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I was selected to be a stop on the “Gray Widow’s Walk” blog tour from Seventh Star Press. The tour is hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media who does the publicity and blog tours for Seventh Star Press and other Indie and/or Self Published authors.
I received a complimentary copy of “Gray Widow’s Walk” direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I wanted to take a second foray into ‘Superhero Fiction’:
Aside from my obvious affection for the #AwesomeJones series by AshleyRose Sullivan (see Review) you could say I’ve had a hankering for a sequel and/or a completely new slice of Superhero Fiction to take a bite out of whilst I’m awaiting the forementioned series to return! In addition, on the small screen I’ve become so entranced by the new SuperGirl series I can only hope the transition to a new network doesn’t prove fatal for it’s longevity and the integrity of the series remains true to it’s core; as noted on my Twitter Profile I self-declared I’m SuperGirl’s BFF! You could say I have a classic appreciation for certain superheroes and the legacy approach to continuing their stories; as to me, SuperGirl honours the legacy of her universe whilst bringing it forward into the 21st Century.
I caught sight of Gray Widow’s Walk earlier in the year whereupon I chose to contact the author via Twitter – as part of me questioned if this was a complete step outside my zone of comfort and/or slightly this side of the line to where I could lay my hat inside the universe Jolley created!
It’s always a good rule of thumb to contact an author if your on the fence about one of their stories and/or their debut; this is something I’ve started to get into the habit of doing since I began a book blogger, as much as finding Twitter is the bridge of equality between readers and authors directly. I cannot express how many times I’ve randomly reached out to authors; either who have found me or of whom I have found myself (via their tweets, my local library, another book blogger’s blog, Shelf Awareness, author and/or publisher newsletters or [insert] the myriad collective route I take through bookish news as a possibility!) on Twitter for a spontaneous convo either straight into our respective feeds or through DM. Sometimes I like to opt for a convo privately if it’s a questionable genre choice of mine, where I feel I have more freedom to articulate my concerns, as the word count is blessedly absent!
This is why I was full of gratitude to Mr Jolley (as expressed in this tweet) for taking a moment out of his hectic Hollywood meet & greet tour (on a potential project in development) to chat with me for a short spell! His honest feedback and method of illuminating an analogy of character development through another series (Jessica Jones) provided me with stellar fodder to chew whilst I made my final thoughts in regards to being tempted to read this novel or whether to take a pass on it. I watched the trailer for Jessica Jones even though my computer is deaf due to a lightning surge last Summer, I was able to gather the vibe about her fierce confidence and independent nature!
Here’s what truly stood out to me:
I wanted to ask you about Gray Widow — as I am a sensitive reader, are the darker elements in the story something a cosy girl could handle? I’m not into outright gore or anything and I’m not keen on a lot of strong language but do make exceptions if it’s not a norm but included here or there.
Jolley responds: Hmmm…the coarse language is not pervasive, so you should be okay there. A lot of the parts with the central antagonist, however, do get awfully intense–he’s the “horror” part of the book. It’s not overwhelming, though. Maybe if you read the parts with Simon knowing there’s something coming, you can prepare for it?
Gore intense or just psychologically intense? I can handle psychological intensity. Can you relate a film to the same level of emotional intensity, I might be able to know then if I could handle it. Good to know about the language!!
Jolley responds: I think, at its most chilling, it’s a bit like Se7en. I hope you do decide to give it a shot, though, because I’m very proud of Janey as a character, and I think she’ll resonate with a lot of people.
I never saw Se7en but I did see “The Bone Collector” with Angelina Jolie. I think those two are spoken about in the same line of breadth for chilliness so in this case, I think I’ll be alright! This is the upper tier of what I could handle, though. Thus, it will definitely push me a bit out of my comfort zones which is a good thing because I like doing that! I have the tendency to seek out literature that will challenge me – I am only cautious because I do get *freaked out of my skull* quite easily, but knowing this going in, I’ll know there will be bits of the story that will chill my bones!
I fell for the premise and I agree, Janey by appearances is writ strong and the type of girl you can stand behind as there is this layer of unknown she’s not even thinking of realising is at play in the overall scheme of things.
I am sharing this snippet of our conversation as a precursor of my review, if on the odd chance your a reader similar to me whose cautiously curious about new genres & new ways to bend a story into a new dialogue of exploration but aren’t entirely sure you can handle the components of the story — this will give you a good idea about my process as a reader & how I try to ask pertinent questions to flesh out whether or not I can handle reading a novel that may or may not previously have crossed my mind to read but has curiously caught my eye to read now! In other words, I purposely remain open-minded in regards to Literature’s corridors. Even if I run into disappointments, I never regret being open to new ideas and new styles of crafting a story.
As an aside, when Mr Jolley broached if I had ever attended a ComicCon, I had the sudden realisation I had completely missed an opportunity! I have future plans to attend book conventions, literary festivals, Steampunk conventions and literary symposiums but a ComicCon? I clearly overlooked something quite obvious – as being able to attend my second Sci-Fi Convention has been a goal of mine since I met Jonathan Frakes and Peter David in 1997!
Notation on Cover Art: One of my initial questions regarding this novel was about the cover art design; most specifically the shadowy & ominous background for which the Gray Widow is highlighted in the foreground; I elected not to reveal what Mr Jolley told me as he hadn’t spoilt it for me but clued me in a bit to what it wasn’t – as let’s just say I thought it parlayed closer to what a ‘widow’ might be in the world of ‘insects’ but it was actually a foreshadow to a larger part of the plot! From a ‘first look’ perspective I did not quite see it the same way; ergo, it was quite ingenious for those who are entering this story outside of reading Comic Books & Superhero Fiction as a mainstay of their literary wanderings! Keeps us guessing!
The tech of the suit for the Gray Widow is truly what caught my attention – that is one seriously creatively designed suit for a superhero, isn’t it? I could see how stealth & flexible the material was meant to jolt her through her actions but it’s just seriously a kickin’ wicked outfit! I also presumed she had some martial arts in her background given the weapons of choice in her hands!
“The only thing in this world you can truly control is yourself.”
Janey Sinclair’s ability to teleport has always been a mystery to her. She tried for years to ignore it, but when tragedy shatters her life, Janey’s anger consumes her. She hones her fighting skills, steals a prototype suit of military body armor, and takes to the streets of Atlanta, venting her rage as the masked vigilante dubbed “the Gray Widow” by the press.
But Janey’s power, and her willingness to use it, plunges her into a conflict on a much grander scale than she had anticipated.
Soon she encounters Simon Grove, a bloodthirsty runaway with a shapeshifting ability gone horribly wrong…
Garrison Vessler, an ex-FBI agent and current private defense contractor, who holds some of the answers Janey’s been searching for…
And Tim Kapoor, the first person in years with a chance of breaking through Janey’s emotional shell—if she’ll let him.
But as Janey’s vigilantism gains worldwide attention, and her showdown with Simon Grove draws ever closer, the reason for her augmented abilities—hers and all the others like her—begins to reveal itself. Because, high above the Earth, other eyes are watching. And they have far-reaching plans…
Gray Widow’s Walk is Book One of the Gray Widow Trilogy, to be followed by Gray Widow’s Web and Gray Widow’s War.
Places to find the book:
Also by this author: Dan Jolley (Interview) Gray Widow Trilogy
Published by Seventh Star Press
on 13th May, 2016
Format: Paperback Edition
Converse via: #GrayWidowsWalk + #GrayWidowTrilogy & #7thStar