Ylmi’s Saga: Legends of Karik, by Evan Oliver, is the second book in this thrilling saga. Book two begins with a lord of Vrania telling the tale of Ylmi One-Eye. Ylmi is a girl who learns to hunt for the survival of her family. The Jarl of the settlement, Unhost, exiles those who disagree with him and the dragon of the mountain. Unhost made a deal with this dragon to keep the gold found on their settlement. This deal is only the beginning, and the story catapults forward from there.
Ylmi’s character develops in intriguing ways throughout the story, starting out as a cautious girl and turning into a fierce dragonslayer who becomes Jarl of Dragonsrest. Along the way Ylmi bonds with other exiles and they hatch a plan to kill the dragon of the mountain. Together they slay the dragon, go to war, and give the settlement a true leader, and I loved every moment of this adventure.
The writing style is easy and fluid and keeps the focus on the action or characters. While reading you forget that this is a narration of Ylmi’s accomplishments. As a reader you can become immersed in the story and, while it does feel a little fantastic, it still delivers some hard hitting and entertaining scenes fit for Hollywood.
While I enjoyed the story, I felt that there was a lot of background and plot development to get through because this was the second book in a series. Ylmi and Karik’s character were compelling and well developed characters, but I wish all the characters in the book were so well developed.
Ylmi’s Saga: Legends of Karik is a rousing adventure story following a strong female character on a harrowing journey that is fun from star to finish. I would recommend this book to sword and sorcery fans looking for a epic young adult adventure inspired by Norse and Viking myths.
Pages: 287 | ASIN: B0975JT7NV
Tags: adventure, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, Evan Oliver, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, myth, mythology, nook, norse, novel, read, reader, reading, story, sword and sorcery, viking, writer, writing, Ylmi's Saga, young adult
Vanir, Warrior by Saul Falconer is an adventurous book for lovers of Norse Mythology. This book brings characters like Freya, Heimdall, and Baldur to life as they interact with the three main characters of the book: Zeke and his siblings, Martha and Elijah. Each has unique abilities that give them special strengths against their enemies. The story takes a little while to get going, but the writing is excellent and after the first few chapters I was fully invested in this riveting story.
In the beginning, we get to see each of the children in action as they all undertake a sort of exam; Martha and Elijah taking on level four, while Zeke takes on level six. This introduction to their powers and capabilities in battle helps to set the stage for the rest of the book as they struggle to fight off the Myrkvar and the Illska, and other enemies who have the ability to travel the wormholes and attack Zeke’s people.
This book cleverly merges aspects of fantasy with science fiction, weaving different types of advanced technology throughout the worlds of Norse Myths, including everything from simulations to hoverpods to holographic devices and more. The focus of the story is on a return to “the old world” to investigate an illness that is making the people of Longyearbyen sick and of the possibility of Vanir prisoners being held captive there. One of the best aspects of the book is the relationship between Zeke, Martha, and Elijah, and how their bond helps them overcome any obstacles they face. Falconer’s writing is strongest in his characterizations and the interactions between the large cast. While I enjoyed the characters, I felt that there are a lot of them, along with races, cultures, and locations to keep track of.
Vanir, Warrior is perfectly written for pre-teen and young adult readers who have an interest in Norse Mythology. This is a spellbinding epic fantasy with imaginative technology and a sense of adventure that permeates the novel.
Pages: 394 | ASIN: B07MY3KKRX
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Jon Bragg Blue Essence follows a group of teenagers in a small town who are caught in the middle of a hunt for demigods. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
My wife and I grew up in an even smaller town in Iowa (Lincoln, IA) so I have firsthand experience with a lot of what was described from my youth. I tried to provide a good mix of my memories and present day to make it as believable and realistic as possible. I also played a bit on my past with names. For instance, I went to school in Gladbrook, IA and the story takes place in GrinWell, IA. So for the folks that grew up in that area they also know Gladbrook was also nicknamed HappyCreek. I’m sure you get the idea, just some fun trivia like that is scattered throughout the story.
Jon is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
For as long as i can remember I have been somewhat similar to Jon from a philosophical perspective and also always had a passion for poetry. I really wanted to incorporate a cerebral character like that into a main character. I wanted him to be the type of guy that is okay with himself as he is and is okay with having a close circle around him. He knows his limitations and he knows his strengths and with that comes the confidence to live life on his own terms. Even with what happens to him we get the feeling that it won’t change his demeanor or how he will interact with others.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
So I wanted to incorporate a few positive values into the book. The main focus was around family and the way they care for each other (including Grandpa). I think having a close, caring family like what Jon has is an important aspect of the book. I also wanted to portray bullying from different perspectives whether it was Marc and Jon or Dustin’s take. In general I wanted to have the story told from the perspective of the protagonist and antagonist throughout. I also wanted to bring Bragi more into the mainstream with a bit of a twist on Norse mythology while still mentioning Thor and Loki. I think Bragi, while controversial, is very well suited for a series.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Speaking of that and Bragi above, it will be the next two books in the Jon Bragg series. I have quite a bit planned for this group of teens. I don’t want to let out too many details but you can certainly see the development of a couple of storylines throughout this first book in the series.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: action, adventure, author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Jon Bragg Blue Essence, Kenney Myers, kindle, kobo, literature, mythology, nook, norse, norse mythology, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, supernatural, urban fantasy, writer, writing, young adult
Jon Bragg Blue Essence by Kenney Myers is a thrilling adventure story filled with Norse mythology. The story explores the life of teenager Jon Bragg and the links his community has with the Norse God’s; Thor, Loki and Bragi. Jon is a regular, if not introverted, sixteen-year-old, with a passion for reading and poetry. His world is tipped upside-down when ‘Coach’ and his son Dustin move to Grinwell.
Jon Bragg’s Blue Essence is set in the town of Grinwell Iowa, in the present day. There are vivid descriptions of the cold and bitter winter conditions on Grinwell. The detailed clothing descriptions and music and technology choices all give the time setting an authentic feel. It contrasts well with the Norse mythology that is embedded in the story. The vivid descriptions immediately draw the reader into the story and make the setting feel authentic.
There are a handful of intriguing main characters in this novel, Jon, his parents, sister Jill and best friend Marc and Dustin, his father – Coach. Minor characters include other school mates and schoolteachers. The main characters are well described, in what they wear and their physical attributes. Jon’s small frame contrasts with Dustin’s athletic prowess. Their personalities are also well described, and also contrasting in unique and interesting ways that play off of one another well. Jon is quiet and reserved, Dustin is confident and self-assured. The dialogue differentiates each of the characters with vocabulary choices matching each character colorful persona. The relationships between the characters is interesting, as author Kenney Myers highlights the different social strata in high school and the differing relationships children and parents can have.
Although the story is told from numerous points of view, it is easy to differentiate as the characters are well developed and individual. The character names are indicated at the top of each chapter. The story immediately draws you in, beginning with Jon’s sixteenth birthday. This book is of particular interest if you enjoy reading about Norse Gods. Although mythology is an integral part of the story, the myths weave in and out of the story, combining modern day living with Norse mythology.
Jon Bragg Blue Essence is a riveting young adult fantasy novel that draws on Norse mythology in uniquely compelling ways to tell a rousing story that will keep readers fully engaged with this memorable book.
Pages: 197 | ASIN: B08VKSR87S
Tags: a slave of the shadows, action, adventure, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Jon Bragg Blue Essence, Kenney Myers, kindle, kobo, literature, myth, mythology, nook, norse, novel, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing, young adult
Wyndwrayth finds Nick living in an old farmhouse overlooking a mysterious island in Wales where he becomes intrigued by its ancient and deserted mansion. What served as your inspiration whilst writing this book?
Once, when travelling, I came across this deserted, majestic old mansion house. It looked ancient, decrepit, left mouldering to sink into the landscape. It was in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by overgrown trees and shrubs. It had lichens and green moulds staining its walls, ivy had invaded its broken windows which seemed to stare at me menacingly. The house had a presence, a brooding, ominous spirit that looked like it could swallow you whole. I remember thinking that it must have many stories to tell.
Having moved myself from Manchester to Wales the landscape here was also a big influence. The ancient monuments, the Norse connection and the lakes close, by inspired my research and my story grew from those influences. The Celtic connection to water and their mythology along with the Norse mythology also wove their way into my consciousness, combining with the memory of the intriguing mansion and Wyndwrayth was born.
Nick Swann is an intriguing character that I felt gained layers as the story progressed. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating his character?
I wanted to create a male character who is childless, approaching and becoming middle aged. I wanted to explore how he became stuck in a time gone by because of the death of his wife and how he falls back on those times when he’s in trouble. The character has a deep loneliness, which creates a certain unhealthy introspection and self medication. In addition, I wanted to explore the usual problems of middle age; ill health and death of parents, changing of roles from son to carer and changing of profession. A lot of his character is established during the first book, Powderfinger, which creates his move to Wales. Nick knows he needs to shed the past and move on, to evolve. He is looking for a new place to be, a new profession, a new life. The unexpected appearance of Wendy Finch becomes an exciting turning point and I’m looking forward to seeing the long term effects it has upon him in the stories to come.
This is the second story in the Nick Swann Series. Where did you want to take this book that was different from book one?
In Powderfinger Nick is a probation officer who almost accidentally becomes embroiled in historical research into strange occurrences, which lead him unexpectedly into the world of the supernatural. His degree in History suddenly becomes of use to him and it reawakens his passion for discovery. It lifts him from his boring, hermit-like, everyday existence, bringing excitement, a sense of accomplishment and a possibility of a different future. It is this that I wanted to explore in Wyndwrayth. Here he moves from living in the past to exploring it. I wanted to establish him in this story as a professional researcher and investigator of both historical and supernatural events.
In addition I wanted to move his character forward, to becoming more pro-active in the story and to create a new partnership with Wendy Finch, to lift him from his lonely existence.
What is the next book you are working on and when will it be available?
My next Nick Swann story has the working title of Shacklady Rest and is presently in its first draft. It will team Nick and Wendy together in another dark and mysterious adventure, set in the brooding mountains of Snowdonia. I anticipate it will be ready to publish sometime next year.
This is the second horror novel in the Nick Swann series. This scary story finds Nick now living in an old stone farmhouse on the lonely and mysterious shores of Llyn Isaf, in Wales. He becomes intrigued by its mist-covered lake island, Ynys Y Niwl and its dark, ancient and long deserted mansion, Wyndwrayth.
Its moldering edifice holds many secrets and treasures, some of which draw Nick and his old friend Alan, into dangerous realms. Death stalks the island and as the dangerous spectral figures of The Millar of Souls, The Paladin and Gideon reveal themselves, it becomes increasingly difficult to discern between reality and dreams.
As the death toll rises, Nick finds himself, along with his new partner, Wendy and her Wolf, Mir embroiled in a struggle not just to maintain sanity but to stay alive.
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Wyndwrayth by Keller Yeats proves to be both interesting and captivating as the reader follows the central figure, Nick Swann, as he bumbles through his semi-isolated real world life and slowly discovers the existence of a second, more deadly world, all around him. These two parallel worlds slowly converge as you turn the pages to reveal what is undoubtedly a cleverly researched horror novel yet still containing moments of strong humour and absurdity.
The first passage of the novel only offers the briefest glimpse of what is to come as it describes events of 1016 in a place named Flotta in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. Much later a more sinister story is revealed, as the full impact of ghosts and ghouls condemned to a life of perpetual purgatory wreaking havoc from their haunted house for a 1000 years follows.
After this brief immersion into Norse mythology the story abruptly introduces the daily life of Nick as a self-styled geek, working occasionally on business research for associates at Bangor University, from an inherited cottage on the island of Anglesey in Wales.
Despite apparent excesses of marijuana, brandy and coffee, Nick still manages to investigate further into the mysterious local occurrences, drownings and inexplicable disappearances which all combine with the mythical backdrop to reveal the cold stark reality of evil forces at work on his doorstep.
As the chapters proceed the two sides are drawn ever closer to their inevitable confrontation – for the outcome you will have to read for yourself, but I quite enjoyed this ethereal mesh of myth and contemporary life. As the two classically configured worlds of good and evil come closer together will Nick and Wendy survive or will they pass into the world of the undead? The only spoilers I will offer here are that if you are offended by strong language and an occasional blood-letting scenario then turn away, but you would be missing an riveting story that I could not put down.
Initially, I did find Nick’s apparent excessive talking to himself annoying; but ultimately I felt like this added to his slightly eccentric and bohemian character. Wyndwrayth by Keller Yeats offers an enthralling well-researched read. The author is able to methodically create an enthralling character, place him in a vivid world, and face him against an enthralling antagonist. If you enjoy stories about myths and legends then you will certainly enjoy this novel.
Pages: 739 | ASIN: B078ZM1R17
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Erinland follows 21st century characters as they are catapulted into a 9th Century Viking war. Some fantastic battles and world building ensues. What was your inspiration for the setup to this fascinating novel?
Actually, my inspiration came from the Irish side of the conflict. When visiting Ireland some years ago we visited Trinity College in Dublin. Displayed in a glass case is the Book of Kells. It is a beautifully illuminated ancient manuscript with vivid colours and characters depicting stories from the four Gospels of the bible. The Book of Kells is believed to have been written around the year 800 in a monastery in Iona. After a Viking raid on the monastery, the surviving monks took refuge in a new monastery at Kells, taking their treasures with them. The meticulous attention to detail and its beauty resonated with me, so I did some digging into Irish history and the Viking presence in Ireland. This finally lead me to Amy and Richard and the writing of Erinland.
Erinland provides much in the way of Viking history. Did you do a lot of research to maintain accuracy of the subject?
Yes, I certainly did do a lot of research into both Irish and Viking (Norse) histories and mythologies. I learned a lot about their ways and beliefs and found it absolutely fascinating!
I understand this is a your debut novel. What a fantastic start! What made you start writing?
I’ve always dabbled a little with writing. I enjoy getting lost in the ‘writing space’ and hopefully creating something entertaining for the reader but for Erinland, the catalyst was seeing the Book of Kells first hand.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am currently working on a sequel to Erinland. It should be available mid 2018.
Two troubled young adults find themselves key players in a deadly game that spans the 21st century and the Viking Age.
Amy, finding it difficult to ‘fit in’, becomes increasingly obsessed with the virtual reality game Erinland. The VR characters and the mist of Erin begin to invade Amy’s dreams and her waking moments. She finds herself drawn into Erinland in 9th century Ireland. Amy becomes part of this mystical world as she joins in the struggle to defeat the Viking raiders.
Richard has a complicated home life and feels he doesn’t belong anywhere. A series of events finds him desperate and living on the streets, where he finds himself dragged into 9th century Norway by a Viking warrior. Richard finds acceptance with the Vikings and joins them on a colonisation raid to Ireland.
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Kathryn Berryman’s Erinland infuses Christianity into ancient rites while catapulting 21st Century characters into a 9th Century Viking war. Two teens, Amy and Richard, serve as threads in an intricate tapestry of historical fiction. Sharing the weave is Aiden, a monk protecting valuable antiquities with his life.
The story moves along through the points of view of one of the three most important characters. When Amy and Richard land in their respective, opposing villages, they are fully embraced. Both are long-awaited reincarnations of gods of the time. We’d expect the teenagers to feel displaced and confused, but they adapt quickly.
Berryman provides much in the way of Viking history, landscape, and relic description. Erinland is driven by her vast interest in these. We learn much lore through the tale of these ordinary, troubled children endowed with extraordinary powers from the glorious beings they represent. Berryman’s depictions of the cultures during the time are lovely and detailed as she describes their villages, clothing, and lifestyles. “The kransen, a gilt circlet worn on the head by unmarried girls, is removed from the young bride to be. It is a symbol of her virginity. The kransen is wrapped up by the bride’s attendants and put away until the birth of her eldest daughter who it will pass to.” (Page 194).
In Berryman’s desire to share her knowledge, she writes long monologues. These establish her as a credible authority on ancient history, but do so at the expense of natural dialogue. After suddenly being transported in time, the three primary characters are plunked down and force-fed tons of information. “Richard listened closely to Vagn as he spoke. It was a lot of information to absorb.” (Page 325).
The lack of meaningful exchanges sacrifices character development. This is particularly true for Amy, but less so for Richard. Relating to the characters is essential for us to want to read on.
Because war is the foundation of the plot, we may find it difficult to suspend belief when we are told the teens can learn how to become warriors in a few afternoons. Berryman relies upon descendent memory to take care of the problem. “Familiarise yourself with our ways. Your memories will return. A son of Odin retains his father’s essence and with it his memories and might.” (Page 183).
In the end Erinland is a fascinating story that fuses mythology with well-choreographed battle scenes.
Pages: 278 | ASIN: B01MR9IAQL
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