The Bridge

*This story was written starting with a prompt from*

Begin your story with a protagonist taking shelter under a bridge during a thunderstorm. An animal scurries past which shouldn’t exist. Against their better judgment, they decide to follow it out.

The sky was angry. 

Black clouds roiled above, flashing with lightning as sheets of rain came pouring down. Instantly, I was soaked through. The weather forecast had not called for this. It was supposed to be a sunny, only slightly cloudy, day. Where had this storm come from? 

Squinting through the torrent of water, I see a structure up ahead that could provide some shelter. Hugging myself, I sprint out into the storm and duck under the structure – the bridge as it turns out.  

Of course it’s the bridge, I chastise myself. What else would in be in this particular part of the town? Afterall, I’d known perfectly well where I was before the rain started. With a sigh, I pried my long hair from my face, trying to smooth it back into some semblance of order. Not that it matters. No one is around to see me. 

I sigh again, grumbling to myself about how the world hates me, when something catches my eye. Something small and ….white? I startle and nearly jump to my feet and the creature freezes, front paws splayed, head slightly down, tails up and alert. 

Wait! Tails? 

Staying as still as I can, I examine the creature. It’s about the size of a small dog, a Pomeranian maybe, with big pointed ears, a narrow but short snout, a long sleek body of glistening white fur and at least three tails swishing around it’s hind quarters. A fox? With multiple tails? 

“Wow,” I whisper on an exhale. At the sound of my voice the little creature takes off at a run towards the other end of the bridge. 

Without any conscious thought, I scramble to my feet and take off after the little animal. “Wait!” I shout, but of course the creature doesn’t listen. 

What the hell am I doing? I wonder. Why do I do things like this? 

Before I can come up with any sort of answer to these questions, the creature reaches the other side of the bridge, with me hot on his tails. We shoot over to the other side and I feel –  

The sun hot on my wet skin? 

The light is blinding. I crush my eyes shut and bring both hands up to shield my face. It was definitely still raining while I was under the bridge, so what happened? 

Squinting, I slowly open my eyes and lower my hands a fraction. The little white creature is only a few feet away from me, looking up at me with curious eyes and wagging tails. All around us is green. Towering trees with large emerald green leaves surround me in a circle. I tilt my head back and can hardly see the top of them. The sun shines down through a perfect circle in the canopy. 

I’ve been here before… 

A memory begins to bubble up in the back of my mind, a memory from ten years ago when I was only eight. 

The townsfolk always muttered about the bridge. Don’t go under the bridge unless you have to, they’d say. Stay away from the bridge at night. 

A rustling sound catches my attention and my eyes are drawn to the forest in front of me. A creature like the small one I followed here emerges from the shadows of the forest, except this one is huge! My eyes travel from paws larger than my hands, up the sleek white fur of its strong front legs, up to a thicker ring of fur like a mane to its narrow snout and finally its eyes. Behind it, several bushy tails fanned out, like a peacock with its feathers on full display. 

Deep liquid brown eyes stare at me, on level with my own. This creature is massive. 

In my head I hear my mother’s voice: Stay away from the bridge or you’ll disappear just like little Jane Hodgson.  

The old memory is in the front of my mind now. As a child, I never liked to listen to anyone, especially my mother. When people tell me not to do things, I always want to do them just because. Eight year old me went to the bridge. Like everyone in town, I’d always been wary of the bridge, and though I had been scared, that rebellious part of me just had to know what was there. It had been a rainy day and the sky was overcast. Slowly, cautiously, I crept under the bridge. 

Stay away from the bridge or the creatures will snatch you away! 

Eight year old me got to the far side of the bridge and tripped on a rock. I landed face first, my head, arms and shoulders on the other side of the bridge. I looked up and saw the forest, saw white fur, fear sending tingles down my spine. My legs and hips had still been under the bridge and I’d managed to scramble back under, the sound of snapping jaws ringing in my ears, missing me by a little more than an inch. 

This time, my whole body had crossed out from under the bridge, my feet planted firmly in the grass as my wet clothes steamed in the heat. I turned around, panicked. All I saw was more trees and shadows. The bridge was gone. A growl sounded behind me, deep and guttural, and I felt the hot breath of the predator behind me. 

Little Jane Hodgson went under the bridge and was never seen again. 

The small creature I had followed yipped around my ankles, prancing in an excited dance. 

Against my better judgement, I slowly turned back around. I was always doing things against my better judgement, doing things I wasn’t supposed to, going places I’d been warned not to go. Why did I never listen? Why did I follow the little creature? 

I came nose to nose with the larger creature, its lips peeled back from long, sharp teeth and growled again. Hot, fetid breath washed over me and a small whimper escaped my lips. I squeezed my eyes shut and sobbed as the jaws of the creature closed around my throat. 

Scarlet and The Wolf – Chapter 1

Scarlet and the wolf

The moon is full. 

Her light shines on the freshly fallen snow, illuminating the slowly falling flakes. The night is still, calm. 

Slowly, I rise to all four paws, stretching first my front legs, then the back. I shake off the dusting of snow from my midnight black fur. I raise my snout to the sky, inhaling. The time has come. I let out a howl. 

Within seconds my cry is being answered. The silence has been broken. It is the Blood Moon. It is time to hunt. 

I trot out from where I was hiding, sniffing the air, testing it for signs of prey. A slight breeze stirs and I smell it. I smell her! 

Confused, I turn to follow where the scent leads me. The howls of my brothers grow louder. Have they smelled it too? 

The wolf is near the surface, it is difficult to keep my wits, to not simply fade into the background and let the wolf do what the wolf does. My heart pounds louder as I leap into a full run. The scent is stronger and my brothers are near. I must get there first. They must not get to her. 

The wolf is as frantic as I as I run. What is she doing out here? She should be protected from being named Sacrifice. Why is she out here on this night of all nights? 

The scent is stronger now and with it comes the unmistakable tang of blood. She’s bleeding! Am I too late? Have my brothers found her already. 

A flash of red threw the trees catches my eye. I halt and slowly move toward a clearing. It is her hair that I saw. It is loose and wild, streaming around her in loose curls, the colour of fresh blood. She is dressed all in white with something embroidered in silver along the hems. From this distance I cannot see what the embroidery is but from past experience I know that it depicts running wolves. All the Sacrifices wear this. So, it is not a mistake. 

Her breath steams before her face, surprisingly even, as she scans the trees. She is no stranger to the forest. Often she ventures out where she should not be. She is tense. She knows what awaits her. She is ready to run but I know all too well how the heavy white robes will hamper her, especially in the new snow. 

I study her closely as I creep forward. I see no sign of injury. The others have not arrived. So where does she bleed from? Did someone hurt her before leaving her out here? 

I shake myself again. The wolf is growing frantic inside me, demanding to know what injury she has suffered. I steel myself, push the wolf down as much as possible and walk slowly into the clearing. 

She sees me almost immediately and startles. She relaxes a fraction when I do not attack. I try to keep my demeanor as nonaggressive as possible. I want to reach out to her, to whisper soothing words, but the wolf has no voice she would understand. Instead, I wag my busy tail in a friendly manner. 

She blinks, confused. She has the most extraordinary eyes. A kind of golden green with flecks of pure gold. I could stare into her eyes forever. 

No! Focus! The wolf has moved forward while I daydreamed. Sniffing, circling, searching for the injury. She follows as I circle, keeping her eyes on me. 

Suddenly, the source of the blood becomes obvious. The wolf lunges forward without my permission and all but buries my nose between her legs. 

“Hey!” She cried out in shock, tripping over the long robes as she stumbles back and lands unceremoniously on her butt in the snow. 

Oh. I understand but the wolf does not. I wrestle my body back until control, trying to soothe the wolf and keep him from embarrassing me further. 

Barks and snarls break into my mind. My brothers have arrived as I was distracted. They fan out in a circle, surrounding the maiden, preparing to attack. 

Her breath comes faster now, her heart pounds loudly to my sensitive ears. Her scream as one of my brothers lunges at her nearly drives the wolf insane. All rational thought flees my mind and my instincts take over. I must not allow them to touch her. 

My lips pull back from my impressive teeth as I snarl at the one who lunged. I give one warning bark and then I am on him. My jaws close on his neck before he even knows what is happening. He yelps in surprise and pain as I shake my head, lifting him from his feet and tossing him to the ground. 

The others are confused. They whine at me questioningly. Why are you doing this? They say. She is the Sacrifice, ours to hunt. 

I am the eldest, the largest, though not by much. I make myself as large as possible and stared them down, growling, snarling. Do not touch her! 

They take the hint and slowly back away. All but the one I threw to the ground. As I focused on the others, he had gained his feet. The maiden’s yelp of surprise was the only warning I had before he was on her. I turn to aid her as quickly as I can. She is on her back in the snow, my brother on top of her, his powerful jaws clamped around one forearm. His back paw digs into her stomach, tearing the fabric of the robe. The renewed smell of blood fills the air. 

The wolf goes ballistic. I am on my brother before I am even aware I am moving. I tackle him, my jaws once again around his throat. This time, I will not let him get up so easily. It is over quickly. My brother lays bloody in the snow, still breathing but too weak to try for the maiden again. I look to my other brothers. They fall to the ground, roll over and expose their bellies to me, acknowledging my dominance. 

I bark once in their direction. They rise to their feet and vanish into the forest. They can find something else to hunt this night. 

When I am sure they are gone, I turn to face the maiden. She is sitting in the snow, her injured arm cradled to her chest. She stares at me with a wild look in her golden green eyes. I take a step closer and she flinches. 

I sigh. This isn’t going to work. I cannot talk to her as a wolf. I look to the sky, the full moon still shines brightly.  

This is going to hurt. 

I muster all my will power. When the moon is full I must run as a wolf, though I can change at any other time I please. Changing back while the moon is still out has never been attempted before to my knowledge. 

I reason internally with the wolf. I can’t help the girl unless I am human. The wolf concedes the point and he fades to the background. Gritting my teeth, I command my body to change. 

I hear her gasp of surprise and the rustle of cloth. No doubt she is trying to get further away from me. Watching a wolf change shape into a human is a shocking thing even if you are expecting it, even if you have seen it before. She has never witnessed it before. I hear a moan and a whimper as my bones crack and pop. The dark fur recedes into my body, leaving behind my own brown skin. 

It is over within a minute or two. I stand on the bloodied snow a short distance from the girl I nearly killed my own brother to protect. She stares are me wide eyed and slack jawed in all my naked human glory. Then those beautiful eyes roll up in her head and she collapses into the snow. 

The Trillias Gambit – Warminster #3 by J.V. Hilliard

The Trillias Gambit book 3 of the Warminster series by J.V. Hilliard

Title: The Trillias Gambit

Author: J.V. Hilliard

Series: Warminster

Sexual Content: Minimal

Objectional Content: Violence

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Daemus Alaric and his band of dauntless companions venture to the Devil’s Horn, the mystical home of Trillias, the mercurial Ancient of Sport and Tests. Their quest—to recover the lost Tome of Enlightenment, cast into the bowels of the mysterious Laurentian Labyrinth by the fallen Keeper, Graytorris the Mad. Will they survive the god’s gambit? Far away in Castle Thronehelm, Princess Addilyn Elspeth and Sir Ritter of Valkeneer arrive, warning the kingdom of the fall of the Cathedral of the Watchful Eye. As they travel north to prepare for war, they must not only defeat the relentless Bone elf assassin Incanus Dru’Waith but choose between their forbidden love—or their obligations to the realm. If you enjoy magical tales told with gripping action and harrowing adventure, you’ll love this epic and dark fantasy series.

My Review

The Trillias Gambit is – I’m just going to say it – fantastic! The characters are likeable and relatable. I especially loved learning more about Incanus Dru’Waith. His back story and motivations are compelling and interesting to read.

The progression Daemus has made as a character since The Last Keeper is also impressive. He is no longer the sheltered and naive kid terrified of his nightmares. Now grown into a man, he has lost friends and family along the way but also gained new allies and love.

Even during down time in the story, this book still held my interest. Hilliard’s writing is rich and descriptive, bringing the world to life in the mind of the reader.

The Trillias Gambit picks up seamlessly from Vorodin’s Lair and keeps the plot going. During the action scenes, I wanted to know what was going to happen so bad I tried to read faster than I actually can. The tension had me on the edge of my seat.

I absolutely love the diversity and gender equality in this series. There are women everywhere as part of the army, acting as a bodyguard and in charge of guilds or estates. Arranged political marriages still exist, but for the most part, it seems that both participants have to at least be willing.

There is some discrimination against what are known as “trollborn” or half breeds. These people are looked down upon basically for having parents of two different species. A not uncommon bias in fantasy books.

My only tiny complaint with this book is that the words “maze” and “labyrinth” are used interchangeable despite not actually being the same thing. A maze is designed with dead ends and it meant to confuse any one who walks into it. A labyrinth on the other hand has one single path that leads to the centre and back out.

All in all, my rating for The Trillias Gamit is 5 out 5 stars and I can’t wait for the next book!

You can check out my reviews of The Last Keeper here and Vorodin’s Lair here.

Thanks for reading!

The Rose of the World – Fool’s Gold #3 by Jude Fisher

The Rose of the World. Fool's Gold #3 by Jude Fisher

Title: The Rose of the World

Series: Fool’s Gold

Author: Jude Fisher

Sexual Content: Moderate

Objectional Content: torture, violence, rape

Synopsis: The brilliant conclusion to the “fascinating” (Anne McCaffrey) Fool’s Gold trilogy, The Rose of the World features one of the most dynamic and charismatic heroines to ever grace the pages of a fantasy novel. The godlike entity, Rosa Eldi, has escaped the clutches of the evil sorcerer Rahe. But will she regain her memory and restore her world before man’s baser nature triumphs and brings ruin to Elda forever?

My Review

I’m staring at this blank screen trying to figure out how to start this review, to figure out what I want to say so let’s start with the characters.

The majority of the characters in The Rose of the World, and indeed the trilogy, are despicable, horrible excuses for human beings. Katla, Saro and the Rosa Eldi are probably the only likeable characters, but they each have their flaws. Katla lets her anger rule her actions, Saro is too sensitive and the Rosa Eldi just doesn’t know who she really is. Overall, I’d say the Rosa Eldi is the most interesting because she doesn’t know who she is. She’s a mystery to herself and the reader. Unfortunately, the focus isn’t on her as much as I would like.

Honestly, these books felt more like a long extended series rather than just a trilogy. I got very “Wheel of Time” vibes with the number of characters and switching POV all over the place.

I didn’t really love the ending. The major plot was concluded but there were so many little side things that weren’t properly resolved. It felt open ended, like the author might continue the series, might not. There doesn’t appear to be anything else written in this book world.

So, overall, am I glad I read this trilogy? I don’t know if I would say “glad” per se, but I don’t feel like I wasted time on reading it. I did genuinely want to know how everything was going to turn out. The writing was good and I did enjoy the progression as things that were introduced earlier in the first book began to come together.

My rating for The Rose of the World is 3 out of 5 stars. I’d recommend the Fool’s Gold trilogy to those who enjoy fantasy with multiple POV with some mystery thrown in.

Have you read this book/trilogy? Let me know what thought of it in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Fantasy Novels with Unique Magic Systems

Are you looking for some new fantasy novels with unique magic systems to read? Then you’ve come to the right place!

Fantasy novels go hand in hand with magic. What kind of fantasy would it be if there weren’t magic? I don’t know about you, but I like uniqueness in my books. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a few tropes. They are tropes for a reason and there are many that I enjoy. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. I’d like to share with you a list of fantasy series I have read that have the most unique magic systems.

The Wheel of Time is probably one of the most well known fantasy series of all time, after the Lord of the Rings of course. In this world, the Source of magic is divided in two, female and male. Long ago, the male half was tainted, causing any man who used to go insane. Since that time, only women used the Source and have become a powerful organization in the world. The magic is only visible to those who can use it and is handled in a sort of weaving way. I’m not sure how else to describe it. In the books it’s often described as threads being woven into a pattern to achieve a desired outcome.

The Sword of Truth series divided it’s magic into positive and negative. Positive magic is considered to be from the Creator and is the most commonly used type. Negative magic is from the Dark One and therefore considered evil. Positive magic creates things or changes them, while negative magic removes or destroys. As an example, there is a scene in the first book where the wizard, Zedd, uses magic to grow his beard, but then requires a razor to shave it off as removing it would be Negative magic, which he doesn’t possess.

Anne Bishop’s world of the Black Jewels has witches and warlocks who receive a specific colour of jewel during a ceremony called The Offering to the Darkness, around the time of puberty. The colour of the jewel determines the strength of their magic with Black being the strongest and white being the weakest.

The Death Gate Cycle has the use of runes to channel magic. Those who use the runes have them etched into their skin for various purposes, such as protection. While this magic isn’t widely used, except by a select few people, I did find it quite unique in comparison to many other magic systems.

In the Codex Alera series, magic exists through elemental being called Furies. People are naturally affiliated towards a specific element and will form a bond with a fury of that element type. Everyone has some ability and therefore furies are used everywhere in every day life. Most people have only one fury but stronger magic users can have two or more.

Initially, the Cloud Mages might seem similar to the Black Jewels in that magic is channeled through stones. However, in this trilogy, each stone has only one specific purpose and can only be used once before it needs to be recharged. At night, magic comes down from the clouds and recharges the stones.


The Realm of the Elderlings series has a few different types of magic, but the one I want to focus on here is the Skill. The Skill is a bit difficult to describe. It’s like a mix of telepathy and empathy that allows the user to influence others and sometimes even physical surroundings.

What are some fantasy novels with unique magic systems that you’ve read? Let me know in the comments and as always, thanks for reading!

Clear the Shelf Reading Challenge 2023 Update #2

What have I read so far this year?

So far this year, for this reading challenge, the above books are what I have read from the list.

What am I reading now?

I started The Rose of the World a few days ago and it will conclude the Fool’s Gold trilogy by Jude Fisher.

What am I reading next?

I haven’t decided what I will be reading after I finish the Rose of the World. I have a few review requests that I accepted and I feel like I should probably read those.

Unfortunately, the list has actually expanded. i was recently going through and rearranging books and discovered some complete trilogies that were on my shelf but not on the Goodreads list, so it is now at 51 instead of being under 50.

I’m fairly satisfied with how my reading challenge is going this year! How are your reading goals for this year going?

If you are interested, you can check out my previous update here.

Gender Roles in Fantasy Books

I’ve been reading fantasy books for well over two decades now. As evident by this blog, it is my favorite genre to read and likely always will be. Like any genre of books, fantasy has it’s own tropes. Generally, the setting is similar to the middle ages in Europe. Horses and wagons are the main form of transportation, swords, daggers and bows and the main type of weaponry, and gender roles are clearly defined.

This is what I want to talk about today.

It seems to me that gender and gender roles are very much the topic of discussion on social media recently or maybe that I personally am just seeing more of it but it made me realize how often women are treated and portrayed as inferior in fantasy books. Granted, the books I’m currently reading are ones that have been sitting on my shelf for quite some time so they were published years ago. I’m not up to date on the newer releases because I’m catching up on so many older reads.

Still, it very common for the women in fantasy novels to be portrayed in a certain way. They obsess over finding a husband so they can get married and have children. They are expected to be beautiful and desirable and also fertile, because, of course, their main function is to produce babies. They are expected to have domestic skills like sewing, cleaning, cooking and child rearing. Any woman who lacks these skills will “never find a good marriage” or something along those lines.

When books do try to portray strong women they often have a bad temper that gets them into trouble, are stubborn and arrogant and end up needing to be saved by a man.

All too often, women are raped and assaulted casually. In some cases, the woman is to blame for this as she is now “damaged goods” and won’t be able to find a good husband since she is no longer a virgin. The women aren’t allowed to learn to fight so they have no idea how to protect themselves when inevitably they come across a man or men looking to assault them.

These men who assault women never even face any consequences for their actions either. True, some may die after the assault occurs but it is rarely as a punishment for the assault or a direct result of it.

The Wheel of Time is actually a good example where these types of gender roles are not as prevalent. Women have the ability to use the One Power and they basically oversee all governments and countries. But even they have been waiting thousands of years for a man to be born who will save the world. There is a culture that has warrior women, but if those women decide to get married they have to give up the warrior life and settle into a domestic one. Some people might say that the Wheel of Time has amazingly strong and powerful female characters, but honestly, I found them all to be haughty, arrogant, and think way too highly of themselves. They were more annoying than strong.

I couldn’t find an actual statistic to see how many women vs men read fantasy, but from what I have seen on social media like Bookstagram, more readers are women than men and a lot more books seemed to be marketed towards women. So why are women portrayed as so inferior in fantasy? As I said before, I’m reading books that were published a decade or so ago so maybe this trend has changed. Have women in fantasy begun to evolve as women’s roles in society have evolved?

This is something I’d be really interested in discussing so if you read this please do leave a comment. Perhaps some recommendations of fantasy books with actually strong and prominent female characters?

Thank you so much for reading and I hope to have a meaningful conversation about this!

Wild Magic, Fool’s Gold 2 by Jude Fisher

Wild Magic. Book 2 of the Fool's Gold trilogy by Jude Fisher

Title: Wild Magic

Author: Jude Fisher

Series: Fool’s Gold

Sexual Content: Minimal

Objectional Content: Violence, Sexual references

Synopsis: The brilliant follow-up to Sorcery Rising and the continuation of the “fascinating” (Anne McCaffrey) Fool’s Gold trilogy penned by Jude Fisher-a major U.K. publisher who oversees all of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work.

Magic has returned to Elda, creating all manner of wonders and terrors. None yet know that the source of this magic is the legendary Rosa Eldi, restored to the world, but not yet restored to herself. Unaware of her true nature, she has married King Ravn Asharson of the North, and now with usurpers and assassins circling she must conceive a child to establish the succession. But the Rosa Eldi is no ordinary woman…In the Southern Empire, the fire of holy war is smouldering and violence is everywhere, fuelled by fundamentalist hatred and bigotry. Caught up in these machinations, peace-loving Saro Vingo is forced to take up arms against the North and Virelai, apprentice sorcerer, finds himself chained to the murderous plans of his master, Tycho Issian. Ignoring the call to arms, Aran Aranson, chief of the Rockfall clan, is in the grip of a mad obsession borne of a magical map and dreams of sailing the frozen seas to Sanctuary, island of legend, to find a fortune. His daughter, Katla, dreams of sailing with him but her fate lies elsewhere. All over Elda, forces are aligning themselves for good or for evil. There is magic in the world again, but it is wild and unpredictable, and few will count its touch a blessing.

My Review

If I’m being honest (which I strive to be in my reviews) I’m not entirely certain what the plot of this book actually is. The first book in the trilogy, Sorcery Rising, felt very much like it was setting things up, staging things if you will for what was to come. This book, Wild Magic, feels sort of the same, like everything is going to happen in the third book, The Rose of the World.

Wild Magic follows the same characters, picking up basically where Sorcery Rising left off. Everyone has returned to their respective homes after the events of the Allfair. Some characters have been scattered away from their people and misunderstandings about whether a certain character lived or died abound.

There aren’t really all that many characters that I actually like in this trilogy. Katla is presented as a strong female character, which of course I like, but she also has a petulance and stubbornness that makes me think of her as younger than she actually is. Her father has become obsessed with finding a legendary place called Sanctuary, to the detriment of his personal relationships. Her twin is basically going insane and her mother berates her for not having any “womanly” skills.

I enjoy Saro Vingo. He feels like a relatable character. The rest of his family and many people his family interacts with are all pretty horrible, especially Saro’s brother. I certainly can’t help but feel sorry for him as his brother enjoys torturing him so much.

The Rosa Eldi is an interesting character. She has obviously been much more than she seems from the very beginning. I’m interested to know more about her and how her story will progress. Other than Saro, she may be the only character I’m truly interested in.

My rating for Wild Magic is 3 out of 5 stars. I’d recommend this book and it’s predecessor to people who love fantasy with a lot of characters and a bit of mystery.

Thanks for reading!

Sorcery Rising – Fool’s Gold 1 by Jude Fisher

Sorcery Rising, Book 1 of the Fool's Gold trilogy by Jude Fisher

Title: Sorcery Rising

Author: Jude Fisher

Series: Fool’s Gold

Sexual Content: Moderate

Objectional Content: Rape, violence

Synopsis: A talented knife-maker with a natural affinity with the elements of the earth, Katla Aransen, the beautiful and rebellious daughter of an Eyran merchant, finds herself targeted by Istrian fanatics after she accidentally commits sacrilege and by Saro Katla, a blade-forger; and Saro, the second son of an Istrian nobleman–are forever changed.

Sorcery Rising starts out by introducing a plethora of characters. I was almost instantly confused by the number of names being thrown at me and could not keep track of who was who. I also noticed pretty quickly that there is a weird sexual undertone to the narrative. I understand that the majority of the characters here are in their late teens/early twenties and sexual attraction is completely normal and it makes sense for them to be having these types of feelings. However, the father who is lustful of his own daughter was a bit much.

This book takes it’s time establishing the setting, introducing characters and pointing out, in a way, the differences between the different people. On one side are the Isstrians, who worship a goddess, but closet their woman away, clothing them in robes that cover everything except their mouths and hands. It’s sacrilege for a woman to show her face in public. They are not taught to read or write and essentially exist as property to be traded from a father to a husband. This seemed very backwards to me for a people that worship a goddess. I would have thought having a female deity would be more empowering to the women in society instead of the opposite.

On yhe other hand, there’s the Eyrans, who are the ancient enemy of the Isstrians and considered barbarians. They worship a god and their society is some what more equal, though not completely. The women are allowed to do things most women wouldn’t, such as forging swords and knives and being considered to excel at her craft. At the same time, a daughter can be bargained off by her father and the woman has no say in the matter. This was so contrary to me as the Eyrans are described as having equality between the sexes.

The third people are nomads. Not as much is told about these people, but my impression was something along the lines of gypsies.

I felt like the story took a long time to really pick up. As I said, there were many characters and it was hard to keep track of them all. I did like Katla, though the way she is described gave off “I’m not like other girls” vibes. She is a strong character, who loves to climb and has an affinity with the earth. She is brave and stubborn and the kind of person I’d like to have as a friend since she would risk her own life for a stranger in need.

Other than Saro and Katla, I didn’t find many of the characters to be overly likeable. Many of them are greedy, making deals in order to get money for something else they want out of obsession.

As for the plot, it was slow to start. As the characters are introduced and interact with others, we see how tensions still exist between the Isstrians and the Eyrans and how little it would take to spark another war.

For a fantasy novel, there isn’t a lot of magic or fantastical creatures. There is some magic, but it is mostly confined to a few individuals. however, as the novel progresses, it become clear that magic is beginning to return to the world. Charms and potions are suddenly working more powerfully than they should, and characters begin to develop powers they didn’t have before.

Overall, this novel feels like setting up for what is to come in the rest of the trilogy. I’m curious to see how it goes and will continue with the next book.

My rating for Sorcery Rising is 3 out of 5 stars. I’d recommend it to readers who enjoy fantasy with a slower pace and lots of characters.

As always, thanks for reading!

Monthly Wrap Up – August 2023

Is August really over already? Wasn’t it just Easter? Seriously, where has this year gone?

Well then, what did August bring my way? Well, unfortunately I got a stomach infection that I am just about recovered from. Sadly, though I was home for a few days, I couldn’t focus to read. I was too light headed and nauseous. I don’t recommend it.

I did manage to read 2 books this month though.

I finished The Oasis and The Horus Road, which completed the Lord of the Two Lands trilogy by Pauline Gedge. Both were enjoyable though a bit slow in places.

Currently, I’m reading Sorcery Rising by Jude Fisher, the first book in the Fool’s Gold trilogy. I’m around half way through and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it yet.

After that, I plan to read the two sequels to complete the trilogy, Wild Magic and The Rose of the World.

Depending on how my health cooperates, that may be all for September, but if I do get through these more quickly, I’ll decide then, what to read.

What was August like for reading for you? How many books did you read?