Lisen is not your average seventeen-year-old hermit in the mystical land of Garla. D. Hart St. Martin’s first book in the Lisen of Solsta series, Fractured, takes us on Lisen’s complicated journey of discovering her destiny in a land where people will pay a high price to obtain power. After spending seven years on Earth, Lisen is brought back to Garla to fulfill her fate: become the Empir, bring peace to Garla, and prevent her tyrannical brother from taking over the throne. With the aid of nobles, captains, and magical hermits, Lisen learns how to adapt to the pressures of her new life, embrace her destiny, and win the battle raging inside her head.
Fractured by D. Hart St. Martin is a captivating story of heroism, greed, and fulfilling one’s destiny; but what makes this novel so unique is how the characters, and the world itself, break gender stereotypes and social norms. Fractured is Book One in the Lisen of Solsta series, and this book focuses on the life of Lisen Holt, or rather, Lisen of Solsta. The novel begins with the kidnapping of seventeen-year-old Lisen on a beach in California. Once she comes to her senses, Lisen finds that she’s been taken to Garla, a world that resembles the magical-medieval world of Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. Astonished with every new discovery she makes, Lisen learns about her new “home” in Solsta, the land of hermits (people with mystical powers who are removed from society). Most interestingly of all, Lisen discovers that she used to live there as a child, but due to a prophetic vision, her guardians hid her away on Earth for seven years to ensure no harm came to her. Thus, when she returns to Garla and Solsta, Lisen feels both uncertainty and vague familiarity, and her memories (and necropathic skills) slowly return over time.
What I loved most about the novel is that it plays with the idea of who (or what) is truly in charge of shaping our “path” in life. It calls into question the idea of fate, and Lisen initially pushes against her destiny when she’s told that she’s the heir of Garla. Lisen also suffers from a memory lapse and must go through extensive training with Captain Rosarel and Holder Corday before she can take over as Empir (or ruler), in order to prevent her tyrannical brother from ruling Garla. I find this theme particularly interesting when combined with the “hero’s journey” plotline, as Lisen is much more complex than the archetypical “hero.” Throughout the novel, Lisen goes through stages of grief once she discovers she can no longer access her old life back on Earth, but several events throughout her journey prove what her life’s purpose truly is.
While some of the minor characters’ voices (such as Eloise and Nalin) were drowned out by the main characters, Lisen is truly brought to life through Hart St. Martin’s fluid and compelling writing style. I thought Lisen’s personality was fun and authentic; Hart St. Martin accurately captured the sassy attitude of a teenager who’s forced to learn a whole new way of living (I mean, who wouldn’t be sassy about that?). While she seems to have accepted her fate by the end of the novel, it’ll be interesting to see where Lisen’s “destiny” takes her next.
Pages: 317 | ASIN: B0098RN2KG
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What would it be like, if more than two-thousand years later Christ walked this earth again? Would he be confused by the spread of technology or would he already know about it from having watched over mankind from above? João Cerqueira tackles this idea and more in his novel Jesus and Magdalene. There is much for Jesus to consider when he returns to the world of man. Such logical concerns as his paternity and the vehicle he decides to use to come back to earth. Scarcely is Jesus walking among men once more then he meets Magdalene. She is the newer version of her biblical-self: wrapped up in an environmental movement with Judas, Mary, Peter, James and others she works towards renewal of the earth. As if it was simply meant to be, Jesus joins her on her mission and we are left to wonder how much of the stories in the bible will play out again.
If there is anything Cerqueira does well in this book, it is describing situations and surroundings. There is an explanation at the beginning of the novel where our author lays out his experience with Christianity and his thoughts on the matter. This is beneficial for those who cherish their faith and may take issue with the idea of a modern-day Jesus Christ. This should come as a comfort to those readers as Cerqueira certainly means no disrespect.
However, while the writing is a plus, it is also a minus. Cerqueira is almost too descriptive or flowery with his language. His metaphors and similes are beautifully written but they cause the story to feel heavy. This, in turn, causes the read to be quite heavy and rely on the intellectual prowess of the reader. While this is not completely a negative for the reader who prefers something a bit more intellectual, for the casual reader this can be a detriment.
The portrayal of technology and the development of character relationships is well played throughout the entirety of the tale. If you have never been an avid reader of the bible or studied any sort of religion while in school, you will not be lost. You can think of Jesus and Magdalene as a tale of two young adults who are trying to make a difference in the world. If you are familiar with these texts, you will find that there is much that overlaps with Cerqueira’s story. It is evident that the man has done his research and is not afraid to use that in his works.
The language that author João Cerqueira uses is beautiful. For a reader looking for something heavier, thought-provoking and requiring footnotes, you cannot go wrong with Jesus and Magdalene.
Pages: 324 | ASIN: B01IS20VQY
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Chaste is the third book by Jesse Teller in the Tales from Perilisc. In Teller’s prior book, Legends of Perilisc the god Cor-lyn-ber is mentioned the father of Hope and Light; Chaste focuses on Cor-lyn-ber and his followers in the small town. The town of Chaste is a remote town dedicated to Cor-lyn-ber that has been overcome with a deep sickness. Five strangers to the town arrive and all their destinies take a turn. The book is dark and filled with detailed violence. It is not for someone looking for fairies and elves. The theme of rape, abuse and murder run though the whole book revealing a dark and sick society struggling to find the light again.
The main characters are Father Frank, Cheryl the barmaid and self-appointed watcher of the town, and the five strangers, Ambul, Ruther, Sai, Sob, and Trevonne. Cheryl watched her parents die, her mother and battle and her father murdered. They were the religious leaders for Cor-lyn-ber and Cheryl from that point on lost all faith in her god. The first half of the book is all about the devastation of the town, the murders of their children, the sickness and evil that penetrates the land and people. The reader learns little about the five strangers only getting pieces of their history bit by bit. Trevonne is wizardass in training, she arrives in the town of Chaste weak and sick. Sob, an assassin and thief has taken on the role of protector of her. Ruther appears to be the leader of their group with a no nonsense mentality. Ambul and Sai call themselves brothers but they are not related. Sai is known as the great swordsman and dreams of a woman each night where they continue their love saga from afar. Ambul is referred to as the gentlest and good man known to man. He is an innocent and pure of heart, with a secret past.
The five strangers arrive in the town right after the death of another child. They all feel there is a wrongness in the town. The first night there Sob is out looking for jewelry to steal and comes in contact with the killer of the children. She recognized there was something evil and not human from the start but wasn’t staying around to investigate further. Meanwhile, back at the tavern and inn Ambul goes missing after a fight with Sai. The fight was brought on out of nowhere, the towns sickness already infecting them with its poison. From here the story of finding their missing friend, discovering the source of the sickness and purging the town of the poison is told.
The story of Cheryl is key to the novel, and she goes through a drastic transformation. Like all major transformation in life hers is a hard story and she learns lessons of pride and sacrifice. She also learns just how much control the gods of Perilisc have over her life and that of the world around her. She learns that her destiny is set by them, not herself. She must face her past, and Cor-lyn-ber himself.
Overall this book is not for the reader looking for a happy ending fantasy novel. This is fantasy at its darkest. Abuse, demons, and torture are key themes and some are described in vivid detail. If you can get past all that, the story is one of transformation, overcoming evil and delivering justice.
Pages: 244 | ASIN: B01J0FVC9S
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Legends of Perilisc is a collection of short stories that tell the mythological struggles of royalty, immortal love, unruly wizards, and lost heroes. Did this book always start out as a collection of short stories, or did you write the stories individually and later decided to consolidate them?
The stories were written individually. Many of them were written many years ago as a way of answering questions. I needed to know things about my world, like how it was created, and where certain things came from. Every world has a creation myth. I needed one of those. I wanted dragons, and I needed to know where they came from. Some stories in here helped me deal with my own demons and come to terms with my past. Some of the stories bind together books I would later write. Others were just dream stories. For instance, I always dreamt of knowing how Clark and Ferallorn met. To Love A Beast came from this desire. The plan was never to publish this book. It shouldered its way in when I realized I wanted to give prospective readers a look at the world to help them decide if they wanted to commit to reading one of my novels.
What is your favorite story from the collection and why?
I have two. The Apprentice’s War showcases a wizard named Saykobar. It is exciting to see his introduction to the world. It gave me a thrill to write the first words of his story because Saykobar goes on to do many great and terrible things. He shapes the course of the world. It was fun to watch him shrug up from the ground like the bud of a poison flower.
Then there’s The Stalwart. This was the first short story I wrote about Perilisc. I wrote it in 2005, sent it out to magazines for publishing, and received a handwritten rejection letter. I was told the story had promise, but there were major things wrong with it, major things wrong with the world it was in. No one source has had a greater impact on the creation of this world than that one letter. It focused me, helped me realize what I was doing. It’s my favorite of my many rejection letters, and I’m lucky to have gotten it.
Simon the Bard seems to be the only consistent character through the different stories. He travels the world claiming to be a simple story teller, but seems to be much more. What were your ideas when creating this character and did he turn out as planned?
In my family, there were fantastic storytellers. I wasn’t concerned with playing with my siblings and my cousins. I wanted to be standing by the poker table in the haze of smoke, listening to the adults tell wildly inappropriate stories. I always wanted to tell those kind of stories, always wanted to tell a story well. So I apprenticed under the great storytellers of my family, learning everything I could about how to craft a description and how to nail a climax. Simon is a result of that training. Stories are important. It’s how we understand who we are and the world around us. Stories give us power, the power of knowledge and the power of understanding. That was the concept behind Simon Bard. He’s a wandering storyteller. But he only goes to the people who need to hear the story. He goes to the heroes that need light cast upon the world around them in order to commit acts of bravery and startling deeds of wonder. Simon has shaped the world. He helped craft it and he loves it. He is trying to provide guidance. He is exactly how I planned him to be, and I’m very proud of him.
Will readers ever get to find out what “The Escape” is?
Yes, The Escape is so important. It is the defining moment of my world. It provides the B.C. / A.D. point for my history. The Escape is a world-changing event. It brings about much hope and much despair. I can’t tell these stories without it. It will be revealed in books to come, and its effect will forever change the face of my world.
Will there be another book that tells more stories of the land of Perilisc?
Oh, man. Is this ever a firm and resounding yes! Perilisc is the platform for 26 books. I have 21 of them written, and today I started the 22nd. In rough draft form, I have written 10,600 pages of Perilisc story. I have five more novels to write before I set Perilisc down for a moment and concentrate on other places. Perilisc is the name of a continent, not a world. These novels tell the story of that continent. But after these books have been written, I cast light on other corners of the world. I have conceived three acts to my career, and after these 26 Perilisc novels, I will have finished Act I. There is more Perilisc coming. I have decided to publish a book every six months for the next 32 years.
Posted in Interviews
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By Summer’s Last Twilight is the latest novel from horror author Robert J. Stava, set in the deceptively sleepy New York state village of Wyvern Falls. The book continues a long line of Stava’s work set in Wyvern Falls, and as such contains a great deal of information that may not be clear to the newcomer reader. Characters emerge, engage, and disappear – or get killed, since according to Stava that’s his favorite thing to do in a horror novel – without much in the way of apparent rhyme or reason, though there is a core group of heros and villains to tie the story together.
The nexus of the plot focuses on the nefarious work of the villain Steven Crowley, the latest descendant in the line hailing from the Occult provocateur Alistair Crowley – the latter infamous for his no-holds barred orgies and invocations of arcane rituals. In this story, though, the orgies and rituals have a sinister metaphysical purpose, shattering the membranes that separate our dimension from that of maddening demons who want to feast upon our flesh and our very sanity.
Steven Crowley has managed to worm his way up to the top of this quiet little town, his arcane calculations proving that this town would be the optimal spot to perform his ritual. A hurricane late in the summer washes a body out into a tree, catching the attention of the local plucky teenage gang of racial stereotypes who inevitably get to the bottom of things.
A man named John Easton is the grown-up that helps them get to the bottom of this, facing off against snakelike thugs like Razor and Weatherman who seem more motivated by violence for its own sake rather than any kind of humanity, however perverse it may be. Easton has numerous torrid affairs – this book drips with explicit sex, if that’s your thing – all of which end in bizarre disaster and let him sort of elbow the reader and go “women, right?”
Easton’s affairs include a near-sexual encounter with the breathy 15 year old French girl which, while going uncompleted, remains the most horrifying event in the entire book. Women don’t really get to do too much in this book except be lovers or mothers or crazy ex-girlfriends or literal objects of sacrifice, but so it goes in the world of Wyvern Falls.
There’s plenty of violence too, which would be remiss of a horror book to forget. The violent scenes are some of the most lovingly crafted and passionately executed sections to be found, giving the book a clear claim to the genre.
However, there’s too much of everything else. The horrific moments of the book are few and far between, interspersed with vast sections where characters sit around and explain things to one another.
Such lengthy exposition can somewhat be forgiven, given the by-design arcane nature of the source material. Crowley’s cult drew upon vast swaths of information that would be unfamiliar to the average reader today (or indeed to anyone ever) and Stava does an admirable job with providing expository backstory through the several interludes that intersperse the main story line.
All in all, though, the book remains in its own little world – if you are the type of reader who already enjoys this genre or Stava’s work in particular then you’ll find yourself right at home.
Pages: 288 | ISBN: 1515150747
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