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Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy Series’

Fantasy Review – The Empire’s Ghost

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

The Empire's Ghost: A Novel

The Empire’s Ghost by Isabelle Steiger

Review by Mirah W (mwelday)

I don’t often read fantasy adventure novels, but I was looking for a new series and the synopsis for The Empire’s Ghost was unlike anything else I’ve read so I decided to give it a try and I am glad I did!

The Empire’s Ghost is an epic fantasy adventure that centers around various kingdoms seeking control over neighboring lands, but with magic and cunning rulers, who will have the upper hand and who will be victorious? As I read, I became partial to Prince Kelken, who is the underdog in this story, but who knows if I will still like him later in the series.

The imagery is quite exquisite throughout the novel and the locales seem to become characters themselves.  There are a lot of characters to remember, especially since characters are referred to by more than one name or title, but after sticking with the novel, they became clearer in my mind and I could picture each one in every scene. The characters slowly reveal more and more about themselves as the novel progresses to provide more depth and understanding to their choices and actions. Magic and the use of magic is a thread throughout the plot, but does not control or distract from the plot.  The ending is definitely not a conclusion but, rather, an opening to another book set in this epic world.

I am giving The Empire’s Ghost 4 out of 5 stars. My reasons for the 4 star rating are primarily the amount of time it took for me to get invested in the novel and the difficulty I had following some of the intricacies of the plot.  The second half of the book definitely seemed to come together more solidly than the first half.  The action was easier to follow and the characters easier to delineate. I think a multi-faceted novel like The Empire’s Ghost would have benefited from a map and character list/tree at the beginning to give the reader some perspective. For a debut novel, I think Steiger created an amazing story with memorable characters. If you are looking for a sweeping, epic fantasy to transport you to a different world, The Empire’s Ghost is the novel for you.





Fantasy Review – The Paper Magician

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Review by Mirah Welday (mwelday)

Ceony Twill is the lucky daughter in her family.  She was selected to attend Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined.  She was a success at school, graduating at the top of her class, but even the most successful students have to select one medium to master, you cannot work with them all.  Ceony has always wanted to work with metal but due to a shortage of magicians who work with paper, the choice is made for her. Ceony is disappointed and frustrated and doesn’t know what to expect when she arrives at the ramshackle dwelling of paper Magician Emery Thane to begin her apprenticeship.

Two unlikely allies, Twill and Thane, being Twill’s apprenticeship with a distance between them that eventually gets crossed and takes them both down a path with dangerous and forbidden magic.

When I started reading The Paper Magician I had no idea what to expect.  I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover but the cover is what drew me to the book in the first place.  The plot and story line of the various characters was unlike any other fantasy book I’d read before; I liked the use of one type of medium that the magician can use and manipulate.  I thought there was some drag during the middle of book one while Ceony is on her ‘quest’ but that’s really the only negative thing I can say about this debut novel by Holmberg.

I was intrigued so much by book one that I quickly went on to The Glass Magician and The Master Magician, the final two books in the series, and I wasn’t disappointed.  There was successful character development and all of the story lines had appropriate conclusions.  While I don’t have kids, I think this would be a good book (and series) for parents to read along with their young adult readers so they can discuss the characters, themes, and situations together.  I would give the entire series 4 out of 5 stars for ingenuity, interesting characters, and an ability to keep my interest.








Fiction Review – The Paper Magician Series

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

The Paper Magician by Charlie Holmberg

Review by Mirah W. (mwelday)

The Paper Magician series is a series unlike any other I have read.  I experienced reader highs and lows and moments of confusion and clarity through a story that was refreshing and enchanting in its uniqueness.

The series begins with The Paper Magician.  Ceony Twill does not want to be a Folder, a magician who uses paper.  She wants to be almost any other kind of magician.  But upon completing her schooling at Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, she is forced to choose folding due to the low numbers of current Folders.  In order to finish her education and become a professional, practicing magician, Ceony must successfully complete her apprenticeship with a mentor Folder and she is placed with Emery Thane.  Ceony and Emery develop an unexpected connection and they are projected into an adventure of fear and love.

Throughout The Paper Magician, and in books 2 and 3 of the series (The Glass Magician and The Master Magician, respectively), Ceony and Emery are thrown on the course of fighting and defeating Excisioners, magicians who practice illegal flesh magic.  They both have moments of self-doubt and they question everything they know about how magic works. What can an apprentice magician have to offer to defeat a magic that other practiced magicians cannot?  And how can she manage to focus on her apprenticeship and passing her final magician’s exam while trying to defeat this dark magic? And what about the feelings and connection she has for Emery, does he feel the same?

I thought book 1, The Paper Magician, was the weakest of the series.  The ‘quest’ Ceony jumped into was long-winded and I started to lose some interest. I felt having Ceony basically on her own so soon wasn’t the easiest scenario to believe and I felt like the character development wasn’t totally successful.  But even with that disappointment in the first book, the premise of the series brought me back for more.  Happily, for me, books 2 and 3 were more fast-paced and allowed the readers to really get to know the characters more deeply and understand their personal motivations.  I read books 1 and 2 but listened to the audiobook of book 3.  The narrator for The Master Magician was adept at bringing life to the different characters and listening to the book gave me different visualizations of the scenes.

Overall, I found The Paper Magician series unique and thoughtfully considered.  Every story line has a purpose and each is a part of the larger picture.  Readers looking to go on a magical adventure should check out this series.

Books 2 and 3 in the series:




Fantasy Review – The Sevenwaters Trilogy

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

The Sevenwaters Trilogy by Juliet Marillier

Review by Mirah W. (mwelday)

I recently finished The Sevenwaters Trilogy (Daughter of the Forest, Son of the Shadows, and Child of the Prophecy) by Juliet Marillier and really enjoyed them all. The books were recommended to me by my friends Sara and Tasha so I shouldn’t have had any doubt I would like the books; they always give me great recommendations!  I decided for this post I would pick my top seven highlights from the trilogy in a blatant attempt to encourage you to read it.  So, without delay, here are my Seven Highlights of Sevenwaters (in no particular order):

1)       The stories within the bigger story.  Throughout the three novels there are characters who tell tales of the land and ancestors.  These tales are told through music, around campfires, during banquets, within caves, or in quiet moments shared by characters.  The tales are carefully written and inserted into the novels at the perfect point to shed more light on the overarching story yet each tale is an engrossing story all on its own.

2)       The faith of family.  In book 1, Daughter of the Forest, Sorcha is the youngest of seven children and the only daughter.  Her brothers are transformed into swans by an evil sorceress and only Sorcha’s efforts can save them.  The brothers have faith in Sorcha’s strength and this faith in family continues through the trilogy.  Sometimes there are doubts and disagreements but the deep-seeded faith in family remains.

3)       A band of tattooed warriors.  At first introduction the mysterious band of tattooed warriors in book 2, Son of the Shadows, appear to be menacing, hard, and ruthless. Seeing their true colors and learning their histories make them some of my favorite characters of the entire trilogy.

4)       Magic and fantasy without being cheesy.  Sometimes I am skeptical of fantasy novels because they can get too cheesy for me.  While the trilogy is obviously from the fantasy genre it becomes more about the characters than the fantasy.

 5)       The epic-ness of it all.  I like long books (when I care about the characters).   These books are lengthy and offer tons in terms of  character development and backstory.  I also like that the books continue with future generations of the family introduced in book  one while still including original characters.  I get very attached to characters so it’s nice to still have them around, even as  secondary characters.

6)       Sacrifice is rewarded.  I don’t know many people who like to consistently give of themselves and get nothing in return, even if  all they get is peace of mind.  So, sure, I like authors who let those who sacrifice gain something in the end. And I also like that some  characters I don’t initially like are redeemed through their actions.

7)       True love wins at the end of the day.  There are ups and downs, family trauma and drama, misunderstandings, and sacrifices  but true love eventually wins out, this is especially true in Child of the Prophecy.  Love doesn’t win in the exact way I would like but  it’s a check in the win column anyway.

Have you read The Sevenwaters Trilogy?  I’d love to know your picks for highlights, your favorite characters, or bookmarked moments.  If you haven’t read them, I hope you’ll give them a try…and if you like them, there are three more books!  Yep, Marillier  wrote three more books and created a longer series.  I haven’t read books 5-7 (Heir of Sevenwaters, Seer of Sevenwaters, and Flame of Sevenwaters) yet but I’ve already got them on my ‘to be read’ shelf  so I’m hoping I enjoy them as much as books 1-3.  And thanks,  again, to my great friends for giving me an awesome  recommendation!



Fantasy Review – Blood from a Silver Cross

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015


Blood from a Silver Cross by E. S. Moore

Review by Kelsey O.


As per usual with E.S. Moore’s writing, we are thrown head long into Kat Redding’s life from the first page. Kat Redding, aka Lady Death, is still grappling with what she is and with the help of Ethan still looking for an alternative to drinking blood. Also on Kat’s plate is the fact that she has become the personal bitch for the Vampire Countess Baset all because Kat slayed her lover. The Countess sends her on missions that usually end up with someone being assassinated. The demon, Beligral, still has her in his clutches and now a new werewolf has moved in with the Luna Cult and has locked her sights on Jonathan. Before this Kat didn’t know what her feelings were for Jonathan but now she is finding she is a wee bit jealous but that will have to wait because she has to hunt down members of the Left Hand who are once again targeting the Luna Cult . Factor into all this Adrian, another Alpha werewolf who Kat is oathed to.

So as you can see there is a lot going on and lot of different plot lines to follow making for a very action packed read. Though I feel that all the plot lines tie beautifully together if you haven’t read any of this series you might be a bit lost on a few things. Great urban fantasy read and E.S. Moore leaves you anticipating what he will do to Kat next.