Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cobbogoth by Hannah L. Clark

Author- Hannah L. Clark
Published- December 3rd, 2011
KinStone Publishing
300 pages
Review copy provided by the author

To seventeen-year-old Norah Lukens, the Cobbogothians were just a myth. But after her archeologist uncle’s brutal murder, and being asked to translate one of his old research journals for evidence, she begins a journey to discover the truth for herself.

Chasing the myth her uncle was obsessed with, Norah learns that his murder was a cover up for something far more sinister. If she hopes to save others from suffering the same fate he did—including the peculiarly magnetic James Riley—she must head to Iceland in order to find out the truth once and for all.

If she succeeds, she’ll gain the one thing she’s always longed for.

But if she fails, not even the gods can help her.

So I finished up Cobbogoth on the ride home from school today and I definitely think I have found a gem amid the slush of self-pubbed books. The story was so unique that it was impossible to not get wrapped up in the story!

I love the cover for this book. Hannah's sister actually designed the cover and the gorgeous illustrations within the book, which I found to be really unique and impressive. It totally adds to the story when you get to see an illustration of what the author imagined the objects described to look like.

I actually quite liked the characters as well. Norah was sweet and charming, but she had a rough edge to her that gave you the best of both worlds. I loved her inquisitive nature and kick butt attitude. James, Norah's love interest/ protector was awesome as well. Though at times he let of a somewhat jerky vibe, he ultimately proved to be an awesome guy with a genuine love for Norah. Then there was Lylend, Norah's other protector/mentor/ James dad. I actually had a hard time picturing him as a fatherly age because it seemed like he was always up there with the kids and wasn't really all that fatherly.

The basis of this whole story is actually really cool. This fantasy yet real society called Cobbogoth is in turmoil because an evil man named Cifer is trying to take over. At the same time in a different parallel of time, Norah's uncle is hunting down the facts of Cobbogoth and trying to help save the kingdom. On Norah's last day of college she comes home to find her uncle was murdered in his hunt to save Cobbogoth and now she must replace his role. It is actually pretty crazy to think about another society existing at the same time in another place other than earth. It might just be me, but I found that mind-blowing.

The fact that this book tied in fantasy, dystopian, mystery and romantic elements was really neat to read. There are crazy fantasy creatures in a screwed up society while Norah is uncovering her uncles murder and falling in love with James. Somehow Hannah tied the elements all up into a neat little package that I loved! Talk about a story for every taste.

The only hang-up I really had with this book was the slow parts in the middle. Yes, I understand they were essential to the storybuilding so I got over them quickly. I just think that it could have been a little more fast paced.

Overall, I really loved this book. There were beautiful characters and an awesome element present that made the book super unique. I am very much looking forward to book two so I can learn more about Cobbogoth and its people!

Hannah was so awesome to work with and she agreed to do an interview!

1. Where did you get the idea for Cobbogoth?
The idea for Cobbogoth came from so many different places, but I think I first really started thinking about the idea of an underground city when my 4th grade teacher read our class Susan Cooper's The Grey King from her The Dark is Rising Series.  For some reason that book stuck with me  in a big way and first got me interested in mythologies and ancient legends.  When I was in college, however, I took a Mythology class one semester, and my teacher had us create our own mythology as our final project.  I think Cobbogoth really started coming to life for me then.

2. Do you relate to any of the characters?
Yes.  I think in a lot of ways I am Norah.  She's way smarter than I am, and probably braver, but as far her longing for home, having to over come fear, and coming to the realization of who she really is and how that changes everything for her, we are the same.

3. Why did you decide to go the self-published route?
Since we were little girls, my closest sister, Bekah Shakespear and I have always wanted to work together.  It all started when we tried to create our own radio station as kids.  The problem was, we could just never agree on anything--our interests were so different.  A few years back, however, she began her degree in graphic design.  At the time I was getting very close to finishing Cobbogoth.  There was a lot going on in the publishing world surrounding self-publishing, and to be honest, having that much control over my own work sounded like quite a bit of fun.  So, I decided to take the plunge and started my own indie-publishing company with my husband called KinStone Publishing.  That's when I realized that this was mine and my sister's chance to finally work together.   I called her up, asked her if she'd be interested in creating the cover for my book for a small fee, and she very excitedly agreed, (in spite of her having two little boys, a husband in dental school and being in the middle of the busiest semester of her college career.)  As you can see from not only Cobbogoth's cover, but the incredible illustrations throughout my book, she was the right lady for the job.  Bekah's art brings a layer to my story that was never there before. I can trust her, she gets me and my work, and I wouldn't take a million dollar contract from one of the big six if it meant I couldn't have her design and illustrate my series.

4. Any plans on writing more books?
Yes!  Cobbogoth is the first book in a seven book series.  I am currently hard at work on book two and hoping to have it out by next December.


-Book:  Jane Eyre  by Charlotte Bronte
-Movie: Hmmmm..that's a tough one.  Probably Inception, Dan in Real Life, Thor, or You've Got Mail--I really love movies.
-Food: Apples and Biscoff spread.
-Song: At Last by Etta James
-Color:  Red

About the Author:
Hannah L. Clark was born and raised in central Utah. She has been creating stories since age four, when she used to record her favorite adventures on tape, "DJ Style," so she wouldn't forget them before learning her letters. In 2006 she earned her Bachelor's Degree in English from Utah Valley University. Hannah currently lives with her husband, Michael and son, Sam, in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

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