Wyrd & Wonder : Event recap #WyrdAndWonder

W&W

IMAGE CREDITS: Flaming phoenix by Sujono Sujono | Decorative phoenix by Tanantachai Sirival

June is here and didn’t that rush up on us, probably because we were having such a great time taking part in Wyrd and Wonder.  I had a fantastic time, I didn’t necessarily stick to plan but I had some good reads, joined in the readalong and kept my eye on all the daily challenges.that were sweeping/swamping twitter.

So, check out my post pre event to see what my original schedule looked like  – this was maybe a little ambitious and I didn’t totally stick to it but I did okay and enjoyed my reads:

  1. The Goblin Emperor  by Katherine Addison – the readalong book. (Short recap of my thoughts to follow soon)
  2. Night Of The Dragon by Julie Kagawa (reviewed)
  3. The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso – I’m 30% into this one
  4. The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant (reviewed)
  5. The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison – just completed, review to follow
  6. Silver in the Wood (The Greenhollow Duology #1) by Emily Tesh (reviewed)
  7. Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton (reviewed)
  8. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix – review to follow

Finally, I’d like to thank our lovely hosts imyrilLisa and Jorie.and say how much I’m looking forward to taking part again next year (too soon?)  Seriously, though, see you all again for another Wyrd and Wonder next May.

 

Silver in the Wood (The Greenhollow Duology #1) by Emily Tesh #WyrdandWonder

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IMAGE CREDITS: Flaming phoenix by Sujono Sujono | Decorative phoenix by Tanantachai Sirival

SilverMy five word review: Green man myth beautifully reimagined

Silver in the Wood is a book I picked up for part of the month long event Wyrd and Wonder (details here).  This book wasn’t on my original schedule to be honest, but rules and schedules are meant for breaking.  I saw this, I wanted it, I bought it, read it and here we are. Simples.

This will be a short review for a short and beautifully written story.

The story centres on a character known as Tobias Finch.  A giant of a man, wild and woolly with twigs in his hair (or is his hair twigs?), who lives in a small cottage set deep in the forest.  A cottage that is impossible to find unless Tobias and his protective dryad allow it.  Tobias is the Green Man of ancient myth.  He roams the forest (like an ent) protecting the flora and fauna.  He’s feared and revered by the local folk although in essence he is a gentle character.  His world is changed when a young and beautiful man called Henry Silver enters his domain and steals his heart.  Of course there is more to the tale but I don’t want to give too much away.

The writing is what made this story for me.  Tesh is a talented author and I love her descriptions of the forest.  I wanted, and indeed did, immerse myself fully in the place she has imagined.  On top of this there is a lyrical feel to the writing which is exactly what I expect and long for when I’m reading a retelling – in fact a fairytale retelling because this book does include a fae character known as Red Fay.  This is the sort of story that makes you want to wander into the forest and see things with fresh eyes, is that a face in the bark of that old tree? Did you just see something dart into the stream out of the corner of your eye?  It’s a book that takes you back with almost childhood wonder to a time when stories were much more simple but, at the same time, it’s a story that really looks at some of the darker elements and early beginnings of those childhood tales.  There is darkness here which isn’t to be underestimated so be aware, or, beware.

There’s also a feeling that everything is much more than it is.  Not a great description I realise, but for example the names.  They all feel like they lend themselves to the tale and in fact feel like they have much deeper meanings.  Tobias Finch, Henry Silver, Bramble, Fabian, Greenhollow Wood.  They don’t feel like names simply pulled out of a hat – they lend themselves to the story and the descriptions and give it more power somehow.

I’m not going to say too much more.  This is essentially a love story, a tale that is dark and foreboding that concludes on a hopeful note.

In terms of criticisms.  Like with all short stories and novellas, well, I wanted more and in fact I think the story told here really demanded it, particularly given the style of writing.  If this had been written more in a simple fairytale style the shortness would have been easier I think but, for me, this is screaming to be given more page time which had it been forthcoming would have given the characters and their feelings more depth.

Slight criticisms aside this was a very quick and satisfying read, even if it did leave me, like Oliver, wanting more.

I bought Silver in the Wood and the above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 out of 5 stars

I would definitely pick up more books by this author.

 

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison : readalong, final week #wyrdandwonder, #TheGoblinEmperor

ReadalongGE

Today is the final week in the readalong for the Goblin Emperor and things are certainly hotting up.  This is part of the Wyrd and Wonder event taking place during the month of May.  The details of Wyrd and Wonder are here and the readalong details are here.  As always, beware of spoilers which will be lurking.

Here’s the reading schedule at a glance:

  • Week 1: Wednesday 6th May, Chapters 1 through 9
  • Week 2: Wednesday 13th May, Chapters 10 through 17 (end of part 2)
  • Week 3: Wednesday 20th May, Chapters 18 through 26 (part 3)
  • Week 4: Wednesday 27th May, Chapters 27 to End (part 4 & 5)

Lisa at DeerGeekPlace is hosting the readalong .  The questions will be posted weekly in  a Goodreads group page, and will also be tweeted out weekly from the @wyrdandwonder account using the hashtag #TheGoblinEmperor, as well as the standard #wyrdandwonder tag.  so without further ado – to the q&a

Let’s start with Maia’s grandfather! What do you think of the Avar, and his budding relationship with Maia?

I really enjoyed this aspect of this week’s reading.  It felt like they took almost shy steps to begin with but eventually their relationship developed so well and I can’t help thinking that will make such a huge difference in relationships with the goblins moving forward.  Avar was very easy to read – a real force of nature tupe character that swallows up page space as soon as he arrives on the scene.  And, finally, I loved that he left a small army contingent behind to look out for his grandson.  Sometimes actions speak louder than words.

Another plot against Maia is foiled… Were you surprised by the reveal of Tethimar as the one behind the late emperor’s murder? And what are your thoughts on this reveal, in light of the way this part of the story played out?

I wasn’t so much surprised by Tehimar’s involvement in the plot but I was surprised at his method.  It seemed a little crazy storming the dais with a knife – a death wish by any other name really.  In fact, I’d say the plots against Maia were probably, for me, the weakest part of the storyline.  I think I was expecting something with some thought or subtlety – that being said I guess Tethimar was driven a little crazy with hate.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m very, very happy that neither plot succeeded but I was a bit surprised at the weakness of both attempts.

For all of the enmity that’s shown to him, our emperor has a much more hopeful nickname by the end… Looking back, are you satisfied with/pleased by the way Maia handled all of these situations in which he had to make or break relationships? Was there anything you were left questioning or that you feel should have gone differently?

Maia is the absolute star of the piece.  I love the way his character has grown during the course of the book.  I love the way he handles himself, others and situations.  He is genuinely caring and even when he lacks confidence his interactions are a joy to read about.  He’s strong when you least expect it and also forgiving.  I can’t help but notice how everyone has warmed up to him, he even turned the ‘we can’t be friends’ issue on it’s head and found a compromise.  And I especially like the ending with the bridge analogy.  The bridge became something much more than a structure.  It helped Maia achieve confidence in himself, it demonstrated his progressive attitude to change and to listen and it also worked as a comparison with the bridges he was building with others.  Even when he acknowledged that he wasn’t able to build bridges with everyone.

I went into this read not really knowing what to expect and ended up loving this.  This is not a sweeping epic drama, it’s much more character focused and Maia is a great character to read about.  I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Thanks to Wyrd and Wonder for this fantastic month long love of everything fantasy and also to Lisa for hosting this readalong which definitely gave me the motivation I needed to pick this up.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison : readalong, week 3 #wyrdandwonder, #TheGoblinEmperor

ReadalongGE

Today is the third week in the readalong for the Goblin Emperor and things are certainly hotting up.  This is part of the Wyrd and Wonder event taking place during the month of May.  The details of Wyrd and Wonder are here and the readalong details are here.  As always, beware of spoilers which will be lurking and I hope you’ll join in with the discussion if this is a book you’ve already read.

Here’s the reading schedule at a glance:

  • Week 1: Wednesday 6th May, Chapters 1 through 9
  • Week 2: Wednesday 13th May, Chapters 10 through 17 (end of part 2)
  • Week 3: Wednesday 20th May, Chapters 18 through 26 (part 3)
  • Week 4: Wednesday 27th May, Chapters 27 to End (part 4 & 5)

Lisa at DeerGeekPlace is hosting the readalong .  The questions will be posted weekly in  a Goodreads group page, and will also be tweeted out weekly from the @wyrdandwonder account using the hashtag #TheGoblinEmperor, as well as the standard #wyrdandwonder tag.  so without further ado – to the q&a and don’t spare the horses:

These chapters open with a very candid, yet significantly warmer than most, conversation between Maia and Arbelan, and from there things begin to change as Maia learns to act with more confidence. Do you think Arbelan’s kinder treatment of him is what sparks this, and if so, how much of an impact do you think it had?

I enjoyed the chapters where Maia seems to be gradually becoming more confident and in particular his discussions with Arbelan and Idra.  What really comes across with all the interactions is how stiffly everyone seems to be at first (or at least almost everyone).  Everyone has a court ‘face’ and I can’t help thinking I would be so miserable in such a place, never knowing what people are really thinking, all the scheming behind the scenes.  Well, we know it’s a lonely existence so frankly whenever Maia tries to hold out an olive branch, and it’s well received, it’s a good moment.  Plus these new ‘friends’ are helping him to learn so much and are showing him that not everyone favoured the last emperor.

The river bridge scheme proves to be a delightful plot point to push a lot of character interaction forward, as well as opening up the scope of this world. Were you surprised by the developments involving Lord Pashavar?

I like the bridge storyline to be honest, it’s interesting and helps to show the split in Maia’s court.  Lord Pashavar being a fine example.  Maia seems to like Pashavar or more to the point respect him maybe?  The dinner and discussion they shared was quite revealing.  Again, it drove home the fact that not every action of the previous Emperor was thought well of.  He was stubborn and his advisors didn’t necessarily always agree with him. It was really interesting to find out a little bit more about the history of the place and it was also a little revealing in terms of Pashavar – who I don’t dislike, but feel he’s maybe very set in his ways and not very receptive to change, although maybe he can be persuaded by reasonable arguments?  Time will tell – of course the part of my brain that screams ‘trust nobody’ can’t help reading dark thoughts into why Pashavar is so set against the bridge scheme.

Like a train gathering steam, a great deal of plot drama happens here. Let’s talk about Shevean and Chavar. Were you surprised by their gambit? And how do you feel about the way it all played out (ie. Idra’s decision to put his foot down)?

This bit actually really surprised me tbh.  I guess it shouldn’t have, it was obvious that things were building up and would eventually just pop from the tension but I have to say I was really shocked at how quickly things happened and how quickly they were resolved.  I thought Chavar would have been a bit more cunning or thorough with his plotting.  I’m relieved he and Shevean have eventually shown their true colours although I can’t help thinking that this can’t be the end of the threat to Maia. It simply doesn’t feel ‘cunning’ enough.

We get another surprising turnaround from Ceredin, Maia’s intended empress-to-be, as well. What are your thoughts on her by the end of these chapters, compared to her initial impression?

I liked that she showed a little more of her own personality, I think I could like her very much.  Yes, this is an arranged marriage and she is carrying out her duty but I have hope for her and Maia.

The story, and perhaps the danger, is not quite over yet … any thoughts on what might be in store in the final chapters?

Well, there still feels to be quite a lot hanging in the balance.  Things are moving forward but there is a definite feeling of danger lurking.  One thing that struck me was Mer Celhar’s sudden disappearance.  He could have made an interesting discovery in his investigations or he could have been taken out of the picture because he’s getting too close to the truth?  I’m inclined to think the first explanation is the more likely and he’s rushed off to find something out or uncover some truths.  This also leads me to wondering who could have been involved in the explosion.  Is Chavar now out of that scenario or was this scheme just another part of the plan (a plan B) to put in place a young emperor who could be managed easily?  And there has been, suspiciously, no mention of Chavar’s son since the abdication attempt.  It concerns me.

 

 

Friday Face Off : is it a sad cover? #wyrdandwonder

FFO

As the month of May is Wyrd and Wonder month I’m going to be trying to use fantasy covers for my Friday Face Offs.

The details of Wyrd & Wonder can be found here.

W&W

IMAGE CREDITS: Flaming phoenix by Sujono Sujono | Decorative phoenix by Tanantachai Sirival

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

 Sorrow – a cover that makes you feel sad

This was tougher than I expected, primarily because the few books I had in mind I’ve either already used for the Friday Face Off (which isn’t a problem necessarily but I like to try and come up with something different) or they didn’t have alternative covers.  Anyway, I scrolled through my GR’s shelf – which unfortunately doesn’t have all my books but it is usually helpful) and came up with A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.  Take a look at the covers:

So, looking at these, I’m not sure if you’d say they were sad, but the first cover in the second row has always felt a little sad to me.  It might be because it’s a monster on the cover either approaching or looking on at a house.  I think Frankenstein has given me a soft spot for lonely monsters and the monster in this is not quite what he first seems.

My favourite:

Well, I quite like the first with the tree reaching up into a light coloured sky, it feels hopeful.  But, I have to go with the cover on the copy I read which is this one:

AMonster1

I know this is dark and sombre but I just love it.  And it almost feels like it could be a cover for the book I very nearly picked this week: Shelley’s Frankenstein.

So, which is your favourite?

I’ll be updating the list in order to include forthcoming events that I’m aware of so that you can perhaps link your themes up where possible (if you know of an event you’d like to share then let me know in the comments).  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know 😀I’ll also be adding themes to take us to the end of the year this forthcoming week.

Next week – Silhouette – an island, a person, anything you like

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers) (I’ve added some new themes – some of these are slightly different, in order to avoid too much repetition I’m trying to make the themes more of a suggestion that everyone can interpret how they like.  

2019

May is the month of Wyrd & Wonder and so I will be trying to focus on fantasy book covers:

29th May – Silhouette – an island, a person, anything you like

5th June – Flight – any type of flight – to flee, to fly

12th June – The bodice ripper – exactly as it seems

19th June – Time – time waits for no one

26th June – Windows – windows to the soul?

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