A to Z Bookish Survey

Thought to try my hand at this interesting book tag. I got the idea from this blog.

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“The Spirit Thief” by Rachel Aaron

Plot Summary: In the city of Allaze, the king is presumably missing from his ruling throne room. The renowned Eli Monpress has a way with words. In particular, words with the spirits of things. Would his desire for fortune and more importantly fame, jeopardize his freedom at the hands of the Spirit Court’s Miranda Lyonette? Or can Eli continue to utilize his skill, magic, and unmatched wit to evade the unfaltering Miranda in her bid to apprehend him and stifle his continued scheming once and for all? Moreover can Miranda and Eli both throttle the plans of a mutual enemy by combining their strengths to save themselves along with a city that despises them both?

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“Free the Darkness” (King’s Dark Tidings Book 1) by Kel Kade

“Good men want only the power to make things right. Great men seek to make things right and gather the power to do so. Great leaders find those who are worthy of wielding power and set them to the task of making things right”    -Coroleus, J.E. 1,067   

                                                                                                            Excerpt from the Prologue.

Title: Free the Darkness (King’s Dark Tidings Book 1)

Author: Kel Kade

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 6.5/10

Plot Summary: Rezkin, a warrior of little renown, seeks answers from the sole remaining “Striker” present as his tenure at a mysterious fort in the Northern reaches, ends in betrayal. Befriending a similar-aged girl, Frisha Souvain, along with Tamarin “Tam” Blackwater, her guard and escort, the trio embarks on adventure en route to Frisha’s uncle’s estate in the city of Kaibain as Rezkin follows Striker Farson’s ever-growing cold trail. Journeying through lands teeming with bandits, dishonest merchants and a ply for control of a chaotic underground network of thieves, would test Rezkin’s well crafted and numerous abilities, beyond mettle. However, Rezkin carries a shrouded, dark secret. Will his intentions remain hidden from the enamored Frisha? Or will Tam’s developing friendship evaporate with discovering Rezkin’s true motives and ultimate plan?

My take: “Free the Darkness” is the first novel I have read by Kel Kade . While I enjoyed the story and overall theme, I did have qualms with a couple of key elements. Rezkin, to me, is seemingly just too “skilled” or “good” to be bested. Certain mannerism’s he displays make perfect sense to me, yet others do not seem to fit. At least where I think they should. While I can appreciate a “bad a##” warrior that has mastery over a multitude of weapons, I would have preferred him to be presented with more of a challenge, containing moments of strife tossed in to break up the monotony. Ultimately resulting in giving his presence better substance. Therefore transforming those repeating moments I felt during the book in the manner of, “Oh he will have no problems dispatching these bandits or this opposition. He will easily do this or that with little resistance or worry.”,  to suspenseful and provoking pauses while reading, more akin to “Well he should be victorious and overcome this challenge, fight, etc… but..”, would be my ultimate desire to have seen during these junctures. Championing for Rezkin was easy for me. He possesses an uncanny martial prowess and is remarkable in his application of the numerous “Skills” he can employ to ultimate effect, due to the years of his youth into young adulthood, he spent mastering these arts. Yet even heroes of legend have those moments of shortcomings. And it does not have to be total, failure. Minor shifts in momentum, less than desirable outcomes every so often or just common complications sprinkled throughout would have added much depth to the story in that one lacking area in my opinion.

By no means am I bashing the author. I was very impressed with the fight scenes found in the book. They were described with detail to put you on edge, oftentimes graphic and gory in detail, fitting perfectly. This is a dark and gritty world. Engagements in sword fights are not for the faint of heart and I appreciate the fact that the author exposes this fully.

I will read the next installment in this series with the hope that these minor blemishes are just that. Due to the story having equally well-written scenes, I feel the author is perfectly capable of delivering that needed “balance” I yearn for and I look forward to becoming better acquainted with more of the author’s future works and particular style. I would recommend this book to those readers who enjoy fantasy with plenty of pace.

I would love to hear your comments and feelings about my review. Along with your thoughts on the book if you have read it as well. Thank you for reading.

10 Reasons I Love Fantasy Novels

I saw this idea online for a “10 Reasons Why I Love X”

Here are the 10 reasons why I love reading fantasy novels.

1. Worlds and Settings:

Fantasy stories happen in the most personal of places (our minds!). These incredible worlds inspire deep thought and vivid imagination due to each individuals’ interpretation of the author’s description. Unique to each reader frequently producing conversation pieces among their ilk.  Steven Erikson is one of the premiere masters of this art. His worlds are all-encompassing

2. Rulers, Kings and Monarchies:

The governing heads and rulers found in fantasy novels are a personality each their own from a diversified lot. Certain ones are iron-hard in their rulings and governing of their kingdoms’ citizens. Others are firm but fair, preferring sound decisions with compassion, for the subjects of their nation. While many choose to rule maliciously out of pure evil intentions, only to gain fear and ultimate submission from the population they dictate, by carrying out harsh and unjust punishments to strengthen their authority. Despite the methods they employ to maintain rule, it remains an integral part of any great story.

3. Characters:

The plethora of characters found in a single fantasy novel is mind-boggling. The thought, time and energy put forth into any one of them is truly incredible to me. I speak not from experience, only from reverence for authors who pen them to life, bringing forth tangible entities felt by the fans who enjoy their company during the span of a story. Attachment to a particular character is such an interpersonal part of reading for me.

4. Treasures:

Chests of gold, hordes of jewels and ancient powerful relics. Magic armor radiating power. Books, scrolls and tomes containing founts of knowledge and wisdom. The treasures often incorporated in works of fantasy drive the story and its participants to unreachable heights. Drawing on characters mettle, to propel them through trying and potentially disastrous situations, with the promise of wealth and fame. Epic treasures ensure a fantasy story progresses by providing that burning desire to attain the forbidden and unattainable.

5. Weapons:

A wizard’s staff with the power to cast bolts of ice, damaging victims beyond reparation. Ancient swords handed down through generations of Knights, deeply ingrained with nobility and honor. Needle-tipped daggers of silver, pricking the life out of the unwary from the shadows, wielded by rogues driven by singular beneficial motives. Legendary crafted longbows, placing shafts accurately, able to pierce the toughest hide doublet or hammered bronze heavy armor. Without a doubt, the vast array of weapons found in fantasy stories is among the most awe-inspiring. I enjoy reading descriptions of weapons and their properties.

6. Plot(s):

Crafting an interesting plot is certainly a talent to behold in my opinion. Incorporating multiple plots operating in parallel to one another, interwoven to impact the story as a whole, is a true gift to the reader chasing the tale as it unfolds. I have read many fantasy novels that I pictured a poster board covered in names, agendas, and timelines. Bracketed off in sections with character names held within, each assigned to different plots. Visited numerous times by the creator throughout a process that must be handled delicately to avoid unforeseen clashes in the timeline. This has to be the method for authors who maintain multiple plots within a tale right? Whatever the means, this quality when executed perfectly, makes a story just blossom and thrive. George R.R. Martin and Janny Wurts have captivated me with their multiple plots planted inside the incredible tales they weave.

7. Large Novels:

Larger novels equal more reading. Nothing better than that. Fantasy books are some of the biggest, oftentimes spanning a series. More pages, more fun. What’s not to love.

8. Multiple Sub-genres: 

The multitude of sub-genres found within the fantasy flavor is as numerous as the authors who create these vast worlds we find ourselves lost in. With this assortment to choose from, a favorite can easily be found to suit one’s taste. I prefer the high fantasy and sword and sorcery branches of this huge tree of reading pleasure.

9. Conclusions and Endings:

Well-thought stories should have epic endings. Fantasy tales have some of the most memorable in my opinion. Whether I love or detest the ending of a book, I find the greatest treasure in the closing pages, relishing in the author’s individual sense of closure.

10. Magic:

What would a fantasy novel be without magic? Boring for sure. Powerful wizards casting spells of lightning and electricity, while paladins call down the smite of their gods, invokes images beyond compare in our minds. Magic is one of the deal makers for me and effectively a critical part of any fantasy novel. Discovering dissimilar magic systems present in fantasy novels is a high priority for me during my forays across the paper trails of ink and letters. Brandon Sanderson‘s singular magic system found in his Mistborn series solidified me as a die-hard fan of his incredible writing.

My hope is you found my 10 reasons I love reading fantasy novels an interesting read. I would love to hear what your reasons are if you are drawn to these fantastic tales such as I. Thank you for reading my post.


BAM! Books-A-Million

A “Bookish” Genie Bottle of Fantasy?

What is this? A genie bottle granting me three “bookish” wishes? Count me in!

I saw something similar to this online and decided to list my three “fantasy bookish” wishes. Below are my wishes, in no order of importance.

 

Number 1: I would have to visit Middle-earth and seek tutelage from the elf Legolas.

J.R.R Tolkien crafted a fantastic elf in Legolas. He has eagle-eye precision when it comes to marksmanship with a bow and his prowess with this ranged weapon is unmatched. My desire to meet and learn from this elf stems from a time during my teenage years, that I spent learning, practicing and hunting with a longbow. I have always had an affinity for archery. Meeting and learning from Legolas would be fantastic. I cannot think of a better fantasy archer to study with. Typically, all of the tabletop role-playing games characters I have played and continue to play, are often chosen with his forte in mind. Twang goes the bowstring!

Number 2: This wish is quite juxtaposed to my previous one, for here I would choose to enter the Forgotten Realms setting to meet (and hopefully survive), that crafty and devious rogue-assassin, Artemis Entreri.

Created by another of my favorite authors, R.A. SalvatoreArtemis Entreri is exactly what I picture as a rogue. Of the numerous heroic characters Salvatore’s mighty pen has graced us with, Artemis Entreri is my favorite. Yes I know he is evil and operates with a horrendous motive along with little regard for anyone other than himself, but bottom line for me is this guy can flat-out fight. Regardless whether his skill is born of hate, anger, greed or time-honored devotion and practice, Entreri is not one to cross blades with. Salvatore’s superb ability to describe a great fight scene with Entreri’s thoughts and motivations in the forefront for readers to digest, make for engaging confrontations that have you ducking for cover. Pointers from Entreri can help anyone hoping to gain skill with a blade. Only if he does not use the wrong point to teach with!

Number 3: My third and final wish would be for Scott Lynch to gamemaster a Burning Wheel game for some of my tabletop gaming friends and I.

Lynch perfectly weaves intrigue and deception like no other. His Gentleman Bastard series showcase some of the finest storytelling of the decade. I devoured all three of the books in the series with a voracious appetite and patiently await the fourth novel to be released. Lynch has a way of hooking you into following from one page to the next, in a hypnotic trance, totally unaware until he decides to expose you to his hidden and crafty agenda. I have no doubt he would run a fun and exciting tabletop game full of challenges blended with character engagement around each twisting turn.

I hope you enjoyed reading my three choices for “fantasy bookish” wishes from a genie. I would love to hear what yours are as well. Thank you for reading.