“Necromancer Awakening” by Nat Russo

NecAwake_61Av9vyX4AL I’ll admit Necromancer Awakening has one of the most gripping opening chapters I’ve seen. Nicholas Murray, archeology student, is getting ready for his adoptive father’s funeral – a man who took him on as a teenager and got him where he is now – when supernatural visions cloud his sight and he’s sucked into another world before his girlfriend’s eyes.

I’m afraid the first third of the book was a struggle to get through. While I acknowledge that being yanked away from everything you’ve ever known would be stressful and disorienting, the cliché of whiny, clueless protagonists and grumpy, impatient mentor-figures gets old fast. Continue reading

“Ranger’s Apprentice” & Bad Cliffhangers

The Book I Loved, the Series I Stopped

"Ranger's Apprentice" and Bad Cliffhangers — Kimia Wood — series

I haz rifle – and a pet spider. Ergo, I’s awesome.

Rangers Apprentice, by John A. Flanagan, is a series highly recommended to me by a good friend of mine. It follows the adventures of a group of characters in a quasi-mystical land where “Rangers” (Rogues, Hunters, Hide-in-shadows-shooting-with-deadly-accuracy-awesome, whatever the name is) train and serve the king of Araluen.

Sadly, it is also the series I think back on when I think of the wrong way to do cliffhangers. Differences in fiction taste aside, here’s why I loved the first book, but finally gave up on the series.

The Case Studies

"Ranger's Apprentice" and Bad Cliffhangers — Kimia Wood — series1 The Ruins of GorlanThey have always scared him in the past—the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied…

I’ve heard this book get some flack, but it was my favorite. Continue reading

“The Rakshasa’s Bride” by Suzannah Rowntree

31phj4vyyvl Love is dynamite, every woman a detonator, and every man a fuse. In the hand of God, it builds castles…in the hand of man, it destroys cities.

This book felt like more allegory than story, and at 1800 words it felt like I sped through it. Although I’m much less familiar with the original “Beauty and the Beast” than I was with “The Fisherman and His Wife,” this retelling felt less like the Disney version and more like Taming of the Shrew. Continue reading

All Time Favorites! #TopTenTuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books!

Crafting an “All Time Favorites” list is always difficult, but I have attempted it with the understanding that my tastes and evaluations may have changed ten years hence, and there’s nothing criminal about that!

Without further ado:

  1. That Hideous Strength, C. S. Lewis 51qy8pnfsal-_sx325_bo1204203200_

I recently read this masterpiece for the third time, and in this most recent reading the theological truths, the philosophical overtones and subtexts, vibrated for me in a way they hadn’t previously. Especially as I watch Western civilization teetering on the brink of self-destruction, it was intoxicating to see the seeds of our destruction are as old as the earth itself, and liberating to know Man’s Salvation is older than Time. Continue reading

Loom

250px-LOOM_Cover_Art In Loom, we take on the role of Bobbin Threadbare, an inexperienced member of the Guild of Weavers, who must quickly master the magical arts of the Weavers to travel the lands of the Guilds and battle Chaos.

While the gameplay is pretty simplistic and the humor child-friendly, Loom provides genuine entertainment for the undemanding fantasy fan. Continue reading

“A Sea of Purple Ink” by Rebekah Shafer

Fun Worldbuilding, Superheroes, and Lotsa Action

51o1Rfvfn1L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_ Through the sewers and cobblestone streets of a psuedo-Victorian fantasy world, Reese leads an outlawed band on the run from police because of the special magical abilities they possess. The action almost never slows as Reese frantically throws plans together and tries to rescue as many of the “abilitied” as possible. Continue reading

“The Gifting” by K.E. Ganshert

51p0AaVTZpL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_ Young adult juv. fic. ‘Nough said. There are other elements to this book – such as family relationships, sibling affection, paranormal visions, prophetic dreams, fantastical life-and-death struggles, romance – but in the end the teenage angst largely overshadows the more mature touches. Continue reading

“Blast of the Dragon’s Fury” by L. R. W. Lee

51wAXs0thzL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ An average gradeschooler is literally sucked out of his house into a magical kingdom where he becomes an honored guest – and their only hope for reversing a centuries-old curse. Adventures and gimmicks ensue.

After chapter 2, this kid fantasy picks up, making it enjoyable, if not extraordinary.

UPDATE: I understand from the author that a revised edition of this book has been published. Continue reading

“The Road to Dar Rodon” by Nat Russo

Too Short a Story for a Big World

DarRodon cover Step into a fantasy world of mystic powers. Although the characters didn’t speak to me very well, the dirt under their feet, the towns on the horizon, and the “mythology” above their heads made me feel like Mr. Russo could just sign up a developer and Neverwinter Nights might have competition.
Continue reading