Monday, August 15, 2011

Quick Reviews of Recent Reads: Fantasy Fiction

Shadows on the Stars by T.A. Barron
(Book 2 of The Great Tree of Avalon trilogy)
Publisher, Date: Ace Books, 2005.
Pages: 364
Source: Paperback Swap
Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Continuing the Great Tree of Avalon epic, three companions embark on separate, far-reaching quests to solve the mystery of the vanishing stars--confronting the very powers of darkness along the way. Amelia at Imagination in Focus brought this series to my attention, and I enjoyed the first book in this series more than this one. Somehow I felt like there was less suspense to it, and I wasn't as interested in the different threads of the quest as I had been when the friends were together in book one. Tamwyn's journey was the most interesting to me, and I found Elli to be especially irritating in this book. Hopefully I'll like the third book in the series more.

Author's websiteRead an excerpt ★ Purchase at The Book Depository or IndieBound (affiliate links) ★ Read my review of Child of the Dark Prophecy (book 1 of The Great Tree of Avalon series) ★
Reading Challenges: 2nds Challenge, Speculative Fiction Challenge, TwentyEleven Challenge (Bad Bloggers)

Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik
(Book 5 of the Temeraire series)
Publisher, Date: Del Rey Books, 2008.
Pages: 376
Source: Borrowed from my mother
Rating: 5 of 5 stars

After saving Europe's dragon population from a deadly virus, Laurence and Temeraire are condemned as traitors and separated from each other as Napoleon's armies invade England. The awesomeness of this alternative history/historical fantasy series continues to impress me. Temeraire has got to be my favorite dragon character in any book or series, and his relationship with Laurence manages to be touching even in the midst of war. This time around, I actually became a bit misty-eyed at the scene where the two were reunited after being kept apart by the government. I love their devotion to each other and at the same time they raise such inriguing questions about the rights of intelligent beings who are being treated like livestock. Five books in, I haven't lost interest yet and I'm looking forward to reading the next book of the series.

Author's websiteRead an excerpt ★ Purchase at The Book Depository or IndieBound (affiliate links) ★  
Reading Challenges: Speculative Fiction Challenge

The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin
(Book 2 of the Earthsea Cycle)
Publisher, Date: Bantam Books, 1971. (I read a 1977 reprint)
Pages: 146
Source: BookMooch
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Arha, high priestess of the Powers of the Earth, confronts Ged, a wizard in her underground domain who seems set on stealing her palace's greatest treasure. I was expecting Ged to make an appearance sooner in this book, but I really enjoyed getting a full background on Arha's story. Her world is so different from what we were introduced to in the first book of this series. I was especially drawn in by the politics among the different priests and priestesses of the Place of the Tombs of Atuan. There is a bit of an eerie feeling to this one, partly because of the setting. And I had a bit of a surprise as well--just when I thought Arha had been priestess to non-existant gods, they turned out to be malevolent and scary. I'm enjoying this series. The books are short and enjoyable, and I am looking forward to moving on to book 3, The Farthest Shore.

Author's websiteRead an excerpt ★ Purchase at The Book Depository or IndieBound (affiliate links) ★ Read my review of A Wizard of Earthsea (Book 1 of the Earthsea Cycle) ★  
Reading Challenges: 2nds Challenge, Speculative Fiction Challenge, What's in a Name 4, TwentyEleven Challenge (Slim Pickings)


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