Archive | March 2020

March Magics 2020: Wrapup!

As the month comes to a close, so does another March Magics, and I had a lovely time celebrating Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett. ^_^ Thanks, as always, to We Be Reading for hosting!

Here’s a recap of my March Magics!

Books I Read

  • The Islands of Chaldea (Diana Wynne Jones + Ursula Jones) — This was one of the last of DWJ’s books that I’d been saving up to read . . . I only have a few left, which is sad, but I was happy that I finally read this! It was published posthumously, finished by her sister Ursula (I’m so curious where she picked up and where Diana left off!), and felt like a sort of tribute to the British Isles — in an alternate fantasy world, of course. 😉 It was delightful and I loved all the islands and characters and creatures and magical shenanigans and the hot air balloon! So much fun. ^_^
  • Thief of Time (Terry Pratchett) — I had an absolute blast with this! I finally finished this arc of Discworld. I accidentally saw a HUGE spoiler in a review on Goodreads when I was about half done, so… I’m curious how I would have reacted to that if I hadn’t been spoiled, but… regardless, I just really enjoyed nearly everything about this besides the Auditors, but who likes them. XD Death wasn’t in it much, but still. Susan and Lobsang are my fave! And all the time stuff!
  • A Hat Full of Sky (Terry Pratchett) — The Nac Mac Feegles! XD They’re my absolute favorite thing in this. So many good moments! I wish they’d been in it more, and I still love The Wee Free Men more, but ’twas quite enjoyable. I wasn’t sure at first, but things turned out better than I thought, and despite the stress it was nice to see Tiffany Aching growing some, and like I said, it wrapped up well. Also, Rob Anybody attacking Death’s face. XD And when Rob refuses a drink and Jeannie thinks he’s dead. “He’s deid and still talkin’!” XD The Feegles! They’re just so hilarious!
  • Fire and Hemlock (Diana Wynne Jones) — This was my re-read for the month, and it was GLORIOUS! I’ve been meaning to re-read it ever since 2016 as soon as I finished it the first time, so I’m really happy I was able to, finally! I picked up on so many more things now that I knew most of what was going on, and rediscovered some things I’d forgotten too. I love all of it. Polly growing up, and TOM LYNN IS MY FAVE, and all the books and how they tie into things (genius), and Polly and Tom writing stories, and being heroes, and Tam Lin things, and all the subtle magic and mysteries and secrets creeping under the surface. Absolutely fascinating. I got the ending a bit better this time too. And Tom! Just fabulous. Definitely one of my favorite of DWJ’s! (You can still read my original review if you like — one of the first reviews I posted on this blog!)

Watched

  • Howl’s Moving Castle — I did re-watch the Studio Ghibli film and had a blast! It had been awhile since I’d seen it, and I’d sort of forgotten about a few parts, so that was extra fun. I still love the book best, but I find I can still enjoy the movie as a separate entity! I still find it hilarious how nice the characters are in the film, unlike in the book. XD Normally it’s the opposite. 😛 But it’s still gorgeous and whimsical and strange and beautiful, and despite their book counterparts being my favorite, I do still have a soft spot for movie Howl, Sophie, Calcifer and Michael/Markle. And you have to love Howl being voiced by Batman. 😉 It’s so strange how movie-Howl is SO NICE but I love him in his way. And the green slime scene is a bit more like his bookish self. XD Anyway, I had so much fun revisiting this movie. ^_^

Instagram

(Just a glimpse at some of my #MarchMagics posts on Instagram!)

I posted about my entire current DWJ collection throughout the month, and a couple of Pratchetts too, and I had a BLAST.

If you’d like to check out my photos and thoughts about any of the books, you can do that here.

I posted every day in March on Instagram! A few pics weren’t for March Magics, buuut most of them were. 😉

Giveaway Winner

Congrats to Sarah Pennington, the winner of my giveaway for Mixed Magics by Diana Wynne Jones! The winner has been contacted. Thanks to those who entered! ^_^

Posts

  • March Magics 2020 plans — Featuring my plans for the month. I did not get to one or two other posts I had in mind, or to re-reading Deep Secret, but everything else went off superbly, and I’m so happy with what managed to do!
  • My Diana Wynne Jones Journey (Part 2) — I finally posted a list of all the DWJ books I’ve read since my first DWJ Journey post four years ago! So happy that I got that one up. ^_^ It was a delight getting to look back at them and reminisce.

And that’s it! I had a smashing March Magics and I hope you guys enjoyed this little wrapup. ^_^

Did anyone else participate? Any DWJ or Pratchetts you particularly enjoyed — either this month, or just in general?

Thanks for reading!

My Diana Wynne Jones Journey (Part 2)

My Diana Wynne Jones collection so far! (Not counting a few extra copies. ;))

Way back in 2016, I posted “My Diana Wynne Jones Journey (So Far)” during a previous March Magics, and I had a ton of fun listing each book by DWJ which I’d read and some thoughts about them. (It also amuses me how some of my thoughts/favorites have changed since then. XD)

I’d say a Part 2 of such a post is long overdue (I have sixteen books to talk about!), so here we are!

Here are the DWJ books I’ve read since that post. Those first few years definitely had most of my favorites, but I’ve read some more gems since. ^_^

(Also, last time, I mentioned rereads as well, but I’ve done a fair amount of rereading DWJ these last couple of years and I’m mostly only listing the ones that are new reads this time.)

All titles link to Goodreads, in case you want to read more about them.

2016 (continued)

The Merlin Conspiracy

May 16, 2016

My original review consisted of this: “YES TO THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!! ❤ I need an elephant. AN ELEPHANT. Also Romanov. Yesssss. ACK DIANA WYNNE JONES BOOKS ARE LIFE I TELL YOU. (I may coherent a review someday.) ROMANOV.” So I must have liked it quite a lot, even if it’s a bit hazy in my memory due to how long it’s been since I read it. XD Definitely due for a reread! But it’s about Nick, who’s in Deep Secret, so that was fun. (Did you know he was slightly based on a teenaged Neil Gaiman? 😀 His not-coherent-until-breakfast-and-coffee parts, at least. XD) Also, I was reading it when I had a flu, which was appropriate, since one of the characters did too. XD

The Ogre Downstairs

August 6, 2016

This one was different but interesting, and a little more like a normal modern fantasy than I was used to reading by her. Many shenanigans and unreliable narration. XD But my favorite part was when two of the characters accidentally switched appearances and stuff ensued. XD A shorter read and kind of strange but fun!

Eight Days of Luke

December 28, 2016

Who likes Norse Myths? This fun little book by Diana Wynne Jones features some of that in some most unexpected ways! She was writing about Loki (and Thor etc.) in modern times back in 1975, before the Marvel movies were making this cool more recently. XD It’s been awhile since I read this one and I need to read it again, but I remember it being unique and really enjoying it. 😀 I liked David, and Loki is very much of a trickster! The mythology elements and characters are woven in so well, in surprising ways (DWJ is excellent at this), and there is much fire. XD Luke was just so much fun. XD

2017

Wild Robert

March 1, 2017

I wrote a review for this one awhile back but it was so much fun! It reminded me partially of The Boggart, and a little bit of Howl for some reason, and it was surprisingly short and I didn’t want it to end — it just stopped and I wanted more! Ack! But it was very cool and had so many shenanigans I loved the twists so much!

Aunt Maria

March 1, 2017

I reviewed this too, and it was really different. It built up and had some cool twists, and some of it was creepy, but it also had fun parts. And so many magical happenings and interesting characters! It’s told in first-person by Mig and it was sooo intriguing to read it as a journal of sorts. It also has one of my favorite quotes about happy endings. I love it so much and I had to make a quote graphic for it awhile back, which I’ve shared before but I have an excuse to share again. 😀

Hexwood

April 6, 2017

Another top-favorite one! And definitely requires more than one read-through. XD I re-read it for March Magics last year and it was even better the second time. It’s just a mind-blowing book, with soooo many different genres and complex twists all thrown together. I love it so much! And Mordion is my absolute favorite! Some of it’s a bit darker, and it’s terribly confusing at times until you piece together what’s happening (I kept a diagram of who was who while I read it!) but it’s just so unique and delightful. 😀 It also has out of order timey-wimey stuff, modern/sci-fi/fantasy, Arthurian elements, robots, dragons… ALL THE THINGS. Check out my review if you like. ^_^

Another of my favorite quotes. ❤

Puss in Boots

May 14, 2017

This is a rather short kid’s-book about Puss in Boots, which was fairly straightforward but a fun read. 🙂 I now consider it the ultimate version of this fairy tale. XD DWJ did a good job of making it make more sense and of course her cat character was fabulous. It was fun and had a few illustrations too. Not 100% necessary to read this one but I did really enjoy it. 🙂

Dogsbody

June 3, 2017

This one was sooo unique and I loved it being from the POV of a dog! And in Ireland. The mystery was really interesting. Also, the Wild Hunt! And sentient planets. *grinning* Yep, it has all sorts of things. XD Again, a bittersweet ending meant it wasn’t my faaaavorite, but there was a lot to love. But seriously, dog point of view! XD So much fun!

2018

The Game

March 6, 2018

The whole idea and the mythosphere and all the story bits were brilliant. I wish it had been longer than a novella because it was so fascinating. LOVED this one. I want to re-read it. I particularly love all the myth bits and the characters and all of it.

Yes Dear

March 18, 2018

This was a picture book! Which… again, I don’t remember that well, but I do remember reading it, on a special library trip to a library I hadn’t been to before, specifically because I knew this book was there and it was my birthday month and I wanted to read it. XD I know it was fun (people, pay attention if a child tells you something magical is happening. :P) and I was glad I read it!

The Homeward Bounders

March 12, 2018

EXTREMELY vivid and I loved parts of it, particularly the worldhopping stuff and a certain cool character! Actually, more than one… Just… bittersweet ending, and creepy parts, and I’m stark terrified of anchors now. O_O But a great narrator and WORLD HOPPINGGGG! Kinda mixed on it but there were definitely great things about it. Fascinating and intense and really interesting!

A Sudden Wild Magic

March 31, 2018

I enjoyed this one but I consider it one of her darker, stranger books. XD This one was written for adults so there was more content in this and just more disturbing, so… I figure you can give this one a miss unless you’re being thorough like I am and trying to read all her books. XD Feels a bit more scifi than some. I did enjoy parts of it though! I mostly remember the part with the guy who loved his car. XD And I think there were centaurs!

Dalemark Quartet Re-Read

Okay, I said I wasn’t going to post about re-reads in here, but it’s worth noting my epic re-read of the entire Dalemark Quartet in the second half of 2018. I loved it so much, and there were even plot threads I’d forgotten, so some of it was like discovering it the first time! DWJ is the only author who can do that to me. XD (We won’t discuss how many times I forgot and rediscovered the villain of Conrad’s Fate. XD)

2019

A Tale of Time City

January 6, 2019

Who loves timey-wimey stories? Meeee! A few of Diana Wynne Jones’s books have time stuff in them, most notably this one. The idea of Time City, a city outside time, was really cool. I read this one early last year and had a blast! A bit of sci-fi and WWII era for those who like that. (Even if I don’t usually; but I didn’t mind. XD) If you like Doctor Who you might enjoy this! Elio is the best and I NEED A BUTTER PIE!!!

Earwig and the Witch

January 20, 2019

The illustrations were actually really distracting for me on this one and I feel like I would have liked it better if it hadn’t been illustrated? That’s… weird and probably just me. XD It mostly wasn’t a super favorite but I did enjoy some of it, of course. There’s always something fun about DWJ books! Also, the cat was great. XD

That’s all I got to last year of new ones. I did a lot of re-reading DWJ throughout the rest of 2019, though, and it was so fun!

2020 (so far)

Unexpected Magic

January 8, 2020

An anthology of sci-fi and fantasy short stories. I especially loved No One (genius robot plots. XD), Little Dot (wonderful story from a cat’s point of view), and Everard’s Ride (unique novella set in historical times with some interesting twists and not quite like anything I’d read! One of the author’s earlier works). Some stories were creepy or a bit too weird — short stories are always hit or miss for me, regardless of their author, but it was a quite interesting collection! So glad I finally read this one.

The Islands of Chaldea

March 12, 2020

The latest one, which I just read this month for the first time! It was so much fun! I loved Aileen and the sprawling cast of varied characters. I loved the different islands and getting to travel across them (rather like the British Isles but still with their own twists). I loved the creatures! What fun. And I love how it all wrapped up rather well —  I’m quite curious where Diana’s sister Ursula picked up the story’s threads, but they worked quite well! And the little romance threads were adorable, and the twists were delightful! (Also, how about that hot air balloon?? <3) So much fun! What a delightful final work from an incredible author.


And there’s my DWJ Journey, part 2! I’ve so loved getting to discover more of her works in the last few years.

I still have a small handful left to read. (The Time of the Ghost, Witch’s Business/Wilkin’s Tooth, Stopping for a Spell… I think that’s it? Not really counting Changover since it was before her main works and so hard to find. There might be a stray short story or few.) But I’ve read most of her books — 39? I think? — and a couple other short stories.

It’s been a beautiful journey (8 years so far, as March 14 this month, which marked the 8 year anniversary of the first time I read Howl’s Moving Castle!), and the best thing about it is that I get to wander back down this road and stop to enjoy the stories and places along the way all over again.

Hope you enjoyed and thanks for reading. ^_^

Book Ishness! (March 2020)

Just a very quick post today, featuring some GORGEOUS books that released this month, and an update on what I’m reading.

(I usually post these early in the month but life intervened. 😛 And if you want to know what I’m reading, check out my March Magics post!)

MARCH RELEASES

*squeaking* LOOK HOW PRETTY! ❤ I can’t get over these stunning covers. They make me happy! (Titles link to Goodreads.)

  • Emberhawk – Jamie Foley — I ADORED this new fantasy adventure from one of my favorite authors! You can read my review here but it’s just delightful and features elemental magic and a snarky fox. 😀
  • On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness & North! Or Be Eaten – Andrew Peterson — These are the new editions, with new illustrations, in hardcover! I’m so excited! I loved On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness when I read it a year or two back, and I’ve been meaning to read North! Or Be Eaten (I love that title) ever since, so maybe this will push me to do that finally. 😉 Also, I just read this author’s nonfiction Adorning the Dark and loved it.
  • The New Emperor’s Concerto – Hazel B. West — *incoherent squawking* I’m SO thrilled this book is releasing on Tuesday! It’s a delightfully British book full of snark and action and unlikely buddies and one of the most epic butlers ever. I adore it!
  • Dragons and Ravens – E. E. Rawls — I’m so excited about this novella featuring characters from Strayborn! It sounds so intriguing!
  • Ronnie Akkard and the Brotherhood of Blades – A. C. Williams — This sounds like a super fun superhero story! And I can tell the hero is snarky just from the blurb so I bet it’s a blast. XD

MY READING NEWS

February Reads

I shared about these on my other blog but I’ll repost here. 😛

Compared to January’s fifteen reads, I did not, seemingly, read as much. But some of these were a bit longer, and mostly delicious, so we’ll call it a win.

  • Cry of the Raven (Morgan L. Busse) // A new favorite! (My review.)
  • Lifelong Writing Habit (Chris Fox) // Some interesting tips.
  • Fairest Son (H.S.J. Williams) // Delightful novella! (My review.)
  • Green Dolphin Country (Elizabeth Goudge) // Absolutely fascinating!
  • This Year You Write Your Novel (Walter Mosley) // Eh. It was okay.
  • In the Region of the Summer Stars (Stephen R. Lawhead) // Aaahh! This was magnificent! Another favorite. I need the sequel ASAP. (My review.)

March So Far

So far this month, I enjoyed a couple of picture books (The Four Donkeys by Lloyd Alexander + Saint George and the Dragon by Geraldine McCaughrean), as well as a nonfiction (Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson) and an ARC (Emberhawk by Jamie Foley). I’ve gotten one Pratchett (Thief of Time) and one Diana Wynne Jones (The Islands of Chaldea) read so far for March Magics. I loved them! I’ve loved all the books I’ve read so far this month. ^_^ Maybe I’ll have some further thoughts later, but that’s what I’ve been reading. 🙂

Currently Reading

  • I’m currently reading A Hat Full of Sky (Pratchett) and enjoying it. The Feegles! XD
  • I’m behind on my bookclub read (Lady of Kingdoms by Suzannah Rowntree) but it’s rich and intriguing so far — historical fantasy during the Crusades!
  • My exercise routines have suffered from all the rain lately so I haven’t listened to If Wishes Were Curses in awhile but one of these days I’m going to finish this fun urban fantasy! (Audiobooks take me way longer than they should and I feel kind of bad about that. XD)
  • And I kind of got sidetracked from Scoundrels but need to get back to that because it’s a delightful Han Solo heist book I’m rereading and having a blast.

RECENT POSTS

Recent Reviews

That’s it on today’s little update. Hope you enjoyed it and that you are all hanging in there and reading good books. Tell me about a book you’re enjoying! Thanks for reading! ❤

Two Cover Reveals! (Dragons and Ravens + The New Emperor’s Concerto)

I’m so excited to share TWO cover reveals with you guys today! So excited for both of these!

COVER REVEAL #1

Firstly, we have a futuristic London buddy-story which I beta-read earlier this year and loved so much! It has all the snark and Britishness and action and it’s fabulous! 😀 Definitely a favorite! I’M SO EXCITED!

The New Emperor’s Concerto

by Hazel B. West

Releasing March 24 — next Tuesday!

About the Book

The year is 2228 and the world is on the cusp of World War Four. London is rife with anarchists and secret plots. It looks like dark days are coming for the British Empire. Darker than any that have been seen for decades.

But luckily England has some help.

Sir Lysander is the King’s Righteous Man-and all that entails. He’s the king’s right hand, and a red one at that, the man who stands in the shadows and does what needs to be done for the protection of his country.

Eidolon is a phantom, the anarchist group Apophis’s top retrieval expert. They need something, he gets it, no matter the consequence. Even though he’d secretly prefer to be in his flat with his cat and a good book.

They’ve been butting heads for a while but in times like these, loyalties are known to change and right now, any help is good help. They just didn’t count on being the only thing standing between England and the start of the next world war.


Aaahh! Isn’t it so cool? 😀 I’m SO excited for this book to release! It’s just so good! And I’m getting a Terry Pratchett vibe with that cover — which is appropriate since one of the main characters is a huge Pratchett fan and there are several inside jokes about that. 😉

Links:


COVER REVEAL #2

And now ANOTHER cover reveal, which I’m also super excited about! *flailing*

You see, one of my favorite recent reads was Strayborn by E.E. Rawls, and Dragons and Ravens is a novella in that series!

And another cool thing? Today’s the cover reveal but it’s ALSO release day! Yes indeed, this novella is available TODAY!

Here’s the cover!

Dragons and Ravens

by E. E. Rawls

Available Today!

About the Book

Curse of fire.

Hercule, the young heir of House Dragonsbane, has everything that wealth can purchase—that is, everything except for the one thing he longs for most: true freedom. And when a powerful goblin casts a curse on him, he may soon fall too far from ever finding it…

Held in darkness.

Zarren dreams of becoming a swordsmaster and a hero who saves lives, but first he must save his twin brother and himself from a cruel household. With nothing but faith, and the slim glimmer of hope to light their way, can they make their escape?


Aaahh, doesn’t it sound cool? I’m excited to read this! And I love those scales and feathers! So prettyyyy! 😀

Book Purchase Links:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

Author Bio:

E.E. Rawls is the product of a traveling family, who even lived in Italy for 6 years. She loves exploring the unknown, whether it be in a forest, inside a forgotten castle, or within the pages of a book.

She runs on coffee, cuddly cats and the beauty of nature to keep the story wheels of her mind running, as she writes tales that will both entertain and inspire others, giving them worlds they can explore and become lost within.

WEBSITE: https://eerawls.com/

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/eerawls_author/

EBOOK SALE

For a short period, March 18-23, Strayborn (Draev Guardians Book 1) will be on sale for $0.99! Click to go to: Kindle.

And for the record, this was one of my favorite reads of 2019! ^_^ (You can read my review of Strayborn here!)


Thanks for reading, guys! I hope you enjoyed these covers! Eeee! I’m so excited for both of these!

Emberhawk by Jamie Foley: Review!

Happy release day to this incredible adventuresome fantasy that I adored! Read on for my review, A.K.A. why you need to read this book at once. 😉

Title: Emberhawk

Author: Jamie Foley

  • Series: The Katrosi Revolution, #1
  • Date read: March 6-10, 2020
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2020
  • Pages: 337 (paperback)
  • Fave character: Ryon, Felix, and two slightly-spoiler-ish characters. 😀
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free ARC from the author and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleSigned CopiesOther BookstoresAuthor’s Website

Emberhawk is an absolutely delicious book, with swashbuckling adventure, a richly detailed world, and snarky characters I had a total blast reading about! I loved it so much!

I’m a huge fan of Jamie Foley’s Sentinel Trilogy, so I was thrilled to get to dive into the first book in a new series set in the same world! Emberhawk takes place over a thousand years before Sentinel and has a different feel but is an equally fabulous read. Sentinel fans, you’re going to love this book—and if you’re new to Jamie’s works, Emberhawk is the perfect book to start with! IT’S. SO. GOOD.

THE ADVENTURE

I was totally absorbed in this fresh take on a fantasy story, and just wanted to hang out with these characters forever. The plot kept me enthralled, following our main characters, and I love how there’s an exciting story on the surface that at first seems like a straight-up adventure, but also extra depth and schemes hidden beneath the surface that slowly comes to light, masterfully woven in.

There are secrets, spies, shifting alliances . . . tribes and settlers, a tyrannical empire . . . It was SO intriguing to follow the different political schemes threaded through the adventure and find out who’s working for who. All the characters were so multi-faceted. Nothing’s as it seems! There were some really thrilling twists, especially near the end, that had me shrieking. Eep! (Also, aaahhh! I need to find out what happened to a certain character! Where’s book two? *grabby hands*)

Snarky banter and humor, a bit of star-crossed lovers tossed in, a rich and layered world (I love the world-building so much!), and all of that on TOP of a super thrilling, adventurous tale . . . and all tied together with the fabulous writing I’ve come to expect of this author. It doesn’t get better than this! 😀

THE CHARACTERS

Our main characters Kira and Ryon make a fabulous pair. I loved them so much! Ryon is awesome and epic, and I love his heart of gold character. He’s just the best! Kira is a bit of a trapper/inventor and a spitfire. Their banter gives me life. XD I adored reading their story and I love them so much!

Not to mention the other fabulous characters! Some of them I feel like it would kiiind of be a spoiler if I mentioned their names? Especially with certain loyalties being up in the air for a lot of the book. XD But there were some EPIC side characters who really grew on me and I’m so excited to read more about them! A certain under-cover guy (you’ll know who it is by the end!) who’s one of my favorites, and a certain antihero assassin-type character who is verrry intriguing and I so hope there is more to his story!

Felix gets his own paragraph because Feliiiiix! XD Snarky fox elemental—what is not to love? He’s in the Sentinel Trilogy a bit and I was delighted to find him in this book as well! The snark, his way of dashing about on side-quests and sassing everyone and being absolutely epic, and turning into other cute or epic animals—aaahh! Just. This fox! He’s sooo much fun!

IN SUMMARY

Elementals, forest adventures, elemental fire and water magic, creepy d’hakka (huge tree-spider-scorpions! :O), different cultures and alliances, true love and friendship and siblings, arrows and fire and disrupted ordinary lives, a princess, an assassin, nefarious plots, lovable characters and snark and romance . . . There is SO much excitement and awesomeness in this book! *hugs Emberhawk forever*

I just adore it and I NEED book two! Fantasy lovers, here’s another book that needs to go on your to-read list ASAP. A complete delight! ❤


You may also like . . .

 


Facebook Live (March 10, 2020)

Also, if you see this before 8pm Central on release day (March 10), be sure to drop by at that time for a Facebook Live party on Jamie Foley’s Facebook page with Q&A, giveaways, and the cover-reveal for book 2, Silverblood! 😀

Have you read any of Jamie Foley’s books? What do you think of this one? Thanks for reading! 🙂

Stephen R. Lawhead: In the Region of the Summer Stars (Review)

I have a new favorite book and today I get to shriek about it to you guys to tide me over until I get my hands on the next book in the series! *grins*

Title: In the Region of the Summer Stars

Author: Stephen R. Lawhead

  • Series: Eirlandia, #1
  • Date read: February 29, 2020
  • Rating: 5 stars! (Summer ones. ;))
  • Genre: Celtic Fantasy
  • Age: Adult
  • Year pub: 2018
  • Pages: 333 (hardcover)
  • Fave character: Conor
  • Source: Library
  • Links: GoodreadsBarnes & NobleAmazonAuthor’s Website
  • Quotes: “I sing because I have no more tears,” the bard replied.

Another deftly woven tale by master storyteller Stephen R. Lawhead, this book is sure to enchant fans new and old alike. It certainly delighted me! It felt like coming home. A new favorite! There are usually a handful of books each year that I want to award six out of five stars, and this is one of them.

Lawhead’s Bright Empires books are some of my favorites ever, so I was extremely excited to finally dive into Eirlandia. And book one has so lived up to my hopes! I love it so much and I can’t wait to read the second one soon to prep for the final book in the trilogy, releasing this summer. (Aaahh!)

I loved disappearing between the pages in this utterly absorbing tale, full of adventure and rich detail and characters who spring to life in this green land of wonders and warriors and words. I lived and breathed it, completely captivated. I love Celtic things, and this is a splendid Celtic Fantasy. I need more books like this!

A few things I loved:

THE SETTING + FEEL

From the first page I just felt so at home reading In the Region of the Summer Stars. The feel of this book touched my Irish soul and makes me think back on memories of the tales of old Ireland that I grew up listening to and reading about. Stepping through the page into Eirlandia made me so happy to just be there.

Welcome to a skillfully woven tale of warriors and druids and faery. Travel the rolling hills and secret forests and cliffs by the sea. Join these various clans and feel the strong themes of brothers-in-arms, honor, loyalty, and fierce bravery, but with dashes of good-natured humor. I didn’t know quite what I expected, but it was everything I wanted. ^_^

The way the characters talk is also great—I love how it has an Irish lilt to it just with the way they say things. It makes me happy. (And their lighthearted Irish sense of humor which is the best.) I also loved the familiar words and names, the rich history and lore they’re drawn from, and even the sounds of them. Brehons, Tuatha de Danann, Lughnasadh, Tylwyth Teg, Tir nan Og. Oenach, Aoife, Eamon, Brigantes. Harps and pipes and bodhran drums, checked cloaks and spears and brooches and torcs. Just all of it. ^_^ The sound and feel of it makes me happy like nothing else does aside from J. R. R. Tolkien’s world of The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings. (And yes, I do have an idea of how to pronounce most of those, I promise. XD)

THE PLAYERS

Then there’s Conor. Conor mac Ardan has this marvelous way of being clever and stubborn and loyal and thick-headed and chaotically reckless all in turn. He’s my favorite! I loved following him through the book on his journey. The way he comes up with the most outlandish plans that are sheer crazy and yet somehow he charges in and pulls them off—mostly. It’s the best! And yet he’s super smart, too, sometimes, and a really skilled warrior (honestly, though. So. Epic.), and you won’t meet a more loyal or honorable friend, either. Occasionally Madoc or Donal and Fergal have to smack some sense into him, but that just makes him all the more human. 😉 Conor is the best, okay! My new favorite hero.

I love the other inhabitants of this tale as well! Conor’s brothers-in-arms Donal and Fergal are fabulous. I love their camaraderie with Conor and each other, and their loyalty and joking around! It’s like the best kind of brother/buddy tale and I love it. Madoc is a marvelous mentor-type character—I loved him and his dryness and wisdom, and how he makes Conor work at figuring things out instead of just telling him things. 😛 Rhiannon is fascinating but I won’t spoil info about her. And so many other people. They’re all so real and I just loved reading about them! Oh, and the bits between some of the chapters, from the points of view of other characters than Conor, were fabulous and enlightening. So neat.

I loved seeing some good and wise druids (yesss) and bards, and the faery were magnificent. I was quite pleased with how they were written and hope to see more of them! They felt just right. Another thing I appreciated was the horses and how central they were to the story, and how the warriors cared for them. They were like characters themselves instead of just transportation that gets forgotten about like in some fantasy books. XD The attention to details like that was delightful.

THE STORY + ENDING

While it’s not non-stop action (though there is a bunch of that!), the story definitely kept me absorbed and on the edge of my seat the entire time, full of devious plots and intrigue and mysteries, which were fascinating to follow along as Conor and company attempted to untangle the threads to see the pattern lurking behind all the guile. Threats and invaders, cunning kings and betrayal, secrets and hidden schemes . . . it was all there!

(Just a heads-up that there were one or two scenes that were a tad dark or gruesome etc., so a brief caution to younger readers or those who prefer to avoid it. Other than a couple of parts, though, I wouldn’t have minded reading it in my teen years in the not-so-distant-past.)

There were some marvelous twists at the end that had me going WHAAAAT! :O That ending, though! It was sooo good. So many things going down. O_O I stayed up late and finished around midnight and WOW. It ended on a wee bit of a cliffhanger, so it did. 😉 I need to get my hands on a copy of In the Land of the Everliving as soon as I can, or sooner!

CONCLUSION

Ancient Ireland + warrior brothers-in-arms + mystery/adventure + faery + druids + delightful characters + masterful writing = what’s not to love? IT’S JUST SO GOOD. I love it so much!

In the Region of the Summer Stars was magnificent and blew me away. I’m thrilled to have stepped into Eirlandia in this tale, and I can’t wait to go back. ❤


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Any Lawhead fans out there? Have you read this one? What do you think? Thanks for reading! 🙂