A grand epic that delivers exceptional characters, magic, and romance.

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SUFFERBORN

From the Sufferborn series , Vol. 1

A young woman in a convent falls for an elf in a world rife with fiendish sorcerers in this debut fantasy.

Nineteen-year-old Kalea Thridmill, a novice vestal in the Hallowill convent, is devoted to the One Creator. One day, she witnesses residents of the town of Tintilly attacking an elven thief. On the Kaihals continent, elves are prohibited from most places outside of the elven country of Norr, though this mob punishment is severe. Kalea helps him escape but the elf, Dorhen Sufferborn, has no home to return to. Sixteen years ago, his father, Daghahen, seemingly murdered his mother, and fairy Arius Medallus has acted as Dorhen’s surrogate father. Kalea’s religion makes her wary of the elf’s physical attraction to her, especially because it’s mutual. While Dorhen sticks close to the convent and Kalea, Daghahen searches for a way to kill his hated twin brother, Lamrhath, kingsorcerer of the Ilbith faction. This group of sorcerers ultimately attacks the Hallowill convent and abducts the novices while Dorhen disappears. Luckily, Kalea was not at the convent during the assault. As she believes a mysterious sword will lead her to her elf, she hunts for this weapon that Daghahen stole from his brother long ago. Hartcarver undoubtedly aims her fantasy series opener at adult readers, with concepts like Lamrhath’s unquenchable lust and instances of men forcing themselves on women. But the author loads her tale with ingredients that genre fans will savor, from pixies and magic spells to romance and strange, unknown lands. The story’s swift pace comes courtesy of myriad subplots and characters, including Gaije, an elf from a clan in Norr, and Chandran, a sorcerer Lamrhath sends to recover his sword. Despite the final act introducing additional players and clearly setting up a sequel, there’s still some resolution before the cliffhanger ending. The proficient author also provides illustrations—stark, boldly lined renditions of notable scenes, such as Kalea and Dorhen’s first meeting.

A grand epic that delivers exceptional characters, magic, and romance.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9982104-5-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Dorwik Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

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A charming and persuasive entry that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the concluding volume.

A BLIGHT OF BLACKWINGS

Book 2 of Hearne's latest fantasy trilogy, The Seven Kennings (A Plague of Giants, 2017), set in a multiracial world thrust into turmoil by an invasion of peculiar giants.

In this world, most races have their own particular magical endowment, or “kenning,” though there are downsides to trying to gain the magic (an excellent chance of being killed instead) and using it (rapid aging and death). Most recently discovered is the sixth kenning, whose beneficiaries can talk to and command animals. The story canters along, although with multiple first-person narrators, it's confusing at times. Some characters are familiar, others are new, most of them with their own problems to solve, all somehow caught up in the grand design. To escape her overbearing father and the unreasoning violence his kind represents, fire-giant Olet Kanek leads her followers into the far north, hoping to found a new city where the races and kennings can peacefully coexist. Joining Olet are young Abhinava Khose, discoverer of the sixth kenning, and, later, Koesha Gansu (kenning: air), captain of an all-female crew shipwrecked by deep-sea monsters. Elsewhere, Hanima, who commands hive insects, struggles to free her city from the iron grip of wealthy, callous merchant monarchists. Other threads focus on the Bone Giants, relentless invaders seeking the still-unknown seventh kenning, whose confidence that this can defeat the other six is deeply disturbing. Under Hearne's light touch, these elements mesh perfectly, presenting an inventive, eye-filling panorama; satisfying (and, where appropriate, well-resolved) plotlines; and tensions between the races and their kennings to supply much of the drama.

A charming and persuasive entry that will leave readers impatiently awaiting the concluding volume.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-345-54857-3

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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With every new work, Jemisin’s ability to build worlds and break hearts only grows.

THE FIFTH SEASON

From the The Broken Earth series , Vol. 1

In the first volume of a trilogy, a fresh cataclysm besets a physically unstable world whose ruling society oppresses its most magically powerful inhabitants.

The continent ironically known as the Stillness is riddled with fault lines and volcanoes and periodically suffers from Seasons, civilization-destroying tectonic catastrophes. It’s also occupied by a small population of orogenes, people with the ability to sense and manipulate thermal and kinetic energy. They can quiet earthquakes and quench volcanoes…but also touch them off. While they’re necessary, they’re also feared and frequently lynched. The “lucky” ones are recruited by the Fulcrum, where the brutal training hones their powers in the service of the Empire. The tragic trap of the orogene's life is told through three linked narratives (the link is obvious fairly quickly): Damaya, a fierce, ambitious girl new to the Fulcrum; Syenite, an angry young woman ordered to breed with her bitter and frighteningly powerful mentor and who stumbles across secrets her masters never intended her to know; and Essun, searching for the husband who murdered her young son and ran away with her daughter mere hours before a Season tore a fiery rift across the Stillness. Jemisin (The Shadowed Sun, 2012, etc.) is utterly unflinching; she tackles racial and social politics which have obvious echoes in our own world while chronicling the painfully intimate struggle between the desire to survive at all costs and the need to maintain one’s personal integrity. Beneath the story’s fantastic trappings are incredibly real people who undergo intense, sadly believable pain.

With every new work, Jemisin’s ability to build worlds and break hearts only grows.

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-22929-6

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Orbit/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2016

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