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Reviews Written by
Stephanie Noverraz "crooty" (Lausanne, Switzerland)

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Destiny: Trinity Book Three: Book Three: Trinity Series
Destiny: Trinity Book Three: Book Three: Trinity Series
by Fiona McIntosh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Rocambolesque., 26 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the third and last volume in the Trinity trilogy (after Betrayal and Revenge).

Well I’m not sure how to summarize this book. So many things happen to our Mary Sue, Gary Stu and their magical children and friends: numerous comings and goings from the Heartwood to all four corners of Tallinor and Cipres, catching Goth and losing him (again!), trying to outwit the evil god Orlac (who turns out to be not so bad in the end – but don’t fret, there’s someone even eviller to takes his place as great villain).

Still, the characters are likeable, even though they’re totally improbable (like Tor’s blue eyes, which are… incredible). But the story in interminable and yet it left me in the lurch. I don’t know, I have mixed feeling about this series.


Revenge: Book Two: Trinity Series
Revenge: Book Two: Trinity Series
by Fiona McIntosh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars The Filler., 26 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the second volume in the Trinity trilogy (after Betrayal and before Destiny).

Alyssa and Tor are parted again. After escaping death by a clever magic trick and convalescing in the Great Forest, Tor sets out to hunt down Goth, but is soon sidetracked when his falcon Clot is stolen by pirates in Caradoon to be sold to the Queen of the island of Cipres.

In Tal, Alyssa has now spent several years in the castle, working as a healer, believing the love of her life is dead, and blaming King Lorys for his heartless justice. But when Queen Nyria, her friend, ask her to forgive her husband, she actually finds it easier than expected, and even falls in love with the monarch.

All the while, both know their destiny is to reunite the Trinity in order to defeat their real enemy, the angry Prince of the Gods Orlac, who wants to destroy Tallinor. They get help from several of their friends and companions, who turn out to be magical beings called the Paladin.

I found this second volume slightly inferior to the first one. The sidetrip to Cipres is mostly filler material, and I failed to be captivated by the what is emerging as the main plotline now. And Goth escapes death so many times it’s ridiculous. Will you kill the wretch already?


Betrayal: Trinity Book One: Book One: Trinity Series
Betrayal: Trinity Book One: Book One: Trinity Series
by Fiona McIntosh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A flight from persecution., 26 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the first volume in the Trinity trilogy (before Revenge and Destiny).

The book opens on a scene of crucifixion and stoning at the Royal Court of Tal. That of Torkyn Gynt, accused by Chief Inquisitor Goth of getting involved an Untouchable, Alyssa, who witnesses the execution.

Then the tale flashes back to 7 years earlier. Our two heroes are 15 years old, and although they haven’t met yet, they’ve been communicating through the Link since their childhood. For reasons unknown, and luckily for them, their magic goes undetected by Inquisitor Goth, the disfigured maniac who roams the country of Tallinor in search of all Sentients, to bridle and brand them under Royal Law.

They finally meet at a village fair, and Tor is about to ask Alyssa to marry her, but he’s interrupted by Merkhud, the Royal Physic, who wants him to come to the capital and become his apprentice. Tor agrees and leaves, and his Link with Alyssa is mysteriously severed.

Alyssa feels spurned, lovesick, so when old Sarrel knocks on her door, she decides to follow her and learn the trade of the wandering herb healer. In the village of Fragglesham, where Cirq Zorros is performing, they come across Goth and his gang. As soon as the pervert sees the lovely blonde, he uncontrollably desires her and tries to rape her.

The book goes on to describe Tor and Alyssa’s stories, the friends they make (one of them a beautiful peregrine falcon) during their flight from Goth and other persecutors, until they meet again.

I enjoyed reading this first volume. It’s full of action, and the characters are very likeable (except for Goth of course), even though they perform magic a little too easily and effortlessly.


The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince (Farseer)
The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince (Farseer)
by Robin Hobb
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.48

5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty but compelling., 26 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In this prequel to the Farseer trilogies, Robin Hobb reveals a part of the History of the Six Duchies, telling us how the Wit became a shameful and forbidden magic, through the legend of the Piebald Prince.

The story is narrated by Felicity, childhood friend-cum-maid to Princess Caution, daughter of King Virile. The first part recounts how the Princess fell in love with a stablemaster named Lostler and gave birth to a Witted bastard with spotted skin, Charger.

The second part tells Charger’s story, growing up alongside Felicity’s own son Redbird. When the Piebald Prince falls in love with the same woman as his cousin and rival to the throne, Canny Farseer, an inexorable succession of macabre events will lead to the persecution and banishment of all the Witted ones.

True to herself, Robin Hobb once again provides us with an very gritty but decidedly compelling story. This new piece of lore is must-read for all fans of her Realm of the Elderlings universe.


Wolf's Brother (Reindeer People 2)
Wolf's Brother (Reindeer People 2)
by Megan Lindholm
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Magic, romance and mystery., 26 Feb. 2016
This is the second half of the Saga of the Reindeer People (after The Reindeer People).

After vicious Carp has found her again, Tillu agrees to join the reindeer people and become their healer during their migration to the Cataclysm. She takes Kari, the herdlord’s daughter, as apprentice.

But soon the herdlord and his family fall ill with the plague. When his son Rolke dies, Joboam, the local bully and lick-spittle, blames Tillu.

Meanwhile, Kerlew is all but snatched by Carp, who imposes himself as the herdfolk’s new shaman, and becomes his disciple. Following a vision, the young boy one day climbs the vertiginous Najd’s Steps and Heckram has to fetch him back down.

In this second volume, Tillu tries to fit in and becomes very close to Heckram. Together they would like to find out what happened to Elsa the night she was attacked. Tillu also struggles to protect her son from Carp’s influence and get his affection back, alas without much success.

I liked this duology very much. More than Megan Lindholm’s Ki and Vandien series. There was a nice balance between magic, romance and mystery.


The Reindeer People (Reindeer People 1)
The Reindeer People (Reindeer People 1)
by Megan Lindholm
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Tales of the Tundra., 26 Feb. 2016
This is the first half of the Saga of the Reindeer People (before Wolf’s Brother).

Tillu is a young healer who lives with her strange son Kerlew with Benu’s nomadic tribe in the north. The tribe’s repulsive shaman, Carp, has a strange power over her son and wants to teach him his magic. He also constantly harrasses Tillu, trying to bed her.

Terrified of the old man and tired of seeing her son continuously bullied, one night she flees through the frozen, winter-ravaged land, leaving the tribe behind. She finally pitches her tent close to the talvsit of reindeer herders. She makes friends with Heckram, a very tall, fair and handsome man, the first adult who doesn’t see her son as a nuisance. Heckram is about to marry Elsa, but Kerlew has a vision that he will kill her.

When the young girl is mauled in the night, Heckram calls Tillu for help. But Elsa’s wounds are too severe, and she dies. When Tillu’s decoction of night-berries is found empty the next morning, Heckram suspects the healer of ending his new wife’s suffering with an overdose of pain medicine. And vice-versa.

Although I’m an avid reader of fantasy, I’m not a great fan of shamanic tales. However, I really enjoyed reading this book, as the story revolves more around the characters’ relationships than the magic itself. Megan Lindholm (aka Robin Hobb)’s excellent writing might also have something to do with that…


The Golden Age (Ltd.Deluxe Edt.) by Woodkid (2013) Audio CD
The Golden Age (Ltd.Deluxe Edt.) by Woodkid (2013) Audio CD

2.0 out of 5 stars Book review: Doesn’t hold a candle to the music., 21 July 2015
The Golden Age (written by Yoann Lemoine and Katarzyna Jerzak) is an artsy-poetic fantastico-mystic semi-bibliographic story of a young boy growing in the countryside with his mother, being bullied at school and moving to the big city.

I really love Woodkid’s music album, so I was fairly disappointed by the book, and I must admit it even spoiled the music a bit for me (but it got help from Woodkid’s embarassing attitude on stage). There are some nice illustrations by Jillian Tamaki, but the story is a bit boring. Overall, I found it resembled a below-average school essay. Or simply this genre is just not my cup of tea.


Dodger
Dodger
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Dickens à la Pratchett., 21 July 2015
This review is from: Dodger (Paperback)
This is a stand-alone novel set in Victorian London..

Dodger is a tosher. He makes a living by picking up bits and pieces that fall into the sewer drains. He lives near Seven Dials with his old mentor, Solomon Cohen, and a very smelly dog, Onan.

Dodger becomes an unlikely hero by repeatedly finding himself in the right place at the right time: he rescues a young woman beaten by two men, prevents a robbery at the Morning Chronicle and inadvertently stops a certain barber named Todd from committing murder.

Unsurprisingly, he soon ends up in a political imbroglio that could trigger an international war and becomes the target of an assassin.

Even though it’s not part of the Discworld series, Dodger is a terrific adventure and detective novel, full of the usual Pratchettian humour and philosophy, and I greatly enjoyed it.


Blood of Dragons (The Rain Wild Chronicles, Book 4)
Blood of Dragons (The Rain Wild Chronicles, Book 4)
by Robin Hobb
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling ending., 16 July 2015
This is the fourth and last book of The Rain Wild Chronicles (after Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven and City of Dragons).

In Kelsingra, Alise is at a lost. What is her life purpose now that the city is about to reawaken? She doesn’t know yet that Hest, her former husband and tormentor, is on his way to claim her back.

While hunting on the eastern bank, Thymara and Tats find remnants of bridge piles. The dragons could use them as launching platforms to fly across the river. The creatures also tell the Elderlings to find wells of Silver, a substance they need to survive.

Tintaglia is severely injured, shot by Chalcedeans. After a harrowing flight back to Trehaug, she learns that Malta and Reyn have already left. They’re on the Tarman, making for Kelsingra to beg the dragons to save their son Phron. But only Tintaglia can help the infant, and the queen is mortally wounded again on the way.

Meanwhile in Chalced, sick and starving Selden is sold to the dying Duke, who wants to drink his blood and eat his flesh to prolong his life. But the despot needs to heal him first, so he puts him in the care of another of his prisoners: his daughter Chassim. Realizing they share the same fate, the young couple become friends.

In this final volume, the exciting multiple story arcs converge to an thrilling ending. In addition, I loved learning more about the expanding mythology of Robin Hobb’s world, the Realm of the Elderlings, and was absolutely delighted to uncover tiny hints and clues to elements in her former Robin Hobb. I need to read those again!


City of Dragons (The Rain Wild Chronicles, Book 3)
City of Dragons (The Rain Wild Chronicles, Book 3)
by Robin Hobb
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply immersive., 3 Feb. 2015
This is the third book in The Rain Wilds Chronicles, which is now a tetralogy (after Dragon Keeper and Dragon Haven, and before Blood of Dragons).

It's winter in the Rain Wilds. The dragons and their keepers are hungry and cold, the latter's clothes nothing but worn rags. The dragons are also growing, and they cannot rely on their keepers to bring them enough food anymore. They desperately need to learn to fly and hunt by themselves.

Most of them are still too weak or lazy, and Sintara is too proud to try and risk failure. Only Heeby, Rapskal's red queen, is strong enough to fly. She regularly charters her keeper, and sometimes Alise, across the Rain Wild River to Kelsingra.

There the scholar explores the ruins, the plazas and great halls, making as many sketches and taking as many notes as possible before news of their discovery reaches Trehaug or Cassarick, and people come to pillage the ancient Elderlings city, like they did downriver, looking for artefacts. She wishes she could preserve it, an undisturbed testimony of the past. But Rapskal, who's been immersing himself in memory-stones, thinks otherwise. He needs to share his visions with Thymara: together they might be able to revive Kelsingra.

In the meantime, Captain Leftrin is going back to Cassarick to get supplies and claim the keepers' pays. He knows the Council will be very reluctant to honor their contracts, since they actually weren't expecting anyone to come back alive from this expedition to relocate the dragons upriver..

Meanwhile in Bingtown, Alise's husband Hest Finbok is being persecuted by a Chalcedean hitman, who holds him responsible for the non-fulfillment of Sedric's contract to bring back dragon parts for the Duke of Chalced, and harassed by his father, who threatens to disinherit him if he fails to produce an heir. He direly needs his wife and lover back in town.

What I loved the most in this volume was the visits Kelsingra with Alise, Rapskal and Thymara. At first I was like Alise, wanting to protect it from all disturbances. But then I became fascinated by Rapskal and Thymara's discoveries in the memory-stone, and I'm looking forward to seeing it reawaken. This is a rather short book, and I was torn between going on reading to discover what happens next, knowing that I was inexorably getting closer to the last page, and pacing myself to make it last longer. Robin Hobb's writing is so good, I wish her books had infinite pages, that her stories went on forever.


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