Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Execution by Sharon Cramer

This was a story I stepped in to not having any real clue what it was about. I had finished my last book and this one was setting on my kindle - no clue what had provoked me to pick it up, but I had so I dived in. The first chapter of the story had me walking through the night with a medieval priest, knowing his uncertainties, feeling the chaffing of his robes, seeing the fog and the poorly lit streets he walked. I was hooked.

In the height of the plague, religious fervor, and feudal lords, two men born of one womb make their ways separately through life, only to meet on the verge of one's death. One twin left on the steps of a church, one a desperate mother tried to hold on to - the two brothers both end up as orphans and walk very different paths. When they do meet, they have the span of one night to know the joys and sorrows each has borne.

The Execution is a full of sensory descriptions that bring the story to life and it was the sensation that I was hearing the thoughts of D'ata the priest, that I was a fly sitting on his shoulder as he whispered into the night, that really drew me in. The story is written in more of a literary style and I appreciated the depth that this allowed us to get into each character.

One thing I didn't especially care for was the shifting to other characters outside of D'ata and Ravan. It was mildly interesting, but a bit disrupting for my tastes. Ravan's character was my favorite. I would have liked to see more of the ending of his story than we did. D'ata's story ended the way you felt it was destined to.

Overall, a very satisfying read. if you like your stories well told and your characters deep, this is your book.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cursed be the Wicked, by J.R. Richardson

Cooper Shaw's childhood left a little to be desired, what with the alcoholic father and a crazy mother everyone said was a witch. And then his father disappeared, making Cooper the prime suspect for his murder - until his mother confessed - sending Cooper to live with the Aunt Liz that hadn't liked his mother or him.

It's been fifteen years since he changed his name and left Salem. Cooper had never intended to return, but the editor of the travel magazine he writes for had other ideas. It seems the last witch of Salem, Crazy Maggie Shaw, has died and Bill wants his best writer on the story.

Cooper objects, loses, and finds himself once again in the town he grew up in, his personal past more confusing now as an adult than it had been as a child. How does one write an objective story about their own mother, the last person Cooper wanted to spend a month thinking about?

And more importantly, can he get in and out of Salem without being recognized?

There are several things I liked about this story. It's a story about magic that is low key, similar to Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic. It's from a male perspective, a person who had become about as much of a non-believer as you can get as Cooper distances himself from a childhood he's forgotten more of than he comes to realize.

It's a tale of truths and perspectives, of mistakes and bad choices, and ultimately love.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Post Holiday Chaos

Thanksgiving was wonderful. I'm back home after a week of no writing, no internet, no marketing, plotting, editing, and definitely no blogging. For a little while I wasn't sure I was going to make it. Not just the no writing part, but in general. My life flashed before my eyes, probably because I couldn't see anything else.

I was hauling down I-5 in the early pre-dawn hours thinking to get out of the densely populated part of the state before traffic got absolutely nuts after the holiday. It was raining. I mean pouring sheets of water. My windshield wipers were working as fast as the little flippers would go - and then they quit flipping.

That fast I couldn't see a damn thing.

This was a far more literal flying blind than I was okay with. I wiggled the controls. Nothing. I panicked and as if by magic the wiper blades moved again. I had enough to time to catch my breath before they froze again, straight across my line of vision. They were the only thing I could see. I threw my hazard lights on to a chorus of blaring horns and pulled off to the side of the freeway.

I sat there for a little while watching the wipers work as they should, speed up, and stop, only to start the process all over again. I'm not overly familiar with this side of the state. Do I call AAA? Do I limp up to the next town or is waiting out the rain an option? I sat until I couldn't take it anymore and backtracked to option two. I limped into the next town, stopped at a gas station, and asked for the name of a good garage. It wasn't open until eight. At least they were opening.

Unfortunately, they weren't sure what the problem was, but, "There's a Nissan dealership twenty miles on up the interstate." They coated my windshield with Rainex and wished me luck. It wasn't pouring rain anymore, which made the twenty to thirty second intervals of non-functioning windshield wipers do-able as long as I hung my head out the window.

I looked like a freaking Witch Hazel cartoon pulling up into the Nissan dealership one town over, which I suppose is preferable to what I'd look like if I'd been hit by a passing semi. It was only ten thirty in the morning and I was sure the potential for chaos in my day had already peaked. I was hoping it had.

That's when the guy behind the counter told me their maintenance schedules were booked for the day. Would I like to schedule an appointment for tomorrow, he asked with one of those customer service smiles.

"No, I want to hang my head out the truck window for another two hundred miles while traversing a mountain pass."

I didn't actually say that, but the words came so close  to leaving my lips that I realized I needed to get the hell out of there before I said something that would get me thrown out. I was dangerously low on polite, headed directly for snarky bitch in about two shakes and I still needed a garage, one that understood Nissan wiring and had parts.

I set up at the Holiday Inn to wait the day out. Driving was off my list of things to do, so I walked a couple blocks, bought a notebook and a set of pens, because nothing says reward like a new set of pens, and returned to the hotel room to write. I wasn't supposed to write this week, but the situation had already devolved from the original plan and my other option was the hotel bar. No good would come from that.

Within an hour the morning was forgotten. Writing takes me to my happy place faster than anything. I lost myself in that problem middle section of Deciding Lies until I fell asleep, amazed that the muscles of my hand didn't cramp after eight hours of uncustomary activity. I type. I don't typically write with a pen and paper. I watched the Lego movie. I can't believe I watched the Lego movie.

The next morning I got out of bed full of confidence. I got dressed, went for breakfast, and made my way back to the dealership knowing that life was returning to normal. I opened the notebook and mapped out the beginning of an outline for the sequel to Girl Found. Four and a half hours later my truck was ready.

"We figured out what the problem was. We can have the part in by Tuesday if you want to come back."

What! A instant wave of panic swept through me. Was this for real? Switches aren't even half the size of a credit card. How is there not a drawer of the things somewhere in the building? It's not like wipers are optional equipment. "I don't live anywhere near here," I told the man. "Is there another garage that has one?"

"No, this isn't a part we stock. It's rare they go out. At least the wipers work most of the time," he said encouragingly, like that mattered. "I'll give you the part number and you can get a local garage to order it for you."

How are partially functional wipers viewed as nothing more than an inconvenience, like the seat warmer going out? There was just going to be a little extra water to look through, what was my problem? Not for the first time I wondered if I shouldn't rent a car and come back for the truck Tuesday. I was still in the same position I'd been in yesterday, except now it was a day later. I'd watched the weather. All I had to do was get east of the interstate and I'd be out of the rain pattern. I crossed my fingers and left the garage.

It sprinkled on me intermittently before I drove out of the rain system, but sprinkles were manageable. Those sprinkles turned to spitting snow when I hit the pass, but that was okay too, and there wasn't as much snow as there obviously had been the day before, which made me wonder. As crazy as the previous day had been, would it have been worse if I'd taken the pass yesterday? I'll never know, and I think I'm okay with that.

Tomorrow I will contact the garage in the next town over to have the part ordered. I'm crossing my fingers it doesn't rain the day it comes in.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Book Tour - City of Secrets by Aoife Marie Sheridan

                                                 Title: City of Secrets (Saskia Trilogy, #2)
                                                          Author: Aoife Marie Sheridan
                                                             Publisher: Synerg e-books

SaraJane finds herself in the middle of a war...a war over her. While in the City of Secrets, she must learn to use her powers that God gave her to defeat a fallen angel, who wants nothing more than to walk on earth. But will she stop Lucian, the fallen angel in time...even with Tristan and Carew at her side?

                                                            A war awaits her arrival,
                                                            A warrant for her arrest.
                                                          She must rise as a princess,
                                                             And Darkness shall fall.
                                                   But will their love survive this battle?
                                                           For Tristan and Sarajane.

                                                             Step back into Saskia.

Raised in the mortal world by a mother escaping the wrath of the queen of Saskia, Princess Sarajane has a lot to learn about the world she truly belongs in. Protected by her biological father, King Morrick, Sarajane must learn to fight, to use her magical affinities, and to navigate the politics of a world she could never have imagined existed.
City of Secrets is part two of the series begun with Eden Forest. Saskia, a parallel dimension to Earth created to imprison four fallen angels, is a world in which magic and intrigue abound. Sarajane finds herself at the center of a struggle for power inside this world and as one of great power and royal lineage, will either save a people she doesn’t quite see as hers, or fall with them.

The world build this trilogy revolves around is very interesting and imaginative. It has roots in Christianity, but delves off into the fantastic very quickly, yielding an obvious fantasy world with a great deal of plausibility. There is constant action and adventure as Sarajane is targeted by the queen Bellona and Lucian, the unrepentant demon she serves.
Purchase Links: e-Book
Purchase Links: Paperback

                                    About the Author

Aoife Marie Sheridan is twenty eight years of age. She lives in Kells, Co, Meath, a small town just outside Navan. Aoife was raised in Navan, but left with her family at the age of sixteen. Aoife has always had a passion for writing, but mostly poetry. This is her first time to write a novel.
Aoife Marie Sheridan studied Accountancy and qualified as an accountant technician. She worked this profession for several years, but with economic turndown she was made redundant.
Aoife Marie Sheridan now works in retail as well as spending endless hours reading and writing.
Author Links:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

To Kill or not to Kill

I've been concentrating on the second draft of Deciding Lies, a contemporary drama, while I let the space opera rest. Deciding Lies is a departure from my typical stories as far as setting goes, but still revolves around a suspense plot filled with dysfunctional relationships and greed.

I thought I knew who the villain of this story was. Halfway through this draft I shifted a plot element and being an element, the shift rippled through the story. It didn't create an overwhelming wave, but it did force me to make a decision about the MC's mother. Upon reflection I made the wrong one.

I stretched the believability of the Mother's actions and roles too far.

My job today is to map out that characters motivations. I need to delve in to her backstory and decide where things lie against the plot. Do they follow a logical line or leave gaps, or worse, not make sense at all? Maybe the Mother's character should be dead before the story starts. Maybe she shouldn't die at all.

What if she's the true villain?

Developing that story angle will take some pretty fancy dance steps. It requires the MC to be a bit obtuse and wrapped up in herself. I'm not sure that's going to work any more successfully than killing Mom off because the whole plot revolves around the MC being older than her years. A little bit of an old soul, if you will. Maybe Mom should be the one out to lunch.

I've heard about writers who develop an outline and follow it. No matter what, the story follows that outline. I have no clue how they manage that. Any outline I may develop is more of an operational suggestion with plenty of room for possibilities. At some point most of it will be thrown out the window.

It's not until I'm in the final editing stage, after I've got the story nailed down, that any structured plan is followed. That often takes at least four drafts. Before that anything goes. Well, almost anything. It looks like Mom is going to have to come back from the dead. She's just got a new lease on life. Wonder what she's going to do with it?

I'll have to get back to you on that.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Witch Song by Amber Argyle

It's time to get my read on. I have less than two months and I need to read ten books to meet my Goodreads goal. So I'm taking a break from solid writing and heading into solid reading mode. On to Witch Song.
Brusenna is a witch. The villagers all know that’s what she and her mother are, though they have no proof of this. That doesn’t stop the harassment. It is the witches of light that keep the seasons and the elements of the lands in balance, but lately droughts have cursed the lands - and the people of the village blame Brusenna and her mother. When Brusenna’s mother leaves to fight the Dark Witch to return balance to the elements, Brusenna is left alone, and vulnerable.

The Dark Witch is starving the lands and hunting the light. Her minions come to Brusenna’s village almost as soon as the girl’s mother leaves. She defeats them and with the help of the village sheriff who jails the men, Brusenna, or Senna, as she becomes, sets off to find her mother.

 Within days the huntsmen are out of jail and catch up. Senna is untrained in defense, but learns quickly, gets lucky, and has the help of a network that supported the light witches.


I liked the story. It’s YA, and don’t ask me how I keep ending up with young adult books - I’m not crazy about them. This book reminds me of a story, or perhaps several and I found that distracting in the beginning, as I kept trying to place the déjà vu and couldn’t. Pogg reminds me of Gollom from the Hobbit - not sure why. He’s a fish-person who helps Senna and introduces her to the creatures of the sea.

 The story was well done and flowed nicely. The sea creatures are a nice touch you don’t see (at least I haven’t) in fantasy stories often. For my tastes this story didn’t delve deeply into the character. It does read like young adult, and is appropriate for that category. I was in the mood for a gritty story I could sink my teeth into and this wasn’t that. It is a good read.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

My Writing: Off Track

So I've got this schedule. Saturdays are book review days. Except for yesterday, which became a writing day. I didn't notice until half an hour ago that I hadn't posted, that's how much of a writing day it became. I didn't even check my email yesterday. Oops.

It all started when I got part way through the first edit phase of Crane's War, a space opera I'm working on. I hate the first edit phase. It's my least favorite part of writing. If I didn't absolutely love the other parts, I know I'd never finish a manuscript. First edit phase is when the story comes back from the editor and all the observations are collected and organized and the story is reworked taking all those comments into mind. It's torture.

In true procrastinator fashion, I switched WIPs. I went as far from space opera as I could get and began the second draft work on a contemporary drama, Deciding Lies. It might turn out to be Romantic Suspense by the time I'm done, you never know. It has completely absorbed me this week. I'm at fifty eight thousand words. I have an ending in mind and I'm excited to get there. Kate and Brian are behaving badly and I'm totally loving it. They are imperfect, throwing caution and common sense to the wind as they let their passions take control. The theme, the destructive nature of lies, is coming together without a hitch. I have a cover in mind that doesn't feature a half naked man. I almost have a blurb. It's a little frightening how this project is coming together.

So I haven't finished reading a single thing but my own project. Thanks to the end of the year coming just around the corner and a Goodreads reading goal that I'm behind on, there will be a week that has three or four reviews in it. I'll be reading a book extolling the dangers of caffeine as I mainline coffee to stay awake into the wee hours, as if I were cramming for a college exam. I didn't even drink coffee back then. I had a well of natural energy that I've apparently used up.

I'm going to be looking for beta readers soon. If you read my previous post, you'll know what I look for in a beta reader, should that appeal to you. If not, that's fine. Hang around, I'll get a project finished that you can sink your teeth into, whether it be the space opera or the drama. I'm impressed that I came up with a story that lacked paranormal abilities and aliens. There isn't a single witch in sight in Deciding Lies, and part of it is set in Ireland.

And that's no tall tale.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Help and Who Does What.

You need help with your manuscript, but what kind? Everyone knows about proofreading, it’s what comes before that’s a bit confusing. Depending on how long you’ve been writing or your story (some come easy and others kick and scream like a two year old being told no in the toy aisle) what kind of assistance you’re looking for can vary. So what are your options?  

Free. We like free. The problem with free is it isn’t always helpful and the terminology is confusing, and confused. Take Beta Review and Beta read. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same. A beta reviewer is sent an Advanced Review Copy for a review that will be posted as soon as the book is published. The purpose of this is to get the publicity ball rolling while the book is still a new release. The copy sent is the same as the manuscript that will be published.

Beta reads are a stage in the developmental editing process of writing. It’s the review before the story is completed and the only person who sees that review is the author. The copy sent isn’t a finished product and both the reader and the author know that. A good beta read finds plot holes, problems with characters, and story inconsistencies. It tells an author what worked, what tweaked the emotions of the reader, and where the reader was lost, or worse, gave up. A beta read is all about what works and what doesn’t work.

Unless your beta reader is your cousin or a friend, the one who likes everything you do and after reading your WIP says something like it’s a great read that’s really imaginative and she loves the main character, so witty. It’s nice, but it doesn’t help. It’s good to get several beta reads, but finding good readers is hard. Writing groups are about your best bet.  

Next come the paid services. A Critique hangs between a beta read and a full developmental edit and is probably the cheapest way to get a little help. It’s a deeper look that goes beyond recording reactions and goes on to make a few suggestions. In addition to what we expect from a beta read, a critique addresses the writing process. It gets into story structure, premise, and character and world build by pointing out where there are problems and where things are really working.

If you have the resources and want/need more assistance working the kinks out, a full developmental edit goes all the way into the creative writing process to help a writer fine tune the story. A developmental edit speaks to plot, characters, world build, structure, pacing, and emotion. It will help you pinpoint and develop themes and discuss language and word usage. A developmental editor will help you polish your style and prose. What they won’t do, is correct typos and grammar. That’s a copy editors job.

A copy editor overlaps with the developmental editor in that a copy editor will also look at sentence structure and word choice, along with correcting grammar, spelling, and typographical errors. A good copy editor will also point out plot holes and story inconsistencies that they come across. Depending on how many eyes you’ve had on your story it is possible there are still some minor issues at this stage.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward

It's another J.R. Ward book. I'm slowly working my way through the Brotherhood series. Lover Revealed is book four.
Butch is a human cop who’s been brought in as a friend of the Brotherhood - and he’s tired of sitting on the sidelines. When he comes across a civilian vampire being targeted by two lessers, he moves in to stop them. He’s doing fine. He doesn’t have a blade on, but…and then three more lessers show up and Butch wakes up tied to a torture table.

He’s been recognized as the human who works with the Black Dagger Brotherhood. When torture gets them nowhere, the Omega himself decides how best to use the man against his enemies. He slips a bit of himself inside the man. Butch is left in the woods, contaminated with the evil of the Omega, for the Brotherhood to find.

And they do. Vishous recognizes that something is wrong, and then the Scribe Virgin is there to guide him. Butch is transported to Havers’ clinic, but the prognosis is bad. Vishous calls Marissa, the vampire that Butch is in love with, knowing she’s the only one with a hope to pull Butch back from the brink.

I wasn’t sure I was going to like this story as Butch and Marissa aren’t two of my favorite characters from previous books. They have this star crossed lover thing going on. Both of them are down on themselves; Butch never fit in to his family and as Wrath’s shunned shellan, Marissa is an outcast with the Vampire elite she belongs to. I couldn’t have predicted the direction this story would take. It’s a good story that surprised.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Welcome to the Author's Cave Halloween Blog Train

                    Welcome to the Author's Cave

                      Halloween Blog Train

1. Include a picture or video of yourself in a Halloween costume.
I do not have a picture of myself in a costume. If I were going to come up with a costume, it would look something like this.

2. What's your favorite scary movie?
Ringu. It's scary and it has a plot with a bit of mystery that goes beyond 'people died'.

3. What scene from a book or movie scared you more than any other?
I don’t actually have any specific scenes that stick with me that way. The most scared I’ve been because of a movie was after the very first slasher film I saw. I grew up fifty miles from the town where the murders that inspired Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” happened. I can’t remember the name of the movie, but when I got home from my date, the house was dead quiet. My parents never go anywhere, especially when I’m out with a guy and there’s a curfew to be observed. Freaked me out. I made it as far as the dining room with a butcher knife before I bolted and drove myself into town.
4. If all of Stephen King's bad guys were after other, who would win and why?

I'm not a huge Stephen King fan. I would have to go with Christine because it's one of the few I've read, it features a cool car that regenerates, and since it is metal, it feels no pain. She's just going to run you over to a worthy ballad like a bad girl should.

5. Give a Treat!

  Witch Fingers

1 c. butter                                    2 2/3 flour

1 c. powdered sugar                     1 tsp baking powder                  

1 egg                                           ¾ c. whole almonds

1 tsp almond extract                     1 tube of red decorating gel

1tsp vanilla                                           Preheat oven to 325

Beat first column of ingredients together then slowly beat in remaining flour and baking powder.

Use wax paper to roll a heaping tsp of dough into the shape of a finger. Pinch near the end and near the center to create knuckles. You can etch wrinkles in if desired.

Put an almond at one end for the fingernail and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. The blunt end can be dipped in the decorating gel to resemble blood, or you can remove the almond, fill the depression with gel and replace the almond, making the gel ooze around the ‘nail’. You can also color the dough with food coloring for a different ‘skin tone’.
6. Provide an elevator pitch for one of your books.
Girl Found: It's a novel of paranormal suspense. A girl who can see the past when she touches objects has to decide if she's going to keep hiding or fight to return home.



7. Blog Train Halloween Story! Members of the train will follow in the order of their cars to complete the following Halloween story. Follow the train to see how the story goes and to get to know some new authors!

WHOA! If you are just starting the story train, click here to go to Train Car #1 for the beginning.

Buried Alive?

How does one kill a man who's already dead? Perhaps Lord Hampshire killed men in the war, but this was a quite different situation he found himself in. Dark magic permeated this affair, and none of it to do with me. He was, however, ensconced in this body with me, a female body.
Lord Hampshire felt his back go up. “Oh, I dare say she will.”
He’d noticed Barlow’s reaction to my defense. If I could kick the man, he could do more. Lord Hampshire reached for the rogue, imagining his hands around the man’s throat, his finger’s squeezing as the man’s face turned red, then purple, his tongue and eyes bulging…
For the next stop on the blog train and the rest of the story
-Lisa Hall

p.s. If you enjoyed this post, please click the g+1 button below here or reshare so that others may enjoy it too. Authors' Cave celebrates Halloween for the commercial spirit and there is no relation with beliefs or non-beliefs about any pagan or other traditions.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

No Heaven by Lex Allen

It's been a while since I spent most of a day reading, but today was that day. The book I finished in the morning was a bit of disappointment. The book I expected to only be starting tonight was anything but. It's been a while since I picked up a book and read it straight through.

Jack Schmidt, blogger and self-professed atheist drops a twenty onto a random bum, and gets a note in return. A note addressed specifically to him. A note that invites him to mass on Saturday.

Elizabeth Washburn, a theologian and author who has lost her faith, receives a note to meet Jack Schmidt at mass on Saturday, from a hippie attending one of her lectures.

The man they both meet claims to be Jesus. That Jesus. The Jesus And according to him, he hasn’t come back to fulfill biblical prophecy. He’s come back to set the record straight.

I opened this book thinking to read a couple chapters. I finished the book in one setting. No Heaven is a smart piece of speculative fiction, mixing elements of religion, quantum physics, and current events into an engaging read that encompasses a redefinition of humanity and history.
If you followed the Elevator Pitch series, this is a cover you'll recognize. I came across more than a couple of potentially good reads to explore. This was one of them.

The Magicians Guild by Trudi Canavan

What to say about this book. I floated between a two and a three on this. I don't think the book was supposed to be YA, but it read like one. The story only holds together if you don't look too deep. If you are young and new to fantasy, you might find yourself liking this story. If you’ve spent the last forty years reading like I have, this story hasn’t a tremendous amount to recommend it. I settled on a two for my purposes.

The story begins with our protagonist, Sonea, heading back to the slums, her family having been run out of their current home, the place where they'd finally gotten a leg up on life and found decent housing inside the city. While trekking through the mean streets in search of a new place for the family to live, Sonea overhears the guards talking about a trap, and not wanting her old street friends to get caught, she goes to warn them. In doing so she puts herself on the front lines of the yearly slum purge conducted by the magicians.

Furious at the injustice of it all, Sonea joins the other dwells, those who dwell in the slums, and throws rocks at the magicians. The magicians are behind a barrier and none of the missiles being launched are having any effect. That infuriates Sonea as well, and then as if by, well, magic, the rock she throws goes through the barrier and takes down a wizard.

Sonea is stunned. She doesn't understand what happened, why her rock got through the barrier. She's not a magician. There are no magicians that come from the lower classes. The magicians are stunned too and she's been noticed. As one of the magicians points at her, several magicians incinerate a boy standing next to her. Sonea runs, returning to the streets below the slums, and her old friends, for safety as the Magicians Guild searches for her.

The world build is inconsistent, as is Sonea’s character. There’s a strong magic practice in this story that sets itself up to be a power to be controlled and heavily monitored. It’s known to be inherited and yet the idea that a girl from the slums exhibits the power is seen as an extreme oddity. The dwellers of the slums aren’t tested for power even though it’s known that the magicians seek out female company there and that the people of this particular country ‘breed’ more magicians than any other.

There’s a yearly purge of the slums by the magicians to keep population numbers under control and run out bad elements, but there’s no rhyme or reason, people are just herded, and herded where? There’s an insinuation that the people are being killed, but the author dances around this. That dance becomes furious once Sonea ends up at the guild and the magicians begin convincing her to join them.

Sonea hides from the guild with the thieves, the same thieves who are hiding a rogue magician. Do they take her to him immediately for help to train her to control her growing power? No. And by the time they do take her, she’s becomes dangerous, too dangerous for him to be of any help. He doesn’t explain anything to her. I don’t know why he was even mentioned.
It becomes obvious that being on the run was nothing but a big contrivance that never had a chance of succeeding. Even one of the magicians says later that the thieves turned Sonea in to them. Magic is a known quantity in this world. The thieves knew what would be required to keep Sonea in the beginning and didn’t do it. I don’t buy the rogue magician not being able to train her and it doesn’t match what happened when Sonea did get to the guild.

Once she gets to the guild, she still doesn’t know control and she’s now with the very people who have once a year killed off dwells in the slums, but without training, she is suddenly calm enough that random, dangerous outbursts of magic stop occurring. Contrary to what the rogue magician said, power doesn’t factor in when it comes to mentoring or training on the part of the trainer. After hating magicians for a lifetime, a short lifetime but still - in a matter of weeks they convince her they’re good and she joins up.

There was a real potential in this story for the class, gender, and power divisions to really be strong themes that told a dramatic tale, and the author shied away from them and instead gave us a lot of little conflicts that didn’t add up. I would give other books by Canavan a try, but not this trilogy.