Book Review: The Lover’s Portrait by Jennifer S Alderson

This book has all the ingredients needed for a great mystery/thriller … 5 stars for ‘The Lover’s Portrait’.
You’re sure to enjoy this fantastic book.

30000039This book has all the ingredients needed for a great mystery/thriller: history, intrigue, conspiracy, heartbreak, action and suspense. It may sound contrived or mundane to say that a book is a “page-turner” and that one “couldn’t put it down”, but it really is true of ‘The Lover’s Portait’. Set in Amsterdam, t’s a well-designed, fabulous historical puzzle, solved decades later by someone who has no intention of becoming a detective; rather, it is through her dogged commitment to the truth that she uncovers the answers. The author has woven together a number of compelling plot lines to construct her own work of art. It is free of gratuitous violence and sex, making it suitable for Young Adult audiences as well as older readers.
The story moves at a great pace, keeping the reader fully engaged in Zelda’s quest for the truth. The characters are well-developed and very believable. Zelda, as the main protagonist, is flawed and realistic, while the antagonist is both intelligent and cold-hearted, and is therefore very easy to dislike. This is paralleled in the ‘historical’ characters in the story: the protagonists are likeable and genuine, both oppressed for different reasons, while the author has very effectively characterised their NAZI antagonist as cruel and vindictive through his own motivations and actions without resorting to any typecasting or cliche.  Throughout the novel, the author succeeds in using the natural empathy of the reader to drive their interest and engagement in the characters and plot without the reader being aware of any such positioning.
As the novel draws to a close, Anderson pulls the various story lines together into a neat and satisfying conclusion, albeit tinged with sadness and regret.
5 stars for ‘The Lover’s Portrait’.
Read it. You’re sure to enjoy this fantastic book.

Book Review: ‘Tom’s Inheritance’ by T.J. Green

‘Tom’s Inheritance’ is absolutely captivating…

If you loved Harry Potter, you need to read ‘Tom’s Inheritance’.

‘Tom’s Inheritance’ is absolutely captivating. I was drawn in by the first scene in the woods, and completely enchanted by The Other.

The characters are delightfully complex and intriguing, and all so different. The way their back-stories play out in the action of this book is marvellous, adding layers of connection and engagement in the story that created wonderful involvement in the story for me.

T.J. Green has created fabulous creatures, worlds and environments, connecting them intricately with secrets, mystery, and myth. This mysterious, enchanting tale weaves magical realism, fantasy, and Arthurian legend together seamlessly in an entirely original and captivating way.

If you loved Harry Potter, you need to read ‘Tom’s Inheritance’. You will love it just as much! I know that’s a big call, but I can’t wait to read ‘Twice Born’, the sequel to ‘Tom’s Inheritance’ now!

Five very well-deserved stars!

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Book Review: ‘Shiva XIV’ by Lyra Shanti

‘Shiva XIV’: the next space epic you need to read. Seriously.

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‘Shiva XIV’ is a wonderful sci-fi/fantasy blend with some beautifully crafted magical elements. Or a blend of fantasy and magical realism with sci-fi elements.
Or… never mind. Suffice to say, it’s fantastic.

There is so much that is original in this story. Shanti has really proven herself a master of world-building in the variety and the incredible richness of the settings and unique planets she has created in ‘Shiva XIV’.

Ancient philosophies and vastly different world views characterise the different planets and their populations. These, in turn,  infuse the lead characters with the qualities and complexities that drive them and keep the reader engaged in the story as it unfolds. Not only are there the universal themes of love vs hate and good vs evil, we see the characters struggling with the same opposing forces in their own loyalties and ideologies.

 

The first book of three already published in what promises to be an absolutely brilliant series, it’s no exaggeration to say that ‘Shiva XIV’ could easily become the next space epic series. It would easily fill the void that Star Wars fans will experience after the final episode is released, given that it deals with many similar themes in new and entirely original ways.

 

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Shanti’s narrative flows easily, carrying the reader on Ayn’s journey of discovery and destiny. This book ends on a cliffhanger, but the reader is satisfied enough by the partial resolutions and revelations given in the final chapters of ‘Shiva XIV’ to not feel cheated or short-changed, yet Shanti successfully piques their curiosity enough to leave them wanting more. There’s so much more that is yet to  be revealed!

 

‘Shiva XIV’ gets five very-well-deserved stars from me.  I am very keen to move on to the next Shiva XIV book, ‘The Veil of Truth’ very soon!

 

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