I loved it!
The characters have depth and you, as the reader, feel their tragedy and their triumph. Calvin handles the range of emotions equally well - love and fury, happiness and distress.
I find the world interesting in that Calvin has built her story around old laws and conservative intransigence. “Everybody knows” this will be bad, but the law says… Then what will the protagonists do – come out of hiding and find who they really are!
That is truly the core of the story – who are you behind your façade. At least in my opinion – that is where I found the tension. It is a journey on which we follow the main character, Andrew. At each step he learns something new he faces the question of do I share this? Does it become part of my public appearance, or do I keep it hidden.
The one nit I have with the story is that Calvin gets repetitive on the central interaction between Andrew and his brother Alexander. In my opinion there could be fewer reminders that Andrew sees himself as Alexander’s protector. But, like I said, this is a minor nit in an excellent story. The pace is excellent, the writing is crisp, the result is quite enjoyable.
Very much looking forward to Guardian, the next book in the Caein Legacy series.
K. M. Warfield has created an enjoyable fast-paced, tightly crafted high fantasy story. Magic abounds and the gods frequently come to visit our protagonists – a group of five adventurers who carry the fate of Avoch with them.
The novel weaves several threads deftly from start to finish. There is prejudice and coming of age and finding and building dear friendships. There is the duality of life – one’s private self and the public face we often have to put on for others. All of this is done with a light hand that makes the reader grow with the characters; and despise those that fail to advance.
Religion is also a theme. Avoch is polytheistic and the gods often come visit our characters, to give advice, education, and tools. All of them also demand, in return, devotion and service. Again, this part of the world is dealt with matter-of-factly and lightly; the reader feels no proselytizing or pedantry.
Avoch has more magic than I have ever seen in high fantasy. All our adventurers can wield it. There are magical rooms and traps and devices. Of course, the gods have abundant magic. Finally, so do all the primary villains. Drogon has a machine in the first half that is simply a brilliant creation by Ms. Warfield!
I do have two minor complaints. One, there be no dragons. In actuality, there are very few “monsters” that are not humanoid. Second, there are small leaps in time. At one point the group decides to head for some caves to shelter. The next paragraph Thia is waking up in the cave.
Neither of these detracts from the story.
K. M. Warfield’s Scales and Stingers is highly recommended! Available for pre-order now. Available in stores and on-line March 14.
A roaring fantastic mix of swords, sorcery, and suspense!
It is now 48 years since the first collection of stories featuring the heroic pair Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser appeared in book form. Fritz Lieber and his friend Harry Otto Fischer created the characters in 1934 and they first appeared in print in 1939 in the magazine Unknown.
Lieber and Fischer created the characters to try to give a more "real" heroes than Conan the Barbarian and Tarzan. Lieber wrote almost all of the stories and, starting in the mid-1960s, organized the many disparate stories published by that time and filled in the gaps in the storyline.
The first collection includes the most highly acclaimed story of the entire series, "Ill Met in Lankhmar", which won both the Hugo (1971) and Nebula (1970) awards. The stories, individually and in their collected form had a significant influence on the creators of the game Dungeons & Dragons. Some of the characters are actually included in some of the guide books for the game.
Lieber is one of the great writers of the fantasy genre and his characters Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser and many aspects of Lankhmar and the world Nehwon are seen in books and stories and characters scores of years removed. There are seven collections in book form but my favorite, for the aforementioned story which tells of the first meeting of the two heroes, is Swords and Deviltry.
Pawn of Prophecy is the first of a ten-volume epic fantasy first published in 1982. The set is broken into two five-volume groups The Belgariad and The Mallorean. It is high fantasy and quite literally designed around the concept of a Game of Destiny.
It does have many concepts of classic fantasy - a protagonist who does not know his destiny, swords, shapechangers, magic, gods, prophecy, and destiny. It does have multi-faceted characters as well like Kheldar who presents as a merchant but who is a spy, a prince, and a thief all wrapped into one.
Eddings paints a rich world with political intrigue, religion, and interaction between gods, humans, and magic. It lacks the language that Tolkien provides to his trilogy - no elvish or orcish - but in other aspects the world is perhaps even fuller.
Pawn of Prophecy is the coming of age story of Garion and introduces the full pantheon, including the evil antithesis Torak, and the varied "fellowship" that will carry through, with additions and subtractions, the next nine volumes in the battle between good (who sometimes have rifts to overcome) and evil.
David Eddings did have Tolkien in mind when he wrote the series; he was consciously trying to add elements to the classic epic fantasy of Tolkien. One sees this in the world of Aloria. One sees this in the story of Torak. And one sees it in the interplay of the characters and the religions.
This book has over 77,000 ratings on Goodreads with an average of 4.16. The other books of the series are also highly rated, all between 4.1 and 4.2. It is available on Biblio for as little as $3.94 including shipping.
For a variety of reasons I was only able to read Pan. This was truly unfortunate because K. R. Thompson has done a superb job spinning the prequels to Barrie's children's classic. We are brought into the world through Tinkerbell's eyes and see the roots of Peter's character as well as some background on Neverland in an extremely well-written and seamlessly integrated way with the original. Why does Peter Pan flit between depression and manic joy? What is the origin of the lost boys? Ever wonder about the crocodile? And then there's Captain Hook and the merpeople. Thompson brings the backstory to life. Five stars! Highly recommended! Read on!
Pan is available on Amazon and wherever fine books are sold. Look for the other titles in the series while you're there!
Me as a critic (be careful! the harshness will be well concealed!)