"THE GIRL IN THE RED HOOD has been looking for her mother for six months, searching from the depths of New York's subways to the heights of its skyscrapers . . .
"THE PRINCE looks like he's from another time entirely, or maybe he's just too good at his job at Ye Old Renaissance Faire . . .
"THE ACTRESS is lighting up Hollywood Boulevard with her spellbinding and strikingly convincing portrayal of a famous fairy. Her name may be big, but her secrets barely fit in one world . . .
"Fifteen-year-old Crescenzo never would have believed his father's carvings were anything more than "stupid toys." All he knows is a boring life in an ordinary Virginia suburb, from which his mother and his best friend have been missing for years. When his father disappears next, all Crescenzo has left is his goofy neighbor, Pietro, who believes he's really Peter Pan and that Crescenzo is the son of Pinocchio. What's more: Pietro insists that they can find their loved ones by looking to the strange collection of wooden figurines Crescenzo's father left behind." (From provided synopsis)
I would like to thank Blaze Publishing for providing this book for review considerations. This in no way created an obligation to provide a review or the nature of any review given.
With Pietro's help, Crescenzo sets off on an adventure to unite the real life counterparts to his figurines. It's enough of a shock that they're actually real, but the night he meets the Girl in the Red Hood, dark truths burst from the past. Suddenly, Crescenzo is tangled in a nightmare where magic mirrors and evil queens rule, and where everyone he loves is running out of time.
This was a fun read and an interesting derivation of classical fairy tales. I was surprised when I read the synopsis, because the title The Carver gave me the impression that it would be a horror novel. It is certainly not. If you have already read this far into the review, you probably already knew this.
The adventure and the environments were, respectively, engaging and rich. The settings range across realms and change which characters are being followed. The transitions are fairly smooth.
Much credit has to be given to thorough editing. Only a couple typos were noticed. This is always welcome as such errors can become a distraction.
While many of the characters had secrets, which unfold throughout the story, they often seemed to lack a depth that they could have otherwise easily possessed. They certainly were fun, but they story seems to have the plot bear the burden of driving the interest. Without a solid development, I found myself viewing the tragedies and betrayals from the same objective distance as reading a stranger's obituary. To be fair, lively character dynamics can also be seen as drama. Also, the characters are not without appeal. It just took a while to become sufficiently interested in their adventure.
This review has been particularly difficult to write because I genuinely like it, but there are aspects that leave it wanting. Defining exactly what that is challenging. I can only think of the following analogy: It was like a baby bird taking its first plunge from the nest. It beats its wings furiously, but lacked coordination. Half way through the fall it gained a sense of rhythm and began to fly. I breathed a sigh of relief as it narrowly escaped the approaching ground. I believe in this bird! Its first flight may have been rocky, but I anticipate its future success. This is why I am looking forward to the release of the sequel The Ivory Queen on January 10, 2017.
I would recommend this fantasy for younger readers.
About the author (from author's page)
When Jacob Devlin was four years old, he would lounge around in Batman pajamas and make semi-autobiographical picture books about an adventurous python named Jake the Snake.
Now he writes not-so-autobiographical novels about everything from small-town acoustic guitar heroes to the son of Pinocchio and his journey through a big world. He is the author of The Carver, a YA fantasy novel published by Blaze Publishing, LLC.
Be sure to browse the site for information about his books and extra goodies related to the worlds he’s created! His characters are known to pop in and play on his blog quite frequently, and his muse sometimes hangs out here and likes to give away presents. Happy reading!
From book 1: “A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond...
“The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.
“Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all--the Crown Prince Aldrik--she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she's known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she's always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla's indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.”
What a ride! I have to say that I am entirely grateful that this series was complete before I began reading it. My consumption of the story had bordered on compulsive, but it was a good thing. I can easily understand how this series has captivated the love of many.
It was easy to become attached to the protagonist, Vhalla. It seemed like she, and her group, could never catch a break. So much hope and heartbreak was spun into the series as Vhalla found herself carried by the whims of the wind. That is until she learns the be the force which guides the fates of men.
While the background is predominately supported by internal dialog, it is not used to the point of excess. That is, the character’s thoughts are subtle in that they do not overtly explain to the reader. The physical scenes were adequately developed but I would have preferred a little more imagery. These things aside, I was carried through the pages as I followed the characters.
Overall, a great series for readers that enjoy heartfelt tales in speculative fiction and heroic adventures.
About the Author
Elise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she is not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She is the author of the Air Awakens Series as well as the upcoming Loom Saga (Keymaster, 2017).
In a world divided between the Hunters and the Warriors, the prisoners who have fallen prey to King Cyrus's decrees are forced into the arena to fight until death. The winner is granted mercy and the privilege to see another sunrise–for the loser, it’s death unto the weak.
Seventeen year-old Princess Echo races towards freedom to find out who she really is, and to put a world that has been swallowed by lies back together again.
And then there’s Ayden. His very existence as a Hunter is forbidden, and with his otherworldly, violet eyes Echo is finding it hard to stay away from him. When death threatens their forbidden love Echo and Ayden are forced to do the unthinkable–how far will they go to be together?
Many thanks to Nadège Richards and Permuted Press for providing a review copy of this book.
In the reading of Burning Bridges I found myself pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I say this because I had already formed a preconceived notion of it. Richards had told me that Burning Bridges was her early work, and disclosed the fact that she felt that it was naïve and not her best. Regardless of this, I moved forward with reading it. While I recognize much of what she meant, I still find the story to be compelling. It captured my attention for reasons I can't seem to appropriately articulate. I intend to read the rest of the series. I am excited to both: see how the journey continues, and witness Richards' metamorphosis as a writer and young woman.
One may wonder how I could expect to see an author's personal growth through their writings. In this book, the author's voice is present in an almost resonant way. The narrative offers subtle reflections on personal issues such as transitions into adulthood, and universal concepts like autonomy versus governance. I anticipate this voice to become clearer and more sophisticated as the series progresses. And I couldn't be more excited.
The characters do not merely serve as a platform for the author's voice, however. Each behaves in a manner that is appropriate to their age and circumstance. Even characters which at first sight appear to be depth-less, turn out to have deeper modes and motivations. The dynamic between the characters is used well to emulate, in the reader, the range of emotions the principal characters experience. A favorite example of this is the confusion about the Queen's mercurial behavior toward her daughter.
The pacing is good, and the narrative hooks are well formed and placed. I found myself easily driven toward the end. The transitions are only awkward in a couple places. This is mostly an editing issue as it is due to incorrect announcement of which first person voice is being used.
For being traditionally published, I was surprised at the number and types of editing issues I found. In addition to the one type already mentioned, there are also quotation marks on non-dialog segments and simple typos. In an overall balance against the positive aspects, it is still a good story. It is strong enough to carry a reader beyond the distractions.
About the author (from author's page)
Nadège Richards is the author of the Bleeding Heart Trilogy and
currently attends college for her BA in journalism. Her name is of French
origin, though she's never been to France. She wrote her first novel about
aliens and goats in the 8th grade and has had a passion for story-telling ever since.
Her friends and family are her biggest inspiration, and the occasional cup of tea.
When not reading and writing obsessively, she's usually found studying, social networking, or at home with her family in sunny Pennsylvania.
I love books! For most of my life I have been reading them, and giving my insights to friends and family. This blog is for sharing that passion with the many others that love books too.