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: Darkrise by M.L. Spencer

DarkRise Synopsis: Darien Lauchlin betrayed his allegiance to the Rhen when he sold his soul to the God of Chaos. Now the unthinkable has occurred: war between Malikar and the Rhen looms on the horizon. As Darien prepares to lead an invasion against his former homeland, he struggles to unite a diverse people who still view him as the enemy. Darien is forced to abandon his former loyalties and confront the tragedies of his past. With the help of Azár, he embarks on a series of trials that will forge him into the Battlemage his people desperately need him to be. But will the price of becoming a weapon be the last of his humanity?

Review: Darkrise by M. L. Spencer is the fourth book in this unique epic fantasy series (counting the prequel, Darkstorm). If you’re looking for a satisfying conclusion in this novel, you’ll have to wait until the next book (maybe). If you’re seeking an enthralling epic adventure comprising the fantastical elements you love, Darkrise is that and more.

Darkrise continues from where Darklands ended. Malikar and the Rhen teeter on the brink of war if a peaceful solution can’t be achieved. Darien Lauchlin, revered as a hero by some and an enemy to others, is entrenched within a battle not only between civilizations, but also within himself. Regardless of his moral conflicts and waning integrity, he’s determined to ascertain a peaceful solution and stand as a bridge between both worlds. Howbeit, his desires are incongruous to those of his new oath and master. Darien struggles with retaining his humanity, whilst striving to protect it. In doing so, numerous aspects of his life must change as he realizes that in order to attempt the impossible, he must surrender to the unthinkable.

It wouldn’t be a Rhenwars novel without the beloved, misunderstood, and flawed, Quin Reis. He’s continuing his efforts to aid Darien on a separate, perilous journey of discovery and strife. Even so, there’s some interesting facets of his personality that are brought forth along with more insight into who and what he is. Can a touch of humanity deliver him from the turbidity encompassing his soul? One can only hope. As one of the most intriguing characters in the series, Quin Reis never ceases to sacrifice himself for others and continuously advocates for causes that are beneficial to the whole. I do love that numerous so-called ‘demons’ in this series comprise more rectitude and ‘goodness’ than those proclaiming morality and righteousness. Furthermore, those purporting other cultures as savage, display the very barbarity they assign to their nemeses.

With a few darker undertones than the previous novels in the series (at least to me), Darkrise comes closer to having a grimdark edge. Conflicted characters, demons, hell-hounds, magic, torture and war, are all interwoven into a compelling tale that I didn’t want to end.

The one thing that perplexed me was the sudden aberrant behavior of an essential character. Throughout the series and especially in this novel, he remained unflinching and cold (as he should). Even after proclaiming his ‘blood-thirst’ and elation at decimating his enemies (or friends…he’s like that), it completely changed when the opportunity presented itself. It was contrary to everything that he is and previously demonstrated. Perhaps, this aspect was needed to augment another character’s purpose and significance. He certainly benefited from this reversal in characterization. I can’t wait to read the next novel and see.

Darkrise by M.L. Spencer is a captivating read with relatable characters that you’ll care about. The world is richly drawn, enhancing the epic experience. Definitely recommended.

Book Review: Dragonblood Throne by Tom Fallwell

Dragon Blood
Synopsis: Orphaned as a young child and growing up alone in the forest, Delina lives a life of isolation; her only companion a saber-toothed panther. Her strange eyes frighten those she occasionaly encounters, so she keeps to herself, until a young, wounded warrior ends up at her doorstep. As she nurses him back to health, she discovers she is more than just a young woman with unusual eyes, she is a dragonblood, destined to become the ruler of Almar.

Now hunted by the dark sorcerer who murdered her father, usurped his throne, and killed all her kin, she must find out how she can release the essence of the dragon inside her to defeat him. Everything depends upon her willingness to embrace her legacy and reclaim the Dragon Throne.

Review: Dragonblood Throne Legacy by Tom Fallwell was a very enjoyable fantasy novel. Delina’s character was well-written as were her motivations for multiple decisions she made throughout the story.

After being isolated for most of her life, she struggles to trust a young warrior that she’d nursed back to health. Although she feels an attraction (beyond physical) to him, her dealings with others makes her extremely cautious. With an unknown past and mysterious eyes, she’s been labeled a witch, and lost most of her family due to the same. Her only companion is a saber toothed panther (Morlok) who has protected her since she was a child.

Once Merrick convinces Delina of impending dangers, she journeys with him and learns more about herself and her family. Not only is she a dragonblood, she’s the rightful ruler of Almar. Now, she must choose to embrace her heritage and become who/what she’s meant to be, or she can reject that heritage and succumb to the forces of Kargoth: the malefic usurper who murdered her father.

Dragonblood Throne Legacy is full of magic, fantastical creatures, and intrigue. There were a few places that caused my brow to raise, but the story as a whole is a good one. All of the expected fantasy elements are present with some new creatures called Malcoraths as well. Author Fallwell redefines what a dragon is, and entwines those aspects into a forward-moving plot.

Being a lover of characterization, I’m always searching for “why” a character displays certain behaviors. I never truly understood Kargoth’s motivations for his abominable acts, but that didn’t take away from my reading enjoyment.

Easily 4.5 stars and recommended for fantasy lovers: young and old.