Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sassy Saturday: Annala schools Lunas at the Mana Mutation Summit

Welcome to another week of Sassy Saturday at Trickster Eric Novels.  Every week will be an excerpt from one of my novels showcasing a kick-butt heroine. If you want read about the original blog hop the link is here.

The previous Sassy Saturday post can be read here: Spider in the Brush

The context for this post: The Mana Mutation Summit is underway and Lunas has begun to sway delegates to his plan. What he doesn't mention is that his plan basically means allowing Order to take over their countries. So Annala intervenes.
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Chanting a basic illusion spell, Annala created a landscape over the table and populated it with plants and animals. It was bright and colorful and all the creatures frolicked happily. Then she placed an Order Obelisk in its center.

“Order will occupy every area on which an obelisk is placed. If they covered the world, then Order would occupy the world. We all know Order is a Manifestation of Absolute Control; he wouldn’t be satisfied with only the mana of the area.”

The illusion obelisk put out feelers that grabbed the plants, the animals, and the landscape itself. Then it pulled mana out of them and the very color out of the image. It assimilated all of them into itself and directed them in clockwork patterns.

“No, he would want control of the air, the water, the ground, and the very souls of the inhabitants. Everyone would be under his control and nothing could happen without his knowledge and approval. He would outlaw all forms of magic, suppress spiritual power, and impose a strict caste system where everyone would fit into a neat box. Breaking out of this box would be literally impossible because Order would forbid it. Is this correct, Your Highness?”

Lunas said nothing.

 “If that question is too difficult, then would Your Highness like to explain the materials needed to construct an Order Obelisk?”

Lunas remained silent. He stared at the elf, attempting to invade her mind and compel her to fawn over him like other girls. His attempt failed. A barrier of will, love, and chaos kept him out. Kasile had regained so much confidence by now that he couldn’t use her to stop the elf either. In the end, he waved his hand as if magnanimously granting her permission to speak.

“Souls. To power an Order Obelisk, one must confine a soul within it. This is what animates the obelisk and enables Order to work his power through it. In other words, at least one person would have to be killed and confined inside it for each obelisk to operate. This fate would be eternal; there would be no ‘shifts.’ Cold stone isolation and constant penetration by Order forever. Is anything I’ve said regarding Order Obelisks incorrect, Your Highness?”

A third time, Lunas refused to speak.

Kasile banged her gavel. “Prince Lunas of Latrot, you have been asked a simple question that is of the greatest relevance to our mission and purpose. Please answer immediately.”

Kasile had regained her regal confidence. The Leash of Influence was broken. The answer was either “yes” or “no.” There was nothing he could do to avoid the truth any longer.

“No, Miss Enaz. It is all correct.”

Within his mind, hatred brewed. He had nothing against elves in general, but this one was getting under his skin. She was ruining his plan, and worse, she taunted him with those smug eyes and polite smile. She would be his next slave.

“A witch’s magic doesn’t sound so bad when contrasted with a warlock’s authority, now does it, honorable delegates?”

“Miss Enaz, am I correct in thinking that you consider me this warlock? Someone as bad as the perpetrator of the Butchin Tragedy?”

Annala shook her head. “Oh no, of course not. Perish the thought.” Despite her polite tone, everyone could see the daggers in her eyes. “You’re worse. The only word suitable for you and your father is ‘fiend.’ After all, you are denying the elves living in your country their chaos-given right to freedom, are you not?”

“Yes, we are.”

“You realize that your father’s regime commits acts, every day, that are banned everywhere else in the word, right?”

“Yes, I do.”

“You are aware that other countries consider yours a cancer, right?”

“Yes, I am.”

“You of Latrot are truly honest. No other totalitarian, exploitive, silver-tongued tyrant has ever admitted to such accusations so quickly and freely. You deserve a round of applause!”

She started off and, for a moment, the only sound in the room was that of her gloves beating against each other. Then others joined in. Lunas stood, took a bow, and then sat down again. He was imagining a collar around her neck and a gag in her insolent mouth.

“That is an additional benefit to the Order Obelisks. Because Order does not abide lies, any and all forms of deceptions would be impossible anywhere within an Order Obelisk’s area of effect, and every vow or promise would have to be adhered to in letter and spirit.” Annala spun to catch the eye of all the politicians at the table. “Please consider that in your answer.”

They most certainly did.

“Instead of giving up your way of life, as Prince Lunas suggests, my mother only asks for a token of friendship. All the Supreme Council needs is a show of good faith. Isn’t that right, Ambassador Enaz?”
___________________________________________________________________________
Mana Mutation Menace, and the rest of the Journey to Chaos series, is available for purchase at Amazon as both an ebook and as a paperback.

 To learn more about the heroines of Journey to Chaos, visit the Tvtropes character sheet. 

The next Sassy Saturday post is http://trickstereric.blogspot.com/2016/09/sassy-saturday-fire-demi-goddess-vs.html

Brian Wilkerson is a freelance book reviewer, writing advice blogger and independent novelist. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Movie review: Swan Princess - A Royal Family Tale

Swan Princess (number 5): A Royal Family Tale. Watched it out of curiosity because I remembered the first three films. I will examine Plot, Character and Polish and then assign a grade.

 PLOT

This is the most original/different of the Swan Princess sequels in terms of plot. There are no expies/former partners of Rothbart to serve as villains or holiday themes. Granted, the idea of a Chosen One prophecy is not original but I'm not thinking about that kind of scale but the scale of the series (you can see what I think about absolute originality at this here link). Also, Odette doesn't get kidnapped! Does that count as a spoiler? It's a point in this story's favor of altering the recipe established by the first three films.

The third point of difference is the sense of time. Every film following the first treated Derek and Odette as in the early stages of their marriage. The fourth film was about their first Christmas as a couple. This is the first one to go beyond that and give a sense of them being married for some time. Also, adopting a child certainly changes the dynamics. Again granted, Alise fills the Damsel In Distress role filled by Odette previously but having Odette being part of the rescue party is still a point of change; the fourth point of change. Another little spoiler alert: no changing into a swan this time (number 5!)

A sixth point is that there's a different sort of ending than the first three and the stock footage from the end of the first does not make an appearance here. That's a favorable thing about the switch to CGI right?

Enough about the differences. This plot itself is one that I like.

The plot of "chosen one preventing about a golden age" is classic medieval fantasy. Furthermore, that there is a band of rescuers with diverse skills (a hunter, a flyer, a chemist, etc.) further calls to mind the classic quest narrative.

Alise is not dropped in for the cute factor; she is well integrated into the story. The movie begins with Uberta saying I Want Grandkids and the main couple discussing it afterward. Alise' father is killed incidentally by the Forbidden Arts and Odette feels a kinship with her because of this. Alise herself does something to defeat the Big Bad.

 CHARACTERS

Alise is adorable. She is a cute little Woobie taken into the loving care of Odette and Derek. That the animators were able to convey so much emotion from her without having her say a word for 99% of the film is a credit to them. Her relationships with others are cute and sweet but not saccharine (YMMV of course).

Odette's more active role is much appreciated. In my opinion, she was always on the verge of it but plot hang ups interrupted it. It's not an Action Girl thing but a Plucky Girl thing mixed with All Loving Heroine. It's also a Mama Bear thing; in the words of Scully "there's no strength like a mother's love".

Derek is not an idiot for once. The movie's plot is not underpinned by some Idiot Ball like in previous movies ("What else is there?" to "I'll destroy the notes after the festival" and others). More perceptive with people and traps and doesn't go off alone anymore. Like with Odette, this character development is welcome in my book.

Scully the Scullion (i.e. Flying Squirrel) is my favorite character in this movie It is how his voice sounds both wise and comical. It is in his skill with potions.  It is the jokes he makes without reducing himself to mere comic relief.

 The villains are also a refreshing change of pace. Instead of an evil sorcerer and their single minion, a two person operation, there is instead something like a militant cult. Furthermore, the vast majority of them are well-intentioned extremists, which is also a first for this series.
 POLISH

 The CGI looks good in my opinion and main characters like Odette avert the No Flow in CGI thing regarding hair. I haven't seen the fourth film so I can't speak about its quality but the CGI here is good. After watching the first three films it can take some getting used to, that's all.

 Trickster Eric Novels gives Swan Princess (number 5): A Royal Family Tale an A+

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sassy Saturday: Spider in the brush

Welcome to another week of Sassy Saturday at Trickster Eric Novels.  Every week will be an excerpt from one of my novels showcasing a kick-butt heroine. If you want read about the original blog hop the link is here.

The previous Sassy Saturday post can be read here: Don't Underestimate Elf Tech

The context for this post: As part of the build up to the Mana Mutation Summit, Kasile hired Dragon's Lair Team Four to advertise her agenda under the guise of guarding supplies that she ordered for the Summit. Tiza is the only one truly guarding.

_____________________________________________________________________


Tiza stayed out of sight and unremarkable next to the laborers and hired guards. An outside observer would have no idea she was with the mercenaries at all. Internally, she grumbled about the lack of limelight while her humble teammate bathed in it; he didn't want it! Externally, she swept the area with Third Eye to check for threats.

What her teammates didn't know was that she wasn't lazing about in her hospital bed at the ICDMM; she was practicing. She examined everything around her and Retina provided her with exercises to push her limits. After a week of use and experimentation, she was confident that nothing could hide from her. She spotted a number of people who thought they were hidden and she could have laughed at them.

Part of Sathel's training involved hiding in plain sight. She didn't pay attention at first because she thought it was useless. Then Sathel said that failure would result in extra rope escape and poison immunity lessons. Now she realized its importance. No one else noticed the subtle draw of a dagger.

Like a spider in the brush, she scurried through the crowd as they chambered the weapon. Without taking her eyes off her target, she pinpointed theirs. Adrenaline rushed her system, but she was too late to stop them from throwing it. The dagger soared silently through the air and clanged off her shield.

"You're going to wish you didn't do that."

The attacker threw back their hood. "I don't think so, my Little Cocoon."

"Spider Daylra?! I'm working!"

"I know and I'm proud of the way you handled yourself on the job."

"Was it necessary to have Daylra's Dear sneak up on me?"

Retina paused just outside of sword's reach.

"Yes," Sathel replied.

"Finally, I appreciate Butterfly's help, but I don't need her here. Tell her to go away."

She turned on her heel and returned to the parade. No one noticed she was gone. Suddenly, Sathel choked up and rubbed her eyes. Her husband put an arm around her and she leaned into him.

"She would have done wonderfully in Squad Four."

"Yes, she would have."
___________________________________________________________________________
Mana Mutation Menace, and the rest of the Journey to Chaos series, is available for purchase at Amazon.
If you prefer something solid, this book can be found in paperback on CreateSpace or Amazon. A Mage's Power is there too.

To learn more about the heroines of Journey to Chaos, visit the Tvtropes character sheet. 

The next excerpt is Annala schools Lunas at the Mana Mutation Summit

Brian Wilkerson is a freelance book reviewer, writing advice blogger and independent novelist. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Answering Review Request: Dawn of Steam: Gods of the Sun

Jeffery Cook asked me to read his novel "Dawn of Steam: Gods of the Sun". It is the second book in his Dawn of Steam series. I rated the first one highly and you can that review at this link. I was excited to read this and it fulfilled my expectations. I will examine Plot, Character and Polish and then assign a grade.

PLOT

The main cast is continuing their exploration but in a significantly different context. The term Wham Episode is appropriate for a letter in the first arc of this book. Things are substantially more difficult for the Coltrane Crew this time around. For instance, they can't take the airship for granted and the probability that will die violently far away from home is a daily occurrence. I would go into detail but that would involve divulging a fundamental change in the status quo. What I can say is that the opposing airship crew is much more prominent in this volume and has different goals than the Coltrane Crew.

 

There is a great plot progression. There are five arcs in this story based on the location of their setting. Each one is simultaneously self-contained with its own introduction, climbing action and climax while at the same time building up to the box's climax and working to progress the series' overall story. This three layer structure is tricky to pull of but Mr.Cook does it very well, and not only that but he does it in the epistolary format, 'and not only that' but there is a two way distinction in the way in which this is done.
Greggory has three methods of recording this adventure: personal journal, letters to his employer and letters to his girlfriend, and all of them are different in the style he writes it and the information he provides. For instance, he is professional in the employer letters, affectionate in the girlfriend letters and only puts private information that he does not plan on sharing with anyone in the personal journals. Secondly, Greggory is not the only one recording the journey. There are also letters and journal entries from other members of the crew showing their private thoughts and plans and perspectives that differ from Greg's.


The ending is great. Like the previous, it contains one section of the overall journey and ends neatly at a stopping place. No cliffhanger is needed to force interest from readers because there are plenty of sequel hooks that are well imbedded within the story itself.


CHARACTERS

Greggory's character development is fantastic.
-->In the first book he had a well conceived and defined outlook on the world and its people, and he considered this to be "natural". He often commented on how Sam Bowe was an anomaly as a human being because she was the opposite of what he thought all women were. Now he realizes that there is a difference between what is "natural" and what is "normal" and specifically how "normal" is relative to one's location and company. His present location and company on the Coltrane airship have a different definition of "normal" compared to the society he is part of in England.
-->A second development is Action Survivor. In this book he has to lead companies of men into battle, defend forts and climb mountains. His role on the airship is chronicler and his role in the Napoleonic Wars was messenger but he performs these roles as well as he is able to. It's a running gag for him to write something along the lines of "it was an exciting experience but I never ever want to do it again".

The Coltrane siblings are also substantially developed. The reader learns with Greg about their history, the origin of their teamwork and the true extent of their skills and fame. Jillian has a journal entry that is fascinating in comparison to her behavior as described by Greg and James has a particularly moving journal entry near the end.

The other members of the crew continue to develop as well. Penn becomes the forefront cultural anthropologist in the places they visit and Sam Bowe has a The World Is Just Awesome viewpoint.

Unlike the first book there is now a clearly defined villain. In a way their appearance is sudden and shocking and in a way it is not. In either case, I find them to be a good and appropriate villain.


POLISH

The epistolary format is well maintained.

There are letter heads, dates (or not in Sam Bowe's case) and notes about whether or not Cordelia had to translate the letter from some other language into English (in the case of Jillian and James Coltrane). The style of writing is also different.
Most importantly, there are few direct quotes for dialogue. I always found it strange in the frame narrative of "the character is writing all this down in-universe" that the writer can remember the exact wording that each character uses for when they write down the event later. In this case, Greg only gives occasional quotes such as something Sam Bowe said which struck him as particularly odd or James Coltrane's Rousing Speech.

Trickster Eric Novels gives "Dawn of Steam: Gods of the Sun" an A+


Click here for the next review request: Fae

Click here for the previous review request: A Matter of Belief


Brian Wilkerson is a freelance book reviewer, writing advice blogger and independent novelist. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Sassy Saturday: Don’t underestimate elf tech!

Welcome to another week of Sassy Saturday at Trickster Eric Novels.  Every week will be an excerpt from one of my novels showcasing a kick-butt heroine. If you want read about the original blog hop the link is here.

The previous Sassy Saturday post can be read here: Sassing Death Gods

The context for this post: Eric has been targeted by Samael, a death god who reports directly to Death himself, because of what he did to another reaper in Looming Shadow.  In order to save him Tasio made a wager with Samael that Eric couldn't clear a local dungeon without relapsing into monstrosity.  Annala is helping him do this.
_______________________________________________

Monsters lay dead and bleeding at the cage’s boundaries. Their bodies were burned, electrocuted, or simply broken. Others sat and stared at the bars. Only an odd tail or abnormal limb marked them as anything but human and Eric knew this to be only superficial. He himself had, or could have, a monstrous appearance, but he was still human on the inside. However, the monster was also inside him, so it stood to reason that they would have monsters too.

“Hello,” he said and waved.

One of them approached the bars and mimicked him. She was a woman as tall as Basilard with long orange hair and skin with the consistency of sandstone. While her clothing was worn and torn, the gems embedded all over her body gleamed.

She smiled and asked, “Can you open the gate?”

“Yes, I can. Were you trapped in here?”

“Yes. Queen Kasile the VI thought it was more humane than killing us. It is difficult for us to make a living here.” She sniffed and her bright eyes welled with tears. “Please let us out.”

“Right away!”

He pulled out his Dragon’s Lair badge, but Annala grabbed his hand.

“This is obviously a trap.”

“This is obviously injustice. They’ve been imprisoned here for years, ever since Kasile’s mother sat on the throne. Just a month was enough to make me stir crazy.”

“Exactly, and so they must work for Nulso. Gruffle chose this spot for a reason. They’re going to attack us as soon as you release them.”

“They’re victims of Nulso! He ruined their lives with his ‘treatment.’ That could be me in there. How long until it happens again?”

“Eric…Think about this…”

“You don’t think I have?!”

He pulled his wrist away and slammed his badge against the gate. Its lock flashed and the many runes and spells warding the entrance shined briefly as they deactivated. A crowd of monsters gathered behind the gate with the crystal woman at its head. The gate opened before them and they filed out in an orderly fashion.

“Thank you for freeing us. Now we can eat to our heart’s content.”

“You’ll have to wait until the stores open in the morning.”

“Why wait when there’s food here?”

All the gems on her body flashed and bombarded Eric with the spells they unleashed. Caught off-guard, he took the full force of all of them. Only Annala’s spell shield, Mana Guard, prevented instant death, and even then, he was stunned. Two wolf-like monsters came from the crystal woman’s left and right and extended foot-long claws from each of their four arms with which to cut him up.

“Targets acquired,” Annala muttered.

A complex magic circle with many sub-circles rotated beneath her feet. In her eyes, she saw a bull's-eye's eye over every monster outside the facility.

“Fire!”

She released her arrow and it split into a dozen energy duplicates. The real one soared for the crystal woman while the others targeted her minions. Six of them found their targets and killed instantly while four more injured. The only ones to avoid the barrage entirely were the crystal woman and the knife wolves by using the bodies of others as shields. Then the solid arrow radiated sound that cracked many of the woman’s gems before she smashed it.

By now, Annala had fired a second arrow, which created just as many duplicates, and now they only had three targets. The monsters dodged acrobatically but the wolves were ultimately impaled by three each while the original found its mark in the crystal woman. Again, it produced the gem-shattering frequency and reduced her body to dust.

“Don’t underestimate elf tech!”
________________________________________________________
Mana Mutation Menace, and the rest of the Journey to Chaos series, is available for purchase at Amazon

To learn more about the heroines of Journey to Chaos, visit the Tvtropes character sheet. 

The next Sassy Saturday post is Spider in the Brush

Brian Wilkerson is a freelance book reviewer, writing advice blogger and independent novelist. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Journey to Chaos update (August 10th 2016)

A quick update regarding the status of various things in the Journey to Chaos series.
1. A Mage's Power
-Paperback version is out and available. If you go to CreateSpace and use the discount code GVE2H9WC then you can save two dollars.
2. Looming Shadow
-I put out a second edition for the kindle version because Grammarly found errors. Hopefully there aren't any more but, if there are, I will catch them when I do the line-by-line revision with the paperback version
-The paperback version is halfway done. I did Grammarly and now I'll go through it line by line. After that I imagine the process to availability will be quick.
3. Mana Mutation Menace
-I plan to go through this one with Grammarly to look for errors and that will be the second edition.
-Paperback will follow
4. Transcending Limitations (book 4)
-Beta reading continues.


To learn more about the Journey to Chaos series, visit the Tvtropes page. 

Brian Wilkerson is a freelance book reviewer, writing advice blogger and independent novelist. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Sassy Saturday: Sassing Death Gods

Welcome to another week of Sassy Saturday at Trickster Eric Novels.  Every week will be an excerpt from one of my novels showcasing a kick-butt heroine. If you want read about the original blog hop the link is here.

The previous Sassy Saturday post can be read here: Escape from Mt.Heios

The context for this post:  Zettai is a new character. Up until now she has not had any extended "sassy" moments to highlight. She is a young girl (five or so years old) and a native of Ceiha. She fell in with Eric's group and has been learning magic from him. Stuff happened and now she running away from a grim reaper (not the reaper, which would this guy's boss, but the local one).

This is the last excerpt from Looming Shadow. The next book in the Journey to Chaos series, Mana Mutation Menace, will be featured next week.

____________________________________________

A cylinder-alligator-shaped beast colored in shades of purple from nearly white to nearly black. It had a primate arm, a bird wing, a lizard leg, and a fish fin. With these, it beat up the god that crashed into it. After the first five blows, Reno Grade punched its main body into the distance, but by then, Zettai had escaped again.

“It’s useless to hide from me, girl.”

In a heartbeat, he was directly overhead. She dove behind a rock.

“You were ‘killed’ by necrocraft and thus highlighted in my divine vision.”

The rock crumbled into sand under the force of his punch and she jumped away. Tripping over her own feet, she sprawled across the ground. She turned to face him and shouted, “G-Go jump in the Sea of Chaos!”

He grabbed her by the throat with his right hand and lifted her four feet up from the ground. Coldness filled her from head to toe and despair filled her mind and soul.

“I just might have to because of you. Modil knows that I violated my parole. Your selfish actions ruined my operation!”

“You know, for a divine being, you think a lot like a mortal.”

What?

“You abuse your power, pick on those weaker than yourself, and blame others for your own problems. A minute ago, I was scared of you because you looked like this unstoppable force of nature, but now, all I see is my dad taking out his anger on me because he’s too scared to confront its true source. You’re not a god; you’re a worm on a power trip.”

Reno Grade ripped her soul out of her body and held in his left hand. She shuddered but otherwise was unaffected.

“That felt…funky.” She shook her head and noticed her soul. “So that’s what they look like. Does this count as an out-of-body experience? Can I talk to myself like this?”

For once in his afterlife, Reno Grade was at a loss for words.

“Why…How…What?”

She smirked. “The so-called god is asking a puny human for revelations?”

Reno Grade glared. He would age her into dust for such an insult, but that other mortal stole his authority over senescence. If he went back for it, Tasio would no doubt find him and his trump card could not help him. Then another idea came to him. Although his face remained skeletal, Zettai got the impression that he was leering at her.

“There are a number of things I did to little girls when I was mortal. If you’re so sure I think like one, then perhaps I should do those things to you.”

Zettai kicked his arm, squirmed in his grip, and shouted, “Creep!” but he only leered more. With his prey in both hands, he flew up and out of the mountain’s Fog Cloud. He set his sights on the other mountain because her soul retained a positive impression of it and he wanted to change that. He flew unhindered and unaware that he was on someone’s radar.

A divinity such as the resident reaper was higher in standing than a planetary avatar, thus, someone that tracked avatars would easily be able to detect him. This was especially the case when he had just exited a Fog Cloud because it would have obscured his presence. The blip startled Emily and she asked Kallen what to do. Kallen replied, “Press the Smite Gods button.”

“Uh, Boss, is that really the smart thing to –”

“Emily, push the button right now.”

“Yes, Boss.”
________________________________________________________
Looming Shadow, and the rest of the Journey to Chaos series, is available for purchase at Amazon

To learn more about the heroines of Journey to Chaos, visit the Tvtropes character sheet. 

The next Sassy Saturday post is Don't underestimate elf tech!

Brian Wilkerson is a freelance book reviewer, writing advice blogger and independent novelist. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).

 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Dark Fiction without angst.


I don't (generally) accept Dark Fantasy/Dark Science Fiction review requests because the ones I have accepted include a lot more angst than darkness. There are pages and pages of the protagonist whinning about how hard life is and how unfair the world is; it gets boring. Furthermore, it can easily become pointless if the author is so focused on the angst that they forget to make use of it.

You want to describe the emotional toil from an apocalyptic event? Great. You want to establish a character's baseline for future character development (in any particular direction; not just idealistic or positive etc.)? That's good thinking. You want to make clear a character's motivation for a certain act or goal? That shows an eye for character  building.  Unless you do something with the angst then it does nothing but show the character complaining about their problems without doing anything to resolve them.  On Tvtropes, we don't call that "angst" at all. We call it "wangst".
 
This was really bad in one book I read because it was written in the first person. The protagonist couldn't go a page without decrying the corrupt and uncaring government, or how her teammates don't care about her, or the horrible things that happened to her family. All of this was in the narration, so she was essentially turning her head into an echo chamber of impotent self-pitying.
 
“Blood Skies” is an excellent example of Dark Fantasy without angst.  There's lots of suffering and a great deal of death but no one angsts because this is the status quo. The whole world is like this and has been for some time. Humanity has gotten used to it. This new normal has bred a certain mental detachment and a culture of playing hard because life is short.

"Attack on Titan" avoids this problem.  Whether the people are brave enough to fight the titans or run away screaming, they don't whine about it. During the Battle of Trost, Mikasa basically says, "I'm going to kill those titans. If I die then I'm dead." She is clearly experiencing great mental turmoil due to memories of the last time she saw a titan attack and a more recent personal tragedy but there's no wangst.  Similarly, her adoptive brother's attitude is "no matter how cruel the world can be, fight!". Even the more cynical members of the team, like Jean, are still taking action without long stretches of cynical postulating.

If angst exists in any story then it must be put to use and this is especially important for Dark Fiction (fantasy, science fiction, etc.) because there are a lot of things that can cause it.  Use it for characterization or world building or a plot theme but don't let it hang there. Otherwise you get wangst, and that can get boring and pointless quickly.