Into the Icebound
Summary From Goodreads:
In the fourth “Accidental Sorcerers” story, Sura, Mik, and Bailar set sail for the Northern Reach, with Lord Darin in pursuit. Their journey is anything but smooth, with storms, raiders, and the prince of Westmarch standing in the way.
Joining an expedition to the ruins of Isenbund, Bailar disappears in the night. Now, Mik and Sura must help rescue their mentor from a legendary foe thought long extinct.
It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!
Into the Icebound, the fourth book in the Accidental Sorcerers series, is a fun and easy YA read that could even appeal to MG audiences. This continuation of the exciting fantasy series that I have come to enjoy incorporates a few more classic elements, including goblins and northerners that might as well be cut-outs of vikings or Norse mythology.
Another enjoyable change from previous entries in the series is that it has far more action in it and doesn’t focus as much on the romance. While I like the pairing of Mik and Sura just fine, Into the Icebound is certainly the most entertaining read because of that change.
Displays of magic are plentiful, adventures are undertaken, and history is told in a grand fashion, but in such a way that even younger readers will enjoy. What makes Into the Icebound stand apart the most, however, is that the danger factor is cranked up a few notches. Where as in the first books in the series it felt like the characters were invincible, here this is not nearly the case as many of them encounter real threats to their lives. It isn’t that I want to see Mik or Sura hurt, but having godlike main characters isn’t desirable either, and Kollar manages to balance that aspect the best in this entry to the series.
If you enjoy sorcery, young love (in moderate doses and not graphic), great adventures, and/or great MG/YA style storytelling then this series, and this book especially, is one I’d recommend. You can pick it up on Amazon for a mere dollar here, it’s well worth your time and a fast read to boot. Thanks as always for reading.
Killing My Kindle
For 2014 I am tackling my Kindle app in an effort to make a dent in the large library of often forgotten eBooks. Every week I will talk about an eBook I read, be it good or bad, so that I can stay motivated and share some of it with you.
This week I took a stab at: The Sorcerer’s Daughter by Larry Kollar
Released On: December 10th, 2013
Summary From Goodreads:
In the third “Accidental Sorcerer’s” story, as Bailar and his apprentices help the Conclave prepare for conflict with the rogue sorcerers, Sura learns that she is a descendant of a noble House in the Alliance. But when she discovers the price of her history, it may be too late.
The Sorcerer’s Daughter is, by far, the best book in this magical series to date. Picking up right where Water and Chaos left off, Sura and Mik continue to learn more about magic and their abilities to control under the tutelage of their master Bailar. While there is some back and forth between the views of the two apprentices, this is Sura’s story, especially in the second half of the short but exciting adventure. After seeing things from Mik’s perspective in Water and Chaos, I’d say that I prefer things told from Sura’s point of view. There is more feeling, emotion, and passion behind her voice and the story is strengthened because of it. Kollar makes us feel what she is experiencing and, to me, this is his strongest piece from a writing standpoint as well.
The relationship between the two young sorcerers isn’t as central to the story, something for which I was very grateful, and that allowed the magic to be the focus. Spells using all elements, sometimes mixing them to create something even more powerful, and displays that were exciting and often rather humorous are spread throughout the book.
What sets The Sorcerer’s Daughter, and indeed the Accidental Sorcerers series as a whole, apart from other magical series is that the spells aren’t designed to just inflict damage against enemies or even to just protect yourself. In this series every spell has multiple purposes and uses, and often the initial intent behind them is peaceful in nature, but these sorcerer’s find creative ways to make them combative. It’s a nice departure from the never ending stream of books filled with fireballs and earthquakes.
The story is split into two halves, initially learning and teaching new spells that will be useful later on at the Conclave, and then with Sura having an adventure on her own as she learns about her history and what her life could be like if she desires for nobility. Both are equally entertaining, and the pacing is perfect. The personality of the other apprentices in the first half as well as the nobles and servants in the second helped to keep the mood light and kept me laughing. The cast overall was the strongest it has been in the series and I really enjoyed meeting some new people that I imagine will be returning in the forth book, Into the Icebound.
I’m really looking forward to experiencing more of the world Kollar has created and seeing what new spells he comes up with. This is a really light and easy read for fans of MG or YA fantasy and it’s only a dollar on Amazon if you want to check it out. I’m so happy I started the year off on a high note as this was the first book I read for my challenge and it makes me hopeful as I work my way through my Kindle app that this will be a fun feature to do each week. Thanks as always for reading!
Water and Chaos
Summary From Goodreads:
Infiltrating a nest of rogue sorcerers can be hazardous… to your heart.
Mik and Sura are growing ever stronger as apprentice sorcerers, but neither knew what living in Mik’s hometown would do to their relationship. Torn apart by misunderstanding, Mik volunteers for a hazardous mission in a distant land. Now Sura must learn to trust, and Mik must learn the true meaning of home.
I received an eBook copy of Water and Chaos from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Water and Chaos was released today! If you’d like to pick up a copy you can do so here.
Water and Chaos picks up right where Accidental Sorcerers left off. Mik and Sura are training to hone their powers while blossoming as a young couple. Then we are plunged in a series of adventures each of which seem more perilous than the last. Sounds cool right?
Here’s what I realized after finishing Water and Chaos, this series is, at least to me, romance with fantasy elements. I don’t think that is what I expected when I was introduced to the series, but the transition from Accidental Sorcerers (mostly fantasy but with romance intertwined) to Water and Chaos (romance abound with magical happenings around it) seems to lend itself to that type of series going forward. Also in my review of Accidental Sorcerers I mentioned that I thought AS was more Middle Grade than YA. Well Water and Chaos moves more into the younger YA range so it appears that as the MC ages (13 in Book 1, 14 in Book 2) the audience and corresponding writing styles go with it. Nothing is wrong with any of these adjustments in perspective, just some guidelines to go by.
Mik continues to be a very strong MC. He’s likable, he’s got a good sense of humor and he’s an all around good guy, easy to root for. Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t perfect as we find out in this book, but he’s a solid model of goodness in most cases. Possibly my favorite change from AS to W&C is the edge Mik develops. I can’t say why without spoilers but it breathes some life into his character to keep him from being a cliche.
Sura, on the other hand, becomes a whiner prone to fits of jealousy. She can’t handle even the hint of competition for Mik regardless of what he says to reassure her and even goes over the top at one point despite everyone around her assuring her she is seeing things that aren’t there. She pouts, she’s moody, she just bugged me. Worst of all the reader is stuck watching Mik deal with all of her crap, none of which he deserves. Not a fan.
I highly doubt it had anything to do with what I said in my review of AS, but Kollar incorporated the previously mentioned relationship issues just like I hoped for. It did work in the sense of providing some needed conflict between the lovebirds, though not all of the side affects of that were desirable as I pointed out. What I didn’t expect was that the conflict in their relationship would push the rest of the plot and mightily influence it to boot. It shows in the initial adventure to Mik’s hometown and in the one to “distant lands” even more so. What the book lacked though was action. I made a comment on Twitter while reading that 25% of the way through the book “the main action point has been chasing cows…admittedly with magic but still” and it didn’t get much crazier. Oh sure there was some minor skirmishes and displays of magic, enough to keep the book a “fantasy” and not bordering on some type of contemporary. However, there weren’t any “shock and awe” type of moments or large displays of magic to really excite the reader. That didn’t hinder the story, but it definitely changed the feel.
The world building is the shining success of the Accidental Sorcerers series. Kollar gives depth to his characters and the areas of the world they came from. There are different languages, ancestries, cultures, and everything else you could ask for. The landscapes come to life, spiny mountains, winding rivers and a certain narrow isle are described in beautiful detail. Between the diverse societies each with their own unique culture, the amazing lands and seas to discover and the in depth character development Kollar makes you want to read on and learn more, this is where the drive is to read the next book in the series each time.
Overall Water and Chaos is a good book with a character flaw, it’s human and there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that. It isn’t an action filled book and Sura could have done with an attitude adjustment in a major way. However, the romance is typical of young teenagers, the ups and downs are to be expected. The world Kollar creates is remarkably well done and I know in the next book I will enjoy exploring it along with a very solid MC in Mik, one with an edge to him that I really appreciate being added. I look forward to the next book and maybe a bit more magic and awe than romance, but we shall see! Thanks as always for reading!
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #103/200
Summary From Goodreads:
Invaders just across the river. A powerful spell hidden in a child’s rhyme. When an untrained boy awakens an ice dragon to protect his village, and lives to tell the tale, not even the Conclave of Sorcerers can predict what happens next.
Accidental Sorcerers brings to life an unforgettable tale of love and loyalty in the world of Termag. Feel the magic!
I received an eBook copy of Accidental Sorcerers by Larry Kollar in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinions or review in any way.
A promising start to a series, Accidental Sorcerers combines magic, dragons and young love in a short and sweet package. While Accidental Sorcerers is novella-length, there is definite room for potential growth of the characters and some solid foundations already in place. More expounding on the dragons themselves, while not a must, would really enrich the series, but we will have to wait and see where Kollar wants to take his young characters.
Mik, the main character, embodies what it is like to be an adventurous young man, lacking reservations of any sort and diving head-first into possible trouble regardless of the consequences. In this case it is his approaching of the ice dragon where he is lucky to be left alive at all. Mik continues to encounter the usual “revelations” about both himself (look mom, I’ve got magic!) and the world. He seems a bit simple minded, but he’s an honest character and easy to get behind and root for. Sura, a sorcerer’s apprentice is a little fireball of a young woman. She’s feisty, devoted and a bit overzealous at times which make her all the more endearing, and as we are continually reminded, she’s quite the pretty one to boot.
Which brings me to the romance of Accidental Sorcerers. I’ve never been one to just go along with insta-love or anything close to it, and sadly this is another case of that irritating tendency. Right when they first meet they’re practically smitten with each other, at minimum on Mik’s part but probably for both, and that’s just grating on the nerves. No development of feelings, no getting to know each other first, just “Oh you’re pretty and magical like me let’s become lovey-dovey”. *sigh* Moving on…
The writing, while simplistic in parts, is solid. The target audience seems to be in the middle-grade to low teens range which would make the style fitting, however if the target is the YA fantasy crowd as a whole then I’m not sure it quite hits the mark. Now that the foundation has been put down the next piece might be more complex and more rich in detail, but we’ll have to wait and see. The story is a nice one, honesty and bravery with a bit of love thrown in can conquer all evils, it’s classic but it works.
I look forward to reading the next piece and to seeing how Kollar approaches it stylistically. The characters are good but if they are fleshed out more and given some edge they could be taken to a new level. Since the insta-love is already in place, maybe giving the lovebirds something to break them apart and test their bond would be a nice touch. Just some thoughts. Anyhow, thanks for reading and come back tomorrow for Day 48!