Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fargoer by Petteri Hannila

Fargoer is a remarkable fantasy taking place during a time when Vikings thrived and terrorized many different peoples across northern Europe. It is a compelling read that follows the life of a girl, Vierra on her journey into adulthood. Her path is a difficult one and filled with many hardships, both physical and spiritual.

At the beginning of the story, Vierra and her cousin Aure must endure an initiation into womanhood that involves a trek to a sacred lake and meeting with the Kainu people's First Mother. The outcome of the meeting will determine the girls' futures. Only one of the girls will become the next Chieftain and the two girls must fight to the death to determine who it will be. If Aure becomes Chieftain, the Kainu people will eventually fade away. If Vierra succeeds and becomes Chieftain, her people will suffer many hardships but survive. When Vierra chooses to spare her cousin from death, she alters fate and the two girls' futures are set in motion. Vierra is set on a path to become the Fargoer.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The writing style is enchanting and although there were a few places where some things were lost in translation (the odd missing article or wrong possessive adjectives) the overall effect isn't bothersome. Knowing the original tale is in Finnish, and the type of story it is just allows the rare mistake to add to the charm. Besides, the setting is fantastic. You can almost feel the old northern magic that haunts the pages as the story unfolds, taking the reader from place to place and experiencing tenebrious situations like encountering the grey mist people of the forest or the gigantic stone age men creatures.

Just reading about the different peoples and how they live is a fascinating part of the novel. The character Vierra is part of a very unique culture, a type of hunter gatherer people who are infrequently encountered in legends and history. Overall it's an engrossing tale. I recommend it to readers who enjoy a good fantasy and are looking for something other than wizards and dragons. Here are the links to the book.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fargoer - A Unique and Gripping Northern Fantasy

I've just finished Fargoer, a remarkable fantasy set in the north during a time when Vikings thrived and terrorized many different peoples across Scandanavia and northern Europe. It is a very compelling read that follows the life of a girl, Vierra who journeys into adulthood and experiences many hardships on her path to becoming the Fargoer. She is part of a very unique culture, a type of hunter gatherer people who are infrequently encountered in legends and history. It's a n engrossing tale. I'll write a full review when I have a little more time this evening or tomorrow. But for now I'm posting the links to the book. It was just that good.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Star Dwellers by David Estes

Book series often start out with that first book that gets you hooked and ends with something that either wows you, leaves you sad, satisfied or confused. Right after that first book and all the way up to the last book there are those middle books. You know what I mean? There might be one, or several, but one thing about them is almost always the same - they are just part of a story. I find it so difficult to review middle books. Spin it any way you like - they could be full of action and excitement, suspense, tense drama filled situations - middle books are always just going to part of a story. It's a little like built-in disappointment just because it can never be a complete, satisfying story.

This is such a horrible way to start a review for a good book. So I'll do a little backtracking here. For a middle book, The Star Dwellers is great. The plot moves along fairly steadily, taking the characters from danger filled skirmishes in the first book all the way into a more organized resistance situation in this book. There are even a few character twists and surprises thrown in. All in all it's enjoyable, a good adventure and very imaginative. I could be critical and point out that the characters don't really develop significantly or that some of the situations seem a little abrupt or too sudden - but it's an adventure. I don't think those things are all that necessary if the story is entertaining. The only thing that really holds me back is the undeniable fact that it is the middle of the story. So, if you really want that feeling of satisfaction, you'll just have to go ahead and get the next one.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Two Very Different YA Novels - Fantasies Worth the Read

IcefireIcefire by Patty Jansen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Icefire was a good fast read although I really think it was too short for the type of story it was.

The fantasy takes place in a cold and somewhat forbidding world, typical of the genre but intriguing none the less. The main character,Isandor is a boy who may be physically incomplete, but has a hidden magic that makes up for his disability. When the boy tries to remove the heart of an animal, he replaces it with icefire, a glowing magic that keeps the animal alive as a slave to Isandor. However, the boy's talent is not permitted in his world and he is forced to remain an outcast until a mysterious man with a similar ability takes the boy under his wing. Unfortunately for Isandor, it turns out to be worse than being an outcast loved by no one, not even his mother. The path to becoming an Eagle Knight it seems is far more difficult than Isandor could ever have imagined.

While it took me a little reading to get used to the writing style - at first I found it a little choppy - I soon felt the style was a good fit for the story. The only real problem I had was the romance part. It was just too fast and I think that's really where the story needed to be longer. For me it didn't work, but it might for others. Aside from the romance issue, I think the story had potential and the dangerous fantasy world created was an interesting one. The full trilogy could be worthwhile.

View all my reviews Dark Currents (The Emperor's Edge #2)Dark Currents by Lindsay Buroker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dark Currents is the second book in the Emperor's Edge series and still worth the reading addiction. Although I didn't enjoy it as much as the first book, largely due to a slower moving plot, I still found the characters every bit as appealing as they were in Emperor's Edge. This second novel continues along with the band of men led by Amaranthe in their quest to prove themselves valuable to the Emperor, but it also focuses on one of the supporting characters and pulls him into the limelight - Books Mugdildor.

I'm whole heartedly enjoying the storyline and can't wait to pick up the next one.

View all my reviews