Tag Archives: fantasy

A trip to Ancient Rome

12 Oct

Jennifer A. Nielsen has a new series and the first book is entitled The Mark of the Thief.

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Nic is a Gaulish slave in mines in Ancient Rome. Temperamentally, he is much like Sage, the protagonist of Nielsen’s Ascendance  series: a cocky underdog. In some ways the story felt very similar to that series, just transplanted to a new location.

This novel felt more erratic that the previous series, with one action packed dilemma after another. The biggest differences are the location and the incision of magic.

Publisher’s Summary:When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods — magic some Romans would kill for.

Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic’s newfound powers for their own dark purposes.

In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire’s most powerful and savage leaders.

I don’t know if I will read the next novel in the series when it comes out next year. I think this series will be for ardent fans of Nielsen’s first series.

Pig Tales from Portland

29 May

I don’t really think this is a trend, but I have come across two novels by Portland authors that feature porcine characters. One is for young adults, one is for younger readers. Both are worth reading.

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Poison, by Bridget Zinn, is funny. As I was reading it, I thought about how few YA fantasy novels are funny. The heroine, Kyra, keeps coming to the wrong conclusion. Her pig, Rosie, just smiles dreamily at her and loves to snuggle, when she’s not following the scent she’s supposed to be tracking. The Princess and heir to the throne is outspoken. On top of all this good stuff, Zinn creates a world of potioners and poisoners, people who fight with chemistry. As I finished the book, I was thinking that, although the problem came to a conclusion, it would be great to read more about this world Zinn created. But I can’t, because Bridget Zinn passed away two years ago of colon cancer at the age of 33.

On a happier note, the main character of  The Adventures of a South Pole Pig, by Chris Kurtz, is Flora, a piglet on a mission.

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She is not content wallowing on the farm and longs for adventure. when she escapes from her pen, she discovers the world of sled dogs and decides it is her destiny. When Fate lands her aboard a ship bound for the South pole, she assumes she is to be a sled pig, although he reader quickly realizes that Flora has come to the wrong conclusion.When the ship  is wrecked and all seems hopeless, an unexpected heroine emerges. Can you guess who it is?  Young readers will love this tale of adventure and reaching for your dreams.

Randy Ribay

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