Tomorrow is Friday! Hope you all have had a great week. Again, I apologize for being absent this week. My family and I all were under the weather but thankfully, we are all well again and things are back to normal. I am slowly returning all the blog comments so be patient with me.
Today I want to introduce you to an indie author named Sabine Reed. I met Sabine before I began blogging and she helped give me some pointers. Sabine runs a nice little blog with all kinds of great information for anyone interested in indie publishing so be sure to check it out. Here is Sabine's Bio:
Sabine A. Reed has always been an avid reader. A Masters degree holder in business management, her creative side emerged when Sabine realized that she had the ability to develop and write stories. Coupled with her love for books, she embarked on the journey to become an accomplished writing professional. Although Sabine’s written in different genres, including romance, young adult fantasy and paranormal, her first fantasy stand-alone novel The Black Orb was accepted by Uncial Press’s well known editor Judith B. Glad. Currently, she is working on the first novel in a series of as-yet-untitled fantasy trilogy. She also writes articles at Suite101 on various topics, including but not limited to, writing and publishing. She can often be found at Goodreads as well discussing her favorite books with fellow readers. Her blog Writing and Publishing Resource is meant as a guide for new writers who are discovering that the path to publication can be difficult, but doesn’t have to be lonely. Find Sabine on her website, twitter or Goodreads.
Sabine is here with her list of top five fantasy characters. Here is Sabine:
Top Five Fantasy Characters
Today I am going to talk about five of my favorite characters from fantasy books that I have read over the years. Why, you ask? Because surely that is better than me harping on about my own books. I hope someday a fan will talk about Aria and Jaelyn, the two protagonists from my fantasy novellas - but for now here are the five most memorable characters that have been a part of my reading experience.
-Gandalf from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings - Certainly every male wizard in every fantasy book I have ever read has paled in comparison to Gandalf. He was funny, and yet intimidating. He was sweet, caring and yet so dangerous. His powers were somewhat mysterious and exciting. Gandalf was, and will always remain, the epitome of a wizard.
-Belgarth the Sorcerer from The Belgariad Series - While Gandalf was larger than life, Belgarth was adept at hiding his persona and powers. He was a storyteller, a vagabond, a thief - but his powers were formidable when he chose to use them. He was seven thousand years old, and yet remained the innocence and child-like fascination with the mundane. His enemies trembled when his name was spoken, but his friends were happy to sit with him and drink in the local tavern.
-Walker Boh from the Heritage of Shannara and The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara Series - He was a druid, a custodian of histories, a wizard with formidable power but a reluctant wielder of magic. He hated to be mysterious, and yet was forced to be so because of the nature of the burden on his shoulders. A man conflicted by deep emotions and heavy responsibilities.
-Polgara the Sorceress from The Belgarth Series - She was a divine cook and a formidable witch. Even though she took a backseat to her father Belgarth and nephew Belgarion, it was obvious they wouldn’t survive without her. Calm, wise, courageous, sharp and sarcastic; she was a wonderful character.
-Eragon from The Inheritance Cycle - A young boy, free of any worries and responsibilities, ends up raising a dragon and fighting an empire. Eragon’s strength came not from his magic, but his conviction to do the right thing always. He wasn’t a hero because of his magic, but because he wanted to live an ordinary life, and yet when he realized that he couldn’t do so, he accepted the burden of his responsibility with grace.
So there you go, these are only the few characters who have shared my life over the past many years. Books are a special kind of magic, and I hope someday readers will enjoy my books the way I have enjoyed my favorite authors’ creations. Until then, happy reading to all.
Thanks Sabine! An interesting list. I am familiar with a couple of the characters but I need to meet the others. Sabine has a present for everyone today. You can download a copy of her novella Serpentine Love right now for free on Smashwords. Enjoy!
Here are my reviews of Sabine's books:
The Black Orb by Sabine A. Reed
Aria is a young conniving thief and a con artist, living in the city of Kalaba. When her brother Marcus is taken prisoner by the Queen of Azmeer, Aria embarks on a desperate quest to free him. To save her brother, she has to enlist the help of an old wizard, Bikkar, who is critical of her thieving habits. The way to sever the power of the Queen is to break her magical weapon, the Black Orb, with which she plans to enslave not only her own subjects but other kingdoms also. In order to gain access to the Dragon Claw, the only weapon that can destroy the Black Orb, Aria has to travel with Bikkar to the end of the kingdom and enter the mythical Forest of the Drayds, fight with the stone warriors and endure the company of the old man whom she secretly despises.ebook, First Edition, 158 pages Published October 14th 2011 by Uncial Press
Three and a half stars: A well written debut fantasy novel.
Aria lays her cunning trap for the rich stranger. A smile and promise of intimacy lead to a sleight of hand, a draft of a sleep inducing drug into a wine glass, the inevitable comatose respite of the rich man and the adept removal of his heavy purse. A hooded figure melts into the shadows smiling with the knowledge that the coins will provide her with food and other necessities. Aria, who was orphaned at young age has led a hard life. She is a nimble thief with an arson of disguises and cons to insure her survival. Yet, she is content in her life, since she has always had her beloved older brother at her side. Then Marcus disappears and Aria is fraught with worry over his safety. She soon discovers that he was taken prisoner by the Queen of the land. Aria journeys to the Queen’s castle with the aid of a stranger named, Bikkar. He promises to aid her in recovering her brother in exchange for a favor at a later date. When Aria reunites with her brother she is distraught to find that he is a comatose shell of his former self under the influence of the Black Orb. The Black Orb, an object of great power bent to the Queen’s dark desires, controls and steals the will and magic of anyone who dares to go against the malicious, megalomaniacal Queen. The only way to restore her beloved brother is to destroy the Black Orb. To do this, Aria must embark on a dangerous journey that may even result in death. Will Aria be able to rid the world of the evil Black Orb?
What I Liked:
- Aria, is a strong, admirable lead heroine. She is resourceful, determined, nimble, rash, adept in trickery, a skilled thief and exceedingly loyal to her brother. Aria is also completely capable of protecting herself. Armed with a quick wit and sharp tongue, she is an absolute force to be reckoned with. I loved having a fantasy novel centered around such a formidable female lead. Her growth and character development are impressive. I admired the lengths that she was willing to go to save her brother, even if it meant losing her life.
- Bikkar, at first meeting he is an enigmatic stranger, but as the story progresses his depth and complexity are exposed. He is noble, kind and self sacrificing. I liked the way the relationship formed between he and Aria. It starts on shaky ground; neither of them willing to trust the other, but as they progress on their journey they learn to trust each other and end up forming a strong friendship. He is a gentleman that I grew to admire. I hope he will be in future books.
- The writing is smooth and flows nicely. Ms. Reed provides beautiful,detailed descriptions. She creates an impressive world filled with magical and fantastic characters. I especially enjoyed the visit to the Dryad forest and encountering the wise, mystical creatures who dwell there and commune with the trees.
- While the story line of this book is familiar to the fantasy genre, Ms. Reed does a good job with the elements. Her characters are rich and detailed. The story has danger, action, mystery and a surprisingly difficult decision that Aria must make to save her brother. The book resolves neatly but the door is left open for Aria to continue her adventures.
And The Not So Much:
- I admit I don’t foray often into the fantasy genre so maybe this is my ignorance showing; Ms. Reed does a nice job of creating her own world but I felt a little lost. I would have liked just a touch more reference for a time and a little more depth and detail regarding the environment. How many people inhabit the land? Who are these varied inhabitants? What kind of land do they live in? Adding a little more development in the world building would enrich the experience.
- There was a bit of conflicting information regarding the Queen taking possession of the orb. This does not detract from the overall story but I was a little confused over the details around the Queen’s ascension to the throne and her acquisition of the Black Orb.
- While I appreciated Aria’s absolute loyalty toward her brother, this point was brought up numerous times in the book and it became a bit redundant.
- The story takes it’s time developing and unfolding. It proceeds at an even deliberate pace but the ending felt a bit rushed. I would have liked the ultimate battle to have been a little more difficult and climatic. However, I was grateful for a neat resolution and thankfully no cliffhanger ending.
- One final detail that was perplexing was that Aria had palms with no lines that were supposed to better help her control her destiny but as she reached the end of her climatic journey it was not mentioned how her unique hands were helpful in her quest.
The Black Orb provides a nice entry into the fantasy world especially for novices, like myself. Ms. Reed does a great job building a magical world that is easy to immerse into, especially since it isn’t weighed down with intricate, strange languages and foreign creatures. The story is easy to follow and the writing is smooth and detailed. This is a good debut novel in the fantasy genre. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Sabine Reed’s work.
“Humans lives are so short that they don’t even register in the order of the universe. Still you humans manage to make the most chaos in the world despite your short life span.”
“The future is a mass of possiblities. It could be one thing or another. Each choice a person makes affects another person. One thing leads to another. Nothing is fixed until it takes place....and then it is fixed forever.”
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Serpentine Love by Sabine A. Reed
Maya is an Inagimi, a shape-shifting snake. Arya is a wizard from an alternate magical world seeking an Inagimi so that he can sell her to Archan, a powerful and greedy wizard who will sacrifice her to gain immortality. For Maya and Arya, a future together is not possible. The Goddess has, however, other plans for them, for they fall in love and battle all odds to seek a future together. ebook Published September 13th 2012 by smash words
I always have a hard time reviewing novellas because I feel like just as they are getting good they end! This was the case when I read Serpentine Love. While I found the overall story of a shape-sifting snake to be fascinating, I longed for the story to be longer and expose more details. I have never read anything before with a shape shifting snake so I was eager to dive in and experience something new. A snake shape shifter sounds really interesting and cool, and it was, but how I wished this was a full length novel. I would vey much like to learn much more about the Inagimi and Arya the human/snake. Don't get me wrong this was still an entertaining and fun little novella, I just wished there was more.
This novella tells the tale of a wizard searching worlds to find the enigmatic Inagimi. As a last ditch effort, he visits Earth in hopes of finding a snake shape shifter, or die at the hands of an evil wizard. Once he arrives, he contacts Maya hoping she will introduce him to her grandfather who is a renowned herpetologist. What follows is a whirlwind adventure with romantic sparks, secrets, danger and more. If you are looking for something quick and very unique definitely check out Serpentine Love.
"Aren't all writers supposed to be nerds with their noses into books or research papers....or whatever writers do?"
"There are some foolish men who prize loyalty and humanity above money and fame."
A received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
A big thanks to Sabine for stopping by. Don't forget to head over and download your free copy of Serpentine Love.