A run-of-the-mill fantasy story with some interesting ideas
The Teralin Sword was an interesting story with some great plot points. I was particularly gripped by the concept of the mineral Teralin itself. The author developed a really cool concept with the nature of this metal and its ability to be forged into fascinating weapons. I also enjoyed the dark monks and their evil ways – they lent a brutal gravitas to the book and gave the protagonist a believable and sympathetic motive for his part in the story.
The plot itself, though dotted with some interesting ideas, was a pretty standard fantasy story. It was quite predictable and a lot of the characters and plot points fit a little too neatly into typical fantasy tropes. The characters were a little weak and forgettable. In fact, now that I am a week past the end of the book I can’t clearly remember many of the characters at all! (There was also only one female character and she served merely as a faint romantic interest to the protagonist. This grated on me somewhat.)
The writing was generally good and Holmberg has a good style which is accessible and easy to read.
One of my favourite authors, C.L. Schneider, is on the countdown to releasing her latest novel – Chain Reaction: Book 2 of Nite Fire (an epic urban fantasy series). I’m super excited to share the cover with you. Inspired by a compilation of several scenes within the book, the cover features empathic shapeshifter, Dahlia Nite, in her (mostly) human form. The artwork was created by the amazing cover artist, Alan Dingman.
If anyone can tell the difference between monsters and humans, it’s Dahlia Nite. For nearly a century, she’s hunted one to protect the other; safeguarding humanity from the creatures that slip through the torn veil between the worlds—creatures like her. But the lines are blurring. As people begin mutating and combusting on the streets, Dahlia realizes a strange affliction has descended upon Sentinel City. The mysterious ailment strikes all walks of life, from the posh, high-end nightclub district to the homeless community. Its victims, driven to random acts of savagery, are drawing attention too fast to cover up.
Assigned to the case, Dahlia and her human partner, Detective Alex Creed, investigate the deaths. But all they have is questions and bodies, and a public on the verge of panic. Working behind the scenes with her self-appointed sidekick, Casey Evans, Dahlia struggles to discover what, or who, is behind the alarming transformations. As the violence spreads and the mystery unfolds, she wonders: are the victims still human? Were they ever?
Chain Reaction is the second book in the Nite Fire Series.
C.L. Schneider is an award-winning independent author of adult epic and urban fantasy. Born in a small Kansas town, she currently resides in New York’s scenic Hudson Valley Region with her husband and two sons. Her published works include the epic trilogy, The Crown of Stones, and Flash Point, the first book in her urban fantasy series, Nite Fire. Book two, Chain Reaction, will be released in early 2018.
Learn more about C.L. Schneider, and the worlds she creates, at clschneiderauthor.com where you can read reviews, excerpts and sneak peeks, join her Street Team, and subscribe to her newsletter. An active part of the indie author online community, you can connect with her on social media, where she is often found chatting about the daily ups and downs of a writer’s life.
All titles available in paperback or for Kindle. Read free with Kindle Unlimited.
Nite Fire: Flash Point (Bk 1)
The Crown of Stones: Magic-Price (also available on Audible)
Last Saturday I was lucky enough to be interviewed on Radio Leicester by the wonderful Emma Boydell. Having heard my recent segment about Marvel’s latest movie, Black Panther, I was invited to feature on the show to talk about my writing.
My immersive fantasy novels A Chronicle of Chaosand The Shield of Soren are part of a dark, epic series called The Light and Shadow Chronicles. This series features warriors, epic battles, angels, demons, magic and people with incredible powers.
So what makes it any different from countless other fantasy series? Read on to find out…
The world of the Light and Shadow Chronicles is in a state of eternal turmoil. Alcherys and Meraxor have been at war for thousands of years, trapped in a stalemate that is manipulated by forces greater than any of the characters realise. In order to emerge victorious, each army must recruit greater forces to fight for them—angels, demons, armies of the underworld and magical creatures.
Each of the books in the series focuses on a significant character and their role within the eternal war. Every story lays a building block for the epic finale but the books are written out of order. One story may feature a character in his adulthood, the next is set before he is born, the next after his death. Putting the order of events together is up to the reader.
The reader may choose their own journey through the saga. If they feel connected to a certain character, they can follow that individual’s story first. And if they join the series after book 5 is released, there is no need to read books one through four first.
So the series truly is individual, and a reader may navigate it as they see fit. So, with new books being released all the time, the choice is up to you. Catch up on A Chronicle of ChaosandThe Shield of Soren first or read them afterwards. It will make no difference to the understanding of the series as a whole.
And if you fall in love with the series, you won’t have long to wait – more stories are on their way!
Today, A.M. Manay is talking about her young adult high fantasy novel Hexborn.
Hexborn and the English Reformation
Inspiration can come from many places. In the case of Hexborn, my fantasy novel currently up for nominations on Kindle Scout, one of my sources of inspiration was the Reformation. Take a look.
Gasps filled the village Temple as Brother Edmun began reading the king’s declaration regarding his takeover of the Church of Bryn. He stopped and glared at them over the top of the paper until they quieted, then continued. Shiloh, sitting on the front bench, could feel eyes upon her back when he got to the section about the cleanliness laws. Her Da patted her arm and gave her a grin and a wink, and she relaxed.
There was plenty else in the declaration for everyone to get upset about. King Rischar claimed the right to seize church property and to take a portion of the required tithes for the use of the crown. He had expelled the Patriarch on grounds of treason and had seized all of his property in Bryn. All shrines dedicated to Patriarchs, both current and past, were to be destroyed. Rischar claimed the right to appoint bishops and to purge those loyal to the Patriarch. Those priests who refused to accept the king’s headship of the church were to be arrested. Rischar declared his marriage to Mirin annulled. By the time Edmun was finished reading it all, his congregation sat in silent shock.
For the first time in Shiloh’s life, the service did not conclude with a prayer for the Patriarch. The silence lifted as soon the people were dismissed. Every wife in the village shook her head and clucked her tongue. Shiloh eavesdropped as she helped Edmun put away the chalice and scrolls, the candles and incense.
“If Queen Mirin can be tossed aside, any one of us could . . . This Zina he’s marrying. She musta put him up to this . . . I’ll be damned if I’m sharing me table with the Unclean. I don’t care what that paper says . . . In the Teeth, we keep to the old ways. Who’s gonna stop us? Lord Blackmine never sets foot in our hills. Afraid of the Feralfolk, most like . . . The Ferals sup with the Unclean, ye know . . . Say what you want about the Usurper, but she never tried to take over the holy church . . . You can bet the tithes will go up, now the king’s got his fingers in ‘em . . . Me mum taught me the Patriarch of the Holy Church was the Elder reborn. I’m supposed to stop believin’ it on account of some letter from the City?”
I am a sucker for historical fiction, and as a Catholic turned Presbyterian who is married to a Hindu, and as someone who attended thirteen years of Catholic school, I have an interest in the Protestant Reformation. Last year marks 500 years since Martin Luther upended Christianity, so it seems especially appropriate to be releasing a fantasy novel inspired, in part, by the mingled political and religious conflicts swirling around the acts of rebellion against the Roman Catholic Church. I was particularly influenced by the English Reformation and the actions of Henry VIII.
Much like Henry VIII, King Rischar of Bryn has a wife he wants rid of and a religious leader who won’t permit him to cast her aside. He is also in need of gold, and the Church has plenty. Thus, he kicks out the Church’s supreme religious leader, called the Patriarch, and declares himself head of the church in Bryn. Like Henry, he is more interested in expediency and gaining wealth than he is in changes to theology or ritual. Some of his advisors are, however, genuinely interested in reforming some religious abuses, and the king goes along with some of their desired changes.
Also, as in Henry’s case, conflict ensues. Priests and noblemen are purged, imprisoned, and exiled for continuing to support the Patriarch. Even many ordinary people continue to support the Holy Father in secret. The conflict simmers below the surface and occasionally erupts into violence, and it helps to motivate an incipient rebellion that the main characters in Hexborn are attempting to quash.
Do you have any favorite works of fiction inspired by actual historical events? Share them in the comments, and then please do head over to Kindle Scout to nominate Hexborn for publication. Remember you’ll receive a free copy of any book you nominate that is chosen! Many thanks to my host and to all of you!
A.M. Manay biography
A.M. Manay is an award-winning fantasy author in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also a former inner-city chemistry teacher, a wife and mother in a multi-racial family, a lover of comic book movies, a Lupus warrior, a Clerk of Session, and a 9Round enthusiast.
She loves to write page-turning stories with complex, diverse characters who inhabit interesting worlds.
I recently sent out a questionnaire asking readers what they wanted to know about The Shield of Soren before it was released. The most popular response (by far!) was that people wanted to know which characters from A Chronicle of Chaos they would be seeing again. So I’ve put together a list:
Callista Nienna – a figure of authority in A Chronicle of Chaos, Callista still features in her role as leader of the Children of Light, but we will see more of her as a mother as well in The Shield of Soren.
Vincent Wilder – the dark and foreboding leader of the Brotherhood of Shadow will make a few evil appearances in The Shield of Soren.
Raven Lennox – while Raven Lennox was a father figure to the headstrong protagonist of A Chronicle of Chaos, he is the combat mentor of wayward child, Soren. He is a main character in this book as opposed to a support character.
Deacon Thialdor – Deacon only appears a few times in A Chronicle of Chaos, showing off his impressive redwings. In The Shield of Soren, he is major character who has not yet gained his unusual power.
Soren Nitaya – Soren only appears very briefly in A Chronicle of Chaos, but is the main character of this book.
The Bavelize – we will get to see more of the mysterious smoky presence that guides the Brotherhood of Shadow.
Tattooed man in black – in A Chronicle of Chaos there is a mysterious man covered in tattoos and shrouded in darkness. We learn little about him in the first book. He will make another enigmatic appearance in this book.
There will also be some brand-new characters introduced. Some major people in A Chronicle of Chaos will not appear in this book at all (Chaos, Anathema, Phantom, Mikhail.)
Here is the family tree for characters that appear in The Shield of Soren:
This month my new novel in the Light and Shadow Chronicles – The Shield of Soren – will be released.
I am excited to reveal the first excerpt from the book:
With a loud clang of metal slamming into metal, the final bolt was undone. Reign slowly pulled the door open, and Vincent found his breath catching in his throat.
High-pitched whimpering came from the tiny bundle of rags cowering at the back of the cage. Her long silver hair parted for a moment and Vincent could see her wide, silver eyes, terrified and innocent. Vincent’s skin prickled with discomfort. He hoped that Reign had a damned good reason for capturing a small child like this.
Beside the glass cage were two oil lamps, both resting unlit. Reign reached up and took one down. Then, in a single savage moment, he slammed the lamp onto the floor of her cage. The girl screamed in terror and covered her head with her hands, but he hadn’t been aiming for her.
The shattered glass gave way to a stream of oil that spread out in a pool across the floor. This seemed to scare the girl even more, and she began to cry quietly, sobbing into her clenched hands.
Reign looked back at Vincent. Excitement flashed in his eyes as he drew a match from a box in his pocket. A small flare of light, a flicker of sulphur and a small flame danced on top of the match. With another laugh, Reign tossed the match into the glass cage.
Vincent gasped as the oil ignited in a rush of intense heat. The entire floor of the cage burst into flames. Vincent tried to rush forwards to save the girl from a fiery death, but the heat was too intense. A hand tapped incessantly at his shoulder, and he tried to brush it away, but Reign grabbed hold of his hand.
“Look! Look!” Reign shouted excitedly, pointing at the cage.
When his eyes fell upon the cage, Vincent froze to the spot, his eyes nearly popping from their sockets. “But…how?”
The girl, who Vincent had assumed would be burning in agony, was somehow floating above the flames, hovering at the top of her cage. From her back sprouted two enormous wings of the purest white feathers Vincent had ever seen. The two beautiful white fans could only just fit within the confines of the cage, and as she beat them to stay afloat they fanned the flames beneath her.
It wasn’t just her wings that dazzled Vincent with their purity. Her whole body had adopted an ethereal, almost ghostly, silver aura, her hair shimmering with radiance. She didn’t seem too frightened any more, but there was a definite hint of sadness in her gentle eyes.
Vincent studied her carefully, struggling to catch his breath, which he hadn’t realised he had been holding. “What is she?” he managed to croak.
Reign grinned and draped an arm across Vincent’s shoulder. “She, my friend, is an angel.”
Stay tuned for the cover reveal on Friday 10th March.
In the meantime, why not pick up a copy of the first in the series?
Around one and a half years ago I read the first book in the Crown of Stones trilogy (Magic-Price).
I don’t say this lightly, but that book changed my life.
It affected me emotionally, it drew me in with the exceptional writing, the characters stole my heart, and it made me look at the fantasy genre in an entirely new way. It has all the best elements of traditional fantasy, but with a unique, dark twist. Plus, check out the incredible artwork! That’s what drew me to Book 1 in the first place.
Book 2 cemented this series as one of my favourite fantasy series of all time (alongside His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman and The Word and the Void by Terry Brooks)
Now, Book 3 is nearly out! To say I am excited would be an understatement! So, today on my blog I am featuring the amazingly talented C.L. Schneider as she prepares for the release of The Crown of Stones: Magic-Borne.
He’s paid for his addiction. He’s been scarred by his spells. He’s borne magic’s weight, its pleasure, and its guilt. But will he surrender to it when the realm needs him most?
Magic-Borne, the final installment of my epic fantasy trilogy, The Crown of Stones, is almost here! The Crown of Stones follows the trials of Ian Troy; a man struggling with an inborn addiction to magic in a world where magic is reviled, not revered.
The cover of Magic-Borne was designed by artist Alan Dingman.
In one fell swoop, the resistance was shattered. Lives were taken. Hope was lost. Peace slipped like grains of sand through his fingers. So did the Crown of Stones. Now, forced into hiding, Ian Troy grapples for a way to save the realm—and free its people—from the sadistic clutches of Jem Reth; Mirra’kelan’s new self-appointed emperor. Plagued with the knowledge of a tragic future, he strives to influence events and save those he cares for. But his magic has betrayed him, and Fate has other plans.
Scarred by the crown, hindered by the transformation spell contained within, each cast brings Ian one step closer to becoming more beast than man. Each move brings the death and destruction foretold in his vision inexplicably nearer. With Langor on the brink of war, and King Malaq’s plan for peace hanging in the balance, Ian returns to the ancient past; seeking an end to the eldring spell and a means to thwart Jem’s growing domination. What he finds there sets off a chain of revelations that leads Ian places he never thought to go.
Entrusted with the future of his race, Ian becomes the linchpin for lasting change. But how much weight can one man carry? And how much is he willing to sacrifice in the name of peace?
Haven’t read book 1 yet? There’s still time to dive into the adventure before book 3 is released!
To celebrate the cover reveal, Magic-Price and Magic-Scars are both on Kindle Countdown from 1/28 to 2/4. Download Magic-Price (book 1) for only .99 & Magic-Scars (book 2) for $1.99!
Visit my Website for excerpts, teasers, reviews, and more!
L. Schneider is a self-published author of adult epic and urban fantasy. The first two books in her Crown of Stones trilogy, Magic-Price and Magic-Scars, are available on Amazon. The third installment will be released in February 2016. She is currently working on Nite Fire, an urban fantasy featuring a shape-shifting dragon hybrid named Dahlia Nite. C. L. Schneider lives in the scenic Hudson Valley of upstate New York with her husband and two sons. She spends her days torturing characters, overdosing on coffee, and daydreaming about the zombie apocalypse.