Beyond the Moon The Voyages of Jake Flynn #2 By R.J. Wood This is my stop during the blog tour for Beyond the Moon by R.J. Wood. This tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 11 till 24 June. See […]
Tag: Kindle Unlimited
As both dragons and Riders struggle to return to the ways of old, from before the land fell into darkness, the evil king undermines their every move with spies and sabotage. Bower knows their efforts are doomed without a final assault against the palace, but […]
On the eve of battle, Bower will have to fulfill a mystical prophecy and become the leader he was born to be, or risk his future kingdom falling apart. Surrounded on all sides by deadly foes, he must face not only the evil king, but his deep doubts about himself.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Series: Upon Dragon's Breath #2
Author: Ava Richardson
Publication Date: December 30, 2016
Publisher: Relay Publishing Ltd.
Page Count: 214
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Cover Artist: Joemel Requeza
My Rating: ★★★
This synopsis may contain spoilers!
Bower, being the rightful heir to the throne, is the bridge between the world of dragons and men. After a slim escape from King Enric, Bower has taken up residence with Saffron among her clutch of dragons. In the time he is there, it is the dragons’ duty to teach him about magic, and what it means to be a king to both humans and dragons. Not understanding much of magic herself, Saffron decides to take Bower to visit the old Hermit. Upon arriving, they find the Hermit mortally wounded, and discover that the king knows the two of them are on the island as they were his attackers. The Hermit instructs them to find the Three-Rivers clans before he succumbs to his injuries.
”Find what I’ve hidden for you, my king. Take back what is yours by right. Get to the clans. Stop Enric. Trust each other.”
Bower and Saffron meet with the dragons to discuss what they are to do about King Enric. Bower, being the rightful heir, must show his worth to the dragons before they are willing to back him up. In order to gain their trust, the dragons send him on a quest to make friends between the dragons and island people–which is not a simple task. There has been a long-spanning dispute between the two races.. The local shaman speaks of messengers from the king arriving on the island, looking for the two of them, then reveals that she plotted to lure them out so they could be captured. Before Bower is able to enlist the people in a peace treaty with the dragons, the islanders are forced to take refuge in Den Mountain with the dragons from a raid the king planned with the shaman.
Bower helps to lead the dragon swarm in a fight against the king’s boats. Defeating them, Bower instructs the villagers and dragons that they need to find a different place to live, now that the king knows where the dragons were residing. He and Saffron then leave the island astride Jaydra, to seek out the Three-Rivers clan of dragon riders. On the way, Saffron uses the opportunity to help Bower develop his riding skills, along with her abilities with magic.
The group finds the Three-Rivers clan, but they aren’t who they imagined. They do not live in harmony with their dragons, and treat them as wild animals. When their leader Ryland learned that Bower is the rightful king of Torvald, he challenged Bower to mount one of their black dragons to prove his dominance. Bower realizes that the dragons are nocturnal, and frees one, trying to make the wild creature realize he’s not trying to hurt it. The dragon, out of anger, knocks Ryland from his dragon and the two dragons escape. Out of fear, Saffron uses her magic to keep Bower safe from the feral dragon, and ends up injuring some and scaring the dragons off.
The town is raided by the Iron Guard. Saffron discovers that Ryland doesn’t have any other dragons as they are all feral and unrideable. Saffron, Bower, and Jaydra do what they can to hold the Iron Guard back, but when the king’s magic stops them and tries to call Saffron back to him. In desperate need of aid, Bower sends out a call to all dragons. The brood from Den Mountain, along with dragons from several other surrounding locations hear him, and come to help. As Saffron fights the king with magic, Bower focuses on guiding the dragon warriors.
Exhausted after the magic battle with the Iron Guard, Bower and Saffron are held and watched by the Three Rivers Clan. The red dragons that came to Bower’s aid confronted them, but were unable to share their thoughts with humans. Ysix and the rest of Jaydra’s brood arrive and show both the red dragons and the Three Rivers clan that dragons and humans have an ancient bond, and acknowledge Bower as the rightful king. Ysix is able to help repair relations between the humans and some of the black dragons. On the same side, the dragons choose their riders, and they learn how to work together through training.
One evening, Saffron is acting strange and turns in early. Bower, worried about her strange reactions, goes to check on her. He finds her in a nightmarish state, and is dragged into the depths of her dream, where Enric infiltrates her mind and tries to persuade Saffron again to join him. She is able to break from his grasps with the help of Jaydra, but now the king knows their location.
A massive battle ensues between the dragons and the king’s Iron Guard. King Enric tries to force Saffron to come to him. In her anger, she recklessly uses her magic and creates a massive storm. With the distraction of the storm, and the valiant sacrifice by Ryland, they are able to escape the king’s clutches.
1) Dragons of Wild: ★★★½
Initially, I was slow to get back into this series, and remembering all of the details. I let far too much time pass from when I read Dragons of Wild, which is a shame. What I found when I jumped back into this world, however, was how much I appreciated this series. It’s clean, it has straight-forward intentions, the characters are wholesome, and it is a refreshing deviation from the typical YA fantasy read.
Dragons of Kings is set in the surrounding lands of Torvald. While there is detail given of the land, it is not in depth, and somewhat difficult to follow where the characters actually are. More of the world building comes into play when the reader is introduced to the Three-Rivers Clan, and see some of their perspectives, especially towards dragons.
Pacing & Readability
The pacing is moderate but remains consistent throughout the entire book. While this book is easy to read, I had a difficult time staying engaged with it as not a lot happened. The distance between “point A” to “point B” could be summed up in just a few sentences.
Point-of-View & Characters
The point-of-view remains the same as Dragons of Wild, and shifts between Saffron and Bower. The reader is privy to moderately deeper ruminations of the characters this time around. I felt that I got a better picture of Bower’s character overall.
“I had been raised with books, not with battles.”
For the first time, Bower is challenged by the dragons to see if he is worthy enough to be the dragon king. He knows he is the true heir to the throne, but struggles immensely with the responsibility that comes with it.
Saffron’s character was rather flat in this sequel. While she has a few challenges thrown her way, her character didn’t react as much as I would have expected in the situations. If it wasn’t for Jaydra helping her along, I fear Saffron would be nearly unremarkable.
We are introduced to a few new characters (both dragons and humans) in this installment, but these too are barely explored. Ryland, the leader of the Three-Rivers clan is briefly introduced, then made into a petty criminal with his acts towards the black dragons. (view spoiler)[While I feel his character tried to be redeemed by his sacrifice in the end, he simply didn’t do much to move the plot forward. (hide spoiler)]
King Enric, the antagonist of the series, is probably the most consistent character of all. I felt that as the villain, he delivered what was expected of him.
⇒ Good vs. Evil:
The battle between good and evil is the central theme through this series. Saffron and Bower, the representatives of good, fight against King Enric, an evil sorcerer king who has tried (and mostly succeeded) in wiping everyone’s minds clean of dragons and history in general. As I stated in my review for Dragons of Wild, this series parallels Fahrenheit 451, in the idea that knowledge (books) are dangerous. This is exactly the world that King Enric is trying to enforce and control, which truly is a terrifying goal for an antagonist.
This theme is also applicable for Saffron as she battles with her Maddox magic.
“If it is magic for human and dragons to share a mind, is it magic that also breaks our ties? Or is it the lack of magic? And if there is a place where Jaydra and Saffron are one thing in our hearts and minds, is there also a place where Saffron and Enric are one?”
Unsure of its functioning, Saffron doesn’t know if the magic is good, or evil like that of King Enric’s. It causes a rift between her and Jaydra, and Jaydra must protect herself from being influenced by the king when Saffron uses her magic. There wasn’t a conclusion to this issue, and assume it will be made clear in the sequel, Dragons of Dark.
⇒ Coming of age:
This story was largely centered around Bower, and him coming to terms with the fact that he is the rightful heir to the throne. Not only that, he has the ability to unite the dragons and humans once again. Throughout the entire story, he is seeking his worth, understanding, ability, and influence. Being one that loved to hit the books, he hadn’t had any experience with leading others. It was a trait that he had to learn and develop for his own.
⇒ Unity/Coming Together:
Another underlying theme was bringing unity between the dragons and humans in order to fight King Enric. After a long time of having little-to-no ties, Bower must word in tandem with the dragons to gain their respect and trust, as well as be a good advocate for them to the humans.
Things that I liked:
⇒ The dragons and humans learning to work together.
⇒ The diversity of the dragons. This is more of a personal point, but I loved learning about all of the variations of dragons, and how different they are!
⇒ How clean of a read this is!
Things that I didn’t like:
⇒ The plot pacing was a bit slow. I found myself having to reread areas because I became distracted and didn’t pay enough attention.
⇒ I still had some difficulty really engaging myself in the characters’ stories. I felt that they and several other aspects of the plot needed more depth.
While I really wanted to like this series more, I feel like there’s an outstretched hand, halting my progression in immerse myself further. I’d like to get further into this world, but need more depth in the characters in order to do so. I’m hoping Dragons of Dark will fulfill my hopes for this series because I think it really has potential to be great!
Sexual content: None.
Violence: While there are several fight scenes, there is no gore.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Since the topic of the day (and this month) is LOVE, let’s talk about something that has captured my affections. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it. Or maybe, you haven’t… Either way, it’s the topic of today’s Top 5 Wednesday, […]
Though the tyrant rajah she was forced to marry is dead, Kalinda’s troubles are far from over. A warlord has invaded the imperial city, and now she’s in exile. But she isn’t alone. Kalinda has the allegiance of Captain Deven Naik, her guard and beloved, […]
In Mundir, the gods are real. When Lars arrives, following his dying mother's last instructions to find his family there, all the gods take notice. With a mysterious compass and a gift from the God of Death, Lars will fulfill his mother's dying wish or lose his soul trying.
Synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Author: Scott Beckman
Publication Date: April 27, 2017
Publisher: Scott Beckman
Page Count: 308
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Cover Artist: ---
My Rating: ★★★½
I wasn’t really sure what this book was actually about going into it. The synopsis provided was vague and short. It’s not a long book, and after getting through it, I understood why such little information was provided. It’d be too revealing (and perhaps, confusing) otherwise.
I was surprised, however, at how much was packed into its pages. While I feel that I didn’t get to know the characters as intimately as I had hoped, I appreciated that the necessities for understanding each of them was still given. The main character Lars didn’t really have a positive or negative impact on me personally. His character was indifferent, and I remained indifferent to him throughout most of the plot, until finding out the truth about him in the end (which I didn’t see coming.)
What I appreciated most about this book was how the characters interacted with the world, and mythology around them.
It’s not very often that we see a “hero’s” consequences for taking a life, especially in fantasy tales. There’s normally bloodshed, with little-to-no afterthought about those actions, or the lives that were lost. The gods of Mundir hold everyone accountable for their actions. I thought it interesting how no one escapes their choices. Which god one serves is determined by each character’s individual actions.
“I do not serve any of your gods.”
“In Mundir, you do,” Rogan said. “They are gods, Lars! They don’t care about your thoughts or beliefs. They make the laws. And in Mundir, every time you take a human life unjustly, you pray to Nex.”
These gods are very relevant and influential in day-to-day life. Lars finds this out the hard way when he kills a man in Mundir. Doing so literally changed part of his physique, marking him as a “worshipper” of Nex, a god not highly-esteemed in comparison to the others.
I wished this story was more detailed and had more page time. I think there is a lot here that could be elaborated on in ways that wouldn’t be overwhelming or overkill. I really enjoyed this story, but wanted more in context of the mythology, and more of the setting itself. What information is given on the world is well-written, detailed, and unique. I think this would be an enjoyable read for many fantasy-lovers, however, the length of the book may be a point of frustration as well. Either way, I’d still recommend it! If it were ever rewritten into a longer story, I would definitely be reading it again.
Sexual content: Some, but nothing explicit.
Into this dark and twisted land, Saffron was born sixteen years ago. Cursed with dragon affinity and magical powers, she has been forced into a life of exile and raised by dragons—secretly dreaming of a normal life and the family she lost. But as her […]
Release date, June 1, 2017! As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her […]
Release date May 28, 2017!
Hansel and Gretel Herrscher survived the witch in the woods, but the experience has made Hansel paranoid for the past ten years. He sees dark magic at every turn. When Gretel has a marriage arranged to a much older man, and Hansel discovers he's about to be sent halfway across the galaxy, he knows something sinister is afoot.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Series: Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles #2
Author: Katie Hamstead
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Page Count: 245
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Retellings, Romance
Cover Artist: Eugene Teplitsky
My Rating: ★★★
1) Princess of Tyrone: ★★★★½
“Fear is very powerful, almost as powerful as love.”
Escaping from the woods and the evil witch only proved to be one narrow escape for Hansel and Gretel as they found themselves in another hostile situation once they return home. Their new stepmother is sneaky, tricky, and manipulative. Years go by and her treachery of leading the children into the forest fades from everyone’s mind–except Hansel’s. He knows something is off about the woman.
Wilhelmine, once embarrassingly love-struck with the famous and heroic Hansel, has accidentally classified herself as being dull and airheaded in Hansel’s eyes. The daughter of an important man, she finds herself thrown uncomfortably back into the presence of Hansel, as his younger sister Gretel is betrothed to her father for the sake of political gain. Gretel, being good friends with Minna, becomes the mediator between their awkward relationship. Hansel sees the marriage as a scheme orchestrated by their stepmother to do away with the brother and sister. Deciding before they are split from one another, the two flee before the marriage can take place. Minna, catching them as they escape, joins in their adventure and is taken on a ride that will change her life, and all of their lives, forever.
This is the first retelling I’ve read that hasn’t opened into a scene of insta-love! I didn’t enjoy this retelling as much as its predecessor, Princess of Tyrone. I did like how this book ended and tied back to the prior installment. The first half of the book I had a hard time getting into. Hansel’s bipolar attitude was irritating, and I felt terrible for Wilhelmine. Once the plot got moving, the second half took me by surprise as it made a 180-turn. I was drawn in by the sudden twists and didn’t see them coming one bit. I won’t say further what those were for wanting to keep this review spoiler-free.
Wilhelmine (Minna): Poor girl. Talk about emotional and verbal abuse. Hansel put her through the ringer and played with her mind at every turn for years. His reasoning is divulged later on, but it didn’t necessarily justify the extent of his treatment of her. However much she had been through, Minna somehow remained gracious enough to rise above Hansel’s offense.
Hansel: He drove me nuts through the first half of the book. His irrational dislike of Wilhelmine and unjustifiable cruelty was opposite of what I was expecting in a fairy tale retelling. As he spends more time with Minna, he thankfully manages to grow out of his childish demeanor.
Gretel: She is proof that petty jealousy can get you in a bind if one isn’t willing to hear the truth. Her innocence makes her susceptible to believing everything that she sees, rather than investigating further into the story.
Overall, I enjoyed this story. There are lessons for the characters and readers to learn. It wasn’t as captivating as the first book in this series but was entertaining in its own way.
If you enjoy science fiction lite retellings with a side of mythology, this series is for you.
Apolline is happy hunting magical creatures on her pirate infested outer-perimeter planet. She is a fantastic shot, and doesn’t flinch at the blood and guts of her kills. Never once did she consider she could be the missing Princess of Tyrone. Partial synopsis provided by […]