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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 20 August 2011
At first I only downloaded this book because it was free. It was one of those hidden gems that have made me love my kindle all the more. This story is a majestic telling of the adventure/trial and story of one young girl. There is magic, forests, magical creatures and betrayal. Yes to be fair this story is not action packed. There are not many action scenes. Instead the author constructs an almost poetic telling of what happens. There is deep description within every page. You can feel the bitter cold, the fear, the wind in your hair. This story makes you dissolve within the setting and for that it caught my attention.
The characters all have their flaws, including the heroine and whilst sometimes the dialogue between the characters gets lengthy and almost tiresome it still helps to move the plot forward and allow you to see what the characters are about.
If you like Lord of The Rings or Harry Potter you will like this story and it is a true gem. I highly recommend this story and am now going to download the rest of the series.
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on 12 November 2011
After reading the reviews for this book and liking the look of the burb, I downloaded this. Not a decision I regretted, the main protagonist is a fascinatingly well-written character with whom you quickly fall in love with and the same can be said for the other characters, who are so very real. (Her pet dragon is a delightful character in herself) I tore through this book so fast, I found it far too difficult to put down. Simply outstanding.
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on 2 March 2012
Though spoiled by the occasional clumsy sentence and in need of a touch more editing, this reads quite well. Still, I struggled to finish it, and that was mostly down to the slow pace. Some reviewers found this a benefit, but I was tempted to give up on it at some points. All the elements for a good plot are there - the mysterious sword, the strange mark that it makes, and so on - but the links between them are so drawn out that the sense of mystery and tension that they should generate was largely lost.

The characters were detailed, but somehow unconvincing - they seemed to me to be driven by the plot. Myranda, for example, only seems capable of anger when the story requires her to lose her temper. At other times, she's shown as a tough but essentially gentle person, without the depths from which anger could arise.

Another concern was the background. A good fantasy has a rich and detailed world underlying it - as complete as possible in its culture, its history, its economy and so on. I had no sense of this at all. The background seemed merely sketched in - a long war, three kingdoms united in an Alliance run by various generals - and that was about it. To me, it made the entire story feel shallow.

Which is a pity, because there are some very good bits in it. Some of the descriptions are very atmospheric. Myranda's struggles to survive in the cold wilderness are well described, and the climatic test of her magical abilities is vivid, exciting and imaginative.

Worth reading as a free book, and many readers will enjoy it. To me, however, it needs to be tightened up and trimmed down to increase the pace and tension.
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on 14 January 2013
Promising Sword and Sorcery, but desperately needs an editor.

The Deacon Trilogy shows promise. I bought it while hoofing around Smashwords for interesting reviews on indie fantasy titles. This one got excellent reader reviews, and shows wonderful promise. This is a fun, entertaining, solid sword n sorcery series which for the money is fantastic value.

I do think the writer could do with a bank of solid beta readers and both a content and copy editor. Frankly, I found myself thinking, "This is a wonderful first draft, I can't wait to read the finished book." Because I desperately want to read that finished, polished works that I know these books can be, I am going to give it three stars and not the four or five it would merit had all the niggles been sorted out.

Most readers looking for a fun read may well be very forgiving of punctuation problems (!?), word confusion (though/through, alter/altar,) and the odd Point of View leaps and formatting issues, but the danger is that some sensitive readers will be yanked out of the carefully constructed, interesting "other world" in to this one - as a high fantasy novelist, you don't ever want that to happen. More demanding readers who expect from their indie bookshelf the same polish and sparkle as from mainstream publishers will become frustrated and should remember big publishers have resources - which is apparent when you find yourself paying through the nose. However, given the poorly written unimaginative dross - from both mainstream and indie publishers -that HAS been copy-edited out there, these books deserve not to be judged to harshly for the wonderful feet of imagination achieved.
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on 29 December 2012
In reality I would mark this at 3.5 stars if I was able. This book is easy to read. Leo as a character seems interesting enough and Myn the dragon likeable. I also liked the grumpy healer our main character first learned from. Our main character is a bit overpowered in my view but she is not a picture of perfection. I get the impression she as well as Leo will get a much needed attitude adjustment in later books. The magical rules of this world are nothing really too new but are simple to follow.

This novel wasn't perfect however. While simple to read, at times it didn't stick to the rule of "show don't tell". While I can believe our main heroine is a "resourceful young lady" it is jarring for such a descriptor to be used in the narration. If it must be stated outright it would be better if another character says this and in this case she has no shortage of admirers to do so.

Overall the story is slow in pace. While it is clearly moving and building itself for greater things to come I can understand the problems others are having with it.

In the end however I do not regret reading this book. It was free on kindle and as stated is easy to read. It has some interesting characters as well which could develop in the future.

The next book is less than £2 on kindle and I have purchased it. I hope to review it when I am finished. I wish the author the best of luck for the future!
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on 21 July 2011
Downloaded this to my kindle as it was free, I wasn't expecting much as I don't usually like war books and did find the first few pages hard going, though once past those the story comes together, got my head round the characters as there are a number of bounces between the heroine, the army and the resistance fighters. I enjoyed the book, especially after Ayna starts training in magic and fabled characters are introduced like dragons, mermaids and elves, and I am hoping that book 1 is just the lead up to more action in the following books where I hope she puts all she has learnt into practice and will be purchasing the sequels to find out. A very entertaining read and would recommend to others.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 February 2016
I have not found a fantasy series which has really caught my imagination since reading the Game of Thrones books, after which most of the adult fantasy picked up seemed either to tame or too shallow.

The editorial for this series seemed promising but once again the novels turned out to be not adult reading at all but targeted at the teenage/adolescent demographic. The storyline was promising but not adult male material.

It is rapidly becoming my pet hate that publishers on Kindle do not specify the reader demographic particularly as so many works are aimed at the teenage and/or female romance market.
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on 30 December 2015
I can see why it's free - it's not that great. At times it feels like it was written by a teenager!

The story is daft. Basically a loner girl picks up a magic sword, is chased because of it, meets a man who is really a fox and then finds a magic place and in a couple of months becomes an amazing wizard! That's pretty much it. At times I thought it was ok(ish) but it doesn't really get going and shows a lot of immaturity. Maybe books two and three are better, but not sure I can be bothered to find out!

I would only read this if you have nothing to read and are skint!
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on 6 August 2016
This is a Blank review made by me to say that although i havent actually read this book yet im having to put something here as due to amazon linking all these items together on its site the free books i receive from a book club are draging down my standing with a certain review site and causing me to be unacceptable for the items im trying to apply for.
I will Change this Review Message as and when i actually get round to reading each of the books in my listings and will also update my star rating accordingly.
Thank you for your time and patience and sorry if this effects your interest in what could be an amazing book. john
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The cover and blurb grabbed my attention straight away and as I'm always on the look-out for a new fantasy read, this was a gem to find. I had not read any reviews yet, I tend not to do so as I like to form my own opion on a book and then see what other people thought.
I must say for a free book I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed the storyline very much and reading about the main character, Myranda and her struggles and all the magic. The descriptions were very good, especially of the winter landscape and the girl trying to survive. The author clearly has a way with words.

Why then 3 stars? What I did notice and found annoying straight away was the lack of formatting and no chapters. This is not very difficult to do at all, even as an indie-author. There are paragraphs but that is about it. There are clearly point of view changes where the flow could have benifitted from this. As a reader you get no time to take it all in, no rest. Luckily it is a slow start and it does not distract too much. Another point of critique is that somehow somethings are just not realistic enough. Even in a Fantasy world we need this. Instead time after time I found myself reading things with disbelief. Why would a young girl on her own in a harsh world like that be traveling in that kind of weather in the first place? As a sympathiser of peace in a very harsh world where the perpetual war and soldiers are highly praised she is an outcast, so yes she would need to stay clear from people, but if she is so used to a life like this and is so resourceful as mentioned, wouldn't she know that there are many dangers among people and nature alike by now, wouldn't she have found a secluded place well ahead of the cold of winter? Safe churches are mentioned, couldn't she have found at least one where she could have hidden until after the winter? What about frost bite and starvation? I suppose we wouldn't have had a story, but still it didn't sit right with me and made for a fragile start.
Another thing that bothered me was how distant and out of touch Myranda is with her feelings. She seems so two-dimensional. We learn she hates the war, loved her father, we only get to hear her mother was a teacher who died with the rest in the attack on her village and that she is angry because of it, but we don't feel it because Myranda doesn't. Not until later when it serves the plot. I liked Leo and thought he was an interesting character and I think she could have been nicer to him when learning of his background. She brands him a murderer when he clearly is a victim of his past, never having experienced any love. When the baby dragon comes into the story we finally get to see a sympathetic side of the girl. Although I still don't think anyone could sleep with a dragon on top of them every night ("she is as heavy as a child" er... how old a child?) I can't even with my small dog on my chest for an hour!

I appreciated the fact women played a strong role in this story. There are female generals and powerful warriors. The villain is unexplored and vague and we don't really get to understand the reasons why the elfin General so desperately wants her. I feel that it may get to be explained over the next books.
I also enjoyed the magical world behind the cave, although again it was strange to see how quick she accepted things as if she was never given a choice. She never came there to learn magic, rather tried to escape, but she just did what she was told, just like that. I found her too gullible. It was fun to read about the girl's training though and what and how she learned it. It was annoying to find out she was a prodigy though and perfect and quick in everything she does.
Deacon was another two-dimensional character, sadly. The dialogue between 'the pair' is stilted and unrealistic. I still can't picture the people very well in my head, apart from the colour of their clothes and that's a shame because the world is well described. Too much was left for the reader's imagination. Myranda as a young woman does not seem to have a romantic bone in her, another lack on the author's part. She doesn't need to fall in love with anyone, it wouldn't have served the story, but still she is a young woman with blooming hormones (or should be) and could have at least noticed some attraction and beauty in the young wizards around her in the hidden world? The author felt a bit out of place here perhaps? But again the protagonist is too perfect, too driven in her task to safe the world. A harsh world we still don't know very much about and with all the cruel treatment she has received she seems an unlikely hero.

I still think this book has great potential though, with some alterations to make the characters more believable, create their own unique voice and make them more human and with some editing to create spaces and chapters.
The author does know how to tell a good story and has a vivid imagination and there is a reason why these books are so popular.
I want to know what happens and really do hope he will develop as an author in book 2, because I like to see what happens next.

I would recommend this book to fantasy lovers who don't mind a two dimensional world too much without much depth and emotion, but lots of magic and intrigue and a little bit of action and adventure.
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