Saturday, September 19, 2015

Review: The Shadow of the Sun by Barbara Friend Ish

The Shadow of the Sun (The Way of the Gods #1) by Barbara Friend Ish is an immersive epic fantasy narrated from the perspective of anti-hero Ellion Tellan.

Ellion Tellan's thirst for dark magic has already cost him a promising life as royalty in line for the High Priest and ard-righ, and now his new life is about to crumble apart with the assassination of the current ard-righ. Every one Tellan knows – his old and new circle of friends – are soon packing their bags to travel to an elaborate, hedonistic celebration where the new King of Kings will be chosen. Rather than face gossip and watch someone else be chosen as ard-righ, Ellion now flees the human realms in the hopes of losing himself as a harpist among the Tanaan royalty. Yet even in Tanaan lands, a dear, estranged friend runs into Tellan and demands that the wizard-turned-bard once again draw upon white magic, this time to protect Tanaan princess Letitia from a mysterious renegade magician.

Tellan aches for his old life and senses the chance for redemption, and so he agrees to accompany the princess as a bodyguard, not as a wizard. Yet, the further Ellion travels with Letitia, the stronger the pull of dark magic becomes. Years of self-imposed abstinence may yet prove a poor inoculation against the seductive call of old, black magic emanating from the earth itself. As Ellion battles his inner abyss, he must choose between gratifying the desires of the self and protecting others from the consequences of his sensual abandon.

Barbara Friend Ish weaves together a morally complex fantasy world on the brink of a magicians' war on par with Ellion's inner conflict. As Ellion Tellan crosses between human and Tanaan lands, we learn much about the histories of and the different cultures of Friend Ish's world through natural exposition that prepares readers for the epic revelations to come. In addition to the differences in human and Tanaan languages, Friend Ish expertly employs ancient language and translation issues to fuel the mystery behind the renegade wizard in a way that is so much more than your standard 'vague prophecy.' “The Shadow of the Sun” will leave readers craving the next grand installment of wonderfully crafted detail and soul-wrenching existentialism.

From details beautifully inspired by Celtic mythology, to a mature consideration of sexuality and gender power play, The Shadow of the Sun gives experienced fantasy readers a delightfully dark bone to chew.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Review: Earth Flight by Janet Edwards

Earth Flight by Janet Edwards continues the adventures of Jarra, teenage archaeologist, military adviser, and accidental celebrity. While Jarra waits for news from the Alien Contact programme, she and Fian deal with prejudice against the Handicapped from all sides. Fian's father disapproves of their relationship, and vids of Jarra on the newsies trigger terrorist attacks.

To the prejudiced, Jarra's Handicapped status disqualifies her from military work on the alien artifact, never mind that she helped discover and activate it in the first place. The fact that the Beta clan is about to officially accept her membership with pomp and circumstance only makes her enemies determined to dispose of her, before her very existence turns their status quo inside out.

Then, when Alien Contact's research into the alien light artifact finally leads to a breakthrough, it's much worse than any one could have imagined. Earth needs Jarra to go on an off-world mission, where her Handicapped immune system will try to kill her. Jarra always thought she wanted to go off-world, but now she has more to lose than ever – her friends, the love of her life, and, either way, the Earth itself.

Earth Flight is the exciting conclusion to Edward's debut YA SF trilogy. Beginning with Earth Girl, Janet Edwards brings the reader a future humanity that is as complex and unique as its present, with characters whose love for life make them burn bright as flame. Jarra begins the series as an Earth girl passionate about archeology and social prejudice against her kind, but with much to learn about those she derisively calls norms. Through Earth Star, Jarra develops deeper relationships with Fian and the rest of humanity as they all confront a dangerous alien sphere orbiting Earth. In Earth Flight, Jarra must reach deep into her new found maturity to put her life on the line.

From archaeological “digs” involving lasers and earthquakes, to off-world portals that shut down during solar storms, Janet Edward's Earth Girl trilogy will have readers on their toes from the start. Earth Flight finishes the series with alien spheres that hold the key to the past, and therefore the future, of humanity's numerous worlds.

Read them now!

Earth Girl
[ Amazon ] [ Goodreads ]
Earth Star
[ Amazon ] [ Goodreads ]
Earth Flight
[ Amazon ] [ Goodreads ]

Janet Edwards