Book Review – Heir of Hope

Here I am, with a new blog post after 4 months away.

What could drag me back into the blogosphere? Not a lot as I try to focus my writing on other areas. But one thing that could is the final book of my friend Morgan L. Busse’s trilogy, Heir of Hopemorgan busse

I became acquainted with Morgan through the Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy Blog Tour, but we met at a writer’s conference in 2012 and hit it off. That’s when I first read her Follower of the Word series, when the first book Daughter of Light was available at the conference bookstore. (I got it signed, be jealous.) My blog review of it is here.

The deep story was a welcome addition to the fantasy I had read before, and I really enjoyed it. Then she came out with Son of Truth, the second book in the series, another heir of hopegreat fantasy read. You know how the second part in a trilogy is always darker? Yeah, Morgan nailed that with this book. Her poor characters were probably ready to revolt by the end.

Now we get the epic conclusion in Heir of Hope.

The final book in the Follower of the Word series did not disappoint. Morgan created some deep main characters that had many obstacles to overcome throughout the trilogy, and it doesn’t get any better for them in Heir of Hope. Rowen Mar has been captured and taken to the Shadonae, her mortal enemies. Caleb Tala, the assassin with a change of heart, is forced to work with Captain Lore to escape the Great Desert. Since Caleb had killed Lore’s former charge, it isn’t an easy alliance. And they have the scribe Nierne, who hasn’t had much experience outside of the monastery. 

This fantasy is character-driven, and each of the main characters have a lot to lose. Their internal and external battles are intriguing and keep the reader invested. As they head toward a final confrontation with the enemies taking over the land, there are steep consequences for all involved. 

I really enjoyed the whole series, and Heir of Hope does not disappoint. It could have been trimmed down a little and still maintain the tension and depth, but the flow doesn’t lose out. There’s wonderful themes about love, forgiveness, and sacrifice in the novel that make it and the series a great addition to any fantasy fan’s library. 

How about a little contest? Leave a comment telling me your favorite fantasy series, and I’ll pick a random winner to receive a paperback copy of Daughter of Light. Thanks for stopping by, and leave a comment to get the start of a great series.

CSFF Tour Day 3 – The Warden And The Wolf King

This is the last day for the CSFF Tour for July and its featured book, The Warden And The Wolf King, by Andrew Peterson, and the last book of the toothy-20cow21-300x205Wingfeather Saga.

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A Dastardly Fang of Dang

A note first of all: I participated in the Kickstarter campaign to help fund the publishing. Included in the perks were a high quality map of Aerwiar (The first people created woke up, looked around, and said, “Here we are.” How awesome.) and a Creaturepedia, a fully illustrated creature book used by Janner to identify some of the fearsome creatures in the land. If you can get your paws or hands on these items, there are very nice.

I had wanted to finish the tour by highlighting one or two of the themes of the series. Bravery. Love. Sacrifice. Family. The desire for an identity. Nobility.

For example, in the story world, the firstborn of the kingdom of Anniera was the Throne Warden, responsible for protecting the second born, the King or Queen. This arrangement used the natural responsibility of the oldest for good, and prevented the natural jealousy of the younger brother to resort to trickery to get the throne.

The idea of sacrifice was so powerfully demonstrated in the way Janner had to continually help his impulsive younger brother. But it showed all those other attributes I just listed as well. Attributes of another Firstborn who sacrificed for a family…

Ultimately, I couldn’t make up my mind with so many choices, so I’m taking the time in this blog to say this:

Thank you Andrew Peterson.

Thank you for sharing with us your gift of story.

Thank you for giving my family hours of entertainment. For giving us Podo the pirate, so I could use my pirate voice while reading aloud. For creating the Florid Sword, so I could be dramatic and silly. For envisioning strong male and female characters for the whole family.

Thank you for all the extra footnotes that refer to fictional books that you made up, enriching the book so. Thank you for the designs of creatures and maps that add that extra zing.

Thank you for the songs. Thank you for Armulyn the Bard and for troll poetry. Thank you for the laughs. And even the strange looks when I laughed out loud on a bus reading the series.

Thank you for the heart and soul you poured into these tales. For using story to share how boys and girls can be noble, brave, scared, and make mistakes, but still be used by the Maker.

Thank you for a classic series that deserves a much wider readership than it has. (Even if it sold like a billion copies, it would deserve more.)

Thank you for writing to my boys when they wrote to you. I got an excited phone call at work when Andrew Peterson wrote them back.

Finally, thank you for never giving up. Well done sir. I tip my hat to you, and I would love to buy you a sweetberry treat if one day we meet.

Sincerely,

Jason Joyner

What more can I say? If you haven’t purchased the books yet, do yourself a favor and go to the Rabbit Room and order the set (it also gives more money back to the author than certain A to Z stores…).

If you want to see what others on the tour are saying, see Becky Miller’s site where she updates all of the participants.

CSFF Day 2 – The Warden And The Wolf King

As Oskar M. Reteep might say, “In the words of Cal’eb the Inquisitive, ‘Here’s where the end starts’.”

The CSFF Tour is wardenfeaturing The Warden And The Wolf King, the final book in Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga.

Yesterday I gave a quick synopsis of the first three books in the series. After the events of The Monster In The Hollows, Janner, Kalmar, and Leeli along with their mother Nia and grandfather Podo (the ex-pirate with a wooden leg) are ready to lead the Green Hollows in battle against the fearsome Fangs of Dang (both the Green and Gray varieteis).

The plan was sound, except that the Fangs invaded first.

Now Janner’s family has been separated. Leeli does battle as the Song Maiden in Ban Rona. Janner is lost in the wilderness. And Kalmar rushes toward Throg, the headquarters of the nameless evil called Gnag the Nameless.

To say anymore would be courting serious spoilers, as well as the fury of Mr. Reteep, the Chief Librarian of Ban Rona. He might quote troll poetry at me if I continue.

As for my review:

Andrew Peterson is a songwriter and musician by trade. All through the series, this has been evident in the way he tells stories with lyrical prose and a dreamer’s heart.

I’ve read the other three books to my boys out loud. We’ve read them since they were 8 and 6. Now they’re 14 and 12 and they can’t wait until we can finish the story. (I had to read it early for the tour). I know they’ll be delighted. They’ll be stunned. And they may well be upset with Mr. Peterson with the ultimate cliffhanger. They’ve always lived for each chapter’s cliffhanger, dying when I wouldn’t read them anymore for the night. This is different.

The series is over.

The bittersweet conclusion continues with a fast pace and continues to deepen characters we know and love from the first three books. One constant trait for all of the heroic characters in the book is nobility. Even though all of the heroes show their flaws, they all have a central nobility which speaks about them having a deeper purpose in the midst of their failings.

The action is swifter in this book, and some of the details of world-building that were so delightful in the first books are necessarily sacrificed to move the story along to the conclusion. There are still touches (footnotes from fictional works in the story world), but the book has a specific target now.

I’ve read numerous fantasy and YA books. I enjoy most of what I read. The Wingfeather Saga holds a special place in my heart. It has enlivened the imagination of my boys. It has a character and artistic quality that speaks of its strong core and nature.

I’ve told the story before of how my boys wrote to Mr. Peterson for a school assignment, and they were so thrilled when they both received hand-written responses from him. That’s the type of man that Andrew is, and that wrote these books.

He did a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publishing of the final book (as he had been dropped from the publisher of the first two). His modest goal was topped three times over as fans poured in money to see the book done right.

I share those details to give an understanding of the character of Andrew Peterson and the way he’s touched fans.

So this is a series that I give my highest recommendation. It can inspire boys and girls to be heroic and noble. It speaks of family, love, and doing the right thing even when it hurts. There’s adventure, intrigue, and cliffhangers galore.

And there are toothy cows.

What more can I say? If you haven’t purchased the books yet, do yourself a favor and go to the Rabbit Room and order the set (it also gives more money back to the author than certain A to Z stores…).

If you want to see what others on the tour are saying, see Becky Miller’s site where she updates all of the participants.

I’ll have a final post tomorrow on the Wingfeather Saga and The Warden And The Wolf King.

CSFF Tour Day 1 – The Warden And The Wolf King

‘Tis a wonderful tour. ‘Tis a sad tour.

Welcome to the July 2014 Christian Sci-fi and Fantasy Tour. This has been one of my favorite blog things to do, and it has introduced me to some wonderful authors and books.

Which leads me to the wonderful/sad conundrum.

We are featuring Andrew Peterson and his fabulous Wingfeather Saga series. This has been a set of books that will be treasured in our house for years to come.

The bad part is that The Warden And The Wolf King is the 4th and final book in the series.

My family’s been waiting for this to finish for a long time. My boys have been patiently waiting for the conclusion. But I realize that the joy in the journey will come to an end as we wingfeatherclose the book on the Wingfeather Saga.

So what’s all the fuss about?

The first book, On The Edge Of The Dark Sea Of Darkness, we are introduced to the Igiby family: the oldest Janner, his middle brother Kalmar (Tink), and the youngest sister Leeli, who has a twisted leg and requires a crutch. They live happily in Skree with their mother Nia and ex-pirate grandfather Podo. Except for the nasty, lizardy Fangs of Dang who have taken over the land. The soldiers of Gnag the Nameless, the Fangs are looking for the lost jewels of Anniera, a fabled land. The Fangs think the Igibys have the jewels. The Igiby kids don’t even know what the jewels are, so that creates a problem…

In the second book, North! Or Be Eaten, the Igiby family must flee their town to head for the Ice Prairies of Skree, where the lizard Fangs can’t function. Of course, the way is blocked with treacherous dangers like Stranders, Woes, and the insidious Fork Factory. And there’s a secret that Gnag is ready to unleash on the unsuspecting people of Skree…

So that’s why in book three, The Monster In The Hollows, the Igiby family escapes from Skree and heads east across the Dark Sea to the Green Hollows, the former homeland of Nia and Podo. The Hollowsfolk are the one people to stand against and repel the Fangs of Dang, so it should be a safe refuge. Except for a funny condition that has overtaken Kalmar. It seems that he now resembles a new type of Fang…

And that leads us to The Warden And The Wolf King. I’ll discuss the book and give my review tomorrow. If you’re interested in the series, I encourage you to skip Amazon and purchase it directly from The Rabbit Room, an artist collective that Andrew belongs to. He gets more money than what Amazon or other corporate stores give back.

If you want to, you can check out my past coverage of the series here.

There’s also more information from my fellow travelers below. Check out their blogs for more on Andrew Peterson.

Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Pauline Creeden
Vicky DealSharingAunt
Carol Gehringer
Victor Gentile
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Rachel Starr Thomson
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler

Disclaimer: I helped fund the publication through a Kickstarter campaign, so the FCC can pass on by.