Thursday, January 25, 2007

Book Review: _The Aware_ by Glenda Larke

In recent years, new voices have added their contributions to the Fantasy genre. Many of these voices are coming from all over the world. One of the new voices is an Australian who lives in Malaysia. Glenda Larke’s trilogy of the “Isles of Glory” have been published in the United States. The first book, The Aware, is a lively book due to an imaginative setting, memorable characters and suspenseful plot.

The setting of the book gives it a strong sense of place by being very imaginative. through descriptive passages, the author brings the world on the Isles of Glory to life for readers. This Fantasy world consists of islands with different cultures on each. The Keeper isles maintain the peace by preventing pirates and smuggling. Keepers possess one of the two magics called sylvamagic, which is used for healing and illusion. They try to counter the corrupting dun magic and those who practice it. Another group of people, the Aware, possess the last talent of being able to see magic. Focusing on the island of Gorthan Spit, the story takes place on an island that is a dumping ground for outcasts, slavers and outlaws of the Isles. Gorthan Spit is a setting full of intense characters that makes the book interesting.

Another aspect of the book is the memorable characters. Blaze Halfbreed tells the story in the first person point of view. She is an outcast because she is a halfbreed. Wanting legal citizenship, Blaze works as an agent for the Keepers because she is Aware. A strong warrior with no friends, she is cynical and struggles to leave her terrible past behind. Flame is a sylvtalent woman that helps Blaze grow along with Tor Ryder who is Blaze’s love interest. Ms. Larke Brings these characters to life with vivid descriptions and snappy dialogue.

Finally, a suspenseful plot holds the reader’s attention until the end of the book. The main character, Blaze, arrives on Gorthan Spit. She is sent there on a mission to find a missing island heir. While searching for the missing woman, she is drawn into the mystery of an evil dun magic user. Blaze must discover who the evil mage is to save her new friends. Along the way she discovers love and friendship, and what is truly important to her. Ms. Larke weaves together several plot threads to create action and conflict.

The Aware By Glenda Larke is the first book of the “Isles of Glory” trilogy. The imaginative setting, memorable characters and suspenseful plot makes the book a lively read for readers. Ms. Larke is an interesting Fantasy author that is adding an entertaining Fantasy world to the genre. The other two books are: Gilfeather and The Tainted. These will be reviewed in the future.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Lynn Abbey

Over the years many women have added their unique voices to the Fantasy genre. They bring interesting perspectives and characters with their works into the genre. Fantasy author Lynn Abbey has added her unique voice with several books. Her books range from Epic to Contemporary Fantasy. She is creative with interesting worlds and populates them with fascinating characters and magic.

Ms. Abbey’s first books were the “Rifkind Saga” of Daughter of the Bright Moon and The Black Flame. These books tell the story of a witch with talents that is called to be a priestess of the goddess. The combination of magic, sword fighting and war blend to make an exiting adventure of the young woman. The strong woman character with talents will become the author’s trademark in future books.

Her next series involved another young woman with magical talents. The “Unicorn and Dragon” books take place in an Eleventh century world with a war between Anglo-Saxsons against invading Normans. Revolving around the theme of a Celtic pagan religion against a patriarchal one, this Historical Fantasy has strong women characters and interesting plots. Unicorn and Dragon and Conquest are the books in this series.

Ms. Abbey’s next books were The Wooden Sword and Beneath the Web. The Walensor web allows mages to commune with the gods. Berika wants to flee her abusive husband. A goddess sends Dart to help her. They venture to the main city to prevent the destruction of the web and all magic. The magic is intriguing in this different Fantasy world.

Siege of Shadows is the beginning of a planned trilogy. (The other books are on hold for now.) It is an Epic Fantasy about a mysterious gold throne called the Siege of Shadows. The twins, Kyle and Kiera, must overcome temptation and schemes to solve the mystery of the throne. Like her other books, this one has great characters and interesting magic.

Ms. Abbey ventured into the realms of elves with Jerlayne. The young woman of the title wants to marry another elf despite her families’s protests. She is drawn into a battle of wills and tragedy. Jerlayne is a strong woman characters with talents.

In recent years, Ms. Abbey added Urban Fantasy to her works. Out of Time is the story of Emma Merrigan, a librarian living a quiet life. She takes in a terrified girl that lead to trouble. Emma discovers she can slip through time and is a descendant of witches. The book revolves around the powerful themes of abuse and courage.

Lynn Abbey is a talented Fantasy author comfortable in many different Fantasy worlds. She populates her books with strong women characters with magic talents. Her books cover strong themes centered around plots full of adventure. She writes books set in role playing universes too. Many of her books are out of print, but worth finding. Her web site is at: