Pandragon Dan

Pandragon Dan

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Pandragon Reviews: Blue on the Horizon: Troll

Today I’m reviewing a very interesting piece on trolls. No, not the type that cause chaos on the internet, but rather the mythical creatures. Now trolls often get a lot of bad press in Fantasy stories, but this time they are the central characters, which is a refreshing change to say the least.

 

This one is heavily stepped in Norse mythology, but also adds a lot of social commentary. Which is an interesting concept that made me want to read it. So, why don’t we dive into the world of Fantasy and review Blue on the Horizon: Troll by Rebecca Ferrell Porter.

 

 

About The Author

 

I wasn’t provided any links from the author, so I got a link to her Goodreads page. Feel free to check it out if you wish to follow this author.

 

Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

Cover

 

The cover certainly matches the title, and it is a nice cover. You can see the blue eyes with the aurora borealis, looking over the horizon – so it’s Blue on the Horizon! Get it? Ahem, anyway, I think it works well and certainly attracts attention.

 

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

 

They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul, but what if those eyes reflect your worst fears? Fairies have planted a changeling in the poor troll village of Torv. Gaven’s blue eyes blink out at a world where only fairies bare the pale eyes of the fey. She is declared an abomination, and as the fear oozes through Torv, Gaven is banished and bullied, left to linger in the marsh, where alone, she will not survive. Then, mere heartbeats from the snapping jaws of a fearsome predator, Gaven finds a friend: Azool, the most feared fairy in the valley. How could the trusting trollkin have understood the implications as she enters into an apprenticeship with the duplicitous blue fairy of Torv?

 

The treachery expands as Azool orders her swarm to invade the dragon lair where she forces the mysterious creatures into colorful saddles, and uses the murderous lizards to incinerate the wealthy village of Breen. Azool and her swarm assume everyone is dead, but as Uredd stumbles from the only home he has ever known, his mother’s words echo in his head, ‘he is the one’.

 

With both ends of the valley in turmoil, the fairies start to squeeze the middle, but Azool’s changeling has grown stronger. Still, it will take everything Gaven has to survive the events that follow, but with help from her squabbling friends, she might avoid a fate worse than death.

 

 

What I liked

 

The first thing I liked was the role reversal of the trolls and fairies. Normally, fairies are considered the good guys and the trolls the bad guys. But here, it was the mirror opposite – in fact the fairies are actually really nasty to the poor trolls, wanting to destroy them all, burn their village and even use poor Gaven as part of their plans. It kinda felt like a social commentary, the fairies representing the “master race”, wanting to wipe out the inferior species.

 

In fact, Blue has quite a few social commentaries. Gaven is an outcast because of her blue eyes and is often bullied for it. It brings up a lot of ideas of bullying and the fear of those that are different – something that I’m sure everyone can relate to. It’s a good message and it works well in this context. Thankfully, Gaven does work hard to find acceptance from her people and in the end is able to use her fairy powers to her advantage. Overall the book has a very good moral – and being a Young Adult story that’s important to have.

 

Uredd is the only troll that accepts Gaven for what she is and I have to say the paring worked well together. I have to say, I didn’t really like him as much as Gaven as he didn’t really do a whole lot – but he was there for Gaven where it mattered so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. The dragon (Stump I think his name was) was also a great character – he’s one of the funniest and wittiest characters in the books. Think Yoda, but more sarcastic!

 

Each chapter is a POV of the main characters and this is something that I really like, hearing the characters thoughts and seeing things from their own POV. Each chapter is actually pretty short as well (usually about 3-4 pages or so, at least on my kindle) and you can breeze through it in a few moments. I actually read through about twenty chapters in one sitting without realising it. It makes this book really easy and very quick to read.

 

 

What I didn’t like

 

This is where I kinda will contradict my earlier statement. Despite what I said about the short chapters and it being quick to read, not a lot really happens in the book. I’m not saying that there isn’t any storyline, because there is, but most of the time it just focused on Gaven and Uredd’s relationship and trying to settle in and setting up a new home after their first one was destroyed by Azool. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I just felt that some stuff that could have been cut out to get to the action a lot faster.

 

Also, if I’m being honest, I found the final battle with Azool a bit of a cop out. I can’t really say why as it would spoil the ending (and I like to keep spoilers down to a minimum in my reviews as much as possible) but I think the last fight could have been a little more epic, considering all the build up it had. But that’s probably just me nitpicking – I guess once you’ve seen The Battle of the Blackwater or Helm’s Deep, you expect every Fantasy battle to be huge. XD

 

 

PROS (I’m a troll man):

  • Interesting role reversal of the trolls and fairies.
  • Strong moral message.
  • Short chapters makes the story quick to read.
  • Accessible to all ages.

 

CONS (Trollololo):

  • Balance of action and story could have been better for me.
  • Ending a bit of a cop out.

 

 

Summary

 

A nice Fantasy story with a strong moral, based around the theme of acceptance – all set around a magical world of trolls and fairies. If you like stories with a strong message then I recommend you check this one out. It’s suitable for all ages so anyone should enjoy this tale.

 

FINAL SCORE: 4/5

 

 

 

-------------------------

PANDRAGON

 

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Pandragon Reviews: Blue on the Horizon: Troll

Today I’m reviewing a very interesting piece on trolls. No, not the type that cause chaos on the internet, but rather the mythical creatures. Now trolls often get a lot of bad press in Fantasy stories, but this time they are the central characters, which is a refreshing change to say the least.

 

This one is heavily stepped in Norse mythology, but also adds a lot of social commentary. Which is an interesting concept that made me want to read it. So, why don’t we dive into the world of Fantasy and review Blue on the Horizon: Troll by Rebecca Ferrell Porter.

 

 

About The Author

 

I wasn’t provided any links from the author, so I got a link to her Goodreads page. Feel free to check it out if you wish to follow this author.

 

Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

Cover

 

The cover certainly matches the title, and it is a nice cover. You can see the blue eyes with the aurora borealis, looking over the horizon – so it’s Blue on the Horizon! Get it? Ahem, anyway, I think it works well and certainly attracts attention.

 

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

 

They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul, but what if those eyes reflect your worst fears? Fairies have planted a changeling in the poor troll village of Torv. Gaven’s blue eyes blink out at a world where only fairies bare the pale eyes of the fey. She is declared an abomination, and as the fear oozes through Torv, Gaven is banished and bullied, left to linger in the marsh, where alone, she will not survive. Then, mere heartbeats from the snapping jaws of a fearsome predator, Gaven finds a friend: Azool, the most feared fairy in the valley. How could the trusting trollkin have understood the implications as she enters into an apprenticeship with the duplicitous blue fairy of Torv?

 

The treachery expands as Azool orders her swarm to invade the dragon lair where she forces the mysterious creatures into colorful saddles, and uses the murderous lizards to incinerate the wealthy village of Breen. Azool and her swarm assume everyone is dead, but as Uredd stumbles from the only home he has ever known, his mother’s words echo in his head, ‘he is the one’.

 

With both ends of the valley in turmoil, the fairies start to squeeze the middle, but Azool’s changeling has grown stronger. Still, it will take everything Gaven has to survive the events that follow, but with help from her squabbling friends, she might avoid a fate worse than death.

 

 

What I liked

 

The first thing I liked was the role reversal of the trolls and fairies. Normally, fairies are considered the good guys and the trolls the bad guys. But here, it was the mirror opposite – in fact the fairies are actually really nasty to the poor trolls, wanting to destroy them all, burn their village and even use poor Gaven as part of their plans. It kinda felt like a social commentary, the fairies representing the “master race”, wanting to wipe out the inferior species.

 

In fact, Blue has quite a few social commentaries. Gaven is an outcast because of her blue eyes and is often bullied for it. It brings up a lot of ideas of bullying and the fear of those that are different – something that I’m sure everyone can relate to. It’s a good message and it works well in this context. Thankfully, Gaven does work hard to find acceptance from her people and in the end is able to use her fairy powers to her advantage. Overall the book has a very good moral – and being a Young Adult story that’s important to have.

 

Uredd is the only troll that accepts Gaven for what she is and I have to say the paring worked well together. I have to say, I didn’t really like him as much as Gaven as he didn’t really do a whole lot – but he was there for Gaven where it mattered so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. The dragon (Stump I think his name was) was also a great character – he’s one of the funniest and wittiest characters in the books. Think Yoda, but more sarcastic!

 

Each chapter is a POV of the main characters and this is something that I really like, hearing the characters thoughts and seeing things from their own POV. Each chapter is actually pretty short as well (usually about 3-4 pages or so, at least on my kindle) and you can breeze through it in a few moments. I actually read through about twenty chapters in one sitting without realising it. It makes this book really easy and very quick to read.

 

 

What I didn’t like

 

This is where I kinda will contradict my earlier statement. Despite what I said about the short chapters and it being quick to read, not a lot really happens in the book. I’m not saying that there isn’t any storyline, because there is, but most of the time it just focused on Gaven and Uredd’s relationship and trying to settle in and setting up a new home after their first one was destroyed by Azool. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but I just felt that some stuff that could have been cut out to get to the action a lot faster.

 

Also, if I’m being honest, I found the final battle with Azool a bit of a cop out. I can’t really say why as it would spoil the ending (and I like to keep spoilers down to a minimum in my reviews as much as possible) but I think the last fight could have been a little more epic, considering all the build up it had. But that’s probably just me nitpicking – I guess once you’ve seen The Battle of the Blackwater or Helm’s Deep, you expect every Fantasy battle to be huge. XD

 

 

PROS (I’m a troll man):

  • Interesting role reversal of the trolls and fairies.
  • Strong moral message.
  • Short chapters makes the story quick to read.
  • Accessible to all ages.

 

CONS (Trollololo):

  • Balance of action and story could have been better for me.
  • Ending a bit of a cop out.

 

 

Summary

 

A nice Fantasy story with a strong moral, based around the theme of acceptance – all set around a magical world of trolls and fairies. If you like stories with a strong message then I recommend you check this one out. It’s suitable for all ages so anyone should enjoy this tale.

 

FINAL SCORE: 4/5

 

 

 

-------------------------

PANDRAGON

 

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Does Young Adult ALWAYS have to have Young Adult protagonists?

Phew! Well I’m back guys – and yes it is me this time! The Man in Shadow’s plan to take over my blog failed miserably as everyone saw through his lies! I’m kinda embarrassed that he let me get the drop on me to be honest. Turns out that he, one of my characters, had become self aware and he had become more powerful than I imagined! He was the one that had been trolling me for the last few days.

 

Thankfully, Zarracka stopped him and rescued me. I did have a whole fight scene planned but... well, I don’t have a Michael Bay budget. Basically, this is how the fight went!

 

 

 
 

Yeah... kinda anticlimactic I know. Oh well.

 

Anyhoo, moving on. Today’s post is something that I wanted to talk about because of something that happened recently – which got me thinking.

 

About a week or so ago, I completed a new Young Adult novel, and I found a publisher that I thought would be pretty good for it (I never published through a publisher before so I thought, why not?). Also, as this book had a Disney/Pixar influence, I hoped that would catch their attention. It did and they agreed to read the manuscript. A few days back, I got some feedback from them, saying that they didn’t consider it a Young Adult novel as the main protagonist was in her twenties.

 

My first initial reaction was – really? Ok, that’s not a bad comment at all, but it was a little strange. See, I may be totally showing my ignorance here, but I always thought that Young Adult (as well as New Adult, Adult, etc) was simply there to differentiate the age range of your target audience and the age of your protagonist shouldn’t determine that.

 

Well, after putting it across on Facebook to my friends, a few of which are authors themselves, the general consensus is that Young Adult novels are stories that have a protagonist that is between 13-18 years of age. This is apparently something that publishers adhere to quite strictly from what I hear (if anyone can confirm or deny this, please leave a comment below) and I suppose it makes sense. After all, if you have a target audience in mind, you obviously want to put a character in there that your audience can latch onto and follow the story. This is probably why Harry Potter was so popular as a character – not just that he did magic, but because he grew up like a real human with each passing story. So I don’t entirely blame the publishers for that.

 

However, to quote a conflicting argument from a FB friend – isn’t this “Somewhat flawed logic”, and mentioned a book called Room, which is apparently told from the POV of a 5 year old boy. By that logic, it could be considered a children’s book – but from what I’ve read of it, it’s anything but. Again, please correct me if I’m wrong on this. But I completely see his point on this, why does a Young Adult novel HAVE to have a Young Adult protagonist? What’s wrong with maybe have a slightly older protagonist that represents the values and morals that Young Adult is supposed to teach? You could argue that comics are aimed at a Young Adult market (although there are some mature storylines out there) and the superheroes/heroines in that are mostly adults, or aliens, or robots or mutants, or furries... um... I’ll stop there. My point is that these heroes may not be kids, but they do represent a moral and ethical code that they want their readers to follow – although there ARE teenage superheroes as well (Static Shock, Kid Flash and Speedy to name a few).

 

Another point raised by my friend was that isn’t it “rather patronising to the target audience that they'll only relate to characters of their own age”. Again, I totally agree with this statement. Although I don’t think that is the intent at all, but I do believe what he says. Again I refer to the above statement with the superheroes – what is so wrong about having an adult protagonist? Look at Doctor Who for instance – the main character in that isn’t a child (though he acts like one some of the time) and his companions are usually twenty something women (at least in the later series), but people of all ages – even children – can related to the characters and enjoy the stories. So why shouldn’t the same apply for novels?

 

Here is my view on Young Adult. I feel that a Young Adult novel doesn’t HAVE to include a Young Adult protagonist. It just needs to teach the target market a moral lesson, whether it be friendship, love, bravery – etc. Now that doesn’t mean that it CAN’T have a teenage hero (and if it does that’s cool), I just don’t think it needs to follow that convention. Especially if you look at Manga, where their Young Adult (Shonen) Mangas often have more adult characters rather than teenagers – although their demographics tend to be a little different to ours – so I’ve probably shot myself in the foot saying that! XD

 

But you know what, I’m probably just making a mountain out of a molehill. If my novel is classed as more New Adult than Young Adult, fair play. I just was somewhat surprised by this statement and wanted to put another opinion across.

 

What do you guys think? Please leave a comment below and let me know!

 

Thanks for reading guys!

 

 

 
 

What? You again?

 

Man in Shadow: Ha! You may have foiled my attempts to ruin you before. But I’ll be back. You haven’t seen the last of me! I’ll come back and troll your blog even more than I did before! You’ll never be rid of me! I’ll haunt your nightmares, disturb your every waking moment. I will make you suffer, I will burn you, I will...

 

Oh, piss off, Man in Shadow! No one cares what you think!

 

Man in Shadow: What? (sniff) How can you be so mean? That’s it! I’m gonna, I’m gonna... I’m gonna gather an army of the most evil minds in fiction and... I’m gonna come back and totally crush you!

 

(He disappears in a puff of smoke)

 

Pffff. Good luck with that!

 

 

 

--------------------------

PANDRAGON

 

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The Charlatans Crown Blog Tour - Quick Review

 

Today on the Pandragon Blog, it gives me great pleasure to introduce a fantastic author – Amy Lignor – and a quick review of the opening chapter of her new book The Charlatan’s Crown. Book 4 in the critically acclaimed Tallent and Lowery novels. This next book in the series is highly anticipated, so it’s great that I got a first look in!

 

For this blog, I will do a quick mini review of the first chapter, but first let’s find out a little bit about Tallent and Lowery and the author herself!

 

 

Title: The Charlatan’s Crown

 

Series: Tallent & Lowery

 

Author: Amy Lignor

 

Publisher: Suspense Publishing

 

Formats Available In: Digital and Print

 

Publication Date: MARCH 2014

 

Blurb: Fans across the globe jumped on board when the ‘best action/adventure tale since Indiana Jones’ arrived. In 13, the puzzle that no one could solve was revealed, and led everyone to race to their computers in order to discover how on earth this incredible author figured it all out…

 

In The Sapphire Storm, Leah Tallent & Gareth Lowery took on a new case – a spider web of evil and deceit that would have them piecing together a mystery that began in an old London college; an institution that harbored secrets of a fraudulent author the world still celebrates today, and connected that man to a strange shop in Cairo…exposing the real story of a legend that all knew but no one could ever solve…

 

In The Hero’s Companion, Tallent & Lowery were given seven days to figure out a puzzle of mammoth proportions in order to save the father Leah dearly loved. But as the web unfolded from Athens to Cleopatra’s Mines, more secrets erupted of a personal life Leah knew nothing about, and unveiled an evil man who wants nothing more than to destroy the Tallent & Lowery team in order to bring back an army that was the worst the world ever saw…

 

NOW, Tallent & Lowery are headed into a castle that serves tourists every day in order to make their way through a maze to find the parent Leah never even knew existed. She and Gareth will reveal secrets that were embedded in the Third Reich’s reign – secrets that date back to a time far before the evil Hitler had attempted to reign.

 

 

About Amy Lignor:

 

The daughter of a career librarian, Amy Lignor’s first love has always been books. She began her career in publishing as the Editor-in-Chief of Grey House Publishing. Working in the industry for twenty years, she is now the Owner/Operator of ‘The Write Companion’, an editorial house offering authors a range of services.

 

Appointed the Editor-in-Chief of a brand new traditional publisher–Hallowed Ink Press–Amy somehow finds the time to do it all while still putting out the most amazing series that has received every ‘Top Pick’ readers can think of!

 

Her popular YA Series: The Angel Chronicles (Until Next Time, Gilded Wings & A Privilege), introduced her to fans who now wait with bated breath for the next ‘Tallent & Lowery’ suspense/thriller to arrive.

 

Inducted into the International Thriller Writers Organization, Amy is also a writer/contributor for various magazines, companies, and review organizations; Authorlink, The Feathered Quill, Suspense Magazine and more.

 

www.tallentandlowery.blogspot.com

 

AMY’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

 

Facebook

Twitter

Website

GoodReads

 

Check Out Amy Lignor’s HIT YA Series at

 

The Angel Chronicles website

The Angel Chronicles Facebook page

 

 

Chapter 1 Review

 

Even in the first three pages, the story hooks you straight away. With a plot that foreshadows the return of an evil empire, magic and a villain that happens to share my first name (bonus points for that!) this looks to be an exciting adventure. I think I would easily add this book to my “to be read” pile based on this one chapter.

 

Be sure to check out this great novel when it’s released in March. And be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour by clicking in the button above.

 

But... before you go, why not check out the link below for a chance to win some GREAT prizes as part of this tour!

 

PRIZES!!!

 

Thanks for reading guys!

 

 

--------------------------

PANDRAGON

 

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Pandragon Reviews - Ennara and the Fallen Druid

Hey guys, I’m going to try and do something slightly different with the way I do reviews now – at least in the way I lay them out. Don’t worry, I’m still going to do them as concise and critical as I can, but I just wanted to try a different layout.

 

Anyway, my last Pandragon review of 2013 is a Young Adult Fantasy novel called Ennara and the Fallen Druid, written by Angela Myron. It’s a story that, whilst not entirely original, is definitely worth the read for all ages – as opposed to some of the more “adult” Fantasies out there. So let’s get to it.

 

 

About The Author

 

Angela is the author of the YA fantasy series Ennara and the keeper of a secret manuscript dungeon populated by science fiction and paranormal mysteries that long to see the light of day. Before fiction, she earned her living massacring prose in software manuals. She holds a degree in professional writing and lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and twins.

 

 

Cover

 

Here we see our heroes – Ennara and friends – surrounded by hideous shadow demons ready to pull them apart. But they stand strong, weapons in hand and ready to kick ass! Not much else to say. It’s a pretty good cover – and has some nice colours to it. It was a bit hard for me to see the shadow demons at first – but then they are shadow demons (duh!). Not sure how eye catching it is, but it definitely does the trick.

 

 

Synopsis

 

When a mysterious curse threatens to transform everyone into shadowy demons, a magical eleven year-old girl must travel to a sunken city ruin—fighting pirates, monsters, and an undead sorcerer along the way—to find a weapon that can save her world.

 

 

What I liked

 

The plot might not be one of the most original – and one that, if you’ve read Fantasy, will know is standard for the stories. But as the old saying goes “If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it.” I personally love these kind of stories – the idea of going on a quest to stop a great evil is always good to flame the imagination and bring out the hero in us all. And this time, that task falls to Ennard, a young girl that is seeking to learn magic and be a hero. Move aside, Potter!

 

Joining her is a master wizard, a giant sea cat, a cabin boy and an old friend. Most of them around the same age as Ennara (with the exception of the wizard), so it should come as no surprise that the kids are the ones that come to the rescue in this one! It was a pretty good team and I liked the fact that all of them did their part in the story and Ennara wasn’t the main problem solver. Nothing irritates me more than having that one team member that solves EVERYTHING and the others are there just to either look pretty or be a foil, so it was nice that they all did their part in this quest.

 

The world that Ennara is set in is nicely done and one that I could believe. It didn’t have any overly fantastic set up or a vastly complex magic system that made it too good to be true. I always think that the best way to create a fantasy world is to make it as believable as possible as opposed to fantastical – and this does a good job. The monsters and creatures that are encountered are nicely done as well. All in all, the book did a good job of setting up the world and magic system.

 

Whilst there are some fighting and minor bloody moments, the content is pretty tame for the most part – so younger readers would be able to enjoy this story. The fact that the main characters are children themselves will also appeal to them – making this a fun read for all ages.

 

 

What I didn’t like

 

My biggest problem with this novel was the length – in that it was too short. I do believe that a book is as long as it needs to be, but I do feel that this novel could have been a little bit longer (but not too long). I easily could have read through another 100 pages or so.

 

The problem that I had with the length mainly is that I didn’t feel the story had enough space to really expand or breathe properly. The main bad guy is the titular “Fallen Druid” – but I didn’t really feel like the threat of him was really built up enough. I am of the opinion that if you introduce a high powered monster or dark lord, you need to build him/her/it up enough so that the reader knows he is a real threat that must be defeated.

 

For example, take Sauron from Lord of the Rings. He never really appears in the whole trilogy – but his threat is ever present. He has a vast army at his disposal and his presence is always felt by the heroes as they traverse towards Mount Doom. Because of what we’ve been told of his backstory, and the fact that his influence pretty much covers Middle-Earth, we know that he is a really powerful enemy and one that must be stopped if the world of Men is to survive. The same goes for the Others (White Walkers) in A Song of Ice and Fire. They’ve yet to make a move against Westeros, but their threat is ever present and very real, even if the rest of the world doesn’t know it yet. So even though they haven't made a move yet, the reader knows that they are building up to something - and no doubt the whole world will suffer when it happens.

 

Here though, it felt more like “This is the bad guy – go get him!” It didn’t affect my enjoyment of the piece, but I do feel that more needed to be made of the villain. Also, the book ended a little too abruptly for my liking – though it does set it up nicely for the next book.

 

 

PROS (Magical):

  • Good characters and each of them has a part to play in the story.
  • Nicely thought out world and magic system.
  • Content would be suitable for younger readers.

 

CONS (Demonical):

  • Maybe too short, which means the story doesn’t really have a chance to breathe.
  • Main villain and overall threat never really built up as much as it could be.

 

 

Summary

 

If you’re looking for a good Fantasy story to introduce to your children, or if you just want a nice, safe Fantasy tale to read, then this one I recommend. If you prefer your Fantasy a bit more “adult”, then you probably won’t enjoy this as much. But if you just want to read a good Fantasy, regardless of content, check this one out. It’s a fun read for all the family.

 

FINAL SCORE: 4/5

 

 

--------------------------

PANDRAGON

 

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