Book Review: Orbs of Trenihgea by Newland Moon

Orbs Front Cover - FINAL_9-2017_AS Synopsis: “Tactical decision-making under a king’s command that reads like a classic Star Trek space battle.”
“A duology that defies easy categorization, but reaches beyond genre definitions to entice readers from military sci-fi, and political sci-fi circles alike.”
-D. Donovan – Midwest Book Review

They poisoned his planet, massacred his people, and violated his mother.
Then, they came for him.

After an interplanetary betrayal nearly decimated his world, Zrahnz struggled to protect his people and reclaim his legitimacy as their ruler.

Now, he has received the Rites of Heirdron and vowed to defend the Triax planets torn asunder by a corrupt galactic council, and the “shadow whisperers” who’ve manipulated them all.

The ensuing battle is for more than the survival of Triaxeyn, it’s for the liberation of the galaxy.

Review: Take some science-fiction and a little fantasy, add to it proper proportions of action, mystery, intrigue and romance, and blend well. What you get is this book, Orbs of Trenihgea, a truly great science-fantasy novel by Newland Moon. There’s enough detailed science to please any scifi fan, and the touch of fantasy just makes it even more interesting. I really enjoyed reading this book.

As the sequel to The Rites of Heirdron, this wrapped up the story very nicely, and I was very satisfied with how it all played out. Not that I was able to guess all the twists and turns, but I was not left with any disappointments. In some ways, the intrigue and manipulations reminded me a lot of Frank Herbert’s Dune, though not on as grand a scale. Still, this was a great read and well worth my time.

There were comedic moments interspersed with the drama, and not over or under done. It was difficult to put down, and I was drawn along in the story. I cared for the characters, which were developed expertly and allowed the reader to get to know them.

I could go on and on, as this was a definite must-read story. I highly recommend both books in this dualogy. A well-earned 5 stars.

Book Review: The Shades of Winter by Morgan Smith

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Synopsis:
An aging band of sea raiders set out on one last voyage of revenge, and get a whole lot more than they bargained for.
Tam Isliefsdottir wasn’t planning to end her life in a futile attempt for vengeance, but when your brothers- and sisters-in-arms need you, what can you do? Leaving her son and her granddaughter behind and sailing to the shadowy island of Alvandir, she expected to die gloriously for the sake of her country, her king, and her own reputation.
Nothing is as it is supposed to be, however, and it hasn’t been for the last twenty years. Tam and her Kyndred are in for the surprise of their lives.

Review: The Shades of Winter by Morgan Smith is an exceptional addition to the Averraine Cycle series, and demonstrates why Ms. Smith is one of my favorite fantasy authors. The characters are compelling, complemented by a unique world and inhabitants that entwine into a multilayered plot, entrenching you into a phenomenal story, where you experience every captivating facet with the characters.

The Shades of Winter begins during a late summer harvest in Dyrsholt. Although a necessary task, it’s also tedious: especially for aging sea raiders. This is explicitly so for Tam Isliefsdottir, who relates this fantastical tale from her point of view.

When a ship appears on the horizon, the harvesting halts, and the denizens arm themselves to defend against possible raiders. However, Tam was startled to learn that her Kyndred (brothers/sisters in arms) were sailing into port. After arranging a quick welcoming feast, they meet in the hall for not merely a celebration, but to deliver some astounding news about a raid on a shrine at Heilaegr.

Author Smith provides a fascinating history of the battles, fallen kings, lost comrades, and the state of the current world…and what, if anything, aging warriors can do to soothe old wounds and avenge fallen heroes.

In a world Tam considers made for the young and strong, at times, those more wizened, battle-seasoned, and yearning for past glories, make the most formidable heroines/heroes. With nothing to lose but their lives, Tam and her Kyndred embark on an expedition of vengeance, which escalates into life altering events, unexpected reunions, arcane magic, murder, manipulations, and buried truths resurrected by desperation…not desire.

Morgan Smith has exceptional insight into ancient cultures and ethos, whilst adding her distinctive elan. The detailed sea voyages, attitudes, characterization, and fighting techniques and armaments are impeccable. I appreciate the strong female characters that stood on their own, without the need to lessen the masculinity of the males. They stand on equal footing: in intellect, banter, and battle.

The Shades of Winter by Morgan Smith is an amazing journey with an engaging plot and extraordinary characters. Once the foundation is laid, you’re propelled into a magnificent tale where events and people aren’t necessarily what they appear to be. I can’t wait for the next novel to find out what new adventures are to be had.

 

Book Review: The Pellucid Effect by N.W. Moors

51dGbLZEDsL Synopsis: When the Cymrian refugee ship lands on the planet Manx, they find a peaceful people, the Manxi, already living there. The two different peoples live side by side for many annums, but the Cymrians are the only ones who gain powers from the pellucids in the Singing Caverns.

Mic is a Manxi who dreads the idea of his Cymrian friend, Anais, gaining such powers he will not receive. He worries it will cause a rupture in their budding relationship. Anais is convinced Mic will be the first Manxi to receive pellucids but is it just a vain hope?

Are the Singing Caverns sentient? Do they bestow powers when there is a need, and if so, will Mic and Anais use them to confront the enemy who invades Manx?

Review: The Pellucid Effect by N.W. Moors is an interesting fantasy with a touch of science fiction. It begins with a young Manxi hunter, Aaz, pursuing some prey for his impoverished family’s dinner. Most of his planet, Manx, is barren and the inhabitants lead primitive, but happy lives. When Aaz encounters a group of Cymrians that crash land on their planet, all of their lives and futures are irrevocably changed.

All of the Manx inhabitants have pale features and hair, whereas the Cymrians have golden complexions, dark brown eyes, and raven hair. Despite their outward and technological differences, the Manxi Elders and the Cymrian leader, Osiris, reach an amicable agreement to share both resources and the planet. Shortly after establishing this new agreement, Aaz leads Osiris to a cavern system under the mountains, bespeckled with glistening pellucid stones. Until that day, the stones were dormant. Howbeit, they enlivened when Osiris entered, humming and merging with their new Cymrian host.

Each Cymrian entered the cavern, merging with pellucid stones, granting them exceptional magical abilities. With these new powers, Manx began to flourish, establishing guilds for the magic users to discover and use these gifts to better the lives of all people.

The story continues a century later with two interesting new characters: Mic- a Manxi, and Anais- a Cymrian. They are best friends, but both have deeper feelings for the other. Mic is disheartened since they’re approaching a mandated assimilation ceremony in the ‘singing caverns’ that will dictate their futures depending on which pellucid stones merge with them. No Manxi has ever received a stone, and once Anais’ assimilation is complete, she’ll join her guild and Mic will be forced to accept an occupation designated for those deficient of magical abilities.

Though pervaded with foreboding, Mic completes his ritual regardless of what changes will inevitably impact his life. At times, our deepest desires can also lead to our greatest desolation.

The Pellucid Effect is an engaging tale with intriguing, likable characters. The improbable romance Mic and Anais attempt to forge is littered with trials, prejudices, despondency, and angst. The Manxi and Cymrian people never mated outside of their own species. Anais endeavors to change that.

I enjoyed The Pellucid Effect, and read it in one sitting. Although I felt the ending was a bit rushed, I wasn’t dissatisfied. There were some interesting and important characters introduced near the end that I wanted to know more about, and an antagonist that needed more screen time and development. A pleasure to read. 4.5 stars.

Book Review: Kurintor Nyusi by Aaron-Michael Hall

KN-Front-SEALSynopsis: As the gods battle in the heavens, darkness descends on earth.

The Keepers of Nine guide the primordial Kurintor warriors protecting the mortal world from the demons of Ashemohn. But after a god’s corruption empowered their demon goddess, Sokka, her manipulations have brought the Kurintor to the brink of extinction.

Can the Keepers of Nine awaken the Kurintor descendants in time to defend the Fifth Kingdom, or will the eidolons Sokka has sent forth destroy them?

It isn’t prophecy, destiny, or a birthright, that will decide the fate of the mortal world.
It is choice.

Review: Kurintor Nyusi is one of the most exciting and refreshing books I’ve read in a long time. The plot was not the usual fantasy fare, the world not like the usual worlds you find in the genre, and the characters…well, it was the characters that made this tale a pure pleasure to read. The author has created something very unique, and this is sure to be an award-winning story.

Through the eyes of these believable and well-portrayed characters, the reader is treated to a wonderfully enthralling experience, seeing the world through their eyes and coming to care for each and every one of them. We feel their emotions, share in their pains and joys. Even the antagonists. Nurisha, Xavion, Qaradan, Zuri, Alyelu and so many more. Yet, while there are plenty of characters, I did not feel overwhelmed at any time while reading this book.

This is fantasy as it was meant to be, not focused on creatures and landscapes, or even on the events, but on the people who live them, and we get to experience it all right along with them. I cannot say enough about how well-written this story is. This is an author all fantasy fans should keep their eyes on, and I highly recommend reading Kurintor Nyusi. I am anxiously awaiting the next book, and if this book is any indicator, the next will be magnificent! It deserves more than a mere 5 stars.