#BookReview : The Way Home (Ashes of Olympus #1) by Julian Barr @OdysseyBooks #AshesofOlympus #TheWayHome

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The Way Home (Ashes of Olympus #1) by Julian Barr
Publication Date: July 31st 2018
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Genre: Greek Mythology
Stars: ★★★★☆

The gods betray you.

The winds are hunting.

Nowhere is safe.

The journey begins…

The war of the gods has left Aeneas’s country in flames. Though he is little more than a youth, Aeneas must gather the survivors and lead them to a new homeland across the roaring waves. Confronted by twisted prophecies, Aeneas faces the wrath of the immortals to find his own path.

First in a trilogy based on Virgil’s epic poetry, Ashes of Olympus: The Way Home is a tale of love and vengeance in an age of bronze swords and ox-hide shields. 

*** Note: I received e-copy this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Odyssey Books. ***

The Way Home was Greek Mythology, a story of Trojan hero, Aeneas, and his journey to find a new homeland when Troy fell by Greek warriors led by Odyssey. It was about love and vengeance, strife between goddesses, dangerous prophecy, and Gods’ politics. As mentioned in synopsis, it’s a retelling of Virgil’s epic poetry- Aeneid.

We all know how Odyssey led Greek warriors within the walls of Troy by hiding in horse but what happened after that, after they destroyed Troy from within. Well this story told about it wonderfully.

So much happened in the beginning. A roaring fire was set in Troy by Greeks, Gods turned against people of Troy, King and heirs of Troy were perished. A deity was saving Aeneas from being killed.  It was clear he was not ordinary human, he was a demigod but he didn’t know about it until tragedy struck. (I googled so I know, who was his mother)

Few people survived by bravery of a commoner and Aeneas led survivors out of Troy. Survivors were relying on him, they already considered him their king but he was skeptical, he was not made to rule people and was drowned in his own grief. A help of a spirit, and a mercenary and faith of people encouraged him to lead them and find a new homeland. But safe heaven never comes without path through hell.

Writing was simple and easy to follow. The story was third person narrative mostly from Aeneas’s perspective and some chapters were from Hera’s perspective as well. I didn’t know Hera had huge part in Trojan war until I read this book. Her perspective was most intriguing. I couldn’t figure out why she was so adamant on destroying all heirs of Troy until her visit to Apollo. I must say she was most cunning goddess. Aeneas’ perspective was all about their journey and adventure. Each chapters ended with a twist or turn that kept me hooked to story.

Characters, both Gods and Humans, were great in the story. I have read about Greek Gods so didn’t have any trouble recognizing gods or their characteristics or their relations, but first timers may struggle a bit. There is just enough information that one can figure out who is who. You don’t get to know characters in depth as so much was going on but you can tell how they felt and how things affected them by their action here.  And I’m just telling about Aeneas.

Aeneas was just 19 year old, with a son. He was not ready to take responsibility he was forced into by destiny. At the same time he was humble and courageous enough to lead people as leader, as their own and as a friend. He quickly made friends, gained trust of survivors and made right decisions, mostly. I could empathize with him and his emotions felt genuine. His development was great. He turned into braver, wiser, and a true leader by the end.

In secondary characters, Mnestheos, Sergetos and Beroe were my favorite. There wasn’t much story for them but I liked them from their little intro and their conversations with Aeneas. I agree with Aeneas’ thoughts in the end. They were true hero, without them, he wouldn’t have reached so far. While we are speaking about hero, I tell you Aeneas was no Hercules. He didn’t have that strength or could fight monsters alone, and like him he wasn’t son of three big Gods. His strength lied in his people and heart. 

Their journey through sea was the best part of the book. It was arduous, many fell ill, they were attacked on the lands, and winds were hunting them. It was admirable how Aeneas and his companions’ spirit was not discouraged. They faced all the challenges with brave heart and determination.  And another favorite part was Aeneas’ conversation with Andromache was insightful. I loved the way she told story of Trojan war.

Climax was tense and action packed. So much happened between climax and end. I’m still thinking about how that fight ended, how much a right choice could change, bring peace and change the direction of prophecy. It showed humans, specifically demigods, are just pawns of Gods’ game. I loved Aeneas’ meeting with his mother and the choice he made and that last conversation between God and goddess. End had a tiny winey cliffhanger. I would love to see what happens in next book.

Why 4 Stars-

I get the depth of story and conversion. I wish there was more depth to characters. As I said, I could understand what characters were feeling by their action but it didn’t touch the heart. They were forgettable.

Overall, it was interesting, entertaining and adventurous mythical fantasy. Readers of any age who loves Greek Mythology will enjoy it.

Book Links: Goodreads
Affiliate Link: Amazon.com | Amazon.in | Book Depository

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and my review?
Have you read this book already or any book by the same author?
Are you going to add it to TBR?
Which is you favorite retelling based on Greek mythology?

HAPPY READING!!

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#AuthorInterview : Varsha Ravi, author of The Heartless Divine @pvraviwrites

Hello Readers! I’m pleased to welcome Varsha Ravi, author of YA Fantasy debut novel- The Heartless Divine, for an interview on Books Teacup and Review. Check out more about the book and author in this post.

The Heartless Divine by Varsha Ravi
Publication Date: November 29th 2019
Genre: YA / Fantasy

Synopsis:

In this unexpected twist on mythology inspired by Sangam India, reincarnated lovers find themselves bound together, connected to their past by a centuries old tragedy that only one of them remembers.

In the ruthless martial empire of Naja, Suri is the crown’s unfailing blade. But the princess dreams of a life exploring the lands beyond the borders, unshackled by blood. The king and queen offer her freedom, at a price: marriage to a king she’s meant to kill, and the death of Athri, a kingdom her family once nearly destroyed.

Her only obstacle lies in the mountains above the Athrian capital of Marai, where a young prophet sees a world struck by catastrophe—a world where a girl lies dead in the temple of the fire god, and the city lies burning below.

Centuries later, Suri lives with no recollection of her past lives. Haunted by her family’s deaths eighteen years ago, Suri sees the boy bleeding gold on her doormat as an opportunity to unravel the mystery of the car crash that took their lives. But not all gifts are created equal, and the boy soon proves to be more trouble than he’s worth, a dangerous link back to a world of gods and wishes.

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Varsha Ravi is a senior at California High School. She was born and raised in Illinois, before moving to North Carolina. She is currently living in the Bay Area, California.

As a kid, she read voraciously, encouraging her to attempt writing her first stories at a young age. Even as she grew older, creative writing continued to be a passion of hers.

The Heartless Divine is her first novel.

When she’s not writing, she can be found reading, studying, or curating Spotify playlists.

Can you tell readers a little about your book, The Heartless Divine? What they can expect from the book?

The Heartless Divine is a book about human choice in a world dictated by fate. It follows two different timelines: one set in the U.S.A. in the 21st century, and one set in 200 A.D. in a country inspired by areas of Sangam Era India. In the modern timeline, a nineteen-year-old college student named Suri finds herself mysteriously bound to an amnesiac god weakened by an attack he can’t fully remember. The rest of that plot mainly follows their budding friendship as Kiran struggles to piece together his past and how it connects him to Suri in the present. The past plot follows the first lives of the soulmates, over seventeen hundred years before the modern arc. Suri, an assassin princess from a foreign country, is arranged to marry the young king of Athri. Her assignment is to kill him immediately after the wedding. However, the king’s adopted brother, the messianic prophet of the kingdom, has a vision of her death soon before her arrival. This plot largely follows the span of time between her arrival and the wedding, as Kiran tries to protect Suri and she struggles to confront her feelings regarding the upcoming assassination.

Readers can expect a complex, mythology-inspired fantasy with romance, drama, and tragedy.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

It came to me while I was writing another book, actually. Back then, a lot of the details that I now feel are incredibly salient and relevant to the plot didn’t exist; more than anything, my first grasp of the book hinted more at underlying themes in the premise: a tragic love story bookended by humans and gods and sacrifice, and a peek at the darker sides of love and power. Thinking about it now, I might’ve thought up the initial premise while listening to a song (most of my ideas appear when I’m listening to music).

What inspired you for fantasy setting and reincarnated lovers arc of The Heartless Divine?

Setting wise, I knew I wanted to tell a story across two different timelines, with fundamentally different circumstances. There’s definitely an element of fate present in the story, and I wanted to play with how the timelines paralleled one another and differed, to emphasize the characters’ agency but also bring in a kind of inevitability with regards to their endings. The reincarnated soulmates arc stems from that greatly – Suri and Kiran are different from their past selves, and yet they still fall in love.

The magic system in the book was always meant to be tied to gods, but more than that, I liked the idea of tying it to souls. Souls don’t change, but they can be changed and manipulated, and are the same in humans and in gods. I thought it would be interesting to create a fantasy where magic was innate and visceral instead of nature-based, especially since the novel itself is closely tied to emotions borne of such things.

What type of characters do you love and hate to write? What is your favorite quality in protagonists? Does anyone in real life inspired you to write them?

This might come off a bit trite, but I really love writing characters that are human. I like imbuing them with the flaws and dreams and strengths that come with every one of us, and I also love writing the different dynamics between naturally conflicting characters. I also love playing with idealistic and cynical characters, and the spectrum of morality. My favorite quality in protagonists.

I don’t enjoy writing characters that are incontrovertibly good or evil, or adhere too closely to a certain trope. Although I feel like those kinds of characters do have a place in fiction, it’s personally not as fun to me when there’s no apparent depth to a character’s actions.

None of my real life acquaintances have directly inspired a character, though I do feel like some of the character’s traits might have been inspired by my close friends, and my interactions with them. There’s no real character inserts, though.

What is the most interesting aspect of The Heartless Divine?

I modeled the book after a classical tragedy with the aim of emphasizing the heavy hand of fate throughout the plot. I think the most interesting aspect is how the supposed freedom of human choice works into that; whether human agency is real, and if not, whether it still matters to feel as though you have control of your own fate. Another interesting aspect of the book is the dichotomy between humanity and divinity; by making one of the characters a god who was once a human, it was really fun to play with the boundaries of what defines inhumanity, and thus, what defines humanity.  

Tell us about your journey to publication.

I decided to self-publish. Juggling revisions, publication, classes, and college applications wasn’t easy, but my father helped out with a lot of the minutiae of the publishing process.

What are your most favorite and least favorite thing about being an author?

My favorite thing is probably just writing. It can definitely be overwhelming at times, but the rush that comes from working through a good scene is unbeatable. Research can also be really fun.

My least favorite thing is probably the self-consciousness that comes with knowing my work is publicly available. I’m confident in my writing, but it’s a little strange to know anyone could pick up the book and read it now, after so many months of it being solely my own.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I prefer to write at home on my bed, but I’m pretty flexible with location as long as I feel somewhat secluded. My only real ritual is that it’s difficult for me to get into the mood if I’m not listening to music. I’ve made several playlists for each of the projects I’ve worked on.

What is the next project you’re working on?

I’m currently working on the sequel to The Heartless Divine. Plotting it has been incredibly fun so far. I think it’s an interesting foil to the first novel; it has a lot of the same themes, but circumstances change drastically, and the decisions the characters are forced to take become much messier and darker.

Can you describe The Heartless Divine in five words?

Fate, doomed love, human error.

And the last one, top 3 tips for aspiring authors.

  1. Read as often as you can, and as much as you can. Reading helps with understanding plot structure on a deeper level, and being surrounded with prose can help spark inspiration. It’s also just really interesting to see some of the amazing books out there these days.
  2. Write as often as you can – even if you can’t get anything on paper one day, try to keep yourself engaged by plotting and fleshing out the details of the story. But writing even a few hundred words each day does help stabilize flow and style.
  3. Don’t be self-conscious of your work on your first draft. I’ve definitely struggled with this and continue to, but the time I spend stressed out about specific sentences or paragraphs is wasted. Over time, I’ve begun to place faith in the revision process and trained myself to write whatever I want to on the first draft.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Readers can check out my website (linked below), as well as my twitter.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Goodreads

Purchase Links: Amazon

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and interview? Have you read this book? Are you going to add it to TBR?

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#Review #ReleaseDay : Dagger and Scythe (The Ichorian Epics # 2) by Emilie Knight

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Dagger and Scythe (The Ichorian Epics # 2) by Emilie Knight
Publication Date: October 1st 2019 by Emilie Lassaline
Genre: Dark Fantasy / Mythology
Pages: 450
Stars: ★★★★★

Dagger and Scythe spent good decade’s together, stalking human prey at night, and taking out the targets the god Maniodes deems worthy. With one hundred years under her belt, Scythe is comfortable in her ways, and takes incredible enjoyment of her skills. Dagger may be new to the undead order, but he’s relishing in the work. The two of them together set beautiful bonfires, with the occasional corpse inside that fire.

When they enjoy each other’s time a little too much, and an entire village burns down because of it, Maniodes becomes sick of their rogue behavior. Regular punishments haven’t worked on either of them, so he tries something new: marrying them to each other. To keep each other in line or they’ll both end up properly dead.

Both have grown tired of the god’s odd punishments and lazy control, taking over his throne and the land of the dead should fix things.

Her scythe is perfectly curved for slicing.

His dagger, made of folded steel, is ready to strike.

But are they strong enough to take on gods?

Previous book I read in the series-

Era of Undying

*** Note: I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author for the copy. ***

Dagger and Scythe was dark fantasy that had a bit of romance, mythology and lots of gore. It revolved around Dagger and Scythe, main characters of the book married off with each other as punishment by God of Underworld and their uncomfortable married life filled with bloodlust and rebellion against God. It was about respecting humans, treating and leading those under your power with respect, loved, and friendship.

First the writing was good, fast paced, gripping and dark. Author didn’t hesitate in detailing the slaughter, butchery and human torture. I don’t usually wince on reading these much gore but I have to say Dagger and Scythe’s torture ideas sent chills through me, and they were not just ideas. I was horrid reading what they were doing to their subjects. I tell you, this is real disturbing, filled with blood and mutilation, and characters with questionable moral. If you can stomach that you would like it.

Though it is second in series, it can be read standalone. The writing was good, steady paced, gripping and dark. Author didn’t hesitate in detailing the slaughter, butchery and human torture. I don’t usually wince on reading these much gore but I have to say Dagger and Scythe’s torture ideas sent chills through me, and they were not just ideas. I was horrid reading what they were doing to their subjects. I tell you, this is real disturbing, filled with blood and mutilation, and characters with questionable moral. If you can stomach that you would like it.

World building was best. Whatever complain I had for the first book was settled in this. First books explored the land of livings while this explored land of dead in detail. Landscape of Skiachora, its inhabitants, palace of Maniodes, Nyx and her children, Incruetus Ferrum and their odd jobs and powers all were described flawlessly. I especially liked the legends around Nyx and her children, how she created them, their mistake and punishments that they still have to abide. Oh and Maniodes’ library was most marvelous. It would be among most fascinating libraries in fantasy world.

Dagger and Scythe were not really likable, not at least in the first half of the book. Both were dangerous, rebellious, violent and disrespectful of both their Gods and humans. Dagger was calm, little restrained, sensible and diplomatic while Scythe was reckless, extremely volatile and chaotic. Together they made deadly combination, so deadly that they burned whole village just for fun. That was what started the series of punishments, jobs testing their restrains and what they were learning from it.

It started with their first punishment by Maniodes– God of Underworld and Son of Nyx, Goddess of Death- who forced them to marry each other. That made them even more spiteful and rebellious against Maniodes. Maniodes was not that bad but treated all Incruentus Ferrum (other dead minions of Maniodes, like Scythe and Dagger, who did his bidding by killing people to restore order) lowly, never considered their wishes and feelings and disbanded some for their smallest mistake. Scythe and Dagger couldn’t take it anymore and decide to go against him, main plan was to overthrow him but this was God they were talking about. How would they go against Maniodes whose touch can kill their very essence and soul, they could lose their second lives and put all other ferrum in danger? And then Nyx had some plans for them too, were they in their favor or against them? Would she let them take over her son’s throne?

It was interesting to read their story. I had no idea how they were going to do it, what clue they will find or how they will execute the plan. Most fascinating was characters’ stories and their development, their growing relation with sentries and other Ferrums. No matter how unlikable and scary Dagger and Scythe were, once they started feeling the change in them, I ended up liking them both.

I was wondering why they were so cruel, violent and heartless, because they were all nice in the previous life and after what they have gone through they should have compassion, maybe not for all, but for someone who had similar life as theirs. I’m glad author covered that part in the book as well which was important, was in the center of character development.

Romance was also great. Both characters knew each other for long time, flirted even but marriage came with complex and confusing emotions in their friendship. They both felt emotions that they never experienced in ages- jealousy, lust, worry, love, protectiveness, fear of losing other. The relation that was forced on to them actually brought out best in them. They made perfect pair like yin and yang.

I liked how all events took place. Snooping and sneaking was exciting, it brought surprising twist. Climax was action packed, bitter, edgy, and uncertain. It was most interesting to read the next events. Lot of things happened and end was fair and as I expected. I knew in whose favor it would be as I have read first book. I wouldn’t want it in other way.

Overall, it was gripping, creepy, twisted and dark fantasy with elements of mythology, paranormal romance, and a good character development.

Book Details: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate Link: Book Depository

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book or previous one in series? Are you going to add it to TBR? Are you fan of Dark Fantasy? Tell me you favorite in this genre.

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#BlogTour #Review : Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Enlightened Cow (Barnabas Tew #4) by Columbkill Noonan @rararesources @columbkillnoon1

Hello Readers! Today is my stop during the blog tour for Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Enlightened Cow by Columbkill Noonan, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources. Please check out book details and my review of this book in this post.

Previous Book I read in the series-

1) Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab
2) Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Nine Worlds
3) Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Cursed Serpent

Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Enlightened Cow by Columbkill Noonan
4th in series
Publication Date: September 18th 2019
Publisher: Darkstroke
Genre: mythology / cozy mystery / humor
Pages: 205
Stars: ★★★★★

Rama, the Hindu god who maintains dharma, or the balance of all things, is in terrible trouble, and only Barnabas and Wilfred can save him!
Private detectives to the gods, Barnabas Tew and Wilfred Colby, believed they’d discovered the secret to taking charge of their destinies. Unfortunately, they’re about to be taught a hard lesson: nothing is as it seems and taking control is easier said than done.
Fresh off their most challenging case to date, the two detectives step into a cenote: an otherworldly portal that connects worlds and can take them anywhere if they how to use it.  Each is hoping to be reunited with someone he left behind, but they soon realize that something has gone terribly, disastrously wrong. Instead of being reunited with their lady-loves, they find themselves in a Hindu temple, together with Kamadeva, the Hindu god of desire.
Kamadeva asks them to save his friend Rama, who is in grave danger. It seems an innocent enough request, but Barnabas and Wilfred have learned that not everything is at it seems, and the right thing to do is not always so obvious. It doesn’t take long to discover that not all the gods want Rama saved, leaving the two detectives to make a terrible choice.
The detectives have faced dangerous deities before, but the Hindu gods are different. Otherworldly, wise, and full of shadowy motivations, they all seek to manipulate the hapless detectives to suit their purposes.
Can Barnabas and Wilfred see through the illusions and the lies to uncover the truth of the matter? Or will they fail, and choose the wrong side?

*** Note: I received e-copy from the author, as a part of Blog tour, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Rachel and author. ***

Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Enlightened Cow, fourth in Barnabas Tew series, was entertaining, humorous cozy mystery that revolved around two bumbling Victorian detectives plunged into Indian mythology with another mystery to solve for Indian God. It was about enlightenment on Karma, Dharma, eternal life and death cycle that of course, these two detectives had hard time to understand.

Characters

What do I tell you about characters that I haven’t said before in review of first 3 book?! Once again they were fun to read. They were lovable and cutest detectives I ever read.

Barnabas was his usual bumbling, over-reactive, he might call himself ‘master of diversion and subterfuge’ but actually is ‘master of blunders’. However, at heart he was pure and courageous and his conscience was on right side. And he loved his assistant whom he gave credit time to time and even gave promotion in this book.

Wilfred was wise, clever, and perceptive one who could understand situation better, always knew how to correct his master’s blunder, knew Barnabas better than himself and yet so very humble. He loved Barnabas enough to follow him anywhere.

What I liked-

Writing was great, I loved British Victorian style in dialogues, expression of characters, situations and third person voice. All were described vividly. I said this before and I’m saying again, I want to see these books in movie. I loved setting and mythical part. As it was Indian mythology I knew about the God and their appearance and stories but the way author blended it with the current story was mind-blowing.

Book started with confusion and arguments between Barnabas and Wilfred over which world they have landed after plunging into cenote (that argument was almost 2-3 pages long! I tell you only these two can perform such lengthy arguments. They are quite expert in it and making you laugh over it). After solving a case for Mayan Goddess, they were shown how to travel between worlds by plunging into cenote focusing on the place they want to go. First time they were given a choice, but ended up in totally different world than they thought, India.

And to make situation even more hilarious that turned Barnabas redder than tomato, they were landed in home of Kamadeva. This time the case was to sop the death of Prince Rama. It looked quite simple, go to Rama’s abode, stop people from bringing any harm to him but well no case is as simple as that when it is in hands of Barnabas and Wilfred.

On the journey of solving the case, they got tangled into series of unfortunate events. They were turned into fish, forced to solve another case, made unlikely friends and ally, faced the sea monster, and met an enlightening cow, Ganesha, and Shiva-the Destroyer.

Enlightening cow and crabby enlightened our two detectives about Karma, Dharma, incarnations, cycle of birth and rebirth, importance of death and personal and spiritual growth. But of course, it all was indecipherable for Barnabas and so any such enlightening topics were followed by long discussions, arguments, tantrums, emotional outburst, and his signature style ‘Good day’, more than often.

There were many laugh out loud moments, howlers, funny situations and characters’ funny questions and dialogues. Most of the time imagining Barnabas’ expressions, temper, and his obstinacy itself was hilarious. I so enjoyed their diversion tactics. Best hysterical moment was Barnabas’ reaction to Ganesha’s story and the way he perceive ‘Dal’ (it was spelled ‘Dhal’ in book) as doll.

Coming to the mystery, it was most unusual than previous three books. They were given the task but on their way of solving the case, they got to know about surprising facts which were shocking for our detectives and ended up into doing exactly different, and messing it as well. They learned many things and the most important lesson for them was, results are not important it’s the journey you should enjoy.

Climax was fun and entertaining. I laughed so much at double j’accuse moments. End was blunderful and messy, but enlightening. Now I can say this series ended here because they are not going anywhere this time or are they? It was great installment of the series.

Overall, it was fun, comical, cozy, fast paced mystery with amusing dialogues and characters. I definitely recommend this book.

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/Barnabas-Tew-Case-Enlightened-Cow-ebook/dp/B07VN5MT8C

UK  – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Barnabas-Tew-Case-Enlightened-Cow-ebook/dp/B07VN5MT8C

Affiliate Link: Book Depository

Author Bio:

Columbkill Noonan is the author of the bestselling “Barnabas Tew” series, which features the bumbling-yet-lovable Victorian detective Barnabas and his trusty sidekick, Wilfred. Columbkill combines her love of mythology and her affinity for period fiction to craft unique cozy mysteries that will leave you guessing (and chuckling!) till the very end.

Social Media Links: Facebook | Twitter

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book or any books in this series?  Have you read any book with Indian mythological setting? What are your favorite books in this genre?

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#Review : Era of Undying by Emilie Knight

Era of Undying by Emilie Knight
Publication Date: January 19th 2018 by Createspace
Genre: Fantasy / Mythology
Pages: 202
Stars: ★★★★☆

There hasn’t been a Blood Warrior for decades. Everyone assumed they were extinct and couldn’t return. Turns out they were just in hiding. Pen chose to revert back to her nomadic life after the death of her family. Life was always safer that way, away from people. Now she’s been caught and odd occurrences have been happening in Ichorisis. People are surviving horrible injuries and illnesses that they shouldn’t be. Now that Pen is under custody of one of the several kings she’s been sent to fix the problem. Whether she wants to or not. 

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. ***

Era of Undying revolved around a blood warrior- Pen and her survival in the world where blood warrior were extinct, her nomadic life and adventures in the Undying world. It was about grief, guilt, accepting death and loss of loved ones, righting the wrong and adventure.

Characters

Pen was strong, independent and fearless fighter but she was loner. Her pain of loss and guilt was undying and empathetic. Her blood magic was interesting and awed me. As I read her story I could see her gift from her perspective, it was more like curse than blessing. Her denial of death and yearn to get her loved ones back was understandable but as she got more close to her mission, she could see the right thing and started to accept the truth and reality. If you like your heroine fierce, practical and who doesn’t go down easily, you will love her.

Captain Tellus was great in the book. He had morals, ethics, was great fighter, and trusted man of king. He was stern and influential but was soft at heart. He didn’t judge Pen for what she has done and listened her story and understood her emotion. I liked him for that. He stood up for her even though he could easily turn back. I wished to see something develop between Tellus and Pen but alas, there is not romance, just friendship.

Characters were developed but they were reckless. Their story was most interesting. I liked some side characters even though they were not exactly likable.

What I Liked-

Books was third person narrative. Writing was easy to read, easy to imagine the world and follow the story. Book was fast paced and pretty short that one can read in one sitting. Plot and the world was impressive. Author drives readers right into the world of undying and blood magic.

Book started with Pen trying to rob in the countryside of Ichorisis, she got caught and ended up in prison. To be free her only option was follow king’s order, go on mission with captain Telllus to find out why people are not dying, what caused this undying era.

Their journey was adventurous and action-packed. They had to find their path based on the myth, follow the river towards its source, the land of dead, find the goddess of death, and restore the world to normal. They had to pass through thieves, thugs, bandits and cannibals who did everything to make their journey interesting and difficult.

I liked the world. People with different hair colors, interesting names for places- Ichorisis, Acheron, Skiachora, Stymphalia, Potamus, Kalymnos and some more. Most interesting was Pen’s blood magic and the main theme of the book, undying which intrigued me read more, to find out what actually happened and how Pen and Tellus are going to restore normalcy. Some scenes were dark gruesome. There was lot of blood spilling, killing, severing limbs and beheading and people not dying didn’t help. It made things even more gruesome.

I liked the message behind the story. Death is sad and miserable thing but not dying is not the blessing, at least not for those who are suffering from disease or infection or with severed limbs and heads. Both Pen and Tellus saw people’s torment and agony on their journey and through their perspective we get to know even death is important in life and so is accepting the death of loved ones, accepting natural order of life cycle.

Twist and turns and suspense was nicely written. I couldn’t guess where story was going, what might have happened, and reason of undying until the climax. The answers were surprising. End was sad and tragic, not exactly what I expected.

Why 4-

Everything was good, nicely written but it didn’t wow me! I constantly felt there’s something missing, I cannot exactly pinpoint it. Maybe because of less depth in world, there was enough information on blood magic and its history but it was not detailed. A bit longer book won’t hurt.

Overall, it was different, gripping, fast paced, dark fantasy that I will recommend to readers of this genre.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Affiliate: Book Depository

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read it already? Are you going to add it to TBR? Have read any fantasy that has blood warrior or has undying theme? Tell me about your favorite dark fantasy.

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