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Lynn Worton

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Excellent Read!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-11-19

I am a massive fan of The Relic Guild trilogy, so I was eager to read this book. When I heard this book was available to pre-order, I bought it without even reading the synopsis. The Song of the Sycamore is a dark fantasy full of twists and turns. I loved it!

Wendal Finn is a fascinating character, and I liked him a lot. Two rival factions are battling it out for control of the city of Old Castle in the land of Urdezha – the Quantum (the Scientists) and the Salem (the Magicians), while outside the city walls, the Clansfolk wage their war against both. Wendal is a soldier fighting in a conflict between the city-dwellers and clansfolk. While out in the wastelands, Wendal "dies" and finds himself trapped in his body. The poor man finds himself hosting an entity that the spirits (ghosts) call Sycamore and becomes an instrument of vengeance. When the magicians manage to track and trap Sycamore, Wendal finds himself between a rock and a hard place. The world of Urdezha is in turmoil, and all Wendal wants to do is find out why his wife took her life.

Geoffrey Breton narrates the audiobook. I thought he did an excellent job of bringing the story to life. I love his reading voice.

There are some interesting characters that Wendal encounters. The mysterious Magician and Wendal's custodian, Dyonne Obor. She plays a pivotal role in this tale. Then there is Wendal's friend and neighbour, Ginnell (Nell) Memphis. She is just as messed up as Wendal, having fought in the war too, but she is loyal and has a wicked sense of humour.

I started to listen to this book and found myself a little confused as to how Sycamore came to be in Wendal as the author began the story after the event. However, as I listened, I quickly became hooked by the dilemma Wendal faced - both under the control of a vengeful being, and controlled by the magicians while looking into his wife's death and the connection to the scientists. I found myself commiserating with Wendal as he tried to navigate his new life. There are several twists and turns that surprised, shocked and pleased me. The author has created a rich tapestry of intricately woven words that captivate, horrify and surprise. There is a scene that just about tore my heart out, and I cried alongside Wendal. As the story unfolded and Wendal uncovered secrets that no one wanted him to unearth, I found myself rooting for him, though I did find his amiability towards his situation in the beginning rather strange. There was no anger or angst, only resignation and acceptance. By the time I reached the end of the book and discovered Sycamore's reason for inhabiting Wendal, I felt connected to the characters and was sad to say goodbye to them.

Edward Cox has written an excellent stand-alone dark fantasy. I love his fast-paced writing style, as well as his attention to detail, the world-building and character development. The flow is excellent too. Ever since I read his debut series, The Relic Guild trilogy, I have become a fan of this author.

I do not recommend this book to younger readers due to some of the subject matter and violence. There are no scenes of a sexual nature, though, so parental guidance advised for the violence. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love science fiction, dark fantasy, horror, mystery, and suspense genres. - Lynn Worton

Fun Read!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-08-19

The Vampire Wants a Wife is the first book in a paranormal/supernatural comedy romance series.

I purchased a paperback copy of this book after reading the blurb several months ago. However, the audiobook version was recently gifted by the author, with no expectation of a review - positive or otherwise. I have not received payment for this review, and it is my honest opinion. This review is based on the audiobook as I haven't had a chance to read the paperback yet.

The audiobook is narrated by Angela Doll. I found her voice to be concise and clear. Unfortunately, I also found it a little monotonous. I struggled to differentiate between the different characters as well as the overall narration of the story. There was very little in the way of inflexion in the speech, so I couldn't tell if the characters were happy, sad, angry or otherwise. I'm not sure how many books this narrator had read previously, but I hope that she continues narrating. However, she needs to learn how to bring the characters to life by using different tones and inflexions. Maybe acting lessons may help?

Shelley Linley is an interesting character. I struggled to like her at first, but as the story unfolds, I find myself warming to her more. She's a single woman who runs an ordinary dating agency. However, one of the potential clients claims to be a vampire. This vampire is looking for a wife. However, Shelley thinks its all a big con. Determined to uncover the hoax and denounce the fraudster, Shelley agrees to interview the man. Unfortunately, all hell breaks out when danger threatens her life, and she finds out something about her past that will change her life forever.

The story is told mainly from Shelley's perspective, but Theo (the vampire) and Ebony (one of Shelley's friends) have a chapter each from their point of views. I think that if I had read this book instead of listening to it that I would give it 5 stars. Unfortunately, because of the narrator, I have had to mark it as a 4 star read instead. I love a good paranormal comedy romance, and this story is light and funny, with an entertaining plot.

As I mentioned in the character profile, I struggled to like Shelley, as well as connect with all the other characters. I think this had something to do with the narrator rather than the author and the story itself. There are several characters in this book that seem interesting, Theo, especially. It's a pity the author only wrote one chapter from his perspective. I would have liked to know more about his thoughts and feelings toward Shelley and his past life.
Nevertheless, I did feel sorry for Frankie. He's another character who has a minor role but who is pivotal later on in the story. I'm glad that there was a solution to his problem, which I won't divulge. I'll leave it to you to find out for yourselves. In the meantime, I am going to re-read this using my paperback copy because I feel that the narrator didn't do this book justice.

Andie M. Long is a British author who has written a lovely supernatural/paranormal romance. I haven't read any other books by this author, but I intend to change that in the future, as I love her writing style.

I highly recommend this book (but not the audiobook) to readers of paranormal romance and to those who love a little British humour with their rom-com. - Lynn Worton

Fantastic Read!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-12-18

This story is the first book in an off-shoot of the All Souls Trilogy. I loved it!

I downloaded this book in both the Kindle and audiobook formats, as this gave me the option to either read or listen to it. Saskia Maarlveld narrates the audiobook. Her voice and pacing are excellent, and I enjoyed listening to her bring the characters to life. I would consider listening to other books read by her in the future.

This story is an addition to the All Souls world created by Deborah Harkness and follows the life, death, and rebirth of Marcus Whitmore on the eve of Phoebe's transformation into a vampire. The book, told through several points of view, mostly Marcus's, Diana's and Phoebe's, takes the reader on a journey of endings and new beginnings.

Several characters from the All Souls world make an appearance; Matthew, Diana, their twins, Phillipe and Rebecca, Isabeau, Marthe, Miriam, Phoebe, and Marcus (to name a few). I also enjoyed meeting Freya, one of Phillipe's daughters. She plays a crucial role in the tale as Phoebe's guide through her transformation from human to vampire.

While Phoebe adjusts to her new life as a vampire in today's world, Marcus takes us back in time to his life during the American Revolution and his transformation at the hands of Matthew into the vampire he is today. I became so absorbed in the tale that it felt like I walked alongside the characters, watching events unfold. Not being an American, I am fascinated by the history of that country and the people in it, as well as the country it is today. The author, being a historian, has brought the past to life for me and I am grateful to her for the peek into a bygone era. Marcus's life is not an easy one and contrasts with Phoebe's upbringing. However, these two characters have love on their side, and I enjoyed watching their relationship develop and deepen as the story unfolded.

I reached the end of the book with mixed emotions; sad that the book ended, but glad at how it ended. I am now looking forward to reading more books from the All Souls universe, as there are more than a few characters I would like to know more about next.

Deborah Harkness has written a fantastic tale in the All Souls universe. She has created a world where humans, witches, daemons and vampires all live in an uneasy alliance. I love her writing style, which is fast-paced and exciting, and the story flowed beautifully!
I am looking forward to reading more of her books in the future.

I highly recommend this book if you love your stories to be full of witches, daemons and vampires, or if you love paranormal romance or urban fantasy genres. - Lynn Worton

Exciting Read!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-10-18

This story is the fifth book in a fantastic epic fantasy series called The Pillars of Reality. I absolutely loved it!

Mari is a fantastic character. I liked her immediately when I met her in the first book. I love her determination to do the right thing, even at the cost of her own life. A Master Mechanic, Mari has faced many threats to her life from the Guild Masters on the world of Dematr and survived. Foreseen by Mages to be 'The Daughter of Jules' and fated to free the world of Dematr from the tyranny of both the Guilds - Mechanics and Mages - and to unite the Mechanics, Mages and Commons against said Guilds, Mari finds herself fighting for their freedom.

Mage Alain is also a fantastic character. I liked him a lot from the start. He was one of the youngest Acolytes to achieve Mage status at the age of seventeen. He has been taught from a young age not to show or feel any emotions and that the world he lives in is an illusion, where nothing is real. I love how this character has grown as the series has progressed. He tries to show more emotion, even though his Guild had virtually beaten it out of him. He hides a dry wit under that emotionless mask.

I listened to this story in audio format, rather than read it. MacLeod Andrews once again narrates the story. He does a fantastic job of bringing the story to life. Even Alain, who's voice is meant to be flat and emotionless comes across with subtle hints. You would think that Alain's voice would be monotonous, but it's not so. I love the way he brings all the characters to life with different accents, inflexions and tones. He even makes the women's voices sound perfect for each character. As for his narration, he read the story clearly and concisely, and his pacing was perfect. I would listen to more books read by this narrator.

The story continues six months from the end of The Pirates of Pacta Servanda and sees Mari and Alain heading a mixed army of Mages, Mechanics and Commons as the action heats up. Mechanic Caylou (not sure of spelling as I listened to the story so have no reference and have spelt it phonetically - it could be Kayloo or another variation) makes another appearance. He is one of Mari's friends from the Mechanics Guild, along with his girlfriend, Ally, who also makes an appearance. I love her constant use of 'Your Daughterness' when speaking to Mari just because it annoys her. Mage Asha also makes another appearance, as does Mage Dov, who is Asha's uncle, and Mechanic Dov (no relation) whose relative had once lived in Marandur. Cien, a princess of Tae, plays a significant role in this story, too. There are a few more characters added, but it would take me too long to mention them all.

I love the world building in this series. It is familiar though strange at the same time. It has a mix of steampunk and modern day technology, but this is due to the way the Guilds restricted people from creating new things. The story is full of action, adventure, and danger and I found myself an emotional wreck at times. In this story, the characters are gathering together for a showdown with the Great Guilds. They also make a dangerous journey back into the Imperial territory of Marandur to retrieve the mechanical texts left at the University. The action is ramping up further as the storyline reaches towards the climax, and I found myself holding my breath more than once as they faced several tricky challenges. Have you ever read or listened to a story and felt utterly emersed in it? It happened to me as I listened to this book. These characters have come to life for me and have become my friends. This book ends with a slight cliffhanger, which had me eager to listen to the next story in the series, The Wrath of the Great Guilds, as soon as possible.

Jack Campbell has written a fantastic science fiction series. I have added him to my favourite author's list, as he's found a fan in me. I love his writing style, which is fast-paced and descriptive, and the flow of the story is good too.

Although there is now some mention of scenes of a sexual nature, it’s not shown. I do not, however, recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 15 due to some violence. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love dark or epic fantasy, steampunk or action/adventure and supernatural/paranormal romance genres. - Lynn Worton

Exciting Read!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-08-18

This story is the fourth book in a fantastic epic fantasy series called The Pillars of Reality. I absolutely loved it!

Mari is a fantastic character. I liked her immediately when I met her in the first book. I love her determination to do the right thing, even at the cost of her own life. A Master Mechanic, Mari has faced many threats to her life from the Guild Masters on the world of Dematr and survived. Mari has been foreseen by Mages to be 'The Daughter of Jules' and fated to free the world of Dematr from the tyranny of both the Guilds - Mechanics and Mages - and to unite the Mechanics, Mages and Commons against said Guilds. This time, she finds herself on a dangerous mission on the sea in an attempt to reach the broken kingdom of Tay and walking in the footsteps of the legendary Jules of Pacta Servanda. Together with her friends, and Alain, she will have to dig deep to survive the oncoming storm.

Mage Alain is also a fantastic character. I liked him a lot from the start. He was one of the youngest Acolytes to achieve Mage status at the age of seventeen. He has been taught from a young age not to show or feel any emotions and that the world he lives in is an illusion, where nothing is real. I love how this character has grown as the series has progressed. He tries to show more emotion, even though his Guild had virtually beaten it out of him. He hides a dry wit under that emotionless mask.

I listened to this story in audio format, rather than read it. MacLeod Andrews once again narrates the story. He does a fantastic job of bringing the story to life. Even Alain, who's voice is meant to be flat and emotionless comes across with subtle hints. You would think that Alain's voice would be monotonous, but it's not so. I love the way he brings all the characters to life with different accents, inflexions and tones. He even makes the women's voices sound perfect for each character. As for his narration, he read the story clearly and concisely, and his pacing was perfect. I would definitely listen to more books read by this narrator.

The story continues from the end of The Assassins of Altis and sees Mari and Alain joining with several new characters as the action heats up. Mechanic Caylou (not sure of spelling as I listened to the story so have no reference and have spelt it phonetically - it could be Kayloo or another variation) makes another appearance. He is one of Mari's friends from the Mechanics Guild, along with his girlfriend, Ally, who also makes an appearance this time. Mage Asha also makes another appearance, but there are also several other new characters that are now integral to the plot. There is Mage Dov, who is Asha's uncle, and Mechanic Dov (no relation) whose relative had once lived in Marandur. Sien, a princess of Tay, plays a significant role in this story, too. There are a few more characters added, but it would take me too long to mention them all.

I love the world building in this series. It is familiar though strange at the same time. It has a mix of steampunk and modern day technology, but this is due to the way the Guilds restricted people from creating new things. The story is full of action, adventure, and danger and I found myself an emotional wreck at times. In this story, the characters travel to the Sea of Backer, where pirates, traders and Imperials rule the waves and danger threatens on all fronts. The action is ramping up as the storyline reaches towards the climax. Have you ever read or listened to a story and felt utterly emersed in it? It happened to me as I listened to this book. These characters have come to life for me and have become my friends. This book ends with a slight cliffhanger, which had me eager to listen to the next story in the series, The Servants of the Storm, as soon as possible.

Jack Campbell has written a fantastic science fiction series. I have added him to my favourite author's list, as he's found a fan in me. I love his writing style, which is fast-paced and descriptive, and the flow of the story is good too.

Although there is now some mention of scenes of a sexual nature, it’s not shown. I do not, however, recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 15 due to some violence. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love dark or epic fantasy, steampunk or action/adventure and supernatural/paranormal romance genres. - Lynn Worton

Exciting Read!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-07-18

This story is the third book in a fantastic epic fantasy series called The Pillars of Reality. I absolutely loved it!

Mari is a fantastic character, and I liked her from the moment she was introduced. I love her determination to do the right thing, even at the cost of her own life. She is now a nineteen-year-old Master Mechanic, though her guild is determined to take her life as she poses a threat to their hold on the world of Dematr. Mari has been foreseen by Mages to be 'The Daughter of Jules' and fated to free the world of Dematr from the tyranny of both the Guilds - Mechanics and Mages - and to unite the Mechanics, Mages and Commons against said Guilds. As she tries to accept her role, she finds herself on another dangerous mission while trying to avoid death at the hands of assassins.

Mage Alain is also a fantastic character. I liked him a lot from the start. He was one of the youngest Acolytes to achieve Mage status at the age of seventeen. He has been taught from a young age not to show or feel any emotions and that the world he lives in is an illusion, where nothing is real. I love how this character has grown as the series has progressed. He tries to show more emotion, even though his Guild had virtually beaten it out of him. He hides a dry wit under that emotionless mask.

I listened to this story in audio format, rather than read it. The story is once again narrated by MacLeod Andrews. He does a fantastic job of bringing the story to life. Even Alain, who's voice is meant to be flat and emotionless comes across with subtle hints. You would think that Alain's voice would be monotonous, but it's not so. I love the way he brings all the characters to life with different accents, inflexions and tones. He even makes the women's voices sound perfect for each character. As for his narration, he read the story clearly and concisely, and his pacing was perfect. I would definitely listen to more books read by this narrator.

This book continues a few weeks after the end of the second story and sees Mari and Alain travelling to the island of Altis, where a long-hidden secret has been kept. With both the Guilds chasing them and now the Imperial Legions for their incursion into Marandur, Mari and Alain face many dangers, including a deadly snow storm. However, what they find on Altis will change everything.

This story introduces a couple of new characters into the series. One is Mechanic Caylou (not sure of spelling as I listened to the story so have no reference and have spelt it phonetically - it could be Kayloo or another variation). He is one of Mari's friends from the Mechanics Guild, along with his girlfriend, Ally (who is mentioned in book two but not introduced). Another character introduced is, Mage Asha; this is a character who is hard to explain without giving spoilers. Suffice it to say, she was a friend of Alain's from their early acolyte days, before all the emotion was beaten out of them.

I love the world building in this series. It is familiar though strange at the same time. The reason for this becomes apparent as this story unfolds. The story is full of action, adventure, and danger and I found myself an emotional wreck at times. Have you ever read or listened to a story and felt completely emersed in it? This happened to me as I listened to this book. These characters have come to life for me and have become my friends. This book ends with a slight cliffhanger, and the audio version has a preview of the next book in the series, which I am now looking forward to reading/listening to. I will be listening to The Pirates of Pacta Servanda as soon as I can.

Jack Campbell has written a fantastic science fiction series. I have added him to my favourite author's list, as he's found a fan in me. I love his writing style, which is fast-paced and descriptive, and the flow of the story is good too.

Although there is now some mention of scenes of a sexual nature, it’s not shown. I do not, however, recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 15 due to some violence. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love dark or epic fantasy, steampunk or action/adventure and supernatural/paranormal romance genres. - Lynn Worton

2 people found this helpful

Exciting Read!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-18

This is the second book in a fantastic epic fantasy series called The Pillars of Reality. I absolutely loved it!

Mari is a fantastic character and I liked her from the moment she was introduced. I love her determination to do the right thing, even at the cost of her own life. She is an eighteen year-old Master Mechanic. She has attained it by qualifying as the youngest Lady Master Mechanic since the Guild was first formed several centuries earlier.

Mage Alain is also a fantastic character. I liked him a lot. He is seventeen years-old and one of the youngest Acolytes to achieve Mage status. He has been taught from a young age not to show or feel any emotions and that the world he lives in is an illusion, where nothing is real.

I listened to this story in audio format, rather than read it. The story is once again narrated by MacLeod Andrews. He does a fantastic job in bringing the story to life. Even Alain, who's voice is meant to be flat and emotionless comes across with subtle hints. You would think that Alain's voice would be monotonous, but it's not so. I love the way he brings all the characters to life with different accents, inflections and tones. He even makes the women's voices sound perfect for each character. As for his narration, he read the story clearly and concisely, and his pacing was perfect. I would definitely listen to more books read by this narrator.

This story picks up a few months after the events in Dorcastle (see Book One: The Dragons of Dorcastle). Alain has been sent by his guild on a contract to protect some common soldiers who are travelling to war. Along the way, they are attacked.The foresight Alain has developed has shown him that a storm is coming, though he has no idea what his vision means, so wishes to seek answers. Meanwhile, Mari has been sent to Tay (sorry, unsure of spelling due to only hearing it spoken and not reading the book), a region that has fallen into anarchy, by her guild. Unwilling to be a sacrificial lamb, Mari goes in search of Mage Alain. Together once more, they face several challenges and dangers. However, one of their leads takes them to Marandur, a city declared dead by the emperor one hundred and fifty years previously, where they make a startling discovery. Will they survive only to stumble at the final hurdle?

This story introduces us to the world of Dematr. It is a mass of contradictions. There are two great Guilds who hold all the power over the common folk - The Mechanics and The Mages. These Guilds have held power for centuries and refuse to relinquish their hold and reject change of any kind. However, this is slowly strangling the world, making it harder and harder for the Mechanics, especially as their technology is regressing. This story has a steampunk feel to it, with machinery being steam driven at times - trains for instance. Though there are some more modern items such as far-talkers (walkie-talkies to you and me), torches using batteries, and rifles and pistols that are decidedly more modern-day. Mages use energy from the land around them and some of their own energy to make spells. These spells can be used in various ways - from hiding oneself to creating a dragon.

This book is told through the eyes of both Mari and Alain and I found myself completely hooked from beginning to end. I loved meeting the two main protagonists once more, and watching (in my minds eye) the story unfold as I listened. The story is full of action, adventure, and danger and I found myself an emotional wreck at times. Have you ever read or listened to a story and felt completely emersed in it? This happened to me whilst listening to this book. These characters have come to life for me and have become my friends. I found myself missing them when the story finished, so I began listening to it again. I've listened to this book now at least four times. Each time I listen to it, the story and characters sweep me up and carry me away to a world that is alien and yet familiar at the same time, and makes me want to go and visit it. This book ends with a slight cliffhanger and the audio version has a preview of the next book in the series, which I am now looking forward to reading/listening to. I will be listening to The Assassins of Altis as soon as I can.

Jack Campbell is a new author to me. I've never read or listened to any of his other books. However, I may have to add him to my favourite authors list, as he's found a fan in me. I love his writing style, which is fast paced and descriptive, and the flow of the story is good too.

Although there is no mention of any scenes of a sexual nature, I do not, however, recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 15 due to some violence. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love dark or epic fantasy, steampunk or action/adventure and supernatural/paranormal romance genres. - Lynn Worton

Fantastic Read!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-04-18

This is the first book in a fantastic epic fantasy series called The Pillars of Reality. I absolutely loved it!

Mari is a fantastic character. I love her determination to do the right thing, even at the cost of her own life. She is an eighteen year-old mechanic... Sorry, Lady Master Mechanic as she loves to correct all her Guild elders who insist on dropping the honorific, even though she has attained it by qualifying as the youngest Lady Master Mechanic since the Guild was first formed. When the caravan/convoy she is travelling in is attacked, she finds herself travelling with a mage who was hired by the caravan to protect it as it travelled to Ringmon where she has a Guild contract to repair a mechanical device. As danger threatens, Mari finds herself torn between doing what is right, and her growing feelings for Mage Alain.

Mage Alain is also a fantastic character. I liked him a lot. He is seventeen years-old and one of the youngest Acolytes to achieve Mage status. He has been taught from a young age not to show or feel any emotions and that the world he lives in is an illusion, where nothing is real. When the caravan he's been contracted to protect comes under attack, he finds himself drawn to Mari, feelings long forbidden returning to the surface. As he begins to see through the illusion to the truth that had been kept from them, he realises that Mari is the woman prophesized to unite the people of Dematr. Can he protect her long enough to fulfil it?

I purchased this book in audio format in 2015 when it was recommended to me on Audible due to my listening and browsing history. I am kicking myself for not listening to it sooner. I kept putting it off for some reason unknown to me. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it at the time. Who knows? Anyway, now I'm seriously annoyed with myself for missing out on listening to this story, which is narrated by MacLeod Andrews. He does a fantastic job in bringing the story to life. Even Alain, who's voice is meant to be flat and emotionless comes across with subtle hints. You would think that Alain's voice would be monotonous, but it's not so. I love the way he brings all the characters to life with different accents, inflections and tones. He even makes the women's voices sound perfect for each character. As for his narration, he read the story clearly and concisely, and his pacing was perfect. I would definitely listen to more books read by this narrator.

This story introduces us to the world of Dematr. It is a mass of contradictions. There are two great Guilds who hold all the power over the common folk - The Mechanics and The Mages. These Guilds have held power for centuries and refuse to relinquish their hold and reject change of any kind. However, this is slowly strangling the world, making it harder and harder for the Mechanics especially as their technology is regressing. This story has a steampunk feel to it, with machinery being steam driven at times - trains for instance. Though there are some more modern items such as far-talkers (walkie-talkies to you and me), torches using batteries, and rifles and pistols that are decidedly more modern-day. Mages use energy from the land around them and some of their own energy to make spells. These spells can be used in various ways - from hiding oneself to creating a dragon.

This book is told through the eyes of both Mari and Alain and I found myself completely hooked from beginning to end. I was fascinated by how different the Guilds were, but also struck by how similar they were too. I loved getting to know the two main protagonists and watching (in my minds eye) the story unfold as I listened. I have no idea why, but as I listened to Mage Alain talking and thinking, I had a sudden picture of Richard Dean Anderson as he played Colonel Jack O'Neill in SG1 - with a dry wit and deadpan face. If they ever decide to make this book into a movie or TV series, I would hope they could find someone like that to do Alain justice. Anyway, back to the book. I found myself an emotional wreck near the end. I think my heart broke, it definitely felt heavy at any rate. However, the audiobook version (I can't speak for the book version) has a preview of the second book in the series and I am now looking forward to reading/listening to The Hidden Masters of Marandur as soon as I can.

Jack Campbell is a new author to me. I've never read or listened to any of his other books. However, I may have to add him to my favourite authors list, as he's found a fan in me. I love his writing style, which is fast paced and descriptive, and the flow of the story is good too.

Although there is no mention of any scenes of a sexual nature, I do not recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 15 due to some violence. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love dark or epic fantasy, steampunk or action/adventure and supernatural/paranormal romance genres. - Lynn Worton

Wonderful Read!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-02-17

This is an intriguing psychological/medical thriller. I really enjoyed it!

I received a complimentary gift copy of this book in audio format from the author with no expectation of a positive review. This is my honest opinion.

This audiobook is narrated by Georgina Tate. She has a clear reading voice. Unfortunately, I was not keen on her reading style. She read the story in a jerky fashion in my opinion, taking unnecessary breaths in the middle of a sentence where no comma should be, and her pacing was a little too slow for my taste. She also did not modulate her voice or change her tone often, which made some sections rather monotonous. She also didn't even attempt to give the characters different tones or accents. This, in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, as not many people can do accents. Nevertheless, it made me feel a little bored at times and I considered switching over to a different story. However, I persevered right until the end.

Erica Whittaker is an interesting character. She is a woman who has been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. After a course of chemo that leaves her feeling extremely ill, she turns in desperation to a faith healer called Arpan, who has retired to the wilds of Wales, in an attempt to cure it.

I found myself intrigued with the storyline, which is told through the eyes of Erica. I also found some of the dialogue a bit clunky and repetitive, especially in the beginning where Erica first meets Arpan and tries to convince him to heal her. Arpan is an interesting character. He has retired from the limelight as a healer after a healing went wrong and his client died, which created a media circus. He is extremely reluctant to heal Erica and it's not until later in the story that one discovers the reason why. He also has an apprentice called Anuge (sorry, not sure of spelling). What got me curious about this situation is that if he's not practicing healing, why did he have an apprentice? Anyway, as the story unfolded, the mystery and suspense surrounding Arpan's apparent retirement comes to light when a drug company comes calling. I must admit there are several twists to this story that I didn't see coming, though I did have suspicions about a few things that I deduced correctly when they were revealed. The ending, however, left me feeling with a blend of surprise and disgust at how an innocent person can have their life ruined by either a potentially deadly mistake or a deliberate scam. The author has left the ending a little vague so a reader can make their own conclusion on this point.

Christoph Fischer is a relatively new author to me in that I've only read some of his short stories in an anthology he contributed to. Nevertheless, I love his writing style and, if I had read this book rather than listened to it, I think I would have enjoyed it better flow-wise. I would definitely read more of his books in the future.

Although there are no scenes of a sexual nature, violence or profane language, I do not recommend this book to younger readers due to the dark subject matter. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love psychological or medical thrillers. - Lynn Worton

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Fantastic Book and a Must Read/Listen!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-02-17

Review 6*

I originally received a copy of this book in 2013 from the author in return for an honest review, which I duly posted. However, I am now editing my review to incorporate listening to it in audiobook format, which I purchased through Audible UK.

This audiobook is narrated by Khristine Hvam. I must admit that when I heard her narration I thought to myself, 'This doesn't sound like the Siena in my head as I pictured her.' However, as I listened to her speak, I realised that her voice is perfect for Siena's character. She brings a charm and warmth to the story. She also gives each character their own voice and accent, which brings them to life. Her diction is clear and precise and easy to listen to. I would definitely consider listening to more books narrated by her.

My original review:

OMG! This is a fantastically brutal dystopian novel. I LOVED IT!

Siena is a fantastic character! She is a young lady that I greatly admire. Her determination, independence and grit astounded me. As her sixteenth birthday looms, she has to make a decision that will change her life.

As I started reading this book, I was completely pulled in to a world that has been devastated by a disaster of biblical proportions. The Heaters are a tribe living in the most unforgiving conditions I have ever encountered in the pages of a book, but somehow, they manage to survive. Raging sandstorms, fires and unrelenting heat would sap the energy out of anyone, but these people have gained my respect with their ingenuity and sheer determination. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat more than once, as the story unraveled. I also found myself on a rollercoaster of swinging emotions; from disbelief, anger, sadness, happiness, disgust, joy, a few other mixed ones and back again! However, it is their laws that I found myself railing against. The one where they have to force girls of sixteen to procreate for their survival. I can understand the need to survive as a tribe, but it's the way they go about it that made my stomach clench! I wanted to shout "perverts", but as they are fictional characters, they wouldn't hear me! However, there are some really likable characters that redeemed the tribe in my eyes. These are Siena's friends: Circ and Veena. Circ is one of her closest friends and a wonderful character. He is a Hunter and the same age as Siena. Veena is a year older than Siena, and has already had a baby. Her attempts to get her no-good Call (mate) to take care of the baby made me giggle! This book is peppered with a whole slew of tribal slang, but it reminded me of some words I could picture the Australians saying (no offence to the Australians, I love their slang!). There are also a fair few twists and turns in this book that kept me hooked from the first page to the last! I am now looking forward to reading the next book in the series!

David Estes has written a fantastic dystopian novel that has turned me into a huge fan! I love his writing style, which is fast paced and extremely fluid! His characters came alive, and the descriptions of the environs left me breathless! I am looking forward to reading more of his books in the future.

I highly recommend this book if you love YA or Dystopian genres. - Lynn Worton

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