Lost Truth by Dawn Cook

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Title: Lost Truth by Dawn Cook

Notable: Book #4 in the Truth series

Premise:

This fantasy dragon adventure finally wraps up with Alissa, Strell, Lodesh and Connen-Neute going on a journey to find some long-lost comrades.  Alissa and her true love are finally united, though that means one young man is left seriously disappointed.

My thoughts:

After enjoying the previous book so much, this one was a bit of a letdown.  The action was interesting, with several new characters being introduced (which was a welcome relief) and a completely new setting.  Meeting Keribdis brought the story full-circle and it allowed Talo-Toecan to face the foibles of his past which had wreaked so much havoc.

The resolution to Alissa’s love triangle fiasco was sadly disappointing to me.  I didn’t care much for her choice (I tend to root for the underdog), and it didn’t really seem to matter much anymore.  In the previous book her relationship with this particular character had been neglected so much that I pretty much lost interest in it altogether.  There wasn’t enough in this volume to convince me that she was really committed to the relationship.  The other character she had been attached to is basically discarded at the end of the story and that really rankled me.  Oh well.  I’ll get over it.

I recommend Lost Truth to fans of fantasy, dragons and female heroines!


Possible Objections:

  • A bit of violence

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Forgotten Truth by Dawn Cook

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Title: Forgotten Truth by Dawn Cook

Notable: Book #3 in the Truth series

Premise:

Alissa continues to train with Talo-Toecan, but when she practices a new skill it accidentally sends her back in time.  She’s still in the environs of the Hold, but ends us 400 years in the past, when Lodesh was just a young man.  Alissa tries to find her way back to Strell and her own time, but her feelings for Lodesh become much more complicated.

My thoughts:

This is my favorite book in the series so far.  There’s a richness to the Hold and Ese’ Nawoer of the past that is completely missing in the previous two books (probably because they’re unpopulated, no?).  The characters of Connen-Neute and Lodesh were a real pleasure to see developed, and there were several strong supporting characters, as well.

I don’t know what is going to happen with Alissa’s love life, but it seems like she might have three possible suitors now.  I’m rooting for Connen-Neute, though in truth, I don’t even know if he’s a real contender.  Strell was missing for most of this book and the few scenes he was in weren’t very compelling.  I found myself losing my attachment to his character–eek!  Lodesh likewise has lost some of his shine, based on some underhanded dealings on his part.

I didn’t care too much for the end of this book.  The men all seem totally defeated or amazingly oblivious, while Alissa lords it over them and won’t let go of one of them.  That young lady is being awfully selfish!  We’ll see where this story goes in the next volume…

I recommend Forgotten Truth to fans of fantasy and dragons!


Possible Objections:

  • A bit of violence
  • A tiny bit of language

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Hidden Truth by Dawn Cook

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Title: Hidden Truth by Dawn Cook

Notable: Book #2 in the Truth series

Premise:

The story continues with Strell being trained by Bailic as a Keeper, and Alissa trying not to blow her cover.  Alissa accidentally wakes the city of Ese’ Nowoer and the magnetic Lodesh enters the scene as a rival love interest.  Useless continues to covertly tutor Alissa, and eventually Alissa undergoes a significant change.

My thoughts:

I zipped through this book, just like the previous one.  Even though the writing isn’t stellar, it’s rich in detail and kept me interested and wanting to find out what would happen next.  For those of you who can’t stand a slower paced book, I think this one would test your patience.  As I was progressing through the story and taking notes, I realized that there wasn’t a whole lot that was really happening.

There’s a lot of relationship intrigue and drama, people getting upset over seemingly unimportant things, waiting and/or skulking around.  There are a few action-packed scenes, but they’re not the norm for most of the book.  Personally, that didn’t bother me.

The characters in this book are probably what keeps me really interested.  Alissa is fairly petty/dramatic in her emotions, but not a stranger to admitting the error of her ways.  Strell seems to have taken a lesser role, serving more as a supporting character than in the first book, and Lodesh is quite intriguing.  I can’t wait to see what his role is in the next book.

Towards the end of the story, there’s a significant development for Alissa, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.  All I’ll say is that it’s pretty cool.

I recommend Hidden Truth to fans of fantasy who like to see an empowered female protagonist.


Possible Objections:

  • A bit of violence
  • A tiny bit of language

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

First Truth by Dawn Cook

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Title: First Truth by Dawn Cook

Notable: Book #1 in the Truth series

Premise:

When the magical abilities of a young woman named Alissa awaken, she must travel to the Hold where she can be trained.  Along the way, she meets a young man named Strell and the two are drawn into intrigue and adventure as Alissa begins to discover her latent magical abilities.

My thoughts:

I wasn’t expecting a lot from this book, probably because the last fantasy novel I read wasn’t exactly my favorite.  The author did a really nice job of creating interesting and believable characters, as well as telling a cohesive story rich in detail.  Oh, how I appreciate a fantasy story that makes sense right now!

Alissa and Strell are a bit petty in some scenes, but then again that could be chalked up to young people emotions.  I was plenty petty and ridiculous in my emotions as a young adult at times.  The magic in this story is interesting — more of an internal force than simply saying the right incantations.  I look forward to seeing how the magical abilities are developed, since we only get small glimpses of what is possible.

For those of you who enjoy seeing a strong female character take the lead in a fantasy story, you’ll probably get a kick out of this one.  I have the next two books on standby on my bookshelf, and I can’t wait to get started on them!

I recommend First Truth to fans of fantasy who like to see an empowered female protagonist.


Possible Objections:

  • A bit of violence

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind

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Wizard’s First Rule is the second to last book from my Thrift Store Fantasy Reading Challenge.  Almost done!  I had never heard of this book, nor the author, Terry Goodkind.  It can be a little intimidating starting a thick book with no clue about whether or not it will be a good one.

Wizard’s First Rule is an epic fantasy adventure story in which Richard (the Seeker) has to defeat the evil Darken Rahl.  He is aided by a beautiful but powerful woman, a wizard, and a few others.  The majority of the story is taken up by their journey to find a magical object which must be hidden from Rahl, and by the many scrapes they find themselves in.

I am still conflicted about this book. Was it good? Was it bad? Did it mess with my brain? Probably so. There are parts of it that I really like and parts of it that made my stomach churn.

The frequent graphic violence (including sexual violence), is just so overwhelming. If that had been watered down dramatically, I think I might have liked the novel more. Of course the writing isn’t stellar, but it’s hard to fairly assess anything else in the book when all you can think about is a dominatrix, a pedophile, and people’s heads cracking open like melons.

What I liked:

  • I liked the variety and different types of characters.  It seems like there was a lot of thought and imagination that went into the diverse inhabitants of this fantasy world.  You get to see people who are pure and people who are quite diabolical.
  • I liked that they were going on an epic adventure and that their journey took many detours (it reminded me of The Lord of the Rings quest).
  • The beginning and end of the book.  The last third of the book, in particular, really picks up in plot twists and complexity.  Even though there were parts of this book that I didn’t like, I will probably read the next in the series because the end of the book was an interesting segue into the next.

What I didn’t like:

  • The main characters seemed almost bipolar at times, going from saying they would protect someone with their life one minute to holding a sword against that person’s throat the next.  Real people don’t act that way, but hey, maybe they were under extreme stress?
  • I felt like the book could have been shortened by not repeating phrases over and over.
  • One of the characters seems to me to be almost a rip-off of the Gollum character from Lord of the Rings.
  • I understand that terrible things happen in war, but personally I was very uncomfortable with how candid the author was about things like sexual exploitation and gory violence.
  • The middle of the book was more difficult to get through–I had to force myself to keep reading.  It seemed like it was lacking any urgency in keeping the story going.

So, there you have it–my mixed feelings on this book.  I feel like there are definitely people out there who would really dislike this book because of some of the intense subject matter.  If you’re uncomfortable with the occult, gory violence, or sexual themes, I would recommend you skip this one.

Possible Objections:

  • A lot of violence & gore
  • Not very subtle references to sexual violence against women & children
  • Sexual themes, including S&M and references to anatomy
  • 2 instances of the b-word
  • Occult themes

Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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The Glass Dragon by Irene Radford

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Reading The Glass Dragon has brought me back to my Thrift Store Fantasy Reading Challenge.  It will be good to pick up with this challenge because I really enjoy fantasy books.  This book is part of a trilogy, though I only have the first book.  I’m not sure if I’ll purposely seek out the next two, or wait around until I spot them secondhand.

I enjoyed this book and finished it in a couple of days.  The action was able to keep me interested and flipping pages.  The gist of the story is that there is a kingdom whose power is tied to dragons.  The kingdom, however, is waning in power because people have come to view dragons with suspicion and hate them, even going so far as to kill them.  A man who wants to seize power for himself takes advantage of this situation and endeavors to set himself up to take over as ruler.

There are three main characters who help fight the forces of evil–a rogue magician, a man-wolf, and a witchwoman.  They embark on a quest to save the last female dragon in the realm, and along the way they discover the power they are capable of wielding.

There is some kind of strange, unexplained sexual link between the three characters.  I didn’t quite grasp what the author was getting at (for which I am thankful).  Once that little facet of the story emerged, things started to get a bit awkward.

I think the thing I like most about this book is the creativity used in making up this enchanted world.  The reader gets descriptions of its customs, animals, geography, and more.  Its complexity reminds me of The Lord of the Rings, but not nearly as detailed.

I would recommend this book for older teens and up because of the sexual themes.

Possible Objections:

  • Some sexual scenes
  • A bit of violence

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Dragon’s Bait by Vivian Vande Velde

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My son brought Dragon’s Bait home from the library and I picked it up to read one night after he’d gone to bed.  I didn’t know what to expect, and let me tell you that I was pleasantly surprised by this short novel.

In this story, Alys is accused of witchcraft and tied to a stake as an appeasement sacrifice for a dragon.  The dragon is intrigued by Alys’ pluckiness even in the face of death, and transforms into a young man so that they can talk.  He learns about why she is there and that she wants revenge on those who falsely accused her.  Selendrile (the dragon) agrees to help her.

The rest of the book follows the pair as they try to keep their identities secret, plan their revenge, and execute it against Alys’ former neighbors.  However, Alys learns that revenge tastes bitter and it leaves her feeling worse than before.  There is also a little love interest thrown in there, but it’s pretty subtle.

I’m not sure what it is exactly that makes this story so charming.  The heroine is admirable and the dragon interesting.  The two of them really make the story special.  I also like that the characters aren’t flat–they’re allowed to experience significant change when they learn important life lessons.

I would recommend this book to preteens through adults.  It’s an impressive little story that most people would enjoy.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Thrift Store – Fantasy Reading Challenge #1

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When the kids and I were at the thrift store about a week ago, I had the bright idea to do a reading challenge based on the books I found there.  I went for both a fantasy challenge and a sci-fi challenge (which I will document later).  It seems like thrift stores carry a good number of fantasy and sci-fi titles, some of them being unique finds.

Based on my made-up rules, I could only choose novels from the adult section, and they could only be from a series if they were the first.  It wouldn’t make much sense to read book #2 in a four-part series, if I hadn’t already read the first book.  Picking the books out took longer than I anticipated because there were so many that were part of a series.

In the end, I came up with the stack you see above.  I don’t know what to expect of these books, but I’m optimistic about a couple of them.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these titles and what you thought of them.  Later!

READING LIST:

YOUTUBE VIDEO:

Thrift Store Fantasy Reading Challenge #1