Cherry Mischievous

for the love of SciFi/Fantasy

THE INQUISITION (Summoner Book 2)

 

The Inquisition by Taran Matharu
Book 2 of the Summoner series
Read by Dominic Thorburn
Genre: epic fantasy
Format: ebook & audiobookAudiobook

 

 

About The Inquisition:

A year has passed since the Tournament.

Fletcher and Ignatius have been locked away in Pelt’s dungeons, but now they must face a trial at the hands of the Inquisition, a powerful institution controlled by those who would delight in Fletcher’s downfall.

The trial is haunted by ghosts from the past with shocking revelations about Fletcher’s origins, but he has little time to dwell on them; the graduating students of Vocans are to be sent deep into the orc jungles to complete a dangerous mission for the king and his council. If they fail, the orcish armies will rise to power beyond anything the Empire has ever seen.

With loyal friends Othello and Sylva by his side, Fletcher must battle his way to the heart of Orcdom and save Hominum from destruction… or die trying.

Source: Info in the About The Inquisition was taken from GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25689056-the-inquisition on 14/02/2017.

 

Athena

Image Source: chepren

My Thoughts:

I like the story telling quality of this author, the world building is beautiful and the character development is solid. What I do not like is the author’s tendency to have a cliffhanger ending and the good guys don’t necessarily win. What a bummer!

Annnd… I have a new favourite… Athena! Apparently she’s a Gryphowl.

The down side of reading the second part of the story after a year of reading the first part, is that I have forgotten most of the characters and/or the plot. I struggled to recall who is who for the first two-thirds of the book to keep up with the story. Consequently the flow was not very fast at all.

 

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 4.5
Character development = 4.5
Story itself = 3.5
Writing Style = 4
Ending = 1
World building = 4.5
Cover art = 5
Pace = 2.5
Plot = 4
Narration = 4

 

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 cherries

 

Other Books In The Summoner Series
Summoner 0.5: ORIGINSSummoner 0.6: A FINE WELCOME: OTHELLO'S JOURNEYSummoner 1: THE NOVICESummoner 2: THE INQUISITIONSummoner 3: THE BATTLEMAGE

 

The Author
Taran Matharu

Taran Matharu is a New York Times bestselling author. He was born in London in 1990 and found a passion for reading at a very early age. His love for stories developed into a desire to create his own during early adolescence, beginning his first book at 9 years old.

Straight after graduating with a First Class degree in Business Administration, Taran was keen to explore a new avenue and get inside the publishing world, landing an internship in Digital Sales at Penguin Random House, from June to September 2013.

Thereafter, while taking time off to travel, Taran began to write ‘Summoner’ in November 2013 at the age of 22, taking part in ‘Nanowrimo 2013’.

Thanks to Wattpad.com and updating daily, its popularity dramatically increased, reaching over 3 million reads in less than six months.

After being featured by NBC News, Taran decided to launch his professional writing career and has never looked back.

His SUMMONER series is published by Hodder Children’s (Hachette) in the UK, Australia and Commonwealth, Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan) in the US and Canada, Hachette Jeunesse in France, Heyne in Germany, Planeta in Spain, Crown in Taiwan, Record in Brazil, EKSMO in Russia, Jaguar in Poland, Ecliptic in Bulgaria, Alpress in the Czech Republic, Ithaki in Turkey and Unieboek in the Netherlands.

 


 

FTC Disclosure:
This book was purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.

 

09/05/2017 Posted by | 4 cherries, audible, audiobook, book review, Cherry's reviews, ebook, epic fantasy, kindle book, review | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

TARAH WOODBLADE (The Bowl Of Souls book 6)

 

Tarah Woodblade by Trevor H. Cooley
Book 6 of The Bowl Of Souls series
Read by James Foster
Genre: epic fantasy
Format: ebook & audiobookAudiobook

 

 

About Tarah Woodblade:

A Bowl of Souls Novel

The war is over, but there is a void of power that must be filled and no shortage of souls eager to fill it.

Tarah Woodblade was the best guide and tracker in the land, but she ran away from the war. She returns to Dremaldria expecting to be labeled a coward, but finds herself lauded as a hero. It seems a hero is needed too, because someone is hunting rogue horses . . .

Source: Info in the About Tarah Woodblade was taken from GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21422778-tarah-woodblade on 05/03/2017.

 

My Thoughts:

Here we are introduced to a totally new character (Tarah Woodblade) that this book seemed like a tangent series to The Bowl Of Souls, which of course it can be viewed as such, but it is at the same time a continuation of the old one, which to me is great! So new character and all,… reading this book was kind of anti-climactic after the big war in book 5, Mother Of The Moonrat. However, these books are also sequential so I have to read this book if I want to read the rest of the books in the world of Sir Edge. The other reason I wanted to read this book is that I was hoping to know what happened to Talon but there was no mention of her whatsoever in this book. (Bummer!) Fist however is still my favourite character. Of course by now I am a big fan of Edge‘s world and quite forgiving of it’s many little faults. In fact, I don’t see them anymore… faults? what faults?…

 

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 4.5
Character development = 4.5
Story itself = 4
Writing Style = 4
Ending = 4
World building = 4.5
Cover art = 4
Pace = 4
Plot = 3.5
Narration = 5

 

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 cherries

 

Books In The Bowl Of Souls Series:
 

Book 1: EYE OF THE MOONRAT   Book: 1.5: HILT'S PRIDE   Book 2: MESSENGER OF THE DARK PROPHET   Book 3: HUNT OF THE BANDHAM   Book 4: THE WAR OF STARDEON   Book 5: MOTHER OF THE MOONRAT   Book 6: TARAH WOODBLADE   Book 7: PROTECTOR OF THE GROVE   Book 8: THE OGRE APPRENTICE   Book 9: THE TROLL KING   Book 10: PRIESTESS OF WAR

 

The Author
Trevor H. Cooley

Since putting out his first book: Eye of the Moonrat in May of 2012, Trevor H. Cooley has sold over 200,000 copies of his books in ebook and audio formats.

He was born in South Carolina and has lived all around the United states, including Utah, New Mexico, Michigan and Tennessee.

His love of reading started in the second grade with Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain series. He couldn’t get enough and continued with David Eddings, Tolkein, Robert Jordan, Stephen King, and many others. Since then, all he wanted was to become a published writer.

The characters and concepts that eventually became the Bowl of Souls series started in his teens. He wrote short stories, kept notebooks full of ideas, and generally dreamed about the world constantly. There were several attempts at starting a novel over the years.

Not long after he was married, his wife told him to stop talking about the story and write it down. Many years and rewrites and submissions and rejection letters later, he finally put the books on Amazon. In August of 2013 he quit his day job and started writing full time.

 

The Narrator
James Foster

James Foster was born in Björk’s house in Iceland and grew up on Easter Island, where his parents were giant stone heads. He has the ability to fire beams of tacos out of his hands and he can turn his legs into tigers. On Sundays, James enjoys reading Family Circus and traveling through time. His favorite color is greenish-transparent and his favorite movie is the one you just watched. James is in charge of uploading the staff bios to the website, and no one has checked over his work.

 


 

FTC Disclosure:
This book was purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.

 

06/03/2017 Posted by | 4 cherries, audiobook, book review, Cherry's reviews, ebook, epic fantasy, kindle ebook, review | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DAWN OF WONDER: THE WAKENING

 

Dawn Of Wonder: The Awakening by Jonathan Renshaw
Book 1 of The Wakening series
Read by Tim Gerard Reynolds
Genre: epic fantasy
Format: ebook & audiobook

 

 

About Dawn Of Wonder: The Wakening:

When a high-ranking officer gallops into the quiet Mistyvales, he brings a warning that shakes the countryfolk to their roots. But for Aedan, a scruffy young adventurer with veins full of fire and a head full of ideas, this officer is not what he seems.

The events that follow propel Aedan on a journey that only the foolhardy or desperate would risk, leading him to the gates of the nation’s royal academy – a whole world of secrets in itself.

But this is only the beginning of his discoveries. Something is stirring in the land, something more ominous than the rising threat of hostile nations. Fearful travellers whisper of an ancient power breathing over Thirna, changing it, waking it. In the very heart of these stirrings, Aedan encounters that which defies belief, leaving him speechless with terror – and wonder.

Source: Info in the About Dawn Of Wonder: The Wakening was taken from GoodReads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25451852-dawn-of-wonder on 06/02/2017.

 

My Thoughts:

This is a fantastic epic fantasy! And maybe the most that I have come across in a long time. I couldn’t wait to read book2! Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be coming soon. Maybe in a few years time. I hope it is still coming though… Anyway, Jonathan Renshaw gained a new fan in me with this book!

This is the first time I have ever listened to Tim Gerard Reynolds and I’m not a fan of his reading style. Maybe it’ll grow on me with book 2… maybe. Anyway, I consequently and mostly “read” this book as oppose to “listen” to it. I feel that reading it is more satisfying than listening to it.

And on to my nitpicking issues: I am just glad that the author did not call the being in the lightning a “god” but the “Ancient” instead, because it was just a little bit overdramatic already as it was. But other than that, I really love the story!

But here is the bummer, it ends in a cliffhanger 😦 And this is primarily the reason why this book gained a 4.5 rating instead of a 5. Otherwise, I would have given this book a 6.

 

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 4.5
Character development = 4.5
Story itself = 5
Writing Style = 4.5
Ending = 3.5
World building = 5
Cover art = 5
Pace = 4.5
Plot = 4.5
Narration = 3

 

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 cherries

 

The Author
Jonathan Renshaw author pic

Jonathan Renshaw is a former high school English teacher and music producer who now writes full time. He is currently working on the epic fantasy series, The Wakening, launched in May 2015. Connect with him at http://www.jrenshaw.com.

www.jorenshaw.com | facebook | twitter | goodreads | amazon | google+

 


 

FTC Disclosure:
This book was purchased with private funds.
No money received for this review.

 

09/02/2017 Posted by | 5 cherries, audiobook, Cherry's reviews, epic fantasy, review | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

TV Series Review: GAME OF THRONES (Season 1, Episode 1)

Game Of Thrones
Season 1, Episode 1
Starring Sean Bean, et al. An HBO show.
Genre: medieval fantasy
Format: dvd box set

 

About Game Of Thrones:

Game of Thrones is an American epic fantasy television series created for HBO by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. It is an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels, the first of which is titled A Game of Thrones. Filmed in a Belfast studio and on location elsewhere in Northern Ireland, Malta, Croatia, Iceland, and Morocco, it premiered on HBO in the United States on April 17, 2011. The series has been renewed for a fourth season, to air in 2014.

The series, set on the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos at the end of a decade-long summer, interweaves several plot lines. The first follows the members of several noble houses in a civil war for the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms; the second covers the rising threat of the impending winter and the mythical creatures of the North; the third chronicles the attempts of the exiled last scion of the realm’s deposed dynasty to reclaim the throne. Through its morally ambiguous characters, the series explores issues of social hierarchy, religion, civil war, sexuality, crime and punishment. It is the most recent big-budget work to have contributed to the popularity of the fantasy genre in mainstream media.

Game of Thrones has obtained an exceptionally broad and active international fan base. It received widespread acclaim by critics, although its use of nudity has been criticized. The series won numerous awards and nominations — including two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Drama Series, a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Television Series – Drama, a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in Long Form, and a Peabody Award. Among the ensemble cast, Peter Dinklage won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film for his role as Tyrion Lannister.

Source: Info in the About Game Of Thrones was taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_of_Thrones on 16/04/2013.

 

Review:

I bought this DVD box set because the hype looked good. But when I started watching this show I could barely get through the first episode and I have to have lots of breaks because the show does not keep my attention and my mind keeps wandering away while I was watching. I was thinking that this might be one of those shows that gets better as it went along but the first episode is not that riveting. An audience has to persevere to get through the first dvd… and am still waiting for the good part to appear.

Let’s talk about casting. I think they hit paydirt when they took on Sean Bean, he fits the role like a glove. Like he was born to be Ned Stark. Now Daenerys Targaryen is described as a very beautiful woman such that her beauty is supposed to be renowned in all the realms. Emilia Clarke is pretty enough but her beauty is “homey” and more like a “girl-next-door” kind. Not the kind which is renowned in all the realms. It didn’t fit. Now I haven’t read the book, so those of you who have read the book and watched the show, tell me what you think of Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen? Speaking of the books, George R.R. Martin is currently writing book 6 of the 7-book series. Book 5 took him 5 years to write. If we follow that pattern, does it mean that book 6 will get published in what? 2015? Book 7 in 2020? What happens to the show then? Stalled? Cancelled? Or the show diverges from the books and gets it’s own story? …and this series gets an alternate story? I think I will wait for the answer to that question before proceeding with this dvd box set because then I can decide better whether this show is worth wasting my time with or not. As it stands, I can barely stay with the show halfway through Episode 2 before abandoning it entirely.

 

Empirical Evaluation:
Attention to details = 4
Acting = 3.5
Cinematography = 4
Casting = 3
Character development = 3
Story itself = 2.5
World building = 4

 

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 cherries

14/04/2014 Posted by | 3 cherries, book to TV series, Cherry's reviews, epic fantasy, Game Of Thrones, HBO, review, Sean Bean, TV series, TV series review | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: SHADOW AND BONE

THE GATHERING DARK (UK version of SHADOW AND BONE)

Shadow And Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Book 1 of The Grisha series
Genre: high fantasy
 

About Shadow And Bone:

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.

Source: Info in the About Shadow And Bone was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16059492-shadow-and-bone on 23/06/2013.
 

SHADOW AND BONE (US cover)

My Thoughts:

I understand that this book managed to butcher the Russian culture into an ugly mess such that anyone with a smidgen of knowledge of the Russian culture hated this book. Or, gave it a low rating at GoodReads. Now, I am not Russian nor know the Russian culture, so I was fine and totally oblivious about how bad the Russian culture got mangled in this book. Sometimes ignorance is a bliss! However having said that, this book gets a demerit for mangling someone else’s culture. Poking fun at yourself and your own culture is one thing. But doing so to other people or other people’s culture is just plain old rude. Demerit it is then! But on the other hand, if the “culture mangling demerit” is taken out of the equation entirely, I have to admit that Leigh Bardugo weaves a fantastic plot of struggle for survival and coming of age story set in an extraordinary world of monsters and men. Gotta give the author kudos for the beautiful world building! What I didn’t like about it though is the heroine going too stupid to live to create a dilemma in the story and so the heroes/heroines can show off and save the world. This shows me that the author might have a great imagination but plot building is not her forte. At the end of it though, I enjoyed this book and if not for the “culture mangling demerit”, this book would have garnered a whole lot higher rating with me.

 

Gollancz Geek

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 3.5
Character development = 3
Story itself = 4
Ending = 3.5
World building = 4.5
Cover art: US = 2 / UK = 4
Pace = 3
Plot = 2.5
Culture mangling demerit = -1
 

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 cherries

 

Books In The Grisha Series:
Book 0.5: THE WITCH OF DUVA Book 1: SHADOW AND BONE Book 1.5: THE TAILOR Book 2: SIEGE AND STORM Book 2.5: THE TOO-CLEVER FOX Book 3: RUIN AND RISING
 

Shadow And Bone Book Trailer:


FTC Disclosure:
No money recieved for this review.

13/07/2013 Posted by | 3 cherries, book review, Cherry's reviews, epic fantasy, Leigh Bardugo, review, The Grisha series. | 3 Comments

Review: THE PHOENIX TRANSFORMED

The Phoenix Transformed by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
Book 3 of The Enduring Flame Trilogy

Genre: epic fantasy

About The Phoenix Transformed:

In the Enduring Flame trilogy, Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory have given readers a new view of the complex and fascinating world they originally created for the Obsidian Trilogy. Jumping one thousand years in time, Lackey and Mallory have told the compelling story of Harrier Gillain, the first Knight-Mage in a thousand years; Tiercel Rolfort, the first High Mage in hundreds of years; and Shaiara, the young leader of a desert tribe who takes both boys under her wing but has a special affection for Harrier.

These three young people are their world’s main defense against the evil called up by the rogue Wild Mage, Bisochim. Bisochim’s conviction that he was restoring the balance was shattered the moment Ahairan took her first breath. Now, in The Phoenix Transformed, Bisochim joins forces with Harrier and Tiercel, and the three mages search desperately for a way to destroy Ahairan as she sends her magical forces against them and the desert nomads under their protection.

With more than one twist in the telling, centering on a magic-plagued journey across a blistering desert, The Phoenix Transformed is the stunning conclusion to The Enduring Flame.

Source: Info in the About The Phoenix Transformed was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6352652-phoenix-transformed on 11/12/2011.

[image credit: Todd Lockwood]

Review:

The story telling quality is compelling as per usual! I would give it a 5 out of 5.

Some of the questions I had reading Books 1 & 2 were answered in this book… like, why is it called an Enduring Flame series? And Ancaladar is black, why did he, all of a sudden, became red in the cover of this book? I like it when loose ends comes together to make sense and yield to the reader the whole picture. And then some questions were not quite answered… why are the books in this series titled with Phoenixes? I can conjecture but it doesn’t seem to quite gel to me…

I would say that the plot has depth, surprises and wonderful twists, though, I have a few nitpicking issues, like some of the scenes do not have a lot of authenticity or not very “realistic“. (We are using the word “realistic” loosely here, seeing that this is a fantasy novel and a work of fiction.) However, on the whole, this book as a finale to a trilogy is very satisfying indeed! Kudos to this trilogy for having done that! I would recommend this series to anybody who likes epic fantasy reads!

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 5
Story itself = 4
Ending = 4.5
World building = 4.5
Plot = 4
Cover art = 4.5
Pace = 4.5

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 cherries

Other Books In This Series:

19/07/2012 Posted by | book review, Cherry's reviews, dragons, epic fantasy, James Mallory, Mercedes Lackey, review, The Enduring Flame Trilogy | 3 Comments

Review: THE PHOENIX ENDANGERED

The Phoenix Endangered by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
Book 2 of The Enduring Flame Trilogy

Genre: epic fantasy

About The Phoenix Endangered:

In The Phoenix Endangered, second in The Enduring Flame, Tiercel, a budding High Mage, and Harrier, a reluctant Knight-Mage, develop greater power—and learn of the evils of war when they see the devastation caused by the fanatical armies of the Wild Mage Bisochim.

The desert tribespeople led by young Shaiara flee Bisochim’s evil, seeking a legendary oasis deep in the desert—a refuge that may hold the key to stopping Bisochim and preserving the Balance between Light and Darkness . . . or that may be the cause of Light’s ultimate downfall.

Source: Info in the About The Phoenix Endangered was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2903799-the-phoenix-endangered on 11/12/2011.

[image credit: AnimeJanice]

Review:

The cover art got it wrong. Tiercel is the blond one and Harrier is the ginger head. However the depiction is bang on and I like the drawing/art… It is pleasing to my fantasy buff eyes! The character development is very good as per usual with this dou author. I still miss Simera! And usually I hate cliffhangers… but this time around I was prepared! Having known these authors’ writing style from the Obsidian Trilogy, I knew it’s gonna be like that. I think it’s a matter of my getting into the proper mind set that I did not get upset when it came to the cliffhanger… and maybe… plus the fact that I continued reading onto Book 3 straight away as soon as I hit the cliffhanger that contributed a lot to my not getting upset. But really, this book has no real beginning with a cliffhanger ending. Shouldn’t be read own it’s own. A middle chapter of a bigger book (which is the trilogy). I think if read as a stand alone, the reader would get royally confused. I wouldn’t even talk about the plot because it started with Book 1 and ended in a cliffhanger so there isn’t one really to talk about. But because of the marvellous story telling quality I cannot give it a 1.

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 5
Story itself = 1
Ending = 1
World building = N/A
Cover art = 3
Pace = 4

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 cherries

Other Books In This Series:

28/06/2012 Posted by | book review, Cherry's reviews, dragons, epic fantasy, James Mallory, Mercedes Lackey, review, The Enduring Flame Trilogy | 1 Comment

Review: THE PHOENIX UNCHAINED

[image credit: macmillan us]

The Phoenix Unchained by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
Book 1 of The Enduring Flame Trilogy

Genre: epic fantasy

About The Phoenix Unchained:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory first teamed up to write The Obsidian Trilogy, set in a wondrous world filled with magical beings, competing magic systems, and a titanic struggle between good and evil. That world proved so popular with the creators and readers alike that Lackey and Mallory have returned to it with The Phoenix Unchained, Book One of The Enduring Flame, the opening volume of a new epic fantasy trilogy.

After a thousand years of peace, much Magick has faded from the world. The Elves live far from humankind. There are no High Mages, and Wild Mages are seen only rarely. Bisochim, a powerful Wild Mage, is determined to reintroduce Darkness to the world, believing that it is out of Balance.

Tiercel, a young Armethalian nobleman, is convinced that High Magic is not just philosophy. He attempts a spell–and draws the unwelcome attention of Bisochim. Tiercel survives Bisochim’s attack and begins trying to turn himself into a High Mage.

Next in line to be Harbormaster of Armethalieh, Harrier instead finds himself regularly saving Tyr’s life and meeting magickal people and creatures. To Harrier’s dismay, it seems that he must become a hero.

In The Phoenix Unchained, Harrier and Tiercel begin a marvelous journey to uncover their destinies. Along the way, they meet a charming female centaur, several snooty Elves, and the most powerful dragon their world has ever known.

Source: Info in the About The Phoenix Unchained was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/373051.The_Phoenix_Unchained on 11/12/2011.

[image credit: Todd Lockwood]

Review:

I bought this book because I knew that the story telling quality of this “author dou” is very good! I love this author dou, but, having experienced reading the Obsidian Trilogy, I resisted buying/reading this book when I first saw it a few years back. I just knew that it would be just like the Obsidian Trilogy where the first two books ends in a whooping cliffhanger. And I was right. This book ended in a cliffhanger. Good thing that I got all three books before I started reading and was able to go straight to Book 2 as soon as I hit the cliffhanger. Disaster averted! Otherwise I would be pissing mad (again!).

[image credit: AnimeJanice]

Character development is the same fabulous quality that I got to know with the Obsidian Trilogy. In this book my favouritest character is Simera. She’s a well-rounded Forest Warden Apprentice, likeable, no non-sense centauress. Somebody I could totally root for! And then the book breaks your heart!…. it is really a good thing I got Book 2. And I love the fact that I got to re-visit old, well-loved characters from the previous trilogy, i.e., Ancaladar!

Overall I would give this book a 4 out of 5. Can’t give it a 5 since it ended with a cliffhanger.

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 5
Story itself = 3
Ending = 2
World building = 3.5
Cover art = 4.5
Pace = 4

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 cherries

Other Books In This Series:

02/06/2012 Posted by | book review, Cherry's reviews, dragons, epic fantasy, James Mallory, Mercedes Lackey, review, The Enduring Flame Trilogy | 3 Comments

Review: SPIRIT GATE

Spirit Gate by Kate Elliott
Book 1 of the Crossroads Trilogy

Genre: epic fantasy

About Spirit Gate:

In a world torn apart by warfare and betrayal, a new darkness has arisen.

Outlanders Anji and Mai are on the run with a company of dedicated Qin warriors, when they meet an unusual reeve in the mysterious country known as the Hundred.

Together, they must decide whether to take on a fanatical army against impossible odds. Because if they don’t, the land will certainly be lost.

Source: Info in the About Spirit Gate was taken from the author’s website at http://www.kateelliott.com/default.asp?cmsnumber=1&page_id=105 on 28/03/2011.

Review:

The world of the Crossroads Trilogy is rich with exotic people, cultures, sights and sounds. It conjures to mind of the exotic diversity of cultures in Jabba The Hutt’s world in Star Wars. A jumble of people who looks different and whose ways are different and exotic-looking that they fascinate the senses. The different cultures are so rich and diverse in this fantasy world that it sometimes gets confusing to get it straight in my head which culture worship which gods as one team of our protagonists travel and as the narration switches from one protagonist’s point of view (POV) to another. This book does not have one or two protagonist, or even one or two teams of good guys but multiple protagonists which weaved the story into wonderful and colourful, if riotous, tapestry.

The book is medium-paced which lags at times but gets quicker as the end draws near. The slowness, I think, is compounded by the presence of a “sub-language” in the world of the Crossroads Trilogy which takes a lot of getting used to. Like, in one of the cultures in this fantasy world, they say “ver” instead of “Mister” as a proper address to an adult male, and things like that. A reader catches on after a few encounters with the use of “ver” though. And “ver” is not the only word in this “sub-language”. So, until one is about three-quarters into the book, a reader hasn’t encountered all of these “sub-language” words yet. And until the reader “gets” the meaning of these “sub-language”, it is a slightly confusing reading. I think this contributes to the slower pace of the book, which otherwise would have been a faster-paced epic fantasy.

The cover is very attractive to my fantasy reader’s eyes. The art department deserves a raise! It is what made me buy this book even before I’ve read the synopsis at the cover sleeve! I honestly think that this is the only reason that this book sold copies at all. Once people start realising that this is not such a brilliant read after all, I think people will stop buying.

Character development? I’d give it a 2 out of 5. Character A is an ex-slave who struggled and worked his way to freedom, is an experienced trader up and down hazardous and dangerous trade routes across different countries, and survive. Only to stand stupidly on a road he perfectly knows is dangerous until he gets captured by the bad guys… What!?! What about that well-honed survival instinct which kept him alive all these years? Suddenly gone sabbatical? I hate it when people in a book act so out of character from the way they were described that they become unrecognizable. It’s irritating to read. It also drops the “suspension of disbelief” down to the boots.

The author forces the protagonists to behave out of character to create a dilemma in the story so that other protagonists could show off by carrying out heroic deeds and save the world. I find that plot pretty weak indeed! Not to mention annoying…

Despite the wonderful world building, I find the inconsistent character behaviour too irritating to read such that I don’t think I would be buying any more offerings by this author.

Final Say: This book has so much promise but fell short.

Emperical Evaluation:
Story Telling Quality = 3.5
World Building = 4.5
Character Development = 2
Plot = 1
Story Itself = 2
Ending = 2.5
Cover Art = 5

Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5 cherries

Other Books In The Crossroads Trilogy:

07/12/2011 Posted by | book review, Cherry's reviews, Crossroads Trilogy, epic fantasy, Kate Elliot, review | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Review: BREATH AND BONE

Breath And Bone by Carol Berg
Book 2 of the Lighthouse Duet

Genre: epic fantasy

About Breath And Bone:

Osriel the Bastard wagged his finger, choking off my response as if a noose tightened about my neck. “But you, Magnus Valentia de Cartamandua-Celestine…what does Sila Diaglou want with you?”

Not just the murderous Harrower priestess, but everyone in Navronne seems to be after Valen. There is the Bastard Prince himself, who steals dead men’s eyes. And the Pureblood Registry, determined to keep every pureblood sorcerer in thrall. Even beings out of myth, the Danae guardians, whose dancing nurtures the earth and whose attention could prove the most costly of all.

As Navronne sinks deeper into civil war and perilous winter, Valen finds himself a bargaining chip in a deadly standoff. Doomed to madness by his addiction to the doulon, and bound by oaths he refuses to abandon, the young sorcerer risks body and soul to rescue one child, seek justice for another, and bring the ailing land its righteous king. Yet no one is who they seem, and Valen’s search for healing grace leads him from Harrower dungeons to the very heart of the world. In the twilight of a legend, he at last discovers the hard truth of the coming dark age and the glorious, terrible price of the land’s redemption…and his own.

Source: Info in the About Breath And Bone was taken from the author’s website at http://www.sff.net/people/carolberg/lighthouse.html on 26/03/2011.

Review:

Carol Berg is one of those talented story spinners whose author’s voice is so wonderful that the story just flows. Berg makes the emotions of Valen so tangible and the tangy smell of the sea so real I could almost taste it! I really like this author’s voice! The masterful author’s voice was the only reason I didn’t rate book 1, Flesh And Spirit, a less than 3. Which it automatically would have scored, given how I hate cliffhanger endings. However, (good for me) I borrowed both books of the Lighthouse Duet at the same time so I was able to continue reading book 2 as soon as I hit the cliffhanger in book 1. Disaster averted. This book also started out slow but the pace gets quicker and quicker and it builds to a wonderful crescendo at the end with a satisfying climax! The plot is twistier than a texan twister which kept springing surprises at me. What a pleasure to read! There are minor points which can be quibbled as not quite believable which could bring the suspension of disbelief half a notch down, but on the whole I can forgive all those nitpicking for the wonderful reading experience I get at the end of it! Highly recommended! Though you have to trudge through book 1 first.

My greatest complaint now is that there are no more books in this series. And I’m kinda hoping to hear more about Thokki and Kol. I think they would make a nice pair! Here is an image which reminds me of Thokki and Kol… although we can’t have them walking around naked other than their gard markings, so elf-like clothes will do.

Emperical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 5
Story itself = 5
Ending = 6
World building = 5
Cover art = 4
Pace = 4.5

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 cherries

FTC Disclosure: This book was borrowed from the library.

The Other Book In The Lighthouse Duet:

Flesh & Spirit at GetGlue
My review of FLESH & SPIRIT is here.

24/10/2011 Posted by | book review, Carol Berg, Cherry's reviews, epic fantasy, fantasy, Lighthouse Duet, review | , , , , , , | 2 Comments