Sortilege: A Novel of The Empyrean Series by C. M. Cox

Sortilege A Novel of The Empyrean Series

Sortilege: A Novel of The Empyrean Series by C. M. Cox
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: 395 Pages
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Cyclamen

Struggling against a female-dominated society, twin assassins convince their human queen to hunt for the missing Star Queen. On a neighboring planet, an elf searches for meaning in the strange signs that have suddenly appeared to her. Traveling with her companion – tall, green and part plant – their scholarly goals quickly become a riskier gamble. Sortilege is an epic fantasy novel about interplanetary alliances, magic, betrayal and an unimaginable possession.

Sortilege is an action filled fantasy novel set in a world filled with magic and a variety of races including fairies and humans. The world is well defined with lots of interesting characters. In addition, there are relationships that are very complex and in fact the novel opens with a prologue involving one of those, a Producer, a human able to do magic who is the Keeping of a fairy.

The characters are compelling and I was interested in them all. I did find the multiple point of views to be a bit confusing. I felt as if I’d been dropped into a world that I knew nothing about. There is an early story in this series, a short story called Dyad. I haven’t read that, but from the notes I read on it, that is where this fantasy world is introduced and I suspect that I wouldn’t have been as confused if I had read that story first.

The action is fast paced and while the story shifts from one location or thread of the story to another and back again, the action is intense. The novel ends with a real cliff-hanger and I hope that the next novel in the trilogy is published soon. Fantasy lovers are sure to enjoy this series from the very beginning.

Reluctant Prince: Kingdom of Cymmera, Book 1 by Dani-Lyn Alexander

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Reluctant Prince: Kingdom of Cymmera, Book 1 by Dani-Lyn Alexander
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (163 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review by: Cyclamen

Betrayal lies cloaked in shadow.

Seventeen year old Ryleigh Donnovan is certain her life is cursed. Nothing ever goes smoothly, and her first job interview is no exception. An earthquake rocks the building, sending Ryleigh on a frantic search for her younger sister, a search which lands her in the hospital. Terrified they’ll push her for answers she can’t afford to give, Ryleigh flees with a mysterious stranger.

Jackson Maynard is about to be ordained as a Death Dealer, a warrior for the Kingdom of Cymmera, but first he must pass one more test. When he fails to acquire the human girl the prophet has chosen, he’s forced to stand trial for treason. Banished from his realm, he seeks out the girl from the vision, Ryleigh Donnovan, and together they embark on a journey to save his dying kingdom.

Ryleigh Donnovan has a lot on her plate. Her parents died when she was small and she and her sister Mia were raised by their grandmother. Unfortunately, her grandmother has died recently, and Ryleigh is only seventeen, so legally not able to assume guardianship of her fourteen-year-old sister. But she is working at not letting anyone know, and that includes finishing high school while landing a job which will enable her to support the two of them. However, her first job interview doesn’t go well, and ends with a major earthquake rocking the building. When she lands in the hospital with badly cut feet, she knows that the hospital social worker will find out about her situation. In order to avoid that, she allows Jackson Maynard, a handsome stranger, to help her and Mia escape, little realizing that social workers are the least of her problems.

Reluctant Prince is filled with action, as Jackson, Ryleigh, and Mia run from one attack after another. It is soon obvious that there is a traitor who is trying to stop Jackson and take over Cymmera. It isn’t just Ryleigh who has her world turned upside down. Jackson also has to adjust to not being able to trust anyone.

The characters are well-drawn and very believable. From the beginning I really felt for Ryleigh and her situation. When the setting moves into Cymmera, it is totally believable and I really felt as if I were in a very different world.

My only real criticism of the book is really minor. Whenever things get tense or scary, which happens frequently, one of the characters says, “Don’t worry. Everything will work out.” This seems formulaic and lacking in depth. I would rather have seen reassurances at a deeper level.

This is the first volume in a series, and I am really looking forward to further novels. This one stops at an exciting point, but also a reasonably comfortable spot, rather than an absolute cliff hanger, and as a reader of series which are still being written, I really appreciate that.

Lovers of fantasy novels are sure to find a winner in Reluctant Prince.

Two Brothers: Heritage (The Ramtalan Trilogy Book 2) by Sofia Diana Gabel

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Two Brothers: Heritage (The Ramtalan Trilogy Book 2) by Sofia Diana Gabel
Publisher: Escargot Books and Music
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (345 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review by: Cyclamen

In the second book in the Ramtalan Trilogy, Argus Dachel, a far-from-ordinary half-alien teen, finds himself mixed up in the battle between a hostile faction of Invaders and the peaceful Ramtalans he’s come to know as his friends. With his brother Tai held captive at the Citadel and disturbing news about his father, Argus has to come to grips with the truth about who he really is. Not only is the government agency, the Astronomical Urgent Recovery Administration, AURA, hot on his tail, but his relationship with his girlfriend Lola is in jeopardy. As his special abilities increase and become stronger, he risks exposure and capture. When the enemy closes in and the Citadel is attacked, it seems victory is impossible, but losing means certain death. He must find some way to protect everyone around him, but winning is impossible. Or is it?

Argus Dachel has a lot on his plate at the moment, much more than any other seventeen-year-old senior. He has just learned that he is half alien, and his twin brother, Tai, is being held captive at the Ramtalan headquarters. In addition to that, a secret government agency is out to capture him, and he is receiving strange images from his father who was presumed killed when Argus was small.

Argus has the help of his Aunt Celeste, his legal guardian who is actually not his aunt, but rather a fifty thousand year old Ramtalan who serves as a guardian to New Breeds, those who are part human, part Ramtalan. She is very strong and on the side of the peaceful Ramtalans, but that doesn’t always help as Argus finds himself on his own in nasty situations.

Argus is a very believable teenage boy. He’s been homeschooled most of his life, so he finds that he has things to learn about being a regular high school senior. His extra abilities allow him to throw the football better than anyone else, so he is soon the star quarterback with a letterman jacket. However, he still has to deal with the world of bullies and high school insecurities, all the time trying to save his brother.

The premise of the story is very well thought out. The existence of peaceful Ramtalans on Earth seems totally believable. The fact that they’ve been here, living side by side with humans, for fifty thousand years also seemed plausible. But now there are Ramtalan invaders who want to destroy humans and New Breeds alike and take over earth. How can Argus protect those he cares about?

The action is non-stop and very exciting, making this a real page turner. I found myself unable to put it down. It can be read as a stand-alone, even though it is the second in the trilogy, and in fact, I read this one before I read the first. I would recommend reading them in order, but I had no trouble keeping up with what was going on. I enjoyed reading the first in the series, Two Brothers: Origin, even though I knew what would happen so that I could fill in all the details. Ideally, reading them in order would be more powerful, and I can’t wait for the final volume in this trilogy. I hope it will be published soon.

Readers of science fiction are in for a real treat with Two Brothers: Heritage.

Two Brothers: Origin (The Ramtalan Trilogy Book 1) by Sofia Diana Gabel

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Two Brothers: Origin (The Ramtalan Trilogy Book 1) by Sofia Diana Gabel
Publisher: Escargot Books and Music
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full (385 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

What teenage boy doesn’t want to fit in and have friends? That’s what Argus Dachel, 17, wants more than anything, but because he’s half alien, a New Breed, that’s not as easy as it seems. And it sure doesn’t help that he and his brother, Tai, are being pursued by a secret government agency. To top it off, now in their senior year at public high school, both boys risk exposure when Argus uses his extraordinary strength to defend himself against the school bully, falls for 16 year-old Lola and then learns that New Breeds are set for extermination by another group of hostile aliens. As government agent Max Jackson gets close to discovering the brothers’ identity and the hostile alien forces close in, what chance do Argus and Tai have of survival?

Argus and Tai Dachel are seventeen-year-old fraternal twins who have been homeschooled most of their lives by their Aunt Celeste. Their parents died in a horrible boating accident when they were small. But now, Aunt Celeste has decided that they should attend the local high school for their senior year, as a way of getting to know others. However, very quickly strange things begin happening and the boys learn that they are half alien, with special powers. Before they can even absorb the fact that there are Ramtalans living on earth, and that there are other New Breeds like them, they are pursued by an agent from a secret government agency, and tormented by a school bully.

The characters of Argus and Tai are well defined and very believable. They are typical teenage boys with a healthy dose of rebellion and impulsive actions. Even though they are twins, they also have very different personalities, with Argus being more protective and Tai quicker to act violently.

The action is fast-paced and there are a number of points of view given, keeping things moving quickly. I really liked the basic premise that aliens arrived on earth fifty thousand years ago and have lived peacefully, integrating with humans ever since. But now there is a group of Ramtalans who think that all New Breeds should be exterminated so that they can take over the planet.

The details surrounding the Ramtalans on Earth and the existence of the New Breeds seems very well thought out and I had no trouble at all believing in their existence. Aunt Celeste is an interesting character, and it is clear from the beginning that while she may not actually be Argus and Tai’s aunt, she cares deeply for them and truly has their best interests, as well as the wishes of their mother, in mind. She will do whatever it takes to ensure that they have a good life.

This is the first book in an exciting trilogy. I look forward to the rest of the series.

The Cat’s Maw by Brooke Burgess

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The Cat’s Maw by  Brooke Burgess
Publisher:  Self
Genre:  Contemporary,   Paranormal,   Suspense/Mystery
Length:  Full Length (278 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating:  4.5 Stars
Review by: Cyclamen

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

A BOY. A CAT. A NIGHTMARE LOOSED IN TWO WORLDS!

From award-winning storyteller Brooke Burgess (Broken Saints) comes a haunting, touching, and inspired children’s fiction debut — THE CAT’S MAW — the first volume in a contemporary mystery/fantasy epic for brave young readers. With countless rewards for lovers of page-turning adventures, fans of creepy and magical thrills…and, of course, for feline fanatics of all ages!

In the sleepy town of Appleton, a young loner follows a stray cat onto the road and is struck by a car. A leg is shattered, a summer is ruined, and the troubled life of Billy Brahm goes from bad…to cursed.

When the mysterious cat appears at his bedside, Billy is haunted by strange and prophetic dreams — the creatures in them speak of Watchers, and Shadows, and the Enemy that Awakens.

Does this impossible realm hold the key to healing the broken boy? Is the golden-eyed cat there to help him…or to make the nightmares come true?

Too frightened to share the truth with his strict adoptive parents, Billy realizes that the only ones he can turn to are the local vet’s daughter, the town’s ‘crazy cat lady’…

…and a mystical tiger, beckoning from his dreams.

Billy Brahm always seems to have had bad luck. Some call him cursed. As a result of his bad luck as well as his very high intelligence, he has no friends. He is a loner. When he is hit by a car and his leg is shattered, the curse seems to have won. His strict adoptive parents don’t tell him that he’ll probably lose his leg, but that’s what he’s figured out on his own. But for now his leg is encased in plaster and his plans for summer vacation crushed. Billy slides into depression, not eating, living in pain, until a mysterious cat appears at his bedside. He has to fight to keep the cat, but his life starts changing then. However, he experiences horrible nightmares and he certainly can’t talk about those with his parents. He turns to the town’s elderly crazy cat lady, who lives across the street, and to the local vet’s daughter, to help him understand the mystical tiger, calling to him from his dreams.

Billy is a very believable and likeable character. He is mature beyond his years in some areas, but in others he is still a scared ten-year-old boy. I liked the complexity of his character, and I was impressed by the way that he handled some very scary situations. He knows when he needs help and when he can do something on his own, and in the end he uses a variety of resources to solve the mystery.

The paranormal aspects of The Cat’s Maw are very well done. They really add to the increased tension and suspense in the novel, and the mystery of who the strange creatures are is intense. How much of Billy’s dreams are prophetic, and how will the prophetic moments be revealed?

Readers who enjoy the out-of-the-ordinary mystery will certainly want to follow Billy’s adventures in The Cat’s Maw.

The Village Green by M. A. Foxworthy

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The Village Green by M. A. Foxworthy
Publisher: Astraea Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, YA
Length: Short Story (133 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Kelsey stood in a long line of ragged people as she did every week, waiting to receive her weekly rations. But the rations were getting smaller and the people were worried. Had life always been like this: hunger, want, and disease? As far as Kelsey knew, it always had, but when she finds the journal of Henry Martin everything begins to change. Will she be strong enough to fulfill a prophecy?

Kelsey lives in a small village in a world where a loaf of bread, some turnips, three cabbages, and a small bag of potatoes is supposed to feed her and her father for a week. But Kelsey says nothing. The sin of causing dissension is nearly the worst sin in this world, with only the sin of hoarding being worse. The society is completely dominated by Enforcers, keeping the villagers in a constant state of anxiety. Everyone gets exactly the same house, furniture, etc. When Kelsey’s mother dies, her mother’s chair is given to a family whose third chair was broken beyond repair. The family has waited for nearly a year for a replacement.

This kind of equality pervades every aspect of Kelsey’s life, including education. “’Equality calls for sameness. Those who are more gifted must come down to the level of the least in their group of peers. Sameness will bring peace.’ This was one of the many laws all citizens memorized as children. And why it was such a rare thing for anyone to leave the village and go on to higher education.”

When Kelsey finds the journal of Henry Martin, she realizes that things haven’t always been like this. I found Kelsey to be a very believable character. She is faced with some hard facts demonstrating that the system, which was originally set up to protect Mother Gaia, is in fact corrupt and abusive. A few are living well at the expense of the masses. Kelsey’s reactions to the ideas in the journal are realistic. And when she discovers that she is meant to fulfill a prophecy, she is understandably shaken. At the same time, she realizes the importance of what she must undertake.

The village is described in great detail and felt altogether too real for anyone’s comfort. I really rallied behind Kelsey and the others in the underground resistance. The pacing is excellent and there are twists and turns within the plot which build tension. The ending of the novel does bring the events of the book to a suitable stopping point, but I sure hope that the author is going to write a sequel to let us know what happens to Kelsey.

Those who enjoy dystopian fantasy are sure to be captivated by The Village Green.

Crossfire by Andrea Domanski

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Crossfire by Andrea Domanski
The Omega Group Series Book One
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, YA
Length: Full Length (265 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Birthdays suck!

For her eighteenth, Mirissa Colson receives a package from the mother who abandoned her over a decade ago. The family secret it reveals transforms her life from trying on prom dresses to battling an ancient race of demons. Thanks, Mom.

Her nineteenth brings forth an even more treacherous foe—one maniacal demi-god bent on ruling the world. So much for dating. Thankfully, the years of martial arts and sharpshooter training her ex-Navy SEAL dad put her through gives her the perfect skill-set to build upon.

When she’s called on to save the world—literally—Mirissa finds she has a lot more in her arsenal than just a mean roundhouse kick. Burgeoning powers she previously thought impossible, like controlling the elements and sensory expansion, give her some confidence. But when she is propelled into a world teeming with preternatural beings—all with powers of their own—she finds herself outmatched and outgunned.

CROSSFIRE is a coming of age tale that bridges the gap between the world we think we know, and the one that lies just beneath the surface.

Mirissa Colson has been raised, from the time she was seven, by her father. She has always thought that her mother abandoned them both. But when she reaches eighteen, she learns the real truth, her family’s secret, and that secret reveals an entire world that she never knew existed. She learns about the Greek gods, demi-gods, and preternatural beings, both good and evil. And she learns that she has extraordinary powers meant to help her fulfill a prophecy, that she must save the world.

Crossfire is a thriller, with non-stop action. Mirissa is kidnapped and has to escape. Then she undergoes training and there are mock battles. And there are enough real battles to fill several lifetimes. Each battle is described in complete detail, blow by blow, and I have to admit, I grew tired of all the very detailed descriptions. I know nothing about martial arts, so the dynamics of the fights didn’t really draw me in. I would have liked to have seen more character development, and more details about the relationships Mirissa forms.

Nevertheless, the plot is well-crafted and I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire novel, reading it in one sitting. It is a coming of age story and a dramatic one at that. Mirissa has to absorb a great deal of information in a short amount of time and she ends up having to figure a lot of things out for herself, in the heat of battle. She is fighting not only for her own life, but for the lives of her father and friends as well, and the tension builds all the way through the novel to a heart-stopping conclusion.

I also liked the mythological aspect of this story and I felt that the history of the ancient world was well-researched. Discovering how Artemis and other deities have lived over the years until the present was fun. Discovering how the ancient gods are still operating in our world was intriguing.

Fantasy readers are sure to enjoy this exciting story, and I look forward to the next in this thrilling series.

Prophecy: Elf Queen of Kiirajanna by Stephen H. King

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Prophecy: Elf Queen of Kiirajanna by Stephen H. King
Publisher: Dragon Tale Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, YA
Length: Full Length (397 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Alyssa never could have imagined that her first accomplishment after high school in a small Mississippi town would be traveling to a land she’d never heard of and ascending to its throne as the new Elf Queen. But when her long-lost father, the Elf King, comes back for his daughter, that is exactly the future that he brings.

With the help of her cousin, her father, and others, Alyssa carefully finds her way as an outsider through the intricacies of elf society. Along the way she meets fairies, unicorns, and other beasts that she’d grown up believing were only to be found in myths. At the same time, Alyssa encounters a mysterious cult whose entire purpose seems to be the prevention, by any means necessary, of her taking the throne. After an arrow that misses its mark and a message written in blood fail to warn her away, Alyssa finds herself in a fight for her own life and for those of her companions.

That magic exists in the realm of the elves is obvious to Alyssa from the beginning. Its use, though, is forbidden by centuries of elf tradition. When the Cult of the Wyrm finally makes its move, Alyssa must decide whether to risk banishment from her own birthright in order to wield the destructive forces as a weapon against those who would see her dead.

Join Alyssa as the sassy Southern girl enters the land of her father’s birth and deals with a stern priesthood, a stuck-up royal trio, and, of all things, a crush, as she comes of age in Kiirajanna.

Alyssa has grown up as the daughter of a hard-working single mom in Mississippi. Her mother always said that her father was special, but as she got older, Alyssa stopped believing in him. However, right after her high school graduation, her father arrives and he is definitely special. He is the elf king to the land of Kiiirajanna, and he as come to take her to the land of the elves where she will claim her birthright as the next elf queen.

I really liked Alyssa, finding her to be a wonderfully smart, strong, totally believable young woman. She has a lot to learn once she arrives in Kiilrajanna, including a new language, many elf customs, history, geography, protocol, and a totally different way of viewing the world.

I was hooked from the opening sentence of this novel. “In hindsight, I’ll admit that slugging the high priestess was probably a very bad idea.” I thought the opening was very effective, giving the reader enough to capture them before taking a step back and showing how Alyssa reached the place where she slugged the high priestess.

The other characters are also well-drawn and multi-dimensional. Her father does all in his power to ease her transition into this new world. Sephaline, her ranger cousin, soon becomes her best friend. Sephaline has a familiar, Booboo, who is a very protective wolverine. There is also Little Treebeard, a tree which Alyssa succeeds in singing back to health.

Alyssa discovers right from the beginning that she might be the prophesied dragon queen, but not everyone wants that prophecy to come true. The plot has a lot of action and mystery and the pacing is excellent. The land of Kiilrajanna is very clearly described and it seems to be a wonderful place, filled with amazing inhabitants, even though all magic is forbidden. Alyssa finds herself having to battle magical foes with the aid of Sephaline and Prince Keion, without having any real idea of how to survive.

This is a wonderful, exciting, magical story, and while I haven’t seen any references to a series, I’m really hoping that I will once again enter the land of the elves and find out what adventures await Alyssa. Readers of fantasy are sure to be captivated by this story.

Dancing with Raven by S. G. Rogers

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Dancing with Raven by S. G. Rogers
The Young Shakespearean Series, Book One
Publisher: Idunn Court Publishing
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, YA
Length: Full Length (219 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Tori Moss is no stranger to heartbreak. Raised by a foster mother since the deaths of her parents in a horrific accident, she’s poured herself into ballet. A disappointing audition sends her into an emotional tailspin, but it’s the strangely intriguing new guy in school who catches her as she falls. Although Tori and Raven seem to be nothing alike, they share an uncommon ability to see the sudden flood of demons pouring into Los Angeles. When she discovers a plot to bring about the Apocalypse, Tori must decide whom to trust. One wrong step will cost her everything.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to discover that everything you thought you knew about yourself was actually a lie? And what if the truth revealed that you were at the center of a plot to bring about the Apocalypse? This is exactly what Tori Moss has to face and it makes the disappointment of a dance audition seem insignificant by comparison. The audition had been devastating, as a famous ballet director tells her, “You’re a moose. In the corps, your height would draw too much focus. As a soloist, we have no one tall enough to partner you. . . you’re far too big to be a ballerina. Classical ballet is not in your future.” All her dreams are shattered, but then, as the truth of her life unfolds, she discovers things that are much worse, not only for her, but for the entire planet.

Dancing with Raven is an action-packed, thrilling story with great characters. I liked Tori a lot and really felt for her pain and her angst as her world is up-ended. She has no idea who to trust, and those who she thought she could trust turn on her as those she distrusted turn out to be allies. Tori’s character is well-developed and I found her to be very believable. The plot has one twist after another. Tori meets a young man, Raven, and discovers that they may not have a lot in common, but they both possess the ability to see demons. As they learn to trust each other, the date for the Apocalypse grows ever closer.

This is the first novel in a series called The Young Shakespeareans and it is a thrilling first book. The ending makes it clear that other books will follow, and I can’t wait for the next in the series. But the novel does end at a reasonable stopping point, with many of the mysteries resolved, and the door opening onto the next adventure.

Readers of fantasy and paranormal novels are sure to get caught up in the lives of Tori Moss and Raven Cassidy. I look forward to reading more in this wonderful series.

Chase Tinker and the House of Destiny by Malia Ann Haberman

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Chase Tinker and the House of Destiny by Malia Ann Haberman
Book 3 of the Chase Tinker series
Publisher: Crossroad Press
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery, Childrens
Length: Full Length (211 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

In Chase Tinker’s world, magic, lies and secrets can be a lethal combination…

For eight agonizing months Chase Tinker’s guilt over the despicable act he committed on Halloween night has been eating away at his heart and mind. Chase’s life gets even more complicated when secrets about the mysterious Relic in the attic are revealed on the eve of a visit from an unwelcome caller. It doesn’t help that this all occurs on his fourteenth birthday!

Despite his problems, his biggest concern is that his family’s Dark Enemy, the Marlowe Family, is becoming more powerful with each passing day, fueled by the energy they continue to pillage from the many magical beings of the world. If Chase and his family are ever going to win, they will need a whole lot of magical help; they must destroy the most evil threat the world has ever known!

Chase Tinker is suffering agonizing guilt because he had to kill his evil cousin in order to save his brother. However, eight months later that guilt becomes the least of his problems. He and his family must fight the Marlowes, not only the Tinkers’ greatest enemies, but the world’s as well. The Marlowes are pillaging magic from all magical beings, bringing destruction and despair on everyone, and it is up to Chase and his family to stop them.

This is the third novel in a wonderful series. I have read the other two, but this novel may also be enjoyed as a stand-alone. The author provides enough background so that a new reader will have no difficulties getting right into the story. That being said, the series is a very strong and exciting one, so personally, I’d recommend reading all the books in order.

The characters are well defined and I really found Chase to be a very sympathetic character. He has to make some very hard decisions, and he makes them with care. The contrasts between his family and his cousins’ is dramatic, and I was pulling for Chase and his friends every inch of the way.

The magical spells seem very real and plausible. I had no difficulties at all believing that Chase could make himself invisible or shrink an unexpected and unwanted visitor so that the visitor would fit in a water bottle.

The story speaks to more than just the fantastical adventures. It also speaks to issues of determining good and evil, figuring out who to trust, acting honorably, and looking out for others. The lessons Chase learns are valuable lessons for our world as well.

The pacing is wonderful and I really wanted to read this novel in one sitting. As I neared the end, I began to worry. There was no way this could end. Sure enough, I came to the end of this novel and discovered that the fourth in the series is the concluding book. The House of Destiny has a reasonable ending, but it also is obvious that things are not resolved, and all I can say is that I hope the author is ready to release the final book in the very near future. I, for one, am sitting on the edge of my chair waiting.

Fantasy lovers will delight in the adventures of Chase and his family and friends. The action is hair-raising, the antics are fun, and the entire adventure is absolutely delightful.