Due to be released on October 3, 2017. Asha is the Iskari – bringer of death to dragons. As daughter of the dragon king, she hunts down dragons and tries to extinguish the old stories, the poisonous tales that killed her mother. As a child, Asha told the stories to dragons until her mother died. The first dragon wanted her all to himself, but when she said she would not continue the stories, he hunted her down and burned her. The commandant found her and brought her home. As a reward for saving his daughter, the king promised that when she came of age, he could have her hand in marriage. As Asha approaches her 18th birthday, her father allows her a way out of the wedding. Bring him the head of the first dragon, and she is free. As she begins the hunt, the old gods begin to visit her in her dreams and set her upon a mission that will reveal the truth about everything that happened to her, the dragons and the kingdoms around her.
An incredible tale of courage that challenges you to question everything you’ve ever been told. Sometimes the real enemy can be the person you trust the most.
[Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a commission.]
For those who love Young Adult Fiction, here are a few books to peruse.
Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel is filled with mystery and intrigue as we follow Lorrie Hollander, a young rich girl who all of a sudden has her trust fund cut off while at riding camp. Thinking that her absent-minded aunt forgot to pay the bills, she returns home to discover that her trust fund is missing. With only a few dollars in her pocket, she tries to buy gas and a drink only to discover she doesn’t have enough money for both when she meets Charlie, the son of a senator, who pays for her purchase in exchange for joining him at a party in his family’s home. What Lorrie later discovers is that her predicament and money problems are directly related to Charlie’s family. What begins as a rich girl gone broke turns into something much more…explaining why her mother left her and her sister behind with her senile aunt and where all of this money is really coming from. It’s an ending no one is expecting.
2. Mysteries of Cove by J. Scott Savage. If you liked “City of Ember” by Jeanne DuPrau, you’ll like this new series. Imagine a world where doing anything ‘creative’ is a crime and the word ‘invention’ is a curse word. Welcome to the Cove, a steam-powered city inside of a mountain. Why the city is this way is a mystery, especially to Trenton Coleman, who loves inventing and all things mechanical. Along with Kallista Babbage, they discover a mechanical dragon. Together they try to put it together and leave the Cove. What they were not prepared to learn was why the city was hidden inside of a mountain and why any mechanical noise was forbidden. When they learn why, it’s too late and it jeopardizes the lives of everyone inside the Cove. They’ve attracted something to them that was better off left alone. [Mysteries of Cove is a series. The second book was released last year.]
3. Court of Fives by Kate Elliott. For those who loved “The Hunger Games,” you will love “Court of Fives.” Jessamy lives in a world where a mixed race child will never rise in society. Add in every sexist thing you can of how a woman will never be equal to a man, and you have a good idea what kind of society Jessamy lives in. The Fives is a maze where various contenders compete in five different trials. Winners of the Fives live handsomely, but there is one catch. They have to reveal their face. It is because of this that Jessamy allows someone else to win, so as not to embarrass her father, a famous soldier who would be humiliated if he knew his illegitimate daughter had competed and won in the Fives. Things take a turn for the worst when her family’s patron (the man who cares for them financially) dies. The patron’s death splits up the family and sends Jessamy to live her dream of training and running for the Fives without fear of embarrassing her father, but she finds something much more sinister is happening to her family. It is up to her to save them. [This book is the start of the Court of Fives series. The third book will be released this summer.]
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I received these books from the publishers in exchange for an honest review and promotion of these products.
Book Review –The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker. Released June 2, 2015 by Little, Brown and Company.
I am a sucker for Young Adult Fantasy Fiction, so when Little, Brown handed me a copy, I couldn’t wait to read it. I don’t remember where I heard about the book before, whether it was from Book Club or a book recommendation from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, I knew I wanted to read it because it’s right up my alley.
First off, I love stories about witches. This is what intrigued me about the book:
Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she’s accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.
That is what captured my attention. I didn’t read anything beyond those two sentences, but it was enough to get me to want the book and read the book from start to finish.
What is this book like? Consider it the female version of the Spook series “The Last Apprentice” by Joseph Delaney meets Xena: Warrior Princess meets Pirates of the Caribbean meets Disney’s “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” meets Jon Snow. I only mention Jon Snow (Kit Harington) because that’s who I would have cast as John the healer in the movie version of this book.
This book starts off with the two witch hunters, Elizabeth and her friend, Caleb’s, search for a few warlocks/necromancers who are practicing dark magic and attempting to bring an old magician back to life again. They’re required to capture, not kill these wizards. They bring them back to be tried before they are burned at the stake, because all forms of magic are outlawed in the land.
After accidentally killing a wizard in the book’s introductory hunt, she and Caleb head to the local pub where she discovers that Caleb is going off to party with some palace girl. She stays behind and decides to drink her woes away with glass after glass of ale (which actually ends up being absinthe).
While at the pub, she runs across a pirate and the king’s fool. They capture her and try to get her to talk. But she’s so out of it, she’s no help to them. She lies about who she is (a witch hunter), pushing it off as if she is just some kitchen maid. They let her go.
On her way back to her room, she finds a guard outside of her door. He’s been sent there under the King’s orders. She knows why he’s there, but she doesn’t want to go with him. She stumbles and out of her pocket falls some special herbs that are used in terminating pregnancies. The King’s guard sees it and accuses her of practicing witchcraft. He arrests her and takes her straight to the Inquisitor, Lord Blackwell, Duke of Norwich, the man she works for.
Despite being one of his witch hunters, Blackwell sentences her to death by burning at the stake. Caleb swears he will get her out of prison. He promises he’ll come back for her.
He never does.
As she is on the verge of dying, rotting away in a prison cell, an unlikely individual walks into the prison to save her. The most wanted wizard in all of the land, Nicholas Perevil, springs her from her prison…and thus begins her new adventure.
I really enjoyed this book. When it got to the end, I was happy it was over with (because you should see all of the books I need to review). But as the days went by as I was preparing the review in my head, I kept thinking…you know, I’m not done with this story yet. I want to know what happens to Elizabeth next. The way it ended, I expect to see another book after this. The story just doesn’t feel like it’s over yet. It feels like we could get a few more books out of this tale and develop these characters stories more.
This is Virginia Boecker’s debut novel. While at times, I thought it was a little crazy she added so many different elements like pirates, wizards, witches, revenants, nymphs and scary looking creatures you never want to meet in a dark alley, she actually masterfully pulled all of these vastly differing characters in and weaved an intricate tale where all of their stories worked well together…including the pirates.
Think about it…how weird would it be if J.K. Rowling threw a pirate into the Harry Potter books? That’s what Boecker did. You think it’s dumb at the start, but as you go along on their journey you realize just how important having a pirate is in this tale…and then you can’t imagine the story without the pirate or the revenants. They are all instrumental in helping a witch hunter find herself.
The characters were developed so well along the way, you can’t help but fall in love with the friends Elizabeth makes along the way. You even feel sympathy for the evil wizard himself. After all, there’s a reason to the madness and need for power. In a way, for Lord Blackwell, it’s the only way he believes he can save their kind.
Elizabeth’s tale is about one of growing up. She grows up believing a certain way, but when taken out of that element and forced to see the world in a new light, she is forced to come to a reconciliation of what she was taught to believe was right, and discovering for herself what is right in her heart.
A couple of my favorite quotes from the book:
He’s asking me the question I’ve always asked myself. How an unremarkable girl like me could live through unimaginable danger like that. I didn’t know then, not really, and I’m not sure now. I offer up my best guess anyway.“Because I was afraid to do anything else except live.”
“You can’t undo your past. You know that as well as I. But you also can’t foresee the future. Not even Veda’s prophecy can do that. What you want to do next, who you want to be, where you want to belong, that’s entirely up to you. As I always say, nothing is written in stone.”
For those who love YA Fantasy, I recommend reading “The Witch Hunter.” This is the kind of series that can only get better after each book…and yes, according to Virginia Boecker’s Twitter, there’s a Book 2! You’ll fall in love with the characters. Imagine John (the Healer) as Kit Harington (Game of Thrones’ Jon Snow)…trust me when I say you’ll fall head over heels in love with his character.
You can find out more about the book and it’s author from herwebsite. You can also follow her on Twitter @virgboecker.
You can purchase the book at Amazon.com by clicking on the link: The Witch Hunter
Disclaimers: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive monetary compensation. I received a free copy of this book from Little, Brown in exchange for writing a review on the blog. All content and opinions are my own.