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The Jinxed Pirate

The Jinxed Pirate (Graylands, #2)5 Stars

Adventures like these don’t come very often. Riddled with intrigue and building up a world The Jinxed Pirate by M. Walsh is a definite read. We have a delightful cast of characters from the mercenary to the tragic warrior princess with a splash of other-worldly beings as well. All of their lives and paths will come together in an excellent adventure where you might find yourself rooting for the bad-guy without realizing it. Each character is on a journey of sorts and where it leads them is anything short of ordinary. What happens when the warrior princess can’t save her people? What about the mercenary who doesn’t seem all that interested in what he’s doing? Our title character himself even seems to shift his shape depending on what his needs are. The carnal animal driven only by his desires. These all come together with fantastic story-telling and riveting action to create a beast of a tale.

The language in this book is intellectual without being dry; descriptive without being desperate. Walsh knows how to craft a tale and the way the narrative flows demonstrates an excellent grasp of a writer’s tools. Our prologue and epilogue are written in the first person, yet we don’t know much about who is showing us this world. The rest of the tale is told from the third person and that effortless transition really speaks to how well Walsh has command over the story. Some authors can let the tale run away from them and it ends up becoming nonsense. Walsh takes on a large task, and delivers.

While this book appears to be part of a series, it can stand alone just fine. It is rare to find an excellent book that is part of a larger tapestry that can be enjoyed on its own. The Jinxed Pirate achieves that sense of completion without discounting the possibility of the world being expanded either before or after the events we read about.

In the first few chapters we are introduced to our cast of characters. The descriptions that Walsh provides enhances the image in the mind of the reader. The reader is also not overwhelmed by excessive information. There is a delicate balance to be struck here and Walsh appears to be no slouch with his craft. The imagery and information flow effortlessly together.

If you’re looking for an excellent read with the potential to be wrapped up in a bigger world, The Jinxed Pirate by M. Walsh is a must-read. Too often writers attempt to create worlds that span multiple books but rely to heavily on the audience consuming every single volume in order. Enough backstory is explained in this edition that prior knowledge of the world is not required. This only proves to intrigue the reader and assist in capturing their attention and desire to know more. This is not a book to be underestimated. Readers will not go wrong adding this to their ever-growing pile of ‘must-reads’. This reviewer suggests that, perhaps, you place this one near the top.

Pages: 494 | ASIN: B06VWKX52Q

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The Hunter’s Rede

The Hunter's Rede (Chronicles of Ealiron, #1)3 Stars

The Hunter’s Rede by F.T. McKinstry is a tale of adventure, mystery and deceit. Lorth is a hunter/assassin who obeys the Hunter’s Rede; a series of rules the dictate the isolated lifestyle of an assassin. He has never questioned their necessity; until now.

He is summoned home by the mysterious Mistress of Eusiron and arrives to find the region invaded by the Faerin army. Even more alarming; a member of the Keepers of the Eye has been assassinated.

Lorth must use his wits, magic, and sheer determination to escape being framed for the murder, find the perpetrator and defeat the invaders. All the while, he must juggle the Hunter’s Rede – a selfish code – with morality, loyalty, and love.

This is an enjoyable read for those who like suspenseful fantasy. The world building is strong and specific; a requirement in fantasy stories. The battling kingdoms, the Hunter’s Rede, and the Keepers of the Eye are all thoroughly referenced and explored by the author. However, the origins of the Rede are vague and difficult to visualize.

The characterization is fuzzy at first but the reader eventually becomes well acquainted with many of the characters who decorate the story. Lorth, in particular, grows on the reader overtime. Some of the most enjoyable characters are placed in the background and only dip into the story occasionally – such as the amiable Captain Ivy.

The plot is entertaining and ornamented with twists and tension. The story focuses on its characters and conflicts but also has a strong theme revolving around morality and sacrifice, which finds its way into the story. You could say that The Hunter’s Rede is inspired by the video game series Assassins Creed; as I felt that it dealt with similar concepts, story models and parallel titles. But I enjoyed the variances that allowed The Hunter’s Rede to have uniqueness.

While the story has some thrilling action scenes, at times they were either too cumbersome or unclear. Overall the story was clever and entertaining except for the romance moments which come off as less inspired. The Hunter’s Rede is one proofread away from being a fascinating and exciting read.

Pages: 303 | ASIN: B01LZS174X

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The Darkness in the Light

D. Hart St. Martin Author Interview

D. Hart St. Martin Author Interview

Fractured is a captivating story of heroism, greed, and fulfilling one’s destiny. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

Dune is perhaps my favorite book ever. I read it back in the day. After reading Dune Messiah, I was sure I knew what would happen next. When Children of Dune was published, I read it and threw it across the room, saying, “If Frank Herbert won’t write the book I want to read, I’ll write it.” I had no idea what I was doing, and I certainly had no concept whatsoever of where this first step of the journey would take me. But I knew I needed a “gimmick.” That’s when the idea of a world where sexism had never existed entered the story, but what began as a gimmick became an opportunity to define character with the facets of light and dark that exist in all of us rather than by the character’s genitalia and served as a significant guide to my world-building. Who are these beings that in their society there is no division of labor by gender? What differences between earth humans and the people of Garla (physical and mental) would bring such a thing about?

Lisen is a complex teenage girl that is brought to life by your writing style. What were the morals you were trying to caputre while creating your characters?

None of my characters is either all good or all bad. I revel in the gift of digging down deep and finding the darkness in the light and vice versa. For me, each character deserves the opportunity to show the reader all they’ve got and allow the reader to judge for herself. As for morals, I believe that one must know how to think before one can make any moral decision. Even then, the moral decision may not be the best decision at the moment. Sometimes, we have to sacrifice the “good” thing for the “right” thing (a major decision in book 2 illustrates that). Luckily, Lisen comes into the story with some pretty strong ethics that have been taught to her by the Holts, her guardians on earth. This allows me as the writer to challenge those ethics and see how she does.

What I loved most about the novel is that it plays with the idea of who is truly in charge of shaping our path in life. Did you put any of yourself or your experiences into this book?

I have always had a strong connection to the dead, but certainly not to the extent that Lisen does with her gift as a necropath. I think one of the most interesting aspects of the story is the character of Flandari, a woman too tightly wound to give her son any love at all and who is ultimately stolen away from Lisen before Lisen gets a chance to know her. My mother was a distant woman, and I realized after creating the character of Flandari that she was very like my own mother. Unlike me, however, Lisen finds a way to love. She makes a friend in Jozan, and there is clearly something going on with her Captain Cutie. She’s open to the possibilities, and this is thanks to her time with the Holts.

Fractured is book 1 in the Lisen of Solsta series. Where does book to take the characters and what do you invision for the series in the future?

There are 3 more books already available: Tainted, book 2, in which Lisen must come to terms with what to do about her brother (and which contains the true beginning of the match between her and Korin); Blooded, book 3, which finds Lisen struggling with this new mantle on her shoulders of Empir; and Protector of Thristas, book 4, which begins fifteen years after the end of Blooded because I wanted to know who these people became when they grew up. I am currently working on what was originally book 5 and the final book. However, it’s turning into a longer project than originally planned, and although it will still put an end to the story, it’s likely to be two books rather than one.

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Fractured (Lisen of Solsta Book 1) by [St. Martin, D. Hart]“Seventeen-year-old Lisen Holt only begins to realize that her life is fractured after a sorcerer abducts her from a California beach and brings her home to Garla. She awakens at Solsta Haven, a refuge for the spiritual members of Garlan society known as hermits. The sorcerer, Hermit Eloise, has returned Lisen?s body to its true form?a human-like marsupial with no visible breasts and a fuzzy pouch just above where her bellybutton once was. She then restores Lisen?s memory of her first ten years in Garla, leaving her earthly existence behind but not forgotten. Although she is Lisen of Solsta now, questions haunt her, questions Eloise refuses to answer. Who are the parents who left her at Solsta? Why did Eloise send her to Earth? And what is so important about her that Eloise has manipulated so much of her life? The answers will propel Lisen into a quest for a throne, and all that will stand between her and her birthright is her matricidal twin of a brother.”

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The League of Wizards

Danny Estes Author Interview

Danny Estes Author Interview

Master Athina comes to a whirlwind close. Through four books we have followed the journey of Jim, construction manager from our world into the body of Athina; lady of another world. What was one thing that you wanted to make sure you accomplished in the final chapter?

To illustrate no matter the sex or size of a person, we all have our strengths and can shine if allowed.

Athina has slowly absorbed Jim and now they seem to be one person. The transition over the series has been subtle and fantastic. Did you map out this transition or did this happen organically as you went into each book?

I knew I wanted something to surprise my readers, so I was looking for the opportunity as I was writing. So you could say a bit of both however, I didn’t come by the full details of her life’s events until I’d finished Book 2, Lady Athina.

Athina obtains the title of Master Builder. Why do you think this was an important milestone for her character?

By the end of book 4, Athina is inaugurated into the league of Wizards. All through the books I hinted very subtly she had Magical abilities. But not until book 4 did I let them come out so everyone could see. As for Master Builder, that title will come in time.

How does it feel to have your series come to a close?

Breathtaking. My writing style is finishing a story in one book. Working this story into 4 books was a large task for me. Keeping track of dates, places, names and personalities was a real job as it takes me a full year to write a story. In the end though I’m real glad I took the venture.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will that be available?

My next book is a world apart from this one. An arctic wolf by the name of Braxton Snow is my main character. His girlfriend Joann is a jackrabbit. Braxton is a private investigator by trade. The title of this up coming work is, Braxton Snow P.I. With any luck it’ll be out late in the year of 2017.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

Master Athina (The Books of Athina Book 4) by [Estes, Danny]Athina and Wendell have returned to the house of Burgundy, ready to rebuild and protect the coast; they must not allow landfall to Tallar White’s army from across the sea. But Wendell’s brother betrays them both. Kidnapped, thrown into Tallar’s dungeon, Athina must use all her willpower and wits to survive, escape, and warn her people about the invading force headed to her homeland to overthrow the king. With the assistance of merpeople long believed to be legend, Athina and her allies have a narrow chance to race Tallar to the throne.

More important than the kingdom to Athina, she cannot lose her children to the scheming usurper. Desperate to know how they fare, she discovers latent magic that could turn the tide of battle. If only the men around her would believe the magic is real and recognize her as a Master.

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This New Twist

Danny Estes Author Interview

Danny C. Estes Author Interview

Jim Sanders left behind modern life when a wizard hooked his freshly-dead soul out of the ether and placed it in the body of a 16 year old girl from the middle ages. I find the setup of Lady Athina to be entertaining. How did this idea start and develop as you wrote?

In truth, it just sort of came to me. I knew I wanted to move Jim into a fantasy world, but simply doing that seemed anti climactic. I pondered for a bit and thought, what would happen if a macho guy suddenly ended up in a small girls body. With this new twist, I rewrote Jim to be a large guy, then gave some hint of his life before I moved him to the new world.

Jim Sanders is an intriguing character with an interesting backstory. What was the inspiration for the main character’s traits and dialogue?

I’ve worked around construction people for a few years and drew up what I considered most wanted to be, a strong, tall and confident man. However, such would be boring without some tragedy to mold his personality. Thus as the story progressed, I sought out meaningful snippets of his life to make him more viable and believable.

Are you a fan of the Sword & Sorcery genre? What books do you think most influenced your work?

Right out of high school, some friends introduced me to fantasy roll playing. We mainly dealt with magic and swords. Elves, dwarves and the like were always on hand. So yes I’m a big fan of Swords, magic and the medieval era. Reading fantasy books also caught my eye, but real history books of the dark ages put everything into perspective for me.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?

My next book is Mother Athina. This is the 3rd book in a series of 4 books. Currently Mother Athina is on the market at Amazon.com.

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Lady Athina (The Books of Athina, #2)Former construction company owner Jim Sanders left behind the modern life he knew when a master wizard hooked his freshly-dead soul out of the ether and placed it in the body of a 16-yr-old girl, Lady Athina Green. Newly widowed and displaced, Jim must dodge advances from Athina’s old boyfriend, outmaneuver assassins, and avoid Athina’s father marrying her off to anyone else for political gain. Jim borrows knives and trouble when he jumps the fence and disappears into the night to save himself from a medieval world controlled by men. While on the run, memories of emotional abuse at his own father’s hands manifest in Jim’s nightmares, culminating in an identity crisis that shakes him to his core. With the help of Athina’s few allies, Jim faces his largest trial yet as a woman. It’s time to pull on his big girl panties and face an uncertain future.

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Fractured: Lisen of Solsta

Fractured (Lisen of Solsta, #1)4 Stars

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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Storm of Arranon

Storm of Arranon (Storm of Arranon, #1)5 Stars

Storm of Arranon by Robynn Sheahan is a science-fiction fantasy saga of Erynn and her people. This book is a fictional self-journey. Erynn is not entirely who she thinks she is, and as a result, she goes on an epic adventure of self-discovery and acceptance. Along with her personal growth, she discovers another world within her world. Erynn then embarks on a journey with new friends filled with mystery, magic, and murder. Through this excursion from an omnipotent narrator, you are sucked into a unique, wonderful world and learn the intimate thoughts, wishes, and desires of everyone.

This book is astonishing. It is a thrilling ride filled with excitement from the beginning to the end. The opening line in the book grabbed my attention and made me want to continue. There is an air of mystery that also kept me hooked and wanting more. It was difficult for me to put the book down.

Sheahan also creates a refreshing book with a female lead. In most books, the man is rescuing the woman, but Erynn is a strong, independent women calling the shots and fighting her own battles. One part of this I did not like was that Sheahan compared the leading female to a man to show her strength, something I could have gone without. Another aspect was that she was small, which is also another trope with female lead characters. Otherwise, it strays pretty far away from the stereotypes of female leads.

The story is complex, interwoven with various plot devices. There is an entire world the author creates complete with a made-up language. Some of the words were not explained or given context, but you find out what they are or what they represent later. One writing style device I had issues with was the use of italics; there were some instances I was not sure why the author used them.

It is important to note that you must pay close attention to everything going on in the book. Something or someone you would deem as insignificant in most books turns out to be important. There is also a lot of action going on at the beginning of the book, and then throughout the rest of it, do not let that deter you. It may be overwhelming for some, but it is easy to keep track of and incredible. Storm of Arranon is a fascinating, fun read. Overall, the world Sheahan created is a wallop of a tale that fully immerses you.

I got to discover this novel world with Erynn as she discovered it, which left me with a feeling of wonderment. I highly recommend this book to others. I have also seen there are more books in the series, and I am looking forward to reading more about Erynn and her adventures with her friends.

Pages: 287 | ISBN: 1466234970

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Dreamers Like Me

Christopher Clark Author Interview

Christopher Clark Author Interview

Wyatt is an average kid with aspirations of serving in the Imperial Army when a strange dream leads him down a harrowing path that changes his life forever. What was the inspiration for the original and fascinating idea at the center of The Humming Blade?

The story is, in all honesty, the story I would’ve wanted to read in my youth. The Campbellian hero is relateable for a lot of reasons, and that blueprint is, in many ways, the blueprint for Wyatt’s journey. A dream or a prophesy are often found in those stories, and this is no different. Wyatt has to discover not only what it means to be a hero, but also what it means to truly have no say in the major life events that define the book.

I find the world you created in this novel brimming with possibilities. Where did the inspiration for the setting come from and how did it change as you were writing?

All of my ideas start out very small – a place, a specific thing, a person, etc. The Humming Blade was born of the idea of a world where the things everyday people see are built upon the bones of of something much older, greater, and harder to understand. It became necessary to make this setting familiar, because it had to feel easy to understand and subsequently easy to subvert. The idea that the familiar and the normal can be built upon the foundation of something completely alien is something that I love to think about our own world all the time. I think that dreamers like me will really find an easy home in this setting.

Wyatt is a well developed and intriguing character. What was the inspiration for his character traits and dialogue?

Wyatt is a little bit of every late-teens kid – smart, fast-learning, driven, and well-meaning. He’s bored of the only hand he feels is available to him and desperately wants to find a way out, which is certainly a feeling that I know a lot about. He’s something we’ve all been or all will be at some point in our lives. But he has a few bad traits of teenagers, too – he’s a bit mouthy, selfish, and stubborn. His motivation for most of this story is not to save the world or avert catastrophe; he just wants his mom back home where she belongs. He’s forced into making choices that he never wanted to make, and realizes that maybe the old and familiar life he lost wasn’t so bad after all.

I enjoyed the ending of the novel, although it left some things unanswered. What will book two cover and when will that be available?

The ending was definitely a deliberate choice on my part. Wyatt will begin the next book struggling with the ramifications of what happened, as well as a greater question: what place is there in the world for the “Chosen One” once he has fulfilled his destiny? What does he do now that he’s served his purpose? All throughout the first novel, the reader sees glimpses of things happening behind closed doors. Those scenes are like seeds – in book two, those seeds will grow and bear fruit. As far as when the book will be available, I hope to have it written soon. The first thirty-thousand or so words are already written, and the rest will come easily. I’m working on another project (some stories just have to be written!), but once that draft is complete and I’m off editing it, writing will resume on The Humming Blade’s sequel.

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The Humming BladeWyatt Arden thinks he leads a pretty normal life. He lives on a boring, everyday farm outside of a sleepy little town called Ven, doing boring chores for his mom when he’s not in school. He yearns for a chance to enlist in the Imperial Army and bring some excitement to his life, but he’s sure that will never happen. Wyatt soon learns that it only takes one strange dream for everything normal about his life to change. In that dream, he envisions a beautiful, powerful sword, a blade linked to deep magic and even deeper mysteries. The dream precedes an unexpected series of events that lead Wyatt into a harrowing, life-altering struggle for the lives of his friends, his family, and the world as he knows it. Wyatt must face vicious killers, dark schemers, and beings of such great power that their existence was erased from history. His only weapon? The Humming Blade.

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Countless Nights of Terror

Turhan Halil Author Interview

Turhan Halil Author Interview

Silverblood Demons follows Kylar as he is plagued by demonic dreams that have turned sexual and led him to father three children. What was the inspiration for this interesting and provocative idea?

Thank you so much for asking that question. Since I was Kylar’s age I have been having ‘exactly’ those experiences. Sometimes they would happen day after day, and at other times it would stop for a year or so. After countless nights of terror I began to realise (I’m British, hence the ‘s’ in realise) that despite the supernatural element to the sexual advances upon my body, I would find myself in a weird and wacky way not entirely ‘unhappy’. Part two of the answer is that after talking about this to a close friend that teaches acting classes at her college, (The character Kat in my novel was inspired by this friend) she suggested that I write a book about my experiences and that led to Silverblood Demons being born 🙂

In a whirlwind fashion Kylar is plunged into an unexpected quest to rescue the daughters he never knew he had. What were some influences for the relationship between Kylar and his daughters?

Wow, I never even asked myself that question. Hmm, I guess if I dig really deep, in a flashback kinda way, I’d have to say that the daughter’s my first wife and I lost during her miscarriages may have led to me bringing them back to life in a way that I could reconnect with them again…

There is a lot of well developed characters in Silverblood Demons. Which character was your favorite to write for and why?

Lol, I really can’t select just one without upsetting the rest of my novel’s sister’s and daughter’s etc. They are in many ways, different aspects of who I am in my imagination, or would like to be when faced with real life’s challenges. Sometimes when I’m dreaming I think they visit me (Yeah I know it sound like I’m really ‘out there’ and then again, maybe I am?) they seem to give me clues about which direction I should take in my life.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will that be published?

It’s going to be the 2nd book of the trilogy Daughters of Darkness and is going to be called

Silverblood Sister’s (Yup, that’s a Hungry Monster exclusive title reveal!!!)

It’s currently in progress and I’d like for my cast to hurry up and get their collective acts together by midsummer 2017 so that we can all find out what happened to…

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Silverblood Demons (Daughters of Darkness Book 1) by [Turhan]Twenty three year old Kylar has finally had enough of the demonic nightmares that have been plaguing him since childhood. Deciding to learn why some of them have turned so sexual, he seeks answers at a close friend’s occult bookstore where she reveals to him that he has been used by demons to father three girls while in a semi-state of sleeping. Soon after, he also learns that he has two estranged sisters that have incredible powers and together they set out on a journey that takes them to literal Hell and back in an effort to rescue his daughters. While embarking on this quest, he struggles internally with an existing relationship with his current girlfriend. It becomes further complicated when an ex-girlfriend, Sin-dy, that has never given up on the idea that one day they would be together again, also joins him as they face off several times with the demon Ophelexa and her sidekicks. One of his daughters, a natural born warrior, fifteen year old Amber, becomes an integral part of the battle to take back home not just her siblings, but millions of other teenaged virgin girls held in a ‘Paradise’ in Hell that are destined to be used in a fiendish plot to give birth to more demons and ultimately control all of Earth’s inhabitants. Risking everything for everyone comes along with a heavy price that is paid by all that set out on this epic battle that has more beginnings than endings.

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Lady Athina

Lady Athina (The Books of Athina)4 StarsThings have gotten worse for our protagonist since we saw them last in Lord Athina. Danny C. Estes outdoes himself in the second installment of his trilogy: Lady Athina. Our protagonist, Jim, who was whisked away from the world as we know it and plunged into the body of a sixteen-year-old high-born woman who has just given birth is not out of the woods yet. Lady Athina follows Jim’s trial in the body of Athina as he tries to make sense of what happened to him at the end of the previous book. Feeling more isolated than before, Jim finds himself meeting both of Athina’s parents and realizes that he is now an eligible female whose parents want her wed. Still struggling to accept the fact that he is no longer a man in his late thirties but a woman in her prime, Jim rejects everything and everyone with the entirety of his being. Assassination attempts have him learning how to use a knife but he’ll be damned before he lets himself be married off.

Lady Athina is much more of an emotional ride than the previous tale. Even though he is in a woman’s body, Jim’s male mind is still infatuated with breasts and women so the very thought of marrying, and consummating said relationship, with a man makes the very heterosexual Jim balk. In fact, we learn that Jim would rather get naked with Renault, a female guard who is staying with Athina’s family since she saved Athina’s life, than with Wendell; the young man Athina was apparently smitten with many years before she was married off.

Jim struggles in this tale with the fact that he is not used to the frail female body he’s trapped in, but he also struggles in dealing with trauma from his former life. Dealing with flashbacks of his youth growing up in a household ruled by domestic violence, it is clear to see that his distaste for how Athina’s father treats her is founded in personal experience. There are some things that will translate no matter what sex you are.

In an attempt to flee marriage to Wendell, Jim/Athina finds himself/herself running from the safety of Athina’s father’s walls and out into the unknown world. Jim receives kindness from strangers who basically keep him alive long enough to be sucked into an enchanted forest and into the hands of the wizard who rules there. It is here that Jim reunites with Renault and discovers parts of himself he thought were long buried. With his newfound understanding of himself and his relationship to the body he now inhabits, Jim forges forth to write a new tale for Athina.

This installment in the Athina series is a refreshing change from the obsession with the female-form that the first had. Estes has a clearer grip on Jim as a person as he guides the story over more realistic emotional hurdles that the first book lacked. Picking up smoothly from where the first book ended, Lady Athina is a welcome tale of adventure and defiance that leaves readers begging for more.

Pages: 224 | ASIN: B00JSQ5XHW

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