Friday, 10 February 2017

Guest Post - A Beginner's Guide to Sphere's Divide by J.C. Norman - Blog Tour

Sphere's Divide is a series that takes an old classic odyssey/journey style story that everyone loves but done in a way that is modern and new. Firstly, the world itself is a mix of both fantasy and science fiction, taking little pieces from both as well as a look at our own modern world to create a fantasy world unlike any other. Where most fantasies are pictured in a western, medieval-style world where things such as magic rule over technology, SD brings it's world into a 21st century-style world with architectural similarities to our own world and history. With human made cities of skyscrapers, car-type vehicles, offices and supermarkets etc. Taking inspiration from various science fictions SD also has a very sci/fi feel to it as some of the technologies surpass our own depending on the intellect of the different races.

Instead of using typical fantasy or sci/fi races (dragons, dwarves, elves, robots, aliens etc.) and trying to turn them into modern ideas, SD instead uses the idea of evolved animals from our own world to colour its story with characters. Using this idea means SD can vary the level of the genre based on the races intellect/ dress sense etc., each one based on different parts of our own history.

  • Humans- first and foremost, as the smartest of each race brings a western and scientific feel to their community and cities.
  • Leos and Tigians (lions and tigers) - as you would imagine how an evolved lion or tiger would look. These are creatures of great strength and pride. Since they have fur they would not dress in suits such as the humans but instead take a more ancient Greek, or medieval dress sense with cloaks, chitons or even the eastern kimono.
  • Aeomon (monkeys) - Inspired by monkeys these people look identical to humans but are the only race with tails. As such they take a Victorian fashion and so look very similar to their super intelligent cousins. They bring a steam-punk feel to the story with their technology requiring cogs and steam rather than electricity.
  • Lupi (wolves) - These creatures are inspired by the Samurai and so live in a very similar world to them. Dressed in kimonos and living in small villages and small towns in an island to themselves with the Vulpi (foxes) who themselves are inspired by the ancient Spartans, and the Tokage (lizards) inspired by the Mongolians.
  • Elders- The only race not inspired by mammals we know, the elders portray a polar opposite to the humans and bring an eastern feel to the story as well as the closest thing to magic. Relying on their own abilities instead of relying on human technology like most other races.
  • Elementalists- As a technicality, the elementalists are mealy any creature who has been tutored and brought up by the elders and possess special abilities to control various elements.  

These are to name a few races and to give an idea of how SD can vary in its world and turn from a quiet and modest, eastern, fantasy style world to a busy, western, science fiction, metropolis.
But now we have established the world itself we can move on to the feel of the story, which is most importantly, one that wants you to feel. Again, like its genre of world, the story is a diverse mix of themes ranging from romance to thriller, exploring dark themes such as heartbreak, loss, grief, murder and insanity to lighter themes like love, friendship, family, perseverance, honour and wonder.

Using a relatable character such as Val to start the story off, the audience starts to learn of the world as he does. But this is not his story. Instead SD centres on a group of characters and jumps from one character to another in different chapters or paragraphs, giving the reader the full feel of each mind-set and opinion, rather than the typical side characters/sidekicks most other stories have.
Doing so also means the chapters never dull because when one story may be more informative and plot orientated, the next would be exciting, fast paced and exciting; going from a dark and brooding twist in the story, to one that concentrates on the romance between two separate characters.
Ignoring any of the smaller characters and stories, the main plot of the entire series is as follows:-

Val is a stranger to a world, taken under the wing of a Leo named Raiden he is set upon a mission to acquire information that could prevent a possible global disaster. Meeting an elementalist and her tigian guide and discovering their enemy is using his global power to stop them in their mission. Raiden and Val's priorities change as they realise their journey slowly becomes the most important journey in Sphere's history:

But by simply saying that is what the story is about would be an injustice. Sphere is a rich world with many different characters, each with their own stories, histories and emotions. Each one has a certain theme designed to invoke a different emotional response. Inspired by all different kinds of stories from movies, TV shows, books to video games, anime and manga from the mind of a person who simply loves all kinds of fiction, SD is a story for any reader who wants something new and that everyone can enjoy.

Sphere's Divide: Tragedies of Emotion

After the dramatic collision of events that tore apart friends and lovers Acarlie and Val in second novel of the Sphere’s Divide series, we return to find another city has fallen and society has once again been plunged into turmoil. Acarlie, growing in power, is struggling to remain in control of her influence over the elements and is stretched to the limit as she continues to compete in the Elemental League tournaments with one aim: to become the Element Leader. Val, having being rescued from his recent imprisonment, is the only one who can keep her grounded; the build up of energy locked within her can only lead to ruination. So when Lord Zane — reigning Elemental Lord and Acarlie immortal adversary — orders the death penalty to be introduced to the games, it is up to Val and their friends to save the Elementists. As events spiral out of their control, Acarlie unwittingly sets down a dark and dangerous path that may yet lead to her own destruction and that of everyone and everything she has fought so hard to protect. 

A gripping blend of science-fiction, steam and cyber punk, Sphere’s Divide III: Tragedies of Emotion is the third instalment of J C Norman’s fantastical series.

Amazon UK |  Barnes & Noble

About the Author

J.C. Norman grew up and currently lives in Milton Keynes Village in the UK where he works in the food industry. He has studied martial arts all his life and has worked to incorporate this experience into his writing. The first book in his Sphere’s Divide series was re-published by Clink Street Publishing in 2015 and the second was publishing by Grosvenor House Publishing Ltd.

Youtube Video – scene of argument between Joel and Ellie, in The Last of Us, which JC Norman wants to share as an example of great story telling in a format or genre you may not think about otherwise -

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