Check out Mullin Publishing’s Facebook page to find out how you can win an uncorrected proof print version of “Dream-walker”!
Check out Mullin Publishing’s Facebook page to find out how you can win an uncorrected proof print version of “Dream-walker”!
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Enter for a chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle editions of “Dream-walker With Other Stories and Poems”!
If you had the power to visit other people’s dreams, what would you do? Jason seeks out the dreams of people who are distressed, aiming to talk to them in the dreamscape, preventing them from harming themselves or others. Alyss has had a difficult time in life, but with the help of Jason, can she bring herself to start over?
Genre: Adult Fantasy
The third and final installment in the Shades of Magic trilogy contains magical battles and adventures of arcane proportions! The cover art is interesting as comparing to the first two books. It is evident that A Darker Shade of Magic shows Kell as he travels between London’s evident from the London map coloration as well as Kell’s red hair. The cover of A Gathering of Shadows very evidently portrays Lila as evidences through the hairstyle, outfit, and figure, with emphasis on the pirate hat and twin daggers that become her trademark. This cover could be one of two characters, although it can be speculated. There is quite obviously one ruler of Red London in the end of the story, whose description is close to what is depicted. But there is another character that would make the pattern of characters across the covers make sense (SPOILER-that all three covers feature one of the last Antari). Anyway, interesting stuff when doing cover analysis and looking at how the covers might give away more than they should, although the three covers together are elegant and aesthetically pleasing.
Between the various universes and their London’s, Red London finds itself under the dark spell of Osaron. Osaron, through the vessel of Holland, has come to take over Red London through old magic, the same kind that once destroyed Black London.
Now Rhy must learn to part with Kell in order to save their home country, Arnes. Lila aims to control her magic before it consumes her, and Alucard has lost one crew, but must find another to do the impossible.
When it is evident that Osaron is pretty much invulnerable, the people of the kingdom (mainly our heroes) must think of some way to defeat him. When their first trick against the creature born of Black Magic fails, all hope feels lost, but the rumor of a special item that can hold the magic within it comes forth, and Kell, Alucard, and Lila aim to find this lost relic over the sea.
In the meantime, the guests from other countries are still at the palace, since events have unfurled just after the Essen Tasch. Lives are on the line when one country aims to betray Arnes, but another fights alongside (it is interesting which countries hold which loyalties and their motives for breaking a truce).
With excellent characters returning for their third and final adventure, this book was brilliantly written and presented. The only reason I do not give this book a 5/5 is that it felt a bit slower than A Gathering of Shadows. The excitement of the Essen Tasch, Kell’s hidden identity, and Lila’s coming into magic, as well as the anticipation for their reunion, was heart-pounding and exciting. The third book is still riveting, but felt a bit dragged out in the quest to defeat the villain. On the other hand, a lot of interesting characteristics are drawn from the characters that the reader did not previously know, and making the villain so unstoppable was interesting in that not only did the characters had to figure out how to beat Osaron, but the reader was left wondering just how they would win (if they would win) with so much impossibility.
I loved this series and am glad that I chanced upon V.E. Schawb’s book signing for the release of this novel, because this is a fantasy series that really takes the genre in a fantastic direction.
On another note, there is going to be a Shades of Magic prequel comic series by Titan comics (which means they might sell out quick and end up being hard to find-that is my experience with Titan comics).
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Romance
In the world of the Trylle…
Bryn Aven doesn’t really fit in to Kanin society. She is a tracker, one who finds changelings put out of society as babies, bringing them back to the Kanin society where they belong. With her newest find, a changeling who could end up taking the throne due to his bloodline, Bryn continues to do her job diligently.
Konstantin Black still haunts her memories, a man who seemingly tried to kill her father many years ago, a man she once loved. When She discovers that Konstantin is abducting changelings, Bryn finds that she must do everything in her power to stop this man, and find out why he once tried to murder her father. With a one-track mind to become a member of the King’s elite guard, Bryn constantly does her job while trying to prove herself, but personal queries get in the way, not to mention a (forbidden?) romance between her and her older boss, Ridley Dresden.
A bit about this book: it takes place in the same world as the Trylle Trilogy, Switched, Torn, and Ascend, books I have heard of but have not yet read. I jumped into this book knowing nothing, having won it in a Goodreads giveaway. From the title and the cover alone, it seems like a high fantasy novel, and there are definitely those elements withing. What I was not expecting were modern cities and cars and things as such, which was a bit disappointing to what I thought this book would be. Despite this, it was still a relatively interesting story, for the most part.
The main character, Bryn, seems to not take others opinions into consideration, following her own opinions and ideas without thinking about consequences to others. As a character, she was a bit bland, and the development was lacking. Ridley and Konstantin seemed more interesting and, although secondary to Bryn’s first person perspective, they seemed to have more character development. The writing itself is actually crafted well, the beauty of the prose heightening the progression and reading experience of the story.
Was this book good enough to recommend to others? I think it is for a pretty specific audience. Will I read the next one? Maybe. I haven’t decided yet, but it was a good enough read to have my interest piqued in Ice Kissed.
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Fireblood is the second installment in the Frostblood Saga (trilogy). If the first book was great, this book is excellent! It took a chapter or two to get back into the characters and events after having read Frostblood nearly eight months previously, but once I got back into it, the events just continue to escalate, and the pacing of this book is fast, exciting, and gets the readers pumped for the final book in the saga, Nightblood.
Now that King Rasmus has been defeated and the Minax of the Frost Throne has been released on the people of Tempesia, Arcus aims to restore peace and order to his kingdom while courting Ruby at the same time. Many of the Tempesian citizens do not care for peace with Firebloods, and even more cannot stand the fact that Arcus is drawn to a Fireblood. His relationship with Ruby puts his life in danger, and when Ruby sees this, she joins a fellow Frieblood and travels to Sudesia to meet the Fireblood queen with the underlying motive of destroying the Fire Throne and capturing the Minax, for only a Minax can kill another Minax.
Joining Kai, Ruby meets the Fireblood queen, Nalani. At first, Queen Nalani has no place for one so loyal to Arcus, the Frost King, but when Ruby opts to take the trials to become a Fireblood master, that also means she must vow her loyalty to the Fireblood Queen. Kai has one week to train Ruby for the trials, and if she passes, he has a chance to take his third trial over again, something that is never permitted. He must pass the third trial to reclaim his place as a ruling prince over one of the islands.
The first trial involves escaping through a bunch of heavy wooden doors, each nearly twice as thick as the last, before the pooling lava, like a snake, slithers up to catch Ruby. When the lava stops, tada! Foreshadowing! The second trial inhibits control from a Fireblood. Ruby sits over a river of lava, nothing separating her from boiling heat except a block of ice. When she meets the time period, Kai helps her out, instigating a non-pass by the Fireblood Masters. With the influence of the queen’s husband, Prince Eiko, Ruby is deemed to pass and has but one last trial. While Kai is not permitted to tell about any of the trials, he shares his inability to pass the third trial, an execution order given by the queen. When Ruby fears that she must kill someone, the request of the trial is rather shocking.
Queen Nalani, finding that Ruby can manipulate lava, claims that Ruby is her long-lost niece, an heir to the Fire Throne. With an engagement to Kai and an announcement as the new heir, Arcus, having come to save Ruby, sees something more between Kai and Ruby, and is captured in his rage. Ruby aims to find a way to break her engagement, save Arcus, and defeat the Minax of the Fire Throne, but when the two Minax come together and release a God upon their world, there may be no way to stop the creatures of darkness from being released upon the citizens of both kingdoms.
This was even better that the first book, and the first book was amazing. The trials were intriguing and Ruby’s quest to find the book on how to defeat the Minax was likewise an interesting aspect to the plot. The introduction of a new potential love interest also built some good conflict both internal and external among the characters. The only thing about this book that was somewhat annoying, despite how good the plot twists were, was that all the major events were pretty predictable. There is almost too much foreshadowing to hint at Ruby’s royalty, at the engagement, and how things would pan out in the end. Despite this, still a fast and epic read, and if you have not picked this series up yet, I would highly suggest it for a young adult audience.
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
This is the third installment in Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase series following The Sword of Summer and The Hammer of Thor. Once again, Riordan does a splendid job of integrating diverse characters and comedy to bring Magnus’s adventure to life.
Now that Loki is free, Magnus and his friends, both dead and living, must stop the Ship of the Dead from sailing, or Ragnarok will soon follow. To prevent Loki from releasing the ship from it’s icy hold on the one day of the year that it is warm enough for the ice to melt, Magnus is gifted a big, yellow viking ship from his father, Frey. With this ship, which can conveniently transform into a spiffy yellow bandanna when not in use, takes Magnus and his companions across the borders or the nine worlds to stop Loki. Let’s not forget, the boat has been named thus: The Big Banana.
Along the way, Magnus, Samirah, Hearthstone, Blitzen, Alex, Halfborn, Mallory, and T.J. all face a number of trials that effect reaching their goals to prevent Ragnarock, as well as effecting many of them on some personal level. During the entire journey, Samirah is participating in Ramadan, a pert of her culture that forces her to fast, to not eat, until after sunset. Even though she does not eat or drink during the day, she powers through the quest with her friends with a headstrong attitude. The crew is taken by the sea god’s nine daughters and are aiming to find a special mead so that Magnus can defeat Loki in a flyting to capture him. Magnus, T.J., and Alex find themselves having to face a stone giant-T.J. fighting the giant while Alex makes a stone warrior to fight one made by the giant. Hearth and Blitz assist Magnus in defeating Hearth’s father, who has now turned into a hideous dragon because of his greed and the magical ring that he chose to wear, Halfborn and Mallory have broken up, and the tension between the two is high. Mallory finds out who her mother is. More giants….
Throughout, Magnus learns more and more about his friends, but especially about Alex as they both go on the most adventures together. Magnus feels at ease with Alex at his side (whether Alex is male or female doe not matter to him) as they search for a clue in his uncle’s mansion, create a ceramic soldier together, suffer the freezing cold to near-death, and bring Loki down together. Their relationship is one of the most interesting aspects of the novel, and the two trying to figure out how they feel about each other is one of the driving aspects that has me itching for the next novel.
One of the things I continue to praise about Riordan is his incorporation of multiple types of diversity into his novels, and Magnus Chase by far has the best types of diversity to expose young readers to including racial/religious diversity (Samira is Middle Eastern), gender diversity (Alex is gender fluid), and disability diversity (Hearth is deaf). These are all excellent characters that show not everyone needs to be perfect, that everyone should be who they are and who they want to be. The Norse gods are ever interesting in how Riordan incorporates the lore, and the next adventures should be exciting for Magnus (and us readers, of course), so if you have not picked this series up, I would say yes, you should read it. The humor is a nice tough to the reading; you know it is a good book if it can coax an actual, audible laugh out of the reader!
Some fun things:
The Costco edition comes with a neat little poster:
The Barnes and Noble edition comes with a Norse insult generator:
The Walmart edition comes with a neat bookmark (Hearthstone?):
The Target edition comes with a make your own viking longship pull-out craft:
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
I was lucky enough to meet Kristen Ciccarelli at an Epic Reads author meet up where she shared about and signed her debut novel The Last Namsara. How Ciccarelli describes this book is like How to Train Your Dragon meets Game of Thrones, a very interesting combination of ideas, to be sure. Is this description accurate? Kind of. I had many flashback to Christopher Paolini’s Eragon from the Inheritance Cycle.
This contains some SPOILERS and many instances in later plot, so read with caution.
This novel features the daughter of the dragon king, Asha, who has burn scars from the First Dragon, Kozu, when he wreaked havoc across Firgaard when she was only eight years old. It was Asha’s fault that the dragon came, for she was telling the Old Stories, and stories draw dragons. Asha becomes labeled with the title of Iskari after one of the goddesses of the world lore, a bringer of death. To make amends for her bringing Kozu to Firgaard, Asha must now hunt dragons and bring their heads back to her father, the dragon king.
When one of the heroes of her world, a Namsara of the past visits bearing gifts from the Old One, a deity that the realm once believed in, Asha begins to question her purpose as the Iskari. Asha receives a set of slayers, a dragon, and fireskin (she cannot be burned), she realizes that the war waging within the world around her and within the walls of her own city has been long-deep, going farther back that Asha understands.
Betrothed to a total ass, Jarek, Asha’s father explains that is she kills Kozu, the Old Stories will vanish with the death of the first dragon, and her engagement will be off. Little does she know that Jarek and the king have been working together since Asha was burned all those years ago. With the gifts from the Old one and the help of a skral (slave), Asha finds a new meaning to her life and understands that her father is the one who must die, not Kozu. When Asha tells the old stories to draw out the dragons, the dragons, in return, share their own stories, images from what they know of history. Once, dragons and people used to live and work together, but someone betrayed the dragons, even though society thought it was the other way around.
With epic fight scenes and battles, forbidden romance, and dragon magic, this story is fast-paced, exciting, and an all around fantastic debut novel. While I feel that I gave quite a bit of information on the story plot, there is such a vast amount that I have barely scraped the surface of. One of the unique elements to this book is that the stories being told actually get their own pages, as if reading from an ancient book of stories, making it fun and easy to reflect back on the stories as a reader if I want to read one or two of them again just to reiterate the lore or history of the world as I am reading.
The only reason this is a 4.5/5 and not a 5/5 is that it was actually hard to get into at first. The development of the world and understanding the history came at a methodically progressive pace, not too fast and not too slow, but many of the ideas being presented were a bit convoluted and hard to grasp at first. I also had some major expectations about dragon riders for this novel wondering, “Is this going to be the next Eragon?” and it just felt like it took way too long for Asha to ride a dragon and share a link with the dragon. I really like the dragons as characters and think that they could have been developed even further as intellectual beings.
Overall, a fantastic debut novel that I would suggest to any fantasy fan and am already spreading the word to every reader I know about what a great and quick read this novel is, a great edition to any bookshelf.
Some official art from Cicarelli’s website:
Kozu, the First Dragon. With his death, so too shall the Old Stories die.
Namsara brings laughter and love; Iskari brings destruction and death.
On another note, Ciccarelli claims there will be at least one (maybe more?) novel in the series, but will feature other events going on in the world, for Asha’s story is over (even though her story is just beginning)!