The Blighted Fortress by David Dresner – Blog Tour Book Review



The Blighted Fortress is the second book in The Allies of Theo series by David Dresner.

Summary

This story begins in modern Chicago then moves to fifth-century Transylvania.

 

The teenage protagonists, Glenda and Traveler, are sent by Theo, their sanctuary god, deep into the primeval forests of the Carpathian Mountains. They must locate then neutralize an ancient demi-god called a “fire beast”.

 

The two must also survive the daunting challenges of isolated fifth-century Transylvania. Rome is now in its final death throes and the hoof beats of Attila the Hun echo across Europe. Civilization and Pax Romana are distant memories.

 

Magic, wits, and youthful courage must combine to face the fire creature. Survival, much less winning, is up for grabs.


Author

David E. Dresner was born and raised in rural Ohio. He was an Eagle Scout and later high school president in both his junior and senior years. The social mores, the friendships, and the rivalries of his youth were character building and era defining and have stayed with him into adulthood. Dresner studied physics and mathematics at Carnegie Tech, now Carnegie Mellon, earning a B.S. and M.S, before training to become an actuary. Dresner enjoyed considerable professional success, working at major business consultancy firms at CEO and COO level before taking early retirement and starting a family. He has since dedicated himself to giving back to hiscommunity, supporting small businesses, churches and schools by developing their strategic plans, as well as tutoring children in core academic studies. Having travelled extensively and lived in France, Switzerland and the Czech Republic, today David and his wife Nancy live in a rural part of Virginia, near Charlottesville. He is currently working on the fourth instalment of The Allies of Theo series; he will publish his third novel in 2020.

What I Thought

Prologues can be tricky things, but in this case it was useful to ground the story meaning that you could read The Blighted Fortress without having to read book one first.

For me, Book One, The Discovered Sanctuary took time to get into. I think mainly, because although publicised as a young adult book, the early part of the story was told from an adult’s point of view (the father of one of the characters). There was also a great deal of tell rather than show.

However the first chapter of The Blighted Fortress, now in the middle of a story shows development. The language seems more authentically teen and the relationship between the main characters show their level of intimacy having already been through adventures together. 

This is a high concept series with a mix of geographical and historical locations. It was full of lots of detail enabling the reader to fully visualise the world created.

My preference is for pacy reads and I don’t always get on with historical language because it tends to slow things down, so the modern day dialogue between the two teens and the humour in their relationship were more enjoyable for me.

I was sent both books for the purposes of an honest review. Thank you to Faye and the publishers for the gifted copies.

The Alphabet For Life by Fran Norris

Summary:

An alphabet book with a difference! Who said A is for Apple? Why not A is for Acceptance?! Let’s learn the alphabet using words that will inspire and empower everyone to thrive in life! Packed with fun illustrations and thoughtful quotes and themes, The Alphabet For Life is a unique children’s book the whole family can enjoy and learn from for a lifetime.


Author Information

Fran Norris is a mother of two living in Devon. Like most parents, her daily life largely involves coming up with creative approaches to making the good-for-you stuff enjoyable and appealing to children. She believes that education should nurture our natural curiosity and empower each individual to reach their fullest potential. Inspired by the playful way children approach any task, from brushing their teeth to eating toast, Fran is convinced that fun should be at the core of all learning.

As a former scientist, Fran approaches life as a wonderful experiment and loves to question everything. Her children provide a never-ending source of mystery and challenges to be solved. Creating THE ALPHABET OF LIFE reconnected Fran with her love of drawing and painting, encouraging her to work as an illustrator now.


What I Thought

What a wonderful take on the alphabet. With vividly coloured illustrations, quotes that illustrate the concepts, and a host of words that should be in every person’s vocabulary. This could be used with pre-school children to explore concepts such as courage, kindness etc. I even learnt a new word for U and I’ve recently read a whole book about I. 

Thank you to Faye Rogers and Authoright for a gifted copy for the purposes of honest review. 

Angel Mage by Garth Nix – Blog Tour Book Review

Angel Mage, the new fantasy novel from Garth Nix, is a bit of an enigma. A cross between adult and young adult, a stand-alone but with potential for further works in the world. 
5 points of view from 5 seemingly late teenage characters. And the one we hear from most is the villain – Liliath. Usually we root for the one we spend most time with but can you do that when their ultimate goal – fuelled by love – may lead to destruction? 
An impressive new magic system with the ability to call on the power of angels and with magic comes with real cost for those using it. For a specific group of people, taking advantage of angelic healing will have a very extreme and opposite effect. 
Female musketeers in a female dominated world. And boy has the world been thought through. For me this is a book that needs reading more than once. A story where nuance is found in re-exploring the carefully crafted worldbuilding and one that challenges the reader to find the character they identify most with. 
This does lead to a more meandering plot which ramps up in velocity nearer the end of the book. 
One thing that took me out of the story was a continuity error in the first part of the book where the gender of an angel is discussed and then confused. Yes, I’m one of those pedants who notices things like that. I do see more and more errors slipping into to traditionally published books. I wonder if the pressure to publish more quickly to meet demand has an impact on the smaller details. 
There is much to like about Angel Mage but I do see reader opinion being divisive. For me this was a good story but I have to admit to preferring the Sabriel series with its sarcastic cat a little more.  You can check out the rest of the blog spots happening this month to see what others thought. 

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