Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review: _Charmed Destinies_

A new technique writers are using to create entertaining stories is by crossing genres. Authors mix the standard tropes of two or more genres to tell new stories. For example, an author might write a book combining elements of a Western and Horror. There are many possible combinations for authors to try. Three authors mix Fantasy and Romance in _Charmed Destinies_ for a line of Romantic Fantasy books published by Luna Books (

“Counting Crows” is by Fantasy author Mercedes Lackey, known for her books about Valdemar. This story is set in a medieval style kingdom. Gwynn travels with her maid Robin to her new home and a husband she has not met. Once there, everything turns out bad for her. The castle is a mess and her new husband is a violent brute. She undergoes months of harsh treatment even though she can do magic. Ms. Lackey writes a strong tale of romance with sympathetic characters and a realistic setting.

Rachel Lee is the author of the second long story in the book. “   ·Drusilla’s Dream” begins in our world. Drusilla wants to be a painter and works on a data entry job on the graveyard shift. She finds the job boring, entering the data automatically while daydreaming the hours away. Miles is the main computer tech on duty. He works on a private file while monitoring the computer systems. During her latest fantasy daydream of a princess in a magic kingdom, Drusilla finds her dream going out of control. She does not understand what is happening. The story takes place in two worlds, the real one and dream one of Drusilla. Though it has a predictable ending, the story is humorous and very entertaining.

Known mostly for writing science fiction, author Catherine Asaro contributes the final story of the book with “Moonglow.” It begins with a robbery that kills Jarid’s parents and leaves him unable to speak, hear or see. Years later, he is discovered by Iris, an apprentice shape mage. She is a young woman unsure of her powers. After Jarid is brought ho   Áme to be crowned king despite his problems, Iris finds out she is to be married to him. This sets the conflict of a difficult romance while trying to save the kingdom of Aronsdale from invaders. Ms. Asaro creates likable characters for an entertaining magical system. Shape mages focus their powers through geometric shapes from simple ones to the highest being a sphere. Their rankings follow the colors of a rainbow. “Moonglow” is a good fit to this book.

Many authors from different genres are mixing elements of different genres in order to create new stories to entertain readers. Romance Fantasy is a new one of these cross genres. _Charmed Destinies_ is an entertaining book containing three Romance Fantasies written by Mercedes Lackey, Rachel Lee and Catherine Asaro. This book is part of the Luna imprint a part of Harlequien books.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Book Review: _Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit_ by Mercedes Lackey

Many fantasy authors write a novel about King Arthur tackling some aspect of the story and providing new ways of seeing the story for readers. Mercedes Lackey does this with her Arthurian fantasy book _Gwenhwyfar: the White Spirit_. Ms. Lackey shows readers the King Arthur story through the eyes of one memorable woman character. The book is a vivid story told through the setting, plot and main character.

The setting of the book is Britain after the Romans have left. Saxons have invaded the land which creates battles between the natives and invaders. There are several different kingdoms ruled by their own royal families all under the High King Arthur. Magic is part of the fabric of life with women’s magic under the ladies of the cauldron well and men’s magic under the druids. People are wary and frightened of the creatures of Annwynn (fairy), knowing they can’t be trusted. Ms. Lackey brings the setting to life with realistic descriptions of this magical ancient Britain.

Next, the author uses the story of King Arthur to drive the plot of the book. Ms. Lackey uses some information she came across in doing research for this book to add a new twist to the Aurhurian story. The plot revolves around the women in the king’s life as the main character Gwenhwyfar is drawn into the story. Magic, war and betrayal add to the adventure and action that keeps readers hooked into the story until the end.

Finally, following the character of Gwenhwyfar through her life as she grows makes the book memorable. Broken into three parts, princess, warrior and queen, readers watch Gwenhwyfar as she grows into a strong woman warrior with a formidable sense of duty and honor. She plays a major role in the King Arthur legend that offers a twist with a new perspective on the events of the story. Ms. Lackey’s deft touch on characterization makes Gwenhwyfar realistic and memorable.

_Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit_  by Mercedes Lackey is an excellent addition to Arthurian fantasy. The author takes an interesting piece of information from her reserach to tell the remarkable story of a woman in Celtlic Arthurian Britain through the setting, plot and main character. Readers will enjoy this vivid, entertaining story of Gwenhwyfar and the role she plays in the legend of King Arthur.