The Wolves of Midwinter

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fire Study Review

Flamed colored font has never been more appropriate for a book that's cover and title both reflect the theme of the third and last installment of Yelena's story. As a whole, Yelena has mightfully grown from a girl ravaged by the ghosts of her past to someone who holds her own and becomes the greatest hero within the story. Amazon reviews led me to believe that the ending was bound to greatly dissapoint any readers who loved either "Poison Study," and "Magic Study." Knowing this, I began reading the novel with greatly depreciated expectations. I trepidatiously flipped the pages and prepared myself for the ending that would not serve Yelena's story justice.

With bated breath, I carefully read each page, anxiously awaiting the one scene that would destroy any last hopes I had for a good ending. Towards page "50" or so, the anxiety dissipated and was replaced instead with excitement and deep interest with the direction of the story. Confounded, I continued to search for some remaint of the supposed element of the story that would greatly dissapoint the fervid readers of the Study series.

In it's place, I found myself becoming wrapped up in Yelena's internal struggle and I developed an intense fascination with seeking out the characters who may be potential traitors. Even with my sured hypothesis's, Maria V. Snyder's narratives still caught me by suprise with the relevations within this novel. At the end, I literally yelled "What?" aloud when I happened onto the novel's most pivotal revelation that reveals to us the main plot which began within "Magic Study." All throughout, I never found anything that was contrively developed and nothing detracted from the high opinion I hold for Maria V. Snyder's writing.

Surely, I am within the minority here, but I found "Fire Study," with it's quick pace and compelling plot to be better than "Magic Study." Poison Study," will always keep the top spot because it was my introduction within this well crafted universe with meticulously sketched characters. Even with the story's political intrigue and plot surrounding soul collection; the story's principally about Yelena's growth into an assured young woman whose male peers marvel her individual strength rather than feel inhibited by it.

Anyone whose faced tragedy early in the lives can relate to and be empowered by Yelena's story. Those who have encountered abuse on varying levels easily can gain strength from Yelena's ability to forgive what befell her within her past. Instead of becoming trampled by that pain, she seeks out strength to rectify the things within her present that she was not able to within her past. Yelena's, not a mere character, but a female character filled with innumerable dimensions. Her insecurities are familiar to us and the strength she discovers within a given situation is not an example of deux ex machina but the natural responce to a perilous situation.

I've begun reading "Storm Glass" already and hope to begin reading "Sea Glass," within a matter of weeks. Maria V. Snyder's series, compared with many other series, combines action and great characters. She has the ability to immerse her readers within a world that no individual wishes to escape. She entreats us with a plot that's filled with many unexpected occurences and nuances. If you are seeking a Christmas gift for any reader whose been begging for an adventurous story filled with characters as finely crafted as Buffy's; I encourage you to check out this series.

To Maria V. Snyder, thanks for helping me develop new friendships with characters I wish weren't fettered to the pages of your books.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Curse of the Spider King:The Berinfell Chronicles Book 1

About the Book:

The Seven succeeding Elven Lords of Allyra were dead, lost in the Siege of Berinfell as babes. At least that’s what everyone thought until tremors from a distant world known as Earth, revealed strange signs that Elven blood lived among its peoples. With a glimmer of hope in their hearts, sentinels are sent to see if the signs are true. But theirs is not a lone errand. The ruling warlord of Allyra, the Spider King, has sent his own scouts to hunt down the Seven and finish the job they failed to complete many ages ago.

Now 13-year-olds on the brink of the Age of Reckoning when their Elven gifts will be manifest, discover the unthinkable truth that their adoptive families are not their only kin. With mysterious Sentinels revealing breathtaking secrets of the past, and dark strangers haunting their every move, will the young Elf Lords find the way back to the home of their birth? Worlds and races collide as the forces of good and evil battle. Will anyone escape the Curse of the Spider King?

Personal Note:Glancing through my archive of past reviews, I've noticed my extended absence from the blog sphere. I attribute that to an increased workload at college, work upon my novel, attempts at reading four or five books simultaneously, and the job at the library. The latter really causes no disruption in my schedule except it does exert my energy before day's end.


Co-authorship typically lends to helping an inept writer write adeptly with the aid of an author who possesses more skill . Wayne Batson and Christopher Hopper are both great writers though and have no need to use one another as a crutch to provide a good story. So based on that tidbit of information, gathered from reading both their series; I had very high expectations for this series. Overall, those high expectations were met and exceeded. While there were some slight faults that caused me to wonder if my high expectations were too "high." I was very expectant of a few faults, seeing as no writer has completely perfected their craft.

"Curse of the Spider King" begins with a plethora of different perspectives, each one provides a new angle and in this case, new beginning for this planned trilogy. Right from the start, I pinpointed the characters whom I thought were crafted by either Wayne Batson and Christopher Hopper. One of my favorite characters happens to have a personality, similar to Antionette's. Though her disorder is one distinct difference from the character equivalent from the Door Within Trilogy. Luckily, some of the other characters prove to be different than the characters of either author's former series. Most would not recognize this because they are either unfamiliar with their other series or are not burdened (or gifted)with scrupulosity.

Similar to Door Within, an archaic text presents character or characters with a universe that has a slew of problems. These individuals, once unknown to this destiny, now found themselves thrown within this universe and discover they must aid in vanquishing the malevolent forces that the forces of good are grappling with.The factor that helps this series separate itself from the Door Within are the various chapters written from the perspectives of the various protagonists represented within the novel. Unlike the Door Within or even Christopher Hopper's series, the reader's granted the opportunity of seeing a story through the lenses of five different individuals which gives the reader a sense of realism. Additionally, it helps us to understand the motives of different characters and understand their reasoning for making certain choices. From a first person perspective or third person omniscient perspective, we are limited to one character's thoughts and we become biased due to the character's offer of opinions about a particular character's choices or attributes.

Admittedly, some of the perspectives were weaker than others and sometimes I found myself wishing to finish that character's perspective in order to resume reading another character's perspective. This fault might be due to my personal preference for a certain character and may not be due to the writing which throughout was concise and greatly detailed. Besides weaker perspectives, I found myself skimming through some of the earlier fight scenes in the novel due to their predictability. For some reason, I felt I had foreknowledge of what would inevitably occur which caused me to feel slightly bored with these scenes. Wayne Batson and Christopher Hopper later remedy this problem with their expertly written fighting scenes with the principal cast of characters and luckily both suspense and thrills are injected into these scenes. Again, those fighting scenes may have been tiresome to me since I have read a multitude of different fantasy novels and am very knowledgeable of the progression of events within these types of passages within fantasy series.

Even with the previous paragraph of negativity, I found this novel to be enthralling and well written. While I was reading this novel, it was easy to note certain sections that really showed how meticulous both these writers were with writing this novel. Nothing within the pages of this book felt unnecessary and every page of this book bolstered the story and helped me to form friendships with the characters. Hopefully, the next installment in this series is released within a year's time as both authors have helped in creating a highly addicting fantasy trilogy.

Thank you Wayne Batson and Christopher Hopper for diverting my attention from my college work and causing me to nearly miss my train stop last month!

Related Song:

Due to the popularity of posting related songs with my books reviews; I've decided to incorporate a song within this review. From reading some of my past reviews, some of you are aware of my obsession with the Dutch band, Within Temptation. If you haven't listened to any of their songs, here's your opportunity. The below video is their performance of "Our Solemn Hour," a song whose lyrics greatly reflects the battle chronicled within the archaic text the heroes of this story are presented with.

If you're interested in learning more information about this wildly creative, bombastic band, check out either their site or my self penned article (printed in my college's newspaper)."> Brandon Barr"> Justin Boyer"> Amy Browning"> Valerie Comer"> Amy Cruson"> CSFF Blog Tour"> Stacey Dale"> D. G. D. Davidson"> Shane Deal"> Jeff Draper"> Emmalyn Edwards"> April Erwin"> Karina Fabian"> Todd Michael Greene"> Ryan Heart"> Timothy Hicks"> Becky Jesse"> Cris Jesse"> Jason Joyner"> Julie"> Carol Keen"> Krystine Kercher"> Tina Kulesa"> Melissa Lockcuff"> Rebecca LuElla Miller"> Mirtika"> Nissa"> John W. Otte"> Cara Powers"> Chawna Schroeder"> James Somers"> Speculative Faith"> Robert Treskillard"> Fred Warren"> Jason Waguespac"> Phyllis Wheeler"> Jill Williamson"> KM Wilsher