Because this post ties in so well with some of what I have been digging up in my study of Joshua, be sure to check out Andrea’s post about taking action in response to prophecy, as well as the many other excellent posts about prophecy on her blog.
Title: Into the Shadow Wood (A Wind Rider Chronicles Novella)
Author: Allison D. Reid
Genre: Christian Fantasy
Publisher: Allison D. Reid
Pages: 90 (eBook)
Blurb: Once a proud member of the Sovereign’s prestigious personal guard, Einar has lost everything: his home, his Sovereign, and his purpose. Most of his closest friends have either been killed in battle or executed. His friend Nevon died trying to fulfill a dangerous oath…one that Einar disagreed with, but now feels honor-bound to take up in his stead. The quest plunges Einar into the depths of the dark and twisted Shadow Wood, testing the limits of his strength, his beliefs, and his sanity. What he finds in the Wood is far more ominous than anything he’d expected. If he’s not careful, Nevon’s fate might end up being his own.
My Take: I absolutely loved Journey to Aviad, the first book in Allison’s Wind Rider Chronicles. When I learned she was writing a novella that takes place at the same time as some of the events toward the end of Journey to Aviad, I knew I had to read it. Journey to Aviad was easily one of the five best books I’ve read this year, and somehow this short novella surpassed even that book. That in itself is among the highest praise I can heap upon “Into the Shadow Wood”.
This novella follows Einar, a character who played a major role early on in Journey to Aviad and who, I understand, does not appear in the sequel to that book. But he had a story to tell, which appears here and is absolutely fantastic. The world building and scene-setting that Allison excels at is present here in this novella. The Shadow Wood feels like a character in itself, exerting its sinister will upon the minds of the men traveling deep into its depths. The supporting cast with Einar, his companion Alaric and his commander Godwin, are both memorable characters in their own right. I loved Godwin’s deeply rooted faith and how it interacted with Einar’s skepticism. That interplay stood out as one of highlights of this novella and helped make Einar a dynamic character throughout this novella.
The one major criticism I had about Journey to Aviad was the lack of action, where it seemed like the girls were being swept along by events rather than taking control and making decisions. That certainly was not the case with this book, which is packed with action during the exploration of the Shadow Wood and then the major battle that takes place near the end. I loved how the events in this overlap with one of the events near the end of Journey to Aviad, providing that continuity and firmly placing the timing of this book into the Wind Riders chronology.
Overall this was a great read and a steal at the price. I’m very much looking forward to getting a chance to pick up the second book in Allison’s series and have a feeling that one will be wonderful as well. She has shown her ability to masterfully craft a living and vibrant world and to create characters who are dynamic in growth and are enjoyable to follow on their journeys. I cannot recommend this book, or Journey to Aviad, enough. If you enjoy fantasy at all, or want to read books that are steeped in faith and mystery and wonder, you won’t want to miss these.
This week I came across a book that I’d honestly forgotten I owned. A treasure of information that speaks out to us from an elderly man living in France in the late 1300s. He married a girl who was 15—not an unusual practice in that era—and knowing she was young and inexperienced, wrote her a book of “moral and domestic instruction” to guide her. This was not only meant to benefit their marriage, but any others she might have in the future (considering she was likely to be widowed young), and for any others who might also read the book after his passing. It is called A Medieval Home Companion, and if you can get past the idea of an old man marrying a 15 year old, it is actually a very sweet book full of fascinating historic material. The husband touches on everything from prayer, to gardening, to…
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Kudos to Jamie over at Books and Beverages for selecting this book to read for her August discussion. Now that I have had a few weeks to let it all mull over since I finished, I thought it would be time to get my thoughts out in the form of a review. There are a few things I learned by reading this book:
- I will gladly read anything and everything Tolkien I can get my hands on and enjoy every minute of it. I pretty much already knew this, but going through this book confirmed things.
- The stories of the Third Age are not superior simply because those are entwined with the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Tolkien had a wealth of grand stories that took place long before those books, and some of them are possibly even better than the Lord of the Rings.
- I can’t get enough of Túrin Turambar, even though I just read The Children of Húrin and reread The Silmarillion last year.
If I had to pick out the three pieces in this book that I enjoyed the most, they would be “Of Tuor and his Coming to Gondolin”, “Narn i Hîn Húrin (The Tale of the Children of Húrin)”, and “Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner’s Wife”. While the pieces on Galadriel, the history between Gondor and Rohan, and Gandalf’s recounting how he convinced Thorin to take Bilbo and journey to reclaim Erebor were all fascinating, the three stories I mentioned all stole the show and I found myself wishing they all were longer.
Title: Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-Earth
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (9/19/2001)
Pages: 472 (Hardcover)
Blurb: A New York Times bestseller for twenty-one weeks upon publication, UNFINISHED TALES is a collection of narratives ranging in time from the Elder Days of Middle-earth to the end of the War of the Ring, and further relates events as told in THE SILMARILLION and THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
I could hardly write a better Scripture Saturday post than this post Andrea featured on her blog earlier this week. C.S. Lewis was a marvelous author and Christian!
I wanted to spend some time looking at Christian engagement in culture and the arts, and naturally, I turned to C. S. Lewis to see what he might have to say on the matter.
In his article, “Christianity and Culture,” he explores whether Christians ought to be involved in producing culture in the first place. In response to those who feel that art is the highest and best pursuit of life, he reviewed the New Testament and writes, “[on] the whole, the New Testament seemed, if not hostile, yet unmistakably cold to culture. I think we can still believe culture to be innocent after we have read the New Testament; I cannot see that we are encouraged to think it important.”
He adds that, “No one, presumably, is really maintaining that a fine taste in the arts is a condition of salvation. Yet the glory of God, and, as our only means to…
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Check out this thoughtful and well-written review for King of Ages: A King Arthur Anthology!
Let me get two things out of the way before I start this book review. First, I was given my copy of King of Ages: A King Arthur Anthology for free in exchange for an honest review. Second, I should have had this review up yesterday. A preschooler with serious hay fever issues and a water leak that turned out to be the condensation hose on my air conditioner leaking all down the front of my furnace.
Now down to business. King of Ages started as an open call anthology connected to the King Arthur legends, particularly the idea of Arthur being the Once and Future King. The first story starts out with that time’s version of Arthur trying to avert the ending of the known universe. Each of the following stories tell a tale of Arthur working backwards through time into the more traditional King Arthur story settings, and…
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“The time of the hunter is without idleness and without evil thoughts…hunters live in this world more joyfully than any other men. For when the hunter rises in the morning he sees a sweet and fair morn and clear weather and bright and he heareth the song of the small birds…and when the sun is arisen he shall see fresh dew on the small twigs and grasses.” – Edward of Norwich, from his book The Master of Game written in the early 1400s.
Last week’s post was about the pleasure gardens of the wealthy. Another leisure activity enjoyed by the well-to-do in summer was hunting. Aside from the practical aspect of supplying food, it had a dual purpose of providing sport and keeping men trained and fit for warfare. Hunting was not a spontaneous activity, but a social event, carefully planned and organized by servants. The most significant hunts were…
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There are times, as a writer, when nothing happens. You write stories, edit stories, reedit stories, submit stories, and get rejection after rejection. It can be a long and weary process to take things through traditional methods.
Last August I was lucky enough to have two things hit around the same time, a short story appearing in an issue of Mystic Signals and one appearing in the King of Ages: A King Arthur Anthology. The fall of 2016 is going to prove to be even more exciting, with my writing appearing in three different anthologies that are going to be releasing!
- After Avalon by 18th Wall Productions is planning to be released on August 12th, which is nearly a week away! I’m very excited about this one, which has stories based around this premise: King Arthur is dead. Camelot has fallen. Britain drowns in Saxons. These are the stories of what come after. My own story, “The Saga of Freydis Beastsbane”, is going to be a part of the anthology. You’ll enjoy the tale of Freydis, a young woman in Medieval Iceland who dreams of being a shieldmaiden, who embarks upon a quest to kill a frightful creature that has haunted her family for generations: the Questing Beast.
- Monsters by Bushmead Publishing is planning to be released on October 25th. This one has the following premise: What is a monster? Not all of them lurk under the bed. Some terrorize us conspicuously, in the light of day. The tyrannical boss forcing unpaid overtime on a Friday night? That debilitating anxiety holding you captive in your own room? The haunting whisper of self-doubt? Or perhaps it IS just a creature in the shadows, waiting to rend flesh from bone. This one has my long poem, “Taking Down Goliath”, which follows an unnamed female monster huntress as she wages war against two foes: one internal and one external.
- Pearls by Our Write Side is planning to be released sometime in October. This one is a collection of stories from the staff and contributors at Our Write Side and should have an excellent assortment of entertaining tales within those pages. My story in there is a thrilling Sci-Fi story that follows a young man, Ezekiel, who is flying a taxi shuttle to pay his way through the Lunar Academy. But on his first day he gets a passenger whose actions raise Ezekiel’s suspicions and leads to a memorable fare.
So there you have it, three anthologies coming out in the next few months that you’ll want to get your hands on because I have no doubt the other stories selected are excellent as well. I’m pretty excited to have those hit the market, and will keep you posted as each one gets released and perhaps even preview the covers, etc. as the time gets closer.
This morning, I was awoken to the sounds of saws and dump trucks as road construction continued just outside. And it got me thinking: if you could pick your neighbor, you should always go with a writer.
- Writers are quiet. When we’re building something, all you’re hear is a clatter (along with a few incoherent grumbles and the slurp of tea or coffee, perhaps). When we delete something, there’s a few clicks or the backspace button (followed by more grumbling and perhaps a few choice words that don’t belong in polite conversation). We won’t wake the neighborhood. In fact, if our creativity is very successful, we might not even venture outside the house.
- Writers are friendly. Sure, we might just be watching you, noting your mannerisms so we can use them in our next novel, but at least we’re interested in you, right?
- Writers are discreet. We know when to…
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