Sunday, August 31, 2008

Rhapsody Trilogy: Symphony of Ages by Elizabeth Haydon | Epic Fantasy | Series Summary

Rhapsody Trilogy: Symphony of Ages by Elizabeth Haydon | Epic Fantasy | Series Summary
Rhapsody: Child of Blood - Prophecy: Child of Earth - Destiny: Child of the Sky
(Amazon Affiliate Links)

♥ Mini Review ♥
Rhapsody, Singer, Namer, former prostitute, Achmed, assassin, demon killer, part Dhracian part Firbolg, Grunther, weapons master and also part Firbolg all have a part to play in a prophecy spoken 1400 years in the future, a fact that they are completely unaware of. This is the story of their travels and travails, of love and loyalty, of heartache and hardship, of friendship and betrayal. In typical epic fantasy fashion its the fight of good against evil and while the evil is absolute, the good can be less then stellar at times, which is definitely an integral part of this trilogy's allure.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Rhapsody: Child of Blood by Elizabeth Haydon | Rhapsody Trilogy: Symphony of Ages: Book 1

Mulluane | 9:17 PM | 4 Comments so far

The brilliant new saga is born ...

Rhapsody is a woman, a Singer of some talent, who is swept up into events of world-shattering import. On the run from an old romantic interest who won't take no for an answer, Rhapsody literally bumps into a couple of shady characters: half-breeds who come to her rescue in the nick of time. Only the rescue turns into an abduction, and Rhapsody soon finds herself dragged along on an epic voyage, one that spans centuries and ranges across a wonder-filled fantasy world-- a world so real you can hear the sweet music of Rhapsody's aubade and smell the smoldering forges deep within the Cauldron.

If they can survive it.

*Blurb source*Macmillan
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Rhapsody: Child of Blood by Elizabeth Haydon | 5 Star Epic Fantasy
| Author: Elizabeth Haydon
| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| Series: The Symphony of Ages (Book 1)
| Content: High Fantasy, Dragons, Mythology
| ISBN-10: 0812570812
| ISBN-13: 9780812570816
| Publisher: Tor Fantasy (June 15, 2000)
| Mass Market Paperback: 672 pages
| Cover Artist: Luis Royo
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 5/5 Stars
| Affiliate Links
Book Depository Affiliate LinkKindle Affiliate LinkAmazon Affiliate LinkRhapsody: Child of Blood (Symphony of Ages, #1)



♥ Mini Review ♥
Rhapsody, a singer of lore, an apprentice Namer and a reformed prostitute is on the run. Hot in pursuit is an obsessed and sadistic former client. Michael the Wind of Death is not a man who accepts no for an answer and he wants Rhapsody as his sex slave. Things are not looking good for our multi talented lady when she literally bumps into two strange characters. Not in a position to be picky, she begs for their help and in receiving it gets far more than she ever bargained for.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Prophecy: Child of Earth by Elizabeth Haydon (Rhapsody Trilogy: Symphony of Ages: Book 2)



In Rhapsody, a fellowship was forged-- three companions who, through great adversity, became a force to be reckoned with: Rhapsody the Singer; Achmed the assassin-king; and Grunthor, the giant Sergeant-Major. Prophecy continues their powerful epic. Driven by a prophetic vision, Rhapsody races to rescue a religious leader while Achmed and Grunthor seek the F'dor-- an ancient and powerful demon. These companions may be destined to fulfill The Prophecy of the Three, but their time is running short. They must find their elusive enemy before his darkness consumes them all.

*Blurb source*Macmillan
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Epic Fantasy Book Review of Prophecy: Child of Earth by Elizabeth Haydon

| Author: Elizabeth Haydon
| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| Series: The Symphony of Ages (Book 2)
| Content: High Fantasy, Dragons, Mythology
| ISBN-10: 0812570820
| ISBN-13: 9780812570823
| Publisher: Tor Books (August 13, 2001)
| Mass Market Paperback: 717 pages
| Cover Artist: Luis Royo
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 4/5 Stars
Book Depository Affiliate LinkKindle Affiliate LinkAmazon Affiliate LinkProphecy: Child of Earth (Symphony of Ages, #2)



♥ Mini Review ♥
Rhapsody embarks on another epic journey, this time accompanied by the mysterious Ashe. She goes in search of the dragon, Elynsynos to return a claw found by Achmed, the assassin king, during his exploration of the Bolg home range of Ylorc. It is said that a dragon never relinquishes a piece of its hoard willingly and Rhapsody fears the dragon's wrath if it comes to light that the Bolg possess one of her claws.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Destiny: Child of Sky: by Elizabeth Haydon (Rhapsody Trilogy: Symphony of Ages: Book 3)

Mulluane | 10:05 PM | 2 Comments so far


A FELLOWSHIP OF THREE

To stand against the F'dor-- an ancient, vile being intent on destroying the world-- a fellowship has been forged: Rhapsody, a Singer of great talent and beauty; Achmed, an assassin with unearthly talents; and Grunthor, a giant of jolly disposition and lethal skill with weapons.

Driven by prophetic visions, the three know that time is running short, know that they must find their elusive enemy before his darkness consumes them all. But after their final, brutal confrontation with the F'dor, their world crosses the threshold of disaster and faces utter oblivion. The action reaches a fevered pitch, achieving a crescendo of tragedy, love, and triumph of human spirit over world-shattering cataclysm.

With death at hand and the world crumbling at their feet, these three will finally discover their true ...

DESTINY

*Blurb source*Macmillan
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Epic Fantasy Book Review of Destiny: Child of Sky: by Elizabeth Haydon (Rhapsody Trilogy: Symphony of Ages: Book 3)

| Author: Elizabeth Haydon
| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| Series: The Symphony of Ages (Book 3)
| Content: Dragons, Adult
| ISBN-10: 0812570839
| ISBN-13: 9780812570830
| Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (May 19, 2002)
| Mass Market Paperback: 864 pages
| Cover Artist: Luis Royo
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 4/5 Stars
Book Depository Affiliate LinkKindle Affiliate LinkAmazon Affiliate LinkDestiny: Child of the Sky (Symphony of Ages, #3)



♥ Mini Review ♥
Rhapsody, Achmed and Grunthor, the three spoken of in prophecy have a demon F'dor to kill. But first they must find it. To do so Rhapsody must find 9 children, all contaminated by demon blood, while keeping Achmed from doing what he was born to do, kill anyone tainted by demons.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Baker's Boy (The Book of Words: Book 1)

Mulluane | 12:01 AM | 2 Comments so far

By J.V. Jones



The tale begins with a glimpse of a truly despicable villain at work. Baralis, as you will come to know him, is a man who will do anything to succeed. A master of potions and poisons, he drugs the queen's wine and rapes her in the dark of night. A child is born from the terrible ill-fated union: a monster, obsessed, close to madness, destined to rule over half a continent. Kylock is his name, and when you hear of him next a murderer he will be.

Jack is the baker's boy. Always an outsider, his foreign mother branded a whore. He is born at exactly the same instant as Kylock. The two are joined by an invisible thread, their fates pull against each other, and their battle when it comes, will decide the fate of the world.

There are characters and memorable meals aplenty. A gluttonous archbishop stuffs himself with sweetmeats, whilst a nobleman's daughter is pelted with crab apples and rotting vegetables in the pit. A young pickpocket refuses to eat his greens, whilst a knight on a quest is offered nettle tea by a flower-arranging crime lord. The banquet never ends!

I invite you to me join in the adventure of The Baker's Boy. Settle down by your fireside with a glass of wine (this is not a Perrier book!) and be prepared to be transported to a world where greed and ambition reign. Remember, eat lightly before hand, The Baker's Boy is a many course feast.*Blurb source Author
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The Baker's Boy (The Book of Words: Book 1) by J.V. Jones

| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| Content: Wizards, Adult
| ISBN-10: 0446670979
| ISBN-13: 9780446670975
| Publisher: Aspect (June 1, 1995)
| Cover: Darrell K Sweet
| Paperback: 528 pages
| Source: Personal copy
| Read Chapter One
| Rating: 4 Stars
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The Baker's Boy (Book of Words, #1)



♥ Mini Review ♥
Jack is an orphaned child; his mother labeled a foreign whore, his father unknown or unnamed. Apprenticed to Frallit, the master baker, Jack spends his days working hard in the castle's kitchens; dodging blows and scrubbing floors. Before long he also finds himself working as a scribe for Baralis, the King's Chancellor, secretly of course. If there is one thing about Jack's world that is consistent it is secrets. Everybody from the lowest milkmaid to the most pious Knight to the King himself all have closely guarded secrets.

Suddenly Jack's life changes for the worse. After falling asleep on duty, Jack lets the morning's baking burn. In a panic he wished with all his might for time to turn back and return the loaves to dough. Much to his surprise, it does exactly that and Jack discovers he may just possess the greatest secret of them all. Terrified of what he has done Jack flees the castle, instinctively knowing no good can come of his newly found powers. Sure enough Baralis, a sorcerer himself, senses the power that Jack used and worried that it is more powerful then his own sends mercenaries after him. And the chase is on.

Meanwhile Melliandra, daughter of the richest lord in the Four Kingdoms has her own problems. In a world where women have no value other than as brides, she discovers her fate is to be wed to a sadistic prince; a scenario she just can not stomach. So she plans an escape, a desperate move for a girl who has never been outside the castle grounds.


Monday, August 18, 2008

A Man Betrayed (The Book of Words: Book 2)

Mulluane | 1:43 PM | 2 Comments so far

By J.V. Jones



At Castle Harvell demented Prince Kylock grabs the reins of power and hate by murdering his father. Harvell's two young refugees are torn apart by the storms of war:

Headstrong young Melliandra is captured by brutal slavers and Jack, whose wild power works miracles, falls prey to a smuggler's lying charms and a woman's seductive schemes. Meanwhile, in the distant stronghold of Bren, Kylock's betrothed, beautiful, mad Catherine, dabbles with darkest sorceries.

A knight's shattered destiny is about to lead from death-sport pits to the blood-strewn creation of an empire--and a wondrous epic of grandeur and magic continues...*Blurb source Goodreads
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A Man Betrayed (The Book of Words: Book 2) by J.V. Jones

| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| Content: Wizards, Adult
| ISBN-10: 0446670987
| ISBN-13: 9780446670982
| Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
| Publisher: Aspect (April 1, 1996)
| Cover: Darrell K Sweet
| Source: Personal copy
| Read Chapter One
| Rating: 4 Stars
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A Man Betrayed (Book of Words, #2) by J.V. Jones



♥ Mini Review ♥
Call it fate, prophecy, destiny, unseen powers, whatever you want to term it, in this installment of The Book of Words the characters are being pulled in strange ways none of them understand. Tawl, having become a puppet of Larn, finds he has lost all purpose in his life and spirals out of control. Jack learns the price of his powers, and a need to learn to control them. Melliandra ends up in the hands of a flesh peddler, fated to be sold to the highest bidder. Prince Kylock gets tired of being just a prince and decides to rush things along, and as a wedding present intends to present Catherine of Bren with an entire country taken by conquest. Lord Maybor plots to prevent the marriage of Kylock and Catherine while Baralis is prepared to do anything, including murder, to see it happen. Then we have Archbishop Tavalisk who keeps tormenting Gamil and manipulating world events while eating his way to an early grave. Not much going on here!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Master and Fool (The Book of Words, Book 3)

By J.V. Jones



The Known Lands are teetering on the brink of war. Desperate to avert worldwide catastrophe, Jack, the baker's boy, must learn to harness the full strength of his magic to face his ultimate destiny--a final confrontation with the murderously evil Kylock. *Blurb source Publisher
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Master and Fool (The Book of Words, Book 3) by J.V. Jones

| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| Content: Wizards, Adult
| ISBN-10: 0446670960
| ISBN-13: 9780446670968
| Publisher: Aspect (November 1, 1996)
| Cover: Darrell K Sweet
| Paperback: 532 pages
| Source: Personal copy
| Read Chapter One
| Rating: 4 Stars
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Master and Fool (Book of Words, #3) by J.V. Jones



♥ Mini Review ♥
Melliandra, widowed in her marriage chamber, on the run for her life, deemed complacent in her bridegroom's murder, has a secret of her own: a surprise for them all. The marriage was consummated, not only that but she is pregnant and now Tawl has a new purpose in life. He must honor his oath and protect both the Duke's former wife, and his future heir. To do this he needs Jack, the baker's boy fated to destroy the two biggest threats to Melliandra's future. Larn, the sadistic temple of priests with their captive seers and Kylock, the murderer and sadist bent on conquering the world, must be destroyed or all is lost.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tales of Kolmar by Elizabeth Kerner | Epic Fantasy | Series Summary


Author: Elizabeth Kerner
Publisher: Tor Fantasy
Genre: Epic Fantasy Series
Content: Dragons, 16+
Tales of Kolmar by  Elizabeth Kerner | Epic Fantasy | Series Summary

A Fantasy Series Summary


Ever since hearing a bard's tale Lanen Kaelar has dreamed dragons. She has fantasies of meeting and conversing with dragons; the first human to do so in thousands of years. But first she must find a way to escape from Hadron's horse farm. Abandoned by her mother when she was one years old Lanen is raised by Hadron, a father who by turns humiliates and ignores her. Fortunately there is Jamie, a gentle farm hand who treats her as the daughter of his heart. Then at the age of 24 her life changes, Hadron dies leaving her free to go in search of her dream, that of finding the True Dragons.

This series can only be described as a romantic adventure. Lanen embarks on her quest with little knowledge of the world and much to discover. Along the way she falls in love with the most unlikely of mates, makes friends with unusual characters, comes up against some formidable enemies, finds out some hidden truths about her origins and of course plays a part in saving the world! Throw in 3 different types of dragons and some really nasty demons and you have almost everything you could ever want from a fantasy series.

Elizabeth Kerner uses a multiple first person narrative. Each one of the main characters tells the story from their own perspective. I wasn't real sure that I liked it at first, she switched viewpoints frequently, but once you get used to it the method rocks. By telling the story in this way its all out there. There is no guesswork, you know exactly how each character feels, what they plan, what secrets they possess and how they see things. Ultimately this gives you a personal connection to every single character and you can't help but be pulled deeply into the story. Its not as hard to follow as you might think either. Each narrative section is clearly subtitled with the speaker's name. You do need to pay attention to those subtitles though, don't skip over them or you'll end up looking back up to see who is speaking. You also have to watch for new voices. New characters are not always *introduced* before they start narrating. But once you get used to the style its not at all hard to follow whats going on.

I loved this series. The pacing usually started off slow but then sped up considerably. The romance was a tad much at times, if I ever gush like the lovers here do, I hope somebody slaps me. Other then that, and at times what I felt was an over abundance of back story, I consider this to be one of the better dragon fantasies out there.

Love scenes galore, but nothing overly graphic. Mild language but not beyond what we all hear every day. Moderate violence but it takes alot to kill a demon! I feel more comfortable saying 16+ but it is probably ok for younger audiences depending on maturity. For more details please read the individual reviews. Great read!

♥ Additional Reviews ♥

Song in the Silence #1 ~ The Lesser Kindred #2 ~ Redeeming the Lost #3

Read an Interview with Elizabeth Kerner
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Song in the Silence (Tales of Kolmar: Book 1) by Elizabeth Kerner


Song in the Silence (Tales of Kolmar: Book 1) by Elizabeth Kerner | Book Review
Author: Elizabeth Kerner
Genre: Epic Fantasy Series, Dragons, Young Adult 16+
ISBN-10: 0812550447
ISBN-13: 9780812550443
Publisher: Tor Fantasy; 1st edition (May 15, 1998)
Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
Read an Excerpt

Lanen Kaelar has dreamed all her life of dragons. Fantasies of meeting dragons, conversing with dragons, becoming a human ambassador to dragons fill her nights with joy and longing. Her days however are spent on Hadron's horse farm in the northwest of the Kingdom of Kolmar. Abandoned by her mother at a young age Lanen is raised by a father who barely notices that she exists and a gentle farm hand who treats her as the daughter of his heart. Then at the age of 24 her life changes, Hadron dies leaving her the farm and in doing so frees her to do what she has always wished, go in search of the True Dragons.

Her journey is full of unexpected surprises. During the first leg of her journey Jamie, the father of her heart, tells her the story of her mother and her true father. Much to her relief she discovers that Hadron was not her real father however there is still a mystery. It seems that there are two possible scenarios as to who actually fathered her and one may very well lead to her death as a sacrifice to demons.

This is a beautiful story written in a way that took me a bit to adjust to, but once I did I enjoyed it immensely. Elizabeth Kerner tells the story from a first person viewpoint but by switching between narrators with increasing frequency. Now you might think this could be confusing, jumping from inside one head to another, but the divisions are clearly defined with the name of the speaker titled at the top of the section in which they narrate. Interestingly enough, this method added incredible depth to the story as the reader can experience exactly how each player sees and feels about the unfolding events. I found myself connecting to each character on an intimate level and to say this engineers an emotional attachment is an understatement.

This book is an example of classic fantasy at its best. Granted its full of cliques: love at first sight, sappy romance, dark sorcery, interference of the gods, tiers of demons and larger then life dragons, but for all that its a great read. Lanen herself is not stereotypical. She is too tall, too strong, too plain and has a left hook that would fell an ox but she also possesses a very gentle heart. hard not to love a heroine like that! And I did, I also loved the dragons, hated Marik, admired Rella, wished the absolute destruction of the demons, mourned The Lost and all in record time as I absolutely flew through the pages of this book!

Mild cussing, mild violence, plenty of romance and low key references to love making, most of which is left to the reader's imagination. The protagonist is 24 which is uncommon for a YA book. I can comfortably recommend it for audiences 16+ but possibly younger, content isn't any worse than that seen on prime time TV. Besides that I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves dragons!

Series Summary
Other books in the series

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books, Affiliate Links




Librarything Rating 4.03/5

Amazon Rating 4.4 out of 5 stars
(114 Customer Reviews)

What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Song In The Silence: The Tale of Lanen Kaelar (Tales of Kolmar)

Audible: No

Buy Book: Book Depository

Amazon: US ~ Canada ~ UK

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Lesser Kindred (Tales of Kolmar: Book 2) by Elizabeth Kerner


The Lesser Kindred (Tales of Kolmar: Book 2) by Elizabeth Kerner | Book Review
Author: Elizabeth Kerner
Genre: Epic Fantasy Series
Content: Dragons, Young Adult 16+
ISBN-10: 0812568753
ISBN-13: 9780812568752
Publisher: Tor Fantasy; 1st edition (October 14, 2001)
Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
Read an Excerpt

This book continues the story of Lanen Kaelar and her soulmate Varien. The story begins innocently enough. Lanen and Varien travel back to Hadron's farm where Lanen reunites with Jamie, the father of her heart. But her troubles are far from over. Archmage Berys, the demon master, still has plans to sacrifice Lanen to the demons and basically take over the world with the power he receives in return. But first she must be found. Rella makes a timely entrance and the four of them, Jamie, Lanen, Varien and Rella must flee the farm in fear for their lives. Meanwhile, back at the home of the True Dragons, things have gone bad to worse. While still absorbing the change to their lives that Lanen's appearance on their island has brought about, the islands they call home begin to self destruct. Volcanoes and earthquakes begin to destroy everything in sight and now the dragons themselves must flee, but where will they go? So begins another exciting adventure, full of danger, discovery, drama and angst.

This book starts out slow but picks up and concludes at a breathless pace. We meet some new players in this drama, a pair of powerful Healers and their friend, a man who once took in and raised an orphaned lesser kindred. Some of the original characters play a role also, namely Marik, his devoted healer Maikel and Demon Master Berys, who was only mentioned before, takes the center stage. Once you get past the beginning, the sappy newlywed romantic part which also contains alot of back story, the story takes off and will keep you riveted to the page.

One word of warning. Watch carefully for the character subtitle changes. The new characters are sometimes introduced without warning and it can throw you if you aren't looking for it. Aside from that, Elizabeth Kerner's multiple first person style draws you in and keeps you there. No guessing of motives here. You get to experience first hand how every major character feels, thinks, plots and plans. There are plenty of surprises here too. A romance that I didn't see coming, a danger to Lanen from a source that was unexpected, a storyline about the Lost that fell out in an delightful way. This is a cliffhanger, not a standalone. You will be left anxiously waiting for for more. Another great read, especially if you love dragons!

Lots of mushy romance (some think to much but some newlyweds are like that), love scenes between Lanen and Varien (those two just can't get enough of each other), cussing, and some violence. I think its suitable for 16+ and possibly younger depending on maturity of the reader. Now on to book 3!

Series Summary
Other books in the series

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Librarything Rating 3.85/5

Amazon Rating 4.2 out of 5 stars
(35 Customer Reviews)

What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: The Lesser Kindred (Tales of Kolmar)

Audible: No

Buy Book: Book Depository

Amazon: US ~ Canada ~ UK

Friday, August 8, 2008

Redeeming the Lost (Tales of Kolmar: Book 3) by Elizabeth Kerner


Redeeming the Lost (Tales of Kolmar: Book 3) by Elizabeth Kerner | Epic Fantasy Review

Author: Elizabeth Kerner
Genre: Epic Fantasy Series,
Content: Dragons, Young Adult 16+
ISBN-10: 0812568761
ISBN-13: 9780812568769
Publisher: Tor Fantasy (November 29, 2005)
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Read An Excerpt

Laren Kaelar has been captured by Berys the Demon Master. Its up to her friends, along with an old ally, to find a way to rescue her before he can sacrifice her to the Demonlord. The same demonlord who was responsible for destroying half of the True Dragons eons before. And what a strange assortment of friends and allies! A dragon in human form, Maran, the mother who abandoned her at the age of one, Rella, a member of the Silent Society, Jamie, the father of her heart, Will, Aral and Vilkas, former members of the College of Mages and of course dragons, 3 different types of dragons!

Even so it will prove to be no easy task. Thats not the only problem either. There is also a network of corrupt healers who at Berys command will begin a campaign of mass killing. They will also find themselves faced with hordes of demons conjured up at Bery's command and ultimately the Demonlord himself. What a disaster!

The third book in this series continues the story started in Song of the Silence and The Lesser Kindred. Like the second book, Elizabeth Kerner spends too much time, in my opinion, on back story. She started off really well. We get to finally meet Laren's mother Maren and hear the back story from her viewpoint but sadly I guess that wasn't enough. Several other sections of back story were added in later from different characters. Because of this, just like in book two, the story starts off slowly but boy does it pick up. By the end of the book you'll find yourself totally engrossed and unable to readily put the book down. The ending is beautiful, almost every loose end is tied up, including the ones created in the telling of this book. The ongoing war that was mentioned by Berys several times was never resolved. Actually nobody but Berys and Marik ever mentions it at all. It could have easily been edited out with no harm to the story. Not sure exactly why it was ever added.

My minor complaints aside, all in all its a great book. There are plenty of surprises to enjoy, less of the sappy romance (there was no time), some new romance and conflict with the old, some heartbreak, some cheers, plenty of action and as always complete immersion into the lives of the characters. I loved the story, I loved (or hated) the characters, I enjoyed the multiple first person method of writing and I adored the Kindred. Definitely a recommended read for anyone who enjoys a strong female protagonist and lots of dragons.

Series Summary
Other books in the series

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books, Affiliate Links




Librarything Rating 4.1/5

Amazon Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
(23 Customer Reviews)

What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Redeeming the Lost (Tales of Kolmar)

Audible: No

Buy Book: Book Depository

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Gilded Chain ( A Tale of the King's Blades: Book 1)

Mulluane | 10:04 PM | 3 Comments so far

By Dave Duncan


*Blurb*
The grim school of Ironhall takes in unwanted, rebellious boys and five years later sends forth the finest swordsmen in the world, the King of Chivial‘s Blades. Bound to absolute loyalty by a magical sword-stroke through their hearts, they stand ready to defend the King or whomever else he designates against all perils, whether human or sorcerous.

Each book in this trilogy stands alone, but together they make a larger story.

The Gilded Chain tells of the greatest swordsman Ironhall has produced in its long history, Sir Durendal. When King Ambrose needs a Blade to accompany his agent on a dangerous mission to the far ends of the Earth, he naturally chooses young Durendal. Alas, even the plans of kings can go sadly awry . . *Blurb source Author*

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The Gilded Chain
| Genre: Sword and Sorcery
| Content: Heroes, Adult
| ISBN-10: 0380791269
| ISBN-13: 978-0380791262
| Publisher: HarperCollins (September 1, 1999)
| Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
| Source: Personal copy
| Sample Chapter
| Rating: 5 Stars

Fantasy Series Book Review by Mulluane

In this medieval type world, magic plays a huge part. The Kings Blade's, unwanted young boys raised from about the age of 14 at Ironhall in Starkmoor, are destined to be bound to a ward of the King's choosing. The ritual involved requires that the ward stab the candidate through the heart. If the young man survives, (survival comes with immediate healing), he is now bound heart, mind, body and soul to the person he is assigned to, risking even death to protect that person from harm. The ward can be anyone the King decides needs a Blade, could be the King himself or just someone he favors (or wants watched). The Blade pays a price for this service. He doesn't sleep, can't get drunk, can't tolerate being out of sight of his ward for more then a few minutes. Fortunately the latter eases up over time but there is one plus, they become very popular with the ladies due to all that extra stamina!

This book rocks. The pace flows almost seamlessly. There is something for almost everybody. Love, loyalty, magic, betrayal, danger, adventure, sword play and politics. There are even a few elements of horror thrown in for good measure. This is very much a plot driven story, which is an unusual choice for me as I tend to find myself enjoying character driven novels as a rule. (But then I'll read almost anything but Urban Fantasy /shudder). This is not to say the story isn't full of great characters, it is, but the focus is primarily on plot. This was a fairly quick read for me too, not in terms of pages or lack of action but because it flows so evenly throughout the story. Not even the sword play scenes lost my attention and I'm not really all that intrigued by those.

This book is rated 18+ by the publisher. There is allusion to sex but no detail, definite gory violence involved in the fight scenes, the horror element is a pretty gross concept but the themes and vocabulary aren't all that complex. This book is a stand alone but it's also part of a series. I'm looking forward to reading the rest!


Series Summary
Book Two ~ Book Three

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books, Affiliate Links




Librarything Rating 3.86/5

Amazon Rating 4.2 out of 5 stars
(81 customer reviews)


What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: The Gilded Chain: A Tale Of The King's BladesGilded Chain


Audible: No


Buy Book: AbeBooks


Amazon:  USGilded Chain  - UKGilded Chain  - CanadaGilded Chain
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Book review of The Gilded Chain ( A Tale of the King's Blades: Book 1) by Dave Duncan - Sword and Sorcery - Reviewed by Mulluane - on August 5, 2008 - Rating: 5.0


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Lord of the Fire Lands (A Tale of the King's Blades: Book 2)

By Dave Duncan


*Blurb*
The grim school of Ironhall takes in unwanted, rebellious boys and five years later sends forth the finest swordsmen in the world, the King of Chivial‘s Blades. Bound to absolute loyalty by a magical sword-stroke through their hearts, they stand ready to defend the King or whomever else he designates against all perils, whether human or sorcerous.

Each book in this trilogy stands alone, but together they make a larger story.

Lord of the Fire Lands is neither a sequel nor a prequel. Because most of the action overlaps the first book in time, I call it a "paraquel". King Ambrose and Durendal make brief appearances, but the main characters are two young men we first meet in Ironhall as Candidate Wasp and Candidate Raider. Neither quite fits the pattern for a would-be Blade, and when the King arrives to harvest the latest crop of seniors and proposes to bind those two to his service, the traditions break down. Ancient secrets are revealed and suddenly danger threatens, right there in Ironhall.*Blurb source Author*

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Lord of the Fire Lands
| Genre: Sword and Sorcery
| Content: Heroes, Adult
| ISBN-10: 0380791277
| ISBN-13: 978-0380791279
| Publisher: HarperCollins (September 5, 2000)
| Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
| Source: Personal copy
| Sample Chapter
| Rating: 5 Stars

Fantasy Series Book Review by Mulluane

Wasp is ecstatic, after 5 intensive years of training to become a King's Blade the King is coming to Ironhall to bind his next group of Blades. Little did he envision what would actually happen. That his best friend Raider, the man who had once saved him from a burning building, would do the unthinkable. Raider would refuse to enter into the King's service. Wasp in a moment of blind loyalty decides that his friend and savior must not be allowed to be cast out, friendless and alone, so he too must refuse so that he can remain at his friend's side. Ah but its said that no good deed goes unpunished. Wasp is about to embark on a journey he could have never imagined, to the lands of the Baels, the same people who killed his parents and left him an orphan. And to make matters worse he is bound, tied by mind, body and soul unto death to the man who may just be next in line for the throne in this savage land.

So starts the next installment of Dave Duncan's King's Blades series. Now there are a few things I need to point out about this book. First of all it starts with a warning from the author that this is a stand alone. Both this and Gilded Chain take place at roughly the same time but with very different endings. This is intentional so don't let it confuse or throw you. The third book is supposed to resolve the discrepancies. Secondly, this is not a sequel, this is a retelling of the events that took place during the first book, but from a totally different viewpoint. Some of the previous characters play a role, King Ambrose for example, but if you are looking for more of Sir Durendal you will find only a few passing mentions.

That being said, this is another great book. There is more story telling in this novel then there was in the first. Raider acts as narrator for parts, the author serves as narrator for other parts. To clarify, there is a section that goes, "here is what Raider wanted to tell, if he only had time..." and the author proceeds to tell the story for him. Different narrative style then I am used to but it worked out really well. Again this is a full chronicle of the life of Raider similar to how Sir Durendal's story was told with sections of past and present intermingled. The main difference being that it doesn't follow Raider into old age as it did Sir Durendal. There is plenty of action and great back story. The elements of sword play, sorcery, underhanded politics and betrayal are just as prevalent here as in book one. Of course there is also the unyielding loyalty of two friends who must rely on each other for survival. Its also interesting to note that Dave Duncan inserts a few elements of horror into his world as well. Necromancy and zombies (called thralls) play a role in this rich and well plotted story. Truly something here for nearly every Sword and Sorcery fan.

I'm looking forward to the third book which will be told by yet another viewpoint and promises to resolve the surprising differences in viewpoint between book one and two. What a unique way of creating a cliff hanger without compromising the stand alone qualities of each book. I love breaks from tradition! Especially when executed as well as these books have done so far. I consider these a must read.


Series Summary
Book One ~ Book Three

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Librarything Rating 3.76/5

Amazon Rating 4.0 out of 5 stars
(46 customer reviews)

What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Lord of the Fire LandsLord of the Fire Lands


Audible: No


Buy Book: AbeBooks



Amazon: USLord of the Fire Lands - CanadaLord of the Fire Lands - UKLord of the Fire Lands
Already read the book? Visit the blog to add your own rating!

Book review of Lord of the Fire Lands (A Tale of the King's Blades: Book 2) by Dave Duncan - Reviewed by Mulluane - on August 3, 2008 - Rating: 5.0


Friday, August 1, 2008

Sky of Swords (A Tale of the King's Blades: Book 3)

By Dave Duncan


*Blurb*
The grim school of Ironhall takes in unwanted, rebellious boys and five years later sends forth the finest swordsmen in the world, the King of Chivial‘s Blades. Bound to absolute loyalty by a magical sword-stroke through their hearts, they stand ready to defend the King or whomever else he designates against all perils, whether human or sorcerous.

Each book in this trilogy stands alone, but together they make a larger story.

Sky of Swords: The third "Tale of the King‘s Blades" features Princess Malinda, who made brief appearances in both The Gilded Chain and Lord of the Fire Lands.

A lonely child growing up in the loveless, intrigue-ridden court of King Ambrose soon learned to fight for her rights, but even her wit and courage could not withstand her father‘s tyranny. Her infant brother Amby was the heir, so a princess was unnecessary and could be married off to any man the king chose. When Ambrose agreed to end an inconvenient war by giving her away to the most notorious pirate ever to sail the seas, she could only submit. Then her father‘s sudden death made little Amby king and Malinda the heir. To save her vulnerable brother and herself, she must battle unscrupulous traitors plotting to seize the throne.

In this nightmare of intrigue the only people she could be sure of were the Blades of the Royal Guard. Bound to absolute loyalty by a magical ritual of a sword stroke through the heart, they were men she could trust to the death‹or to love. Yet the Blades themselves were in danger as the people rose against them and a rebel army marched on Ironhall. Soon the question was not whether the Blades could save Malinda, but whether Malinda could save the Blades.*Blurb source Author*

Affiliate Link
Sky of Swords
| Genre: Sword and Sorcery
| Content: Heroes, Adult
| ISBN-10: 0380791285
| ISBN-13: 978-0380791286
| Publisher: HarperCollins (September 4, 2001)
| Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
| Source: Personal copy
| Sample Chapter
| Rating: 5 Stars

Fantasy Series Book Review by Mulluane

The story started in Gilded Chain and Lord of the Fire Lands continues from the viewpoint of Princess Melinda, on trial for treason. Accused of multiple crimes she is fighting for her life and things are not looking good at all. In true form to the previous books, this one once again jumps in time between the present, where she is imprisoned, to the past where the alleged crimes took place. The plot holds true to the story told in Lord of the Fire Lands where Princess Melinda is left facing the consequences of her father's death and not one but two contenders trying to steal the throne. And it just gets better from there.

Rarely do I have the pleasure of closing a book with a grin on my face the size of Texas. This was one of those occasions. I knew from the warning in the second book that there would be a surprise ending but oh my was it beautifully done. The entire three book cycle comes around full circle in a fashion I can honestly say I've never seen before. Curious? Well suffice it to say I was too. I turned pages totally intrigued and breathlessly waiting for the ending. I wasn't disappointed.

Princess Melinda was a wonderful character. Dave Duncan threw more bad situations her way then I would have ever thought possible and wasn't afraid to have her make some very serious mistakes. Just when you thought that maybe she had a chance to wiggle her way out of one mess, along came another as bad or worse. The ending was brilliant, the characters were real, the suspense masterful and the plot was superb. I can't begin to come up with enough praises to heap on this story.

The sex scenes in this book stepped up a notch but not too much, some mass destruction, death and mayhem, more necromancy and dark sorcery but publisher conservatively rates it 18 and up. Awesome read with something that's sure to please almost any one!


Series Summary
Book One ~ Book Two

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books, Affiliate Links




Librarything Rating 3.79/5

Amazon Rating 4.1 out of 5 stars
(29 customer reviews)

What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Sky of Swords: A Tale Of The King's Blade 3 (Tale of the King's Blades)Sky of Swords


Audible: No


Buy Book: AbeBooks


Amazon: UK  ~Sky of Swords Canada  ~Sky of Swords US Sky of Swords
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Book review of Sky of Swords (A Tale of the King's Blades: Book 3) by Dave Duncan - Reviewed by Mulluane - on August 1, 2008 - Rating: 5.0


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