Friday, September 4, 2015

Review: Tales of the Zodiac: The Goat's Tale @PJHetherhouse

Tales of the Zodiac - The Goat's Tale
Title: Tales of the Zodiac: The Goat's Tale.
Author: P.J. Hetherhouse
Series: Tales of the Zodiac #1
Release Date:
May 8th 2015
Format: Paperback & Ebook
Amazon Createspace
Source: complimentary copy in exchange of an honest review.

It is the distant future. Time has seen humanity rise and fall many times, seemingly
 unable to learn from the mistakes of the past. Now, on the brink of another decline, twelve people step forward to change the course of destiny. Each of them has a tale 
to tell...

The tales of the zodiac is a series inspired by Celtic mythology, Arthurian legend and, most importantly, astrology. Living in a time when Mother Nature has resumed control, the human race has regressed back to its feudal past. It is here, in two civilisations gripped by political intrigue and religious fanaticism, that the tales take place. We begin with Capricorn – The Goat’s Tale. 
A boy of sixteen, Gruff is old beyond his years. He is a dour, dogged, determined
 character driven by competitiveness and his rigid moral code. Unsurprisingly, 
this attitude wins him more enemies than friends and, eventually, earns him the most powerful enemy of all - the king. 

This royal enmity sets him on a quest that will change his life forever. With nothing but sheer belligerence, and the help of three fierce companions (including Cancer and Scorpio), he defies the king and ultimately achieves an unthinkable victory. Above all things, The Goat's Tale is a tribute to the indomitable soul of the Capricorn.

I started writing at the age of eight when I composed the poem ‘Hayley Comet and her amazing vomit.’ So amazing was her vomit that, when I had written it, all the teachers in the school came to read about it. I proudly took it home to my parents who, ever supportive, gave it pride of place above.. err.. the outside toilet.
I didn’t write much as a teenager. Looking back, I can see that this was because I was starved of the things that a writer craves; discomfort, despair and failure. I found myself neglected in this respect by my parents who, for some selfish reason known only to them, chose to make the first eighteen years of my life absolutely wonderful, providing me with a childhood of fun, happiness and fond memories.
Lucky for me then that, at the age of eighteen, in full charge of my own destiny, I discovered an innate ability for poor decision making. With this new power at my side, no one could stop me. Despite being horrendously unpopular, I applied to be head boy. I failed. Despite having the motor skills of a new-born giraffe, I took my driving test. Despite having never studied Politics or Philosophy, I applied to read PPE at Oxford. I failed.
Although this failure produced some short story work; ‘Jack and the Magic Beans talk’, ‘The Nearly man’ and ‘Why Jesus was a c*nt’; I never really proceeded anywhere with it. Instead, I decided to continue with my proud history of poor decision making; walking away from my highly sought-after politics degree to investigate the unemployable, unprofitable world of zoology.
But even this did not guarantee the disappointment I craved. Indeed it even seemed, at times, that the zoology degree was in danger of becoming a good idea. At one point, I was even faced with the prospect of a first class degree and a glamorous, tropical-flavoured PHD. Fortunately, this crisis was easily averted - one ‘World of Warcraft’ addiction later and I just about managed to scrape a 2:1.
Upon graduation, I decided to apply for the police: a career that I could have started straight from school without £20k worth of student debt. This proved to be a masterstroke of poor decision making; not only did it render my course change completely pointless but, due to the protracted and ultimately futile nature of the recruitment process, I was able to completely waste eighteen months of my life. The failure gauge within me was almost full, my writer was awakening once more. I joined MENSA’s creative writing ‘special interest group’ (SiG), started developing several ideas for novels and even began a writing blog that, at its peak, was visited by up to two or three people a month.
The job was complete. Like a particularly underwhelming version of ‘The Incredible Hulk.’, I exploded. Ten years of disillusionment and futility erupted from inside me, gushing out on to the page. My novels were ready to be born.
(From Goodreads)


Tales of The Zodiac is the story of Gruff, who lives in an Earth that has reverted to feudal times. After what we assume were incessant wars and conflicts, we are back at a system ruled by a king, divided in castes and where the territory beyond the limits is unknown and mysterious.

Gruff is only sixteen years old and had the chance to study with the privileged and rich. However, his moral code doesn't allow him to break under the pressure or accept those commands that are not right to him. His personality is the one from an older person and he gains enemies really fast.

A series of events led him to the unknown territory in search of a legend. Here is where the real story begins. He faces danger, savages, cold and more in a journey that is extraordinary and really entertaining.

It’s true that the book is long (more than 400 pages) but the story can be divided in three or four clear stages and it’s hard to imagine the omission of any of them.

The writing is really good and the author creates a solid, believable and imaginable world with great characters.

I really liked how the author mixed astrology with Celtic mythology and the feudal system. When you think about those elements is hard to see how they can work together, however, he did a really great job using the necessary elements from each ingredient.

Overall, Tales of the Zodiac - The Goat's Tale is a really good story. With a good doses of action and valuable lesson about humanity and who we are as race.

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