Red Lettering

Stories will not be written easily. A story without a heart is dead, and the only place it will get a heart is from the author.

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Exiles Release Tour: Character Interview, Giveaway, and Review!

 

    Exiled after their defeat in Samara, the Resistance struggles to find allies in their quest to restore King Balen to his throne and put an end to the emperor’s tyranny. When the crete people refuse to lend their aid, Balen leads a group to Dorland to reason with them and win their support. However, enemies prove to be everywhere, and they find themselves in a fight to keep Dorland from becoming Daican’s latest conquest.

     Back in Landale, the arrival of a new enemy forces Trask and Anne to tread more carefully than ever. Tensions are rising, and the enemy is determined to test Anne’s loyalty and root out the location of Trask and the Resistance once and for all. 

 
     Feeling trapped within the walls of Valcré, Prince Daniel must contend with an ever-eroding relationship with his father. As their clashes escalate, the situation becomes potentially life threatening when his loyalty is called into question. His sister seems bent on branding him a traitor and actively seeking to condemn him to the fate of those put to death in their father’s new arena. Daniel is certain his father would never execute his only son and heir but, with other forces at work, it might not be that simple.  

     One small misstep could prove fatal for all.

Available now on Amazon!
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Happy Friday, readers! On this particular Friday, I’m posting, not a Writing Prompt as I usually post (there’s no need to dispute that “usually” there, readers). Today, I have the honor of participating in the release blitz of Jaye L. Knight’s fourth book in the Ilyon Chronicles.

I’ve followed this series from pretty close to the beginning, and participated in most of the blog tours (I missed the first one; it was the blog tour of Resistance that first introduced me to the series back in May of 2014), but this year is the first one where I had the immense pleasure of conducting, not an author interview, but a character interview instead.

If any of you have read any of my reviews of the previous books in the series, you know without having to be told who I requested to interview.


Hello, Trask, and welcome to Red Lettering! It’s truly a great honor to have you here. It isn’t often we have a man of such rank and character as you. *bows* I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to come here, and I assure you that your answers will never reach the ears of your enemies. 

Trask: *grins* Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself? What is your life like right now?

Trask: I’m not sure what to say about myself. Anne could probably tell you a thing or two. She thinks I’m impulsive. She’s probably right, though I consider it more a passion to see things get done. Life is rather chaotic right now. We’re doing well at camp, but there’s a lot to consider to make sure it all runs smoothly and we remain safe. A lot goes into taking care of that many people. I always have a lot on my mind.

When you were a child, did you ever think your life would be like this? What did you think it would be like?

Trask: Not at all. I figured I’d grow up, marry Anne, have a bunch of kids, and sometime far down the road take over as baron for my father.

In times of war, we all have heroes – they’re the people who inspire us to get up in the morning at the crack of dawn to face the song of the sword and the blood of free men. They inspire us to strive for their example and give us something to fight for. Recent or legendary, who are your heroes?

Trask: I consider everyone who has faced hardship and stood strong in their faith as a hero. I’ve faced hardship, but I know there are others who’ve had it even worse. One specific person I consider a hero is William Altair. He stood strong in his faith even though it cost him everything.

Where do you want to be in ten years?

Trask: Well, I’d like for life to look more like I imagined it as a child. I hope to be married to Anne and have some kids. And I hope to be back in Landale Village and out of hiding.

What is one skill you’ve tried to master, but never could?

Trask: This might come as a surprise, but I’m not actually the best archer. I was always far better with a sword. I leave the archery to people like Jace and Kyrin.

Thank you for your time, sir. I wish you many blessings, and peace for the future of your country. Be safe out there.

Trask: Thank you.

About the Author

Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Etsy.


 

GIVEAWAY

Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Exiles, a pewter dragon necklace by treasurecast, and a sword letter opener! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

CLICK TO GO TO GIVEAWAY

 

 

New to the Ilyon Chronicles? Now is the perfect time to be introduced. From August 11th – 14th, the first Kindle three books in the series are on sale. You can find them over on Amazon.

 



Review

To start you off with the right mindset, you might as well know straightaway that if this book had a theme song, it would be this one.

There we go. That taken care of, we’re on to the review.

Characters
Jaye’s characters are both her strength, and her weakness. She’s building on a foundation of fabulous characters that she set up in the ResistanceAnd building. And building. She must have added eight new characters in this novel;  most of them necessary for a brief moment, but none of them necessarily needing to be involved as much as they were, which left the novel feeling cluttered. I loved the characters; I knew their stories were remarkable; I wanted to follow along and see where they went. With all that extra activity going on, I didn’t feel like the author gave enough time to the real main characters.

I loved the focus on Daniel and Daican in this one. That plotline was masterfully done. Uncluttered by extra anything, I looked forward to reading about those two the most. After reading the first book, I said I hoped that she would do more with Daican’s family and their issues, and she delivered beautifully in this novel.

I was pleased to find a greater focus on Trask and Anne in this novel, though a little bit disappointed that events over in their section were traumatic, and therefore, Trask wasn’t feeling like his usual fabulous self. (You may pause right here to listen to some dramatic, suspenseful music.)

Plot
This novel followed a more typical, 3-Act Structure than the last, so it made for more familiar reading; I never had a moment where I felt disoriented because of the way it was set up.

The plot began with a wedding, and proceeded slowly from there. About a quarter of the way into the novel, I set the book down, looked at my sister, and said, “Someone better get murdered soon.” Luckily, someone got murdered, and from there it picked up the pace.

Going into the novel, you should know that it is filled to the brim and overflowing with romance. Amidst wars, battles, murders, evil kings and fantastic tree-cities, everyone was falling in love. Realistic? Maybe not, but not necessarily impossible. If romance isn’t your thing, you should go into this braced for a storm.

The story followed three major plotlines, and at the same time set up for the remaining books in the series. My favorite was Daniel’s plot, which is curious because I’ve had no interest in him in the previous books. Jaye L. Knight took her time in bringing the tension up throughout the novel, but when she got it there, it stayed that way for the rest of the novel.

My one major complaint about the plot was that this novel picks up a year after the previous. Characters have developed – majorly, in some cases – and situations have changed since then. I was disappointed that we missed that; I feel there was a lot of storytelling material and important development that we weren’t able to see.

Setting
I was glad to see some of the Roman-inspired setting coming back into play in this novel, since one of the plotlines was set solely in the capital.

The characters travel through several countries, so we get a glimpse of the land of the Cretes and the Giants. The Crete culture was interesting (and terrifying – a whole city built in giant trees, high above the ground? I have no fear of heights, but that would be a long fall), and she put an interesting spin on the Giants. It’s not often you see homesteading giants just hanging out, being peace-loving and hard-working.

Content
A character is kissed against her will. A character witnesses two unmarried people stepping out of a bedroom. A couple of people are kidnapped and as they’re being hauled off toward the villain’s lair, one of the kidnappers approaches a woman, though nothing comes of it.

Otherwise
I read the novel in one day. Though there were a few times I put it down, I always came back within a few minutes (or after eating) to continue the story. Jaye L. Knight writes with such potential: her plots, her characters, her settings. I believe the greatest benefit to her writing would be to tighten it all, taking less time to get to her next plot points, and focusing more specifically on a core group of characters. I recommend this novel for a calm day. Have a cup of tea and a few cookies, nestle yourself in the corner of your couch with a blanket, and listen to the rain pattering against your windowpane. And read this book.


Check out the other blogs on the release tour! 

Thursday, August 10

Friday, August 11

Saturday, August 12

Sunday, August 13

Monday, August 14

Tuesday, August 15

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Book Review: Draven’s Light, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

In the Darkness of the Pit The Light Shines Brightest

Drums summon the chieftain’s powerful son to slay a man in cold blood and thereby earn his place among the warriors. But instead of glory, he earns the name Draven, “Coward.” When the men of his tribe march off to war, Draven remains behind with the women and his shame. Only fearless but crippled Ita values her brother’s honor.

The warriors return from battle victorious yet trailing a curse in their wake. One by one the strong and the weak of the tribe fall prey to an illness of supernatural power. The secret source of this evil can be found and destroyed by only the bravest heart.

But when the curse attacks the one Draven loves most, can this coward find the courage he needs to face the darkness?

Draven's Light Cover

One could say that Draven’s Light, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, is a small book. And perhaps it is: clocking out at 190 pages, it certainly isn’t large, as far as page-count goes. You could probably fit it in your purse or bag easily, and not feel the extra weight. It’s only around 50k words; not very large by author standards.

And yet the effects this book will have are bigger than the book itself. The weight it carries is heavier; you will remember it for a longer time than it took you to read it.

You see, dear reader, this book may be small in size, but in reality, it is as big as The Lord of the Rings, as emotionally stirring as A Tale of Two Cities. 

This story takes place in two sections and in two separate times: in the first, we see a little girl who carries water up to the two Brothers who labor on their Great House near her village. In the second, we follow the story that is told to the girl; the story of Draven, the Coward—or is he Draven, the Hero?

The characters within will call to you, beckoning to your heart. GahoDraven, was admirable, brave, loyal, and very much alive. Ita was little, but fierce, a little broken, but made stronger in spirit and in pride for it. Though perhaps, just perhaps, her desire to be strong isn’t all that is within her; perhaps there is much more than pride. At times, Ita was the person I related to the most in the novel. Callix, though I liked him at first, didn’t really grow on me as much as I thought he would. 

In the girl’s side of the story, we find the girl, her grandmother, and the Brothers. I loved seeing Etanun and Akilun during a normal time in their lives—not fighting dragons, not saving the day… but being heroes all the more for it. The girl was, well, us. She was all of us fan-girls, deciding what must come next in the story. She thought about the story all day when she couldn’t hear the next part, and then was sure of how it must go next. The girl definitely ranked up there in my top favorite characters from the book.

Now, though I dislike to mention it, I must speak of the only part of the book I disliked: the girl’s mother. The lady is always busy, always doing something, and never seems to have time for any of her children. To quote from the book:

“She was always in a hurry about something. Twelve children have a way of keeping a woman on her feet.”

A little bit of history for those of you who are unaware… My family has eleven children. While that’s not quite as much as the girl’s family, I can’t imagine that one child makes that much of a difference. My mother is quite possibly one of the calmest people I’ve ever met, always with time to talk or help her children with something; nothing like the lady in the book. While, of course, there are different types of people, I feel as though the portrayal of a woman with so many children is… well, less favorable than it could be. While this doesn’t thrill me, by the time I got to the end of the novel, it didn’t matter as much, and I did love the book; out of 190 pages, I had only this one complaint. Draven's Light Banner

Objectionable Content: The setting was dark, it’s true; Draven’s tribe is a twisted group of people. Yet— and this is one of the reasons Anne Elisabeth Stengl is one of my favorite authors—she never showed anything, never even stated would have gone on behind the scenes had events transpired differently. There is some violence, yes, but nothing described in detail. The Tales of Goldstone Wood are intended to build up, and as such, the author writes them in a clean and encouraging ways.

Technicalities: There was nary a typo or awkwardly phrased sentence that I noticed. The plot and pacing was well done, the novella balanced between the separate time periods. It didn’t seem to drag in any place (though my sister Caiti tends to notice the pacing and technical things better than I), and though I guessed the reveal at the end before-hand, I loved it all the more for it.

I fear this is the least in-depth book review I’ve ever written. However, I’m happy because now I know you’ll be done reading the book review faster, and you can go more quickly to read the book.

Purchase Links: Amazon –  Barnes&Noble – Add to Your Goodreads Account!

About the Author

ANNE ELISABETH STENGL makes her home in North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a kindle of kitties, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. Her novels have been nominated for and won various literary awards, including the Christy Award and the Clive Staples Award.

To learn more about Anne Elisabeth Stengl and her books visit:
www.AnneElisabethStengl.blogspot.com

(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.)

The King’s Scrolls Blog Tour: Author Interview and Review

TKS Blog Tour Banner

About the Book

Following the harrowing events that brought them to Landale Forest, Jace and Kyrin have settled comfortably into their new lives and the mission of protecting those under the emperor’s persecution. The fast approach of winter brings with it the anticipation of a quiet few months ahead. That is until the arrival of four mysterious, dragon-riding cretes who seek aid in a mission of great importance—not only to their own people, but to all followers of Elôm.

Hidden in the vast mining valley north of Valcré, a faithful crete has spent years sharing his knowledge with the destitute miners and their families and is known to possess what may be Arcacia’s last surviving copies of the King’s Scrolls—the Word of Elôm. Joining the cretes, those in Landale must find the crete teacher and bring him to safety, but it is a race against time. Should Daican’s men find him first, execution and the destruction of the Scrolls is certain.

When disaster strikes, all seems lost. Could Elôm have a plan even in the enemy’s triumph?

Some of you probably remember when I reviewed the novel Resistance by Jaye L. Knight back in July. It was an excellent book, and left me eager to read the second book. Of course, therefore, I am thrilled to be able to participate in the blog tour of book two of the Ilyon Chronicles, The King’s Scrolls. 

Haven’t begun the adventure into Ilyon? From February 17th – 23rd, get Resistance , the award-winning first book of Ilyon Chronicles for your Kindle on sale for only 99 cents! Check it out on Amazon!

Not only did I get to read and review The King’s Scrolls (the review is at the bottom) I had the pleasure of interviewing the author, herself. Folks, please welcome the author of the Ilyon Chronicles, Jaye L. Knight! 

What was the first story you ever wrote?

Jaye L. Knight: My very, very first story I wrote when I was eight years old was about a girl named April. I don’t remember much. Each chapter of it was its only little story of simple things like April getting a cat or playing with one of her friends. The first story I ever finished that was truly a story was called Twilight (definitely not anything like the vampire Twilight :P). It was a horse story and my own retelling of a book from my favorite series at the time, Pony Pals by Jeanne Betancourt. I was about ten or eleven at the time.

Do you have a Bible verse that summarizes your reason for writing?

Jaye L. Knight: Probably Ephesians 2:10, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. God created me with the passion and ability for writing. If I didn’t pursue it, I don’t think I’d be accomplishing the work He has prepared for me to do.

What was one major source of inspiration while you were writing The King’s Scrolls? 

Jaye L. Knight I listened to a lot of music, probably more than I have with other books, especially for the emotional scenes. Hurt by Thomas Bergersen is one song I listened to quite frequently. It’s very sad, but it helped me get in the right mood to tackle some of the more difficult scenes in the book.

What is some little-heard writing advice you would give to novelists?

Jaye L. Knight: I’m not sure how little-heard it is, but some of the best writing advice I can give is not to try to write the perfect novel with your first draft. Unless you’re very unique, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get it right the first time, so don’t beat yourself up trying. One of my favorite quotes is by Shannon Hale that says, “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” No matter how unreadable it might be at first, just get the story written. You can always turn it into a masterpiece later.

Have you ever had an interesting experience while researching?

Jaye L. Knight: I didn’t set out trying to research what different feelings of grief were like, but it so happened that at almost the same time I was about to write some of the hardest scenes in The King’s Scrolls, we got news that our dog had cancer. I was absolutely heartbroken because I’m the type that gets super attached to my animals. Those first couple of days were just awful, but I ended up writing down exactly how I felt physically and emotionally so that I could refer to it later. Well, thank God, we ended up finding out that it wasn’t cancer, just an aggressive infection and our wonderful yellow lab is still with us, perfectly recovered. But that experience and the notes I took on it turned out to be very valuable once I returned to writing TKS.

And – definitely the most important question – do you have a favorite drink or snack that you keep nearby while writing?

Jaye L. Knight: TEA!! 😀 English Breakfast Tea with plenty of sugar and French Vanilla creamer to be exact. I have a mug pretty much every day. Sometimes two. I used to absolutely love eating cheddar Combos too while I was writing, but then I had to go gluten free and couldn’t have them anymore. 😦 I haven’t yet discovered a good substitute.

About Jaye L. Knight

Jaye L. Knight is a homeschool graduated indie author with a passion for writing Christian fantasy and clean new adult fiction. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Etsy.

Giveaway!

Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed Epic Winter giveaway! Prize pack includes an autographed copy of The King’s Scrolls, a CD by Future World Music (some of Jaye’s favorite writing music), a dragon bookmark, a stone hawk pendant (much like the ones mentioned in the book), and a few packages of Twining’s Winter Spice tea to sip while you read! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)

Click here to go to the giveaway.

Book Review

Characters

Just as last time, I loved the characters. They were well-developed, endearing (or in the case of some, not-so-endearing) people. Kyrin may be one of my favorite female protagonists of all time.

The characters, as in the last one, were fantastic – especially the recurring characters. I loved getting to know Kyrin’s brothers, despised the villain (not the emperor; a different one) just a little more with every word he said, and excitedly followed along with their adventures simply because I loved them.

One thing that I did dislike here was the sheer amount of characters. The author was excellent in keeping each person a separate, unique character (something very rarely seen in books with many characters!), but frequently we found characters fading into the background. It was hard to remember who was present at all times – while reading at one point, I was startled to remember that Trev had been present the whole time. In the last book, we were able to keep track of all the characters and see who they were; in this one, I feel like there was just a few too many characters to know quite as well as we did last time. However, it didn’t bother me most of the time; the characters we did focus on were worth it. I only wish Trask had more screen time. I missed his snarky manner mixed in with his excellent leadership.

Plot

The plot was a good mix of past-paced action and endearing quiet scenes. The continuity was good throughout the novel, and I eagerly kept reading (I actually ended up carrying the Kindle around while helping my little sisters clean their room. And sniffling the whole time). It was one of the books that you honestly don’t want to put down; so you carry it around as you walk around the house, even if you’re not reading, so you can come back to it as fast as possible.

I was pleasantly surprised when I was right about what a particular character needed, and it happened. It was fantastic (and tragic). The plot kept me rooting for the characters through my teeth when I should have been asleep; if my sisters heard me muttering, “Come on, Marcus!” from beneath my comforter—no, I wasn’t sleep-talking.

I was also pleasantly surprised (in a tragic sort of way) that the grieving shown here was realistic; far better than that of most books.

Setting

As in the last book, the author knew her land well. This one went from a mining town, to a forest, to a capital, and we got glimpses of an entirely different culture through visitors to the country. Each place possessed a distinctive feel, but was still bound tightly in the same world. The world is a well-developed one; the type you could almost expect to find across the ocean, or just around the next bend on an unfamiliar road.

Writing

Can I start by mentioning how deeply in-character the story took us? A character with a fear of heights made me, a girl who has always loved heights, understand perfectly how it must be to feel fear racing through your limbs at the thought of heights. Even though I was prepared for a death in the story, the grief of the characters left me with a tight feeling in my stomach. Jaye L. Knight is a master of going into the heads of the characters with her writing.

The style of the writing was the same as in the last book, and made me think of a quote I recently saw: “The prose is a window, beyond which all these wonderful things are happening.” — Brandon Sanderson

In Summary

The King’s Scrolls is an excellent, uplifting book. The characters are good, upstanding people, but with flaws to make them relatable. The continuity between the two books was great; I saw no typos or grammatical errors.

This book was one that captured my imagination, skillfully told a story from the hand of a master. A beautiful book that brings glory to God, I would definitely recommend this to Christian Fantasy lovers. I am eagerly awaiting the next book. Well done, Jaye L. Knight.

Visit the other stops on the tour!

Tuesday, February 17

Wednesday, February 18

 

Thursday, February 19

 

Friday, February 20

Saturday, February 21

Sunday, February 22

 

Monday, February 23

Tuesday, February 24

 

Wednesday, February 25

Book Review: Golden Daughter by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

BEYOND THE REALM OF DREAMS IS A WORLD SHE NEVER IMAGINED.

Masayi Sairu was raised to be dainty, delicate, demure . . . and deadly. She is one of the emperor’s Golden Daughters, as much a legend as she is a commodity. One day, Sairu will be contracted in marriage to a patron, whom she will secretly guard for the rest of her life.

But when she learns that a sacred Dream Walker of the temple seeks the protection of a Golden Daughter, Sairu forgoes marriage in favor of this role. Her skills are stretched to the limit, for assassins hunt in the shadows, and phantoms haunt in dreams. With only a mysterious Faerie cat and a handsome slave possessed of his own strange abilities to help her, can Sairu shield her new mistress from evils she can neither see nor touch?

For the Dragon is building an army of fire. And soon the heavens will burn.

Doesn’t the back cover just sound awesome? The book is awesome, too.

Golden Daughter was, without a doubt, one of the best books I have read this year. I loved the characters, the setting—I marveled at the way the author wrote certain parts of it. I would recommend it to anyone who reads Young Adult Christian Fantasy.

 

Characters

Oh, boy. Don’t get me started on the characters (no, sorry. It’s too late; you already did). As always, Anne Elisabeth Stengl was a master at creating lovable, relatable characters. And also characters you would very much like to hit over the head a few times. With a log.

Sairu was epic. Her thoughts, her feelings, her complete ability to be a strong character and still be a girl all made her one of my favorite heroines ever. I adored the way she reacted to a certain event (though the event and the reaction were far from awesome) and the way she interacted with the other characters. I especially loved her smile.

The other characters were also amazing. One side character in particular made it to my “Favorite Character” list, and of course the recurring characters were awesome as usual. The two heroes in the book didn’t catch my attention quite as much as Sairu did, though I still eagerly followed along in his journey.

To avoid spoilers, I should move on.

Plot

Have I mentioned that Anne Elisabeth Stengl is a genius? This book was full of characters. They wove a complex and gripping story—but as the story went on, we slowly saw these characters fading away into the background (Or… the morgue. *cringes*)  as the main thrust of the story came forward and the camera focus intensified on a few main characters.

I don’t think I can express with words the amazingness* of the plot. The intensity slowly rose and my interest remained captured, beyond hope of rescue. It got to the point where I found myself gasping, crouched on the floor and with the Kindle clasped in my faintly shaking hands. I never even suspected half of the plot twists until I turned to the very scene and I realized, “Oh, no,” as the events were revealed as about to occur. The plot, putting it simply, was amazing.

Setting

After writing this series for years, Anne Elisabeth knows her world, something you could tell while reading the book. Golden Daughter was set primarily in a place we’ve only briefly stayed in during the Tales of Goldstone Wood, but the land was still vividly there, every bit as real as any other world of any book. The history ran deep. The culture was defined, and the Asian setting was one that I, a particular lover of Asia (China, more specifically) was incredibly pleased with.

Something made the world come alive. Perhaps it was the fact that the majority of the people worshiped pagan deities, and the broken world we could see in the story. Whatever it was, the land, full of grit and filth, would have fit right in here on Earth. It felt so real you could almost smell the rotting fish and the salty air on the docks, hear the noises of the people, taste the smell of the dirt upon your tongue. It felt so real, I suppose, because of how desperately the people needed a Savior. Undoubtedly I would die a terrible death if I were to even briefly set foot in it—but nevertheless, I would have loved to go there and help all the hurting, broken people there.

Writing

The author of these stories writes in omniscient narrative, which in some of the other books took some getting used to—even in this one, it may seem a little odd to some readers, though it didn’t to me. In this book I could really see the beauty of the writing style. In this story it stepped so solidly in and out of points-of-view at times so perfect that you could almost feel the heartbeat of each individual character while at the same time knowing the whole story.

At points, the writing was beautiful. At other points, it was painfully honest. At other points in the story, it just was. The writing was used in the best way possible to tell this particular story. That, I believe, is the purpose of writing styles in books.

Other

This story was set in a dark, damaged world. We see death and destruction. We see pain and filth. The body count for this novel seemed higher than in other Tales of Goldstone Wood books, but never to the point where it was pointless as it is in the novels of some authors. All the deaths served a purpose, however tragic each and every one (and one in particular) were. There were a few mentions of the cultures expectations in certain circumstances, but all of it was handled well.

    In summary

I would not read this book aloud to my little sisters. The characters are too real, the story too painfully dirty, the monsters too human and yet monstrous. Yet I do expect to read it myself again and again. I loved the book, the journey of the characters, the answers we got to a few questions from the rest of the series while still being its own story, and the questions it opened up.

So read it. If you do, tell me what you think. I suspect that you’ll love it.

Golden Daughter on Goodreads

On Amazon

On Barnes&Noble

*”Amazingness” is a word. I just created it. 

Book Review: Resistance by Jaye L. Knight

Happy Thursday, readers. Those of you who didn’t see the title will look at each other, cock you heads to the side and say, “What is she doing writing a
blog post on a Thursday? I’ve never seen a blog post on Thursday here!”

To those that said that, please look up at the title. Since most of you probably didn’t, well, don’t bother, because undoubtedly you read the title first.

Today I have the pleasure of reviewing Resistance, by Jaye L. Knight.

From the back cover:

“Don’t you know? Animals like you have no soul.”

Could God ever love a half-blood all of society looks upon with such fear and disdain? Jace once believed so, but when a tragic loss shatters the only peace he’s ever known, his faith crumbles as the nagging doubts he’s tried to put behind him descend on his grieving heart. With them come the haunting memories of the bloodstained past he longs to forget, but can never escape.

Taken from home at a young age and raised to serve the emperor, Kyrin Altair lives every day under a dangerous pretense of loyalty. After her unique observation skills and perfect memory place her into direct service to the emperor, Kyrin finds herself in further jeopardy as it becomes increasingly difficult to hide her belief in Elôm, the one true God.

Following the emperor’s declaration to enforce the worship of false gods under the penalty of death, many lives are endangered. But there are those willing to risk everything to take a stand and offer aid to the persecuted. With their lives traveling paths they never could have imagined, Jace and Kyrin must fight to overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance.

Note: I received this book in return for an honest review. And, really, I got the far better part of the deal.

A couple of months ago, I first saw the Blog Tour for the release of Resistance. It came up a couple of times in my blog reader, and I looked at the back and reviews. It sounded good, but I didn’t have a chance to get it until a little while ago, when I devoured it in day and thirty minutes. (It would have been a day, but when I started, it was 11:30 at night.)

I enjoyed the book immensely. People had been telling me that it was a good book, that I ought to get it, that I would love it, and they were right.

Characters – The characters were very well developed. They were excellent. Before starting the book, I expected to like Jace, judging by the back of the book and what I had seen of him online.

And I did like him. He, though slightly different than I had expected, lived up to every expectation. A hero who’s trying to make sense of the present while still struggling with his past and massive doubts? Yes, let’s get him through this. I’m not putting the book down.

I wasn’t, however, expecting to like Kyrin at all. Before we start talking about how pessimistic I am when it comes to new books, just let me note that it has been a long time since I’ve really liked both the male protagonist and the female protagonist. Thus, Kyrin completely ruined my expectations.

“How could you, Kyrin? You were supposed to be the un-relatable, slightly irritating female character! Who gave you permission to turn into an incredibly relatable, realistic character?”

Really, though, Kyrin completely took me off guard when she showed up. She was, surprisingly, a lot like me at some points. I could see myself doing and saying the same things, and she made an excellent female protagonist. She and Jace worked together as main characters very well.

The secondary characters and side characters were also awesome. Some of them stayed in the background, but some of them really stood out to me. I could tell that the author took time for each of them and cared for each of them, and because of this, I cared too. And, for those who have read it—can we just stop for a moment to appreciate how awesome Trask was?  Truly, I immensely enjoyed his whole existence.

“Hi, Trask! I’m your biggest fan! I think you’re awesome. And do just go marry the girl.”

As for the villain, I felt oddly sorry for him at some points. At times, he was the perfect traditional villain; he was cold and cruel and very good at hiding it, but at times, he was someone struggling through emotional trauma of his own, within his own family. I wish that Jaye L. Knight would have focused on this piece of the story a little bit more, but I expect that she will in the following books, so I am content to wait.

Plot – The plot stayed thoroughly engaging throughout the entire book. The inciting incident happened at just the right time for each of the characters: when we knew them well enough to be concerned, but before we grew tired of seeing their normal life. The way the chapters switched between two characters was slightly erratic; there would be five chapters in Kyrin’s point of view before another chapter in Jace’s. This wasn’t too bad, but at times it came across as odd me, when I have been used to the pattern of switching every other chapter.

The impression that I got was that the author knew what she was doing with her timing. The way the events were timed made a book that turned out to be 524 pages long seem quick and gripping to the very last page, and I wouldn’t have complained if it was longer. I noticed no plot holes, and the story led up to a climax with the tension noticeably growing as the list of endangered characters expanded to hold most of the cast. The danger increased to a more noticeable, definite level, and I didn’t put the book down even for a second from the beginning of the climax to the end of the book.

Setting – It was clear that Jaye L. Knight knew her world very well. The country seemed very well developed, with steady explanations of history and non-human races and no contradictions as far as I could tell. She told us very little unimportant information about her world, but in the way it was presented, it certainly felt like she knew exactly what she was talking about. It made the world feel more realistic than many Fantasy worlds I’ve read about, and I could tell that she worked to present her world in a realistic light. The result was as though it could be there, waiting, just outside our doorstep. Though, as far as I know, there has been no recorded travel between our world and theirs.

The world, country, and style was definitely based off of the Roman Empire during the gladiatorial days and the persecution of the Early Church. I very much like the stories of missionaries and people who did not turn away from the Truth at gun-point, sword-point, or whatever other point is possible, so I enjoyed that this was a major theme in the book, and the connection to our history provided an easy place to step into their world.

Writing – The writing style was very unnoticeable. Literally, I don’t believe there was one point while reading the book where I actually noticed the writing style at all. She used her words to tell the story, neither adding more or less than was needed. While I know that this would have bothered some people, it helped readers to keep their focus on the characters and the story instead of getting distracted with, “My, what a pretty sentence!” I was glad of that.

In summary – I definitely enjoyed this book. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Young Adult Fantasy, especially Christian Fantasy. In spite of the fact that there are some battles, executions, and beatings employed by the villain in an attempt to get information, there was virtually no troublesome images, in that field or any other. It was lovely and clean, yet the tension was thorough and the story was riveting.

Well done, Jaye L. Knight. I’ll be looking out for the sequel.

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