Friday, November 28, 2008

Review: _The Tainted_ by Glenda Larke

Blaze Halfbreed returns in the final book of the “Isles of Glory” to save a friend from a terrible fate. She is helped by other characters is this rousing book of adventure. The Tainted by Glenda Larke is an action packed conclusion to an immensely entertaining trilogy. The author brings the trilogy to a satisfying climax through the setting, characters and plot.

First, the setting helps the book be entertaining with its realistic portrayal. Ms. Larke creates strong images with the different island kingdoms and cultures that sound like they could exist. One island has its main city built into a cliff along a bay where the palace is at the highest level and the poor live at the lowest. Even more interesting is the island with Tenkor and the Hub. Messages, passengers and cargo are transported up an inlet on the tidal bores. The author's thoughtful creation of the setting energizes the sense of wonder.

Next, the characters bring the book to a satisfying climax b being memorable. Blaze has a part, but it is other characters that are on the main stage in this book. Ruarth Windrider begins his new life following Flame the woman he loves. She is subverted by dunmagic and treats him horribly. He must overcome Flame’s bad treatment and coming to terms with dramatic changes to his life. Elarn Jaydon lives in Tenkor. He is a tide rider, a person who rides the tidal bore to deliver messages up and down the inlet. His father disapproves of him because of his sylv magic talent. These characters interact with Blaze and others that help them grow. Ms. Larke creates memorable characters with interesting lives through strong descriptions and dialogue.

Lastly, the author brings the story to a satisfying conclusion with the plot. The book starts with Ruarth on a shop with Flame, dealing with his new circumstances. He does not understand Flame’s behavior. She heads to an island kingdom to marry a man she hated in previous books. Elarn meets the daughter of the head Keeper. She convinces him to learn to use his sylv power and to help her with her ideas. Events in the lives of these characters pile up to a rousing end involving all the haracters from the other books. Ms. Larke weaves the plot together deftly to provide an interesting, exciting climax to the book.

The Tainted by Glenda Larke is the final book of the “Isles of Glory” trilogy. The trilogy is brought to a satisfying conclusion in this book through its setting, characters and plot. Ms. Larke is a creative writer using her experiences from living in Malaysia and Australia to create imaginative books that stay with readers for a long time. This book was no exception.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Review: _Chronicles of the Last War_ by Laura J. Underwood

Laura J. Underwood is an author who creates interesting worlds and characters for her stories. Her stories set in the world of Keltora are vibrant with magic, adventures and memorable characters. Chronicles of the Last War is a collection of three stories of Keltora featuring the characters Eithne, Conor and Michan in a land torn by war.

“The Black Hunter” begins the story of these three characters as they meet for the first time. Eithne is a True Healer but her father decrees that she marry a man of his choosing for an alliance. She flees her family to become a healer. After her training, she joins a group of healers with the king’s militia on the war front. Conor Manahan is a sergeant in the militia. As warrior he feels something is wrong in the caste where the militia are staying. Michan is a battle mage who befriends Conor after someone tries to kill him. These three friends must fight a supernatural foe as their relationships grow in interesting directions.

In the next story “Willowherb,” the three main characters return to face new conflicts. They are on the battle field in a camp. Conor and Eithne must deal wit their budding romance. Michan senses a blood mage close by the camp along with the presence of a demon. When the demon attacks the camp, men are killed and the militia leader wants volunteers to kill the blood mage. Other problems put a strain on the characters, creating tension mixed in with the adventure of the story.

The last story, “Wyrd,” follows Eithne and Conor years later. Conor is a guard with a caravan. Eithne and their mageborn son Rhoyd travel with him. Every day the caravan gets closer to a certain place on the route that triggers dreams in Conor. He must deal with a past tragedy while fighting threats to the caravan. This is a bittersweet story with a nice ending.

Chronicles of the Last War by Laura J. Underwood has three entertaining stories set in the Celtic style fantasy world of Keltora. This Celtic Fantasy follows three people during a last fierce war. Supernatural creatures, magic and strong warriors created by Mx. Underwood provide vivid stories of interesting characters for readers. The book is available from Yard Dog Press at :