Mage Errant

MageErrantI’ve found a new favorite author – John Bierce.

Choosing a new audiobook is always stressful. Many things run through my mind.

What if I don’t like it? It sounds good…but it probably won’t be as good as _______ (insert title of last favorite listen). How long do I need to ‘give it a try’ before I can quit listening? ……. etc.

You know. All those sorts of “normal” questions any avid listener/reader asks themselves when desperately searching for their next great escape.

Well, I took the leap and tried John Bierce’s Mage Errant series. I got lucky. I found my new favorite series! I actually enjoyed this even more than Twinborn Chronicles by J.S. Morin (which I enjoyed immensely). Mage Errant moves a bit faster and has a more focused plot (fewer characters and minimal sub-plots.) All-in-all, it made for a great listen.

So if you liked Harry Potter or Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap series, you might want to check out Mage Errant by John Bierce.

This book will be added to my “favorites” list. The well-developed characters, the humor, and the themes/values in the story make this a worthwhile read.

P.S. I forgot to mention that this makes it in my Top-10 list!


Sensitive Reader Alert / A Note for Parents:

There are many great themes in this book like:

  • overcoming your fears
  • learning you don’t have to face your struggles alone
  • loyalty and friendship
  • recognizing your own value (self-worth)
  • not being afraid to be different
  • learning that just because you are different doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you
  • and many others…

However, there are a few things parents should be aware of if they are letting their younger children read it. The third book (A Traitor in Skyhold) contains a few innuendoes, which are by no means vulgar compared to stuff on TV, and references to “contraceptive cantrips” (spells). Also one of the main characters is a homosexual. He is a loyal, friendly, patient, courageous, and caring individual. However, if you have not discussed same-sex attraction with your children, this book will raise questions as the third book deals a little bit with him and his relationship.

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.

Raising Dion

 

A couple of days ago, I was really grumpy and decided it was best to avoided human contact. So, I barricaded myself in my room and watched 3+ hours of Raising Dion, Netflix’s new TV series. I had started the series the week before and was about halfway through. Those 3+ hours of binge watching took me to the end of the series.

The series is about a boy named Dion (in case you didn’t figure that out) who finds he possesses magical powers. Together with his mother, Dion must learn to manage his powers while facing a mysterious magical creature (The Crooked Man).

There are so many things I liked about this show that it is impossible to list them all here. The show is well-acted, intense at times, and filled with humor. But my favorite aspect of this show was the values. Two things in particular stood out to me:

  1. “You can’t shrink yourself to make other people comfortable.”
  2. “You can be a hero if you want.”

“You can’t shrink yourself to make other people comfortable.”

This was said to Dion when he was suppressing his powers so he wouldn’t scare his mom. He was afraid the added stress of his powers would make his mom feel sad.

I thought this quote was appropriate because in today’s society, we focus a lot on changing who we are to make other people comfortable. We tiptoe around certain topics and avoid certain words because we are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. However, in reality, we are not responsible for other people’s feelings.

This does not mean we can be rude and insensitive. This simply means that we are allowed to have opinions and values that differ from others, and if they are offended because we don’t agree with them, that is their problem and not ours. We should not feel obligated to hide our opinions, beliefs, or values simply because other people may feel upset.

The conversation continues in which Dion is told that his mom “is allowed to feel sad,” which I thought was a good reminder for us. It is okay if we feel sad or angry or scared. Just because a feeling is unpleasant doesn’t mean we should ask other people to shrink themselves by changing their values, beliefs or opinions, so that we can avoid experiencing an unpleasant feeling.

“You can be a hero if you want.”

Dion says this to Charlotte, another individual with powers, who lives in fear The Crooked Man will get her.

This particular quote stood out to me because we can all be heroes if we want to be. Our past does not determine our future. We have the ability to choose where we want to go from this point in our life. Our circumstances, no matter how dire, do not confine us to one outcome. If we want something, we can choose to go after it, to become it. We can choose to overcome despite the fear, the challenges, and the struggles in life. Our present and future are what we choose to make it.

If you are looking for a good show to watch, you might consider checking out Raising Dion. I know I am looking forward to seeing what the second season brings.

Sensitive Reader Alert: For those of you who have not discussed same-sex attraction with your children, you might want to skip episode 7. Kat Neese, Dion’s aunt, is a hard working woman who will do anything to help her sister and her nephew. There is a scene in episode 7 when Kat and her girlfriend are cuddling in a bed. While this scene is mild in terms of relationship scenes – clothes are on, there is no sex – if you haven’t discussed same-sex relationships with your children, it will raise questions.

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.

Gods of Blood and Powder, Brian McClellan

SingsofEmpire.jpgNothing is more infuriating than reaching the climax of a book only to discover that the story is OVER! At least until the release of the third book in December. (Yes, I have to wait 5 months to find out what happens. I’ve never been a patient person.)

Anyway, I have been enjoying the series Gods of Blood and Powder by Brian McClellan. (Sins of Empire is the first book in this series.) He is the author of the Powder Mage Trilogy which I reviewed a couple weeks ago. (Read my review of that series here.)

Gods of Blood and Powder takes place about 11 years after the Powder Mage Trilogy. While you probably don’t have to read the Powder Mage Trilogy first in order to enjoy Gods of Blood and Powder, it would be helpful if you did. I know I enjoyed coming into this series knowing the history between the characters and their origins which were developed in the Powder Mage Trilogy.

Due to language and violence, I would say this book is PG-13. It had a little more profanity than the Powder Mage Trilogy. However, the F-word is NOT used at all.

This series, like the Powder Mage Trilogy, will be added to my “favorites” list for adults.

Now, what am I supposed to read until December?!?!