Category Archives: Fantasy

Martyr’s Fire by Sigmund Brouwer

Martyr's Fire cover artTitle: Martyr’s Fire (Book Three, Merlin’s Immortals)

Author: Sigmund Brouwer

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Book Description:

Will this dangerous quest lead the outcast Orphan King toward an ancient secret—or to certain destruction? 

Posing as a beggar, Thomas escapes Magnus after fifteen men, who are calling themselves the Priests of the Holy Grail, arrive and take control of the castle through wondrous acts and apparent miracles. With the help of his longtime friend Gervaise, Thomas sets out on a journey that leads him to the ancient Holy Land. Unaware that Katherine and Hawkwood are watching over him, Thomas is tested in his beliefs and comes face to face with the ancient power that the Merlins and Druids have long been searching for.Enter the world of Merlin’s Immortals, where ancient secrets and evil conspiracies take you on a breathless adventure of discovery, intrigue, and hidden knowledge.

Review:

In this third book of the Merlin’s Immortals series, Thomas must face new challenges and dangers in his quest to rule and protect Magnus from the Druids. He also must take a leap of faith — a difficult task for a young man who values physical proof and things he can see. But when battling unseen enemies and trying to uncover hidden secrets, sometimes faith is all one can rely on.

Throughout the book treachery, secrets, and mysteries all lead Thomas to one big question: who can he trust? Katherine and Hawkwood face a similar dilemma. Can they trust Thomas, or is he their enemy? These questions and more circle round and round, each time drawing a little closer to an answer. Then, just when they think they know where to place their trust, something happens to make them question others’ loyalty once more.

The twists and turns in Martyr’s Fire keep the reader waiting with bated breath to discover what will happen next. Just when you think you know how events will unfold, the author throws in something that makes you question everything you thought you knew about the story. The high adventure and fast-paced action will keep you turning pages late into the night.

If you have read the first two books in the Merlin’s Immortals series, you should definitely read this book. If you haven’t started reading the series yet, you should pick up a copy of The Orphan King immediately and be prepared to read the next two books as well. This series will grab your attention, pull you into the story of Thomas and his quest for Magnus, and leave you wanting more.

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Filed under Christian, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Mystery/Suspense, Series, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, Young Adult

Fortress of Mist by Sigmund Brouwer

Fortress of Mist cover artTitle: Fortress of Mist (Book Two, Merlin’s Immortals)

Author: Sigmund Brouwer

Publisher: Waterbrook Press

Book Description:

The throne is redeemed, but the battle is just beginning.          

In the dark corners of an ancient land, evil lurks in the shadows. Powerful druids haunt the spaces of their lost territory. Double-minded noblemen fight for domain and influence. Invaders from the north threaten the kingdom of Magnus. This land of promise and redemption is mired in deceit and corruption.

The Orphan King, once victorious in conquest, appears to be losing his grip on his seat of power. Thomas rules Magnus, but does not know whom he can trust. His enemies anticipate his every move, thwarting him at each turn. Something is not right.

Under attack, both in the supernatural and natural worlds, Thomas must reach back into the secret layers of his past to find the strength and wisdom to fight his battles. When the mist clears, who will stand with him?

Review:

The battle between good and evil continues in Fortress of Mist. The more Thomas of Magnus searches for answers, the more questions he finds. Each person he wants to trust holds secrets they refuse to reveal, leaving Thomas unable to trust anyone but himself. And through it all, he must fight to hold onto Magnus, a goal that seems hopeless when he has to face it alone.

Once again, Sigmund Brouwer has written an intriguing book full of twists and turns that keep the reader guessing until the very end. The depth of Thomas’s emotions make it easy to step into his shoes and experience the events of the story along with him. Katherine’s longing to reveal everything to Thomas and her feelings for him bring the reader close to her and make it easy to want her to find a happy ending. Yet the book ends with a cliffhanger that leaves you longing to read the next book just to find out where the story goes next.

The theme of faith is artfully woven throughout the book. In the battle between good and evil, Thomas must choose which side to fight for. It is not always an easy choice, nor is the choice always clear at first glance. Thomas, though still resistant to Christianity, steadfastly analyzes each option presented to him and chooses in ways that indicate the beginnings of faith. His questions and doubts remain, however, lending him a relatable struggle that many face when struggling with whether to turn to God.

The intrigue, excitement, and believable challenges make this book easy to enjoy. If you’re looking for an adventure in which you will lose yourself until the end, I recommend Fortress of Mist.

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Filed under Christian, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Series, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, Young Adult

Fire Prophet by Jerel Law

Fire Prophet cover artTitle: Fire Prophet (Book Two in the Sons of Angels Series)

Author: Jerel Law

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Book Description:

Fire Prophet is Book Two in the Son of Angels Series. Spirit Fighter began the Son of Angels series.

What if you could actually see angels and fallen angels engaging in battle—and you were expected to join the fight?

It’s been one year since Jonah Stone and his sister, Eliza, discovered that their mother is a nephilim, the product of a union between a human and a fallen angel, which makes them and their little brother, Jeremiah, quarterlings, or one-quarter angel. After embarking on an epic journey to rescue their mother and the other nephilim, who were kidnapped by fallen angels, the Stone kids have enjoyed a little peace and quiet.

But when Jonah and Eliza are attacked by fallen angels at school, they learn that quarterlings all over the world are being targeted, and separating them from their parents is the only way to keep them safe. The kids undergo special training to help them discover their own unique angelic gifts, which come in handy when they embark on a mission to find a mysterious prophet who they believe holds the key to Abaddon’s defeat in a massive battle between good and evil.

Parents today are looking for fiction that makes Christianity and the Bible exciting for their kids. This series is the first Christian answer to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the Kane Chronicles, the Secret Series, and other middle grade series packed with adventure, action, and supernatural fights. But the message is solidly scriptural in that God alone is always in control.

Review:

Jonah Stone and his younger brother and sister, Jeremiah and Eliza, are quarterlings (one-quarter angel). Abbadon, the ruler of evil, is determined to destroy the Stone children, every other quarterling, and the nephilim (half angels). Jonah and his siblings take refuge with the rest of the quarterlings and begin learning to use their angelic abilities to fight evil. The quarterlings’ parents, both nephilim and human, are taken to other secure locations for their own protection. Jonah, his brother and sister, and their new quarterling friends must work with the angels and use the unique gifts Elohim has given each of them if they are to save their parents and themselves from death.

When I first read the description of this book, it sounded like an amazing story full of action and lively battles between good and evil. While the book does contain these, it fell far from my initial expectations. Speculative fiction requires readers to suspend their disbelief and accept that the fantastical elements could really exist. Unfortunately, the first third of Fire Prophet contained too many ridiculous and clichéd elements for me to adequately suspend my disbelief. The story did improve after the first third and began to live up to the potential given in the book’s description. The spiritual battles were vividly described and drew me in, allowing me to almost experience them alongside the characters.

I say almost because of another set of issues that cropped up throughout the book. The frequent head-hopping and shifts to points of view other than the protagonists made it difficult to fully get into the story. Minor consistency issues also pulled me out of the story. I also started skimming over the repeated statements of the kids disappearing from the physical realm every time they entered the hidden realm. The first time or two they popped into the hidden realm, it made sense to mention that they suddenly vanished from the view of anyone in the physical realm. By the second half of the book, however, I felt as though the author didn’t think I would remember that going into the hidden realm meant the quarterlings were hidden from the sight of any nearby humans.

Over all, I think this is a book children in middle school could enjoy because of the fast-paced action and unique plot. I wouldn’t recommend it for high school aged kids, however. Despite being labeled a young adult novel, it reads more like an upper middle grade novel.

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Filed under Christian, Fantasy, Fiction, Series, Speculative Fiction, Thomas Nelson, Young Adult

The Orphan King by Sigmund Brouwer

The Orphan King cover artTitle: The Orphan King

Author: Sigmund Brouwer

Publisher: Waterbrook Press

Book Description:

The future of the Immortals is in the hands of an orphan

My greatest fear was that they would find us and make of us a sacrifice beneath a full moon. Now you, Thomas, must help us destroy the circle of evil.

The last words of a dying woman would change the life of young Thomas. Raised behind monastery walls, he knows nothing of his mysterious past or imminent destiny. But now, in the heart of medieval England, a darkness threatens to strangle truth. An ancient order tightens their ghostly grip on power, creating fear and exiling those who would oppose them. Thomas is determined fulfill his calling and bring light into the mysterious world of the Druids and leaves the monastery on an important quest.

Thomas quickly finds himself in unfamiliar territory, as he must put his faith in unusual companions—a cryptic knight, a child thief, and the beautiful, silent woman whom may not be all she seems.  From the solitary life of an orphan, Thomas now finds himself tangled in the roots of both comradery and suspicion.

Can he trust those who would join his battle…or will his fears force him to go on alone?

Review:

The first book in the Merlin’s Immortals series, The Orphan King is the beginning of an epic battle between good and evil. Thomas, an orphan raised in an abbey, has known from a young age that he has a special destiny, one he must fulfill or die trying. With the help of a knight he must first rescue from the gallows, he plans to retake the castle Magnus from the man who stole it from Thomas’s family and forced his mother to hide him at the abbey. At first, it appears as though Thomas’s fear may defeat him before his journey begins, but then his courage and determination shine through. He is filled with the necessary fire to stand up for what is right and to fight against those who oppress and inflict pain upon the innocent and the weak. But does he have the wisdom to discern those who wish to use his sense of justice for their own nefarious plans from those who truly need his help and wish to aid his mission?

This book is packed with adventure and intrigue. Each chapter brings a new twist and adds just enough information to allow the reader to discover what is going on right alongside Thomas. The Christian theme is masterfully woven into the plot, revealing itself more through Thomas’s doubts than through any great displays of faith. As Thomas travels the path laid before him, he ponders the same type of questions many people have, such as why a loving God would allow such evil to occur to those helpless to defend themselves. Thomas’s journey also shows the necessity of wisdom and looking beyond a pretty face or compelling words to a person’s true intentions. Not everything is as it seems, and Thomas soon learns that not everyone can be trusted.

With this new series, Sigmund Brouwer has given teens and adults a glimpse into the superstitious medieval times. He adds just enough easily explained “magic” to emphasize the mystique of the educated in the Middle Ages while avoiding turning this into yet another “sword and sorcery” fantasy novel that reads like a dozen others. The Orphan King has a unique plot filled with mystery and questions that leave the reader begging for more.

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Filed under Christian, Fantasy, Historical, Mystery/Suspense, Series, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, Young Adult

The Mercenary’s Marriage by Rachel Rossano

The Mercenary's Marriage cover artTitle: The Mercenary’s Marriage

Author: Rachel Rossano

Publisher: Rachel Rossano

Book Description:

Trained as a mercenary soldier, Darius was a man of decisive action. He was also a man of compassion. Seeing a young slave woman about to become the spoils of war, he claimed her for his own. Marrying her before God and king, he made her a free and respectable soldier’s wife.

Brice was born a slave. Abused and beaten, she learned quickly to avoid being noticed and to stay away from men. When her master’s walls fell to enemy forces, she ran, but not fast enough. In Darius’ offer she found deliverance, but experience had taught her to fear power such as his. Could she trust in his protection, or had she traded one form of slavery for another?

Review:

Once I started reading The Mercenary’s Marriage I couldn’t stop until I finished the book! The vibrant characters felt like they could step off the page at any moment because of their realism. The journey and challenges of Darius and Brice kept me riding along on their emotional roller coaster until the very end. While I would have liked to see little more attention given to Darius’ motivation for his actions, I have to admit that the way Ms. Rossano wrote his character made it that much easier to identify with Brice. After all, Darius kept me guessing as much as he did her!

All in all, this is a wonderful sweet romance I would recommend to anyone looking for an engaging read. I would definitely read more books by Rachel Rossano.

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Filed under Fantasy, Fiction, Indie, Mystery/Suspense