Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Vayemniri mystery

I had hoped to have this review out in time for the launch of the fourth book in the Brimstone Angel anthology, but I had forgotten how long it takes me to read epic fantasy. It is not a bad thing, just a misjudged timeline on my part. These novels are so engrossing and take you on such a fabulous journey. And you can't rush a journey.

Ashes of the Tyrant by Erin M. Evans

The previous book was largely courtly intrigue and relationships. We were in the human lands of the Forgotten Realms. Most of the characters and cultures were familiar. Farideh and Havilar created tension by being the odd people out and made a fun novel to read. This novel we gear towards mystery and politics when an entire group of youngsters comes up murdered. All of this is happening in Djerad Thymar with the Vayemniri. And all 30 years after Mehen was exiled. Now Farideh and Havilar aren't the odd faces out, but there is still tension to move the story forward. 

While this is a series of stories around the greater mystery of the Brimstone Angel (and what in Infernal is she up to?), each individual novel has a new and fresh feel. The faces are the same but the places are different each time, and that gives the characters depth. They must react differently and grow according to their surroundings. The love issues are there developing along with the characters even if it isn't as prominent as the last novel.

We especially get to see growth with Dumuzi and his struggle with the Vayemniri versus gods culture. I have fallen in love with the fantasy genre even more because it has grown so far past elves and dwarves. The dragonborn aren't human so they shouldn't have a human history. The author makes an ethos here. She builds them a history. Then that history gives a tension worth reading and thinking about.

I am never bored by what I read in the Forgotten Realms. The whole process can be slow going, but they are never boring. I just wouldn't recommend picking this up if you are looking for a light weekend read. I do highly recommend them if you are looking for something to delve into that other world, that escape from the daily grind for a little bit each night. Four stars to Ashes of the Tyrants because I liked Fire in the Blood better.

The floods of spring are coming...

Because all the snow is melting in the Northeast. The plus side to being frozen inside? A couple of extra days snuggled with the hubbie and poodles for warmth and plenty of down time to read! 

Noah's Wife by Lindsay Starck

Can you say that the townspeople had no faith when they are so staunchly holding onto a sinking town? They certainly had turned their faces from the heavens that were raining down on them to the drowning of their city. As they continued to focus on rescuing their lives, their outlook on God changed. All seemed to devolve from a bright faith to a haggard hope. There are so many contradictions in this novel to pick apart and discuss. I love it. The whole story gets you out there thinking about faith and love. Also, you get to thinking about what you would do if presented with continuous rain to the point you can't even remember when it started.

My downside to the novel--it could EASILY have been 100 pages shorter. There are multiple points of view that cover the dilemma of the townspeople that are all valid. I wouldn't want to cut out an entire voice. However, the over exaggeration of a personal bit of information with no background is frustrating. I believe this is the first novel I have read where the author didn't bore me with details; instead it was the general story telling. The landscape is vague and the characters are vague, but the novel is a whopping 400 pages long.

Now, some of the vagueness I get. This story is adapted from the Bible; where we do not know Noah's wife's real name. So using that possessive contraction principle on many of the other characters makes her stick out less. Brilliant. The rain covering every inch of the town would be hard to paint an exact picture of the landscape (like looking through a champagne glass at art during a gala). Purposeful. The disruption of faith as a statement and nothing more. That is where you lose me. (I get that you are probably trying to leave me up to my own devices to think about the subject and place my stamp on the book, but you told me so much else I didn't need to know I feel a little gypped.)

It is on shelves now, but I'm not really recommending it unless you feel up for it. The price tag is certainly too high for a lackluster read that I really had to push through. I'll give it 2 stars solely for the benefit of making me think outside my happy little fiction ozone.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Seekers are back in 2016

2015 was a great year for book reviews. I found some really great new authors, read some fantastic non-fiction to make me think about the world, and kept up with some series that haven't disappointed. To kick off 2016, we are started with one of those series that keep rocking it, the sequel to Seeker. You can see what I had to say about the amazing intro novel here

Traveler by Arwen Elys Dayton

We pick up in the aftermath of Seeker. All three of our protagonists are sorting through the truths they discovered. Each having a very separate reaction. The dynamics have completely changed. Their world is on its axis, and they have to figure how to put it right. 

Once again we get a beautiful epic. The action is high intensity; the secrets are peeling apart in layers; the viciousness comes to new levels. There are two new additional points of view. Nott adds to the darkness of the book (because these aren't your fluffy young adult novels) and Catherine builds the secret and mystery. Quin, Shinobu, and John continue to be strong personalities with great story arcs. 

When it seems that all horrible truths have been revealed, the trio keep digging up new horrifying parts to their Seeker legacy. All of them are on a mission; those missions just don't seem to coincide with one another. We are now facing an us versus them situation with people from the same side.

The tension builds to make it hard to put the book down. The plot really hasn't slowed down since chapter one of book one. Impressed. I can't say that the book is better than the first, but there wasn't a lot of room to make something more. They are equal excellence.

Traveler gets 4.5 stars. You can pick up your copy next Tuesday.