#SPFBO 6 – Cover love (10)

Artboard 1
300 books           10 Judges            1 winner

The 1st of June marked the start of the sixth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (details here.)  My Introductory post is here.  This year I’m aiming to shine a little bit of focus on some of the books either through posting excerpts to act as teasers for potential readers or through posting some of the covers and highlighting the book that way (not just for my own books but other entries).  The invitation is open to all authors from the competition – if you’d like to post an excerpt then give me a shout in the comments (also, if you’ve contacted me recently and I’ve not responded please give me a(nother) shout, I’ve noticed recently that a lot of my comments have gone straight to Spam or Pending so I may have overlooked something.

As part of the competition there is a cover contest.  The details can be found here.

So, this week’s chosen SPFBO covers are below, this week is all about the dragons. Take a look and see if you have a favourite:

Dragonmage

ADreamof

Dragonv

The Bard’s Blade (The Sorcerer’s Song #1) by Brian D. Anderson

BardsBladeThe Bard’s Blade is an entertaining and very easy read that combines a classic old school style of story telling with two young protagonists coming to terms with the harsh realities of the world beyond their own sheltered homes and their personal journeys along the way.

The story gets underway with a few feel good chapters.  We make the acquaintance of Mariyah and Lem who are romantically involved.  They live in Vylari, a place that remains sheltered and undiscovered by the rest of the world due to a magical barrier.  Lem is a musician of extraordinary talent and Mariyah is the daughter of a prosperous wine merchant.  The people of Vylari believe magic to be the root of all evil (apart from the barrier that keeps other people out) and they have no desire to travel beyond their own boundaries to Lamoria.  Unfortunately, the arrival of a stranger from Lamoria with a bleak message about a forthcoming disaster forces Lem to make the bleak decision to leave and in a rash act Mariyah and Shemi (Lem’s uncle) take the decision to follow him.  The three will pretty quickly realise just how blissful their lives in Vylari really were.

There are plenty of different elements to the story once we reach Lamoria.  Parts of the world are strictly guided by religion, and not just giving thanks for food or attending weekly sermons etc, but passing way beyond into overzealousness.  Not to believe is a cardinal sin that sees heretics harshly punished, captured and thrown into brutal prisons where their survival is rare.  This is a cruel world, the nobles take advantage by taking indentured slaves from the prisons at little cost and bribery and corruption are rife.  Mariyah herself is taken prisoner and wrongly accused of murder for which she will serve a life sentence.  Shemi fares even worse and Lem finds himself in dire straits when a tavern owner, at first seeming to take him under her wing eventually holds him a virtual prisoner, abusing his trust and forcing him to work for her.  The ways of Lamoria couldn’t be further removed from those of Vylaria and Lem and Mariyah have a rude awakening.

Eventually both move on to different pastures and yet both are still imprisoned in more ways than one.

Mariyah becomes indentured to a noble woman and Lem is employed by a troupe of actors to play music during intermissions.  There is a lot more involved to both their storylines but I won’t spoil the fun of discovery here other than to say they remain committed to finding and freeing each other.

I guess I would say this is a coming of age tale.  Certainly both the main characters are about to be served a cold plate of experience that is difficult to digest.  The writing style is very easy to get along with, there are enough descriptions to easily create a mental picture without the pages becoming bloated with purple prose and thankfully there are no info dumps.

The characters are the main driver of the story, both of them changing as the plot develops and both are likable and good natured – although the course they take sees them change before the book is complete and I can’t help but wonder if one of them might go too far down the path of darkness to be able to turn back.  The two are motivated by love and their burning desire to be reunited.  I would add that if you’re not interested in reading about romance, fear not, for the majority of the story the two remain separate and the story focuses on their adventures.

In terms of criticisms. I don’t have much really.  I felt like the world building could have been strengthened.  I would like to know more about why the two places were separated by a magic barrier for example.  I would also like to know a little more about the magic involved and the whys and wherefores of how it works.  But these are things that may be expanded on as the series progresses.  I think certain elements felt, not so much rushed, but skimmed over.  For example Lem’s development – I’m not going to give anything away exactly, but I would have liked to see more of a struggle on his part before he became almost legendary at the new secondary role that he found himself roped into.  The ending was also a little bit of a shock – I would stress that I love the twist in the tale but the final chapter with Lem and Mariyah was a little anticlimactic.

But, small issues aside, I found this to be an enjoyable read.  This is definitely the sort of comforting fantasy that you can pick up without encountering any real shocks or nasty surprises.  It has a YA feel that doesn’t take the grimdark path of blood and guts which makes for a refreshing change of pace.  A quick and addictive read indeed.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

Rating 4 out of 5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Bard’s Blade (The Sorcerer’s Song #1) by Brian D. Anderson

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Bard’s Blade (The Sorcerer’s Song #1) by Brian D. Anderson.

TheBard'sBladeThe start of a new fantasy adventure from Brian D. Anderson, bestselling author of The Godling Chronicles and Dragonvein series.

Mariyah enjoys a simple life in Vylari, a land magically sealed off from the outside world, where fear and hatred are all but unknown. There she’s a renowned wine maker and her betrothed, Lem, is a musician of rare talent. Their destiny has never been in question. Whatever life brings, they will face it together.

But destiny has a way of choosing its own path, and when a stranger crosses the wards into Vylari for the first time in centuries, the two are faced with a terrible prophecy. For beyond the borders, an ancient evil is returning, its age-old prison shattered.

The two must leave their home behind, and in doing so will face sorcerers and thieves, con-men and assassins, treachery and greed. How far down this path will they have to go to stop the rising darkness and save their home? And how much of themselves will they have to give up along the way?

Due for publication : January 2020