Book Review 35: Nightborn (Thrones and Bones, book 2)

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Nightborn by Lou Anders  (book 2 in the Thrones and Bones series)

  1. Title: Nightborn (Thrones and Bones book 2)
    Author: Lou Anders
    Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
    Release Date: 14 July 2015
    Available Formats: Dead tree, ebook, audiobook
    Rating: mild PG for mild violence

As I recounted for my review of Mr. Anders’ first book in this series, I met Mr. Anders several years ago at a convention and have been a fan of many of the books he has edited. I greatly enjoyed Frostborn and was very anxious to pick up with Karn and Thianna and see what they were up to.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: From the author of Frostborn comes Book 2 in the acclaimed Thrones and Bones fantasy-adventure trilogy for fans of Lloyd Alexander and Brandon Mull. Karn Korlundsson is a gamer. Not a riddle solver. But in order to rescue his best friend, Thianna Frostborn, he will need to travel to the faraway city of Castlebriar (by wyvern), learn how to play a new board game called Charioteers (not a problem), decipher the Riddle of the Horn, and tangle with mysterious elves. Meet Desstra. She’s in training to join the Underhand—the elite agents of the dark elves. When she crosses paths with Karn, she is not all that she appears to be. Everyone is chasing after the horn of Osius, an ancient artifact with the power to change the world. The lengths to which Karn will go in the name of friendship will be sorely tested. Who knew that solving a riddle could be so deadly?

Setting; Mr. Anders fleshes out his Viking world by introducing southern cities and fantastic variations of his decidedly Norse inspired races. The world you grew to know and love in Frostborn has grown up and out a bit, but still holds the same charm as it did last fall.

Plot: Thianna has disappeared. Karn has been charged by a dragon to find her. Along the way new friends and enemies are met. Not all is as it seems and we see that expectations can be a readers best friend and worst enemy. I refuse to spoil the plot, but I will state that it evolves along the way and riddles abound.

Characters: Karn and Thianna are two of my favorite characters in modern fiction. I admit, I’m tired of stories where one gender or race is constantly at war to gain recognition or equality. Mr. Anders has completely sidestepped this by making all the characters in his book play on equal footing. Karn and Thianna are joined in this book by the unlikeliest of allies and the deadliest of foes. Mr. Anders has written each one with a voice of their own that I found enthralling and engaging.

Odin’s recommendation: I am a reader. I enjoy a good story. I could care less what age a good story is intended for. If you’ve read Lloyd Alexander, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis or J.K. Rowling as an adult and enjoyed them, you know what I mean. In fact, if an author feels an adult story needs strong language and sexual situations, I’ll stick with something written for a bit younger audience. Mr. Anders has written a good story. A very good story. A really, really very good story. You get the point. Yes, a more mature reader might not be surprised by some of the plot developments, but I’ll read a good story over and over again even once I know whats going to happen. By that standard, Nightborn must be a very good book indeed, because I know it will be read regularly over the years.

Oh.. and the best part? Nightborn is released tomorrow. So go get it wherever you get books and set aside a night or two to enjoy a good story well told. However, if you haven’t picked up a copy of book one, Frostborn, grab it while you’re there and read it first. You’ll be glad you did.

An aside to Mr. Anders: please write faster. I sincerely am anxious for book three.

Book Review #34: Frostborn (Thrones and Bones, book 1)

Thrones and Bones

Thrones and Bones by Lou Anders

Title: Frostborn: Thrones and Bones
Author: Lou Anders
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: 5 August, 2014
Available Formats: Dead tree, ebook, audiobook
Rating: mild PG for mild violence and undead creatures

I met Mr. Anders several years ago at a convention and have been a fan of many of the books he has edited. Somehow, in my absence from social media, I missed that he had authored a book. Knowing a good editor leaves there mark on an author’s story, I wondered what kind of story Mr. Anders would tell when it was his to begin with.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: Meet Karn. He is destined to take over the family farm in Norrøngard. His only problem? He’d rather be playing the board game Thrones and Bones.

Enter Thianna. Half human, half frost giantess. She’s too tall to blend in with other humans but too short to be taken seriously as a giant.

When family intrigues force Karn and Thianna to flee into the wilderness, they have to keep their sense of humor and their wits about them. But survival can be challenging when you’re being chased by a 1,500-year-old dragon, Helltoppr the undead warrior and his undead minions, an evil uncle, wyverns, and an assortment of trolls and giants.

Readers will embark on a sweeping epic fantasy as they join Karn and Thianna on a voyage of discovery. Antics and hair-raising escapades abound in this fantasy adventure as the two forge a friendship and journey to unknown territory. Their plan: to save their families from harm.

Setting; The first thing that caught my attention upon reading the synopsis of the book was the obvious Norse connection and flavour. It really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that I have a not so secret fascination with Norse mythology and find it hinted at in many stories, but portrayed in very few. Frostborn is definitely an exception. Mr. Anders world is populated with enough humans, ice giants, trolls, wyverns and dragons to satisfy any viking lore master.

Plot: Our two young protagonists are unsatisfied with the life fate and the gods have handed them and strive to achieve the life they envision. However, things don’t turn out as they have intended and they must embark on a mission to save their respective families and discover there is more to the world than they had ever expected.

Characters: Karn and Thianna are about as different as two people can be. Though they are both teens, Karn is a young man destined to the bucolic life of being the leader of a farming community, while Thianna is a half human  frost giant that desires nothing more than to find a way to fit in with her father’s people. Both Thianna and Karn are written with a wry sense of the understanding of dealing with teenagers and the issues that concern them.

Odin’s recommendation: I was warned by Mr. Anders that Frostborn was written with an intended audience considerably younger than myself. Indeed, the book reads easily and quickly, and I expect many 10 year olds could read it without trouble. However, one thing I’ve discovered over the years is that a good story transcends age, and make no doubt about it, Frostborn is a very good story. I enjoyed looking over Karn and Thianna’s shoulders as they discover more about themselves and humanity in general. I enjoyed that the male and female heroes received approximately equal time in the book. I greatly appreciated that, while there was a journey, there was no quest (really!). Finally, I simply enjoyed a good story told in a straightforward manner. Mr. Anders isn’t trying to trick anyone with the outcome of the book and the violence and monsters are toned down to a considerable extent in order to make this a good story for almost any age. I intend to share it with my 8 year old son as soon as we finish the series we are currently on.

Frostborn is available online at Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes and Noble as well as many other resellers. If you have children, teens, or just enjoy a good story that is well told, go buy it. And then you can join me waiting for the sequel: Nightborn

Book Review #33: Dawn’s Early Light (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences)

Dawn's Early LightTitle: Dawn’s Early Light (A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel)
Author: Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Available Formats: Dead tree, ebook, audiobook
Rating: PG for steampunk violence and enthusiasm

I have been a fan of Ms. Ballantine and Mr. Morris’ Ministry series since the very beginning. Pheonix Rising opened the door of steampunk to me and The Janus Affair firmly cemented my admiration for The Ministry’s duo of Wellington Books and Eliza Braun. When I received my ARC of Dawn’s Early Light, I could hardly wait to see if the third time would be the charm as our adventurers crossed the pond to the United States.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: Working for the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, one sees innumerable technological wonders. But even veteran agents Braun and Books are unprepared for what the electrifying future holds…

After being ignominiously shipped out of England following their participation in the Janus affair, Braun and Books are ready to prove their worth as agents. But what starts as a simple mission in the States—intended to keep them out of trouble—suddenly turns into a scandalous and convoluted case that has connections reaching as far as Her Majesty the Queen.

Even with the help of two American agents from the Office of the Supernatural and the Metaphysical, Braun and Books have their work cut out for them as their chief suspect in a rash of nautical and aerial disasters is none other than Thomas Edison. Between the fantastic electric machines of Edison, the eccentricities of MoPO consultant Nikola Tesla, and the mysterious machinations of a new threat known only as the Maestro, they may find themselves in far worse danger than they ever have been in before…

Setting; After being ignominiously shipped out of England following their participation in the Janus affair, Braun and Books are ready to prove their worth as agents. But what starts as a simple mission in the States—intended to keep them out of trouble—suddenly turns into a scandalous and convoluted case that has connections reaching as far as Her Majesty the Queen.

Even with the help of two American agents from the Office of the Supernatural and the Metaphysical, Braun and Books have their work cut out for them as their chief suspect in a rash of nautical and aerial disasters is none other than Thomas Edison. Between the fantastic electric machines of Edison, the eccentricities of MoPO consultant Nikola Tesla, and the mysterious machinations of a new threat known only as the Maestro, they may find themselves in far worse danger than they ever have been in before…

Plot: As the synopsis states, Books and Braun have journeyed to the U.S. in support of their American counterparts and become enmeshed in an international affair the could change the world as we know it. If that isn’t enough to keep even the keenest agent busy, readers of the series might remember (SPOILER ALERT) that The Janus Affair ended with Welly and Eliza sharing a romantic moment. In Dawn’s Early Light this fledgling romance is tested as the stubbornness of our leads and the interventions of a dynamic cowboy and a charming librarian conspire together to put our heroes at odds with each other. To be honest, this second plot device was every bit as interesting to me as the initial.

Characters: Characters from the first two books are reintroduced as members of the cast in the third. Along with our regular players we are also introduced to two American agents of the Office of the Supernatural, MoPo’s U.S. counterpart.

Odin’s recommendation: In my opinion Dawn’s Early Light is a fantastic read. This latest entry into the series is delicious fun that shouldn’t be missed. Each book in the series has improved on it’s predecessor. No small feat when you consider how well written and how much fun the previous two entries were.

Wellington and Eliza have grown into their own skins, so to speak, and have become a tighter unit. This book also flips the roles of our heroes and allows Eliza to play the lead, a role in which she excels. Ace is sure to be glad they picked up this series as I am positive that with Dawn’s Early Light, we have seen the truth birth of a series that will enthrall us for years, and volumes, to come.

Weather Child (YES… WEATHER CHILD) cover reveal!

Regular readers of this blog know that one of my favorite stories ever has been Weather Child. I still don’t understand why this book wasn’t picked up by one of the big New York City publishers years ago. Well, their loss still looks to turn into our gain! Ms. Ballantine has partnered with Imagine That! Studios and you will be able to hold this beauty in less than 2 months.

So… onto the cover reveal!

Weather-Child-Cover

Weather Child
The Awakened Epoch
Book One
Philippa Ballantine

 

Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Imagine That! Studios
Date of Publication:  1st March 2014

ISBN: 978-0615953489

ASIN:

Word Count: 105,000

Cover Artist: Alex White

 

Book Description:

Never alone. Never apart.

They are the Awakened, a unique breed of people in a remote corner of the world. Faith is one of these gifted carriers of the Seraphim; and in return of her unconditional love, her Seraphim grants her powers of incredible potential.

But not all carriers embrace their blessing.

Jack loathes being an Awakened. He never asked for it, his Seraphim keeping him alive even in spite of his desire to die. Not even a great war could rid him of this curse.

Now a magician of incredible ability and a walking dead man must find a way to work together to save the Seraphim. Someone covets the power of the Awakened, and will not stop until that power belongs to him.

 

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 6.22.58 AM

About the Author:

New Zealand born fantasy writer and podcaster Philippa (Pip) Ballantine is the author of the Books of the Order and the Shifted World series. She is also the co-author with her husband Tee Morris of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels. Her awards include an Airship, a Parsec, the Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice, and a Sir Julius Vogel. She currently resides in Manassas, Virginia with her husband, daughter, and a furry clowder of cats.

Twitter: @PhilippaJane

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pjballantine

Website: http://www.pjballantine.com/

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Book Review #32: Mik Murdoch: Boy Superhero

71mRBhtNWBLTitle: Mik Murdoch: Boy Superhero
Author: Michell Plested
Publisher: Five Rivers Chapmanry
Release Date: August 1, 2012
Available Formats: Dead tree, ebook, audiobook
Rating: K for kids of all ages

Michell Plested and I have followed each other on Twitter for quite a while. I don’t know who followed whom first. I do know I reviewed his podcast “Galaxybillies” a while back (Podcast Review #48) and that I genuinely enjoy his podcast “Get Published”. I also know that I am ashamed to admit that it has taken me so long to write this review. Mr. Plested provided me with a copy of Mik Murdoch: Boy Superhero ages ago, and I read it quite sometime back and just haven’t gotten around to writing a review. For that, I must apologize.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: A delightful and truly Canadian tale of a 12 year old boy’s quest to protect his prairie town of Cranberry Flats, and in his search to acquire super-powers finds the most awesome power of all lies within his own inherent integrity.

Setting; Cranberry Flats is a small town much like the one I grew up in. It seems like you know almost everyone in the town and with that comes the good and the bad. Mik roams his town firmly encased in his own childlike sense of invisibility while at the same time looking for evil in the large and small things that make life interesting in a small town.

Plot: Mik goes to the movies with his Dad, and after seeing how the hero was transformed into a superhero, determines there has to be a way he to can become a superhuman force for good. Mik embarks on his road to discovery armed only with his wit and his canine companion (and a genuinely understanding and gracious set of parents).

Characters: Mik is the main character and the book is told from a first person perspective, allowing you to become quite familiar with Mik by the end of the book. Other characters appear in vignettes, but none really rival Mik’s predominance in this story of how a young boy becomes the hero of his own story.

Odin’s recommendation: If you can afford this book, buy it. Yes, it is a kids book. Preteen. However, I think most adults will be able to draw correlations between Mik’s adventures and their own childhoods. Most young children will be able to retain their curiosity in Mik as he gallops through his many mini-adventures presented in small vignettes while retaining a cohesive larger story.

I truly enjoyed Mik Murdoch and was delighted with the way Mr. Plested presented this charming story. Mik Murdoch: Boy Superhero is a sweet, enchanting, delightful adventure that should appeal to the child in all of us.

Book Review #29: He Ain’t Heavy by Dan Sawyer

a7b619844d70f88fed4c5f6d7bede1f542923cdc-thumbTitle: He Ain’t Heavy
Author: J. Daniel Sawyer
Publisher: AWP Mystery
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Available Formats: ebook and paperback
Rating: Adult content/language

Last summer, Mr. Sawyer asked me if I’d like an ARC/beta of his new Clarke Lantham novel. If you’ve been reading these reviews, I’m sure you understand that my answer was a wholehearted “YES”. He sent it over and I read it. This was late July early August. Then I wrote this review. In August. Mr. Sawyer asked me to sit on the review while he ironed out some of his other projects (like Crudrat, google it). Late last week, he contacted me to let me know that it was ready to go…

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: Along came a spider and killed the insider…

According to the official story, Martin Galloway shot himself in front of two cops. But his bereaved fiancee smells a rat, and when the system fails her, she turns to Clarke Lantham Investigations to prove that Martin was murdered. At stake: the reputation of one of the world’s greatest humanitarians…and his twenty billion dollar estate.

Descending into a web of venture capitalists, patent trolls, security contractors, and evangelists, Lantham and his team must find a way through a world of loyalty and deceit more insidious, and closer to home, than any case so far…

…assuming he can survive the coma, and the arms dealer, and the drug kingpin who holds his life in the balance.

Setting: San Franciso. Mr. Sawyer’s love affair with his adopted home city continues to be a source of education and enjoyment. I believe this is the first of the Lantham books to provide us with a brief road trip as well, going down to visit Tiajuna.

Plot: Clarke Lantham is hired by the grieving fiancé of a silicon valley tycoon to uncover the real cause of his death, a death reported to be suicide. Clarke steps into the world of the victim, a world of devout Christians, hot tubs and big money and smells something that has the sweet stench of decay touching every aspect of the case. Will Clarke discover what really happened, or will he become simply another hot tub casualty?

Characters: Mr. Sawyer continues to develop the main characters in the Clarke Lantham series. While Clarke has had a pretty solid persona from book one, the intrepid duo of Rachel and Nya shine in He Ain’t Heavy”. Significant portions of the book are given to these young ladies, and rather than diminish the action, it only accelerates it. Rachel especially shows us that there are depths unplumbed.

Odin’s recommendation: Mr. Sawyer continues to impress with He Ain’t Heavy, and Clarke Lantham shows he earns his place with the Mike Hammers, Sam Spades and Dirk Gentlys on your bookshelf. If you prefer the smell of cordite, the sounds of highly tuned engines and a sarcastic voice in your head, get your credit card ready and go order He Ain’t Heavy.

Book Review #31: The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty

Title: The Shambling Guide to New York City
Author: Mur LaffertyShambling Guide
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Available Formats: Dead tree, ebook, audiobook and podcast for another week
Rating: Adult content warning

Mur Lafferty has been reviewed here more than once. She has appeared on my podcast. She is an active part of the twitter community I often visit. She recently found a home with Orbit books and is now releasing her Shambling Guide series

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: Because of the disaster that was her last job, Zoe is searching for a fresh start as a travel book editor in the tourist-centric New York City. After stumbling across a seemingly perfect position though, Zoe is blocked at every turn because of the one thing she can’t take off her resume — human.

Not to be put off by anything — especially not her blood drinking boss or death goddess coworker — Zoe delves deep into the monster world. But her job turns deadly when the careful balance between human and monsters starts to crumble — with Zoe right in the middle.

Setting; New York City. However, this is not your father’s New York City. Unless your father was a vampire. Or maybe a zombie. The New York City in Ms. Lafferty’s book hosts a whole other population living in relative obscurity. This population consists of every monster or fantasy creature ever known. They are called Codery and live in an uneasy balance with humans and are policed by the Public Works office.

Plot: The plot of this book is actually quite well summarized in the above synopsis. Zoe learns to live in both worlds while dealing with a problem from her past that might end the future of everyone in NYC. Only Zoe and a few of her friends stand in the way of the end of New York City.

Characters: Zoe is human, but she has friends in all of the major race groups. Ms. Lafferty has done a good job of differentiating the races and describing how they are all able to cohabit the city without running afoul of one another.

Odin’s recommendation: Again, I admit, I don’t enjoy overly descriptive adult situations in my books. Yes, you can read that as sex. With that being said, you can skip chapter 14 completely and it won’t affect the story at all. I know, because after realizing what chapter 14 was about, that is what I did and I suffered not at all throughout the rest of the story. Initially I was hesitant to pick up this book because of the word shambling in the title. I will confess, I’ve simply had enough of zombies. I truly just can’t get myself to read about them. However, when Ms. Lafferty announced Orbit was allowing her to release this story as a podcast (more about that in a moment), well… how could I resist? Once I realized that the zombies in the story are rather minor characters and the book was about the supernatural element living in our mundane world, I was much more interested.

I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it for anyone that likes a monster story that isn’t a horror story. Ms. Lafferty most often writes with tongue firmly implanted in cheek, and this is no exception.

I posted a pic of myself holding the book, because I wanted to prove that I had bought it (well, as much as a book being held is proof), and if you’re a fan of Ms. Lafferty, I think you should too. However, if you simply don’t have time to read (as I find myself more and more these days), you can download the audiobook in podcast form for free. At least for the next week or so. I believe Ms. Lafferty stated December 5th would be the final day the podcast would be available. As she states however, if you can afford to buy it, please do. I enjoy being able to listen to a story without being charged for the audiobook, and perhaps if this experiment works well, Orbit will allow the sequel to be made available for free in audio form as well.

Book Review #30: Things Unseen by Chris Lester

Things UnseenTitle: Things Unseen
Author: Chris Lester
Publisher: Liminal Corvid Press
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Available Formats: ebook (mobi,epub,pdf,rtf)
Rating: Adult content warning

I truthfully have no idea when I started following Chris Lester on Twitter, but I do know it was quite some time back. Mr. Lester has been producing speculative fiction in his Metamor City world for quite some time now. I reviewed his Making the Cut podcast almost 4 years ago. That was my introduction to Mr. Lester’s Metamor City world, and today we’ll be looking at his most recent entry.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: In the Year 1974 CR, a team of explorers vanished at the mysterious Telvari Rift. 25 years later, a new group of adventurers has braved this forbidden zone. Some sought power. Some sought answers. None expected what they found. Now a trail of death follows them from the jungles of the Rift to the towers of Metamor City, and only police detectives Kathryn Kitaen and David Silverleaf can stop it.

Setting; As previously stated, this book takes place in Metamor City. For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Lester’s world, it is a strange and unique setting with a future scifi earth where people have obtained magical powers and mutated themselves into hybrids of human/animal as well as supplying us with elves and other mythical races. The city itself is torn between the rich and the poor with little middle class to be seen.

Plot: Police detectives Kitaen and Silverleaf are thrown into a web of intrigue and suspense as they try to unravel a case which transcends socioeconomic status and causes disruptions among all quadrants of Metamor City.

Characters: The book centers around the two previously mentioned police detectives but contains a good number of “extras”. So many, in fact, that you might want to keep a cheat sheet near your book to make a few notes. This doesn’t detract from the book however, as Mr. Lester is an adept in his own right as he weaves together a story that is both action and character driven. A feat as rare as the world he has created.

Odin’s recommendation: I make no excuses for the fact that I’m a prude. I don’t choose to read things regularly that challenge this fact. I will state that Things Unseen came close on several occasions to ending up on my “did not finish pile” for this reason. However, I did finish this book and will go farther and give it a favorable recommendation with the following caveat: I have labeled this with an Adult Content Warning. As Smashwords states, even some adults might be offended. I admit, I did skip some passages. With that being said, the story itself is quite interesting and the Metamor world is fascinating. While I haven’t read every book in the Metamor series, I will state that of the ones I have read, Things Unseen shows the growth Mr. Lester has made as an author, and if you’re a fan of the Metamor world, you don’t want to miss this one. If you haven’t read anything else by Mr. Lester, I don’t think you would have any trouble being able to follow this book and if you’re not offended by adult content, there is much to be enjoyed here.

Free book #1: Alibi Jones by Mike Luoma

Regular readers of this blog will  recognize  Mike Luoma as an author that has been reviewed here on a couple of occasions. Currently Mike is giving away (yes giving, as in FREE) his novel Alibi Jones  at his blog found here. I have shamelessly copied and pasted that post.

Glow-in-the-Dark Radio’s FREE book for September is the first book in The Adventures of Alibi Jones – the original novel Alibi Jones, by Mike Luoma. Your chance to check out the start of the science fiction adventure series risk-free!


Alibi Jones is a mediator for the Solar Alliance in the early 22nd Century, searching for a kidnapped friend with the help of the mysterious alien DakhurKit, and the man known asPiccolo. Alibi doesn’t know following the trail of alien kidnappers will lead to a shocking discovery – Dangers thought long-dead are still very much ALIVE!

Get your free pdf of the book at Drive Thru Comics and/or Fiction:
Drive Thru Comicshttp://comics.drivethrustuff.com/product/89354/Alibi-Jones
Drive Thru Fictionhttp://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/89354/Alibi-Jones
There’s also a code to use at Smashwords, where you can get ALIBI JONES in any eBook format – for now, that’s exclusive to the podcast, but you can find it in the podcast notes…

Please, enjoy the read, and feel free to share the links and the ebook with your friends all month!

Book Review #28: The Silver Sickle by Ellie Ann

silversickle_ellieann_fullcover_4-1Title: The Silver Sickle
Author: Ellie Ann
Publisher: Stonehouse Ink.
Release Date: July 2013
Available Formats: ebook and multi-media ebook (others?)

I’ve followed Ellie Ann on Twitter for a while. I don’t know how, though I expect she was a follower of someone I followed and a RT or something caught my interest. Its kind of how Twitter works. A couple of months ago, she made mention of a book she was planning on publishing. I don’t remember if she was looking for a reviewer, or if I volunteered. Regardless, The Silver Sickle made its way into my inbox and the rest is history.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: It’s a YA science fiction/steampunk about a girl trapped in a harem who must take down an extraterrestrial regime. It’s Esther meets District 9. With robots. (Stolen from the authors website.. seriously.. but yes.. that is a good elevator pitch for it.)

Setting: The Silver Sickle takes place in a futuristic past on another planet. Or Earth in an alternate timeline. Or perhaps the future of Earth. I don’t really know. It doesn’t really matter. Ellie Ann has created a feeling to her world the transcends time and place to simply draw the reader in. Whether the action is taking place in the city, the harem, or the alien spaceship, the reader will be able to picture the scene easily and will likely find many references to use as touchstones.

Plot: Farissa is marked by aliens as being special. Special how? The populace believes they are blessed among all humans. Farissa and the other chosen aren’t so sure. Are they to be deified or something more sinister? Farissa believes the latter and is determined to prove it.

Characters: The book is told from the perspective of three characters, each in the third person. Farissa, a young girl and one of the chosen. Zel, a young apprentice inventor with a kind heart and a great love. Gira, an alien self styled goddess that has a secret she’d rather not have the humans learn about. Ellie Ann does a commendable job switching between characters. This type of storytelling isn’t one I usually enjoy, but this story is told well enough that I didn’t find the multiple perspectives distracting or annoying. I enjoyed Farissa’s character the most, but each of the characters were well written and played their part well.

Odin’s recommendation: I really enjoyed The Silver Sickle and am hoping for more stories in this universe. If you like intelligently written YA, I’d advise you to keep your eye on this author.

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