Tag Archive | Battle between Good and Evil

Bloodbonded by Amy Rose Davis

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5.5″X8.5″ Post Card Template

Source: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

The lion awakens. The mountain bleeds.

After killing the owner of a brutal slave operation and escaping his camp with Connor’s help, Mairead is relieved to be reunited with her beloved and back on course toward her rightful place as Queen of Taura.

But a strange lost tribe from the mountains of Culidar has other plans for her. They claim she is their prophesied Deliverer—the one who will lead them to their inheritance on the plains of Culidar. She is “bloodbonded”—connected to the very soil and spirit of Culidar, destined to lead the lion tribe from its hiding place in the mountains down to the plains.

There’s only one problem: the lions hate the ravenmarked.

The lion tribe has long exiled men who bear the Morrag’s mark, and those men still live on the mountain, waiting for their Deliverer. Mairead is faced with bringing peace between the ravens and the lions, as well as asserting her own role in the tribe. But even as she faces dissent within the tribe, Connor faces a growing madness that threatens to consume him—and prove that the lions have every reason to fear the ravenmarked. Can Mairead bring peace to the tribe, the plains, or even her own beloved?

Set against a backdrop of romance, political instability, and magic, Bloodbonded is the second in a five-book epic fantasy series titled The Taurin Chronicles.

Bloodbonded, the long-awaited sequel to Ravenmarked, book one of the Taurin Chronicles. And the wait was indeed well-rewarded with an excellent page-turner, following the further adventures of Connor and Mairead – and some other old friends as well.

What I liked: First off, simply having this book on-screen to read. And what a treat. This is a long book – and when it comes to epic fantasy, the longer the better, I think. This is a complex story, following multiple threads. Therefore it’s written from several POVs, and one meets many characters and sees many parts of the world Davis has created. These are all good things.

Davis doesn’t just deal with easy topics – difficult topics are not given a whitewash, but are on the page to be seen. Abortion, murder of children, slavery… these are a few of the topics given air, and the characters make their decisions based on who they are and what they care about.

Each of the characters is well-rounded, with their own goals and personalities – and histories. It was really lovely to see how each character developed through the course of this story, and especially to watch Mairead begin to embrace her identity as Queen of Taura.

What didn’t I like: Not much to say here really, except “I want more!” It came to an end all too soon. While there is closure, and this part of the story is finished, I know there’s more to come and I cannot wait for the next instalment!

An excellent instalment to The Taurin Chronicles that lovers of epic fantasy will devour.

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The Alchemist’s Kiss by AR DeClerck

The Alchemists KissSource: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

London 1869

A dark wizard has arrived in London, at exactly the time unrest among the non-magical community is coming to a head. London is under the protection of wizard and alchemist Icarus Kane and his loyal friends Cora Mae Jenkins and Archimedes Merriweather, and together they must chase down the threat while dodging the riots and the angry poor along the way. Icarus has no use for science, but there will be no escaping it as the aether, the very heart of magic, is threatened. All of London may perish if the dark wizard gets his way, and Icarus could lose his best friend and his lover in the battle. All the world could be destroyed under the tide of the oncoming storm unless Icarus can face his own power and embrace his inner darkness.

I loved this book. It’s been a while since I’ve read steampunk, and this book drew me right back into the tech. And quite took my breath away, truth be told. A simple premise at first glance, The Alchemist’s Kiss carries far more depth than I expected. Despite knowing I was only 25, 50, 75 per cent through the book, I kept thinking “surely this is the endgame?”… and then being delighted to find yet another twist to the story.

Icarus Kane and Cora Jenkins make for two fabulous main characters, and an excellent cast of supporting characters surround them. To me, this is a tale of romance, intermingled with the age-old fight between good and evil, as well as an expert analysis of technological progress. Each of these elements is a well rounded thread wending through the tale, and the conclusions of each are decisive. And I really loved (sorry, I can’t find a better word, really) the way in which love was a key player in the outcome of events through the book.

Keir by Pippa Jay

Source: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

A demon waiting to die…
An outcast reviled for his discolored skin and rumors of black magic, Keirlan de Corizi sees no hope for redemption. Imprisoned beneath the palace that was once his home, the legendary ‘Blue Demon of Adalucien’ waits for death to finally free him of his curse. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise.

A woman determined to save him.
Able to cross space and time with a wave of her hand, Tarquin Secker has spent eternity on a hopeless quest. Drawn by a compulsion she can’t explain, she risks her apparent immortality to save Keir, and offers him sanctuary on her home-world, Lyagnius. But Quin has secrets of her own.

When Keir mistakenly unleashes the dormant alien powers within him and earns exile from Lyagnius, Quin chooses to stand by him. Can he master his newfound abilities in time to save Quin from the darkness that seeks to possess her?

This is a story of tortured souls, love and redemption. On a strange world, where the cultural and architectural influence is heavily medieval, Quin, a human traveller who moves among the stars on a quest for a lost friend, discovers Keir, an outcast in his society. All Keir wants to do is die, believing himself condemned and cursed – not to mention the fact he is badly injured – while Quin soon wishes to save him, having seen a glimpse of who he really is.

From this starting point follows an adventure that will warm science fiction and romance readers alike. As one hops between planets with this delightful pair, Pippa Jay sketches the different worlds with her pen, bringing them vividly to life. She does no less with each character, drawing one into their minds with ease.

This edition is longer than the original publication, with more depth in some areas. If anything, the story gains stature from the additional length, and I for one appreciated the added depth. I’ve seen some reviewers struggle with the two different story lines in the novel, but for me these two story lines make me ask more questions. I guess it helps that I know the author is planning a sequel, so I know there is more to come and, perhaps, some answers.

A solid romance in a science fiction setting, with time travel thrown in.

Ravenmarked by Amy Rose Davis


Source: Own collection
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

For one with the ravenmark, there is no balance.

Connor Mac Niall has everything he wants. As the best freelance man-at-arms in the known world, his reputation brings him jobs that provide adventure, women, and money in abundance.

But Connor has a secret: He’s ravenmarked. The avenging spirit of the earth, known as the Morrag, has chosen him to be her angel of death–to kill those she wants killed. Connor has run from her call half his life, and working as a freelance helps him keep the need to kill quelled.

When Connor reluctantly agrees to escort a fleeing royal heir to safety, he has no idea that the journey will bring him face to face with the Morrag–and require that he choose between destiny and freedom. He finds himself confronted with old regrets and new choices. On one side pursued by a sorcerer who wants him dead and on the other side tempted by the Morrag to submit his will to hers, Connor unwittingly escorts his charge right into the path of greatest danger for them both. He faces a choice: Submit his will to the Morrag’s control, or let the royal heir die.

Set against a backdrop of romance, political instability, and magic, Ravenmarked is the first in a five-book epic fantasy series titled The Taurin Chronicles.

Tasked with transporting Mairead, the heir to the Taurin throne, to distant Sveklant by his mother, the Queen Maeve, Connor discovers that this is far more than his usual job. Tracked by a Forbidden, he must come to terms with who and what he is. At the same time, is Braedan, the usurper to the Taurin throne, all that he seems to be at first glance – a callous unbeliever who causes chaos in the realm? Igraine, Princess of Eirya, finally finds a purpose for her life in her appointment as ambassador to the kirok, but is that her ultimate purpose?

Ravenmarked is an easy book to read. Amy Rose Davis draws one into the world she has created, and skilfully shows it to the reader. The characters are all compelling, but don’t make assumptions about any of them.

This book is one of the best high fantasy books I’ve read in years. From the first page to the last one is drawn into the lives of Connor, Mairead, Braedan, Igraine and a host of other characters. I sometimes turned the pages on my kindle too soon in eagerness to read more – and then had to go back to get the full story. I look forward with anticipation to the day I can pick up Bloodbonded and reenter this marvellous world to see what happens next.