Twinborn Chronicles

twinbonrchronciles1This is a loooooooooong story!

I downloaded the audio version of Twinborn Chronicles: Awakening Collection by J.S. Morin from Audible. The download included the first three books in the series – Firehurler, Ethersmith, and Sourcetheif. In total, the collection is 67 hours and 32 minutes! So, you understand why I say this is a loooooooong story. The narrator, Mikael Naramore, does a fabulous job with all the characters (and believe me, there are a lot of them).

The story is difficult to explain, so below is the description of the collection from Amazon:

Caught in plots between two worlds, his only hope is to awaken the link between them.

Kyrus had lived a quiet life as a scribe until his dreams begin seeping into his waking life. Fanciful tales of magic and battle turn out to be real. In his sleep, he witnesses the adventures of his twin. Kyrus is swept up in the intrigues of those who already know of this connection between worlds.

As his knowledge of the two worlds grows, so does his entanglement in the intrigues between them. Kyrus discovers friends, lovers, and adversaries among the twinborn. His knowledge of magic grows until he becomes a valuable pawn for masterminds of plots that threaten empires.

Kyrus must learn a deadly game against opponents who already know the rules. He must join forces with his twin to combat threats in both worlds. One misstep or misplaced trust and Kyrus could find himself dying…twice.

Twinborn Chronicles: Awakening Collection is a three-book collection chronicling the adventures of heroes who alter two worlds. For fans of epic fantasy who aren’t looking to start another unfinished series, the Twinborn Chronicles provides multiple new worlds to explore and all the closure you’ve long been denied.

©2012 J.S. Morin (P)2018 J.S. Morin

The general idea is that there are two worlds, and most people go through life never knowing of the existence of the other world. However, some individuals have “twins” living in the other world, and whenever one twin sleeps, instead of dreaming, he/she sees the daily life of their twin. Kyrus is one of these “twinborn” and soon finds himself on an adventure he never imagined. After all, he was just a scribe, but now, he is so much more!

The characters in the story are very well developed and complicated. Even the villains you have sympathy for, and for me, I wasn’t exactly sure whose side I was on. 🙂 My favorite aspect about the book was its uniqueness. The idea that people have “twins” living in another world made for an interesting dynamic, especially when the twins realized their connection and used it as a tool for spying, negotiating, and communicating with each other and their enemies.

As I said previously, this is a loooong story. I listened to the first two books and started the third. I got impatient and wanted to know what happened, so I skipped to the end and never actually completed the third book in its entirety. I think, had I downloaded and listened to each book individually instead of as a collection, I might have enjoyed it more and not been so impatient to finish it. But, overall, I enjoyed it and would recommend it to others, with the disclaimer that it is long and thus requires some patience to complete.

P.S. It will be added to my “favorites” list.

Plague of Shadows by Michael Wisehart

PlagueofShadowsHow long do I have to wait for the next one?

I can say with certainty that I enjoyed this book far more than the first one, probably because there is significantly less torture. (The torture in the first book made me squeamish.)

In the last book, my favorite storylines were ones involving Ty and the Weilder Council, but in this book, I really enjoyed Ferrin, Rae, and Ayrion’s storylines.

I will say from a reader’s standpoint, the book could have benefited from a synopsis of the first book, The White Tower, along with a character list and short bio of each. It has been a long time since the first book was released (approx. 3 years), and I’d forgotten some major plot details and supporting characters, some of whom have a larger role in this book. After reading 12 chapters of Plague of Shadows, I decided to re-listen to the first book to refresh my memory. Once I did that, I was able to truly enjoy Plaque of Shadows.

In conclusion, this series is still in my top-10 list and is definitely worth reading. (I’m even thinking about buying the audio version. Tim Gerard Reynolds is an AMAZING narrator!) But, if you have not read The White Tower recently, you will want to do so before starting this book (unless you are one of the lucky few with a photographic memory).

I received an advance copy of “Plaque of Shadows” by Michael Wisehart in exchange for a review.

The Thief

What better way to spend a stormy Sunday than reading a good book?

I just finished reading The Thief, the first book in The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. This Newbery Honor book was entertaining, and I didn’t want to put it down. (It wasn’t that rare breed of book you can’t put down; it was simply a good book you did not want to put down.) The book deserves more than three stars, but not quite four. Maybe a 3.7 or 3.8.

The story begins with Eugenides, or Gen for short, locked in the king’s prison. Gen, a petty thief with a large ego, is provided an opportunity to accompany the king’s magus on a quest. An offer, given his limited resources and his desire for fame, he accepts. The quest begins sending Gen, the magus, and their companions on an adventure through neighboring kingdoms.

The book is heavy on description and the introspective thoughts of the main character, which I often skipped over. However, I found the characters intriguing enough to keep reading. I simply liked the characters and looked forward to seeing how their relationships developed.

I am placing this book on my list of books for all ages. (There are a few “goddam-its” and “damn’s” in there, but that’s it. ) While the story does not make it into my top-ten, it is good enough that I would recommend it to pre-teens and teens.

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands

Blackthorn Key.jpgIt’s been a while since I’ve read a book without magic, and by that I mean a book that contains no magic in the plot. The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands, however, does possess the magical quality to transport you into a world of adventure and suspense that will prevent you from accomplishing your daily obligations because you remain glued to the pages (or in my case, the audio).

The story, set in England in the 1660’s, follows 13-year-old Christopher Rowe and his best friend, Tom Bailey, as they endeavor to discover who is behind the recent murders of local apothecaries, a job made more challenging by the fact that Christopher is now on the “hit list.” And, as I said previously, there is no magic in the book, so Christopher and Tom must solve the mystery using only their ingenuity and local supplies. The boys are resourceful, courageous, and loyal, yet they remain boys, complete with the mischievous tendencies and not-thoroughly-thought-through ideas that accompany youth.

Interspersed with humor and suspense, if you or your child are looking for an escape from reality, The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands will provide you just that. This is definitely going on my “favorites” list, and it’s made it in my Top-10 list of books for all ages!

P.S. So far, the second book in the series – Mark of the Plague – is my favorite, mainly because you get to see the true strength of Christopher’s character – generous, loyal, and courageous. While those traits are present in the first book, The Blackthorn Key, they become even more apparent in the Mark of the Plague, where instead of fleeing the city as so many did, Christopher chooses to stay and minister to those in need regardless of the potential danger to his health and to the repercussions it might have for his future career as an apothecary. Christopher also stands up for the dignity of the local town “lunatic.” There are many other examples of Christopher’s loyalty, generosity, and courage, but to see those, you will simply have to read the books yourself.

Sevenfold Sword

sevenfoldswordThe Sevenfold Sword by Jonathan Moeller is the most recent series of books I’ve been enjoying. While the story is slow at times, overall it is an enjoyable read (or listen).

I really enjoy the relationship between the husband and wife. Their fidelity to each other is not a common trait seen in media these days. I also enjoy the internal conflict of the two supporting characters as they endeavor to find themselves and/or heal from past trauma.

One of the things I thought was most interesting was that when you meet the wife for the first time, she is suffering from depression as a result of the death of her infant daughter. After having withdrawn from the world for many months, she decides it is time to return to her duties. However, as she tries to fulfill her role as the Keeper of Andomhaim, she still struggles internally with her feelings of despair and depression. Throughout the early part of the story and occasionally during the latter part, you see her fighting her feelings of self-loathing and guilt as she strives to move past her grief. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety, I appreciated seeing a character who, despite suffering mentally, refused to be conquered by her mental illness and was still valued and respected. (I guess what I’m trying to say is I felt it showed that there was more to people with a mental illness than just the illness itself. I could see in the wife some of the thinking patterns/struggles I had experienced when I was at my lowest, and I appreciated a book that showed how it is hard to remain interested in life when life doesn’t seem worth living.)

I will be adding this book to my “favorites” list.

Note: Audible has the series broken into 3 parts, so I’m not sure how many books I’ve listened to because there was more than one in the version I bought. However, the first book in the series is called Champion.