Tagged: Fantasy

Three Dark Crowns – Review

About the book:

New York Times Bestseller * New York Public Library Best Book of 2016 Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2016 Kirkus Best Book of the Year

Fans of acclaimed author Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood will devour Three Dark Crowns, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen. And don’t miss the highly anticipated sequel, One Dark Throne!

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

Be sure to catch the stunning sequel to this New York Times bestseller, One Dark Throne.

About the Author:

Kendare Blake grew up in the small city of Cambridge, Minnesota. She is a graduate of Ithaca College, in Ithaca, New York and received a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Middlesex University in London, England. She loves to travel, is an advocate for animals, and cheats a lot when she plays Final Fantasy. Adopted from South Korea at the age of seven months, she arrived with the following instruction: “Feed her chocolate.” Though not medically advisable, she and her parents are eternally grateful for this advice.

Kendare is the author of six novels: the contemporary SLEEPWALK SOCIETY, YA horror duo ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD (2011 NPR Top 5, Kirkus Top Ten), and GIRL OF NIGHTMARES (2012 Kirkus Reviews Top Ten), and the Goddess War trilogy (ANTIGODDESS, MORTAL GODS, UNGODLY). 

Coming in September 2016: THREE DARK CROWNS, the first book in a fantasy series about warring triplet queens.

Sam’s Review

Hey, everyone, I hope your week has been going wonderfully, and our review will be about Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. On the island of Fennbirn, three queens are born, as is tradition. Each of then have a special gift: a naturalist, able to control the earth, a poisoner, able to withstand the harshest of poisons, and the elementalist, able to summon storms. Three queens, taken apart at six years old, and expected to kill each other for the crown. Sounds a little harsh, right? Well, one queen, the elementalist Mirabella, in the latest generation, refuses to kill her sisters, and hopes to bring peace to the three of them. Boy is she wrong. When Arsinoe, the proclaimed naturalist and trained to be cautious, takes Mirabella’s visit the wrong way, and her friend Jules loses control over Arsinoe’s fake familiar, hurting many at the start of the Ascension year, the year when the queens hunt each other, Mirabella and the poisoner queen, Katherine are both mislead about Arsinoe’s intentions.

Read the book to find out what is to come of the sisters. As the first book in a series, it will leave you begging for more. Luckily the second book is out, however we’ll be doing that book, next week. It gets two thumbs up and five stars for the amazing characters, really amazing places, and the airs of treachery and secrets, and I hope that you enjoy it too.Please subscribe, check out the little floaty link to the bookstore that’s to the right of my head, like, and enable notifications. I’ll see you next Friday! Bye!

Buy the book:

This book is available from Amazon in Kindle, Hardcover, paperback, audiobook and MP3 CD formats here. [affiliate link]

Other Reviews in this series:

One Dark Throne (book 2) coming soon

The Mussorgsky Riddle – Review

Twitter for Mussorgsky

About the book:

Genre: supernatural thriller

Series: Fugue & Fable #1

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Date of Release: January 12, 2015

Cover Artist: Polina Sapershteyn

Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Psychic Mira Tejedor possesses unique talents that enable her to find anything and anyone, but now she must find a comatose boy wandering lost inside the labyrinth of his own mind. Thirteen-year-old Anthony Faircloth hasn’t spoken a word in almost a month and with each passing day, his near catatonic state worsens. No doctor, test, or scan can tell Anthony’s distraught mother what has happened to her already troubled son. In desperation, she turns to Mira for answers, hoping her unique abilities might succeed where science has failed.

cover art for Mussorgsky Reiddle



At their first encounter, Mira is pulled into Anthony’s mind and finds the child’s psyche shattered into the various movements of Modest Mussorgsky’s classical music suite, Pictures at an Exhibition. As she navigates this magical dreamscape drawn from Anthony’s twin loves of Russian composers and classical mythology, Mira must contend with gnomes, troubadours, and witches in her search for the truth behind Anthony’s mysterious malady.

The real world, however, holds its own dangers. The onset of Anthony’s condition coincides with the disappearance of his older brother’s girlfriend, a missing persons case that threatens to tear the city apart. Mira discovers that in order to save Anthony, she will have to catch a murderer who will stop at nothing to keep the secrets contained in Anthony’s unique mind from ever seeing the light.

About the Author:

Darrin Kennedy

Darin Kennedy, born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine. After completing family medicine residency in the mountains of Virginia, he served eight years as a United States Army physician and wrote his first novel in 2003 in the sands of northern Iraq.

His debut novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle, was born from a fusion of two of his lifelong loves–classical music and world mythology– and is slated for publication by Curiosity Quills Press on 12 Jan 2015. He is currently hard at work on his next novel.

His short stories can be found in various publications, many of which are available through Amazon, and most of which have been collected in his two short story compilations – Necromancer for Hire: The April Sullivan Chronicles & The Sicilian Defense and Other Dark Tales – also available on Amazon.

Doctor by day and novelist by night, he writes and practices medicine in Charlotte, North Carolina. When not engaged in either of the above activities, he has been known strum the guitar, enjoy a bite of sushi, and rumor has it he even sleeps on occasion.

He is represented by Stacey Donaghy at Donaghy Literary Group.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Jenn’s Review:

Admittedly, this book took longer to read than I anticipated – but not because it lacked the usual attention-pulling elements.

I generally try to stay away from murder mysteries. They tend to leave me feeling disturbed at best, anxious and overwhelmed at worst. I dove into this series, however, because of two elements: The paranomal/psychic and the classical composer element.

This mystery is less about the murder of a teenage girl, and is far more about the psychic’s journey through herself as she tries to help a young boy unlock his mental prison that he’s exiled himself to as a measure of coping with emotional trauma. 

Larger than the mystery of the missing girl, is the mystery of why young Anthony mentally locked himself up and how Mira can so easily walk in his mental-scape.

This book sucks the reader in, both with the unusual use of clairalliance by Mira (clairalliance being a gathering of psychic knowing through scent) and the trip through Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. 

This story doesn’t end on a cliffhanger by any means, (other than some romantic prospects that are secondary to the main plot), but I just finished the book and had to race out to my laptop to write the review, so I could start on book 2 of the series, The Stravinsky Intrigue.

For an added twist, listen to the classical piece that serves as Mira’s guide through Anthony’s mind. It serves as an excellent backdrop to the vivid imagery that Kennedy supplies in his writing.

Definitely a meandering, suspenseful read worth its weight in time.

Sam’s Review:

The Mussorgsky Riddle by Darin Kennedy was very interesting and captivating. Mira, the heroin, was very brave, and she’s a physic who’s desperate to help a young boy by the name of Anthony, who is nearly comatose. When she enters his mind, she learns that he knows who killed his brother’s ex.

Very powerful and very good, The Mussorgsky Riddle will draw you in, if you don’t mind being in a messed up dreamscape, that is. If you don’t mind that, but rather enjoy it, it’ll please you to the very end.

Some of the things that I didn’t like was how it was confusing at times. Moments like those were very little, but still. Baba Yaga was a very interesting character, and an unexpected plot twist happened near the end. I guess that that’s the whole point of a plot twist.

Buy the book:

This book is available on Amazon in Kindle, paperback, audiobook and MP3 CD formats here. [affiliate link]

Other books in this series:

The Stravinsky Intrigue (Review coming soon)

The Tchaicovsky Finale (Review coming soon)

The Tchaikovsky Finale – Review

Sam's Teen Reads Corner book review of Darrin Kennedy's The Tchaikovsky Finale

About the book:Psychic Mira Tejedor lies comatose in the wake of her second battle with the devious Madame Versailles, but her sacrifice was not in vain. Though at great cost, her nemesis is no more, her love has returned to the land of the living, and twelve innocent girls are back with their families. Still, young Anthony Faircloth can’t escape the notion there must have been another way.

Obsessed with freeing Mira as Mira once freed him, Anthony works to rekindle their special link and soon meets with more success than he knows what to do with. Two distinct worlds, both forged in the imagination of Pyotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, threaten to consume his life. By the still waters of Swan Lake, Anthony assumes the guise of a man named Benno and must help Prince Siegfried defend the Swan Princess, Odette, from the machinations of a dark sorcerer. In the Stahlbaum house, he takes on the role of a boy named Fritz who, under the command of the Nutcracker Prince, must save his sister Clara from the onslaught of the Mouse King and his army of rodent soldiers. At the intersection of the two disparate settings lies yet another mystery: both Odette and Clara wear Mira’s face. And these intertwining perils are but shadows of the real danger.

Back in the real world, a menacing figure from Mira’s past has escaped from prison and now stalks her on both sides of the veil of dream. Anthony must bring Mira out of her catatonic state so that she can fight one last time, or her life and the lives of all she loves will be lost.

Sam's Teen Reads Corner reviews Darrin Kennedy's paranormal suspense novel "The Tchaikovsky Finale"

About the author:

Darrin Kennedy - Author of the Fugue and Fable series

Darin Kennedy, born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Bowman Gray School of Medicine. After completing family medicine residency in the mountains of Virginia, he served eight years as a United States Army physician and wrote his first novel in 2003 in the sands of northern Iraq. His debut novel, The Mussorgsky Riddle, was born from a fusion of two of his lifelong loves: classical music and world mythology. His short stories can be found in various publications and he is currently hard at work on his next novel. Doctor by day and novelist by night, he writes and practices medicine in Charlotte, North Carolina. When not engaged in either of the above activities, he has been known to strum the guitar, enjoy a bite of sushi, and rumor has it he even sleeps on occasion.Sam’s Review:

The Tchaikovsky Finale, by Darin Kennedy, is the last book in the series. Told in Anthony’s point of view, we learn that he remembers more about the Exhibition and the other mindscapes than he lets on. In order to repay Mira, he’ll be the one trying to find her in her comatose state.

This time dealing with The NutcrackerThe Swan Princess and Sleeping Beauty, he finds that Mira has no recollection nor knowledge of her life outside of her comatose state. Madame Versailles isn’t as defeated as believed, Mira’s ex and his fiancè show up to take care of Isabelle, Mira’s daughter, and the man that Mira busted big time is out for his revenge. All in all, helping Mira is harder than Anthony expected.

Heart pounding, with a couple of humorous breaks here and there to break the tension, this book is captivating, but an easy read at the same time. It is very interesting to hear things from Anthony’s point of view for once, and it gives me a greater vision as to what it’s like to share a dreamscape with another person, which is basically what’s going on between Anthony and Mira.

**Jenn’s note: This isn’t classified as middle grade or young adult. Since there isn’t much bad language or graphic violence in book 1, I let Sam tackle this series when she asked, because she is pretty good at knowing her own limits when it comes to lit. Buy the book:This book is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions here. [affiliate link]Other books in this series:The Mussorgsky Riddle (book 1)The Stravinsky Intrigue (book 2)

Ronaldo: The Phantom Carrot Snatcher – Review

Children's Fantasy Book Review by Sam - Ronaldo The Phantom Carrot Snatcher by Maxine Sylvester

About the book:

Ronaldo and Rudi discover friends come in all shapes and sizes as they embark on a superhero mission to help a lost wolf cub called Ernie find her pack.

Rudi comes up with a plan to find the pack and deliver a message during a speed test at flying school; but Ronaldo isn’t totally onboard with the idea. He desperately wants to break the speed record and the plan means jeopardising his chance of becoming champion.

Will Ronaldo go for glory… or will he discover the true meaning of friendship and sacrifice the race for Ernie?

Bumbling Wing Commander Blitsen, head of The Reindeer Flying Academy, and mischievous brothers, Dasher, Comet and Prancer also feature in this fun tale of bravery and friendship.

Published 23 November 2016.

About the Author:

Maxine Sylvester - Autho of the Ronaldo series, including Ronaldo: The Phantom Carrot Snatcher

Maxine Sylvester was born in London, England. She grew up with a passion for Winnie the Pooh and Paddington Bear. She also loved anything Disney and enjoyed drawing the characters. Maxine’s love of ‘fun’ art grew and she had the privilege of being mentored by cartoonist and caricaturist, Steve Chadburn. She completed further studies in children’s book illustration with talented artist and illustrator, Jan Nesbitt.

She is currently working on the fourth book in the Ronaldo series, due for release in Autumn 2018.Social media for Maxine:

Facebook    Twitter     Pinterest     Instagram    Website

Sam’s Review:

Ronaldo and the Phantom Carrot Snatcher by Maxine Sylvester is different from my usual teen read, but enjoyable nonetheless. Telling the tail of two reindeer and a wolf pup, I loved the story it told.

This book is the second in a series. Ronaldo (AKA Ronnie) and his best friend Rudolph (AKA Rudi) don’t know what to do when Ronnie finds a lost wolf pup named Ernie (just so you know, Ernie’s a girl) behind his house.

Rudi comes up with a brilliant plan to find Ernie’s pack, but Ronnie will need to go to the forbidden forest. Ronnie agrees to do so, but at the same time, he has plans to break the speed record. But he can’t do both at the same time. As it is, he’s taking a risk, and could get expelled from flight school if he’s seen at the forest.

Fun to read, easy to understand, and filled with good illustrations, this children’s book was a fun break from my usual teen read. It’s cute all the way through, and filled with humor.

Sam's Teen Reads Corner reviews Maxine Sylvester's Ronaldo The Phantom Carrot Snatcher - Children's Fantasy Fiction

Buy the Book:

This book is available in Kindle format from Amazon:

Amazon US [affiliate link]     Amazon UK 

Other books in the series:

Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy (rel Dec 2015) [affiliate link]

Ronaldo: Rudi’s Birthday Extravaganza (rel Oct 2017) [affiliate link]

Check out all the reviews for Maxine Sylvester’s Ronaldo series here.

The Child Wound in Gold – Short Story Review

Thrice Read Books reviews Megan O'Russell's short story - Child Wound in Gold

About this story:

A little knock taps on the door,
A little girl hiding under the floor,
The safety of the dirt shall build her bed,
While the monster rammoc flies overhead.
For years, the rammocs have tormented the valley, stealing villagers from their homes, destroying crops and cattle so those left behind face the constant threat of starvation.
The only hope the villagers have is the magicians of the convocation. They alone have the power to stop the rammocs. But the magicians demand a price the villagers are unable to pay. Left with nothing but rubble and death, one young girl finds hope in the flames.

About the Author:

Megan O'Russell - Author of Child Wound in Gold, Girl of Glass, Girl without Magic

Megan is a native of Upstate New York who spends her time traveling the country as a professional actor. Megan’s current published works include the Girl of Glass series, How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin’ Days (The Tale of Bryant Adams, Book one), and The Girl Without Magic (The Chronicles of Maggie Trent, Book One).


When not on stage or working on her books, Megan can be found blogging on LifeBeyondExaggeration.com


For more information on Megan’s books, visit MeganORussell.com.

Sam’s Review:

The Child Wound in Gold, written by Megan O’Russell, author of Girl of Glass and Girl Without Magic, is a short story. Even though it was but several pages long and had a cliffhanger, it was still enjoyable. Rena’s village has been terrorized by a fearsome creature known as a rammoc.

The Rammoc always attacks, never killing everybody in the village. I guess it knows how to make sure that it’s meals stay plentiful. Magicians are supposed to protect the villagers, supposed to being the key words here. They don’t do their job, but one day, a magician from the convocation (the magician’s council, I’m guessing.) tells the rather close village that they shall kill the wicked beast, but the village must give them something in return. That something must be of value.

Rena, desperate to help, offers her mother’s magician made veil, only to be turned down. The magician attacks her for some weird reason (seriously, there wasn’t an explanation. Maybe he thought that she’d stolen the veil when she clearly said that it came from her mother’s family as a wedding gift.). She finds out that the threads in the veil are nearly indestructible. This gives her the idea of a lifetime.

This was very captivating, and fun to read. This is  a part of the Girl Without Magic series, but Maggie isn’t mentioned until you get to the author’s note. For as much as I liked the story, there wasn’t a whole lot of context, which left me scratching my head in places. I was able to put together some pieces of information, but still.

Thrice Read Books & Sam's Teen Reads Corner reviews Megan O'Russell's short story "The Child Wound in Gold", part of the Maggie Trent series on our blog.

Get this story free here from Instafreebie.

Other books we’ve reviewed by Megan O’Russell:

The Girl Without Magic (Maggie Trent book 1)

Girl of Glass (Nola Kent Book 1)

Boy of Blood (Nola Kent Book 2)

Fury of Fire – Review

Jenn reviews Coreene Callahan's Fury of Fire, shapeshifter romance on Thrice Read Books review blog.

About the book:

Published February 7, 2012 by Montlake Romance

Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Book one in the Dragonfury series

A clandestine race of half-dragon, half-humans known as dragon shifters lives among us. Bastian, leader of the Nightfury dragon clan, is sworn to protect humankind at all costs. For him, honor and duty always come first. When the clan dictates he take a human mate to sire a son, he falters, aware that for a human to birth a dragon shifter she must die. Myst, the woman given into his care, is the most extraordinary he’s ever met, and though he can’t bear the thought of harming her he is bound by duty.

Myst loves her life in the human world, but Bastian has captured her heart in an instant of electric connection. But Bastian and his warriors are in the middle of a deadly battle with the Razorback dragon shifters, intent on killing every Nightfury clan member—and the humans they protect—the fate of their world and ours hangs in the balance.

An extraordinary blend of action, fantasy, and steamy romance, Fury of Fire brings to life a dangerous new world intertwined with the survival of humanity, all while exploring the meaning of honor and the nature of true love.

About the Author:

As the only girl on all-guys hockey teams from age six through her college years, Coreene Callahan knows a thing or two about tough guys and loves to write about them. Call it kismet. Call it payback after years of locker room talk and ice rink antics. But whatever you call it, the action better be heart stopping, the magic electric, and the story wicked good fun.

After graduating with honors in psychology and working as an interior designer, Callahan finally succumbed to her overactive imagination and returned to her first love: writing. And when she’s not writing, she is dreaming of magical worlds full of dragon-shifters, elite assassins, and romance that’s too hot to handle. Callahan currently lives in Canada with her family and her writing buddy, a fun-loving golden retriever.

Jenn’s Review:

Dragons, damsels and divisive clan wars, oh my! Coreene Callahan kicked this series off with a bang in Fury of Fire, Book 1 in the Dragonfury series.

This is one of those binge-buying Kindle books I picked up (embarrassingly, almost 3 years ago!), and dove into for a bit of a break from ARCs. I was most assuredly NOT disappointed. 

In this shape-shifter-slash-urban-fantasy-romance, Bastian knows he needs to find a human female to impregnate. He’s not keen on the idea; it rubs his moral compass the wrong way, as the birth will inevitably result in his partner’s death. 

Myst stumbles into the middle of a wild, action packed battle between Bastian’s clan and their bitter rivals, and in the end, she’s literally swept off to Bastian’s stronghold in the mountains above Seattle because she refuses to relinquish the baby she delivered just before the battle.

The plot is engaging, the characters well developed and the world-building is mostly believable. This book should be on your to-be-read list if you are a fan of shape-shifter romance.

Fury of Fire by Coreene Callahan - Urban Fantasy/Shapeshifter Romance - review by Jenn on the Thrice Read Books review blog.

Buy the book:

This book is available from Amazon in Kindle, paperback, audiobook and MP3 CD formats here. [affiliate link]

Spirit Animals: Book 1: Wild Born

Fun book.  Great for upper elementary school to middle school.  The book flows great but may be to easy for more challenged readers of age bracket.  This is book 1 to a series. There is a code so your child or children can play the online game unlocking their own spirit animals.  Fun read at any age.  Great book for 4th and 5th graders to sink deeper into book reports with, as they will want to read the book and share what they read, as they find their favorite of the spirit animals talked about.

You can buy a used copy of this book here.

Song of the Sparrow – Book Review

About the book:

“The year is 490 AD.  Fiery 16-year-old Elaine of Ascolat,  the daughter of one of King Arthur’s supporters,  lives with her father on Arthur’s base camp,  the sole girl in a militaristic world of men. Elaine’s only girl companion is the mysterious Morgan, Arthur’s older sister, but Elaine cannot tell Morgan her deepest secret: She is in love with Lancelot, Arthur’s second-in-command. However, when yet another girl — the lovely Gwynivere– joins their world, Elaine is confronted with startling emotions of jealousy and rivalry. But can her love for Lancelot survive the birth of an empire? (From amazon.com’s product listing)

Jenn’s Review:

I read this book myself a few years ago, and fell in love with the long-poem form of it. The author did an amazing job of recreating King Arthur’s court and imagining subtle side currents to the main story that most of us have come to know so well. Well written and engaging. I would rate this a high middle-school level, and let my 11 year old read it recently as she was exploring epic poetry style writing, and she loved it.

Thrice Read Books has a hardcover edition of this book for sale here.

You can also buy this book from Amazon in Kindle, hardcover or paperback edition here. [affiliate link]

Cupcakes, Trinkets and Other Deadly Magic – Book Review

What happens when you mix a mediocre witch, her foster sister, a necromancer, a vampire and a clan of werewolves? Mischief, mayhem, and murder ensue when a vampire shows up at Jade Godfrey’s Vancouver cupcake bakery, investigating a series of bloody… erm… bloodless, rather… murders of magic-wielders.

Jade is the vampire investigator’s primary suspect, yet he knows that she isn’t the one murdering the shape-shifters. Jade doesn’t know what to think of the whole situation, as she resists the idea of her hand-made trinkets, little collections of discarded objects strung together, containing enough magic to bring down some of the Adept community’s biggest and baddest.

During the days that follow the vampire’s appearance at her door, Jade learns that the bland history of her own life has been a web of lies and deceptions, that all she’s believed about herself all along has been an illusion. And the sister that she’s always trusted, is the most dangerous lie of all.

Cupcakes, Trinkets and Other Deadly Magic is the first in the Magic Dowser series by Meghan Ciana Doidge. Ms. Doidge’s story telling is as addictive as her character’s delicious sounding cupcakes.

You can purchase this book in Kindle, audiobook or paperback through Amazon here. [affiliate link]

StoneKing – Review

About the book:

StoneKing by Donna Migliaccio February 20, 2018

Fantasy The Gemeta Stone Book 3

Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC

They call him StoneKing: the lord of four countries, the vanquisher of the Wichelord Daazna, the man who will restore his people to prosperity and peace.

But there is no peace for Kristan Gemeta. Already weighed down by the cares of his new realm, Kristan carries a secret burden – the knowledge that Daazna is not dead. He isolates himself in his ruined castle in Fandrall, where he struggles to control the destructive Tabi’a power that may be his only hope of defeating the Wichelord once and for all.

And there’s trouble elsewhere in his realm. His Reaches are squabbling in Dyer, Melissa and Nigel are experiencing heartache in Norwinn, and Heather’s command in Hogia is in jeopardy. Unaware of this turmoil, Kristan receives an unexpected gift – one that forces him, his knights, an inexperienced squire and a crafty young shape-shifter into a hazardous winter journey.

Buy Links:

Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble  ~  Kobo ~  iBooks

About the Author:

Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres.  She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker.  Her award-winning short story, “Yaa & The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.  

Social Media: 

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Pinterest

Jenn’s review: 

ARGH! I just finished reading StoneKing by Donna Migliaccio, and WOW!

If you haven’t yet read the first two books in the Gemeta Stone series, start with KingletFiskur can be read on its own, and a reader can still get the gist of what’s happened, but I wouldn’t recommend starting this series at book 3 by any means (I’m sure it could stand alone in a pinch, but so many threads from previous books have been pulled into play that it would be a challenge, or a reader might miss far too much of what’s going on).

All those warnings aside, StoneKing is a breathtakingly beautiful work of art. Ms. Migliaccio again writes stunning scenes with an economy of words. Well-rounded and sympathetic characters. I had to put the book down for a few days because of a migraine – usually I can read, despite everything else, but the settings and emotions Ms. Migliaccio writes pulled me in so deeply that the main character’s struggles only enhanced my own problems.

Absolutely nothing is going right for poor Kristan Gemeta. What started as an ill-fated and precipitous visit from a neighboring princess turns into an enlightening adventure, each new stop revealing more and more how poorly things are going for the young king. While everyone (mostly) has good intentions, things are falling apart fast around Kristan, and he’s wedged into tighter and tighter corners as he tries to straighten it all out.

By around the 3/4 progress mark, I was staggering from the plot twists. Book 3 is the antithesis of all of Kristan’s triumph of book 2. Kristan may be the king, but Murphy’s Law reigns supreme in the StoneKing’s lands.

I’ll have to tease the release date for book four out of my contacts, because… the last page. What can I say? I’m already looking forward to it, and my to-be-read pile is already enormous. This is definitely a YA rating (Sam’s 12, and usually reads YA fiction, but I’ve held her off of this series because of some limited content). While this book isn’t as violent as its predecessors in the series, war forces people to make tough choices, and as things settle down, those choices come to light in sometimes brutal or vulgar ways.

In short, Ms. Migliaccio’s writing will pull you in, drag you under, and hold you in Kirstan’s scarred and uncomfortable skin throughout the pages of this book, and will have you begging for more when you finally reach the last page.

Check out the reviews for the previous books in the series: 

Kinglet

Fiskur