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Reviews: The Moon Casts a Spell

At Amazon:

“The beautiful and mysterious cover of ‘The Moon casts a spell’ perfectly illustrates the events of this subtle book, the fourth episode of Rebecca Lochlann’s powerful love story, ‘The Child of the Erinyes’. Three lovers reincarnate, drawn together by the emotional tangle that binds them. Unfortunately, hatred sustains another protagonist who pursues the lovers across the centuries, bringing destruction and death.”teaser mcas wordpress resize

“Superbly written with compelling characters, this novella is my favorite, so far, in The Child of Erinyes series.”

Read all the reviews

Reviews: In the Moon of Asterion

Booksquawk, January 1, 2014, in which In the Moon of Asterion was named, “Squawk of the Year.”

Melissa Conway: In the Moon of Asterion is the third in her excellent Child of the Erinyes series. In my original review of it here on Booksquawk, I wrote, “as a reader, I was captivated, caught up in a boiling whirlpool pulling me toward the inevitable conclusion.” It would be well worth your while to add this historical fantasy fiction to your TBR pile.

It’s difficult to write a review for the third book in a series without touching on plot points in the first two that would amount to spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read them. But if you have read them (and you really should), you’ll understand why I’ve excerpted the following from dictionary.com:

Tragedy [traj-i-dee], noun. A dramatic composition, often in verse, dealing with a serious or somber theme, typically that of a great person destined through a flaw of character or conflict with some overpowering force, as fate or society, to downfall or destruction.

In The Moon of Asterion may be the grand finale of The Child of the Erinyes trilogy, but as the author points out in the blurb for the first book, “What seems the end is only the beginning.”

The mythological Erinyes are more commonly known as Furies; goddesses of the earth, the incarnation of vengeance on those who have sworn false oaths. From the name of the series alone we expect to read of classically tragic, legendary matters – and Lochlann does not disappoint. However, as it turns out, the scope of the legend is grander than a single trilogy can portray. The first trilogy is set in the Bronze Age, but it’s the first in a series, or perhaps the better description would be to call it a saga that continues through time – eventually to the present day.

In the first three books, our main players are known as Aridela, princess of Crete; Chrysaleon, son of the High King of Mycenae; and Menoetius, his bastard brother. The complicated relationship between them is not that of a mere love triangle – no, the nature of the bond between the brothers makes their situation uniquely bleak, with a divine twist of epic proportions.

Themiste, the prophetess whose job it has been to interpret her own visions and those of others, is given hints throughout the narrative from the goddess Athene regarding the importance of this bond:

Aridela told me she looked first at Menoetius then Chrysaleon, and for one strange instant, she said they merged into each other, and wore each other’s faces. Then the voice said more.

“I have split one into two. Mortal men have burned my shrines and pulled down my statues. Their arrogance has upended the holy ways. I decree that men will resurrect me or the earth will die.”

So much in this book rides on each character making the right choices, and yet, always the wants and desires of humanity assert themselves, leaving them seemingly blind to the big picture. And here is where I begin to verge on giving too much away. I don’t want to spoil the ending with this review; just perhaps prepare the reader for the shocking, yet ultimately satisfying finish. All I can say is that as a reader, I was captivated, caught up in a boiling whirlpool pulling me toward the inevitable conclusion. Now that I’ve reached the end, I can’t wait for the next beginning.

From author, Lucinda Elliot, at her website Sophie De Courcy:

The Year God’s Daughter’ and ‘The Thinara King’ were page turners but this is where the real fireworks take place!

You won’t be disappointed with this, the third book, which concludes in a series of shocks that even surpasses the giant shock of the earthquake so brilliantly and terrifyingly depicted in ‘The Thinara King’.

Readers of the earlier books will remember how there are two half-brother rivals from the mainland who aspire to lovely Aridela (the older name for the Ariadne, I’ve discovered), now Queen of ancient, matriarchal Crete – Menoetius, the illegitimate son of the aging King, Idomeneus, dark and serious minded, once so handsome, now left scarred as much internally as externally by the mauling by the lioness, and Chrysaleon, his golden-haired, arrogant heir.

Chrysaleon has won the games and slain the now dead Queen’s consort, earning the right to be her heiress Aridela’s King for a Year. As a mainlander he bitterly resents his impending fate, but fought in the games as he found the thought of any other man winning her unendurable; will he honour his obligation?

Chrysaleon has also won Aridela’s heart – but has her old feeling for her childhood hero Menoetius vanished along with his good looks and his joy in life?

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Wiki image of Antinous

In this book we find out both Menoetius’ and Chrysaleon’s ‘truth’ (the term used by Aridela’s mother) and also the integrity of some of the other characters. Chrysaleon and Meneotius are not the only ones to be tested. Both Themeste and Selene will be tried to the limit, and only one of them holds firm.

One thing is certain, and that is that Alexiare, Chrysaleon’s devoted slave, will stop at nothing to further his interests.

But Aridela’s awful sufferings at the hands of Harpalycus have changed her, just as her taking on the responsibilities of a ruler must, and she is gradually developing a different perspective from that of the careless worshipper of external beauty we met in the first volume.

It is in this volume that the full meaning of the ancient prophecies is revealed – and the terrible implications of Harpalycus’ vaunted immortality.

There are murderous fights, bitter intrigue, and of course, a strong theme of romance running throughout. All the ingredients for an epic story.

If, like me, you are so drawn in that you keep on reading until the small hours, do save the enthralling last section of the book for when you can do justice to the enthralling denouement.

I look forward to reading about the main characters again, in another age.

 

Reviews at Amazon: read them all

Advice to readers searching for something to read

I’d like to copy here a thoughtful post by Melissa Conway, from her blog Whimsilly. There has been a lot in the news lately about fake reviews, people buying reviews, people creating false accounts in order to praise their own work or denigrate the work of other authors. Well, here’s Melissa’s take, and her astute, simple,  solution!
I turn the floor over to Melissa;

READ THE SAMPLE

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It gets busy at Costco during the lunch hour on any given day because they give out samples of various food products. Samples help me decide whether to purchase a product. Oftentimes, if I like the sample, I’ll try the product.

 

But what if I got the opportunity to sample something and chose not to because it came highly recommended?

 

Or I didn’t want to take the time to sample it, and only purchased it because it was on sale?

 

Would I be justified in feeling duped if this product I didn’t bother to sample fell short of my expectations?

 

Books and ebooks are one of the few products a consumer can sample beforehand. In a bookstore, you can stand there and read as much as you’d like. Online, you can generally read a percentage of an ebook, up to as much as the first 20%, to help you make your decision.

 

There’s been a lot of media coverage recently about book reviews. Any given review on any given book, whether the book was written by a traditionally published author or an indie, can be faked. A fake review will generally either sing the book’s praises or trash it. That’s not to say all five-star and one-star ratings are not to be trusted, but who has the time to investigate their veracity?

 

Further, even if you know a recommendation or condemnation is honest, you still have to take into consideration that it is one person’s opinion. Opinions are subjective. Even an honest appraisal of a product can be biased – or I should say will be biased based on that person’s likes and dislikes, which may be the polar opposite of yours whether you admire that person, hate them with a passion, or don’t know them at all. And sometimes an honest appraisal comes from someone who had the opportunity to sample, but didn’t, often because they got the ebook for free. The opinion is perfectly valid, but would that person have even chosen the book if it weren’t free?

 

My time is precious. I’d rather use it reading the sample, and let the product convince me whether or not to buy. Then if it doesn’t live up to my expectations, I’ll feel perfectly justified in giving my opinion.

Read the sample.

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You can read this blog post at its original website at Whimsilly and many more posts of a helpful and intriguing nature. Melissa Conway is the author of the excellent novels:

Xenofreak Nation (Book One, XBestia)

Selfsame

The Gossamer Sphere (Book One: The Gossamer Crown)

Anyone (A Gossamer Sphere Novel)

 

Reviews: The Year-god’s Daughter 2008-09 prepublication

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Here are some of the thoughts and comments given to me before The Year-god’s Daughter was published. They helped give me confidence and courage.

“From the first almost stanzaic words of that opening, you slam the reader straight into the world of ancient Greece with all its heat, sweat, gore and fervid glory. It was almost an invocation that opening, bringing to mind the mesmeric hexameters of the Illiad. And the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.  The descriptions as Menoetius walks up toward the Labyrinthos are intoxicating, filling every sense, calling upon every sense to share in the experience of this alien, ancient world of the bronze age. I was there beside him, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting the dust between my teeth. It is glorious writing, that. And some of your phrases, your descriptions are among the most heart-stopping in their beauty and cadence: ‘Pain bit like a serpent’s fangs’; ‘the dust-soft edge of the city…’ Indeed, that whole paragraph is one of the most luscious I can recall reading. Ever. And your balance between the longer, hypotactic, structure of the descriptive passages and the shorter paratactic passages is just masterful–a perfect balance of long and short, slow and fast, emphasising the elegance and beauty of each. Ancient Greece is a minefield for the unwary author, because it is both an integral part of our Western culture and wholly alien to us. And ever since the scholars from Byzantium brought the ancient texts to the West, the West has been trying to soften them, or even expunge the alien elements and the–to their eyes–pagan barbarity of this pre-Christian society. But you have had the courage to present us with this ancient civilisation without any overlay of the moral judgements of Christian humanism. You have presented ‘what was’ without apology or coyness. And that is a tremendous feat in and of itself.

You offer us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in this world, you offer us engaging characters who leave us spell-bound and it is through their eyes that we see this story unfold against the tapestry of ancient Crete. This is historical fiction at its engrossing best.

There is, quite simply, nothing about this book which is not superb. You have translated words, ideas, poetry, character, myth into an alchemic wonder, a dazzling novel of the ancient world, and are a fit heir to the great mantle of such writers as Mary Renault, Scott O’Dell and Robert Graves, and even, dare I say it, the goddess herself.”    M.M. Bennetts, author of May, 1812 and Of Honest Fame

“A collision of destiny and passion from the pen of a true bard.”    Sulari Gentill, award-winning author of The Rowland Sinclair series and The Hero Trilogy, published by Pantera Press.

“What a wonderful mythic tale–different time and place, but certainly reminiscent of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon.”    Valya Dudycz Lupescu, author of The Silence of Trees, published by Wolfsword Press

“You paint a vivid picture of a long-lost world. I specially liked the comparisons between the slave’s stories and the real thing. And the description of the Queen, in that context. Would I buy this book? Yes, I would.”   Greta van der Rol, author of The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy, The Iron Admiral: Deception, Supertech, Morgan’s Choice, Die a Dry Death, and other stories

“The crisp action, the fine details, the judicious use of the senses in every line – all deftly woven together to create a very real world and storyline. As gripping as the opening was, I was even further drawn in by the following chapter. You have a keen sense of flow and a simply exquisite way of heightening emotions by painting a picture with words.”    N. Gemini Sasson, author of The Crown in the Heather, Worth Dying For, The Honor Due a King, and Isabeau, published by Cader Idris Press

“I was struck first by the sensual details inextricably woven into the heightened emotion of your opening scene. Every action and word is given its moment in the sun, no description is extraneous. All mix to a triumphant whole. Truly stunning that you make such an ancient time and place feel like I’m right there in the middle of it, in the suffocating dust, in the blistering sun. Every element is perfection, every emotion raw, every character fully fleshed. I would recommend this book to anyone, and fully intend to buy it when it is published.”    Cheri Lasota, author of Artemis Rising, published by SpireHouse Publishing

“Oh, the classic world. I love this. It’s atmospheric and rich. It draws me in. It is a part of history. You write it so well that it talks to me with the voice of Homer. I’m glad I’ve read this. Why does the public have a taste for pseudo-historical writing, when real historical fiction resides here?    Richard Pierce-Saunderson, author of The Failed Assassin, Bee Bones, and Dead Men, published by Duckworth (March, 2012)

“This is a fabulous tale.”    Ruth Francisco, author of Amsterdam, 2012, Good Morning, Darkness, Confessions of a Deathmaiden

“A difficult subject risen to with an imagination at the height of its powers. I have a vivid memory of my trip to Mycenae and you gave back to those broken stones all their lost life and colour.”    Violet Wells, author of Ponte Santa Trinita and Burnt Ochre

“Full of historical flavour, mystery and imagery. You can hear the crowds, taste the dust, feel the gore of the bull’s horns. Wonderful, lyrical prose, worthy of ancient Greek myth.”     Cas Peace, author of King’s Envoy, published by Albia Publishing

Greta van der Rol

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Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi

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Writer, Editor, Fan Girl

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It is better to try to be extraordinary and fail than to try to be ordinary and succeed.

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