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The Darker Light by Lynn McCain finds Lily in the midst of deep dissatisfaction and restlessness. Although she has tried to forget the trials and tribulations of Arcadia, she somehow feels even more out of place in the world she belongs in now. Soon, however, she is summoned back to Arcadia by a terrible prophecy that she has to fulfill. She has to defeat a foe much more powerful than Reciful this time around. All the while facing the possibility of a tragic betrayal from the one she holds closest to her heart.
Since she has had her memories removed, she has to relearn all the tragedies of her past. Henry, Calev, and her grandfather all had been hiding dark secrets from her that haunt Lily for the rest of the story. However, she meets and befriends some fantastical new characters that assist her in the journey, like Lord Bran.
The plot of The Darker Light is fascinating because there is an inherent greyness to the characters that comes from being held helpless against a prophecy. Although Lilith is conducting horrible misdeeds, I could still feel a modicum of empathy towards her. Everyone seemed to be doing the best they could to protect themselves and fight for their loved ones.
It was also fascinating watching Arcadia unfold from Lily’s best friend, Clarice’s perspective. There was a pleasing contrast between Lily’s recognition of this fantastical place and Clarice’s wonder. I appreciated this subtle shift in perspective that was present throughout the story. Calev, Henry, Lillith, everyone was allowed to present their own views on the situation. It made for a story with a lot of depth and intrigue.
Like the previous installment, this story had some strong Narnia resemblances: everything from the evil queen to the different anthropomorphic creatures. There were a barrage of characters being introduced every other chapter and it could get a little confusing, but the plot remained crystal clear and quick-paced. The Darker Light is perfect for anyone who is home for a few days and looking for a Narnia-esque adventure.
Pages: 298 | ASIN: B07592DFKG
Nothing about Dakini’s existence is simple, not even her name. She grows up with little knowledge of her roots and has to make do with sketchy and terse details about her heritage from her father. There is little hope that she will ever find answers to her many questions but things take an interesting turn. Possessed with an intense desire to be a successful writer like her father, Dakini tries to do more than just report conventional stories as most journalists do. She takes an interest in the age-long art of storytelling and goes in search of the perfect story. Her search leads her to an ancient manuscript bearing an incredible tale that would change her life forever.
The Mermaid’s Grandson by Eleanor Tremayne is a work of fiction that plunges us into the world of mythical creatures: mermaids and their interactions with humans. Tremayne gives us an exquisite taste of two worlds: mermaids in water and mermaids on land, amongst humans. Sounds like something out of Disney, doesn’t it? Trust me, it’s just as thrilling. She makes her mermaids stroll through the portals of time at will (apparently, that’s one of the powers of mermaids) so we get glimpses of several eras and can appreciate the peculiarities of these times alongside the story’s plot.
While stories about mythical creatures with a greater focus on the supernatural abilities of these beings could easily captivate a younger audience, a more mature audience would look to underlying themes to better appreciate the stories. Tremayne appeals to both our sense of imagination and our thirst for meaning by crafting her story around powerful themes. One is the unfathomable power of love and how it can drive beings to points far beyond their perceived limits, cause them to damn even the gravest consequences and make the bravest sacrifices. Tremayne also turns our attention to the strength that lies in resilient women, community and togetherness. Also, by contrasting certain traits of the mermaids with human characteristics, we can further appreciate some precious instincts we’ve been gifted with and even the deficiencies we are stuck with.
I liked how Tremayne made the characters narrate their tales in the first person. It helped create some sort of realness about them, especially the mermaids. They had voices that could be heard and personalities that could be read. This took the book from being just a fantastic work of imagination to being a stimulator of strong emotions. In addition to this, the author’s knack for sprinkling literary works ranging from short poems by famous authors, to insightful quotes from notable people added extra style and spice to the book. If you are one who enjoys fiction plus fantasy, you’ll love Tremayne’s latest work.
Pages: 319 | ASIN: B084DYVYSB
Giahem’s Talons finds the kingdom of Elysia invaded and Lluava trying to correct her past mistakes which led to the kingdoms demise. Now on the fourth book in your series, do you still plan the novels starting point or do the previous novels dictate where the story picks up?
The answer depends on the specific book in the series. The first novel was intended to be a stand-alone book. Yet, when I realized that this was going to be a four-book series, I developed the major plotlines of all three sequels at the same time. Though certain subplots and twists revealed themselves to me during the writing process, the end of each novel dictated where the next book would begin.
The emotional turmoil that Lluava feels throughout the story is palpable and deep. How were you able to capture and convey her complex emotions?
I always wanted to make Lluava a character in which her morals become more and more muddied as she navigates through a kingdom at war. Since I believe that war is devastating and destructive in more than just physical ways, my main character needed to have her innocence stripped slowly away. The decisions she must make have no good answer, and her hard choices cause the emotional turmoil which you referenced. The burden on her shoulders grows to monstrous proportions. In the end, Lluava is not the heroine that we would have wanted, but she is the one that the kingdom of Elysia needs in order to survive.
This novel is exceptionally well written. Is there a scene in the novel that stands out to you for being relatively difficult?
There is a battle along the walls of the capital in which Lluava and her followers struggle to reach sanctuary. This scene was harder than normal for me to write because I wanted to convey the sheer randomness and luck that goes hand in hand with the madness and chaos of war. I wanted the reader to glimpse some of the moments occurring simultaneously as Lluava is fighting her own opponents. There is no way for her to aid or save her comrades. Good people do not survive simply because they are good. Heroic acts do not always succeed. Friendly fire is not unusual. And the fear of death can undermine the best intentions. Although some of these topics are better represented later on in the book, the sheer pandemonium of this particular scene challenged both me and my style of writing.
What can readers expect in book five of The Incarn Saga?
Unfortunately, this is it. Giahem’s Talons is the final book in The Incarn Saga series. It was sad for me to say goodbye to all the characters that I had grown to love and care for, but it was time to let them go and live their lives beyond the final pages of the book. I am happy to announce that I am working on two very different series simultaneously. One will be a young adult adventure fantasy, while the other is a novella series for adults that deals with Norse mythology. I hope my readers, whatever their age, will be pleased with the new works that are being developed for them.
According to legend, when the world was young, Giahem, King of the Gods, realized that the pantheon was on the verge of self-destruction due to his own actions. To protect his favorite child, he hid the infant and gave her a false name in the hope that she would survive—a name that would forever be associated with the young goddess: Issaura.
Now, the capital has fallen to the Outlanders, the king has been overthrown, and the Raiders have entered the kingdom of Elysia in full force. Eighteen-year-old Lluava must flee in order to survive. After all the losses she has endured, the battles she has fought and won to no avail, she must face the worst fact of all: that she alone is responsible for the kingdom’s demise. Will she ever be able to rectify her wrongs?
The U.S. has to defend itself and the world from extremist organizations and political tyrants yet again. The Green Alliance, a well-funded radical environmental group leads America’s formidable enemies this time. The group’s plans to tackle global warming are causing serious climate changes bordering on a mini ice age in Europe and North America. The Ocean Reconnaissance Commission and Associates, a renowned private security firm is called in to stop them. ORCA tries to juggle this new mission with an existing one that required it to track down and eliminate the killers of top government officials. To further complicate issues for ORCA and the US.., China attempts to take back Taiwan yet again. With this, ORCA and the U.S. find themselves fighting multiple simultaneous battles in a frantic race to preserve world peace. Will these battles prove to be insurmountable even for the world’s number one superpower nation and the globe’s leading private security firm?
The Green Alliance is the fourth book in the ORCA series by Amazon Bestselling Author, Andrew Rafkin. The events are set in the 21st Century, accompanied by a peek into the near future. Places and political structures are real but we see the introduction of intriguing advancements to familiar technology like Artificial Intelligence and nanotechnology. Rafkin’s skill at mixing fictional characters with real places, and politics and technology, give this book a thrilling yet relatable feel.
Rafkin crafts his story around several themes including the United States’ affinity for standing up for itself and the possibilities that man’s tinkering with technology could create. For example, ORCA with their highly sophisticated supercomputer; MOBY. I personally enjoyed all the cool weapons and gizmos used in the book. The story also sheds light on modern environmental problems and the opportunities we have at escalating them into serious global crises in the coming years; eco-terrorism and power struggles among nations. I also enjoyed the way cute love stories were plugged in amidst all the chaos.
Rafkin’s work also proved to be incredibly informative, but in a fun way. Think of learning about seemingly drab concepts like climate change and the propulsion systems of sophisticated boats while being distracted by a riveting plot, now that’s what I call learning made easy. Also, conversations are filled with light-hearted banter and interesting interactions that help to portray the characters, especially members of ORCA as humans and not just ice-cold killers or superheroes in the Superman class. Although, some of the explanations on boring concepts seemed redundant and there were places where characters recounted entire experiences that readers were already privy to.
The Green Alliance is a thrilling action adventure story that kept me entertained to the last page.
Pages: 287 | ASIN: B082RJ2STT
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Banks and O’Neil are on a mission, and they have a defined target: Clint Holden. Obtaining access to one Clint Holden will not be the easiest of tasks, though. Making their way from their own world to Clint’s is the first obstacle. Finding him among the masses of country folk is their second. Standing, unknowingly, in their way is Jason Cooper, a washed-up police officer still biding his time on the force. Banks and O’Neil face some interesting obstacles as they search for Clint Holden and seek to accomplish their mission. If they can get past Cooper, finding Clint will be a breeze, or will it?
Requiem, Changing Times, by R.J. Parker, is an adventure of otherworldly proportions. Peppered with humor, steeped in suspense, and filled with everything fantasy fans seek, Parker’s novel delivers it all.
I enjoy humor in any fiction book I read. Some plots call for it more than others. Parker understands this better than anyone. Throughout this unique plot alternately set on Earth and beyond, Parker manages quite well to give lighthearted lines to his cast of characters. Their exchanges are welcome breaks to some of the more intensely focused exchanges.
One aspect of the book that did tend to interfere with the flow was the introduction of accents by some of the characters. Rather thick and intricate accents permeate much of the reading and require some rescanning of text to fully grasp the character’s intent. While I am all for accents and a true-to-life feel, these accents seemed to halt the flow somewhat.
Parker introduces Clint and Corbin as relatable characters readers will appreciate and find likable. Watching the entire adventure unfold with school-age boys as the key protagonists makes the story all the more relatable. Readers who want the feel of the adventure stories from their youth will find Requiem, Changing Times right up their alley. Complete with school drama and a teacher every reader will love to hate, Parker’s novel sets up a fantastic background for the two main characters, Clint and Corbin.
I highly recommend Requiem, Changing Times to any reader seeking a new science fiction fantasy. Those of us intrigued with stories of the extraterrestrial will find Clint and Corbin’s adventure a fast-paced quick read for its length. Memorable characters and a unique set of circumstances involving the two young boys make Requiem, Changing Times a must-read.
Pages: 450 | ASIN: B07XY439NX
Tags: action, adventure, author, book, book review, bookblogger, Changing Times, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, requiem, RJ Parker, science fiction, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Forging of a Knight: Knighthood’s End finds Qualtan on the run and his friends turned against him. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
This was a natural progression for Qualtan – an event that was brewing and would have been triggered if not by the situation he found himself in, then by someone or something else. This can be seen in the stories leading up to this one:
He had started out as a starry-eyed knight-to-be, hopeful to become a knight as his father had been before him. In Book One of the series (Forging of a Knight) – he travelled to Turinthia, the heart of the Alliance, to become a knight.
In Book Two (Forging of a Knight, Rise of the Slavekeepers), Qualtan fulfilled his dream, joining the Order of the Bearded Lion, the knights of Turinthia.
Book Three (Forging of a Knight, Prison Planet of the Mah-Lahkt), Qualtan transcended his role, from knight to hero, alongside the Arch-Mages and the heroes of the School against the forces of Shaz, leader of Those That Stand in Shadow, within a prison planet forged by angels.
Throughout these adventures, Qualtan was made fully aware how King Prelance, ruler of Turinthia, felt about his companion and friend, the half-orcne former thief Glaive. As his orcne Kind had followed the villains of the series (Those That Stand in Shadow), they were usually viewed with hostility and mistrust, leading to the same concerns being raised against him, despite his good intentions. Even Qualtan’s own uncle, a powerful Arch-Mage who had gifted him many of his powers and his magic sword, felt the same. At first Qualtan merely felt at odds with these opinions, but hadn’t thought it necessary to act against them, until Book Four (Forging of a Knight, The Stolen Thief).
In Book Four – the cracks began to tell – when Glaive goes missing on a mission for the King, Qualtan’s request to search for him is refused. Realizing the King’s denial is based solely on his prejudice against the former thief’s half-orcne heritage, Qualtan decides to go anyway against his King’s wishes. In doing so, he encounters the technology-using elves known as the Dokahlfar and their dwarf minions the Vartahlfar, as well as befriending and allying with a rag-tag group of orcnes, the hated foes of the Alliance. Imprisoned for his impertinence, Qualtan at last decides that there is no reason for him to feel obligated in following such a King, no matter his other merits.
This brings us to this tale, Book Five (Forging of a Knight, Knighthood’s End). This time, the assumed evil acts of a spiritual being known as a Kubare’ that Qualtan frees from captivity (and eventually falls in love with), brings upon the King’s hatred again, who imprisons the Kubare’ to banish her back to her nether realm. The enduring ill-will towards his friend Glaive, and Qualtan’s punishment for rescuing him, laid the groundwork for the knight’s final stand against his King. Qualtan again chooses to follow his own scruples to free the Kubare’ and go on the run, leaving his knightly Order, his King, and many of his friends behind, while being branded a traitor, to pursue his forbidden love As we know, sometimes taking a stand for what you believe in can be challenging, difficult, and result in quite a few sacrifices, especially when it goes against the status quo. This is what Qualtan experiences here.
There were so many well developed characters in this book. Who was your favorite character to write for?
There were many! Glaive with his cynical, sarcastic, suspicious of authority personality is of course a favorite, and balances nicely with Qualtan’s initial naivete about his role as a knight, as well as the knight’s maturity, going through experiences that show him sometimes there is evil in good and good and evil with the result being a nice, muddy mess that doesnt fit nicely into “good” and “evil” compartments. Discovering that growth was fun.
Another would be Jesepha, the knight. Although her role is limited here, she began as a male knight amongst others in the background. I felt they all sounded too much alike, too generic, so I switched one of them from male to female. In doing so it created her storyline along with her mentor Bartholomew’s, a senior knight, and took some of the tales into a completely different path than what I had originally intended. She basically created herself, and I had to modify the stories accordingly – its an amazing treat to see that happen!
I enjoyed the shifting of loyalties and friendships throughout the book. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?
Redemption is definitely an ongoing theme in the series – second chances. Bartholomew gets one in Book Two, Glaive you can say throughout, as he adjusts from being a street urchin, thief, to working for a smuggling gang lord, to working side by side with knights, Kings, and famous wizards!
Of course this applies to the Kurabe’ for this story, and perhaps even to the Queen of the Kurabe’ as shown by her decision at the end? Who knows?
This theme also revolves around simply not taking someone or something at face value, or assuming the worst without taking the time to dig a little deeper. Glaive’s unfair treatment by the King, same for the Kurabe’, are prime examples of this.
What is the next book in your series that readers should pickup after this book?
Book Six – Forging of a Knight, Darksiege Triumphant – the title says it all. A betrayal from the School leads Darksiege, last of Those That Stand in Shadow, with the means to achieve ultimate power at last. A mighty artifact, divided and cast into different realms, will spell doom if found. Qualtan, Glaive, Cassandra, and Bartholomew will travel to places dark and terrible, including present-day Earth, to prevent Darksiege from gaining the victory he craves, but all is not as it seems.
Are Darksiege and his opponents in a true quest, or have they been deceived into playing a much deeper game? Will Qualtan be forced into an unholy alliance with his mortal enemy to uncover the TRUE foe that menaces them all?
And after the overwhelming excitement of Book Six, there’s barely enough breath left to take on Book Seven, Against the Alliance – the finale to this current series of Forging of a Knight, which should be out later this year. Despite warnings from the Kings of the Alliance and the elves of Hermstingle, Qualtan moves forward with his own knightly Order, prompting war against his former allies. Only one thing can save them all: for Qualtan to reproduce the quest his uncle and father had undertaken to defeat Those That Stand in Shadow many years ago – to find the gemstone-eyed Master of the Great Beasts, the Dragon King, and bring him back in time to stop the war.
All the threads are tied, the sub-plots resolved. Whatever happened to Elizabetha, Arkonis, and Horga, the giant? What became of Romulax the evil druid? What of Darksiege’s servants, Bakal and Karash? How did Qualtan’s uncle and father uncover the Dragon King? What will happen to the School, the Alliance, and the Order Qualtan wishes to lead?
All the supporting cast are here – the knights, the Kings, the Arch-Mages, Prince Termenon, the Kubare’ Queen, Snowflake, faces from the past (some surprisingly forgotten about), Death himself, and very possibly…the Dragon King.
The war is coming…
Book Five in the Forging of a Knight series! For the sake of a forbidden love, Qualtan will find himself on the run with a Mah-Zakim to free her from her curse, or be consumed by it. No longer a knight, his friends now turned against him, how great will the price be that must be paid? Can a Mah-Zakim truly love back, or has the curse that has followed the First Knight for so long come true at last?