The Khehemni Chronicles: Book 1 – Dragon of the Desert by Jean Lowe Carlson (ARC Review)

Dragon of the Desert marks the beginning of a prequel trilogy in the same fantasy realm as Jean Lowe Carlson’s earlier Kingsmen Chronicles trilogy, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Set 1,000 years before events in Blackmark book 1 of the Kingsmen Chronicles, this book tells the story of the Khehemni.

With the King deemed unfit to rule and the nation gearing up for battle, it is up to the Heir Leith Alodwine, to pass his trials of kingship in order to take his rightful place as successor to the throne. Will Leith survive, or is the royal line in jeopardy? Read Dragon of the Desert now to find out.

I like that there is an appendix attached to the book with a pronunciation guide for the names and phrases, as it can be difficult to work out how to pronounce them properly otherwise. However, as usual with digital books, any maps attached – no matter how pretty they are – are almost impossible to read.

This action-packed epic fantasy from Jean Lowe Carlson will leave you breathless and wanting more, with its fast pace and thrilling story, this is everything you could ask for. Written in similar style to George R.R. Martin’s Ice and Fire Series (Game of Thrones) this is definitely a book fantasy fans don’t want to miss. It blends war and strife, with hope and magic. Gives us characters to root for, and inspires emotion as we travel on their journeys across the desert with them, fighting for their homes and families. With great descriptive details, you almost feel like you are right there in the desert with them, so immersed in the story it’s almost like you’re playing a part, side-by-side with your favourite characters.

At 5 out of 5 stars, I’m eagerly anticipating the release of book 2 in this trilogy, Wolf of the Resistance. While you’re waiting though, if you haven’t already, I recommend catching up on the other series and reading the Kingsmen Chronicles trilogy: Blackmark, Bloodmark and Goldenmark.

Also, for the record, I received a complimentary copy of Dragon of the Desert directly from Ms. Carlson herself and have voluntarily chosen to write this review.

See also:

Kingsmen Chronicles: Book 1 – Blackmark

Kingsmen Chronicles: Book 2 – Bloodmark

Kingsmen Chronicles: Book 3 – Goldenmark

The Drahiad Chronicles Prologues: Book 4 – Siege of Draestl by Randall Seeley (ARC Review)

Siege of Draestl is the fourth book in Randall Seeley’s Drahiad Chronicles Prologues series, and is the first to be a full length novel. It continues the events from the second novella, Alderidon Wolves, following our favourite major characters Waydsyn Scot, Owen Delmsmith and Thraegar Thornclaw.

To get the best out of this series it may be a good idea to have at least read Alderidon Wolves first, to become acquainted with the characters, locations and story, which underpin these two books. If not necessarily all three of the previous novellas in the series, however it isn’t absolutely necessary.

…potential spoiler warning…

Continue reading “The Drahiad Chronicles Prologues: Book 4 – Siege of Draestl by Randall Seeley (ARC Review)”

Prison in the Sky by Angela J. Ford (ARC Review)

I received an ARC of Prison in the Sky by Angela J. Ford as I am subscribed to her e-newsletter, however I hadn’t yet familiarised myself with her earlier work, and this novel served as my introduction.

 

Although Prison in the Sky is classed as a stand-alone story it is linked to Angela’s Four Worlds series, and since I haven’t read those books I constantly felt like I was missing some really important information and backstory. The narrative begins at the end of an epic battle, which marks the conclusion of a major conflict. The main character, Marklus is traversing the battlefield and using his unique gift of healing to help wounded soldiers. There’s not much detail about the battle given within the book, or indeed where Marklus’s healing gift came from, was he born with it or was it bestowed upon him? So I struggled a little to follow what was going on and why, but maybe if I had read the Four Worlds series, this information would have been clearer.

The story continues with Marklus and fellow warrior, Crinte the Wise, as they travel to the city in the sky and are held there against their will. Once it gets going the story is quite enjoyable, but I found it difficult to relate to the two-dimensional main characters, due to the lack of prior context and missing details. I did however, enjoy learning about the Mermis, the inhabitants of the kingdom in the clouds, and the book did enough to keep me reading until the end.

 

I’m not really sure what to make of Angela’s Prison in the Sky, but I’m going to rate it at 3 out of 5 stars. This is because I understood the basic premise of the novel, and feel that it would be enjoyable for those already familiar with her Four Worlds fantasy series, and as a newbie the book did enough to convince me to check out more of her work. Unfortunately though, I don’t think it fully works as a stand-alone novel, as the reader is thrust into the middle of an unknown world that they don’t really understand.

 

One final thing to note is that I disagree with the decision to send out ARCs of a book that hasn’t yet been through a final thorough proofread. While it was noted that proofreading was in progress, I was rather dismayed at the high number of spelling issues contained within this ARC of Prison in the Sky. This repeatedly distracted me from the story, making it difficult to read, so I had trouble maintaining focus on an already confusing book. However, I hope that these errors will have been corrected by the time of the book’s official release.

The Kingsmen Chronicles: Book 3 – Goldenmark (ARC Review)

Due to some technical hitches I’m rather late with this ARC review, however better late than never.

The long awaited conclusion to the first trilogy in Jean Lowe Carlson’s Kingsmen Chronicles is called Goldenmark, and was actually released back in August 2018. It continues the story of Elohl den’Alrahel, the Alrashemni Kingsman turned Rennkavi, tattooed with the magical goldenmarks that designate him as leader and uniter of the kingdom, Alrou-Mendera. However, a false ruler has tricked his way into power, also bearing the sacred goldenmarks. Elohl must find a way to unite his people and beat Lhaurent den’Karthus in the war for the Menderian throne. Will he succeed or will Laurent annihilate his opposition?

Blackmark, book one of the Kingsmen Chronicles was actually the first novel that I reviewed here on the Sci-Fi Kingdom blog, way back over a year ago on October 2nd 2017. Check out the review of Blackmark here.

Goldenmark, as with its predecessors, Blackmark and Bloodmark, has an extremely well written, researched and painstakingly planned out story. The detail that goes into making this dark, epic, sword and sorcery fantasy series come to life is extraordinary, rivalling even George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, with its complex plot of war and treason.

At 4 out of 5 stars Goldenmark is a fitting conclusion to a great series. It binds this complex story together nicely, and has far less spelling errors/typos than the earlier novels. I especially love the keshar-cats and the warrior women that ride them into battle. However, I’m still mourning the loss of one of my favourite characters who doesn’t feature this far into the series, and I sometimes feel that the overly descriptive narrative draws out the story a little too long for my liking. These are all large books, mostly weighing in at over 700 pages, with Blackmark the slimmest volume at just over 500 pages.

I received a free copy of this novel direct from the author and have voluntarily chosen to write this review. I would recommend it to adult fans of epic sword and sorcery fantasy, such as A Game of Thrones, who like to get stuck into long, dark and gritty books.

See also:

The Kingsmen Chronicles: Book 1 – Blackmark

The Kingsmen Chronicles: Book 2 – Bloodmark

The Khehemni Chronicles: Book 1 – Dragon of the Desert