Tuesday, March 9, 2010

{fantasy reads}

Do you enjoy reading fiction that features an epic story of a hero’s journey? {I know I do!} Then you will probably enjoy both of these fantasy fiction titles:

Raven's Ladder
by Jeffrey Overstreet
Following the beacon of Auralia’s colors and the footsteps of a mysterious dream-creature, King Cal-raven has discovered a destination for his weary crowd of refugees. It’s a city only imagined in legendary tales. And it gives him hope to establish New Abascar.

But when Cal-raven is waylaid by fortune hunters, his people become vulnerable to a danger more powerful than the prowling beastmen––House Bel Amica. In this oceanside kingdom of wealth, enchantment, and beauty, deceitful Seers are all too eager to ensnare House Abascar’s wandering throng.

Even worse, the Bel Amicans have discovered Auralia’s colors, and are twisting a language of faith into a lie of corruption and control.

If there is any hope for the people of Abascar, it lies in the courage of Cyndere, daughter of Bel Amica’s queen; the strength of Jordam the beastman; and the fiery gifts of the ale boy, who is devising a rescue for prisoners of the savage Cent Regus beastmen.

As his faith suffers one devastating blow after another, Cal-raven’s journey is a perilous climb from despair to a faint gleam of hope––the vision he sees in Auralia’s colors.
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{my thoughts}
This book is the third in a series that begins with Auralia's Colors and continues with Cyndere's Midnight. That being said, I can definitely see the value of starting at the beginning of the series. I enjoyed Raven's Ladder, in a way, but I did find it a little confusing - it would have been an easier read if I had know the background of the story.
Even though I found myself a tad lost sometimes, I really enjoyed Jeffrey Overstreet's style of writing. He's very descriptive {you can easily imagine things being described}, and I found his words beautiful to read. I've already placed requests for Auralia's Colors and Cyndere's Midnight at my library, so I can fully understand the plot.

Lady Carliss and the Waters of Moorue
by Chuck Black
Determined, smart and a master of both the sword and the bow, Lady Carliss has proven herself as a veteran Knight of the Prince. Returning from a mission of aid, Carliss is plunged into adventure once again as she searches for the marauders responsible for kidnapping a friends’ family. Along the way she is reunited with Sir Dalton and discovers that the struggle in her heart is far from over. When Dalton falls to the vicious attack of a mysterious, poisonous creature, Carliss finds herself in a race against time. As Dalton clings perilously to life, she must find the antidote in the distant and strange city of Moorue.

While there, Carliss uncovers the master plot of a powerful Shadow Warrior that will soon overtake the entire Kingdom. Her faith in the Prince and her courage as a knight are tested as she faces evil Shadow Warriors and a swamp full of dreadful creatures. The lives of many, including Dalton’s, depend on Carliss. But she cannot save them all, for time is running out. She faces an impossible choice: save Dalton, or let him die so that others may live.
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{my thoughts}
I really enjoyed this book. This is not my first encounter with Chuck Black's books; my sisters and I really enjoyed his first series, The Kingdom Series. So I was excited to read his latest writings, and was not disappointed!

Lady Carliss is actually the fourth in the Knights of Arrethtrae series, but I didn't find it confusing to start there. I think these stories are a bit more freestanding, though probably more enjoyed with all of it's companions. This is considered a youth/teen fiction book, so you might enjoy reading it to your older children. I know I enjoyed reading it by myself!

This book is fast-paced (not in a bad way) and entertaining, but it also teaches valuable lessons about serving the King. The characters struggle and fight through their problems, but ultimately depend on the King to help them. The book is also not too long or drawn out - I finished reading it fairly quickly. Altogether, I think it a good read with benefits of learning.

So tell me, how do you feel about fantasy titles? Are these books you'd be interested in?
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

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