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on 7 February 2007
Finding that a book is listed as 'Paranormal Romance' and has a half naked man on the cover (or should that be half a naked man?) could be off putting for some men, the idea of Tolkien writing for Mills and Boon comes to mind with all the revulsion that that brings. Please, do not let it put you off of this book, this is the start of what promises to be a darn fine fantasy series.

The story revolves around eight brothers, all powerful mages who, fitting an ancient prophecy of doom and gloom have been exiled to a lonely existence on Nightfall Isle from which women are forbidden on pain of death. For if Saber, the oldest of the brothers, falls in love disaster will follow...

No prizes for guessing that a woman is magically transported from another world into the brother's midst to set the prophecy in motion.

The book has a strong cast of main characters and some interesting ideas on the use of magic. Throw in some very original creatures and Ms Johnson's careful story weaving and we get a vision of how the brother's lives in exile are turned around by the clash of cultures - magical and non-magical and the greater divide of male and female. When the inevitable happens the disaster that follows is not what you would expect were this an average fantasy - but you'll get no spoilers from me.

This book is set to be the first in an octology, each book detailing one of the brothers fulfillment of their verse in the prophecy. I know many people will want to get book two to see how the teaser at the end of this first book develops, but personally I want to see how other events are resolved which will probably be in book three.

If you still don't think you can justify buying a 'romance' story then get a copy for your wife or girlfriend and read it when she's not looking. I'm not ashamed to say that I read my wife's copy, but there might be a fight as to who gets future instalments first.
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on 2 March 2016
Well I liked it. It moved the story along nicely, at no point did I want to kill Kelly, and lets be honest, the personality needed to randomly break away and start a new kingdom probably isn't going to be that nice. She is upset with the treatment the bothers were dealt at the hand of their old kingdom and wants to support them and prove they were worth having, and has clearly has enough arrogance to enforce her values on wherever she ends up. Without her, the rest of the series wouldn't happen, and the prophecy couldn't come true, and personally, I find the developing storyline really interesting. Her personality may be abrasive, but she is also a plot mover, and how many country leaders do you know half as good as her? Give it another 3 books, and she does get told off also.
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"The Wolf" is JJ's second book in her intended octology, a series following eight exiled magical brothers as they find their destined wives and fulfil the "Curse of Eight" prophecy. In this book's prequel "The Sword", the eldest brother Saber is matched to the fiery Kelly Doyle, a woman portended to bring disaster on her heels. Now the time has arrived for his twin brother Wolfer "the Wolf", mage of shape shifting and hunting to find his destined mate; a woman who will bind him with a chain of silk.

Unlike Kelly, Wolfer's future wife is a native of their magical world; Alys of Devries, a woman who fell in love with Wolfer the first time she met him (at three years old). In his presence, the timid Alys would become daring, intent on doing anything to remain by Wolfer's side. Yet following the death of her parents, she finds herself under the "protection" of her uncle, Broger. An evil mage, we learn that it is Broger behind the malicious and deadly attacks which occur against the brothers in "The Sword". Reminding her uncle of the value of her virgin price keeps Broger from molesting Alys, but not from physical abuse and an array of spells wrapped around her, allowing her uncle to track her movements and use her very life force for his magic.

Under the long distance tutelage of Morganen (the youngest and most powerful of the eight brothers) the spell to counteract Broger's hold over Alys takes nearly three years; a time in which Alys endures the beatings and sexual overtures of her uncle. It is not until he sells her in marriage that she is able to take action and finally release herself from his control. Able to shape shift, she takes a variety of forms to reach the only destination she'll feel safe; the forbidden Nightfall, the isolated island home of Wolfer and his exiled brothers.

This is another great story from JJ and a highly recommended sequel to the wonderful "The Sword". Again all the brothers feature heavily, excluding the next brother to meet his match; Dominor. Kidnapped by a race of men unable to practice magic, the powerful mage is set for a battle of the sexes when he meets his match in mind and will. We also uncover slightly more of Evanor's cryptic part of the prophecy and in fact it is he who suffers the greatest loss when the brothers face off Broger.

This is not just a simple love story between Wolfer and Alys; we also have plenty of action and humour. Kelly is definitely toned down in this book; however she's still Queen of Nightfall at weekends and holidays. In no time she is instructing the gentle Alys in the arts of Kung Fu; whilst in turn we discover Alys definitely has a temper of her own when released from the control of her uncle and a steely determination to get her man. Morganen confesses the magnitude of his magical abilities to his family, and in fact the normally mild mannered youngest brother could be called somewhat manipulative; understandably so when he has to ensure all his brothers are wed before he can claim his own wife. I now have quite a wait before the story of Dominor in "The Master" makes it into print in Sept 07 and unfortunately no details of Evanor's story are available yet. As previously stated, at the end of this book Evanor "The Voice" suffers a great loss; however as Morganen points out, it's all part of the prophecy.
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on 23 October 2014
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on 24 December 2009
Book one of the Sons of Destiny series was a light, entertaining read. I was expecting pretty much more of the same quality in book two, and ordered my copy of "The Wolf" confident that I would have a pleasant time reading it.

Although there's a lot wrong with this book, the thing that eventually forced me to have to give up around about page 60 or so was Kelly. I thought she was annoying in the first book, but somehow I managed to get past her flaws and enjoy the book regardless. In this book though, I just hated her. Her treatment of the seven brothers, and Alys was so bad that I felt sick. She just doesn't let any of the other characters have chance to develop or show their personalities-she's too busy bossing them around and proclaiming herself "Queen of Nightfall" to allow anyone else to get much of a say. I found her to be arrogant, bossy, and very mean.

On the whole, the plot was very uninteresting. There were scenes (in particular one where Alys is taught all about sex by a prostitute) which seemed pretty ridiculous to me. I didn't enjoy this book at all, and although I'd been looking forwards to reading the rest of this series, I won't be doing so now.
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on 31 October 2013
Having read, and thoroughly enjoyed, her SF 'Theirs Not to Reason Why' books I tried book one of this earlier series (The Sword).

Not a patch on the SF books, but a reasonably enjoyable light read.

The second volume of this 'octology' was a severe disappointment and I shan't be reading any more of them.

Repetitive, predictable, poor characterisation..... I find nothing good to say about this book. Two stars because I finished it.
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When the eight brothers of the Corvis line appear to fulfil the "Song of the Sons of Destiny" prophecy, they find themselves exiled to Nightfall; an isolated island, by the King of Katan and his Council of Mages. Knowing that it may be impossible to contain such eight powerful mages, the Council also decree that any woman found on Nightfall will be punished by death, as the prophecy will only come true as each brother finds his destined wife.

This book centres on the eldest son Saber "The Sword" and his battle to fight his growing feelings for Kelly Doyle, a sassy human transported from her own dimension when Morganen the youngest yet most powerful brother witnesses her dying when her house is set on fire. With the skills of another brother Koranen, they manage to heal the badly burned Kelly, yet if she is the prophesised wife of Saber, disaster will strike should they consummate their relationship.

This book has an almost overwhelming amount of characters as JJ introduces each of the eight brothers; describing their different appearances, magical abilities, personalities and how the prophesy will affect them.

Saber the Sword (exiled Count of Corvis)
A mage of weaponry, he is destined to bring disaster to Katan if he falls in love.
His twin Wolfer the Wolf
Mage of hunting and shape shifting, he already loves someone but was separated from her when exiled.
Dominor the Master
A great mage in all areas, his future wife will match him in will and mind. Dominor is the brother destined to control his own fate.
His twin Evanor the Voice
Mage of song, Evanor is destined to meet a lonely heart.
Trevan the Cat
Able to shift into any animal form, Trevan is destined to hunt and capture his future wife.
His twin Rydan the Storm
A mage of night and weather destined to fall at dawn to the woman he loves.
Koranen the Flame
A master of all things associated with fire, his destined wife will control him with water.
His twin Morganen the Mage
Master of all magic, he is more powerful than even his brothers realise. Morganen is destined to set in motion the events of the Curse and of course does so by matching Kelly with Saber. Only after his seven brothers are matched will he be able to claim his own destined wife.

I thought this book was great, with plenty of action, magic, nasty beasties and romance. OK it is a little convenient that Kelly was in a Middle Age Society back on Earth and therefore able to adapt quickly and easily to a Mediaeval world full of magic, and she does become somewhat obsessed with her self appointed role as alpha female; spending a large amount of time in this book verbally sparring with and bullying the eight brothers. Despite this, I still found Kelly a likeable character and am certainly eager to find out how she will adjust when the next brother claims his destined wife. Hopefully the presence of another female will calm her down.

I've just ordered "The Wolf", the second book in the "Sons of Destiny" series and eagerly await the third book making it into print, "The Master" due for pub Sept 07. This book was a great find and I hope the remaining brothers' stories make it into print soon.
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on 4 June 2008
When i started reading this book i was skeptical and didnt know what to expect from it. As i continued to read it i became glued to the story of the eight corvis brothers exiled on nightfall isle and i felt as if i was part of the story and there lives, living,loving,fighting and feeling that anything is possible if you just try. i cant wait to read the last four books of the Sons Of Destiny i am thouroly griped and i have to say it is a must read for anyone who feels that true love is dwindling in there hearts.
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on 15 November 2007
I enjoyed this book and I think it's a great premise for a paranormal romance series. Personally I'm getting bored of all the 'hard ass female meets sexy, dangerous vampire' ilk so this was quite refreshing. It has a nice mix of romance, magic and suspense. The eight brothers are all...well, delicious, each mage with a destiny to be fulfilled in every book. I really loved the brotherly interactions, sometimes they had me laughing out loud.

The only reason I gave it 4 stars was I wasn't too keen on Kelly. I think the character was over the top and bossy. It just annoyed me when she kept saying 'a Doyle does not ...blah blah' She was basically the 'all singing and dancing' female. Not only did she happen to have vast sewing and embroidery skills, she was an amazing cleaner, she could do martial arts, she could use weapons...yeah, there is more.

Aside from that I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of the series especially Dominor and Rhydan....
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on 27 August 2008
Quote website Jean Johnson:
Eight brothers, born in four sets of twins, two years apart to the day-they fulfill the Curse of Eight Prophecy. To avoid tempting their destiny, the brothers are exiled to Nightfall Island, a land where women are strictly forbidden. But, when the youngest of the mage-brothers rescues a woman from another universe, their world is altered forever.

Jean Johnson takes me on a journey across the universes and I descended on Nightfall Island where I met eight utterly seductive Mages. Four sets of twins that have one prophecy to fulfill. The Song Of Destiny is written by the Seer Draganna over a thousand years ago and is about to complicate the life of the eldest Mage, Saber.

With Morganen rescuing Kelly from Earth there is a female on Nightfall Island now, something that is strictly forbidden and Saber isn't a happy camper about it. A woman on the Isle sets the prophecy in motion and he will fight it every step of the way. It is safe to say that Kelly and Saber didn't hit it off right away. Nevertheless, how can one fight his own Destiny?

THE SWORD casts the first stone in this new series from Jean Johnson and it contains the caliber of top notch Fantasy-Romance. It will keep many a reader fascinated with the presented overall story arc as the individual romance story of each twin is told. Not only are their eight distinctive different Mages to get to know, there is also an Island with a castle that holds an exuberance in magical details to explore. For me as the reader it felt like standing in front of a display window full of the most enticing chocolates, and I was almost unable to avert my gaze from what was put in front of my eyes!!

Saber, as the eldest, is a gruff and stubborn man that refuses to start the fulfillment of their Prophecy. So subsequently he tries to resist the pull that Kelly has on everything that is man in him. Their encounters are hot headed ones, full of invigorating discussions where - in the end - there is no true winner and where passion flares. Do not make the mistake to hold Kelly for a petite damsel in distress and though she needs help, she will do anything within her strength to pull her own weight around the castle. She has a whole new world to discover and through her eyes I got a spectacular view of the rooms, the furniture and the Island outside. In this I can only celebrate the vast talent of Jean Johnson's imagination. I heartily feasted on every page and before I knew it I was wholly absorbed in a new world.

Saber and Kelly continue to bicker, circle around each other and it turns into the realization that deeper feelings are hidden by the fast retorts and flammable discussions. I enjoyed the romance and my heart soared at a ceremony where Saber was on the receiving end of all my appreciative feminine sighs. Though I do feel the romance had a hick up here and there concerning the development of feelings it is but a minor thing in the grand scheme of the story!

If there was one thing that was a bit "off" for me it was Kelly's attitude at times. It is one thing to be headstrong but I felt it was almost like "my way or the highway" with Kelly regarding certain things and the twins gave very little resistance save Dominor, who in turn got to "eat dirt" for his effort. In the beginning - as I got to know Kelly - it gave friction between her and me but in the end she was the right woman for the right Mage. Kelly also intertwines a feministic point of view to the story regarding the position of women on Earth and compares it to the treatment of women in this new universe. It adds to the true nature of her and I wonder what she will do once she meets the leaders of Katani.

Though Kelly and Saber are quite the couple there are also seven brothers who will demand your attention. From the meddling Morganen, to the competitive Dominor, to the brooding - night bound -Rydan and all brothers in between it will almost give you an overdose of highly alluring men...almost. Jean Johnson hit the right note in character and plot development where the atmosphere of magic, evil and romance is just about in a perfect balance and will do nothing short of giving you an astonishing read. With the climactic ending the author ensures to keep me succumbed to the last page and clinging to every word. As I closed this book I'm already thirsting for more and I'm glad THE WOLF can be found on my bookshelves giving me a one-way-ticket back to Nightfall Island.

The evocative voice of Jean Johnson delivers an impressive debut novel in her Sons Of Destiny series.

Quote:
Kelly - "Diplomacy is the art of saying, `Nice doggy,' while reaching for a big stick.

Saber to Kelly - "All that I have, I give into your hands. All that I am, I lay at your feet, for I am yours, Kelly, and yours from this day forth."

Reviewed by Leontine
Courtesy of Realms On Our Bookshelves
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