Sunday, February 14, 2016

Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson

Posted first to Bog Critics as Book Review: 'Girl Under Glass,' A Novel by Sari Wilson.

In Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson, we are taken into the very heart of dance as seen through the eyes of Mira Able, a gifted and mentored young dancer.  Beginning quite young, Mira is able to focus and pull her substance from deep inside. She seems to transcend many of the issues the other young girls face, yet she strives for even more.

Her life at home is difficult, her mother is trying to find herself, and often embarrasses her. Her father is sometimes overwhelmed by it all. When they split up, Mira learns that she is different than most children her age. When her mom’s new boyfriend makes a move, she is somewhat flattered, but always honest, letting both her parents know.

That is when the family finally comes to an end, and within a very short time, her life changes one more time.  Her father meets and marries a woman who is intrigued with Mira, and dance. She becomes a champion of her training and performances. Mira is appreciative, yet is now lonelier than ever.

It is during this time that she meets a man who is knowledgeable and kind. He becomes her mentor and while her family is unaware of this relationship, she grows through his instruction and conversation. Yet she finds that she is entranced by him, and though he is old, she loves him.

As Mira moves ahead, we begin to follow the shadow of her life, and suddenly we move forward in time and meet a young woman, and dance professor named Kate.  She is struggling with her own demons, and the fate of both is entwined in a strange array of life choices.

Wilson gives us a serious and provoking look at dance and takes us into the background of the theater and stage.  The lives of those who dance is different than that most children and the lure of dance is in their blood.  Dropping out is not an option, those that leave do not always leave on their own but because they do not make the cut. They each strive to be the best.  Yet all is not in harmony and the danger is sometimes overlooked. Each strives to do their best, and become the greatest.

This is a deep and sad story of love and loss, as well as darkness and tragedy.  We see the beauty and grace of the dancers, but also watch the unimaginable unfold into a secret that changes everything.

If you enjoy novels of gripping and challenging situations you will love this work. It is full of interest, and takes you into the background of dance, making you aware in a way that creates and understanding of how such a profession can change lives.  A novel of love, hate, loss and poignancy, you will find it hard to set aside until you reach the very end.

This would be a great book for a book club or reading group. The discussion would be quite lively.

Rating 4/5

Monday, February 8, 2016

Warriors of the Storm by Bernard Cornwell

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review: 'Warriors of the Storm' by Bernard Cornwell-Book Nine of 'The Last Kingdom' Series.

The idea of peace is a concept that intrigues all, but it is mercurial and hard to deliver on. Warriors of the Storm by Bernard Cornwell, takes us into a historical fiction where peace reigns but with a very fragile presence. Edward and his daughter rule the Kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England, but splayed around them are others who eye the richness of the lands as well as their wealthy churches. As raiding begins, Uhtred, one of the kingdom’s greatest warriors, holds the city of Chester. When local Northmen allied to the Irish, led by a fierce man named Ragnall Ivarson join forces with the Northumbrians they become a force to be reckoned with.

Uhtred has been at the forefront of many of the battles and his trusty sword Serpent-Breath has helped him in numerous skirmishes to turn the tide. Chester is an important outpost, and Brunanburh where the ships are burned is a part of it. He and his crew have routed the first group but Uhtred knows he must find the rebels and save the land for King and Queen. His own daughter is married to Ivarson’s brother who she met through one of his previous battles but can he trust the truth of their possible duplicity. Uhtred must make decisions between family and loyalty to the crown, between his ambition and his commitment to his King, but can he find the way through such a prickly path to maintain the status of his country.

Cornwell brings us a compelling tale of fierceness and bravery, creating characters that are real and down to earth, with fears and concerns that keep you entranced. His story is set in England, during the historical Anglo-Saxon period. His background and ability to stay true to form is amazing and brings to life the danger of the time. He imbues his battles with just enough danger and gruesome fighting it creates a fast paced rumble that threatens the very lives of all concerned.

If you enjoy rich absorbing novels of historical fiction that follow the treads of our own histories you will find this a great addition to your library. He brings back one of his prior heroes, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, bringing his exploits to further light. Cornwell’s characters jump off the pages and the danger keeps you tense and compelled to continue reading to the very end. Part of a series it will leave you looking for more.

This would be a great book for a reading group.

Rating 3/5

Friday, February 5, 2016

Flamecaster, A Shattered Realms Novel by Cinda Williams Chima

Posted first to Blog Critics as Book Review; ' Flamecaster,' a Shattered Realms Novel by Cinda Williams Chima.

In Flamecaster, A Shattered Realms Novel by Cinda Williams Chima,she introduces us to a young and powerful healer with a gift of magic named Ash. Son of the queen, he is forced into hiding after a series of murders. He is ready for revenge and is close to the man he searches for, the King of Arden.  He is not sure if he can use his healing powers for vengeance.

While he is planning his move, Jenna Bandelow, a spy, is also planning to strike against the king. She carries a mysterious mage-mark on the back of her neck that will make her a target. She believes that it is only a tale until she becomes hunted by the King’s guard. Unwilling to become a pawn she decides to put an end to the King in her own way.

Ash and Jenna come together in a strange twist as dark magic begins to makes its own mark in the world. With both having more to hide then imagined, can they survive the threats leveled against them? Will their differences hinder them or will it bring them together in ways that will help them grow?

Chima has given us a fierce pair of young people who have grown up way to soon. Their magic’s make them targets, and they both hunt the same man. She takes us into a world of beauty and chaos and litters it with both magic and powers. She delivers on the protagonists as well as the victims in ways that keep you enthralled.

If you have a youngster who loves to read this is a great work of fantasy. For the young at heart you will find your own magic all over again between the pages. The plots and ploys will keep you spellbound and you will find this work hard to dismiss once you have finished. This is a great work for your library, one you can read over and again.

Rating 5/5