The Novice

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After finishing the first book in the series, I had to start the next one, The Novice to see what happens to Sonea and whether the High Lord’s secret is discovered.  I found book 2 of  the Black magician Trilogy  just as exciting as book 1.  The story goes….

‘The most important attribute of a magician is knowledge . Without it his strength is useless.’ The magician’s eyes flickered to Sonea, ‘Even if his powers surface of their own accord, he will soon be dead if he does not gain the knowledge of how to control them.

Sonea knows the other novices in the Magicians’ Guild all come from powerful families, but she also knows she can turn to Rothen and Dannyl for help when she needs it. That is, until somone starts spreading malicious rumours about her — and Akkarin, The High Lord, steps in.

Promoted to Guild Ambassador, Lord Dannyl leaves for the Elyne court. His first order from Administrator Lorlen is to resume, in secret, High Lord Akkarin’s long-abandoned research into ancient magical knowledge. Not knowing the true reason for his journey, Dannyl is soon facing unexpected dangers.

Meanwhile, Sonea has almost forgotten the High Lord’s dark secret, but keeping the truth hidden may be a grave mistake.

Found the character a lot more interesting and complex. Had to work out how to fit/find her own place at the same time dealing with the whisperings over becoming the High Lord’s apprentice.  In the meantime the dangers constantly faced by those she left behind in the city are a reminder that times aren’t safe.  And is the High Lord responsible or is he trying to protect them all?  Who do you trust?

The Magician’s Guild

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Finding it hard to keep up with putting notes down on the books I’ve read.  The first Trudi Canavan book I read was The Magician’s Guild. This is book 1 in the Black Magician Trilogy.  

The old magician paused. ‘If this young woman is a natural, we should expect her to be more powerful than our average novice, possibly even more powerful than the average magician.’

Each year, the magicians of Imardin gather together to purge the city streets of vagrants and miscreants. Masters of the disciplines of magic, they know that no ordinary lowlife can oppose them. But their protective shield is not as imprenetrable as they think.

Sonea, angry, frustrated and outraged by the treatment of her family and friends, throws a stone at the shield, putting all her rage behind it. She is amazed when it sails unrestricted through the barrier and knocks a magician unconscious.

The Guild’s worst fear has been realised . there is an untrained magician loose in Imardin who must be found before her uncontrolled powers can destroy herself and the city.

Found this an interesting reading and could not put the book down.  Mostly I’m reading to find the characters interesting and believable and don’t try to evaluate the style, “moral” of the story type scenarios.  If I don’t get into the characters or storyline within the first 10% of the book I don’t bother finishing reading the book.  This book grabbed me from the first few pages.

The story of a young person from the wrong side of town putting the fear in the establishment because of her abilities but not for the same reason by everyone.  There are those in the establishment who want to help her while others are driven by fear and self interest.  There are twists and turns in the story and the presence of a black magician leaves you wondering whether he is a friend or foe.

The story begins with the traditional winter  purge of the streets of Imardin, the capital city of Kyralia, of the “dwells”, the city’s poor under-class, by magicians who drive away the inhabitants of the city’s slums. The young gang members gather to throw rocks at the magicians who are protected by a magical shield —until Sonea, a young dwell, hurls a rock through their barrier and injures the magician Lord Fergun.

The Guild begins to fear that there is a rogue magician and begins searching for Sonea. Benign Lords Dannyl and Rothen lead the search into the slums as they are worried that Sonea’s increasingly-uncontrolled magic will harm her and those around her. Sonea though both distrusts the Guild for their apparent lack of compassion for the poor dwells and fears their reprisal for her accidental injury of Lord Fergun. She flees with her friend Cery seeking the aid of the shady Thieves, who see the value of having their own magician and take her under their care. With Cery, she sneaks into the Magician’s Guild in an attempt to gain knowledge of how to control her magic, and observes a black-robed magician covered in blood performing a strange rite on a servant. However, her attempt is unsuccessful, and Sonea continues to lose control of her powers, setting fire to her surroundings repeatedly, before Lord Rothen at last locates her.

Lord Rothen and the sinister Fergun fight for her mentorship, though Sonea herself is uninterested in training and only wants to return home to her friends and family. Lord Fergun attempts to sway Sonea to betray the Guild and thus “prove” that dwells are not fit to enter the Guild and goes so far as to kidnap and threaten Sonea’s friend, Cery, but Fergun’s plans are discovered and he will have to stand trial. In order to prove Fergun’s guilt, Sonea submits to a mental examination, or ‘truthreading’ by Administrator Lorlen, who, finding the memory of the black-robed magician, reveal it to be Lord Akkarin, head of the guild, practising black magic – which is forbidden in Kyralia. Sonea decides then to join the Guild and train her magical potential

 

Another fantasy read

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Deciding what book to read can sometimes be problematic for someone who can be indecisive.  Faced with the problem of which author’s sequel of books previously read will I read – what do I do?  I choose to try another author I hadn’t read before.  Started reading Fiona McIntosh’s book Royal exile which is book one of The Valisar trilogy.

Once started I find that I can’t put the book down.  The book tells the story of the fall of the Valisars, who are the rulers of the richest and most powerful realm of the Denova Set – Penraven.  The back cover describes the plot as:

From out of the East came the warlord Loethar and his barbarian horde … like a merciless plague they swarm across kingdoms to destroy all who had once mocked them. Only one land remains to be conquered. The richest and most powerful realm of the Denova Set … Penraven. The Valisar rulers face certain death, for the savage tyrant Loethar covets what they alone possess: the fabled Valisar Enchantment, an irresistible power to coerce. The last hope of the besieged kingdom escapes in the company of a single warrior. The future of Penraven now rests on the shoulders of this young Valisar royal, but he must survive brutality and treachery in order to unravel the mystery of his heritage.

The book describes why Loethar is considered a barbarian but also chronicles the flight of the young Valisar royal who must survive with the aid of a trusted friend to be able to defeat this barbarian.  You are continually left asking why this is happening.  The book is well written and I did enjoy it.

Warrior

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If you are into books about political intrigue and family loyalties and betrayals with some magic thrown in then the Hythrun Chronicles series is definitely for you.  This is well written and enjoyable with characters that you get to know over time and even if you feel you know them well you find something new about them.  The second book in the series is called Warrior and we find that since Wolfblade some things have changed while others have stayed the same.

It is eight years since Marla Wolfblade buried her second husband. In that time, she has become the power behind Hythria′s throne. But while Marla plays her own political game, Alija – High Arrion of the Sorcerers′ Collective – plots her downfall and the destruction of the Wolfblade line.

Marla′s fortune may not be enough to protect herself and her family … especially her son, Damin, growing up far away in Krakandar. Damin′s uncle, Mahkas, has convinced himself that his only daughter is destined to marry her cousin, but his obsession leads to unexpected and tragic results.

Meanwhile, Elezaar the Fool, Marla′s greatest confidante, must face his own crisis, and his infamous Rules of Gaining and Wielding Power are of no use to him when his brother is involved …

Again thoroughly enjoyed it.  From the first page you get the feeling that Damin Wolfblade’s life is in constant danger.  The fact that the first attack is just a test of the young Damin’s ability to defend himself doesn’t change the sense of danger.  Damin doesn’t appear to be someone who takes things seriously in the beginning but is constantly joking and fooling around.  It’s not until a tragedy involving his foster brother Starros and cousin Leila that we see that there is a different side to Damin. On top of this Hythria is about to be attacked by the Fardonyhans and Damin has to prove  himself there.  In the meantime Marla’s trusted friend and confidante is forced to betray Marla with far reaching consequences.  Loved every minute of it.

Wolfblade

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I picked up Wolfblade intrigued to find out more about the goings on in Hythria and to discover more about Damin Wolfblade.  Wolfblade (The Hythrun Chronicles, book one) provides you with the beginning story of the Wolfblade family.  It starts with the witnessing of a murder, intrigue and political assassinations.

Marla Wolfblade of Hythria is determined to restore her family’s great name, but conspirators surround her: the Sorcerers’ Collective, the Patriots – even members of her own family. She must make sure her son Damin lives to be old enough to restore the Wolfblade name to its former glory. Elezaar the Dwarf is a small man with big secrets, but that doesn’t matter to Marla Wolfblade. Her brother is the High Prince of Hythria, and, in this fiercely patriarchal society, her fate will be decided on his whim.

She needs someone politically astute to guide her through the maze of court politics, and Elezaar knows more than he is willing to admit. As Elezaar teaches Marla the Rules of Gaining and Wielding Power, Marla starts on the road to becoming a tactician and a wily diplomat, but will that be enough to keep her son alive?

While the book doesn’t have a lot of magic involved it has politics, assassination attempts, intrigue and manouverings in the background by those wishing to get to the powerful positions within the Hythria society.  I enjoyed finding out about Marla Wolfblade, Damin’s mother and how she came to so much political power without actually being the one in charge and the lengths Marla went to to protect her children.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found Marla Wolfblade to be a strong character.  Couldn’t wait to finish reading the trilogy to find out more about the Wolfblade’s and the goings on in Hythria.

Harshini

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Jennifer Fallon’s book Harshini is book 3 in The Demon Child trilogy.  This is where we finally get a conclusion to R’shiel’s battle with the Karien God Xapista.  In typical style the journey for R’shiel isn’t without detours and other concerns. Here we find that ..

Medalon has surrendered to Karien and Tarja is once more an outlaw The Defenders are scattered and their only hope for aid is Damin Wolfblade and the vast army of Hythria.

But Damin has his own problems. The High Prince is dead and he must fight off a usurper to secure his throne and lift the siege on his capital, before he can think of aiding Medalon.

R’shiel has finally accepted her destiny, and is searching for answers. But time is running out. The Harshini king is weakening and cannot hide Sanctuary for much longer. She must defeat Xaphista soon, or the Harshini will be destroyed.

With no idea how to defeat a God, her quest takes her across Medalon to Hythria, then Fardohnya and finally back to the Citadel.

But before she can confront Xaphista, she must find a way to weaken the Overlord’s growing power, somehow bring peace to the divided southern nations, free Medalon from Karien occupation and find the strength to finally put an end to Loclon.

I found myself again hooked from the first word and could not put the book down.  Found the characters interesting and the struggles of R’shiel to understand the Harshini and find a way to defeat Xaphista and search for Loclon gripping.  You can’t wait to see whether she succeeds. 

I enjoyed the book and the whole series.  R’shiel was an interesting character and thoroughly enjoyed watching her mature from someone continually rebelling to someone who took responsibility and did something about the situation she was in.  Would love to see if there are more books following R’shiel’s life after the defeat of Xaphista.

Treason Keep

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Going back over books that I have read previously the next one of Jennifer Fallon’s books I read was Treason Keep, book 2 of the The Demon Child trilogy.  The first book in the series didn’t leave R’shiel in  a good state and you are left wondering what’s going to happen. 

On the brink of death, R′shiel, the Demon Child, is taken to the Harshini haven of Sanctuary, where crucial decisions are being made. The Harshini will not survive long enough for another demon child to reach maturity, even if such a child was born tomorrow. Can R′shiel′s life be saved?

On Medalon′s northern border, Tarja Tenragan and the Defenders are helpless as Karien threatens war. An alliance with the Hythrun could be Medalon′s only chance, but should Tarja trust Damin Wolfblade, Warlord and heir to the throne of Hythria?

King Hablet of Fardonyha will ally with whoever seems to offer the most reward. His eldest daughter, Princess Adrina, could prove to be his greatest asset. The wayward and rebellious Adrina has her own plans and they do not include obedience … to her father or her new husband.

R’Shiel is taken to Sanctuary which is the home of the Harshini where she is nursed back to  health.  She stumbles through trying to deal with the Kariens entering Medalon and finally accepts her destiny to deal with them and their God. 

Here we are introduced to more of the characters that will play a big part in the battle that is looming.  We learn about Princess Adrina of Fardonyha who is forced to marry the Prince of Karien but is not happy about it.  We find her a stubborn, fiesty woman who nonetheless does wish to do the right thing by her people although she doesn’t agree with her fathers decision that she has to marry Prince Cratyn of Karien.

We learn more about Lord Damin Wolfblade of Hythria and his connection to the Fardonyha Kingdom.  We also finally see R’Shiel accept her destiny and decide to deal with the Kariens and their God.  Though in the process she does do some matchmaking and organising of other people’s personal lives in the process.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was eager to read the last book in the trilogy Harshini.

Star Trek Unworthy

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Finally managed to finish another book.  This time I read Kirsten Beyer’s Star Trek Voyager: Unworthy. This is set after the defeat of the Borg and covers the Starship Voyager’s trip back into the Delta quadrant.  Voyager has a new captain – Afsarah Eden who is immediately beseiged with unexplained problems with the new slipstream drive and questions of sabotage and who is behind it.  On board are Chakotay – who has resigned his commission to assist Seven of Nine in her quest to find out the meaning of the voice in  her head and why the Caeliar have withheld the “perfection” given to the Borg from her.  Suspicion immediately falls on Chakotay as the possible saboteur.  Upon reaching the Delta quadrant Captain Eden is immediately met with danger via a species known as the Indign who worship the Borg and offer the Borg “offerings”.

Captain Eden finally descovers who is behind the sabotage and it comes from the person she has least expected it to come from – Admiral Willem Batiste, the fleet commanding officer and Captain Eden’s ex-husband.  Voyager meet Species 8472 again and they discover that Admiral Batiste isn’t who they thought he was.

Thoroughly enjoyed the book and was interested to see how some of the personnel deal with being back in the Delta quadrant considering this is set about 3 years after Starship Voyager returned from the Delta quadrant under Captain Janeway.

Tough choices

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I’ve got so many books on my To Be Read pile that I’m not sure which one I’ll read next.  I want to finish the Mystique Trilogy by Traci Harding but the Kim Falconer books are also on the pile to be read.  I can’t decide which one to go for first.  I’ve only got until I finish my current Star Trek book to decide – and I’m almost finished with that.  Choices, choices.

Gene of Isis

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Just finished reading Traci Harding’s Gene of Isis which is Book 1 of the Mystique Trilogy. The book had me engrossed as it followed the life of three remarkable women in Ashlee Granville Devere, from childhood to her adventures in Egypt, Mia Montrose, Ashlee’s great – great – granddaughter and Lillet du Lac, a 13th century Guardian of the Keys for the Grail bloodline.  This book had it’s villains in Christian Molier who was chasing a special vial that would give him eternal life. A secret brotherhood formed to protect the secrets of the Grail bloodline is also involed so you have a book full of spirits who are helping the heroine in her quest, a secret brotherhood that is trying to protect the heroine, but are suspected of murder by the heroine and a true villain who is difficult to kill.  The book is also a note on people’s

Mia Montrose is a 21st-century Australian woman with a Doctorate in Ancient Languages who has just scored the most promising job of her career. When Mia experiences mysterious happenings and forces beyond her control, she begins to understand that history does not always stay in the past.

 Ashlee Granville is a 19th-century clairvoyant, forced to suppress her talents as she enters the marriage market of English upper-class society. But Ashlee is not a girl who likes to bow to the inevitable – she has plans of her own.

 Lillet du Lac is a 13th-century woman, priestess of an ancient order now protected by the Cathar faith, who are making their last stand against the Roman Catholic Franks at the giant hill fort of Montségur. As the castle falls, Lillet escapes with something more valuable than any of their lives …

Despite the time, distance and cultures that separate them, these women share several things in common. They belong to an ancient bloodline of Grail kings, protected by a Sion knight named Albray, and they are each compelled to visit an ancient mountain in the Sinai. This mount contains the keys which may unlock a gateway to a dimension of light and the Gene of Isis. 

This book really keeps you in suspense until the end about what the outcome will be and even then you are left wanting more and wondering what else happens.  I’m really looking forward to Book 2.

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