Saturday 17 December 2011

Review: THE ENDURING FLAME TRILOGY

[image credit: Todd Lockwood]
The Enduring Flame Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
Genre: epic fantasy

Review:
I've read these dou authors before and I absolutely love their story telling quality!! I would give it a 5 out of 5. Although the authors used the same writing style they used with The Obsidian Trilogy, the plot wasn't predictable. I would say that the plot has depth, surprises and wonderful twists. The thing I like most, though, with this trilogy is that I got to revisit much-loved characters from the previous trilogy, i.e., the dragon Ancaladar! And these books displayed the same fantastic character development encountered in previous works. So I'm kinda hoping that there would be another book in this series. Warning though, these books are meant to be read as one. Books 1 & 2 ends in a cliffhanger. If any of these books is read independently, I imagine that the reader would be royally confused!

Although these books were not in my original list of dragon books this year, I still count it towards the All Things Dragons Challenge. This trilogy is very satisfying indeed! I would recommend this series to anybody who likes epic fantasy reads!

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 5
Story itself = 4
Ending = 4.5
World building = 4.5
Plot = 5
Cover art = 4.5
Pace = 4.5

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 cherries


The Phoenix Unchained by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
Book 1 of The Enduring Flame Trilogy

New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory first teamed up to write The Obsidian Trilogy, set in a wondrous world filled with magical beings, competing magic systems, and a titanic struggle between good and evil. That world proved so popular with the creators and readers alike that Lackey and Mallory have returned to it with The Phoenix Unchained, Book One of The Enduring Flame, the opening volume of a new epic fantasy trilogy.

After a thousand years of peace, much Magick has faded from the world. The Elves live far from humankind. There are no High Mages, and Wild Mages are seen only rarely. Bisochim, a powerful Wild Mage, is determined to reintroduce Darkness to the world, believing that it is out of Balance.

Tiercel, a young Armethalian nobleman, is convinced that High Magic is not just philosophy. He attempts a spell--and draws the unwelcome attention of Bisochim. Tiercel survives Bisochim's attack and begins trying to turn himself into a High Mage.

Next in line to be Harbormaster of Armethalieh, Harrier instead finds himself regularly saving Tyr's life and meeting magickal people and creatures. To Harrier's dismay, it seems that he must become a hero.

In The Phoenix Unchained, Harrier and Tiercel begin a marvelous journey to uncover their destinies. Along the way, they meet a charming female centaur, several snooty Elves, and the most powerful dragon their world has ever known.
Source: Info in the About The Phoenix Unchained was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/373051.The_Phoenix_Unchained on 11/12/2011.

The Phoenix Endangered by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
Book 2 of The Enduring Flame Trilogy

In The Phoenix Endangered, second in The Enduring Flame, Tiercel, a budding High Mage, and Harrier, a reluctant Knight-Mage, develop greater power—and learn of the evils of war when they see the devastation caused by the fanatical armies of the Wild Mage Bisochim.

The desert tribespeople led by young Shaiara flee Bisochim’s evil, seeking a legendary oasis deep in the desert—a refuge that may hold the key to stopping Bisochim and preserving the Balance between Light and Darkness . . . or that may be the cause of Light’s ultimate downfall.
Source: Info in the About The Phoenix Endangered was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2903799-the-phoenix-endangered on 11/12/2011.


The Phoenix Transformed by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
Book 3 of The Enduring Flame Trilogy

In the Enduring Flame trilogy, Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory have given readers a new view of the complex and fascinating world they originally created for the Obsidian Trilogy. Jumping one thousand years in time, Lackey and Mallory have told the compelling story of Harrier Gillain, the first Knight-Mage in a thousand years; Tiercel Rolfort, the first High Mage in hundreds of years; and Shaiara, the young leader of a desert tribe who takes both boys under her wing but has a special affection for Harrier.

These three young people are their world’s main defense against the evil called up by the rogue Wild Mage, Bisochim. Bisochim’s conviction that he was restoring the balance was shattered the moment Ahairan took her first breath. Now, in The Phoenix Transformed, Bisochim joins forces with Harrier and Tiercel, and the three mages search desperately for a way to destroy Ahairan as she sends her magical forces against them and the desert nomads under their protection.

With more than one twist in the telling, centering on a magic-plagued journey across a blistering desert, The Phoenix Transformed is the stunning conclusion to The Enduring Flame.
Source: Info in the About The Phoenix Transformed was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6352652-phoenix-transformed on 11/12/2011.

Thursday 17 November 2011

Review: HUROG DOULOGY

Hurog doulogy by Patricia Briggs
Genre: high fantasy

My Thoughts:
Okey, so I bought the Dragon Bones audiobook because I wanted to listen to Joe Manganiello's voice. You gotta love that deep timbre! Anyway, I like his voice so that makes the narrator a 5 out of 5, right? Well, the thing is I had to buy the paperback as well because there were parts I couldn't quite understand and had to replay them a few times before I get it. Having the book to read as well makes it easier for me. But I am pretty sure this is a fault on my part rather than Joe Manganiello's narration. By the way, if this series is going to be made into a movie, I think Joe Manganiello would make a very good Wardwick of Hurog!

I'm an old Patricia Briggs fan so my opinion of her story telling quality is admittedly biased. I just love it! It draws me in effortlessly and keeps my interest until I forget to eat! That is what I call a true story spinner!! And then there is the world building... it's simply masterful! The Hurog world is vivid, distinct and well-crafted. Another Kudos to these books!

However, it is too short and there are no more books in this series! Now, it would be difficult for me to find something to read which is as good as these books to stem the tide of withdrawal symptoms! And that is the only down side of these books...

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 5
Character development = 5
Story itself = 4.5
Ending = 5
World building = 5
Cover art = 3.5
Pace = 5

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 cherries


Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs
Book 1 of the Hurog doulogy
Read by Joe Manganiello
Format: audiobook

About Dragon Bones:
Riding into a war that's heating up on the border, Ward, the new lord of Herzog, is sure he's on the fast track to glory. But soon his mission takes a deadly turn. For he has seen a pile of magical dragon bones hidden deep beneath Hurog Keep. The bones could prove to be dangerous in the wrong hands, and Ward is certain his enemies will stop at nothing to possess them.
Source: Info in the About Dragon Bones was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/123408.Dragon_Bones on 17/11/2011.

Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs
Book 2 of the Hurog doulogy

About Dragon Blood:
As the rebellion grows against High King Jakoven, Ward, ruler of Hurog, realizes he must join with the rebels. However, Jakoven can crush his enemies with dragon’s blood. The very blood that courses through Ward’s veins.
Source: Info in the About Dragon Blood was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/285208.Dragon_Blood on 21/11/2011.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Review: LOVE IN THE TIME OF DRAGONS

Love In The Time Of Dragons by Katie MacAlister
Book 1 of the Light Dragons series

Genre: urban fantasy

Book Description:
If you found out you were a famous fire-breather, you’d be freaked out too.

Tully Sullivan is just like any other suburban mom—unless you count the days every year that she zones out and turns base metals in to gold. Those are weird.

And now she’s woken up in a strange place surrounded by strange people who keep insisting they’re dragons—and that she’s one too. But not just any dragon. She’s Ysolde de Bouchier, a famed figure from dragon history.

Tully can’t shape-shift or breathe fire, and she’s definitely not happy being sentenced to death for the misdeeds of a dragon mate she can’t remember. All Tully knows is that she wants her son back. So she’ll have to find a way to solve the crimes of a past she has no memory of living…
Source: Info in the Book Description was taken from the book's website at http://katiemacalister.com/books/love-in-the-time-of-dragons on 16/08/2011.

Review:
I like this author's voice. The story telling quality is quite compelling. However I do not like the way this author makes the main female protagonist act stupid to give the story a bit more drama. For the heroine to act out of character makes it difficult to connect with her. Secondly, a stupid protagonist is annoying to read. I put this down more on the weak plot rather than a flaw in character development because everybody else in the story has a well developed character. It's only the heroine who is just this side of stupid. Because of this annoying trait, I do not think I would be buying another work by this author even though she seems to have a compelling author's voice.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 cherries

Friday 4 March 2011

Review: STORMWALKER SERIES

Stormwalker Series by Allyson James
Books 1 & 2

My Thoughts:
I really, really like the covers of these books and I also like this author's "voice". But Book 1 started off really slow. The kick-ass heroine runs around in her harley being chased by the law for chapters on end... WTF!! However, it did get better about a quarter towards the end. But then I think that was because I've inadvertently read a spoiler from Book 2's synopsis. I therefore discerned that there is a dragon in it somewhere! Interest perked up again!

Towards the end, Allyson's story telling magic kicked in again and I would say that it was worth trudging through the first three quarters of the book. And of course it's a happily-ever-after (HEA) and I like the way Allyson James delivered it!

Book 2, like Book 1 is also a slow starter, but knowing Allyson James I persevered. It picked up quicker than Book 1 did and it was a great ride from there until the end. Allyson James' "author's voice" is very compelling even though she does have moments of dullness. The world building started in Book 1 is enhanced in my opinion in Book 2. It's like wine, it gets better with age. Or it could be that this series has grown on me. Allyson James's books tends to do that to me. A quality which I attribute to her marvellous story telling abilities!

Final verdict: Book 1 was good, Book 2 is even better!

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 4
Character development = 3.5
Story itself = 3
Ending = 4.5
World building = 4
Cover art = 5
Pace = 3.5

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 cherries



Stormwalker by Allyson James
Book 1 of the Stormwalker series.

Genre: adult urban fantasy
About Stormwalker:
Half-Navajo Janet Begay possesses extraordinary power which is tied to the storms that waft across the desert. The only person who can control her when she's caught in the storm's evocative power is Mick, a dark-haired, blue-eyed biker Janet can't seem to touch with her powers. He can wield fire and not get burned, and Janet's never sure where he goes when they're not together.

Together they investigate mysterious disappearances, which Janet fears are tied to her mother's people, the mythical gods from below the earth. They are helped along the way by Coyote and Crow, but these shapeshifting gods have their own agendas.

Book One of the Stormwalker series.
Source: Info in the About Stormwalker was taken from the author's website at http://www.allysonjames.com/stormwalker.html on 13/02/2011.

Firewalker by Allyson James
Book 2 of the Stormwalker series.

Genre: adult urban fantasy romance
About Firewalker:
Janet Begay's Crossroads Hotel has attracted the supernatural ever since it opened. But a new, dark power is rising, this time inside Janet herself. Her boyfriend Mick, a sexy dragon shapeshifter the Navajo call a Firewalker, know what terrifying magic is threatening to overwhelm Janet and her Stormwalker powers. He watches over her, ready to fight for her, to do anything to keep her safe.

But then a mysterious corpse is found near the Crossroads Hotel-and Janet becomes the main suspect. Now Janet and Mick must uncover what really happened, and their investigation leads to the most perilous decision of their lives...
Source: Info in the About Firewalker was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7830969-firewalker on 13/02/2011.