Book Review: Magician’s Gambit by David Eddings

We’ve reached the middle of the five book series, the Belgariad and as such, one significant event must happen in the story that changes the way the main character views the overarching goal of the series.

If you’re just joining us, here are handy links to the reviews to the first two books in the series:

The Story

At the end of the Queen of Sorcery, we left Garion after he is rescued from the snake people and is reconciled with his “Aunt” Polgara, who happens to be a powerful sorceress. At this point he’s just coming into a vague understanding that he possesses the ability to do magic, through a process called the Will and the Word.

It is in Magician’s Gambit that Garion finally receives his formal magical training, as Polgara judges that if he doesn’t, he might end up killing himself or someone else by accident. The critical moment of this decision comes when Garion brings a dead foal to life, something that the sorceress didn’t believe possible.

The party, now consisting of Ce’Nedra, Polgara, Belgarath, and Garion, learn of the Orbs resting place and spend the bulk of the book traveling through strange lands to get there, including the land of Maragor, who’s vengeful god Mara drives any invader insane, the Vale of Aldur where Garion practices mastery of the Will and the Word, and then to Ulgoland where the Orb is hidden.

The dramatic ending includes lots of magical fighting between the Angarak sorcerer Ctuchik who stole the Orb and Garion’s party. There’s a nice twist in how the fighting ends, which I won’t spoil for you.

My Review

I’m partial to books with magical training and deeper dives into how the magic actually works (which is exactly why Stonebearer’s Apprentice exists – I had to have that element in my own series). In the Magician’s Gambit training sequence, there’s a hilarious bit where Garion tries to move a boulder and ends up burying himself neck deep in the ground. There’s also this idea of spending eons studying something small, such as a feather, until it becomes more than an item but a study in studying.

As with all good stories, each of the stakes are raised as the party moves into more dangerous situations among more violent people. I mentioned that there had to be a critical change in the goal because this is the middle book in the series, and that change happens in a way that doesn’t feel forced, which is always nice. The party finally recovers the Orb, and now the remaining books of the series will be spent returning it to its rightful place.

There is still a feel of a fantasy trope checklist being checked off as the story moves from land to land. A pitfall of many fantasy stories is that they get stuck in one place. Part of the wonder in any fantasy novel is the nature of the place where the characters must move closer to their goals. When there are no new elements or places to explore, the interest of the story falls solely on the shoulders of the characters and their problems, which is more challenging.

Recomendations

The story, which up to this point has plenty of adventure and some peril, takes a darker turn as we get closer to the malice of the big villain that eventually must be conqured, Torak. The monsters get uglier, the motives behind actions get more malicious, and the bad guys get stronger. That said, this is still a safe read for young teens and up.

I give Magician’s Gambit 4/5 stars for being entertaining, although there are a few slow bits.


Thank you for joining me as I reviewed Magician’s Gambit today on the blog. If you enjoyed reading this review and would like to see more, please consider connecting with me by either following the blog here on WordPress, liking my Facebook page, or subscribing to my newsletter. As an added bonus, newsletter subscribers receive free books, stories, and special offers every week.

Book Review: Queen of Sorcery by David Eddings

As with most multibook series, the middle few books tend to do more than their fair share of escalating the stakes as they approach a much bigger problem, without actually facing that problem head on. Queen of Sorcery is a fun romp through all the many lands that make up Garion’s world as they come closer to recovering the legendary orb. If you missed the review of book one, click here.

The Story

Garion is no longer a naive teenager. Yay. He’s now a somewhat naive young man with a lot to prove, and not a lot of experience to draw on. So, it makes total sense for him kick off the story in a duel and then go on to try to break up an assassination attempt of neighboring duchy’s king.

They go on to travel all sorts of places following more clues to find the orb, and end up in the middle of political intrigue after political intrigue. During one of these intrigues, the Princess Ce’Nedra disguises herself and joins their party.

Throughout the story, Garion is starting to learn how to use the Will and the Word, the magic system of the universe shared by Belgarath, Polgara, and the other sorcerers. Like I said before, he’s still a bit naive and when he tries to use this magic it only causes.

They encounter dryads, snake people, and a man who can change into a bear.

My Review

There are certain expectations when it comes to fantasy titles, and for Queen of Sorcery, it feels like Eddings is going through a checklist to see if he can get them all. Magic, check. People who transform into animals, check. Kings and political intrigues, check. Lands and kingdoms with wholly unique qualities to themselves, check. A stolen princess in disguise, check. A large wandering party composed of people all with varying unique skills, check. Lots of tavern meetings, check. Swords, check.

That said, it’s still a very enjoyable book. The characters are entertaining, especially Ce’Nedra, who has always been a favorite of mine. There’s a whole boob armor scene somewhere in the series where she complains about her armor not being flattering enough and wanting it to show that she indeed is a woman.

Eddings doesn’t pull back from making life hard for Garion either. The poor kid really can’t catch a break.

Recommendations

These books are perfect for the young adult fantasy reader. There’s adventure, danger, humor, and magic to keep things entertaining and nothing I would consider objectionable.

I give Queen of Sorcery 4/5 for not giving us a strong villain to contend with directly.

For the review of the next book in the series, Magician’s Gambit, go here.


Thank you for joining me as I reviewed Queen of Sorcery today on the blog. If you enjoyed reading this review and would like to see more, please consider connecting with me by either following the blog here on WordPress, liking my Facebook page, or subscribing to my newsletter. As an added bonus, newsletter subscribers receive free books, stories, and special offers every week.

Book Review: Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings

We are going way back to my childhood and perhaps one of the first fantasy series I consumed like candy. Thankfully, there were plenty of these books to keep me occupied. Pawn of Prophecy starts a five book quintology and is followed up by another five book series, The Malloreon, which is not to be confused with the Mandalorian—like at all. There are also two standalone novels.

What’s interesting is at the time of writing David Eddings didn’t really want to write fantasy. He’d been writing adventure and thriller books when he noticed how many times the Lord of the Rings had been reprinted and decided that maybe there was something to this whole fantasy genre. And the rest is history.

The Story

Garion starts his story as many fantasy heroes do, as an orphan boy living on a farm. He’s awkward, charming, and has a strange dry voice in his head separate from his own consciousness. His Aunt Pol watches over him as he does all the typical teenage boy stuff, like getting into trouble and being shy about a girl he likes.

As with any good fantasy story, there is a traveling storyteller, nicknamed Wolf, who is not what he seems. Wolf arrives with the news that a precious object has been stolen and he must recover it, with the help of Aunt Pol, who is also not what she seems. The merry band follows a trail of clues and collects quite a few interesting characters along the way, including my personal favorite, a man named Silk or Kheldar, depending on who’s asking, who just happens to be a Drasnian prince/spy/thief.

When the group is arrested, Garion spots a mysterious individual in a green cloak who he suspects might be behind their difficulties. This figure is later exposed and in the process Garion barely escapes capture. He learns later that Aunt Pol is actually a powerful sorceress, and Wolf his grandfather who is also a wizard of sorts.

My Review

I remember these books as being a delightful adventure with plenty of interesting history and dark characters lurking around every corner. Whether or not they’d hold up to my withering scrutiny now is up for debate. I’d rather not risk it. One of the elements that I appreciate in Edding’s books, this one included, is that he doesn’t shy away from hurting the main character or give them too many good skills while everyone else just has to follow along. He also makes amazingly interesting characters with a lot of personality and heart.

As this book sets up the world, there is a rather lengthy prologue that gives some much needed context to why recovering the lost object is so important. The Belgariad is an exercise in worldbuilding, where the history of the world itself, and the creation of its gods is where the original problem starts. This adds quite a bit of complexity to the story, and I’ll admit as a young teen I couldn’t really keep the history straight. All you really need to know is that Asharak is the bad buy.

Recommendations

Again, I remember these to be excellent and I loved them as a young teen. I don’t recall there being any objectional material and the adventure and sense of peril elements come through the strongest. That said, at the time I was pretty naive myself so if there was any innuendo, I probably missed it entirely.

However, for the time period this was written, most fantasy tended to be very clean, so I’m fairly confident in recommending this to readers 10 and up.

I give Pawn of Prophecy 5/5 for making my childhood magical.

For the reviews of the next books in the series, here are some handy links:


Thank you for joining me as I reviewed Pawn of Prophecy today on the blog. If you enjoyed reading this review and would like to see more, please consider connecting with me by either following the blog here on WordPress, liking my Facebook page, or subscribing to my newsletter. As an added bonus, newsletter subscribers receive free books, stories, and special offers every week.

Book Review: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Three weeks, three books in a trilogy. Mark this moment because it will probably not happen again anytime soon. That said, reading and reviewing a series from the beginning to the end is really satisfying, so I might have to try this again. We’ll see.

The Story

The Queen of Nothing brings the story of Jude Duarte to a close and thankfully its a satisfying one. We begin with Jude exiled to the mortal world where she is finding a way to support herself and her family without relying on faerie tricks, such as turning leaves into money. She would have stayed there as well, having found at least some sense of normalcy in what can only be described as a bizarre life.

But, we all know that can’t last. Intrigues at the court of Elfhame and all the layers of political scheming are still an ever present threat to her and young Oak, the heir to the throne. When Jude’s twin sister, Taryn shows up asking for a favor back in Elfhame, Jude carefully weighs her options. If she’s caught breaking her exile, it’s an offense punishable by death. On the other hand, if her sister is found guilty of the crime which she is accused, it would mean death for her.

Jude goes, not only to protect her family, but because she also craves to be back in the faerie world and learn who is pulling which strings in the court. She also is secretly thrilled to see Cardan again, although those feelings are mixed and turbulent. She can’t decide if she’s supposed to love him, or hate him. Typical YA romantic angst there.

She attends her sister’s trial, pretending to be Taryn and hoping her true identity isn’t discovered only to be rescued by her foster father, Maddox and taken deep into his camp preparing for war.

In her attempt to escape, she finds herself back with Cardan again as he shows hints of actually caring for her. This also can’t last. A dark curse is unleashed which Jude, as rightful queen, must find a way to end.

My Review

Of the three books, I think I liked this one the best. While there is still plenty of political scheming, it takes a secondary role to Jude’s story. Plus, we finally find a balance where it seems like she’s winning as much as she’s losing, which is nice. In the first two books, she went through an awful lot of punishment and loss and by the end it didn’t feel as if what she gained was big enough to justify the struggle. Here, there is a nice fat payout that makes all her pain and suffering pay off.

The writing itself is lovely and descriptive, the characters compelling and full of realistic foibles, and the conflict full of carefully orchestrated tension. There’s a reason these books are best sellers. So much good stuff inside.

Recommendations

Again, and I can’t stress this enough, this series is meant for older teens and the adults they let play. There is violence and blood shed and gore beyond what you’d typically find in a dark fantasy. Beyond that, there is also strong romantic elements, including an instance of tasteful on-page intimacy. The violence and the romance fit in with the story and don’t feel gratuitous.

I give The Queen of Nothing a rare 5/5 stars, an exciting tale and a wonderful ending to the series.


Thank you for joining me as I reviewed The Queen of Nothing today on the blog. If you enjoyed reading this review and would like to see more, please consider connecting with me by either following the blog here on WordPress, liking my Facebook page, or subscribing to my newsletter. As an added bonus, newsletter subscribers receive free books, stories, and special offers every week.

Book Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

It’s a perfect week to dive straight into the review of The Wicked King, the sequel of The Cruel Prince. Yay, continuity! I’ve mentioned my worry with sequels before—often they feel like an afterthought and lose some of their magical luster because the world isn’t new. Luckily, The Wicked King isn’t one of those. If anything, this feels as if the three book series was written as a single story and broken into three pieces. (For the review of The Cruel Prince, go here.)

Which is honestly how a good trilogy (or series, or what not) should feel.

The Story

Oh, all the machinations. I didn’t think things could grow more complicated than when we left them in Cruel Prince, but here we are. There are a number of major players vying for the throne King Cardan currently occupies, mainly because power is addictive and everyone wants some. And, also because Cardan is a unusually bad king. He rules like he lives, carefree and blind to any consequences.

Jude isn’t one of these people trying to get the throne, mainly because she secretly holds power through a oath struck with Cardan where he must obey her for a year and a day. Not that that keeps him from pushing her buttons and boundaries at every turn. All of what Jude’s done is to ensure that when her little brother Oak, the rightful heir, is old enough to survive being king, there will be a throne to sit on.

This would be so much easier if the Undersea wasn’t brewing up a war in the most conniving way possible. Or if Jude’s faerie father Madoc wasn’t also manipulating things to put himself on the throne.

True to a good YA romantic dark fantasy, there had to be a steady dose of angst and emotional twisting at every turn. Will Cardan’s mother, who has been locked into the tower of forgetting, have information that will change everything? Will the death of people Jude feels compelled to murder solve the multitude of problems brewing just beneath the surface? Will the love/hate relationship between Cardan and Jude turn into something more?

The story seeds planted in the Cruel Prince grow to maturity in the most twisty and unexpected ways possible in Wicked King. Will the fruit be worth it in the Queen of Nothing? We’ll see.

My Review

There are an amazing number of great lines in this book as Jude sorts out her feelings for Cardan.

I’ve wanted this and feared it, and now that it’s happening, I don’t know how I will ever want anything else.

My body has acclimated, and now it craves what it should revile.

“I hate you,” I say, the words coming out like a caress. I say it again, over and over. A litany. An enchantment. A ward against what I really feel.

The Wicked King is a marvelously twisty and excellently crafted story that exceeds expectations. I liked how skillfully all the different factions played off each other and how each deception and intrigue heightened the emotional tension and the stakes.

Recommendations

The same as with The Cruel Prince, this is definitely a book for high school aged readers and up. there’s lots of violence, some language, and plenty of intensity that’s it’s solidly PG-13. More than that, it’s simply too complicated for a younger reader to really enjoy. Most of the interesting bits revolve around political manuvering, secrets, and murder.

That said, it’s well conceived, has plenty of lovely writey bits, and lives up to it’s promise.

I give The Wicked King 4/5 for being awesome but possibly too twisty to fully enjoy.


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Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

It’s always a gamble to dive into a new series, usually the first book is wonderful but there’s no guarantee that the rest of the series will live up to it. The Cruel Prince is a great start to a series, but is also complicated due to the many new concepts that must be introduced to the reader.

The Story

Jude Duarte is a human girl living among the faeries in the magical world of Elfhame. Her past is dripping with tragedy and her future is uncertain. As a human, she will never fit in among the folk of Elfhame, but due to the positions of power her father holds, she has to live up to expectations.

And then there’s swoony Prince Cardan, the angst torn love interest who’s an absolute jerk even though he’s gorgeous. As one of the faerie folk, he’s got magic and mystery woven into everything he does. But, he also has a uniquely tragic backstory.

The story itself switches at break neck speed as Jude knows what she wants, only for it to be destroyed over and over again. There is a lot of drama and surprising violence wrapped up in each choice she makes. When she joins the secretive Court of Teeth and learns to be a spy and an assassin, it feels right for her, but wrong for everyone else.

While in the end Jude does have a few wins, most of the book is her losing and regrouping.

My Review

There is a lot to like in this book. The Faerie World is unique and beautifully created, the attention to costume and dresses, sparkly and magical. Lots of eye candy everywhere. This focus on beauty makes the violence that much worse. The tension among each of the characters is stretched so tight that often the reader doesn’t know who is allied to who.

But, the story is really complicated. There are what feels like dozens of factions fighting for control over the faerie world. Jude is caught up in the middle with no real claim to anything, but because her brother is heir to the throne, she can’t help but insert herself where she doesn’t belong out of concern for him.

Recommendations

The Folk of the Air series is definitly intended for readers highschool age and up. Like I said before, there is quite a bit of violence. There are also a fair amount of romantic situations that push further than I expected. There’s some language and plenty of magical drug use.

That said, there are also strong characters willing to do what’s right and sacrifice for the greater good, which is a win for me.

I give The Cruel Prince 4/5 amazing world building, great characters, but the story is often hard to follow.


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Book Review: Scarlet, by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #2)

Sequels can be really problematic, especially if the first book was intended to be a standalone. Thankfully, Cinder ended with enough cliffhangers that Scarlet feels like it belongs as part of the story. To see my review of Cinder, go here.

As with Cinder and Cinderella, Scarlet takes the classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood and turns it on its head as it meshes with the unresolved parts of Cinder’s tale. Meyer did a remarkable job weaving the two stories together.

The Story

Scarlet, a vibrant redhead who sells farm fresh vegetables for a living, is searching for her missing grandmother. The police have proved less than helpful, assuming that the woman chose to run away despite all the clues to the contrary. True to the resourceful and determined woman Scarlet is, she takes the matter into her own hands.

Following clues, she meets a man named Wolf who is dangerous in every sense of the word. He’s a powerful fighter, inhumanly strong and fast, and has enhanced senses true to his namesake. He says he might be able to help her find her grandma.

On the other side of the world, Cinder is escaping from prison with the help of her new found lunar gift and a man, Thorne, who becomes her accomplice by accident. She doesn’t know where she’ll go, or what she’ll do, but she’s determined to stay out of the hands of the authorities. As she moves closer to freedom, she starts remembering more and more of her past and is determined to find the truth about her childhood.

Cinder and Scarlet’s pasts are woven together and their paths collide in the search for Scarlet’s grandmother who played an important role in keeping a much younger Cinder safe. But, none of this can be easy. Wolf is part of a secret militia unit and has orders to find and bring Cinder in.

My Review

Overall, the book of Scarlet stays true to all the parts of Cinder that I liked. The female protagonists are both strong women with careers and specialties that make them unique and likable. They have their own goals and are willing to work and sacrifice to meet them. The world continues to stay interesting as we explore new areas in futuristic France – although because we have already seen much of it, it’s not as exciting as when we explored it in Cinder.

Where the book Cinder played heavily into the Cinderella story, Scarlet only takes a handful of stylistic and character cues from Little Red Riding Hood. There’s no clear huntsman character, unless you count the unwitting prisoner that Cinder drags along because he has a spaceship. Where the self centered stepmother in Cinder was played exactly as her Cinderella counterpart, the Wolf counterpart in Scarlet is surprisingly complex.

My biggest struggle with reading Scarlet was swapping between the points of view between two strong female protagonists. While it was executed perfectly, both spoke and acted in unique ways that were different from each other, I found myself getting confused with which girl I was reading because their goals were fairly similar. They both were following clues and trying to find the same woman.

Recommendations

This is a solid fun read. If you liked Cinder for the adventure and action in a futuristic world, you’ll like Scarlet for the same reasons. However, if you loved Cinder for its princess story, beautiful palace, fancy dresses, and Prince Kai – you’ll find very little of that world here.

There is some icky violence and depictions of gore in this one, far more than in Cinder so be warned. However, there’s still no swearing and all the romantic leanings and feelings never progress to anything more. But – there’s a heaping pile of teenage angst that comes with Scarlet, so if that’s something you love, yay. If not, I told you so.

I give Scarlet 4 out of 5 stars – fun and lives up to expectations.


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Book Review: The Hourglass Door, by Lisa Mangum

Funny story, while I always wanted to read Lisa’s series, it kept getting pushed behind the newest shiny book that I’d been waiting for from the library. Then, I scored what I thought was the first book at a Christmas book exchange party. HUZZAH. I waited for the perfect weekend to cuddle up and dive in – only to find that it was the second book.

PSA: Should you ever take part in a book exchange, don’t bring a book in the middle of the series, kay? Just sayin’.

Long story short, I ended up grabbing a copy of the first book from the library and was finally able to sit and enjoy.

The Story

For a YA urban fantasy, this one hits all the expected points. Young girl who is reasonably happy with her life, although a little bored with her long-time totally devoted boyfriend, encounters mysterious stranger who is both foreign and, well, hot. Mysterious stranger ends up being more than just an exchange student – and the plot thickens from there. Did I miss anything?

Abby is a high school senior and as such is applying for colleges while juggling school and being the assistant director for the school’s Shakesperian play. She’s busy, but happy enough with her life. The only thing that would make her life perfect is to be accepted into the quirky arts college she applied to and for her boring boyfriend to do something spontaneous, like finally kiss her.

Dante is, well, from Italy in the 15th century. Due to his involvement in a conspiratorial plot, he is sent forward in time – a new form of banishment. There are side effects to this time travel, some of which are being exploited by other banished individuals in the present. While Dante also just wants a normal life, he also wants to stop these other time travelers from hurting people for their own gain.

Abby and Dante meet and are instantly drawn together by a force greater than just attraction. Abby has something special about her that alters how the flow of time works when Dante is around. With each step, the situation grows more complicated and the stakes greater until we reach an exciting conclusion.

My Review

I was instantly drawn in by the prologue. The reader is thrown into the head of a man who uses counting to cope with being in prison – so cool. He counts the steps to the door, the minutes until his trial, and the thoughts and regrets surging through his mind. It’s beautifully written, evocative and instantly engaging. A perfect start to the kind of fantasy I love.

Then, we leave that special space and never return. We spend the rest of the book largely in Abby’s head. That was a bit of a bummer, because I really wanted to see the world from that viewpoint again. But, even without that the story was enjoyable, there were plenty of interesting reveals, and the writing, exceptional.

Some say that the story is a little slow to get moving and it takes too long for Abby to start getting a clue, and I would agree. We do drag through quite a bit of Abby’s life before things start to get interesting. While it’s a slow build, it’s still has plenty of drama going on and perfectly captures the angst and insecurity of being a teenager.

When the fantasy magicky bits finally started happening, I was thrilled. We had elements of an alternate world, people with special powers, and devices required to unlock the mystical portal that is the Hourglass Door. It all comes together to create a satisfying conclusion with a natural tie in for the next book in the series.

Recommendations

If you like a healthy dose of high school angst and all the feelings mixed into your urban fantasy, the Hourglass Door is a perfect fit. If high school drama bothers you, then this might not be your best pick. The writing itself is done with care and precision enough that it forgives a lot of the angst, at least it did for me.

This is a clean read, no objectionable language or intimate situations. There are a few scenes with violence and depictions of injury, but it’s handled with care.

I give the Hourglass Door 4/5 stars for being a well written, well imagined story with a slow start.


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Book Review: Muse of Nightmares, Laini Taylor

When you fall in love with a story, it’s always a delight to know there’s a sequel. Muse of Nightmares is the sequel to Strange the Dreamer, a beautifully written fantasy that I gushed about in my review posted a few weeks ago.

There’s also a worry when it comes to sequels. If the first book was intended to be a standalone, then sequels never feel quite like they belong. The story conflicts tend to feel out of place or engineered. This isn’t so with Muse of Nightmares. If anything, my guess is that both books were originally intended to be a single volume, but the story was simply too big and had to be broken into two parts.

And it totally works.

Mind you, because this is a sequel I can’t help but divulge a few details from the end of the first book which gives clues to how it ends. Should you be the type that hates having the ends of books revealed – don’t read this review.

The Story

At the end of Strange the Dreamer, we left the charmingly awkward Lazlo as he makes a life-changing discovery. He is godspawn and has the rare magical gift that allows him to control mesarthium, the indestructible blue metal that makes up the citadel. His love, Sarai, has changed as well. Due to the events at the end of Strange the Dreamer, she is now a ghost held in the world by her sister Minya, a hateful, spiteful woman stuck in the body of a 6-year-old child.

Minya would destroy the world to save herself and the other blue-skinned godspawn and she’s holding Sarai as leverage to force obedience. Should anyone wish to move against her, she’ll release Sarai’s ghost and let her disappear forever.

Lazlo is torn. If he saves Sarai, he allows his world and friends to be destroyed. If he let’s her go, he can prevent untold carnage. It’s an unwinnable situation.

But, there are other forces at work and other questions that need to be answered. The world of the Mesarthim is a mystery at best. These mysteries are slowly exposed as the past and present collide to create not only new problems, but present a new solution.

All the critical elements come together, love and hate, revenge and redemption, salvation and destruction, to create a fulfilling story with a satisfying ending.

My Review

I cannot say this enough, but Laini Taylor’s writing is glorious. Her use of poetic lyrical language is a delight and utterly delicious. More than that, she’s created a complete world with depth and history that’s unlike anything that exists on earth or seen in other fantasy universes. That, in itself, is incredible.

As a writer, I can see the sheer amount of work that’s gone into the development of this world and the characters, cultures, and history that makes it unique. Each element has been given loving attention so that it doesn’t only exist, it comes alive off of the page.

One of the challenges of any sequel that ends the story is tying up all the loose ends of ideas presented in the first book. Strange the Dreamer presents lots of ideas that we are given tantalizing glimpses of, but aren’t fleshed out enough to be well understood. In Muse of Nightmares we dive into those ideas and finally see the truth of Sarai’s past and why she and her siblings were abandoned. Like I said, it’s satisfying to finally see the truth of what had only been hinted at for so long.

So, yes. I love this two book series. Everything about it makes my fantasy loving heart sing.

My Recommendations

While this is a wonderful fantasy, it requires attention to detail and an appreciation for lyrical writing. With this in mind, I don’t recommend this for younger readers and believe it’s best meant for high school age and up (and those they let play). Compared the the first book, there’s less intimacy but more violence and graphic description.

That said, for those of you who like traditional fantasy with a twist, this one should definitely scratch that itch.

I give Muse of Nightmares 5/5 stars for bringing a wonderful ending to a fantastic story.


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2020 Year in Review

Well, my pretties, we’re here at the end. If you’re reading this then you’ve made it this far. Congratulations. This has been a different year for everyone, myself included.

At the beginning of this year, I had some pretty big dreams. I was going to power through editing and publishing the rest of the Shadow Barrier series and had two more books on stand by just waiting for attention. With enough good planning, I was going to get those out this year as well.

And, that didn’t happen.

But, I did get two books out:

In January, I rereleased Stonebearer’s Betrayal, with it’s fabulous new cover. And in June, it’s much awaited sequel – Stonebearer’s Apprentice. The third book in the series, Stonebearer’s Redemption, is a few months from completion. Huzzah.

I don’t think I missed a single week of posting on the blog which resulted in lots of book reviews, movie reviews, and some deep thoughts as I figured out how to live with all the COVID changes. It’s always fun to look back through the work of the year, and this year it’s interesting to note the change in tone of the personal essays as the months of isolation started to take effect.

Anyway, enjoy this end of year list post!

Christmas Movie Review Posts:

Book Reviews of Author Friends

Book Reviews

Non-Fiction Book Review

TV Reviews

Throwback Movie Reviews

Movie Review

Personal Essays

Miscellaneous


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