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Guest Review of Guardian of Time by Sylvia Heinzypop

Guardian

My head is spinning and my heart is still beating hard, hanging onto every last word written in this book. Talk about gripping and riveting; captivating and mind blowing; and non-stop adventure and suspense. Unbelievably fantastic and amazing. I am speechless and beyond words, though I will try and make some sense when writing this review.

First of all I would love to thank the authors for providing me with a copy of Guardian of Time, in exchange for my honest review. I am forever thankful for being given the opportunity to read this book, as well as their first book of this awesome series.

Guardian of Time is so different to Phoenix Angel. In fact, it’s a prequel and centers around the lives of Margariete and Esilwen aka Maggie and Lily. When they met and what their lives were like in a different time and space, knows as Shards. I lost myself in their story and the fantastical world that the authors have created. A world full of mythology, magic and duty. At every turn, I was catapulted within every detail of this finally woven story, and lived and breathed it just like the characters did. And, just when you think you have figured something out, you are thrown into another direction, where your heart gets crushed, or you are angered and shouting at the many villains that keep popping up in this book. Yes, I missed Kyle (though I know he will be popping up in the series soon…he must LOL), but this didn’t take away from the many layers going on in this book. And, I fell more in love with Margariete’s twin brother Raeylan. Talk about stoic and dutiful. The lengths that this King would do for his Kingdom and his people, but more so for his beloved sister and younger brother. No wonder he stole Esilwen’s heart…sigh!

Not only is this book fantastical and magical, but it is dark and gritty, and shows all the facets of human frailty and weakness; as well as love, honour and duty. I loved how all these themes were individual threads that, when woven together, with all the other elements and details, become this natural flowing story. You never get bogged down or feel like things and dragging or lulling. Instead, you thrust into it with fever and grip your seat. This really is a ride you all need to go on to experience for yourself. I cannot say another thing, there really is no other words that would do it justice. It really is a must read and I cannot wait for the next installment so I can read about Margariete, Esilwen, Raeylan and Kyle’s fate and how they got to our world, in our present time. I wait patiently, though I hope I don’t have to wait to long. Utterly brilliant…bravo Amanda Gerry and Christy Hall!

See more reviews by Heinzypop at http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4557869-sylvia-heinzypop

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The Demon King: Breathtaking

When you look at the cover of this book you think “Hmmm…Neverending Story anyone?”

Not even close. The first chapter of the novel introduces you to a world of social complexity, often missing in today’s young adult literature. There is love, anger, and self-discovery on a scale that surpasses anything on the bookstore shelves in the teen section.

Since the death of his father, Han’s family is so poor that he has resorted to running with a street gang, stealing to survive. He’s so good at the violence, that he rises to Streetlord of the Raggers before he’s seventeen. Though he lives in the fictional city of Fellsmarch, his plight is distressingly realistic. His problems are the same ones that plague teenagers of American cities today: scraping together enough money to buy food, protecting his family from other gang members, and protecting himself from violence with violence.

Han’s best friend is Fire Dancer, the son of a prominent Healer in a mountain culture extremely parallel to 18th century Native American. He hates wizards because they invaded his country and took everything from his people. Sound familiar? The greedy wizards fought among themselves for power and wealth, eventually causing the worst disaster in history: The Breaking. Unlike America’s real history, the native tribes banded together and healed the damage, forcing the wizards into an alliance that the native people control.

Enter Princess Raisa. (What’s a good fantasy novel without one?) Bound by this truce, she finds herself sacrificing love for duty, until she realizes that she is just a pawn for those of her kingdom who are trying to increase their power. The political undercurrent of Raisa’s story is intriguing, yet laden with a wistful sympathy for the princess’s situation. She wants to pursue her own life, make her own choices, but her stations demands that she will never have it. Women all over the world throughout history have been forced to wrestle with the same issue: does she pursue her own happiness or bow to her society’s gender expectations?

After spending 400 pages wrestling with the three main characters’ dilemmas, I was pleasantly surprised at the end, wherein I discovered—as did the characters—that the world was not spinning in the directions they had assumed. Ancient secrets entangled their lives together in ways that were just beginning to be revealed, and of course could not be resolved by the novel’s last 100 pages. More magic and conspiracy are yet to come to light! Anyone who loves young adult fantasy should read this book!

Thoughts on “The Mark of Athena”

So when I first picked this novel up I thought: Finally! The finale of the series…

Oops. After a fabulous adventure, much darker than the others I might add, I got to the last fifty pages and went “Crap…this isn’t the end!” Not only that, but the book ends with a gargantuan cliff-hanger. Which, of course, all good series have at some point.

The plot is intriguing and fast paced. The constant point-of-view switch-up keeps the action and emotion running high. And although I love Percy, I have to say that I’ve got a bit of a thing for Jason and the Romans. They seem more tragic–and a little less goofy–than the Greeks.

Of course Rick Riordan does his homework when it comes to ancient mythologies, and the way he chooses to inject them with a modern twist is always interesting. I am enjoying the progression of his characters as they mature. Their journey through self exploration is both believable and fun.

The only thing I didn’t like was the battle with the twin giants near the end of the novel. It took the reader back a stage: the action was back to a middle-grade-style-slightly-corny feel, where I really was expecting something more serious, due to the shift in the characters.

Annabeth’s final confrontation with Athena, on the other hand, was spectacular!

All I can say is: I can’t wait for the next one!

World War Z…How I’m Glad It’s Not a Real History…

Let me begin with this: I am an avid zombie fan.  Resident Evil, 28 Days Later, The Walking Dead–I love them all.  There’s something theraputic about them.  Somehow, watching a zombie movie just makes me feel better about life. I mean, so what if I have to replace the tires on my car or wash the dishes? At least I’m not on the menu for undead cannibals. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t enjoy death.I just have a thing for post-apocalytic literature and media.

But World War Z has taken the zombie story to a whole other level.  With the movie installment, starring Brad Pitt, coming out this June, I decided it was time to pick up the book and see how it compared to the other zombie stories I had seen and read.  Here’s the thing: I’m not a slow reader, but for this book, it has taken me a month to get through the first half.  Not because the book isn’t good, but because its too realistic.  I find myself only making it through two small histories a day, and then my heart can’t take anymore.  My head is overwhelmed with the implications.  This book is written like the war actually happened with both the pyscological and physical problems that would actually occur.  It brought up things I never would have thought of in a real zombie situation.  You see, my knowledge was limited to what the movies and video games portrayed, but World War Z approaches topics that are generally ignored in those platforms.  Here are a few:

First a small issue: why are zombies rarely ever holed up in cars in most zombie films?  Its pretty common to see a highway full of empty cars.  Now it makes sense that people would get out of their cars to run, but that won’t always be the case.  Sometimes people would get trapped and if they were bitten–well, you can imagine the rest.  There is a particular part of World War Z, where and Air Force pilot is running for her life after breaking a bone in her leg, and she has to squeeze through cars that are crowding a freeway ramp.  Several times she is grabbed through the broken windows of cars. To me the scene was aweseome, and with the exception of The Walking Dead, and the zombie comedy, Zombieland, I haven’t seen this done.

Second: the quislings.  These creatures are humans masquerading as zombies.  Thing is, it’s not really a masquerade.  These are people who have completely lost it, who have given up so much hope that their brains degenerate and they become a zombie of the mind, not body.  They happen to cause a lot of problems in the world.  Because they aren’t zombies in the flesh, when they would bite people they wouldn’t infect or turn anyone.  This led to a major problems, as some of these victims were taking what they were calling a “miracle” drug.  It made the population think the cure worked, which it didn’t.  People didn’t turn because they were being bitten by other people.  Another issue was that quislings would make it look like maybe the zombies could be turned on each other.  They would march into a swarm of real zombies, who weren’t fooled by their act, and would eat them.  Even worse, the quislings were so far gone, they don’t even notice being eaten.  Long story short, they wasted a lot of the government’s time, making them think both medicine and trying to turn the zombies against each other would work.

Third: strategy.  Just how far would the world governments go to preserve the population?  You see, we all have this notion that every single life is worth saving.  But in World War Z, they find out that this strategy just isn’t plausible.  The more people they try to save, the more were lost.  So, the world governements consult a man named Paul Redeker.  He comes up with a plan that in a lot of ways is the game of chess.  He proposes that the military abandon pods of civilians on the front line to save those that are in the safe zone.  In effect: allow the zombies to be distracted by feasting on one group of civilians while the other group gets away.  It’s like sacrificing a pawn to save a bishop, etc.  The idea of this chilled me to the bone, mostly because, in reality, it was practical. But in it’s realism, inhumane in all the worst ways.  If you ask me, every life is worth saving, and what they did was nothing short of an atrocity.  Thank goodness we aren’t in a real zombie invasion.

So far, I would give the book a five star rating (which I probably will on goodreads.com).  But seeing as how I am still unfinished with the book, I can only provide a partial review today, but the book is blowing my mind.  If you are a zombie fan, I highly recommend it.

C. Hall’s review of Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

All I can say is “amazing.” This book had it all, a strong, powerful protagonist who still retains her vulnerability, a deep social statement on how racial prejudice brings out the worst of humanity, and DRAGONS! The vocabulary was literally breathtaking: there were even a handful of words that I had to look up (which, for me, is saying something). It was a fabulous literary milestone, if you will, for those of us looking for something more complex in young adult literature. Rachel Hartman has defied the commercialist conformists that run the novel industry these days. Where agents and publishers are saying “wait, make the story less complicated, use smaller words, young people aren’t smart enough to follow what you’re doing”, the author pretty much thumbed her nose at all of them and wrote “Seraphina” instead, proving that there is a market for a complex, high diction story aimed at young adults.

I would strongly suggest to anyone who loves fantasy to check out this novel!!!!