Book Review: ‘The Thief’s Daughter’ by Jeff Wheeler

Sequel to ‘The Queen’s Poisoner’ in the KingFountain series, this book continues the story of Owen Kiskaddon and his life as a one of King Severn’s most trusted advisors.

Many of the same central characters feature alongside some entirely new ones, who add new dimensions and qualities to the story.

Time has passed, naturally, and Owen has grown from the child hostage and stranger in the royal court into a man, rewarded with a Duchy for his loyalty, and charged with the duty of serving the king and protecting those closest to him. 

It is a magnificent and epic fantasy story, enriched with magic, deeply involving the reader in both the personal lives of the central characters the fate of the kingdom of Ceredigion, a kingdom that is richly and intricately detailed to the point where it seems real. The reader gains a deeper understanding of the complexities of the problems that face the king, fully aware as he is of the reasons why many distrust and fear him, yet also strongly motivated by his sincere love and concern for his kingdom and subjects. 

Although the connections between this story and the elements of English history during The Wars of the Roses, particularly the life and personality of Richard III, are clearly discernible, the story maintains an original and unique plot that sets it apart from those events and ensures its distinction as a fine work of fantasy rather than historical fiction.  

This book delivers a rich and deeply involving story that captivates the reader. It is difficult to put the book down once started, and as the momentum of the story builds, the story becomes even more compelling. It really is a most excellent read.    

The Thief’s Daughter has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘The Curse of the Dragon Stone’ by J.B. Richards

This is a story of powerful contrasts: friendship and treachery, love and enmity, good and evil, life and death, dragon and wolf. 

The tale is well crafted and beautifully told. The narrative is well paced, balancing drama with action and darkness with lighter moments. The characters are varied and interesting, each having unique interests and motivations that help to develop and drive the story.  

Kirin is a complex and conflicted central character. Tyriel complements his fiery nature, yet also presents Kirin with one of his most profound dilemmas. Together with the Fabiola Sisters, these two must take up the fight against evil and seek to right the wrongs of the past. 

A convenient novella length read, this book certainly delivers a rich and inviting narrative that will have definite appeal for readers of fantasy and paranormal romance. 

This first of three parts of The Dragon’s Heir Trilogy certainly whetted my appetite for  the next two books in the series.

‘The Curse Of The Dragon Stone’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn 

Find your copy here.

Audiobook Review: ‘The Book Of Abisan’ by CH Clepitt

Anyone who has read a book or two by CH Clepitt will understand that it is perfectly reasonable to expect that everything she writes is a ripping good yarn. ‘The Book Of Abisan’, in which contemporary fiction blends seamlessly with magical fantasy, is the kind of book that only reinforces that sort of assumption. It’s brilliant. 

The storytelling is well paced and infused with moments of humour that balance the action and intrigue of the plot. The storyline is original and interesting, and the suspense and tension are palpable as the mysteries and quests of the story emerge and interweave. 

The various settings contrast well with one another and serve to highlight the sense of strangeness the characters experience when they find themselves in a juxtaposed world. This also keeps the reader fully engaged in the story because there is nothing predictable about where the story might take them next… which is, of course, half the fun. 

The characters are varied and complex, each with personal motivations that drive their actions and decision making. There are some really wonderful characters who keep the reader invested in their personal stories as well as the tale overall, and others who are designed to be hateful and play that part very well. 

The Audible narration is very good, with excellent vocal control and variations in tone and voice that help to develop both plot and characterisation. The narrator’s voice is pleasant and her diction clear, although she does say “somethink” instead of “something”, which is the one minor thing that bothered me during this audiobook experience. Apart from that, Alicia Rose is pleasant and enjoyable to listen to. 

This highly engaging and absorbing story has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

‘The Book Of Abisan’ is available as either an audiobook or a novel

Book Review: ‘The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village’ by Ronesa Aveela

This is a great fantasy story full of intrigue, action and challenges that require Theo, the main character, and his friends to use their skills and their brains to work out how to rescue those who fall into the hands of a cruel and hateful power.

Even greater than the obstacles Theo faces in learning what his abilities are, he must learn to overcome his self doubt and his fears by focusing on what is really important. This is an important and empowering message for the target audience of this book: older children and younger teens, who will readily relate to the problems of family relationships and friendship issues that the various characters in the book encounter.

Promoting values of loyalty, trust and resilience, the story takes the reader on a journey through varied and interesting places, filled with all sorts of magical creatures– not all of whom are helpful in the completion of Theo’s quest. 

This would be a great book for kids to read independently, or for a family to share together. It would also make a great addition to classroom and library bookshelves. 

A positive and encouraging tale, ‘The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village ‘ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Blood Relic’ by Lucretia Stanhope

The third in Stanhope’s Paranormal Peacekeepers fantasy series, ‘Blood Relic’ continues the story of Alice’s journey of discovery of her nature and the powers she possesses. 

Conflicted and more sure if what she does not want than what she does, Alice finds herself assigned to a mission that threatens her with her deepest fears. The challenges she faces and the fears she is forced to confront test her character and push her limits more than ever before. 

This story is well developed and effectively paced, keeping the reader engaged with the action and intrigued by the twists and turns. With a master stroke of plot development, the reader is a left wondering how the story will be resolved until the very last page.

‘Blood Relic’ is an excellent paranormal romance read, and has been awarded a Good Acorn.

Find your copy here.

See my reviews of the first two books in the series, Tainted Waters and Feral

Book Review: ‘The Queen’s Poisoner’ by Jeff Wheeler

This is a fascinating story – the entirely original characters, locations and magical elements make it fantasy, yet it is overlaid on a foundation of elements of history in The Wars of the Roses and the life story of the English king Richard III. The way in which those historical elements are drawn upon and interwoven throughout the story and rich layers of complexity and interest to the story. The reader becomes deeply engaged in the story as it unfolds, particularly when the key characters are faced with danger or discovery.

The characters are vividly portrayed, crafted to engage the reader’s empathy for the protagonist, a young boy named Owen, and those who prove themselves his friends. There is also a good range of characters for whom the reader enjoys contempt and significant distrust— indeed, disliking them is actually a pleasurable experience.

The Audible narration of the book is clearly read and quite expressive, although occasionally sounds a little flat and stilted – perhaps in contrast to the great use of voice and tone to deliver effective characterisation when the characters speak. While this may cause trifling annoyance for the listener from time to time, it  did not prove to be an issue sufficient to really affect the listener’s enjoyment of the story itself. 

The first novel in what promises to be a most excellent and enjoyable series, The Queen’s Poisoner has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Ye Olde Magick Shoppe’ by Claire Buss

‘Ye Olde Magick Shoppe’ is a delightful short story from Roshaven, the setting of the author’s’ fantasy novel, The Rose Thief.

Central characters Ned Spinks and Jenni the Sprite return with their quirky brand of investigation when a mysterious shop appears in Roshaven. Of course, nothing is straightforward and their endeavours to solve the mystery being about more mayhem than they anticipated.

This is a fun story for all ages that can be enjoyed in less than half an hour. It does work.as a standalone story: prior knowledge of Roshaven and its residents is not essential to understanding and enjoyment of ‘Ye Olde Magick Shoppe’, but readers who have not yet read The Rose Thief will very likely want to after this brief taste of Buss’s enchanting storytelling.

This excellent short story has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Find your copy here.