A plague is spreading across the land. Crops are rotting. People are dying in the streets. Sora, with the help of her magical Cat’s Eye necklace, is the only one who can stop it.
She must travel overseas to the Lost Isles, a place of legend and mystery. Only there can she destroy the bloodmage, Volcrian, putting an end to the curse. She is accompanied by Crash, a lethal assassin who once threatened—and saved—her life. But Sora is beginning to question her dark companion. He seems to be carrying a secret; a hidden past that could endanger them all.
Meanwhile, they are hunted by an underground society known as the Shade. For centuries, the Shade has waited for the perfect opportunity to step into the light. Now they are perilously close to resurrecting a Dark God and unleashing a wave of unimaginable destruction. They only need to collect the three sacred weapons, and Sora has already found two….
Blurb and cover from Goodreads
5 out of 5 stars
Note: This review may be less professional and longer than most because fangirling is likely to occur. You were warned.
This is by far one of my All Time Favorite series. Volcrian’s Hunt picks up a few days after Viper’s Creed left off, with Sora and Co. on board a ship destined for the Harpy islands. It doesn’t take long for the adventure/trouble to start and once it does, there’s never a dull moment! I find myself becoming more and more engrossed in this series, this world, and these characters with each new installment. This is by far one of the better books I have read and Ferran’s Map cannot arrive soon enough for me!
This book caps off the word count at over 100k, but it felt much, much shorter. I became so caught up in the story that before I knew it I had reached the end and was yearning for more. The plot is well structured with no loopholes and a cocktail of suspense, action, and magic with a shot of romance. We learn more about the Harpies as well as their archenemies, the Unnamed or the Sixth Race, Crash’s race.
I understand that the bad@$$ heroine has come into vogue and while I can be fond of the Xenas and Celaenas, I find a character like Sora, with a certain vulnerability and innocence, to be refreshing. Sora isn’t a fool or completely helpless, but she’s not a smoldering virago either. She does what she does for the sake of doing the right thing and while she has her fears and doubts, it’s her courage that pulls through in the end.
Crash has grown a lot since the first book, but the author still does a good job of reminding us who he is and where he comes from. That doesn’t change the fact that he is my favorite character and I have shipped him with Sora since the scene they met. He’s become very protective of her, but not in a possessive way (possessiveness is overrated in my opinion). I thought I couldn’t adore him any more, then came this one part where :SPOILER: he could have seduced Sora :END SPOILER: and you could tell he wanted to, but didn’t because he respected her and wanted what was best for her. My thoughts at that point were simple—AWESOME!!! If I didn’t already love him to bits, I certainly would now.
On a side note, Crash’s shirts seem have a rather short life expectancy in this book. I didn’t think the poor articles of benign clothing deserved their untimely demises, but if dear T.L. Shreffler disagrees…oh, well.
There was a female character called Krait introduced toward the end of Viper’s Creed of the same race as Crash. I’m not sure why, but I think I like her. She has that certain creepy zealot appeal and I’m looking forward to reading more about her. We also meet Caprion, a Harpy general who becomes fast adversaries with Crash. Caprion came across as a bit lofty and self righteous to me, but I’m kind of wondering if my opinion will change when I read Caprion’s Wings, the prequel novella set to come out in January. Apparently, Caprion and Krait have something in common according to the author’s website and I’m twisting my mind into knots trying to figure it out. I have my suspicions, but…
I thought Volcrian had lost it in the second book, but it was nothing compared to this one. He’s become a psychotic sociopath, hardly able to tell his own thoughts and desires from those of the Dark God who, unbeknownst to him, is using the mage to gain a foothold in the world of the living.
Though the bloodmage is a more than adequate villain, we also see a brief glimpse of Cerastes, Crash’s former mentor, who is bent on reviving the Dark God and ending all life. Though we meet him in only two scenes through the eyes of Krait, it is more than enough to tell he is going to be an unprecedented antihero for Ferran’s Map.
I think I’ve rambled on long enough, so I will sum up by saying this is a YA Epic Fantasy series worthy of obsession and definitely one to watch.
I thought I’d try starting a new meme on Fridays since I LOVE my Kindle and I LOVE freebies. So here it is! The inaugural and pilot post of Friday Freebies. If you know of any other books that are free for Kindle today or on an upcoming Friday, I’d love to hear about them!
Captured, taken from her beloved family and woods, Aria’s biggest fear is not the imminent death facing her, but that she will be chosen as a blood slave for a member of the ruling vampire race. No matter what becomes of her though, Aria knows that she must keep her identity hidden from the monsters imprisoning her. She has already been branded a member of the rebellion, but the vampires do not know the true depth of her involvement with it, and they must never know.
Though hoping for death, Aria’s world is turned upside down when a vampire named Braith steps forward to claim her. He delays her execution, but Aria knows it’s only a matter of time before he drains her, and destroys her. Especially once she learns his true identity as a prince within the royal family; the same royal family that started the war that ultimately brought down humankind, reducing them to nothing more than servants and slaves.
Aria is determined to hate the prince, determined not to give into him in anyway, but his strange kindness, and surprising gentleness astonish her. Torn between her loyalties to the rebellion, and her growing love for her greatest enemy, Aria struggles to decide between everything she has ever known, and a love she never dreamed of finding.
Yes, this the Glee version. No, I don’t watch the show or like it, but I can still appreciate a good song, so there.
Katherine’s place is the same as any woman’s—on the shelf next to the dresses and bolts of cloth. When she’s sold to a warlock, life grows even bleaker. Her new owner is as old and rancid as he is cruel, driving her to do the unthinkable: run.
Nothing prepared her for being on her own. And she’s definitely unprepared for the warlocks hunting her down. But she must stay one step ahead because if caught, the best she can hope for is death.
Blurb and cover from Goodreads
5 out of 5 stars
I don’t know why this novella has been incurring 2 and 2.5 star reviews. I enjoyed it very much and am not sure why the things that bothered the other reviewers did.
The Mine series takes place in the fantasy land of Chardonia where both men and women are born with magic in their blood, but only men can use it. Women are valued based on the amount of magic they will gain their husbands and their potential to bear powerful sons. This makes for an interesting twist on the traditional arranged marriage stories and Falor’s imagination builds a fascinating and original world of power hungry warlocks and daring rebels seeking change.
I read You Are Mine, the proceeding novel to this story, first and was pleased to find the same tasteful balance of suspense and danger here. There were a few twists, a few turns, and more than enough action to keep me breezing through until I reached the end.
Katherine is a supporting character in You Are Mine, so I was already a little acquainted with her, but it was nice to have a deeper look into her backstory and how she came to be who she is. From the very beginning, we see she has a rebellious, indomitable streak, but it takes awhile for that part of her to come out enough for her to take full control of her own life. She was a very brave character who I thoroughly enjoyed reading and didn’t give in when most other people would have.
I might be mistaken, but I think Charles and Mavis, two principle characters here, were both mentioned in You Are Mine. I very much appreciated how forgiving Katherine was toward Mavis and the budding romance between Katherine and Charles was incredibly sweet.
The main villain, Nigel, Katherine’s new owner and would-be husband, was disgustingly nasty and incredibly easy to loathe. He represented all that was wrong with Chardonian society—a warlock drunk on power with no respect for women, servants, or anyone he considers beneath him. (Though I could have cared less about him being old. I thought it more mattered that he was vindictive, cruel, and perverted.) I liked what happened to him at the end a bit too much and when he got his comeuppance, all that came to mind was, “Good for you, Katherine!”
I found this to be an exceptional piece of literature and I recommend it to people looking for a different kind of fantasy novel—one where the focus is less on swords and sorcery and more on courage and morality.
I thought to get into the season, I’d share some of my favorite Christmas songs, starting with Ave Maria. It is a beautiful song that makes me think of heaven and angels and Andrea Bocelli’s voice is so perfect.
“Magic is just like love, Allai. It won’t wait for permission before it destroys you.”
Like sand in an hourglass, Allai’s future is dwindling away. She’s spent her entire life fighting the Mages who threaten humanity, and dreams of someday eradicating magic. But all it takes is an anonymous phone call for the truth to spill out: Allai is the one thing she despises most.
She’s a Mage.
Though ancient law mandates Allai’s death, she still has one last chance of survival. His name is Drake Rhaize, and he swears he can lead Allai to a sanctuary for Mages. Allai hasn’t seen Drake in years, but she remembers him as the demon boy who used to hold her close and softly whisper that he’d keep her safe. But Drake has changed since then: He’s now suspected of murder, and has been out-casted for betraying his own kind.
While Allai doesn’t trust Drake, she has no choice but to put her life in his hands and hope he can get her to safety. Because Allai’s father has hired a pack of Demons to bring her back to him, dead or alive, and demons never stop the hunt.
3 out of 5 stars
Okay, first off, I loved this book. Really, I did. The premise, the storyline, the mythology—it is definitely something new and a series to watch. Unfortunately, there were some issues I had with the female lead, Allai, that I strongly disliked and for that, I must begrudgingly subtract from my rating. However, it was a good mix of suspense, “aww” moments, mystery, and action. I greatly enjoyed it and am anticipating the sequel in December.
As I said, there was suspense, mystery, action, and romance bundled together in a beautiful package. I read this at an airport/on the plane and it certainly kept me entertained. I became very caught up in the characters’ struggles and experienced one of those tormented conflicts when I realized that there wasn’t enough space by the end for everything to happen that I wanted to happen.
Like I said, I had a few problems with Allai. They were problems that could have been very easily fixed, but I felt they were too large to overlook. There is only one scene where Allai puts up a genuine fight and bests her opponent , but while his back is turned and he’s fighting someone else. The rest of the time she is mostly rescued. I would have had absolutely no problem with that if it hadn’t been pre-established that she’d had extensive combat training—which she never seems to use. She also completely falls apart when she is rejected by her adoptive family and thrown into exile. I could understand being heartbroken and needing to grieve, but after awhile I was thinking pull yourself together, girl. The one thing that I could not forgive was her incessant screaming. I feel harsh saying it, but it seemed like she screamed at every little thing and I just have the impression that a girl who’s been raised by stoic, aloof demons would have a little more steel in her nerves. Other than those details, I think I liked Allai over all and certainly don’t wish her character ill.
Drake was my favorite. Yes, that might be typical of me to favor the love interest, but Drake was one of those characters it’s hard not to like. He has a smart mouth, a disrespect for authority, and a few dire anger management issues, but a hidden vulnerability and almost boyishness that makes me want to hug him (or maybe not, since he doesn’t do hugs with anyone but Allai). I think he may have been the dominant perspective, but I’d have to go back and read it again.
The villain(s) are gorgeously nasty and Ms. Rivers’ created some original and utterly terrifying monsters to populate her story. I can’t talk about all the bad guys, because that would be spoiler-ific, but I will say that here we have multiple antiheroes and plenty of poisonous fangs, claws, and wings!
All in all, this is a good story. I think it could have easily made five stars if the issues with Allai’s character had been fixed, but all the same, I eagerly anticipate Fire Soul coming next month.