The word alone can conjure images of epic stories played across three unique stories, each building and completing the other. We all know of the Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings, but have ye heard the tale of the Starshatter? Oh, you have? Well then, let Aragmar tell you more, uniting his characters and giving them something to fight and die for in his direct sequels, Twin Suns of Carrola and Treads of Vengeance.
Supporting other creators and channels while continuously writing is no easy feat, yet Aragmar does it on the daily. 2018 was an extremely busy year for him, all starting with Starshatter’s release in February.
I thought it was an interesting collection of character introductions. It had a few missteps, but my biggest complaint was that there was few interactions of Anit’za, Awesome, or even Brynjar together. And though English is not his first language, Bulgarian author Aragmar had created an expansive universe of characters and places, trials and battles, ancient ships and intelligent trees.
When Aragmar dropped his sequel to Starshatter, Twin Suns of Carrola, he gave me a review copy. I was blown away. It’s what makes being a self-professed reviewer so worth it: Getting free stuff.
As life went on, work and women distracting me from writing, I would read a few pages a day from Aragmar’s new novel. While Starshatter held chapters introducing the characters, Twin Suns of Carrola is a linear story focused on both the crew of the Starshatter along with a new gang of antagonists.
There is many corners in Aragmar’s universe and this adventure takes us to a few sides of it. From returning to a familiar farm planet to assaults in space, Twin Suns of Carrola goes places in style.
Garbage Man: You made a reference to “sammiches” in this novel, which made me smirk quite a bit. Sammiches are such a flexible dish. Did you know that hot dogs can also be sammiches?
Aragmar: Ha! Anit'za's great cooking skills were acquired when he, as a teenager got extremely bored and incidentally found one obscure, forgotten cookbook. The sammiches (TM) in my books are a 2ft long, golden standard Terran sandwich, which he learned how to make by watching G-net cooking holo-vids and after meeting Cat, makes the bread for them from scratch. Freshly baked ciabatta bread, smoked meats (or bbq... whatever he has in the kitchen), fresh veggies from Lilly's hydroponics bay. Both he and Cat can make awesome comfort food. She had mastered Martian contemporary cuisine, and he, the intricate recipes of his people. I can imagine they do make hotdogs with homemade franks, mayo, and mustard, caramelized onions. Instead of ketchup, they use homemade tomato sauce. So yes, they can make hotdogs instead. Did I tickle your food fancy much?
GM: Oh you tickled more than that, Aragmar.
It was good to read Lilly and Brynjar, along with the other crew, connect through both conversation and high-stake fights. The characters interact, coordinate, and test their abilities to the very limits.
Along with the original Starshatter crew, there is a few more characters introduced in Twin Suns. There is the new dude, Mack, who is pretty cool.
GM: The character Mack was an interesting addition in a universe of hardened soldiers and daring space pirates. How did a beer totin’, explosive dealing, intergalactic biker show up in Twin Suns of Carolla?
A: Mack was a type of character that I always dreamed of writing. When creating the draft for my Universe and the first four books I always felt that there was something missing. That thing was the character of Mack. Who better to join Starshatter's crew than someone who basically terrorizes, raids and otherwise robs blind all the known baddies of this Galaxy. You have to agree with me - it is virtually impossible to have a proper intergalactic adventure without beer... (agree or no more beer for you!)
Then there is the surprising villains, Omasa and his crew.
While I wasn’t too sure of this taz'aran at first, I quickly found him to be one of the more interesting characters to come from this universe. A devious tactician, his mission is clear: Destroy the Starshatter and its crew.
GM: The main villain of Omasa, along with his crew, Nedal, Tale, and Vala, were among the most compelling characters of the series to me. What inspired you to make these villains not only feel real, but allow the reader to connect with them as well?
A: I am always disappointed when reading about one dimensional, flat antagonists. Since I adore using tropes, my books are indeed populated by the so called cartoon villains. My goal was to take a comedic jab at some slightly unimaginative but otherwise well meaning critics and, of course, after introducing a proper villainous character or two down the line, my readers could instantly "feel" the difference. I was greatly inspired by ancient folk tales, mostly Slavic folklore and such. Otherwise, who declared that all villains have to exist for is to be there for the protagonist to vanquish? They are alive, have goals, dreams and are prepared to fight for them, just as fiercely as our beloved heroes.
It is significantly more well-written and compelling than its predecessor, something that I give credit to Aragmar on accomplishing.
With so many different stories and history at play in Aragmar’s Starshatter space opera, it can be slightly daunting for the new reader to grasp what is happening and where it is going. Luckily, Twin Suns of Carrola includes a helpful glossary.
GM: The glossary included at the back of the book was good for getting more information and background to your characters and there were a few references peppered throughout Twins Suns to some of your previously written short stories. What are your plans for these shorts and information?
A: The Glossary is one of the added bonuses I wished to gift to my readers. Since this Universe is vast, there are a lot of terms/groups and tech which the reader should be able to easily check with a flip of a page. When I was building the Universe I used the Glossary as a way to set some things in stone, make sure my Lore is consistent. I spent three years working on it alone. After all ten books are published I plan to release it as a separate book, of course, with more bonus content and a couple of short stories I am working on now.
He released the third novel, completing the trilogy with Treads of Vengeance on December 27th, 2018.
Vengeance picks up from Twin Suns and throws the crew across the galaxy towards a new threat looming in the dark corners of space. Can Anit’za, Lilly, Cat, Boris, the rest of the Starshatter crew, and even some new heroes, save the Terrans and continue Humanity's rightful existence in a universe plighted with greed, filth, and destruction?
While it does have some pitfalls and does not reach the heights of Twin Suns of Carrola for me, I still enjoyed Treads of Vengeance. It’s nice to see someone do a thing through.
Aragmar does have some work to do in both sentence and paragraph structure, run-on sentences, and a few misspellings. But he does edit and is open to suggestions. I'm a gamer, so I like my products fully released and not "patched" in later. Waiting a month or two is better than a product lacking in immediate potential quality.
An author must take criticism, both good and bad, and grow from it. Aragmar has grown from a single book author to the creator of the Starshatter trilogy while facing the flames of invalid valetudinarians or helpful revisers.
GM: Some have said you don’t take criticism of your novels very well. We all know that those who criticize rarely make, but what do you have to say to any negative detractors of your novels?
A: I have so far been blessed with some of the most insightful and constructive critics a humble beginner like me could possibly have hoped to bump into. They absolutely shredded me to pieces, in the beginning, pointing all of my mistakes, mistakes I made sure to correct as quickly as humanly possible. What saddens me greatly is - many people these days think that just saying "It sucks because I don't like it" makes them a critic. No, that is an opinion, not criticism, and at best could be accepted as an insightful commentary, nothing more. To be a critic for me means that you have to leave your feelings home, say goodbye to any hopes of finding "the perfect book", accept that people are flawed and look for substance, originality.
Here is your award, Aragamar!
Be sure to put it on the front cover of your book! A suggestion:
It'sa me, Moishe Oofnik, your cousin you don't like to talk about, Garbage Man! I snagged two copies of both Twin Suns of Carrola and Treads of Vengeance from the Amazon Merchant!
All you have to do is comment below and tell me, your uncle Moishe, what novel and/or author Garbage Man should look into for his next book of the month!
*Limit one entry per channel, but feel free to comment as much as you'd like. Must have a valid email or kindle account to receive prize. All rights reserved. Winners must be okay with Garbage Man-style promotional material containing their channel's information in relation to this contest. Contest ends Feb. 7th, 2019. Winners will be tagged and announced on Minds.com.
Thanks cuz! See ya on the other side of the wall!