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Every writer has been there. Their brain is exploding with great ideas and then they disappear. There must be a collective neural sanctuary where your plots and characters hide when you need them most.
Many people wonder where the original inspiration for popular books comes from. The truth as many authors will tell you, it that the original idea has been re-written, re-edited, re-envisioned, and sometimes tossed aside completely. You may have read the published and reimagined versions of these classic stories. These were their original working titles and plots pre-reimagining.
Hairy Potter: The story of a caveman that discovers ceramics, which sets him at odds with his aunt and uncle, who believe that his work is nothing more than mud-pies and magic.
The Wheel of Thyme: The epic adventures of a famous chef who dies midway through his ridiculously long cookbook series, but don’t worry, another chef will step up to finish the books.
Poke a Hauntess: The story of a sex predator who friends a vengeful Native American ghost girl on Facebook.
Lorde of the Rings: A young singer and songwriter and her tennis court team endeavor to become royals through glory and gore. The Lorde of the Rings will not stop until it has created one ringtone to rule them all.
The Fault in our Star: An epic space adventure of apocalyptic size where the discovery of tectonic plates on the Sun’s crust and an impending super-massive “sun-quake” threatens to destroy the solar system.
Inheritance Cycle: A Free Rider destroys all the other Free Riders and crowns himself King of all the land. A Young farmer boy discovers a blue stone in the woods and decides he hates poverty and reignites the order of the Free Riders and begins to write himself into the wills of every race he can find, beginning with a prestigious dwarf clan.
The Princess and the Fog: A promising horror novel where an island kingdom is covered in thick fog and the spirits of the dead return to take revenge on the inhabitants for burning their ship. A Princess kisses the fog in an attempt to break the curse and turn it into a prince.
Cider Man: A historical fiction based on Isaac Newton’s years at High School. One day, while visiting a laboratory, a radioactive apple falls on his head, giving him the ability to walk on walls and shoot streams of apple juice from his wrists.
The Red Badger of Courage: King Vortigern must choose what his emblem shall be in the coming war with the Saxons. His wise men tell him that a badger will rally the men better than a dragon would. A young Merlin disagrees. Who will win?
Churrasco Park: A fun barbeque-themed park turns sour when the reanimated food escapes confinement and begins to eat the tourists.
My journey has led me to a village, in a book named Ravenwood by Nathan Lowell. This book is kind of like The Swiss Family Robinson in the sense that people are trying to survive and they find the way to survive; but, instead of an island, the people live in Ravenwood, just off the beaten path. Get out your cloaks and walking sticks, there’s a long road ahead…
Amazon: 4.6 (89 ratings)
Barnes and Noble: N/A
Goodreads: 4.1 (666 ratings)
“After twenty winters on the road, Tanyth makes one last pilgrimage in her quest to learn all she can about the herbs and medicinal plants of Korlay before settling down to write her magnum opus. Her journey is interrupted when she stops to help a small village and learns that much of what she knows of the world may not be quite as it seems.
Nathan Lowell blends wiccan tradition and shamanistic lore into a fantasy quest and creates a world for a new – if unlikely – heroine to explore. She learns that the familiar sometimes hides the fantastical and that, even when you think you’ve made your decisions, life doesn’t always agree.”
Soundbite from the web
The Good: “Ah, Nathan Lowell. Can you do no wrong? Ravenwood is yet another fantastic book from the highly-praised author of the Trader Tales series. As effortlessly as Lowell approached future tech and made it easily understood and digestible in the stories of Ishmael Wang, he hits a home run in the opposite direction. Ravenwood is set in a far distant past, in a time when swordplay was the main offensive weapon in conflict.” (5-star rater on Goodreads)
The Bad: I cannot force myself to finish this. Are we in medieval Europe? It seems so at first blush. The dialect is crazily inconsistant, veering wildly from “my dear” and “mum” to “if’n” and “somethin'”. There are pages where no gerunds are blessed with their final “g’s”…and a few pages later, they ‘re back. (1-star rater on Goodreads. Note: Also the only 1-star rater of 5 to leave a comment on Goodreads.)
It might be my imagination, or my computer or something, but they sell this book as a new paperback for $100+. Obviously, there are people who value this book MUCH more than I do. If you want to read this book, go with an e-version. It’s $96 cheaper.
The book is about a 50-ish year old woman who starts having visions through the eyes of a raven while visiting a village. She ends up spending the winter there and helps the people prepare for the winter. Bullies from the city appear to make things worse and the villagers defend themselves and improve their quality of life. Is the book as good as a lot of people make it out to be?
On the upside, you have a unique main character. I’ve never read a book (fantasy) where the main character is a 50 year old woman. In fantasy books, the 50 year olds are usually witches or in medieval geriatrics wards (aka sitting on the side of the road waiting to die). Not Tanyth! She’s a-questing to learn more about natural medical remedies and wants to learn from the best whom everybody says is a witch on top of everything else. She wants to get there soon because she doesn’t know when she or the teacher will die.
She’s a compassionate lady, and lonely. She wants to see her soldier-son, but doesn’t want to coddle him either. She takes up residence in the village to teach the women some plant medicine and gets stuck for the winter there. She’s constantly wanting to leave, but tired of being alone all the time. In other words, she’s a great character to read about. The kind that feels alive.
On the downside (not an actual downside, just personal stuff) there isn’t a lot of action. I’m a super stereotypical dude like that. After all the previous books full of magic and swords and chaos, this one came off with a more tranquil feeling. I did enjoy the sequences where she was between bird-vision and being awake and she won’t sure which she was or if she was slowly turning into a bird. Those moments added some lighthearted hilarity to the book as a whole. If you’re into the books about life in a fantasy world, this is worth your time, but if you are looking for battles and mayhem, this isn’t for you.
I’m nearing the end of the Magic, Myth & Majesty book bundle reviews. Thank goodness, I can finally move on to other book bundles. But there are a few more that I have to do. Have you ever wondered how half-species came to exist? I certainly have, and if you do, don’t worry. This book explains it as much as any other fantasy of half-species. This is The Weight of Blood, the first in a series by David Dalglish. If the gore of the other books in this bundle haven’t bothered you, then this one won’t either. Categorized as an epic/dark fantasy, this book will transport you into the gruesome ways of necromancy.
Amazon: 4.0 (276 reviews)
Barnes and Noble: 3.9 (196 reviews)
Goodreads: 3.6 (1780 reviews)
“When half-bloods Harruq and Qurrah Tun pledged their lives to the death prophet Velixar, they sought only escape from their squalid beginnings. Instead, they become his greatest disciples, charged with leading his army of undead. While they prepare, Harruq trains with an elf named Aurelia, to whom he owes his life. She is a window into a better world, but as war spreads between the races, their friendship takes a dire turn. Velixar orders them to fight alongside the humans, changing Aurelia from friend to foe. To protect her, Harruq must turn against his brother and fight the killing nature of his orcish heritage. To side with one means to turn on another. No matter Harruq’s decision, someone he loves will die.”
Soundbite from the web
The Good: “This entire series is amazing, no predictable outcomes, interesting story lines, and the characters are very well-written and dynamic. I can’t wait to read his next series!” (5-star rater on Goodreads)
The Bad: “I got this book for a grand total of ZERO dollars and I certainly feel like I got my money’s worth. There is nothing I can say about this book that hasn’t already been said, so I’ll just line item it out for you.” (1-star rater on Amazon)
What I say
This is the book you read if you are mentally stable and not into doing what the main characters do. In this book, there are two brothers: Harruq (a warrior) and Qurrah Tun (a necromancer). Whoa hold on a sec…. I just realized their names are the same, just backwards. Ladies and gentlemen, several hours of reading have shown me that I am not observant.
Moving on, the brothers live in a city under siege by a powerful necromancer. Qurrah succeeds in defeating the necromancer’s spells and the city wins the battle. The king of the town gets really paranoid and throws out all the elves, including the orc brothers.
As they travel to a new home, Qurrah has Harruq kill children along the way so he can practice his necromancy. In their new home, Harruq falls in love with an elf and the elf witnesses some of Harruq’s murders. She takes it on herself to free Harruq from her brother’s evil influence.
The book is full of race the usual fantasy race war. Weak men hate the ancient elven race. The elves prefer peace, but also let their bows do the talking. The orcs are mindless brutes controlled by evil, and the necromancer is playing all sides of the field to generate a lot of carnage on all sides to raise an army of unstoppable dead. That’s all fine for a story, but its the main characters that irk me.
Qurrah is an egoistic maniac and that’s all you need to know. After swearing to never join the necromancer and being scared to death of the guy, he joins the necromancer as his apprentice and swears to stand by him to his dying day.
Harruq has more character than his brother. He’s exceptionally strong and dim-witted. He has all the morality and knowledge of an infant. On one hand, the character that we see would never hurt children, but he does; and on another hand, he would never upset his brother, or disobey the necromancer that his brother sold him to, which he does. If you are looking for relatable or somewhat likable characters, these aren’t the droids you are looking for. Move along.
I wouldn’t classify them as anti-heroes as other readers have done. An anti-hero has some sort of redeemable traits. These guys murder children in their sleep. In short, its a book about villains struggling in a generally cheerful world.
This is David Dalglish’s first published book (as I understand it) and it’s a decent entry for first times. I’ve heard the first book is always the worst. If that’s true, then Dalglish’s writing career has a nice uphill road, and an already large fan base. I, for one, don’t think I’ll revisit the Half-Orc series as there are so many unseen tales out there waiting to be read!
Great books for great kids.
Enjoy the Adventure
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