The golden kingdom was a shining hope and a place for uniting races. Now it is under the oppression of dark and deadly forces. Prophecies couldn’t stop this dark prince from striving for power, and now he wants to rule all. Who can stop him? The runaway mage Ahna who is hiding something? The Resistance? Can the soldiers unite and take the kingdom back for good, or will secrets tear everything apart?
Tempest of Bravoure sets up a thrilling adventure novel that is brimming with imaginative characters. I love epic fantasy tales, and I love when people realize that they either need to fight the bad guy or the bad guy will oppress you until you’re all dead anyway. In these types of stories, you see human characters emerge and the power of the human spirit is tested. I thought I was going to like Ahna right away. Her character was written in such a way that even though you know she’s hiding things, in most cases, you would still want to root for her. I found her character slightly annoying sometimes and could understand why some of the other characters would fight with her (like Cedric). Other times I felt for her character and wanted to cry for her. With other characters and their sad fate, I did cry and felt that their ending was too painful, but it compelled me to keep going and finish the book to find out what happened to the rest of the characters. Cedric, in particular, was one character that made me cry because his character teaches you so much, and his story with Ahna was beautiful. This is definitely a story for readers who enjoy intriguing and well developed characters. There’s an interesting plot at the heart of this story, but I felt like the characters were the star of the show.
While I enjoyed the world building and intricate lore embedded in the world, I felt that the story got a bit confusing at times. In rare moments I wasn’t sure who was doing what and for which reasons. I bit more succinct exposition at the right moments would have provided some clarity. Otherwise, this is a fast paced novel that fits well within the epic fantasy genre. Author Valena D’Angelis has written a story that feels like there’s so much more to be explored. Highly recommended to fans of military fantasy novels.
Pages: 284 | ASIN: B08FXWDX3N
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The Fleeing Company is the first book in The Drifters’ Road series written by Kyle McCurry. The fantasy novel tells the story of a young lone traveller named Adroegen. It’s a tale of good versus evil, immersed in a mystical world of goblins, wolves and dragons. An evil lord is seeking world domination. To aide him in this goal he needs to acquire the Nights Jewel, which Adroegen has. The Fleeing Company has a motley ensemble of characters that are both good and evil.
The main character is Adroegen, the young lone traveller who drifts from place to place. Having lost his family young in life he usually prefers to travel alone. He is grief-stricken by the loss of his family and Author Kyle McCurry relays the impact of this with a melancholy vocabulary that gives Adroegen’s character some depth. In this book Adroegen is joined on his journey by his friends: Edelbir, Kattalin, Gleowan, Vaenn, and Caitren. Although not as well developed as Adroegen’s character, characterized by their brief physical descriptions and dialogue, they still add a little spice to the story. Conversely, the evil side is dominated by legends of Vyroun, an evil lord seeking world domination. There are also appearances of many evil creatures and foes as the group travel throughout the forest. Maybe it’s because I tend to find antagonists more interesting, but I found these characters to be much more intriguing.
The story features many creatures, both mythical and magical, such as goblins, wolves, dragons, giant eagles, bats, spiders, imps, serpents, trolls and dwarfs. These creatures either help or hinder Adroegen and his friends on their journey and add to both the mythical feel of the novel and the themes of friendship and allegiance. In all instances it is evident that author Kyle McCurry’s imagination is on full display. These creatures are all wonderfully described, and add to a sense of mystery, magic and trepidation to this already adventurous story. Beginning in a small village, the setting moves to a journey across the land after the village is razed to the ground. The setting is vividly described and will appeal to the readers senses of sight and sound that really gives this fantastical setting a life of its own.
I liked how the plot was easy to follow in telling the story of Adroegen’s journey across the land with his friends, and the encounters they have on the way. It explores themes of trust, kinship, allegiance, and good versus evil in a simple but entertaining way. Overall, the combination of character development, mythical creatures, descriptive settings and story line make The Fleeing Company an enjoyable novel that will appeal to sword and sorcery fans looking for a lite fantasy with plenty of creativity.
Pages: 254 | ASIN: B07ZN7HNT1
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The Keepers of the Light follows an ordinary young man who finds out he’s destined to be a leader and face a dangerous enemy. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that was different from book one?
It was important to make the transition in this book to full-blown fantasy in a believable way. We are dealing with some classical fantasy elements n a contemporary setting so I really wanted this to feel believable. I approached this by asking myself if this were actually happening, how would these characters respond?
Garrett continues to be a compelling character. What were some obstacles in the story that you felt were important to his character development?
Trust. Every adult in Garrett’s life has lied to him about who is his entire life. Trust is, and will continue to be a challenge for him, and understandably so. The other issue for Garrett is leadership. He will have to take the reins in this series and lead. He will have to stop seeing himself as a just a kid and step up or humanity may not make it.
What was one of the most challenging scenes in this book to write?
The scenes inside the underground temple were tough because there were so many moving parts. I spent a lot of time with a tape measure, measuring out distances in my yard, throwing things, yelling, running around, and essentially acting it out. Yes, my neighbors may think I have issues and they may not be entirely wrong:) Without giving away any spoilers, let’s just say it was tough with a whole group of humans and a handful of magical creatures to keep it clean and clear for the reader. Alternating between Breanne and Garrett’s perspective each chapter while controlling pace added to the challenge. My editor and I went back and forth a lot trying to perfect those scenes. In the end, I think the extra effort was totally worth it.
This is book two in your God Stones series. What can readers expect in book three?
Book three will take Garrett and his companions on a journey across the country as the world deteriorates into an apocalypse. There are still plenty of issues, both new and old, the friend’s need confront, overcome, and make peace with. Book three promises danger a plenty with dragons, giants, and what I am most excited about, a massive army of supernatural creatures that have been right here under our noses this hold time. I have been hard at work on book three and am excited to share that the rough draft is complete, and edit will begin very soon. Expect book 3 later this year!
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Strands of Existence follows a woman who leaves her home and must piece together her memories while navigating a new world. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting story?
These sorts of questions are difficult for me as I’m very much a “pantser” when it comes to characters and plot. I see most things in my head in movie form. It always starts with the main character’s image and name. After some prodding, they start to reveal a little more about their nature which will, in turn, help me to make them into a more believable person and get a feel whether the story is going to have a happy or sad ending, or something in-between. I have conversations with them, or sometimes as them, trying to reason their positions on moral issues (which I’m sure amuses my neighbors as they see me prattling to myself in the garden).
Istrae is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?
I wanted to illuminate her hunger to belong and know more about herself and explore how much she would be willing to go through for such revelations. To me, she is a character that can become a hero or a villain in the course of the story, and I want the reader to know her intimately so her decisions make sense intuitively when we get to some darker issues later on in the series.
What were some themes that you wanted to focus on in this book?
Finding oneself, finding a place to belong, someone to belong to, and how much of all that is up to the person. The battle between wanting something and knowing that to get it you have to deprive someone else of something (which is probably an overarching theme for the series starting with smaller personal issues at first and progressing to a larger scale later on).
This is book one in your Strands of Existence series. What can readers expect in book two?
Book 2 (working title “Sea of Shadows”) will open up new parts of the city and the natural laws of the magic system more. We’ll dive a little into the world of Istrae’s love interest as Rime’s Guard with the army behind him steps into the light. Much of the book will focus on events just leading up to and happening during the civil war within the city. Hopefully, the next book will be out in 2021 either in late spring or early autumn.
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Aeons ago, the earth was in the grips of a bitter war between the elements. The wicked Ice Fairy Queen, bent upon expanding her frozen realm, wishes to engulf the entire planet in a permanent ice age. Witnessing the destruction that she seeks to unleash, the Winter Wizard, her former lover and general of her icy army, turns on his mistress and banishes her to be frozen in crystal for the rest of eternity.
Fast forward four thousand years to modern Tennessee, and here enter the heroes of our story, Brian and Sherri, who unwitting stumble upon the Ice Queens prison and accidentally unleash her, wreaking a new era of bitter revenge upon planet Earth. A new battle erupts, and Brian and Sherri find themselves in the midst of an ancient plan unfolding in a strange land, that has been centuries in the making, and which threatens to make the leap from the fantasy world and into the reality they love.
The Winter Wizard plunges you into a mystical and colorful world from the outset. Not allowing the reader the time to buckle up, author Dan Peyton sets the pace from the very beginning. Jumping straight into the action, The Winter Wizard doesn’t give time to lengthy prose, the action just keeps coming as we’re taken on a non-stop ride into the distant realms of elves and witches, sorcerers and warlocks.
Peyton at times sacrifices narrative depth to keep the speed up and chooses to take us on a journey that gives the feeling of being in the middle a white-knuckled, action-adventure movie. Short, punchy chapters mean we skip from action scene to action scene, introducing new characters, mythology and locations within the blink of the eye, making it easy to read and ensuring there’s never a dull moment or too much time to reflect.
This results in a trade-off between the speed at which the storyline progresses and the fleshing out of the main characters and universe, which can make it slightly hard to relate to the human protagonists. As the storyline develops and expands, the character development doesn’t quite keep up; we see Brian and Sherri progress in their understanding of the magical realm they have found themselves in, but emotionally and individually, less so.
The dialogue is short and snappy, Brian’s quick wit provides comic relief amidst the breakneck pace, and the spikey but warm relationship between a certain cat and a whisky drinking captain of the skies gives an endearing glimpse into lives of those living in this high-fantasy universe.
Peyton creates an entire world that is alive with mythology and magic. Winter Wizard is a adrenaline-fueled ride full of heartwarming moments and tongue in cheek humor that will keep the pages fluttering right until the end.
Pages: 244 | ASIN: B07B8L7CZT
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The Good Witch of the South brings a new evil witch to the land of Oz that is amassing an army to overthrow the Head of Oz. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
TC – The inspiration for the story came from the dust jacket cover art. I had just finished my memoir, Roads Over Brown County, which took me two years to write, and I was playing around with a fairy design and thought it would be a fantastic image for a book cover. I keep thinking how nice a fantasy book cover it would make but didn’t know what kind of story it should be, and I didn’t have a title. For some unknown reason, while I was working on the cover art, I was also reading Frank L. Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz again.
After I added tattoos on the fairy’s arm and some glowing orbs behind her, it came to me. I knew exactly who this fairy witch was. It made perfect sense; she was a good fairy witch, Glinda’s daughter, the Good Witch of the South. I instantly knew what I wanted to write.
For reasons I can’t explain, the first chapter I wrote in my journal was the epilogue. Everything else about the plot instantly fell into place.
What were some ideas that you wanted to keep from the classic Wizard of Oz and what were some new ideas you wanted to introduce?
TC – That’s a good question. I decided to combine aspects from Baum’s original book and the 1939 MGM movie with Judy Garland. Not many realize that in Baum’s books, Glinda was the Good Witch of the South, or also known as Glinda the Good, and not the Good Witch of the North. For fun, I decided to give Glinda the last name Glinda Goodwitch. I also decided to have the main characters from Baun’s book and the movie, The Scarecrow, The Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion play a part in my book. I also thought it would be fun to add subtle echoes from the movie within my book.
One of my favorite moments in the film is at the end when Dorothy is back home in her own bed, and she is telling her family and friends about Oz. I wanted to capture this iconic moment in the book.
So when the main character, Samantha Goodwitch, Glinda’s daughter, is recuperating from a terrible injury from fighting the vicious red alpha dragon. She wakes up in an unfamiliar bed and looks up at her companions, and tells them about a dream she’d been having. She points a trembling finger at each one and says, “You, and you, and you . . . . . and you were there.” I also had the new Wicked Witch taunt her victims as she did in the movie, using some of the barbs the Wicked Witch of the West used. All of these small touches made the story special and fun for me when I was writing. It made me smile.
I added one piece of imagery at the beginning of the book when Sam is crouched on the roof of the castle looking out across the land of Oz that has been with me since I was a child. I am almost sure it started from the very first time I watched the movie. It happens when the Munchkins escort Dorothy to the center of Munchkin City to show her the Yellow Brick Road. Where the Yellow Brick Road spirals out from the center of the city, there is another spiraling brick road, but the bricks are red. That always fascinated me, and I have ever wondered what kind of adventures one would find following the Red Brick Road. To this day, when I watch the movie, I whisper, “Dorothy, take the Red Brick Road.”
Sam is an intriguing character that I enjoyed watching develop. What were some obstacles you felt were important to the characters development?
Mainly believing in herself and proving herself to her mother, to her sister, and to everyone she loved. Every time I start a new book project, I struggle with it, from my children’s picture books to my novels – especially my novels. So, I say to everyone, “Believe!”
Do you plan to write other stories within the land of Oz?
When I first started writing this Ozarian tale, I said to myself, “What am I think writing a book based on a classic like Oz!” Doing another book? Well, I will tell you this: I have already written an outline. But to be honest, the two years it took me to write The Good Witch of the South knocked the breath out of me. I am not sure I have it in me to write another adventure in the Land of Oz. But one never knows.
I have to admit. Now that this Good Witch story is finished, I find myself genuinely missing my daily visits to the Oz.
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A Forgotten Past follows a woman who discovers a powerful ability within her that attracts the attention of some dangerous people. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
I’ve always been really fascinated by magical systems. Is magic learned, inherited? How does one become more powerful? When I was planning the story, I really wanted to make it original in how magic worked within society. In Sapeiro, magic was passed down through the generations, from the great sorcerers. Everyone has a touch of magic: weather prediction, mild healing abilities. But Lily discovers she has more than the rest.
So that’s where the story started: in a land where everyone has abilities, some have more than most. Lily will need to find out why hers seems more dangerous than she’s been led to believe, and she’s going to have to decide how she reacts to the news.
Lily is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?
Lily is obviously the heroine in the story, and A Forgotten Past centers around her journey of self-discovery. I wanted to make Lily a really well-rounded character, and so she faces two main conflicts. The first one is her coming to terms with her power, and the second is her coming to terms with her identity. She doesn’t want to be a hero, and she certainly doesn’t want to be at the center of the conflict that’s sparked due to her power. A large portion of the book deals with her struggle to accept what’s happened, and the losses that came with it.
What were some themes that were important for you to capture in this story?
In A Forgotten Past, I really wanted to focus on Lily’s growth as she discovers her true identity and the circumstances that led to her forgetting in the first place. I also wanted to play with the theme of fate. Her power may make it seem as if she was destined to achieve greatness, but Lily doesn’t want that kind of recognition. She wants to be normal, and remember who she is and where she is from. Unfortunately for her, ‘normal’ is way behind her.
Another theme I wanted to focus on, and one that will be prevalent throughout the series, is the notion of power, and how far some go to attain it, collect it, and take it away from others.
This is book one in the The Sapeiro Chronicles. What can readers expect in book two?
In Book 1, the story focuses on Lily, and her growth as a character. She has several inter-personal conflicts that she needs to work through by the end of the narrative. In Book 2, the story gets bigger: Lily will feel more secure with her newfound power, and will gain a better understanding of why she’s found herself in the crosshairs of so many different powerful forces at work. She’s found allies, but the weight of the expectations being placed on her are crippling. So whereas the story in book 1 focuses on Lily and her internal struggle, book 2 focuses on what her power means for Sapeiro. We’ll learn more about the history of the land and how the magical system works.
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The Spires of Dasny by Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait, is one of those books that will make you fall in love with a fantastical world with a deep backstory. Seyra’s family was tortured and killed leaving her alone in a dangerous world. Abandoned by the world, she tries to find refuge in the Dragon Riders School. Along the way she meets a captivating companion, and together they face dangerous obstacles through a beautifully detailed world.
Author Cheryl Rush Cowperthwait has meticulously constructed an epic fantasy story with stunning landscapes, dragons, legendary battles and intriguing characters battling between good and evil. The Spires of Dasny is an epic fantasy adventure novel that will guide you easily through a dense world. The good news is that this book is part of a trilogy, so fans of C.R.C’s work will be able to dive deeper into a world that is begging to be explored. I enjoyed getting to know the different dragons and their personalities. Seyra is a strong female protagonist that captivates readers with a captivating personality. Seyra is relatable, and felt authentic. While I did enjoy Dreyth’s character, it took a while to grow on me, but when it did I was just as absorbed with the character as I was with Seyra.
The Spires of Dasny is a book that spins the story of eternal friendship, loyalty, sacrifice, and love with just enough of a unique twist that it felt like I was reading a new story in a well defined genre. C.R.C’s talent and experience is on fully display as she masterfully pens an exciting adventure novel that will appeal to sword and sorcery fans seeking a dragon story that never forgets to entertain its readers.
Pages: 202 | ASIN: B08BT6W6TK
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