Okay, so I haven't been as consistent as I liked with the reviewing bit, because I haven't had much time to read lately. However, I have a few ready and waiting now. Read some amazing books, partly thanks to Andrew Gordon who ran a competition which I won, giving me a $15 gift card for Dreamspinner Press where I was spoiled for choice. The two books I chose were breathtaking both in the skill of the writing and the stories. But more of that later.
First I have a review of a book by Anna Lee. Published by mlr Press I didn't realise until afterwards that this is the second book in a series. It is testament to the fact it's a stand alone book, that I had no idea it was the second book until it was pointed out, although in retrospect that explains a few extremely minor niggles about references to the past.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although there were a few tiny niggles as I pointed out below. However, it was one of those books that carries you on and entertains so the flaws don't mar the beauty. I have no problem in recommending it
All is not right in the kingdom of Galerir. The King is dying and the Crown Prince has a hard job on his hands preparing himself and his kingdom for war. Their enemies are drawing close, aided by the great black dragon Altor and Thomas has his own problems to deal with before they get here.
With the aid of his loyal knight Griffin, and two friendly dragons he must change the law, capture the traitors, try to heal the deep rifts with their neighbours, find the magical items with which to fight Altor and, through all this, fight for his right to love.
For high fantasy the story was told in a very straightforward way that was easy to follow, although there were twists and turns aplenty. The characters are richly drawn with plenty of detail and the supporting cast coloured in nicely.
If I had a complaint it was that the dialogue was sometimes a little wooden. I felt that perhaps the author was trying a little too hard to be ‘high fantasy’ when she would have been better accepting ‘extremely enjoyable fantasy’ was good enough.
I immediately warmed to Thomas and Griffin and felt that I took a journey with them. There were times I laughed, times I cried and times I got so angry I wanted to hit someone (Ronan). I felt they were real people with hopes, dreams and flaws.
All the elements of fantasy are here – knights and dragons, elves, wizards, castles and swords. However, I didn’t feel the story was formulaic and there were nice twists and details that made the tapestry a rich one. If it was a little stiff at times I could forgive it easily for the sake of the story.
More than the above, woven through the fantasy and going hand in hand with the story, is the tale of two men very much in love, who are taking a journey of discovery together; supporting each other when they stumble, raising each other when they fall and forgiving each other when they make mistakes.
I am pleased there are other stories in the series and that I can follow Thomas and Griff further on their journey. I’m hoping to meet the elves again, and maybe some dwarves. Who knows perhaps even a dragon or two.
So there you go. I hope I've whetted your appetite. If so, here are the buy links