(The Four Horsemen)
Fairy Tales , Myths & Fairy Tales Low Fantasy
11 Jul 2019
They came to earth—Pestilence, War, Famine, Death—four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all. The day Jerusalem falls, Miriam Elmahdy knows her life is over. Houses are burning, the streets run red with blood, and a traitorous army is massacring every last resident. There is no surviving this, especially not once Miriam catches the eye of War himself. But when the massive and terrifying horseman corners Miriam, he calls her his wife, and instead of killing her, he takes her back to his camp. Now Miriam faces a terrifying future, one where she watches her world burn town by town, and the one man responsible for it all is her seemingly indestructible “husband”. But there’s another side to him, one that’s gentle and loving and dead set on winning her over, and she might not be strong enough to resist. However, if there’s one thing Miriam has learned, it’s that love and war cannot coexist. And so she must make the ultimate choice: surrender to War and watch humankind fall, or sacrifice everything and stop him.
War: 2nd horseman of the Apocalypse
Now you know that there has to be a happy ending by default, but getting there can be
quite traumatic. Especially here where War is the male in question, and clearly
modelled on a Tartar Warlord with Horde. The author says that the languages are
based on ancient ones but garbled a little. I confess, I hadn’t even given that
a thought. Good job the author knows her languages!
I had been waiting for this book to come out and was disappointed. I had hoped it would be longer , more like the previous ones, and for me, the actions were somewhat repetitive. See a city. Send in the cavalry. Send in the infantry. Sack and rape and loot.
For me a little real strategy would have been a bonus
(see chess or medieval warfare or Sun
Tzu); some real sieges; some war engines; some mining of walls etc etc would
have added to the story; plus the whole field burning behind the army and so
on. It seemed to me that the author had not read enough, or lacked knowledge
of, warfare and strategy.
And I didn’t connect with the heroine.
So I am not sure whether to give it a 3 or a 2. Shame.
Magic after Dark
mythology, fantasy, folklore
(4 Mar. 2019)
Dive into the darker side of magic
Enter the underbelly of city life, where werewolves, demons, and vampires stalk the streets. These six bestselling urban fantasy novels plus bonus novella will submerge you in a page-turning world of modern magic.
Half Wolf by Aimee Easterling: When half-werewolf Fen is cast out of her home pack, she and an unlikely ally are forced to shore up her waning power in an effort to save half-shifters everywhere.
Unquiet Souls by Christine Pope: When the hosts of the new Project Demon Hunters show investigate a demon-infested mansion, evil follows Audrey Barrett home...and she learns why her co-host is the last man she can trust.
Dark Hunt by Kim Richardson: Tasked with tracking down a demon that's killing humans, hunter Rowyn is forced to partner with an angel-born warrior who has an ulterior motive. But Rowyn's own dark secret could upend everything...
A Fistful of Evil by Rebecca Chastain: Madison actively avoids her soul-sight—until she witnesses ethereal monsters feasting on a stranger's soul...and the monsters notice her. Thrust into a dangerous new world, Madison must master her atrophied abilities fast if she has any hope of survival.
The Wolf Within by M.J. Scott: Ashley Keenan just wants to be normal. But then her ex-lover, now werewolf, turns up with a lead on the vampire who murdered her family. To survive, she might just have to leave normal behind and embrace her inner monster.
Vampire Midnight by Gary Jonas: Kelly Chan agrees to kill a vampire, but finds herself under his spell. How do you kill something you've been commanded to protect?
Sylphide by K. Gorman: When a private investigator breaks into Allish Statia's apartment and threatens her with a gun, she is able to use her Wind Elemental powers to subdue the man—but he is only part of something much bigger. Something that wants the destruction of her, her husband, and every single Mage in the city.
A set of 7 stories – with 2 particular stories by authors
that I followed up into their series.
The first stories were excellent – and really only 1 was not
so good, Sylphide. I liked the Kelly Chan series, and Aimee Easterlings’ Half
Wolf. She is an author that I like anyway.
Magic after dark
Half wolf – Aimee Easterling is one of my new favourite authors, and I am happy to read 99.9% of her books and series.
A fistful of evil – this became a very interesting series. Soul sight was more than that it seems, and acknowledging it means that Madison learns to use her lux luminis – which is what she called soul sight, in defence of her territory. This defence meant fighting creatures invisible to norms but ones which feed on their souls and drain their good, sometimes replacing it with evil. These creatures can kill Madison and she has to learn to defend herself in a number of unusual ways that seem puzzling to normals. And she has grate difficulty explaining her new job to her family as she can;’t tell them the truth. I enjoyed the books I have read in this series, but have come to the end of my enjoyment after A Fistful of Frost.
The wolf within –
Vampire midnight – This story I found unusual and followed it up with another in the series. The idea of a heroine who is magically enhanced so that she is the most kick-ass of all was interesting. What was disturbing was that she came by her magic because she has been sold by her parents to warlocks; who repeatedly killed her so she could be brought back to life, and who removed her ability to feel pain – thus beig able to fight on when seriously injured. However, she now teaches abused women how to fight and also rescues abused women from their dire situations. So a good heroine who learnt from her experience that abusing women was not on… It did get rather graphic in places and the detail of some of the fights and the numbers killed were rather too much at times.
The difference between me and the Knights of the Round Table? I make medieval look good.
Loren Van Alst is an independent, twenty-first-century woman, an accused forger, a suspected thief, and the last descendant of Sir Galahad of the Arthurian court. To claim her seat at the Round Table and protect her newly found family of modern-day witches, she’ll need to convince the current Arthur and his knights to let a woman take the knights’ trials. But things go sideways when a crazed wizard goes on the loose with a magical spear that can strip a witch of her powers. As if that weren’t enough, the clique of mean girls from middle school arrives in Camelot and turn out to be witch hunters.
To safeguard a future she never knew she wanted, Loren will have to evade the hunters, defeat the wizard, capture the spear, and pass her trials. No one ever said becoming a kick-ass heroine would be easy!
Urban fantasy goes medieval in this modern day, action-packed, calamitous series of misadventures.
Loren – Nia Rivers’ sidekick has stayed behind in Camelot after they found the Templar Scrolls.
She has her own adventure with her Spear of Destiny and the characters that turn up in the Scrolls book.
And learns what it is to be a Knight of the Round Table – which it turns out she is – hereditarily.
So far so good. I enjoyed this as Loren is a fun character – prone to trouble. But I am worried that her stories will become as formulaic as Nia’s. We shall see.
This is the 7th book in the series and Ben is back on form in London. For me he writes more confidently about the London he knows so well. A complex and twisty story with lots of interesting components which I have highlighted below.
In this story his girlfriend has a vast garden of some 50m (that’s over 150 feet to those not in metric) which leads to her brook – the Beverley Brook. See the route in the map below. We hear about what happens to this brook if she feels a little upset, and it has been know to flood the low lying areas quite dramatically in real life not just in a story..
By Adam37 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22843211
We learn something more in this book about Peter in that his mother comes from Sierra Leone where there are many tribes or clans, Temne are 35% of the population and the largest clan who speak their own language), and they all seem to be related in some way to his mother! Now relations amongst these clans must be very close indeed for this to happen and this is a result of the original mix of ethnicities and origins due to slavery and immigration etc in the past. Fula is the main common language spoken but the Susu language is also spoken by most inhabitants. The ability of his mother to call on her many relatives and speak a common language proves important in their lives.
Now Beverly, Peter’s girlfriend of course, is related to all the rivers in London, one of the most powerful of which is the Tyburn, which is a brook that is a tributary of the river Westbourne. A village of this name was close to what is now Marble Arch and south Edgware Road.
In the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the famous Triple Gallows was set up in Tyburn village. Tyburn Gallows has had many names during its history: The Elms, the Elms near Tyburne, Tyburn Tree, the Deadly Never Green Tyburn Tree, the Triple Tree. http://www.tyburnconvent.org.uk/tyburn-tree
Tyburn’s first recorded execution took place in 1196, when William FitzOsbert, or William with the Beard, was hanged for sedition. Some say that over fifty thousand persons met their death at Tyburn during the six centuries it was a place of execution. This gallows proves important toteh story.
Another important component is Babbage and his ‘Mary’ Engine’. You can see the various Babbage engines constructed in the Science Museum and they are fascinating, and of course are the fore-runners of modern computers. And don’t forget that the ability to program them was the work of Lady Ada Lovelace.
A dutiful daughter. A prince forced to find a bride. If the shoe fits...
Once upon a time...
When the Emperor's army comes recruiting, Mai signs up, seeing it as the perfect escape from her stepmother and a lifetime of drudgery. Armed with her mother's armour and a pair of magic shoes, Mai marches off to war...only to find herself sharing a tent with the General's arrogant nephew, Prince Yi.
The best swordsman in the Empire, Prince Yi wants to make war, not love, but the Emperor insists this will be Yi's last campaign before he must marry. Prince Yi has never met his match...until now.
Can one woman win the war and the prince's heart?
Lovely new version of Cinderella – a Chinese female warrior – in the vein of the myths and comic books. And a TV series I watched many years ago about the margins and the Wuxia warriors – equivalent to our Robin Hood who fight against tyranny.
The female warriors were as fierce and skilled as the men and here we see Yeoung Mai being even more skilled.
People have commented when watching us (that was when I did it) in a park how much like a dance it was – smooth and lyrical especially when done to music – and yet it is a martial art. Wkipedia quotes T‘ai-chi training as involving five elements: taolu (solo hand and weapons outines/forms; neigong and qigong (breathing, movement and awareness exercises and meditation); tuishou (response drills); and sanshou (self defence techniques).
So YM’s morning ‘dancing’ was her weapons and defence training – and her small stature would have been to her advantage as I was told when I practiced judo – easy to get under your opponent’s centre of balance to tip them up. Which was why I loved it – about the only sport where being small helped you win!
So this story had many elements that resonated with me and the concept of a girl going to war and no-one knowing about her gender has been often repeated in real life.