Sunday, March 31, 2013

Blog Tour Stop: Review & Guest Post & Giveaway - IXEOS by Jennings Wright

The McClellands are enjoying a lazy summer vacation at the beach when they are lured from our world into Ixeos, an alternate Earth. Finding themselves lost in a maze of tunnels under Paris and surrounded by strangers, they discover that they have been brought to Ixeos for one purpose: to take the planet back from humanoid aliens who have claimed it. With the aid of the tunnels and a mysterious man named Landon, the teens travel the world seeking the key that will allow them to free Darian, the long-imprisoned rebel leader. But the aliens aren't the only problem on Ixeos -- the McClellands have to deal with brutal gangs, desperate junkies, and a world without power, where all the technology is owned by the aliens, and where most of the population has been killed or enslaved. The worst part? There's no way home.
If I see ducks disappearing somewhere strange... I will never EVER follow them. In IXEOS by Jennings Wright, that's exactly what Neahle, her brother Clay, and her cousin Marty did and they ended up on an alternate Earth. One that had evolved the same way our Earth had, but in Ixeos's universe... aliens who resembled humans have taken over. Made the remaining humans their slaves.

The McClellands were out enjoying a nice day in the sunshine when they spotted some ducks. Following those ducks led them into a large drainage pipe which led them to another world entirely. One where they become part of a rebellion to take back Ixeos and free the leader of the resistance from the aliens' (Firsts) prison.

I liked this book. At first I felt angry for the McClellands, tricked in to joining this resistance... unallowed to decide whether or not they truly wanted to participate. They found their purposes with the group quickly enough though, so the anger subsided a bit. Except for Neahle, I was really hoping she'd find out where exactly she fit in to the whole deal.

The way they reacted to the entire situation at first was a relief. A lot of stories I read have main characters who end up in some weird or outlandish plot in some way or another and they take it all in stride like it's just any other day. The McClellands were angry and frustrated. Defeated. Then accepting. After a while they embraced their roles in the story and did what they could to fulfill them.

There was always something going on in this book. Kept me on my toes. I never got bored. The only issue that I had was when the Enigma machines were being explained. It was a lot of information that I tried to keep up with, but eventually my brain got overloaded trying to figure it out and I just stopped. I understood the general idea and the end result, but all of the gadgets and whozits and goings on in between had me lost. Of course, that could be just me. When a lot of info is thrown at me at once I can only absorb so much.

Ixeos was a great story over all. I really enjoyed it and found it hard to stop reading every day when I got started. It's something that I think would be a good read for a lot of different age groups. And I'd definitely recommend it as a read for anyone who loves sci-fi as well.


I’ve published four books now, and all of them have both male and female main characters. By far, my favorite woman is Rei Quinn, who is the female lead in both Solomon’s Throne and The Hoard of the Doges. Some people have asked me if Rei is like me, and I tell them, “No, Rei is who I want to be when I grow up!”  

While younger than I am (she’s in her thirties and I’m at the end of my forties) and so far childless, Rei has all the qualities I’d like to have: she’s brave, she’s funny, she’s smart, and she’s strong. She can hold her own in tricky situations, she knows several languages, and she’s really good at her job. Plus she has great hair, her husband’s favorite feature.

I guess it’s not quite true to say that I don’t have any of these qualities. I can be reasonably brave, and I have even been in the middle of a real life gun fight and didn’t faint. True story! It happened when I was in graduate school, walking across the campus. Before I knew it, police were running towards a group of us at a fountain, chasing a guy who kept turning back and firing his gun at them. In my extraordinary bravery, I (along with everyone else not involved in the chase) hit the ground behind the concrete fountain, covered my head, and prayed. When asked for my statement by the police, the good news was that I didn’t throw up. But I don’t think I was overly helpful, either.  

I can be pretty funny when I write, and very occasionally when I speak, but that’s usually accidental. I think of funny things to say afterwards (most often, hours after!). My son is very funny, and always has been. When he was a boy, he would get upset when people laughed at what he said; now he knows he’s funny and works at it a little bit. My husband has a dry, sarcastic sort of wit, which he uses equally well in conversation and writing.  It’s a great skill, but I don’t have the speed of thought to pull it off most of the time.  

While I’m reasonably smart, when it comes to puzzles, it’s hit or miss. I’m terrible at both riddles and jumbles, because I get one “answer” in my head and can’t seem to let it go to explore other options. If I was trying to decipher clues, that could be a pretty unfortunate trait! I am good at solving mysteries, though, as long as they’re not plays on words, so you never know. I might get to the treasure in the end.

Where I am most like Rei is her strength. My mom and grandmother always used to say that I “came from a long line of strong, independent women.” They were certainly those things, as are most Southern ladies, and I did get my share of steel. I’m pretty good in tricky situations and have a real knack for finding loopholes, which comes in handy sometimes. But I don’t have Rei’s great hair… 

One of the great things about creating characters is exploring characteristics, personality traits and flaws that you have, or that you see in others. Neither Rei nor I are very patient, and we’re probably not overly sympathetic. (My standard question when one of my kids says they don’t feel good is, “Did you take Advil?” If the answer is no, I tell them to take Advil and get back to me. As far as I’m concerned, Advil, a hot bath, and/or Vaseline fixes almost anything that ails you!) Both of us are passionate and reasonably focused.
I figure, if I keep writing Quinn adventures, I’ll keep striving to be like Rei. And who knows, one day I might be traipsing across the world on an adventure myself!

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