The Conclave by S. C. Eston is a fantasy book based in the world of Arvelas. The book begins with a worry amidst the protectors of the realm who have recently chased away a considerable threat to their city. The city is rebuilding, and people think the worst is behind them. The Seeker, however, is not so sure about that. The air is chilling, and a feeling of dread continues to seep within his heart. Onthar, the Seeker, calls a meeting of all the Vanguards and important people in a secret place. The meeting is to plan the further course as well as to find out about the traitor amidst them.
Eston’s writing style is engaging and flows smoothly. The interest spikes as we get deeper into the story making it hard to put the book down. The flashbacks and episodic introductions are used to explain the city’s current situation. Most of the actions and events are discussed in retrospect. The oscillation between past and present is visible and keeps the reader’s interest.
Even while being vague, the author can arise the sense of dread and fear that plagues the characters. However, the description of characters is effective and prevents them from merging in the shadows. Each character has its own story, which is reflected in the book.
I enjoyed reading this book with a fast-paced narrative with multiple characters and viewpoints. The shift in narratives is clear and makes the reading experience enriching. The book ends on an ambiguous note with a promising sequel to this story. However, the threat hasn’t been obliterated even though the story comes to an end. It will be amusing to read more about the world of Arvelas and the realm of Tilia.
The Conclave is a captivating epic fantasy novel. Young adult and teen readers who want a fast-paced, action-filled adventure with powerful characters will find this novel hard to put down.
Pages: 233 | ASIN : B07JMM42TR
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Origins: The Blue Dragon Society follows a shape-shifting boy who has to decide if he will fulfill his destiny or let his hate exile him. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I studied international human rights throughout my collegiate career and had several opportunities to see children and teens from countries and ethnic groups that did not get along. And from a very young age they were taught to hate each other, but there was one moment I saw, which will stay with me for the rest of my days. I was working and living in the single building Manhattan Campus of St. John’s University; it was late night and I was working on reports and I kept hearing children laughing and screaming on the floors below me. There were summer programs happening where students from various countries, countries that did not get along, were learning English. Initially, I thought the students were bullying each other, so I looked over the railing of the terrace where I was working and I was just about to get after at them, when I realized what they were doing – they were playing hide and seek. Hardly any of them could openly communicate with each other because they didn’t share languages, but they were laughing and playing together. They ranged in ages from eight to fourteen and they were just having the time of their lives. It’s been ten years since that happened and I’m getting emotional typing about it now because of how powerful that was to see. With Owen, I wanted to write something that showed if you just take a moment to get to know someone from another culture or ethnic group, you’ll see that we have far more in common than not. Those children bonded over playtime and as Owen grows, he will see that there are far more reasons for us to work together than against one another. This theme will continue into the sequel as well.
Owen faces many moral challenges and experiences of growth in this novel. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
When I initially wrote this story, I knew I wanted a troubled teen as the main character as I wanted to introduce my readers to this world, which will very much continue to grow, through the lenses of someone narrow minded. That way, as his perspective grew through his experiences, my readers would be able to grow into the world with him. I knew I wanted him to be in mourning, but when I initially wrote the first draft, it was his father who had passed, not his mother. Then I had a conversation with fantasy author David Green who mentioned how in fantasy stories, so many characters have a daddy complex in our genre. So I flipped the table; I wanted a young man who was closer with his mother and who lost her. I lost my grandmother who raised me when I was sixteen, and while I genuinely don’t remember much of the year that followed, what I do remember was anguish – feeling lost and feeling angry. The feeling of having my world ripped away from me, so I wanted to put those emotions in Owen and then put him in situations where he’d have to create his own conclusions and make his own choices based on his loss at an early age. While the Blue Dragons are noble in their missions, they are blinded by their intent to pursue the greater good which Owen realizes may lead to more trouble than good. Even though he initially hated humans, through his recent loss Owen’s eyes are far more open to the anguish of mortals than his fellow dragons.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I didn’t want a “simple” good vs evil story. I’ve studied enough international conflicts to know it’s not usually that simple, which is why the story starts with the antagonist. There is no doubt that Anton is the “bad guy,” and while his parents are neglectful and abusive, he is given a choice and his choice has many affects, some of which we haven’t even seen yet.
At its simplest, Origins is a coming of age story where young individuals are finding their place in a world that is bigger than them and deciding if they want to serve others or themselves. This theme of choice will continue into the next installments of the Blue Dragon Society as well.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I have a couple of books in the pipeline right now; my business partner and I have a guide for authors entitled, How to Become A Successful Author and Not Loose Your Mind, which is launching mid to late July of 2022. The sequel to Origins, The Road to Dova, will be launching in October of 2022. And I’m currently publishing two episodes a week of an urban fantasy entitled Blood Lords via Kindle’s Vella, which is about a young woman who is being hunted by a corrupted vampire lord.
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Dragons are creatures of magic and might, and they have long been charged with protecting mortals. As part of their birthright that goes back thousands of years, dragons intervene when mortals are in danger and often use their powers to keep the peace.
In Origins: The Blue Dragon Society, Owen is on his first mission (a rite of passage) with his brother, Lann, as his mentor. They are dragons who are sent to investigate strange occurrences in the mortal world and determine if the mortals involved are being attacked by the plague or something more nefarious.
With the help of their new friends, Helen and Riva, Origins offers an enchanting and action-packed story that will leave readers racing to find out what happens next. The world is in a state of chaos with the outbreak of the plague. Demons and vampires have taken advantage of the situation, breaking into homes and abducting humans for their dark rituals. This has left humankind vulnerable and fearful for their lives. Owen and Lann are determined to restore order to the world and protect those who cannot defend themselves. Though they face many challenges, the dragons are determined to succeed in their mission.
Author S. Faxon’s writing hooks you from the first page, where you meet Anton. Someone I thought might be the protagonist in this story but turns out to be quite the opposite. The characters were highly engaging, and I enjoyed the characters’ growth, notably Owen, who I was not so much a fan of at first. He’s strong and determined but also grieving and vulnerable. I thought the author did a great job exploring his character, and I was surprised at how much I connected with his character. With the vivid imagery, the reader feels like they are on an epic journey alongside Owen, seeing what he sees. Just under 200 pages, this is a fast-paced and action-packed story that will have your imagination running wild.
Origins: The Blue Dragon Society is a riveting coming-of-age fantasy novel filled with personal growth and struggles, both internal and external. Those who enjoy reading about fantasy creatures such as dragons, vampires, demons, and lovable (and sometimes not-so-lovable) characters will find this exciting dark fantasy novel hard to put down.
Pages: 158 | ASIN : B09T8YBFRD
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The Whisper of Dragons, by Michelle Picard follows Kavi, a Story Whisper, who must solve the mystery of the earthquakes and social unrest that is tearing apart 21st century Earth. She is also the heir to one of three dragons who are Guardian to Earth’s Story. What happens when humanity loses its connection with itself, causing the Void to tear apart the very fabric of the world? And what happens when the Kavi’s dragon wants to kill humanity to get rid of the Void? Kavi must decide between saving humanity and merging with her dragon to make a new Guardian.
I enjoyed that this novel is written from the first person perspective. It allowed me into the story, into the character’s mind, and into a familiar but magical world. Michelle Picard uses poetry to advance the storyline and give readers insight into the character’s thoughts. She kept it tied to the character, a good way to define Kavi, with the poetry taking over to be the end all of the story.
Stories have been a cornerstone to passing on history for as far back as people can remember. So, Michelle Picard’s inclusion of having everything, including the Earth have a story was truly wonderful. She made it clear that everything encompassing humanity is connected by the Long Story. The author while giving readers enough information about the Long Story to fully understand the situation, managed to keep the novel focused on the threat and the solution Kavi must carry out.
The Whisper of Dragons by Michelle Picard leaves the reader with a deeper understanding of the connectivity of all things in nature, and that sometimes those we believe are on our side can make bad choices. This is a complex and creative story about humanity that I highly recommend to fans of paranormal and urban fantasy.
Pages: 442 | ASIN: B098LYMKJ6
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Queen of Dragons finds an uneasy peace shattered when Elky and Ustice are taken and the Spires are spurred into action. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that were different from book one?
Thank you, Thomas. In this book I wanted to show how even one life is missed from a community. The beginning of the story expresses, I think, the feeling of loss each individual of a community feels and the joy at the recovery of that person. This part of the story leads to the ‘why’ behind the crime which is the focus of the book.
I really enjoyed the world your building in this series. What were some sources that informed this world’s development?
I lived in California for many years, close to the mountains. Hiking trails along those mountains gave me a keen sense of a land the dragons would inhabit–the outcropping of mountains close to the ocean with the scent of sea spray that hangs in the air is much like The Spires of Dasny.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I don’t prethink themes, they occur naturally through the writing process. The sense of loss was one theme, a joyful return another, redemption yet another. Mainly in this book I wanted to show the growth of the characters and the challenges each of them face with that growth. It’s not necessarily a ‘coming of age’ book, but it does touch on some of those emotions and the growth each character experiences.
This is book two in The Spires of Dasny series. What can readers expect in book three?
In book three of The Spires of Dasny, the readers will be propelled into a much larger world. They begin to learn of other kingdoms and how they can benefit them or destroy them. Along with this discovery is an ancient lore that plays out with the main characters of Seyra, Grifton and Elky. What is the meaning behind it and will it help them or come at a cost? It is my hope to expand this series by focusing on these different kingdoms and the impact each plays with The Spires of Dasny.
I am aiming for the release of book three, The Kingdom of the Spires, by fall 2021, and with any luck, much sooner!
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The Spires and the surrounding regions bask in the peace that has lasted five years since the bloody battle of Garneth. But a new conflict looms as strange people abduct Elky and Ustice, her dragon. The king of the Dragons and Spires, Dreyth and Seyra, his fated human rider, must now team up with other Spires warriors to rescue Elky and her beast. Their quest spirals into a new adventure that sees the Spires faced with a full-blown war against sorcerers wielding hypnotic magic and a strange breed of dragons. Amidst all this, the people and Dragons of the Spires also try to come to terms with the Dragon king’s decision to choose Seyra, a human, as his queen. Faced with internal and external conflicts, the fate of the Spires hangs in a delicate balance.
Queen of Dragons is the second book in Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait’s epic fantasy series, Spires of Dasny. A riveting fairy tale fantasy with a story featuring dragons, magic, and enchanting folktales. All of these elements are effortlessly woven together to create a rich and thrilling story.
The authors fantastic use of descriptive writing pulls you into a unique fantasy world that is filled with emotionally-charged moments that surprise at every turn.
At this point I fell like C.R.C is an expert at creating compelling and grounded characters that are easy to empathize with, if not relate to. Initially, I felt some distance, but I soon connected with Seyra and her dragon’s relationship. As the story unfolded and both revealed their hearts, their relationship became more meaningful and reflected something more familiar.
C.R.C holds keeps the tension high right up until the end. Even after what you’d call the final battle, the author introduces a gripping twist that threatens to ruin the happy ending, but keeps you completely engrossed in the story and desperate for another book.
As a bonus, you get to enjoy a teaser of the next part of the series. A great way to get a glimpse of what to expect in the next book. And from the little I’ve seen, it will be just as entertaining.
Pages: 194 | ASIN: B08SL8RHBW
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The Spires of Dasny follows a young woman who attends the Dragon Rider School, but faces more challenges than she expected. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting story?
The inspiration came from a few different directions. A few months before starting this story, I saw a picture of a dragon gliding over a rocky terrain. Such things also kick my daydreaming mind into gear. I have also been participating in a writing group where each month we write to a prompt with a given word count limit. It is amazing what stories are spurred on by such things. The book developed from writing from three or four prompts and I fell for the characters and decided to develop it into a book.
Seyra and Dreyth are intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?
What happens most of the time, when I begin writing something fresh and new, I see a mini movie of a scene in my head and begin writing. All I knew of Seyra is she had always dreamed of being a dragon rider. She held the dream so tight that the stories that enriched her life drove her up the Spires in her greatest time of need. Dreyth developed as a protector and best friend, often seeing things in Seyra she couldn’t see, both bad and good.
I appreciated how well defined the dragon lore was in your book. What kind of research and development went into developing them in this novel?
I refused to read many books about dragons when I wrote my first series, The Legend of the Dragon Child, for fear of my dragons appearing a carbon copy of other dragons. After getting that series out, I learned something. I think most fantasy writers have the same concepts of things we haven’t seen. I was amazed at how many things my books had in common with other books, such as dragon and human being able to communicated through their minds.
I became ravenous to read more books of dragon stories, so I’m sure a part of them resonates in my current writing. I am a panster by design. The thought of outlining a book is cringe-worthy and shoots up a brick wall in my mind. I simply sit each day, write the day’s date and when my fingers hit the keyboard, we’re off for a new adventure.
Will this book be part of a series? If so, what can readers expect in book two?
Oh yes! It is a series in the making! I just finished book two, handed it off to the editor and making the final decisions on the cover as I write.
Book 2 is a wild ride. There will be twists and turns and surprises around ever corner. I get goosebumps thinking of it. It takes place five years after Book 1 and the main characters have grown. The Dragon School is in full operation and is enjoying a peace in their kingdom–until something dreadful happens to shatter their world.
Book 3 is now in the works. Will there be more? It depends on what is accomplished in Book 3. In my mind I see it as a four to five book series but I’ll have to wait to see what happens.
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Imagine if you will for a moment a medieval fantasy drama being brewed in a cauldron: throw in a measure of How to Train Your Dragon, add a dash of Game of Thrones, sprinkle in some of The Hobbit all topped off with a liberal dose of a King Arthurian legend, leave to simmer on a medium heat for few chapters and then you might have replicated Dragon Ascendants by Paul Vaughn.
So let’s get on to the plot, the setting and the highly descriptive cast of characters without creating spoilers for you.
Dragons, shadow-bats, elves, dwarves, bandits, skulduggery, betrayal, magic, fear, treachery, family discord, sibling rivalry, disappointment, parental disapproval, forgiveness, redemption and, lest I forget (although, how could I?) a very good measure of graphic violence – it’s all in there – so what more could I want from a fantasy novel? Perhaps a little romance? If it’s in here I missed it.
The action is all set in a mystical land, named the Luminess, which at first visit seems almost idyllic. That is, until the conflicts of this land are slowly revealed in the following chapters.
In these mountains live the elves, which have been there for centuries happily mining the gems hidden within. Their lives are occasionally interrupted by an assortment of other species, some for good cause some for ill.
Also, as within most fantasy novels, there is a power struggle between the forces of good and evil. From my reading, I felt that we are to consider these two grouping; one under the ‘command’ of the dwarf burrow’s hereditary leader, named Meerkesh, (representing the forces of good) and another under a very angry rogue elf, with unexplained issues, named Fearoc (representing the forces of evil). Such is the power of the latter, we are led to believe that the world has, or is about to, come to an end for the dwarves.
But I am not totally convinced as to which side is really the good and which that of evil is. In this strange land, where sapphires, ruby stones and diamonds are used as currency and the internal ‘politics’ seems to be driven by greed and ruled by bloodshed. On the one hand we have a population that apparently eats nothing other than apples, whilst the baddie mainly feasts on his conquests, we have quite a lot of axe wielding violence, bloodletting, beheading, dragons blinding by fire and melting of opposite forces during this fight between good and evil. Both sides seem as driven by bloodlust as the other. And this interesting dichotomy lends to some thought provoking reading.
This novel left me begging for more. More answers, more character development, more world building. I want to know! Ah, the mark of a good writer I suppose. I look forward to the next book in Paul Vaughn’s Luminess Legends series.
Pages: 217 | ASIN: B07B8STMY4
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