Melokai by Rosalyn Kelly

Melokai

By: Rosalyn Kelly

Synopsis:  She thinks it’s the end, but it’s just the beginning.  “Trouble will come from the east. A wolf will claim the throne.” Legendary warrior Ramya has successfully reigned over Peqkya as Melokai for twelve years. Prosperous, peaceful, and happy, her people love her… or so she thinks. But Ramya’s time is up. Bracing herself for the gruesome sentence imposed on all Melokais who have served their purpose, she hears instead a shocking prophecy. Is the sudden appearance of a mysterious cave creature from the east the trouble the prophecy speaks of? Or is the threat something darker, more evil? And what of the wolves… does the ferocious war with their kind mark the end for Peqkya? Before Ramya can answer, she and her fearless warriors must first crush a catastrophic rebellion that threatens to destroy her and devastate her beloved nation.

Format: Melokai is the first book in the Heart of the Mountains series. I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy to review get yours on October 10th, 2017!!

My Thoughts:  This was a book that kept me awake at night. I couldn’t focus on other tasks as I became obsessed with the characters and plots. The races in this book are a fresh take based on normal fantasy novels. Yet the characters are still “human” and their emotional intensity and how real, and raw, their emotions are is what connected me to this book so well.

This book takes on multiple points of view, which just make your need to know what happens that much stronger. As the first book in a series, this was a fantastic launching point that will keep readers wanting more and more.

The world this story belongs too has amazing geographic variances that become reflected in the culture and strengths of the people that live within. This gives the reader the impression that they can read other character’s intentions as they feel so real and allow the reader to create preconceived notions based upon a character’s culture.

The magic of this world remains mysterious, which is amazing considered the power of magic that is revealed in the book. Magic is not used as a crutch for the plot in anyway, which allows the characters to better develop and the reader to fall into this world even further.

My favourite part of this book was the emotional intensity of the characters. The story touches major issues that our world still faces, and the characters emotions reflect the emotional intensity of a real person such that these characters become truly real. On top of that, each of the characters that you follow through the changing point of view can commit acts you may not like or find tolerable. This allows you to form opinions on these characters that further pulls you in and connects you with these books.  Different readers will have different opinions on the characters, the way different people connect with others based upon their experiences.

In my opinion multiple points of view in a story is dangerous territory. Done well, it is a fantastic tool to create suspense and engage the reader in the story. Done poorly, and the story feels slow and plodding. The author of Melokai could consider teaching others about this literary technique. Her mastery of it was clearly shown throughout this novel as the pace only ever seemed to increase, and the point of view changed to perfectly reflect the changes in the plot.
I would highly recommend this book, it is a great new fantasy to get into and has fantastic character development and a rich, dark world to fall in love with. Beware, reading this book may lead to you contacting the author hoping to learn more of the next book in the series!! Let me know your feelings once you have the opportunity to read it!!

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The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

The Sword of Shannara

By: Terry Brooks

Synopsis: Long ago, the wars of ancient Evil had ruined the world and forced mankind to compete with many other races – gnomes, trolls, dwarves, and elves. But in the peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knew little of such troubles.

THen came the giant, forbidding Allanon, possessed of strange Druidic powers, to reveal that the supposedly dead Warlock Lord was plotting to destroy the world. The sole weapon against the Power of Darkness was the Sword of Shannara, which could only be used by a true heir of Shannara. On Shea, last of the blood line, rested the hope of all races.

Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of Evil, flew into the Vale, seeking to destroy Shea. To save the Vale, Shea flees, drawing the Skull Bearer after him.

Format: The Sword of Shannara is the first book in the Original Shannara Trilogy. It introduces us to Shea and his brother Flick, and the struggle for freedom from evil. My copy is 726 pages long, and was published by Ballantine Books. It is A Del Ray book, originally published in 1977.

My Thoughts:  I began this book hoping to satisfy a fantasy craving I was having. This turned out to be a fantastic choice! This book has everything you could want from a book. The world is well built, the characters feel real and develop throughout the story, and there is magic and a major problem to solve. All of this is interspersed with some fantastic battle scenes, and the right amount of tension and suspense.

I am a big fan of having maps to look at to understand the world the characters are travelling through and living in. But if the world is not well built, this leads to less interest in the overall story for me. (For example, why would there be a desert beside the most fertile country in a world, please explain). However, this occurs not at all in this book. Where the characters must travel makes sense based upon the geography and skills of the hunters they flee, and where each race lives and unites makes sense based upon the races distinct skills and strengths. On top of this there is a unique changes to well-loved fantasy races, with each race exhibiting traits similar to the archetypes, but also changes that have a logical evolution. This gives an overriding sense of culture to the races, and makes this world seem alive and real.

When you first meet the brothers they have some growing up to do, you can tell, and the other characters can tell. The other characters you meet are well-developed already, and the difference between theses characters highlights there age in a way that seems truly realistic. The characters age matters to the group, and this is a point I find fascinating, as too often I find this is overlooked, when it makes a major part of our own society and thus how we relate to fictional ones. As the story progresses you can watch as the younger characters develop into their potential in a way that feels real, and you can experience their emotions as they acknowledge their changes.

Any classic fantasy book must contain magic, and this mystical element is not forgotten here. The magic is explained enough for us readers to understand its limitations, but mysterious enough that we are left with the same sense of mystery and wonder as the non-magical characters.

I would recommend this book to anyone starting a journey into this genre, or to those who want to read something that can compare with The Lord of the Rings and satisfy the insatiable, and comfortable, need to read the classical Fantasy novels. It is truly amazing, let me know what you think in the comments!

 

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

The Way of the Shadows

By: Brent Weeks

Synopsis: For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art – and he is the city’s most accomplished artist. For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he’s grown up in the slums and learned to judge people quickly – and take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint. But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins’ world of dangerous politics and strange magics – and cultivate a flair for death.

Format: The Way of Shadows is the first book in the Night Angel series. It introduces us to Azoth, and Durzo Blint, and the story of Cenaria’s independance. My copy is 645 pages long, and was published in 2008 by Orbit.

My Thoughts: If you have never read anything by Brent Weeks, this is one of the best places to start! This book gives you amazing characters, fantastic magic, impressive world creation, and a very intriguing plot.

The characters feel so real. They always react with a full range of human emotions. This makes them react naturally to the events around them. It is awesome to see even minor characters react in this way. Instead of the characters being words on a page it makes them feel human, as if you could meet them anywhere.

His magic system is based off of inborn ability mostly, and is an interesting take on the ruling class’s view on what magic should do. This is shown in the different ways that the magic users can be treated in different kingdoms. Even down to what is acceptable for those people to aspire to.

 Everything about this book keeps you on the edge of your seat, and feels realistics despite being a fantasy world. The world invites you in with appealing geographic and political boundaries, and historical intrigue on how those boundaries can be changing. The people in each kingdom have characteristics dependant on their environment, which affects trading, diplomatic, and martial relationships.

Finally, the plot is full of intrigue, and the twisting relationship between what the main characters want and what is good for the kingdoms involved. You will begin this book and fall in love with the characters and setting, but the plot will pull you through this world and inspire in you the need to know everything that happens.

So go get this book, prepare yourself for the series, and then prepare yourself for further work by Brent Weeks! Let me know what you think in the comments!!

A Darkness Forged In Fire by Chris Evans

A Darkness Forged In Fire

By: Chris Evans

Synopsis: Even in this world, Konowa Swift Dragon, former commander of the Empire’s elite Iron Elves, is anything but ordinary. He’s murdered a Viceroy, been court-martialed, seen his beloved regiment disbanded, and been banished in disgrace to the one place he despises the most – the forest. All he wants is to be left alone, but then an unexpected royal decree orders him to resume his commission as an officer in Her Majesty’s Imperial Army, effective immediately. For in the east, a falling Red Star heralds the return of a long-vanished magic, and rebellion is growing within the Empire as a frantic race to reach the Star unfolds. It is a chance for Konowa to redeem himself – but the entire enterprise appears to be a suicide mission… and the soldiers recruited for the task are not quite what he expects. Worst of all, his key adversary to obtain the Star is none other than the dreaded Shadow Monarch, whose machinations for absolute domination spread deeper than Konowa could ever imagine.

Format: A Darkness Forged In Fire is the first book in the Iron Elves series. It introduces us to Konowa Swift Dragon, and his struggle for redemption in the eyes of his peers as well as himself. My copy is 620 pages long and was published in 2009 by First Pocket Books.

My Thoughts: This book takes you on quite the adventure. It is one of those books that never truly mentions the overall villain, yet leaves you without a doubt of their evil. The Shadow Monarch is a threat on the horizon, hard to believe in yet undoubtedly real. You can easily sympathize with the characters that have trouble believing in that evil, as you yourself find it hard to believe. Fantastic writing for the “bad guys” overall in this book!

Not only that, but this book shows the true flaws in the good versus evil dimensionality. The main characters, who are on the good side, are working for goals that can be competing and leaving everyone in doubt with what is truly good. The plot highlights that good and evil are a matter of perspective. Right and Wrong are based on who is in control of the story, and are almost a matter of luck. Yet despite all odds, the main characters can make decisions that show the world they are trying to be morally right.

I can go over, in detail, how amazing this book’s plot is, how the world and politics are clearly painstakingly created, how the characters move you to be a better person. I could go over how the book will keep you awake at night, and if you aren’t reading it you will be wishing you were. I can even say it will change how you view the world. But these are all things you should experience. Go out there and get this book!

Then let me know what you think about it of course 🙂

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

Prince of Thorns

By: Mark Lawrence

Synopsis: When he was nine, he watched as his Mother and Brother were killed before him. By the time he was thirteen, he was the leader of a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be King…

It is time for Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath to return to the castle he turned his back on, to take what’s rightfully his. Since the day he hung pinned on the thorns of a briar patch and watched Count Renar’s men slaughter his Mother and young Brother, Jorg has been driven to vent his rage. Life and death are no more than a game to him – and he has nothing left to lose.

But treachery awaits him in his Father’s castle. Treachery and dark magic. No matter how fierce his will, can one young man conquer enemies with power beyond his imagining?

Format: The Prince of Thorns is the first book in The Broken Empire series. It introduces the young prince Jorg, and follows him in the beginnings of his dark and twisting story. My copy is 319 pages long, published by the Berkley Publishing Group in 2012.

My Thoughts:   This is a book that truly grips you in a mixture of fascination and horror. The main character is fourteen for most of the book (ten in some places and 15 towards the end) yet he does things that most of the treasured villains in popular culture would be willing to even consider. Yet because he is the main character, you find yourself cheering him on through his victories, and worried during his trials. It is intriguing to be behind the eyes of a dark and evil person, even if you can sympathize with him as you learn more about him. It is not often you have a protagonist that is so dark. Which is quite refreshing!

As far as plots go, this one gets you in deep. You are immediately introduced to a very large, yet broken, empire that is embroiled in a battle for ultimate control. Everyone seems to be playing against everyone else in a bid for unimaginable power. As part of this game you have only 100 people who can truly claim the prize. This does not stop dark, magical forces from attempting to control these 100 nobles. The complexity of the politics of the world are amazing, let alone the way the plot flows through it.

Not only that, but the characters give you views into what it is like to be evil, or commit evil actions. They show you vile acts, and how and why they committed them. The characters are what makes this world feel so real, and the characters are what makes the plot so fantastic.

I could go on about this book all day. Save yourself the time, just get it for yourself and experience it!!

Let me know in the comments what you think!

The Uncrowned King by Rowena Cory Daniells

The Uncrowned King

By: Rowena Cory Daniells

Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Piro watches powerless as her father’s enemies march on his castle. A traitor whispers poison in the King’s ear, undermining his trust in her brother, Byren. Determined to prove his loyalty, Byren races across the path of the advancing army, towards the Abbey. Somehow, he must get there in time to convince the Abbot to send his warriors to defend the castle.

Meanwhile, the youngest of King Rolen’s sons, Fyn, has barely begun his training as an Abbey mystic, but he wakes in a cold sweat, haunted by dreams of betrayal.

Format: The Uncrowned King is the second book in The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin series. It follows the children of King Rolen, and what they are doing in these tumultuous times. My copy is 274 pages long and was published in 2016 by Solaris.

My Thoughts: This book picks up right where the first book leaves off, and doesn’t set you back down until it is over. It is the kind of story that always leaves you out of breath and wanting more.

Anytime an author is following more than one character it is challenging to ensure all of the characters are engaging and what is happening to them is important for the story. That being said, this book does it brilliantly. Each time the perspective changes you wish to know what happens to the other character, yet it then enthralls you with what is happening to the next character.

To add to that you have an amazing plot of intrigue and betrayal, where no one is quite who you think they are. It all adds up for a fast paced sequel. I will probably go out right away to buy the next book in the serie, as I can’t tell you how excited it makes me to learn there is more to read on these characters. These characters sneak their way into your heart and head, and do not leave until they are sure you will follow them to the ends of the Earth.

To top it all off, this book goes further into the magic of this world, which is illegal in the country of Rolencia. I don’t want to give anything away, so read this book to find out more!

It is truly fantastic and I promise you will love it!!

Tell me about it in the comments!!

Warheart by Terry Goodkind

Warheart

By: Terry Goodkind

Synopsis: All is lost. Evil will soon consume the D’Haran Empire. Richard Rahl lies on his funeral bier. It is the end of everything.

Except what isn’t lost is Kahlan Amnell. Following an inner prompting beyond all reason, the last Confessor will wager everything on a final desperate gambit, and in so doing, she will change the world forever.

Format: Warheart follows Kahlan’s desperate journey to save Richard, and is the conclusion to the Sword of Truth series as well as the final Richard and Kahlan novel. My copy is 463 pages long and was published in 2015 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC. (Tor books is a registered trademark of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.).

My Thoughts: It is truly hard to order my thoughts after reading the conclusion to a series I have been reading for a very long time. I have re-read these books over and over, and now they are done. Yet, what a fantastic conclusion to an amazing series.

This book contains the amazing characterization you come to expect from Terry Goodkind. His characters feel so real, and experience such raw emotions that you easily form connections with them. You can relate to them, cheer for them, or even hate them depending on the character. Creating such a strong emotional response to words on a paper is the mark of a true master of writing.

It is all good to have great characters, but what do they do? Well, the author certainly doesn’t leave you high and dry on the plot. You get a fantastic time of learning what you expect, and then how the characters actually solve a problem is usually something different. There is always a change in the solution that requires logical thinking, yet is outside of what you would expect. This keeps you on the edge of your seat, and leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction as the problem is solved.

One of the things I like most of this book is the Wizard’s Rules. They seem to make so much sense to life, and are designed in a way that works together in complex and wondrous manners (The first wizard’s rule appears quite simple but has impacts throughout everything the characters do). These rules, on top of the magic in this world, make for an entrancing read.

The magic in this series is very well crafted. Everything has to be in balance, so there are generally two sides to magic (additive and subtractive). As the series goes on further layers are revealed to magic and how it intertwines with life. It is truly marvelous. The magic entwines with the world so well that it is a true part of the plot by just existing.

Truly a fantastic read, you can’t go wrong with anything in this series. So go check it out and let me know what you think!!