Saturday, March 28, 2009

Path of Fate Trilogy by Diana Pharaoh Francis (Series Summary)

Mulluane | 12:01 AM | 3 Comments so far
Path of Fate by Diana Pharaoh Francis

An Epic Fantasy Series Summary

Author: Diana Pharaoh Francis
Series: Path of Fate Series
Genre: Epic Fantasy, 16+
Publisher: Roc
Book Reviews of: Path of Fate - Path of Honor - Path of Blood


This is a story of difficult choices, self-sacrifice, and a reluctant heroine. The main protagonist, Reisel, is an orphan and essentially raised by the entire town. In her society, orphans are passed from one household to another so that no one family is "burdened" with their care. Fortunately, Reisel discovers that she has a talent for healing, a talent that will finally give her a firm place within the town that raised her. This sense of belonging is the one thing she wants most in the world, her heart's desire. But, the Lady has other plans for Reisel and soon she will be forced to make a choice. Can our heroine give up on her heart's desire to become chosen of the gods and save her kingdom from destruction? Not as easy a decision as you might think.

Path of Honor by Diana Pharaoh FrancisAhalad-kaaslane, the Lady's chosen, are a solitary breed, roaming the world as spies, assassins, peacekeepers and judges, and roaming, much less being solitary, is the last thing Reisel wants to do. There is one benefit however, each ahalad-kaaslane is bonded to an animal blessed by the Lady, a special telepathic bond filled with love and affection, but is the reward worth losing all that Reisel has worked for?

This is a good series, maybe not awesome or even original but it is well worth a read. Especially if you like strong female heroines with bonded animal companions as I do. I also like stories where the author challenges her main protagonist; not physically, not magically but emotionally. I enjoy scenarios that make me question how I would handle the situation. Could I make that decision? Could I handle the consequences of that action? Could I have handled things better considering the circumstances? Give me challenges in my reading and I can ignore minor flaws in other areas.

Path of Blood by Diana Pharaoh FrancisI generally prefer characterization to be a bit more intense and the writing style varies widely over the three books, which was a bit disconcerting. Book 1 was fairly light, book two was much darker and book three was very uneven in pace, the conclusion seemed rushed and the PoV jumps around alot. However, this was a debut trilogy, and one that shows great promise, I was far from disappointed by it. Reisel makes the whole story worth the read. Diana Francis throws everything but the kitchen sink at this girl, including the allure of unlimited magical power and yet, our heroine never lets this go completely to her head. She agonizes over her decisions, struggles with making the right choices and deals with tragedy, betrayal and her greatest fear, isolation. This series is all about self-sacrifice, conquering your fears and doing your best in the face of terrible odds. There is also a bit of adventure, romance, and mystery to help move the story along.

Content includes depravity, torture, rape, famine, disease, and other uncomfortable scenarios. Definite adult themes but if it was a movie, I would rate it as 'R', meaning that older teens could handle the material just fine. They may even find some hidden truths within the trials and challenges that face Reisel. As always, that is my opinion and as such should be taken with a grain of salt. What I can say with confidence is this is a good series and well worth a read (or two). I have not read her newer books, but I am looking forward to it now that I have read and enjoyed this trilogy. I hope that you will too!

Read an Interview with Diana Pharaoh Francis
Similar Reads from LibraryThing
Author's Web Presence
Website - Blog - Old Website - Myspace
Could not find any Ebook or Kindle versions
See the individual reviews for more purchasing options

Monday, March 23, 2009

Path of Fate (Path Series: Book 1)

Mulluane | 1:00 PM | 3 Comments so far
Path of Fate by Diana Pharaoh Francis

A Fantasy Series Book Review

By Diana Pharaoh Francis

Genre: Epic Fantasy, 16+
ISBN: 0451459504
Publisher: Roc (November 4, 2003)
Paperback: 384 pages
Read an Excerpt

Author's Blurb:
A truce has halted the fighting between Reisil's native land and its neighbor. But traitors on both sides plot to shatter the fragile peace. Kidnappers steal the daughter of the foreign ambassador from her bedchamber, leaving behind a trail of blood. To free her friend before she can be used to reignite the war, Reisil must join a band of rescuers she fears to trust. As Reisil journeys into enemy lands, she will be betrayed...
I have several soft spots when it comes to fantasy. One of course, is dragons. Another is animal companions. Likely, this stems from my love of animals and I would love nothing better then to truly bond with one. This series feeds that love. It also contains another of my favorite themes, a reluctant heroine.

What I did not like. The characterization could have been a bit better. It was not bad really, just could have been a bit deeper. Seeing as how this is Diana Pharaoh Francis' debut novel though, I am not too worried. I have no doubt that her writing, including character portrayals, will tighten up. The bonded animals could also have benefited from a little more personality. Again, they were not bad; I just would have liked to see them developed more. I also felt that the main character, Reisil, has way too much unlimited power, fortunately, she has no idea what to do with it most of the time. This seems to be her only real constraint, that and her reluctance to have any power at all. My final nitpick is the deities, again I would have liked to see a more personal look at those. They do make appearances, something I love in a fantasy god, but I found myself left wishing for more.

What I really liked. Overall, I enjoyed the portrayal of Reisil as the reluctant heroine. Her motivation for denying the power offered her was real and even touching. She makes mistakes, sometimes really big ones and she is hardheaded to say the least. A character does not need to be fully developed if I can identify with them, and I definitely identified with Reisil. The world itself was easy to envision, large without being overly so. The magic system was interesting and entering a story at the point where people are trying to stop a war, instead of starting one, was refreshing.

This story is not terribly original, something that matters very little to me personally. I do not believe that any gifted storyteller tells the same tale the same way as any other. Each brings their own unique take, voice, and personality into the story. The story itself is very enjoyable. There is adventure, romance, friendship, and betrayal. Some parts are touching while others are tragic. The pacing is even for the most part. This novel does suffer alittle from first book in a trilogy syndrome, there is alot of setup and back-story to cover, but I did not feel that it bogged the story down very much. Overall, a nicely paced light read with well-balanced elements of tragedy and triumph.

The content has adult themes. There is rape, murder, torture, and betrayal. There is justice in the form of harsh retribution, and people who do horrible things to accomplish their goals. There are also stellar examples of self-sacrifice and perseverance against impossible odds. In fact, I would say that the main theme of this series centers on both sacrifice and the lengths that people will go to obtain what they want, regardless of the cost in either case. The book ties up neatly, no serious cliffhanger here! But there are still plenty of questions left to be addressed in the next book. Well worth a read!

Series Summary
Other books in the series

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books

Shelfari Rating 4/5

Librarything Rating 3.78/5

Amazon Rating 4+ out of 5 stars
(34 Customer Reviews)


What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: No

Ebook: No

Buy Book: B&N - Powells - Abe Books

Amazon: US Canada UK

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Path of Honor (Path Series: Book 2) by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Mulluane | 1:00 PM | 1 Comment so far
Path of Honor by Diana Pharoah Francis

A Fantasy Series Book Review

By Diana Pharaoh Francis

Genre: Epic Fantasy, 16+
ISBN: 0451459911
Publisher: Roc (December 7, 2004)
Paperback: 400 pages
Read an Excerpt

Author's Blurb:
Reisil arrives in Koduteel, only to be met with chill suspicion. Even her fellow ahalad-kaaslane doubt her loyalty. When her healing magic fails to stop a deadly plague, Reisil finds herself ostracized and powerless. She is forced to turn for help to the wizards who want her destroyed. And she is alone—she cannot even trust her best friends...

Publisher's Blurb:
Two years after Reisil's arrival, Kodu Riik is decimated by plague and famine. And now a race of sorcerers is trying to take over. Reisil's power is feared by the nobility, others wish to exploit her, and her fellow ahalad-kaaslane begin to doubt her loyalty, as her healing magic fails to stem the rising plague. But Reisil will discover that although she has lost her power to heal, she now possesses a surging new ability-to destroy.
The story resumes 2 years after the events in Path of Fate. Life for Reisel is not as rosy as she had envisioned and soon she will be faced with some tough choices. If she chooses the wrong path, two worlds will be destroyed. All in a day's work for our heroine right?

Many new characters, another whole world, and The Lady has withdrawn, leaving the ahalad-kaaslane powerless and confused. There is a plague and droughts ravaging the land, strange and deadly monsters are appearing and as if this all is not enough, the Iisand (think king) has gone into seclusion. The stage is set for a world torn apart by famine, disease, civil war, and nasty politics. Lots of action, intrigue, and mystery fill these pages making this book a bit darker then the previous and a whole lot busier.

What I did not like. The beginning was a bit confusing; surprising considering that I put down book one and immediately picked up book two. Events are discussed, making me believe that maybe I missed something in book one, only to be explained later. The story here is much darker, which was disconcerting after the relatively light style of the first. Not that I have any problem with dark, was just a surprise. As complicated as those book is, there were also some important questions that I felt were left unaddressed. Big unanswered questions always distract me, almost like that feeling you get when you know you have forgotten something, but for the life of you, you cannot remember what. No, I am not going to tell you what questions! That would be a spoiler...

What I liked. Reisil and her goshawk companion are intriguing characters. The problems I had with Reisil's unlimited power in book one are solved in book two as it appears that she has lost all of her powers. Whereas the main theme in book one was sacrifice, book two concentrates more on finding answers. There are mysteries popping up on almost every page (maybe too many actually) and Reisel has to struggle constantly to find her path. There are no easy answers; no unlimited power to use to "fix" things, no goddess to conveniently bail her out, and no friends in her corner, Reisil is truly on her own. Well she has her wonderful bond with Saljane, her goshawk, but even the bird is extremely cryptic with her answers. If anything, I liked this book better because there are no easy outs. There is also the addition of a love interest who has a coal drake as a companion. Hey! If I cannot have dragons, I will gladly take drakes instead!

Content is dark, tragic and grisly at times. There are some disturbing torture scenes, plague and famine are never pretty, and some of the "bad" guys in this tale are truly evil and depraved. The pace is fast though, alot happens and the story clips right along. There is also a cliffhanger ending, unlike book one, so it is a good thing that you can go straight on to book three! This book is not the type that will "wow" you but it is a good read and a great adventure. If you enjoy reluctant heroines, animal companions, do not object to dark content and want a story where there are more questions then there are answers, this is well worth a read. Now on to book three to see if some of those questions get answered!

Series Summary
Other books in the series

Ratings, Reviews, Similar Reads, Buy Books

Shelfari Rating 4/5

Librarything Rating 3.5/5

Amazon Rating 4+ out of 5 stars
(9 customer reviews)


What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: No

Ebook: No

Buy Book: B&N - Powells - Abe Books

Amazon: US Canada UK

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Path of Blood (Path Series: Book 3) By Diana Pharaoh Francis

Mulluane | 12:45 PM | 1 Comment so far

Author's Blurb:
If Reisil cannot solve the riddle of the spell cast at Mysane Kosk, then Kodu Riik will be destroyed. Hunted by creatures and wizards, she travels to a strange land to learn the truth of her heritage and what she must do to save Mysane Kosk. But before it's all over, friends will die, and she will lose those who mean the most to her...
Publisher's Blurb:
Chaos reigns in the realm of Kodu Riik. Plague continues to ravage its populace. Armies of the power-hungry Aare are on the march, slaughtering everything in their path to place a madman on the throne. And the rift between the kingdom and the land of Cemanahuatl yawns ever wider, threatening to consume both beneath waves of uncontrollable magic and destroy every living soul within them.

Only Reisil possesses enough power to breach the spellbound city of Mysane Kosk and seal the fracture. Accompanied by her goshawk, Saljane, and her lover, Yohuac, Reisil must journey across a land besieged by war and fight for a domain torn asunder by sorceries beyond imagining....
*Blurb source*ROC
Blurb might contain spoilers, toggle to view.
( Toggle may not function in email and some feed readers.)


Path of Blood (Path Series: Book 3) By Diana Pharaoh Francis

| Author: Diana Pharaoh Francis
| Genre: Epic Fantasy, 16+
| Series: Path of Fate (Book 3)
| Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
| Publisher: Roc; 1st Printing May 2006 edition (May 2, 2006)
| ISBN-10: 0451460820
| ISBN-13: 978-0451460820
| Read an Excerpt




Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wolfblade (Hythrun Chronicles: Wolfblade Trilogy: Book 1) by Jennifer Fallon

Mulluane | 12:30 AM | 3 Comments so far


Marla Wolfblade of Hythria is determined to restore her family's great name, but conspirators surround her: the Sorcerers' Collective, the Patriots -- even members of her own family. She must make sure her son Damin lives to be old enough to restore the Wolfblade name to its former glory.

Elezaar the Dwarf is a small man with big secrets -- but that doesn't matter to Marla Wolfblade. Her brother is the High Prince of Hythria, and, in this fiercely patriarchal society, her fate will be decided on his whim. She needs someone politically astute to guide her through the maze of court politics -- and Elezaar the Dwarf knows more than he lets on.

As Elezaar teaches Marla the Rules of Gaining and Wielding Power, Marla starts on the road to becoming a tactician and a wily diplomat -- but will that be enough to keep her son alive?

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



Book Cover of Wolfblade (Hythrun Chronicles: Wolfblade Trilogy: Book 1)  by Jennifer Fallon

| Author: Jennifer Fallon
| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| Content: Demons, Mythology, 16+
| ISBN-10: 0765348691
| ISBN-13: 9780765348692
| Publisher: Tor Fantasy; Reprint edition (August 29, 2006)
| Mass Market Paperback: 640 pages
| Cover Illustration: Paul Youll
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 5 Stars
Amazon
Wolfblade (Hythrun Chronicles: Wolfblade Trilogy, #1)



♥ Mini Review ♥
Jennifer Fallon returns to the world she created in the Demon Child Trilogy, only around 20 years in the past. This time she explores the life of Marla Wolfblade, mother of the famed warlord Damin Wolfblade. It was a marvelous choice. Even though the glimpses of Marla in the Demon Trilogy were few, they were enough to intrigue me. I was delighted to be given the opportunity to learn more about Hythria, Marla and her son.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Warrior (Hyrthun Chronicles: Wolfblade Trilogy: Book 2)

Mulluane | 10:45 PM | 4 Comments so far


It is eight years since Marla Wolfblade buried her second husband. In that time, she has become the power behind Hythria's throne -- as much from a desire to control her own destiny in any way she can, as to protect her son, young Damin.

But while Marla plays the games of politics and diplomacy, the High Arrion of the Sorcerers' Collective is plotting to destroy her -- and the entire Wolfblade line.

And while Marla's power and fortune are great, they may yet not be enough to protect herself and her family from the High Arrion's wrath -- and her only ally and confidant, Elezaar the Fool, is toying with the idea of betrayal.

For he has discovered that the infamous Rules of Gaining and Wielding Power are not so useful when his own family is involved.

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



Warrior (Hyrthun Chronicles: Wolfblade Trilogy: Book 2)

| Author: Jennifer Fallon
| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| ISBN-10: 0765348705
| ISBN-13: 9780765348708
| Content: Demons, Mythology, 16+
| Publisher: Tor Fantasy (July 31, 2007)
| Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
| Cover Illustration: Paul Youll
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 5 Stars
Amazon
Warrior (Hythrun Chronicles: Wolfblade Trilogy, #2)



♥ Mini Review ♥
Marla and Alija play an intriguing game of cat and mouse, with both firmly believing that the other is the mouse. Brak and Wrayan have their parts to play and Elezaar is one of the most intriguing characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. Of them all, he has the most understandable motives. They are so true to his character and situation it is scary.

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!