1000 Word Review: Storm in Shanghai by J.M.Bush

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This is a story about magicians and the powers that threaten it, or so I think from the first chapter. It begins with a back and forth conversation between father and son, and the son wins in order to see some World Cup action. There is some mystical threat, the Maelstrom, that is threatening Italy. The father is some mage of some kind. Disaster strikes and the leader if left wanting to turn the page to see what happens. (I do)

Does the first 1000 words show it as edited?

Yes, it appears edited. The only thing I saw that might stand out is the story is written in present tense, but at times the story does switch to past tense sometimes.

Ex: “My dad, one of the world’s fastest casters, dismissed his ball of lightning and sealed the car door shut with Storm wind. He also charged the handle with a little bit of Storm lightning, it seems, because I get zapped as I grab it.” 

As far as regular grammar, it reads well.

Do I care about the characters after the first 1000 words?

I did. He kept it simple and started his story about a father and son relationship as told by a POV of a 10 year old. The kid wants to see some World Cup action and the father placates him. I think every man remembers how it is at this age. The father doesn’t have to say he loves his son, but this is enough to imply to the reader the unsaid. This is good writing, like in a movie. Show and don’t tell.

Do I like the world building?

I do. I like foreign and interesting environments. It was a nice touch adding Italian to the prose. He also sprinkled in some magic and world building the system. I assume the father is a mage or wizard of some sort. There is a Maelstrom threat to everything.

Overall Assessment: Would I continue reading past the 1000 words?

Yes. I want to see what happens after the blackout. Good on the author for wrapping me in so quick.

Overall Story Opening Rating:  4/5 Happy Go-Lucky Red Pandas.

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One thing I would have liked seeing:

I prefer past tense with the story, especially since I am assuming 1990 AD (nice touch adding the AD) is in the past and the story is being told today due to the vocabulary the kid is using. Would have liked to know where the mother is. Maybe describe what the heck the Maelstrom is and the total deaths caused and who the father is in the scale of mage types. Would have liked to know why the father’s dream is to visit the place, but why he couldn’t have bought a plane ticket for this long? Magic spell bubble or something? Is the Maelstrom threatening other countries? How long has this been going on?

The First Chapter can be reviewed here:


Q&A with J.M. Bush

How long did the first draft take to write?  The first draft took me three months to write and was at about 73k words.

Did you change the ending in the middle of writing? The ending changed slightly because, during the many rewrites over the course of a year, I added many new chapters from different POVs to show some backstory. This influenced the course of the story in many ways and as a result, the ending was affected.

Did you submit traditionally?
I did! I submitted like crazy after the first draft and first round of edits were done. After that is when I really went back and took it apart, then put it back together. It ended up being 106k words after all the rewrites. Then I began submitting again. This time, I got some partial requests and a couple of full requests. Two agents held onto it for a long time, but in the end, they passed. So I made my mind up to self-publish the book. I could have waited, but in the interim I had written two other books, one during NANOWRIMO 2015, and I felt that having something published, even self-published, would help me get these newer books picked up by an agent.
Where do you want to go with the series?
Two more books, at least. I have the overall arc of the story planned out, but it keeps changing. I keep having killer ideas about it, and so it is an ever-evolving thing. I’m sure it will change a lot more before it’s done, too. But at the moment, book 2 will take place in Malaysia and Cambodia, while book 3 will take place in Egypt.
Favorite author who has influenced your writing?
R.A. Salvatore got me started on the whole fantasy obsession, so I’d say he is the main influence. But more recently, Brandon Sanderson has really got me excited to write stories. I absolutely love his world building.
The J.M.Bush can be followed at @M_to_the_Bush

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