Thursday, October 31, 2013

Duty: a novel of Rhynan

Duty to King

Tomas Dyrease, the newly made Earl of Irvaine and the village of Wisenvale, owes his good fortune to his king and the recent civil war. When his benefactor demands Tomas marry the cousin of a noble, he obeys. However, no one warned him that she wasn’t a typical noblewoman.

Duty to Others

Brielle Solarius struggles to keep her village from starvation under the new Lord Wisten, her cousin. The men rode off to war and never returned. The remaining women and children face a dire winter if they do not find a solution soon. When she learns her cousin sold her into marriage to save his life, she isn’t surprised. However, she is taken aback by Lord Irvaine’s unpolished ways. Was this man a noble or a foot soldier?

Duty to Each Other

Bound by the words of their vows, they face a rough future. They must forge a marriage while battling betrayal, accusations of treason, and villains from the past. Survival depends on their precarious trust in each other. Failure could mean death.
My Review
Set in a medieval fantasy world, Duty: A Novel of Rhynan, by Rachel Rossano, tells the tale of Lady Brielle Solarius. With the crowning of a new king, Brielle is essentially sold into an arranged marriage to the new Lord Tomas by her evil cousin Orwin. But because of her duty to her people, the poor widows also forced into marriage to strangers, Brielle determines to willingly marry this man Tomas. Besides, because of her cousin’s work, her village will starve through the winter if she doesn’t have Tomas’s help. Yet, as they leave to acquire food for the winter, Brielle’s little village is attacked!
I really liked this book! When I found it, I thought it would just be a sweet little romance, but conspiracies, battles, and sieges abound as well! There is never a dull moment in the novel, what with the romance and the action. And truly, just as I thought all was well and couldn’t imagine how the author would make the rest of the novel interesting, the worst happens and drives Brielle and Tomas into another adventure!
To me, Duty seemed to be written well. There were a few tiny spots that confused me, but they were few and not extremely pertinent to the tale. Aside from that, I have no complaints.
Things you should know: There was definitely violence in this novel, as much of the plot revolved around soldiers and battles. In one instance, a pregnant woman is threatened with death (with a sword to her throat. However, the descriptions of the battles were not graphic. The author wrote that the characters cursed, yet didn’t include what the curse word was. Women are indeed forced into marriage, but the overall attitude toward it, at least by the leading characters, is that it is unfair and wrong. The leading characters kiss and hold each other, but sex is only implied, not described.
I have received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Secrets Kept

With a curse, she will build an army.
With the dagger, she will undo the last sacrifice.
But first the sorceress must find the secret keeper.

Torn from her homeland and thrust into a betrothal against her wishes, Ayianna learns her family has a deadly secret that now has her on the run. She joins forces with Kael, an embittered half-elf, and Saeed, an elderly High Guardian, to seek answers to her father’s death, the destruction of Dagmar, and the plains people’s bizarre behavior.

Ayianna discovers there is more at stake here than just her mother’s disappearance and her familial duty to her betrothed. The sorceress has cursed the plains people, and it is a race against time to release them before the sorceress resurrects an ancient evil.
My Review
Secrets Kept, by J L Mbewe, is the fantasy story of a young woman, Ayianna, who discovers she's betrothed to a stranger and loses her family in one fell sweep. Then she is thrust together with three unlikely companions--a prince, an elf guard, and her betrothed--to flee for their lives, and then go on a quest.

I enjoyed this book very much, but it isn't the best I book I have ever read. Ayianna and her friends traveled all over their fantasy world called Nalu, encountering some things I found rather new to the fantasy world, such as childlike monsters that dissolve into dust when killed or an evil harpy lord who preys on virgin girls. I enjoyed the adventure of the novel and the secrets that nearly every character hides, and of course the lies they use to cover them up. There were also scores of unanswered questions hanging over their heads throughout the tale, and only some of them were answered in the end.

However, I found that there were too many unanswered questions. Every good book needs such questions to pull the reader in, but this one had questions that needed answers, such as what a word means exactly or how one race survived the massacre without its queen (the supposed only survivor) at least knowing something. I also thought there were too many gods to keep track of, and the Shadow God, who I believe was supposed to be Creator God, had so many different names that I couldn't keep him separate in my mind from the other gods.

Despite this, Secrets Kept was an intriguing book left begging for a second book!

Things you should know: There was a number of spells cast on the people by the sorceress and her minions. Monsters abounded. The sorceress was known for sexual immorality. There was also a graphic description of a massacre and numerous battles against evil. Also, the characters accidentally traveled into a hell/abyss sort of place that wasn't very well defined as to what exactly it was.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Goddess Tithe

The Vengeful Goddess
Demands Her Tithe

When a stowaway is discovered aboard the merchant ship Kulap Kanya, Munny, a cabin boy on his first voyage, knows what must be done. All stowaways are sacrificed to Risafeth, the evil goddess of the sea. Such is her right, and the Kulap Kanya's only hope to return safely home.

Yet, to the horror of his crew, Captain Sunan vows to protect the stowaway, a foreigner in clown's garb. A curse falls upon the ship and all who sail with her, for Risafeth will stop at nothing to claim her tithe.

Will Munny find the courage to trust his captain and to protect the strange clown who has become his friend?


My Review

Goddess Tithe, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl is a tale of courage versus fear. When a stowaway is found on the ship Kulap Kanya, all the sailors fear the wrath of the Goddess Risafeth of the Sea. She demands that all stowaways be thrown overboard. None who have resisted have survived, or so the stories go.

Yet Captain Sunan refuses to toss the stowaway out.

The main character, Munny, is a cabin boy on his first voyage out to sea, and he can only believe what the experienced sailors have told him about the goddess. However, Munny likes the stowaway, Leonard, even if he is a bit strange. But, when strange things start happening,will the captain finally throw him overboard? Or will the older sailors do it without the captain's permission?

I thoroughly enjoyed this novella. It portrays people's beliefs in superstition and ultimately shows that it is useless. Also, several of the characters, including Munny himself, demonstrate true courage and self-sacrifice in the face of danger, even when nearly everyone else is too afraid to act. This is true character.

Things you should know: *Spoiler alert*
This book contains false gods, or rather a goddess which, while she is a real creature, she is not a real goddess. She is only called that because she has power. Also, there is an alternate world that the characters travel to on accident. Strange creatures appear in the sea, some dead. The storm is alive. And there is some swearing by terms such as "Dragon's teeth" and "Iubdan's beard".

I have received a free copy of this book in exchange for an hones review.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tales of Goldstone Wood

The Tales of Goldstone Wood series by Anne Elisabeth Stengl is another one of my favorites.

The first book, Heartless, is about Princess Una who has just come of age and is anxiously awaiting suitors. Her first suitor, Prince Aethelbald of Farthestshore, is not what she expected at all. He's not exactly handsome, daring, charming, or any of the other things you would expect a prince to be. And don't even mention his name! Other suitors quickly come, and these meet her expectations. But each betray her in the end. Finally the Prince of Farthestshore's enemy, the Dragon, comes to claim Una. She quickly falls into his evil clutches. And yet life is miserable!
Aethelbald, however, does not give up so easily. He searches for his long lost love, even follows her across the continent! All because of his all-encompassing love.
I love these books, because each one shows Christ's love for us so perfectly, even when we are detestable and horrid. I cannot give Anne Elisabeth enough praise for her beautiful allegories!
Besides that, each tale is told with adventure, romance (sometimes thwarted), and humor. Anne Elisabeth mixes fairytales and Bible stories together in a perfect and unique way, and humor is entwined throughout. Each novel is told in a serious and often intense manner, yet somehow manages humor.

Things you should know: There is violence, magic, fantasy creatures, and travel between worlds. The only swearing is with made-up words, such as "Dragon's teeth" and "Iubdan's beard".

Overall, the books have a sort of magical, fairytale feel, which includes traveling from one world to the next, and enchanted princes and princesses.

I highly recommend these books!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Dragons in our Midst Series

From the time I was about 10 years old, the Dragons in our Midst Series by Bryan Davis has been my favorite series. So I must begin with these amazing books.
In the days of King Arthur, dragon slayers abounded. However, not all the dragons were as evil as the slayers claimed. Merlin prayed to God over 12 good dragons, and God changed them into humans, to hide until the slayers died. But the slayers found out about the transformation and continued to hunt down those dragons-turned-humans. Centuries passed, and only a few dragons were left alive.
The story picks up in modern times with Billy and Bonnie, two half-human, half-dragon teens who battle the slayers, rescue prisoners, travel to different dimensions, and save the world from evil villains.
My review:
I love Bonnie's faith in God. Even when her mother died, her father "kidnapped" her, she was locked in prisons, and so much more, Bonnie still had faith in God and trusted Him to help her through those hard times. Through her example, Billy believed in Christ as his Savior.
I also love all the adventure in the books! Sword fighting, plane crashes, assassins, kidnappings, deaths, resurrections, and so much more! All kinds of transformations take place between dragons and humans, and both heroes and villains travel between dimensions. The series ends with an epic battle between the good--dragons and humans--and the forces of evil--slayers, sorceresses, and demons.
I definitely recommend these books!
Violence: There are many battles between good and evil. At one point, Billy kills someone from behind, a cowards way; but he regrets it and never does it again. Many of the battles they have are with demon creatures, not humans, at least in the last few books. As for descriptions of the battles and wounds, there is a little gore, but it is not extreme. Descriptions of anything in the books are few and only cover the absolute essentials.
Sex: There is no teen dating, much less kissing or sex, even though a prophecy seems to say that Billy and Bonnie are to marry eventually. The only kissing is between married couples, mainly the teens' parents. However, one scene involves a villain speaking lustful words to her demon husband, suggesting future sex, and in another scene, Billy is tempted with sex, but doesn't give in.
Language: I do not recall any language in the series. However, it has been a few years since I read them.
Spiritual: The heroes believe in God and grow in Him throughout the books. They journey to other dimensions where they are tested in their faith and grow because of it. Many of the characters die and are resurrected, even multiple times. The sword Excalibur that Billy uses has magical properties that God endowed it with, and prophecies are an everyday occurrence. There are also demons, a sorceress, and other creatures that the main characters fight against. On several occasions, there is spirit possession.
I would recommend this book to middle school and older teens, but because of some of the serious issues in the books. But the books are still amazing!