“Starry Messenger” Ethan Howard #BookReview

Good vs. Evil

      Two sides of the same coin deadlocked for centuries. A victor in this ultimate struggle has finally emerged on Earth. Or so it seems. In 2018, mankind has been seduced by the promise of paradise. For most, life is good and even better days remain ahead. Unknown to the population at large, the third and final great evil has absolute authority over the world’s economy, politics, religion and media. Insidious forces are everywhere, lurking, unseen. Nothing is what it appears to be. Earth is headed for dark times. Then a powerful and enigmatic stranger arrives from the stars. He will either save the human race or accelerate a series of events that will lead Earth inexorably to its destruction.

Starry Messenger Cover

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In “Starry Messenger”, our world among many others is but a puppet on the strings of the ‘Collective’, the Degans and the God of all God’s, Yar. Quentin awakens and is directed by the Synod to observe Earth’s status. Why haven’t the humans conquered the stars? For centuries humans have been given a leg up and it seems to all be for naught. Quentin’s meetings with others like him leave him reeling in his convictions. What exactly is the end game for the Synod and is the way of Yar all Quentin had believed it to be? Will the chance meeting of a human woman and her son change everything for Quentin?  

  A few things I want to bring attention to first. Thank you Mr. Howard for such a compelling list of characters. Thank you a ton for having a male lead who is a POC and a grown adult. Too many of these stories are based around teens and do not reflect the diversity of humanity. 

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Quentin is still a bit of a mystery to me. He’s thousands of years old and a very intriguing man. He is introspective and open minded even when all he knows is being questioned. His character is stoic and endearing. It was a treat to watch as he discovered his human forms feelings and desires. How conflicting that must have been.

Regina and her son are an integral part of what made this story so good. I would like to see both of them fleshed out a bit more. The same can be said for Quentin. I’m hoping that in later books they come to understand the world together and our journey with them delves a bit deeper than this book seemed to. 

There was a lot of world building in “Starry Messenger” but I didn’t feel like it was too much at once. I would of liked the book to be a bit longer, as it stands it’s a good toe into this new world and it’s mechanisms. 

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My only criticism is the withdrawn feel to both Regina and Quentin. I would like to see them fleshed out a bit more intimately since this is an introduction to the series. The language is a bit formal and could use to be loosened up a bit.

4 stars!

 4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: Starry Messenger | Series: Opportvnvs Adest  |  Author(s): Ethan Howard  |Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing / Publication Date: 3-15-2017 |Pages: 144 (Print) |ISBN/ASIN: 978-1544661582 |Genre(s): Fantasy / Fables / Mythology / Fairy Tales / Science Fiction / Action |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 10-30-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

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“The Fire And The Forge” Jack Geurts – Book Review

Would you rather be the conquered or the conqueror?

In a world where gods pull the strings of mortals and people wield the power of the elements, the nation of Libera is attacked by its age-old enemy, the Kem, who lay waste to the land and its armies with their demonic powers of fire and steel.

Imharak, a blacksmith’s apprentice, is forced to leave his home town when it is raided and burned to the ground. 

Together with his master, Gaius, he flees into the wilderness, heading for Gaius’ brother, who is caught near a city that has just been conquered by the Kem.

What troubles Imharak is not so much the invasion, but the fact that he shares the same powers as the invaders, leading him to question where he came from.

He never knew his parents – he was raised as a Liberite and destined to be a common blacksmith. His powers had always made him an outcast, and now he starts to think he might have more in common with the conquerors than with the conquered.

Soon, Imharak will find his allegiances torn between both sides. As he and Gaius journey closer to the lion’s den, Imharak will discover who he really is and what he is capable of.

A bloody, harrowing adventure that takes its cues from ancient civilisations and mythologies, The Fire and the Forge is like no fantasy you’ve ever read.

While a lot of epic fantasy is set in a world resembling medieval Europe, The Fire and the Forge is influenced by ancient Mediterranean civilisations like Egypt, Israel, Carthage and Rome. 

It owes more to the world of the Old Testament and Mt. Olympus than the world of knights, wizards and castles.

You’ll find no elves, dwarves or goblins here. No dark lords, dragon-slayers or prophecies. 

You’ll find no good or evil, but only a grey sense of morality as people are forced to make life-or-death decisions in a harsh and brutal world.

From the very first sentence, this intimate, character-driven tale will dig its hooks into you and haul you along to the bitter end.

The Fire and the Forge Cover

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Geurts delivers a compelling tale of the reluctant orphan who finds himself to be more than he could ever have imagined. Imharak’s place in the world is so much more than the sum of his bloodline. Finding himself in the midst of invasion, Imharak must discover which side of himself to align with. Will he be the conqueror or the conquered?

“The Fire And The Forge” is incredibly quotable. Geurts weaves life lessons like a true philosopher. Like Aesop, Geurts’ writing teach caution when caution is due and encourage a critical filter while disseminating information.

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Gaius, while not being blood related to Imharak, rears the boy with love and wisdom. Gaius’ past is never far from his thoughts and he uses the bloody lessons he’s learned to give Imharak a deeper understanding of life than most in their feudal land. The love between them adds a depth to this story that most tales like this lack. It puts a very human face on fiction and weaves a story that will, brick by brick, add pieces to the readers life. I’m better for reading this story.

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Unlike most fantasy, “The Fire And The Forge” has a setting that is closer to a Roman or Egyptian civilization and it’s a very nice reprieve from the ever present “dark ages” scene. The characters range in race and culture. It’s a story rich in diversity as well as adversity.

I especially enjoyed the different “magics” illustrated here. What a powerful imagination Geurts must have. There aren’t many stories that I recommend for film but this is absolutely one of them. If given the chance, I think it would rock the world on the scale of the “Game of Thrones” series. Yes, it really is that good.

I am completely caught in Geurts’ web and won’t be getting out anytime soon. I look forward to continuing the series.

5 stars!

5 stars

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The Technical Data:

Title: The Fire And The Forge | Series: Pantheon |  Author(s): Jack Geurts  |Publisher: Amazon Digital Sales LLC / Publication Date: 9-20-2017 |Pages: 448 (Print) |ISBN/ASIN: B075T5D6YN |Genre(s): Fantasy / Fables / Mythology / Fairy Tales |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 10-26-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

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Book Review “Fox In The City” Daniel Cabrera

This is the story of a fox–a fox named Tom. A fox who couldn’t in his wildest dreams imagine what it would be like to stand up on two. To behold and experience all the wonders of the world of man. The lights that light up the ground: The hum of the engines that roar and the fervor that engulfs everyone in the impassioned pursuit of happiness. Could he understand that the most amazing part is not in what we built?

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“Fox In The City” is the first book I’ve ever read that’s from a Fox’s perspective. The first part of the book was the most interesting to me since it goes through the daily struggles of being a wild animal left to his own devices. It was odd looking through that lense and I wish that part of the book was a bit longer. One, because I was really wrapped into it when it abruptly changed course and two because I’m just genuinely curious to see the author take it a bit further.

Tom meets Nora and she changes his life. Nora is a beautiful character and I loved everything about her. She was wise beyond her years and incredibly kind for all she had been through. It takes a special person to rise above hardship and thrive. Nora thrives and lightens the path of all around her. Her brutal honesty keeps Tom on his toes and gives him a thread to hold when all starts falling apart.

Tom’s introspection goes deep into what it means to be an animal but also what it means to be a human. Cabrera balances these sections well with his action scenes. One does not overwhelm the other and they exist in a nice harmony to keep the stories meaning as well as keep the reader engaged in the plot.

The only complaint I have about this book is it’s language is a bit choppy. Most of the story is very formal and it doesn’t flow the way it should. There was a time or two the choppy language pulled me from the story and damped my enthusiasm.  I would like to see Cabrera do another edit and smooth out some of the unneeded words and replace them with conjuctions to allow the story to flow much more smoothly.

Other than my one complaint, I very much enjoyed the story and loved how it appeals to such a huge age group. 4 stars!

4 star

The Technical Data:

Title: Fox In The City | Series: N/A |  Author(s): Daniel Cabrera  |Publisher: LULU.com / Publication Date: 7-17-2017 |Pages: 193 (Print) | ISBN: B0749S2XGW |Genre(s): Fantasy / Novella / Fable |Language: English |Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 8-15-2017 |Source: Copy from author.

Fox in the city Cover“The protagonist is well-imagined and its development will interest readers in many ways. It takes a lot of skill to create a story featuring compelling characters that readers can relate to, but it takes genius to write a fable that speaks straight to the heart of the reader, and Daniel Cabrera has just that. A very inspiring and entertaining story!” Five Stars—Reviewed By Divine Zape for Readers’ Favorite