Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sword of Change by Patricia Bray (Series Summary)

Mulluane | 9:59 PM | 2 Comments so far

A Fantasy Series Summary

Author: Patricia Bray
Publisher: Spectra
Genre: Fantasy Series, Sword and Sorcery, Hero, Adult
Book Reviews: Devlin's Luck - Devlin's Honor - Devlin's Justice
Devlin Stonehand, former farmer, former blacksmith, once a gentle soul now wants nothing more then to die. But first he has obligations to be met, a family to see taken care of, then, and only then will he indulge in his wish. Off in a distant city he will find what he seeks. In the land of the conquerors who now rule his homeland a post has come available. Chosen One, defender of the realm, bound by a geas to fight evil and defend those who could not, or would not, defend themselves. A highly paid position, if one survived the binding ritual, but also a death sentence. It has been many years since a Chosen One has survived their first assignment. The post is perfect for his needs, the signing bonus will pay to allow those he leaves behind a chance at a new life and then he can die, with honor, the one thing Devlin has left.

Patricia Bray has created a fantasy series that takes the tenets of honor, loyalty, friendship, personal demons and indomitable will to new heights. Not only does she create characters to admire and sympathize with, she creates equally evil, weak and pathetic characters to offer balance. She explores the depths that a truly honorable person will go through to remain both true to his beliefs, his oaths, and in essence, himself. This is a great story and one that has stayed with me long after I closed the last pages.

This is very much a character driven series. The worldbuilding isn't a huge focus, though it is an interesting world. The magic system is not very well defined, it exists, there are good and evil versions of it, but it isn't widely practiced or very well understood. There is some swordplay, mystical monsters, evil mages, nasty politics (I love nasty politics), a war looming on the horizon and a weak King who is so afraid of doing something wrong, he never does anything. But all that is just backdrop. The real story is about Devlin, his trials, not only against the evils within and without the country of Jorsk, but also the struggles with his own personal demons. Its also about his friends, secondary characters that are as well done as Devlin himself. This is a story about characters, characters who grow, develop, and at times amaze. Its about all the traits that can be found in a good heart and being epic fantasy, it is about the fight of good against forces of evil.

This series is aimed at an adult audience. It deals with adult characters facing adult issues. In terms of violence, there is some but it doesn't go too far overboard in description for the most part (there are rare exceptions). There is no main romance, a few brushes with it, mainly by secondary characters, but no sex or serious relationships and there is some mild language, again, nothing overly graphic. It is readable by older teens, just may or not have the generally excepted appeal that a book aimed at a YA audience would have. I highly recommend this series myself. I love a good character driven story and the theme, that of old fashioned values involving friendship, loyalty and honor appeal to my romantic side. If this sounds like a story that might interest you I suggest reading the individual reviews for more detail. Great read!


Read an Interview with Patricia Bray

Available in Kindle, and eBook.
See individual reviews for more information.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Devlin's Luck (The Sword of Change: Book 1) By Patricia Bray

Mulluane | 12:32 PM | 1 Comment so far

A Fantasy Series Book Review

By Patricia Bray


Devlin's Luck (The Sword of Change: Book 1) By Patricia Bray Genre: Fantasy Series, Sword and Sorcery, Hero, Adult
ISBN: 0553584758
Publisher: Spectra (April 30, 2002)
Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
Excerpt
At the height of the Midsummer festivals a stranger stumbles into the capital city of Kingsholm. Looking like exactly what he is, a travel weary farmer, he is largely ignored by the crowds around him, but little does every one know the importance he will soon be to the very safety of their kingdom. Devlin Stonehand has come to be the Chosen One, called to serve by the Gods, bound by a geas that forces him to protect the kingdom from danger, even at the cost of his own life. But Devlin Stonehand is far from your typical hero. His plan is to take the 10 gold offered for the position and then to be killed, like all the recently Chosen before him. The gold is to be sent back to his former home to provide for his brother's family, his death is to lay to rest the inner demons that haunt his every waking...and sleeping...hour. Not at all what you might expect from someone the Gods have called to serve.

Let me start off by saying, I love this book. As a matter of fact, this seems to be the type of book you either love or hate and I fall into the former category. Devlin is an enigma. On the one hand he has a sense of honor that is unrivaled only by his sense of independence. This man is raised to be self sufficient and unlike those who he finds himself championing, he can not conceive of asking for anyone to do anything he isn't willing to do himself. On the other hand, this is a man who suffers and suffers greatly from the loss of everything he has ever loved. His sense of honor makes him come up with a plan to take care of those who he left behind, and an equally honorable way to end the life he no longer feels is worth living.

Then we have Stephen, Devlin's unasked for companion. Stephen is a wannabe bard whose head is full of romantic notions as to things like battles, heroes and champions. Devlin comes as a complete surprise and disappointment, and yet Stephen is determined to attach himself to Devlin's side in hopes he will find a source for the ballad he hopes to write which will rocket him to bard stardom. Stephen is in for a surprise or three which will shock, amaze and make him rethink all of his views on life.

There is plenty of political intrigue, my second love behind seriously flawed heroes. The King is weak and inefficient, ruled by a council which is full of lords and ladies with their own agendas, none of which include letting this foreign hero exert any influence over the king they currently control. While the king sits on his throne, deathly afraid to make any kind of decision about anything because it might prove to be wrong, his kingdom is falling down around his royal ears, and nobody but the lords and ladies of the outlying areas, those who have suffered the most, and the royal guard seem to care. Devlin has even less reason to care then the king and his council, he hails from a country which was "annexed" by the Kingdom of Jorsk, (Devlin's homeland of Duncaer differs on that term, rightfully calling themselves conquered) and yet here he is, appointed champion of his hated enemies. Fun stuff!

I think that one of the things that makes me such a fan of this book is the definite but steady development of the characters. Not a single character here (except maybe the bad guys) fails to grow and by the end of this story not one of them is exactly the same person they started out being. There isn't alot of world building, another thing that while I admire it when its original, I can generally do without. I'm much more intrigued by characters and specifically character development, and I wasn't disappointed here.

As far as content, well there are several schools of thought on what makes a book YA verses adult. By one definition, Devlin is a middle aged man dealing with middle aged issues which makes this a book not targeted for a YA audience. I'll err on that side of the argument but as far as the other side of the argument, violence, sex and language, there is nothing here that keeps this from being YA appropriate. There is no sex, no romance, battles against both human and magical beings but the detail is not graphic and if there was any language I don't recall noticing it.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It was a fast read, full of great characters and it has the potential to become much more then what was covered in book one. I'm off to see if those potentials are realized. See you all then!

Series Summary
Other books in the series

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books

Shelfari 4.0/5

Librarything Rating 3.70/5

Amazon Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
(33 customer reviews)


What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Devlin's Luck: Book I of The Sword of Change

Ebook: Fictionwise

Buy Book: B&N - Powells

Amazon: US Canada UK

Friday, September 26, 2008

Devlin's Honor (The Sword of Change: Book 2) By Patricia Bray

A Fantasy Series Book Review

By Patricia Bray

Devlin's Honor (The Sword of Change: Book 2) By Patricia Bray Genre: Fantasy Series, Sword and Sorcery, Hero, Adult
ISBN: 0553584766
Publisher: Spectra (June 3, 2003)
Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
Excerpt
The seasons turn and Devlin's heroic deeds are all but forgotten. The King's council is once again becoming jealous of Devlin's influence over the King so they devise a plan. Rumors are started that Devlin can't possibly be the Chosen One without the Sword of Light, the traditional sword carried by previous Chosen Ones' up until 50 years previous when it was lost during the conquest of Devlin's homeland. To accomplish this mission Devlin must return to the place where he is reviled as both Kinslayer and Kinbereft, a trip he is not looking forward to, but once again the geas gives him no choice. But first he must make it there alive, something that, considering how many hidden enemies he has, is by no means certain. Assassins, dark sorcery and harsh travel conditions dog his path but Devlin knows that if he is to have any hope of saving his adopted kingdom, he must prevail.

This book is aptly named. Never has honor been better portrayed then in the characterization of Devlin the Chosen One. His boon companions come a close second but even they can't always come to grips with Devlin's unwavering resolve to do the honorable thing, even if it hurts him deeply. Despite the growing suspicion that the Gods have manipulated his life, up to and including the engineering of his family's death, Devlin stays true to his oaths. What a hero!

With only his aid Lieutenant Didrik and his friend Lord Stephen, Devlin sets out to reclaim the sword and face the demons of his past. In the country of his birth he must not only face the members of his family who cast him out and the friends who turned their backs on him but now he is considered a traitor, General of the armies that massacred their people and now rule their land. Devlin must make some hard decisions, face some difficult challenges but he will also discover some pleasant surprises along the way. As with book one, I enjoyed every minute of this story. I even found the worldbuilding of Duncaer fascinating as Patricia Bray crafts a country full of traditions, customs and politics that I very much enjoyed learning about. Drama, adventure, honor, friendship, politics, dark sorcery, characters that grow and develop, mystery and suspense, all of my favorite fantasy elements combined in one great story.

There are fewer battle scenes, again, no romance except maybe a hint of one later in the story that is given very little focus, minor language, but this is a story written about adults. While the characters do develop in maturity, especially Stephen, it is not a story dealing with typical teenage issues or featuring teenage characters so it is not considered to be a YA book. However, there isn't anything here that prevents it from being read by teenagers either, they are just not the target audience. Personally I think the examples of honor, friendship, loyalty and the determination to keep one's promises regardless of personal cost are lessons that can benefit any age. Besides that its a good story. Patricia Bray's parents were Irish storytellers and her writing reflects that. This lady sure can tell a tale!

Now on to book three. I'm eager to see if the story continues to satisfy as well as it has so far. I'm really surprised by the wide range of ratings on this book but maybe the lack of romance, lesser degrees of both sword and sorcery and increase in world and character building put some readers off. You'll just have to judge for yourself, you already know how much I liked it!

Series Summary
Other books in the series

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books

Shelfari 4.0/5

Librarything Rating 3.40/5

Amazon Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars
(31 customer reviews)


What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Devlin's Honor: Book 2 of The Sword of Change

Ebook: Fictionwise

Buy Book: B&N - Powells

Amazon: US Canada UK

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Devlin's Justice (Sword of Change: Book 3) By Patricia Bray

A Fantasy Series Book Review

By Patricia Bray


Devlin's Justice (Sword of Change: Book 3) By Patricia Bray Genre: Fantasy Series, Sword and Sorcery, Hero, Adult
ISBN: 0553584774
Publisher: Spectra (March 30, 2004)
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Excerpt
Having settled things in his homeland, atleast as much as they can be considering it is still under Jorsk rule, Devlin hurries back to Jorsk, fearing that he may already be too late. But things are much much worse then even he could imagine. King Olafar has slipped back into his old pattern of finding the easy way out, and in the process has all but given his kingdom away to enemies posing as allies. Worse of all he has given over his country's only chance of salvation, the Chosen One. Upon his arrival to the city Devlin disappears and now his friends must find a way to locate and rescue him before all is lost.

Of the three books in this series this one has the worse ratings. The focus, pace and theme completely changes. It becomes much darker, the focus shifts mainly to Devlin's friends and enemies and more attention is given to the war and the politics involved. Now I agree that there is a definite change but I disagree that it was a bad thing. For one, all that happens here further develops Devlin's character, and that of his friends. It all goes towards testing Devlin's honor, loyalty and his unshakable devotion to his oaths. The events that take place also test his friends and his enemies are in for more then their own share of surprises as they continue to underestimate him. Now this could be just the downside of a story that is so character driven. The story isn't as important and suffers for that. In any case I enjoyed this installment every bit as much as I did book one and two. Devlin did not disappoint me, even when he turns the tables on his kidnapper in a very horrific way. It made him even more human in my eyes, not less.

The ending is both complete and open ended. Most of the major issues are resolved but not all of the personal and emotional ones have a clear resolution. I actually appreciated this facet of the story. Life is like that, its an ongoing story, things don't end up neatly wrapped in ribbons and bows where everybody lives happily ever after. No one in this story ends it unchanged by the events that take place; events that will affect the rest of their lives in ways that they may not even realize at the time, a healthy dose of reality in what was otherwise a fantasy story. I liked it. Granted it may have been left that way to leave room for a future revisit to this series but I don't think so. I think its deeper then that. When you leave things alittle open at the end of a tale it makes you think and wonder and when you close the book on the characters you remember them longer. Or atleast I do.

The content is much darker, there is no romance so no problem there, the language is mild but the violence within the darker content does have some very gory aspects. It is aimed at an adult audience but even with the violent scenes of torture I doubt it would overly upset too many of today's older teens. Well worth the read in my opinion, especially if you are a hopeless romantic like me. Not the gushy love/sex type of romantic but the type who dreams of a world where things like honor, friendship, devotion and determination to prevail against all odds play a major role in our lives.

Series Summary
Other books in the series

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books

Shelfari 3.5/5

Librarything Rating 3.73/5

Amazon Rating 3.0 out of 5 stars
(11 customer reviews)


What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Devlin's Justice

Ebook: Fictionwise

Buy Book: B&N - Powells

Amazon: US Canada UK

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Heralds of Valdemar (Series Summary)

A Fantasy Series Summary

Author: By Mercedes Lackey
Publisher: Daw
Genre: High Fantasy Series, Sword and Sorcery, 13+
Book Reviews: Arrows of the Queen - Arrow's Flight - Arrow's Fall

Thalia is summoned before all of her father's wives and at the tender age of 13 is given a choice. She can choose to become either a Firstwife or an Underwife but one thing is for sure, she must marry to a man of their choosing. Terrified beyond all sense Thalia flees in terror and stumbles into a being that before now had only existed in her dreams. Standing before her is a Companion, a magical being in the guise of a horse, but this is definitely no ordinary animal. Companions are only ridden by Heralds, the elite force of Valdemar that is in charge of the protection of the realm and travel around dispensing the Queen's justice. Thalia reasons that this Companion has become separated from its Herald and decides to return it to the capitol, beginning a journey that will take her right into the world of her dreams and beyond.

This trilogy follows Thalia from her 13th birthday as a member of a strict borderlands community to her installment as a Herald and Queen's Own. This was Mercedes Lackey's first trilogy involving the world of Valdemar and should be treated as such. You'll find poor editing, an over abundance of italics and a strange need to capitalize words but you'll also find a very sweet story. Mercedes Lackey creates a very interesting world with a fascinating system of magic and this trilogy is only the beginning. She goes on to write about and develop this world for many years to come, just getting better with each book.

Romance, magic, mystical beings, sword play, good character development, great worldbuilding, so so writing but don't fear, Mercedes Lackey gets MUCH better over time. This trilogy is light reading and a good start to a great series. There is very little in the way of objectionable material. Sex that is lacking in descriptive detail, violence is the same way and there is some language but nothing we don't pretty much all hear every day and nothing too harsh. Besides that its a good coming of age story. If you want to revisit the first stages of Valdemar (and Mercedes writing skill) or if you want to explore a new world this is a great place to start....right at the beginning of it all.

If you'd like more detail, you can use the book links above to read the individual reviews.


Read an Interview with Mercedes Lackey
Available in Kindle and eBook.
See individual reviews for more information.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar: Book 1)

Mulluane | 12:01 AM | 1 Comment so far

A Fantasy Series Book Review

By Mercedes Lackey


Genre: Sword and Sorcery, High Fantasy Series, 13+
ISBN: 0886773784
Publisher: DAW (March 3, 1987)
Paperback: 320 pages
Talia is a misfit. Raised in a strict environment where women have no status, Talia constantly rebels against the oppressive attitudes of her Holding. Unlike all of the other girls of her age, Talia loves reading, often dreams of a life outside of marriage and children and resents the endless cycle of domestic chores she is expected to perform. When at the age of 13 she is informed that its time she marries and begins doing her part in breeding more children for the Steading she flees in terror. What happens next exceeds all of Talia's wildest dreams. She meets a Companion, one of the horses only ridden by Heralds, defenders of the realm. The horse, displaying intelligence well beyond that of any animal, takes Talia to Valdemar to begin a new life, a life she has secretly dreamed of ever since she read her first book.

I took a trip down memory lane and decided to go back and read the very first Valdemar trilogy. The story is charming. It is a far cry from her later works but it doesn't need to be. The story is simplistic but the characters are lovable and it was fun watching the budding world of Valdemar get its humble beginnings. Don't expect too much and you'll find a diamond in the rough. I've always loved the whole Valdemar concept and by returning to this story I got to relive a book that played a large part in my love of fantasy.

The story starts out with Talia on her 13th birthday. From her humble beginnings in a strict household where marriage is required at 13 and multiple wives are the norm, Thalia finds herself chosen by a Companion and thrust into the position of Queen's Own, the highest ranked Herald after that of Queen and Heir. Its a huge leap in status, especially for a young girl with no self esteem, a fear of men and an inability to form close relationships or deal with emotion. Its a wonderful coming of age story peopled with interesting characters, a bit of political intrigue and a touch of drama.

This is a fast, fun, light read, perfect for spending an afternoon in a new world while enjoying a young girl's journey to find acceptance, and love. This book is easily on par with the Pern Series. It is definitely YA material and you won't find anything objectionable here. There are romantic elements to the story, included same sex relationships, but NO detail. There is also some violence, a few deaths by murder but again, not in gory detail. The plot is not hard to follow and like Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey likes to end her books on a high note, making you close the book with a smile. If you want to find out how the Valdemar series got its start or if you want to watch Mercedes Lackey as she develops into the prolific fantasy writer that she is today, you can't go wrong by starting right at the beginning with this trilogy.

Series Summary
Other books in the series

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books

Shelfari 4/5 Stars

Librarything Rating 4.09/5

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


What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Arrows of the Queen

Ebook: Ereadable

Audio: Arrows of the Queen (Audio CD)

Buy Book: B&N - Powells

Amazon: US Canada UK

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Arrow's Flight (Heralds of Valdemar: Book 2)

A Fantasy Series Book Review

By Mercedes Lackey


Genre: Sword and Sorcery, High Fantasy Series, 13+
ISBN: 0886773776
Publisher: DAW Books (September 1, 1987)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Talia is now 18 and has been granted her full whites. In order for her to become a full Herald The only task that remains is an 18 month tour out in the field. She is to be interned to Kris, a Herald with farseeing abilities and the face of an angel. Not that Talia is impressed, a fact that amazes Kris to no end. Their circuit will take them to the Borderlands, as far north as the kingdom of Valdemar goes, all the way to the Forest of Sorrows. But as potentially challenging as her internship will be, its fated to become much more complicated. Thalia can feel the tension surrounding her in the Council and its source will destroy both her already shaky self esteem and control of her gift.

This book is not as strong as the first in terms of drama but it isn't intended to be and I enjoyed it for what it was. I've always been interested in empathy as a magical gift and this story explores exactly that. Thalia has to discover not only how to control her gift, which unfortunately no Herald has ever had before, she also struggles with its uses. When is it ethical to interfere with someone's emotions? Is it even ethical to read emotions and use that information for or against that person? Has she been misusing it all along? What guidelines should she follow? Thalia is basically working blind because before being chosen, empathy was a gift restricted to healers and healers do not advise a queen or administer justice.

There is also a romance that made me wonder how nice things would be if it was perfectly acceptable to make love with someone based purely on friendship, which is a form of love after all. Thalia and Kris do provide a bit of entertainment as they both fear that the other may be reading more into it then that (neither are) which gave me a chuckle or two. Meanwhile they are both exploring the idea that Dirk could possibly be her soulmate, a fact that pleases Kris because he cares for them both. But it still made me think, and maybe dream of a world where an expression love is just that, same sex, opposite sex, or just friendship, its all good. But I digress.

If you set out to do three things, you'll enjoy this book.

1.) Enjoy a coming of age story and watch Thalia grow up and come to terms with herself and her gift.
2.) Enjoy a sweet romance between two good friends who genuinely care for each other.
3.) Want to learn about the origins of the HUGE Valdemar series and its writer.

Its not the best edited book I've ever seen, the grammar and spelling mistakes are actually humorous if you aren't a purest and whoever told her the use of Italics in every other sentence was a good idea should be shot. And please don't get me started on capitalizing everything! Ignore all that stuff, sit back and read the story. Its actually not that bad.

As I mentioned before, there are a few sex scenes but they are lacking in detail, there is some profanity but just common everyday words (nowadays) and there is some violence but that isn't overly graphic either. I stand by 13+ but thats borderline, depends on the teen. Was a nice light trip back to the beginning of Valdemar and sometimes it is just fun to revisit old friends, or discover new ones that you can grow with.

Series Summary
Other books in the series

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books

Shelfari 4/5 Stars

Librarything Rating 3.96/5

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


What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Arrow's Flight

Ebook: Ereadable

Buy Book: B&N - Powells

Amazon: US Canada UK

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Arrow's Fall (Heralds of Valdemar: Book 3)

A Fantasy Series Book Review

By Mercedes Lackey


Genre: Sword and Sorcery, High Fantasy Series, 13+
ISBN: 0886774004
Publisher: DAW (January 5, 1988)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Thalia is now a full Herald with all the rights and responsibilities of a Queen's Own. Confident in her own abilities, tempered by her time out in the field, Thalia finds that she will need every ounce of her hard won confidence to deal with the Council, Heir and Queen. There are those who will try to undermine her at every turn, drive a wedge between her and her friends and stop any influence she has over Queen and Heir. But Thalia is not the shy, fearful girl that arrived on the back of Rolan, her Companion some 5 years hence. Now she is a force to be reckoned with and there are those who fear her new found strength.

Ah what a stunning conclusion to the trilogy! Its here that you really begin to see a glimmer of the author Mercedes Lackey will become. If book two plodded along a bit, book three by comparison flew by at a breathtaking pace. Conflict of some sort is on practically every page.

Lets see if I can highlight a few without giving too much away. Thalia upon arriving back home is immediately caught up in political intrigue involving Elsbeth, the Heir. It seems that the neighboring kingdom of Hardon has proposed a marriage between King Alessandar's heir, Prince Ancar and Elsbeth, a union which will all but eliminate the threat of Karse, Valdemar's ancient enemies. But Queen Selenay has her doubts based on mistakes in her own past marriage; she fears an alliance with any one not Chosen themselves. Meanwhile there is a problem with both Kris and Dirk, Dirk is refusing to acknowledge the lifebond between Thalia and himself, mistakenly believing Kris and her are in love and that by being a loyal friend, he must keep his distance. Kris and Thaila however have their own problems as Kris continues to believe his uncle is innocent of the manipulations Thalia accuses him of. And now we come to Elsbeth, she is sneaking around and skillfully avoiding Thalia too, a situation that Thalia must get to the bottom of before things turn out badly for them all.

Think that is enough? Oh but that only covers the first part of the book, Thalia's problems just escalate from there. Just wait until Thalia and Kris take a trip into Hardon to check out Ancar's suitability as Elsbeth's future husband. That is when things really heat up!

The bad editing continues but you notice it less as the story grabs you and drags you along with it. The romance elements are great, or rather lack of them as you get to call Dirk 3 shades of an idiot almost throughout the whole story. There is a tragedy that caught me by surprise, there are quite a few surprises actually which I truly love in a good story. There is a very satisfying ending which is one element of her earlier writing that I adore but with enough set up to let you know that the story is only beginning. We'll see more of Thalia and the rest in future trilogies. They say that the third time is the charm and that applies here. This book makes the whole first trilogy worth reading, aside from the fact that given the scope of the Valdemar books, you should start here to get the full picture anyway.

There are some adult themes but they are handled in a non detailed way that makes this book suitable for a young adult audience. I enjoyed the trip down memory lane and I hope that if you haven't yet explored Valdemar you will do so, and if you have, well then I hope you'll one day revisit its humble beginnings just for the fun of it, as I did.

Series Summary
Other books in the series

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books

Shelfari 4/5 Stars

Librarything Rating 4.02/5

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


What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Arrow's Fall

Ebook: Ereadable

Buy Book: B&N - Powells

Amazon: US Canada UK

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Nightrunner Series by Lynn Flewelling (Series Summary)

Nightrunner by Lynn Flewelling
Luck in the Shadows: Book 1 ~ Stalking Darkness: Book 2 ~ Traitor's Moon: Book 3
(Amazon Affiliate Links)

♥ Mini Review ♥
War is coming and the necromancers of Plenimar are gaining in power. An unlikely group of characters is assembled by prophecy to fight for the kingdom of Skala. If they fail then the world and everybody in it will fall prey to ultimate evil, evil in the form of blood magic, torture and sacrifice. This is a world of sword and sorcery, spies and thieves, long lived Aurenens and evil necromancers. It is also a world where loyalty is often unquestioning and secret societies work for queens and wizards. There is even a bit of romance thrown in for good measure!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Luck in the Shadows (Nightrunner Series: Book 1)

By Lynn Flewelling



When young Alec of Kerry is taken prisoner for a crime he didn’t commit, he is certain that his life is at an end. But one thing he never expected was his cellmate. Spy, rogue, thief, and noble, Seregil of Rhiminee is many things–none of them predictable. And when he offers to take on Alec as his apprentice, things may never be the same for either of them. Soon Alec is traveling roads he never knew existed, toward a war he never suspected was brewing. Before long he and Seregil are embroiled in a sinister plot that runs deeper than either can imagine, and that may cost them far more than their lives if they fail. But fortune is as unpredictable as Alec’s new mentor, and this time there just might be…Luck in the Shadows.

*Blurb source* Random House
Blurb might contain spoilers, toggle to view.
( Toggle may not function in some feed readers.)



Luck in the Shadows (Nightrunner Series: Book 1) By Lynn Flewelling

| ISBN-10: 0553575422
| ISBN-13: 9780553575422
| Genre: Sword and Sorcery
| Content: Wizards, Heroes
| Publisher: Spectra (August 1, 1996)
| Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
| Cover Artist: Gary Ruddell
| Source: Personal copy
| Rating: 5 Stars

Affiliate Link
Affiliate Link
Affiliate Link
Luck in the Shadows (Nightrunner, #1)


♥ Mini Review ♥
This was Lynn Flewelling's debut novel and in my opinion its a great start. Now I read the Tamir Trilogy (or Triad) first and the writing in that series is much tighter and shows a definite increase in skill over this book, but don't let that bother you. If you go into this book, which takes place long after the events in Tamir, with the knowledge that this is a first book, and settle in to enjoy it on its own merits, you'll find a fun little read. If you have read Tamir first and try to compare the two series, you'll be comparing apples to oranges. As a result you'll likely be disappointed. Fortunately I did not do this and I was able to enjoy it as the debut novel of a talented writer.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stalking Darkness (Nightrunners Series: Book 2)

By Lynn Flewelling




With the Leran threat laid to rest, Alec and Seregil are now able to turn their attention to the ancient evil which threatens their land. The Plenimarans, at war with Skalans, have decided to defeat their ancient enemy by raising up the Dead God, Seriamaius. The early attempts at this reincarnation--masterminded by the sinister Duke Mardus and his sorcerous minion Vargul Ashnazai--once left Seregil in a sorcerous coma. Now, an ancient prophecy points to his continuing role in the quest to stop Mardus in his dread purpose.

*Blurb source* Random House
Blurb might contain spoilers, toggle to view.
( Toggle may not function in some feed readers.)



Stalking Darkness (Nightrunners Series: Book 2) by Lynn Flewelling

| Genre: Sword and Sorcery
| Content: Wizards, Heroes
| ISBN-10: 0553575430
| ISBN-13: 9780553575439
| Publisher: Spectra; Reissue edition (February 3, 1997)
| Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
| Cover Artist: Gary Ruddell
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 5 Stars

Affiliate Link
Affiliate Link
Affiliate Link
Stalking Darkness (Nightrunners Series: Book 2) by Lynn Flewelling



♥ Mini Review ♥
Nysander the wizard is slowly coming to grips with the fact that an ancient prophecy appears to be coming to fruition during his lifetime. After many generations of Guardians, Vanguards, Shafts and Guides, the current holders of those titles will be called upon to fight a powerful evil. If they fail, the necromancers of Plenimar will resurrect the Eater of Dead, a purely evil god who won't be satisfied until the entire world is awash in blood. But the Gods of Light have a bit more tempering (or is it tampering?) to do with their chosen representatives, so our heroes must face more trials and tribulations before they are ready to face the final show down of good verses evil.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Traitor's Moon (Nightrunners Series: Book 3)

By Lynn Flewelling



As the war between Pleminar and Skala continues, there are growing rumors that Skala's ancient ally, Mycena, is about to join with the wealthier Pleminar, cutting Skala off from all trade routes. Now Alec and Seregil are sent on their most daring mission yet: convince the people of Aurenen to join Skala and end the war.

*Blurb source* Random House
Blurb might contain spoilers, toggle to view.
( Toggle may not function in some feed readers.)



Traitor's Moon (Nightrunners Series: Book 3) by Lynn Flewelling

| Genre: Sword and Sorcery
| Content: Wizards, Heroes
| ISBN-10: 0553577255
| ISBN-13: 9780553577259
| Publisher: Spectra (July 6, 1999)
| Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
| Cover Artist: Gary Ruddell
| Source: Personal copy
| Rating: 5 Stars

Affiliate Link
Affiliate Link
Affiliate Link
Traitor's Moon (Nightrunner, #3)



♥ Mini Review ♥
Seregil never thought he'd ever go home to Aurenen, the land of his birth and to his sorrow, the land he was exiled from at a young age. Dying from wounds received in battle, Queen Idrilain has requested his assistance on a mission that may save Skala from annihilation by Plenimar's armies and necromancers. Princess Klia is being sent to the land of Aurenen to request that they rescind the Ban of Separation and come to Skala's aid in the war. Allowances have been made and Seregil is to go as her adviser, and she'll need one, Aurenen is a land of magic and honor, rival clans and dragons, mystics and seers. In this complex land of long lived people, Klia will find that she needs all the help she can get in accomplishing her goals.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Lion of Senet (Second Sons Trilogy: Book 1)

By Jennifer Fallon



Since the Age of Shadows ended, the people of Ranadon have lived under the merciless heat of two suns and the tyranny of Antonov, the Lion of Senet. Consumed by his lust for power and his unshakable belief in the capricious, almighty Goddess, Antonov’s rule is absolute. Only one man has the intelligence and will to break that hold…a man who could be King.

Suddenly widowed, Morna Provin, Duchess of Elcast, has lost her only protector. With her son banished for an unspeakable crime, she faces a horrifying fate at the hands of the Lion of Senet as retribution for her relationship with the heretic Johan Thorn. But it is only part of a cunning scheme to lure her son, Dirk Provin, back into the fold so Antonov can consolidate his power once and for all.

With his mother’s life at stake, Dirk Provin must emerge from hiding in the Baenlands and return to Elcast—setting in motion a rebellion that will expose long-buried secrets and ignite festering hatreds. For a ruler’s fears and a madman’s prophecy will start Dirk on a quest for truth that will spark a fierce battle between two very different men: one who believes only what his five senses tell him, the other obsessed by his faith in the divine. It is a clash that will bring to light a revelation that may shatter them all.

*Blurb source* Random House
Blurb might contain spoilers, toggle to view.
( Toggle may not function in email and some feed readers.)



Purchase ~ "The Lion of Senet" ~ from AmazonThe Lion of Senet
The Lion of Senet (Second Sons Trilogy: Book 1)
Lion of Senet (Second Sons Trilogy, #1)
| ISBN-10: 0553586688
| ISBN-13: 9780553586688
| Genre: Science Fantasy
| Content: Hero, Adventure, 16+
| Publisher: Spectra; Reprint edition (March 30, 2004)
| US Cover Illustrations: John Taylor Dismukes
| Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Extract
| Rating: 5 Stars

Fantasy Series Book Review by Mulluane

Ranadon is a volatile planet with two suns. Tidal waves and earthquakes are normal occurrences and volcanoes erupt on a regular basis. And yet, by the will of the Goddess, the people here manage not only to survive but prosper. That is until one of the suns vanishes, plugging the world into chaos. With the survival of two countries on the line, answers are sought and power is gained in the seeking.

Three acolytes go in search for answers to the Age of Shadows. Thinking their Goddess is displeased they believe the answer lies in finding a way to appease her. What they find however is that science, not religion has the answers they seek. Two of the acolytes, Belagren and Ella, see a chance to seize ultimate power so they concoct a lie to end all lies. Claiming that Belagren has received a vision they create a ritual which requires the sacrifice of the Lion of Senet's newborn son. By knowing the exact time the second sun will reappear and timing the ritual exactly, Belagren gains both ultimate power over worship of the Goddess and the ear of the Lion himself. The third acolyte, Nevis, has second thoughts about the deception and commits suicide, or so it is believed. His death leaves Belagren with a big problem. Without his mathematical talents she has no way to predict the next Age of Shadows and runs the risk of losing all she has worked for.

Meanwhile Dhevyn, a country of islands, its people starving, its resources almost gone appeals to Senet for help. But the price of that help comes dear. Senet agrees to help the people of Dhevyn, but at the cost of their freedom to rule themselves. King Johan Thorn of Deyvn refuses to believe that the Goddess would ever rquire the sacrifice of a human life and speaks out, only to lose his throne and almost his life in the process. The Lion of Senet puts Johan's sister on the Dhevyn throne and takes her daughter as hostage against her good behavior but the struggle for independence goes on. This tale is about that struggle.

This is a wonderful story filled with wonderful characters and a well crafted world. Religious manipulation and political intrigue fill the pages along with villains you can't help but hate and victims you can't help but sympathize with. Dirk, second son of the Duke of Elcast finds himself caught up in events that started well before he was born. The main focus of this tale is on him and the development of his character as he comes to grip with one surprise after another. There is a long list of secondary characters, each with their own agenda, but Jennifer Fallon has a talent for making complicated plot lines easy to follow. You won't find any large info dumps or tedious telling, instead she doles out back story in short bursts and only when the story calls for it. That is one of the reasons why her writing flows so well.

Now as for content. The main characters are fairly young, 15-16 years old, but there is some violence and alot of sexual content. Although it is not overly graphic, sex forms one of the main elements of the story. Belagren, as part of her newly formed religion, creates seasonal rituals which utilize a powerful aphrodisiac resulting in massive orgies. These rituals also include human sacrifice patterned after the sacrifice of the Lion's son. Both of these elements form one of the main reasons why the people of Dhevyn chafe at the rule of Senet so they are necessary to the plot. You also won't find any magic. This is more of an alternate world fantasy then a traditional sword and sorcery or high fantasy type story. Not that it suffers in any way for the lack of magic, but if that is the type of fantasy you are looking for, you won't find it here. What you will find is a well told tale of the corruption of religion, the lengths people will go to hide the truth from themselves, the angst of betrayal, the will to survive against all odds, the inner fortitude it takes to endure hardship and the determination required to pursue what you know is right, even if it means your death. Now if you'll forgive me, I'm off to read book two, I can't wait to see what Dirk gets up to next!

Series Summary
Other books in the series

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




Librarything rating 4.07/5

Amazon Rating 3.8 out of 5 stars
(42 customer reviews)


What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: The Lion of Senet (Second Sons Trilogy)The Lion of Senet

Audible: No

Buy Book: AbeBooks - BAM

Book Depository

Amazon: USThe Lion of Senet - CanadaThe Lion of Senet - UKThe Lion of Senet
Already read the book? Visit the blog to add your own rating!

Science Fantasy Book Review of The Lion of Senet (Second Sons Trilogy: Book 1) by Jennifer Fallon - Reviewed by Mulluane - on July 27 2013 - Rating: 5.0


Love Epic, High Fantasy? Looking for completed, in print series to read?
Well this blog is what you've been looking for!
Please enter your email address to have our dragons deliver great new reviews straight into your inbox:

Delivered by FeedBurner
Thanks!