The dust has settled after an amazing launch of Million Eyes III: Ouroboros, the third and final book in the Million Eyes trilogy. This included the wonderful book signing event at Chandlers cafe where I live, and a week-long blog tour that began on paperback release day.
Like I did with book 1 and book 2, here’s my roundup of the stops on the blog tour, with my favourite quotes from all the reviews.
The blog tour began at Just 4 My Books, where Lynne Fellows called Million Eyes as a whole a “roller-coaster of a trilogy”. She then said of Ouroboros:
With each book, you get more drawn into the world of little red pills that take you back to fascinating and relatable times in history, before catapulting you forward to a future that no-one wants. And yet, the ending packs an altogether different punch, one that is grounded in humanity. It’s touching, poignant and simply perfect.
The next review came from Galina Varese at Chez Maximka, who sprinkled her amazing review with quotes from Ouroboros and called it a “breakneck sci-fi caper”. She said she admired how I brought together so much complexity in terms of all the conspiracies and alternate timelines, and balancing real historical events and people with fictional characters. She said she could imagine a spreadsheet and sticky notes with arrows everywhere! I did have a couple of these!
My favourite quote, for quite a specific reason, was this:
Big kudos also for creating some of the creepiest alien creatures ever (definitely not for the faint-hearted!).
The reason I like this one is because creating the Shapeless, the alien menace at the centre of the trilogy, was one of the biggest causes of writers’ block for me. I went back and forth on what the hell they should be, with the biggest drivers being that I wanted them to be scary, non-humanoid, unlike any aliens previously seen in sci-fi, and something the reader could visualise easily. And so, these aliens have been giant shards of glass, giant slugs, giant slugs with shells, creatures that resemble vacuum cleaners – literally all sorts, before I settled on the misshapen mass of limbs with gills they are now.
Galina also finishes her review with this:
I can absolutely see this trilogy made into a Netflix series. Exciting, pacy and addictive.
This is an incredible thing to hear, and one of the reasons I spent so long on the design of the Shapeless was, you know, just in case anyone wants to make a movie of it. A boy can dream.
The next stop on the tour was a review from Brown Flopsy’s Book Burrow, where blogger Sue said she felt she has been “on a journey of epic proportions” with the Million Eyes series. My favourite quote was this:
Ouroboros is an unabashed ambitious novel. It incorporates many of the clever time travel concepts that Berry has used before, mixed with a slice of alien apocalypse/space adventure that tips this story over the genre border into terrifying horror. He swings seemlessly between episodes of fast-paced action that have you on the edge of your seat; and emotion laden vignettes that tug mercilessly on the heart-strings.
She finished her review by saying that she thinks I have grown in my writing over the course of the books, which is lovely to hear, and that there is a “maturity and poignancy in this final book that is very striking”.
Once again, Galina put together a special image for her review, spotlighting the ouroboros, Jesus, his ‘resurrection’ and scrolls, and a little girl who I assume is main character Harriet. Thank you Galina for another beautiful and fitting image!
Next on the tour was a video interview with me by the Table Read, in which I talked about all 3 books in the trilogy, the things that inspired the storyline and the characters, and what I love most about writing. I also shared some advice for fellow writers.
Feed The Crime posted the next review of Million Eyes III, also really positive. Blair pointed out that book 3 focuses less on the past and more on the future, which sets it apart from the first two books. My favourite quote was:
I couldn’t give this finale anything other than 5 stars. I will definitely be reading the short story collection spin offs as I just love Berry’s writing and character work.
This review was followed by one from Short Book and Scribes, where Nicola talked about Ouroboros’s two main characters, Harriet Turner and Cara Montgomery, and said this:
How these characters are linked to each other and to the previous books is just brilliant. In fact, the whole trilogy is plotted to perfection, with the sort of mind-bending detail that I find thrilling.
She went on to say that she felt like she had popped one of the red pills and was travelling through time with these books, and she enjoyed the challenge of keeping up with everything – and isn’t entirely sure that she did! I did set out to write something rather complicated (although, aren’t all time travel stories complex?!), but I’m very glad everyone has enjoyed the complexity rather than been turned off by it.
The next review came from regular Elsewhen Press reviewer, Jill-Elizabeth. This was one of my favourite reviews of the whole trilogy, calling it a “fantastic and amazing ride” and saying that one of the elements that resonated with her is the “deep love of history visible in these novels”. Indeed, my love of history is one of the big inspirations for Million Eyes. I’ve drawn on things I learned about in school, like the Gunpowder Plot and the mysterious death of William II. I’m so happy to have been able to turn these learnings into an exciting story.
My favourite quote from Jill-Elizabeth was this:
Berry really hits his stride. Don’t misunderstand – the earlier books read beautifully and the story is seamlessly assembled, but you only realize that once it is complete. Along the way, there are so many pieces moving in different directions that it’s like watching chess played in four dimensions… No one is who – or what – you think. Nothing has happened for the reasons you expect. And it all makes sense – in a way that is resonant, respectful, and remorseless in its clarity.
Jill-Elizabeth also said the “characterizations were magnificent” (which is wonderful, because this is something that I used to struggle with because I was all about the plot), the plotting and pacing were “extremely well-managed” and my explanations for various historical events “original, plausible, hilarious, and tragic”. She also challenged readers to read the last pages of Ouroboros without crying. The last lines of Million Eyes III received some final tweaks as recently as January this year (thank you to my fiancee Katy for helping me hone these!) so it’s fab to know that I got them right.
The next review came from Alfred Nobile, who called Million Eyes III a “satisfying read” with “well-rounded characters” that doesn’t waste a sentence (also lovely to know that I’ve been concise – I can be known to waffle!!!).
My favourite quote was this:
It is a book that will have you cheering for some characters and loathing others. You find yourself second guessing the way the book is going and you are astounded the way someone you are rooting for throws you a curve ball.
A review was supposed to be coming next from Jazzy Book Reviews, but there’s been a delay on this one. I will of course post about it on social when it arrives.
Next was what was originally planned to be the final stop on the blog tour, a review from Hair Past a Freckle. This is an amazing review, and what’s extra amazing about this one is that blogger Karen Cole featured it on the radio! My favourite quote for obvious reasons was this:
The examination of changes to the space-time continuum, altered histories and the risk of paradoxes means Million Eyes III: Ouroboros is as delightfully reminiscent – without ever being derivative – of the best of Doctor Who as ever, and if Russell T. Davies is looking for more writers for the series in the future, he would be well advised to invite C.R. Berry to pen an episode or two, I have no doubt they would be superb.
Saying that Russell T. Davies should hire me to write for Doctor Who is one of the best compliments I’ve ever had, and brought a lump to my throat when I read it. Karen also said that Million Eyes is “time travel at its most ambitious” with “laudable” characterisation, and that following different protagonists in each book has been one of its “most interesting and bravest aspects”. She finished by saying that Ouroboros is “an exciting, blisteringly inventive and emotional conclusion to this outstanding trilogy”.
And finally, fellow Elsewhen Press author Mark Iles, who I was lucky to meet at the book launch, posted a previously unplanned review of Ouroboros, with some amazing words to round off the tour. My favourite quote from Mark was this:
There’s a mixture of time travel, alien invasion, bad guys (or are they good?), along with the answer to countless historical mysteries – all wrapped up into one totally spell binding tale. To put it mildly, this book has more layers than a billionaire’s wedding cake. That, along with the understated and sublime humour, make this one of the most memorable books I’ve read for a very long time.
Thank you so much to all the bloggers who have taken part in the blog tour, and for all your wonderful, heartwarming words about Million Eyes. All the reviews I’ve seen so far have been glowing, and it really does make the hard work that goes into writing a trilogy (not least a time travel story!) all worth it.
If you don’t yet have a copy of Million Eyes III, you can get it as an ebook or a paperback from various booksellers, including Amazon and Waterstones. I’d also love it if, once you’ve read it, you could leave me a short review wherever you bought it. Good or bad, I really want to know what everyone thinks of the final instalment.