Books of the Immortals - Air

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Welcome to Silvery Earth. Winged beings, water people, shape-shifting dragons and an Immortal mingle with Humans as they try to find their place in the world and someone to love. Add an adventurer, a sculptor, a winged being, a foreign soldier, a princess and a sorceress in a gripping story of bitterness and love, darkness and light.
Adult fantasy with mild sex and violence. More

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Published by Unicorn Productions
Published: March 31, 2011
Words: 85,900
Language: English
ISBN: 9781458138415
About Barbara G.Tarn

My pen name is Barbara G.Tarn, a.k.a. Barb, and I'm a writer, sometimes an artist, mostly a world-creator and story-teller of fantasy worlds.
I intend to publish my many stories set on my fictional world of Silvery Earth from 2011 on, starting with the shorter and continuing with the novels, so check back soon!
The graphic novels are available in print and for download (PDF only, unfortunately graphic novels don't come out very well as e-books - yet) - check my blog for info.

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Reviews

Review by: Kelly Coffey on April 25, 2012 : star star star
Three and a half stars:

"The Books of the Immortal - Air" is the first in Tarn's Silvery Earth series and serves as a fairly stable introduction. The depth and breadth of the world is demonstrated, leaving the reader with any number of places to go and more stories to read. But "Air" still stands on its own as a complete tale. Despite a relatively large main cast of characters, Tarn manages not only to define each one, but to give everyone relatively equal screen-time. They each have a story of their own, and she has a neat way of weaving their separate roads together to create the players in the final quest.

However, quick-paced storytelling and carefully managed character paths aside, the thing that impressed me most about "Air" was Silvery Earth, it's creation story and the magical races that lived there and how they interact with Humans. Although there is no one point in the story that really focuses on these interactions, it is a thread that I believe will link all of the Silvery Earth books together. Tarn uses a deft hand to demonstrate the ways that the magical races are different from Humans and why, while never just downloading "here's how this race works." She gives you pieces and bits to let you into the world. Oddly, her best bits of storytelling seem to lie on the periphery to the main adventure and quest. While the characters are well-defined from a background and character-building exercise point-of-view, the dialogue is very contemporary and there's no real variation between them (even the Big Bad Black Dame) talks like a petulant teenager.

In spite of that, there is enough character to draw you in and make you care about what happens to them. Even if it wasn't enough, even if you didn't care about the characters, Tarn has crafted such an exquisite world that I just want to know more about it, read more about it, see more of it. "Air" isn't flawless, but it is an intriguing, creative and very satisfying read that any true fantasy fan will love.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Kelly Coffey on April 25, 2012 : (no rating)
Three and a half stars:

"The Books of the Immortals - Air" is the first in Tarn's Silvery Earth series and serves as a fairly stable introduction. The depth and breadth of the world is demonstrated, leaving the reader with any number of places to go and more stories to read. But "Air" still stands on its own as a complete tale. Despite a relatively large main cast of characters, Tarn manages not only to define each one, but to give everyone relatively equal screen-time. They each have a story of their own, and she has a neat way of weaving their separate roads together to create the players in the final quest.

However, quick-paced storytelling and carefully managed character paths aside, the thing that impressed me most about "Air" was Silvery Earth, it's creation story and the magical races that lived there and how they interact with Humans. Although there is no one point in the story that really focuses on these interactions, it is a thread that I believe will link all of the Silvery Earth books together. Tarn uses a deft hand to demonstrate the ways that the magical races are different from Humans and why, while never just downloading "here's how this race works." She gives you pieces and bits to let you into the world. Oddly, her best bits of storytelling seem to lie on the periphery to the main adventure and quest. While the characters are well-defined from a background and character-building exercise point-of-view, the dialogue is very contemporary and there's no real variation between them (even the Big Bad Black Dame) talks like a petulant teenager.

In spite of that, there is enough character to draw you in and make you care about what happens to them. Even if it wasn't enough, even if you didn't care about the characters, Tarn has crafted such an exquisite world that I just want to know more about it, read more about it, see more of it. "Air" isn't flawless, but it is an intriguing, creative and very satisfying read that any true fantasy fan will love.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Eric Smith on Jan. 22, 2012 : (no rating)
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(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Eric Smith on Jan. 22, 2012 : (no rating)
Books of the Immortals - Air
Ebook, Barbara G.Tarn
Unicorn Productions
March 31, 2011
$4.99 USD, Smashwords
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/50628

I generally don't care for romantic fiction, but this was better than I'd expected. Stylistically, Ms. Tarn has a gentle but sweetly compelling voice. Her prose is clean and terse, with an air of bright, childlike optimism that rises up from the pages, creating scenes light, happy and open like a Maxfield Parrish painting.

But there are names. Lots and lots of names, without details to accompany them. I would have liked much more detailed descriptions of the characters and places, as they were sometimes difficult to visualize, identify with, and distinguish in the story.

Occasionally, Ms. Tarn will also throw in some Italian terms that aren't explained until near the end of the book, if at all. On one page, the terms Parigha Flugo, duonfrato, plenfratino, and destinito are shot out in quick succession, leaving the reader completely perplexed - and not in a positive way - until some 75 pages later.

Ms. Tarn needs to really engage all the reader's senses with more leisurely, detailed descriptions - readers want to be immersed in the sights, sounds, scents, textures and tastes. On page 45, her description of Princess Indira is the first satisfactory example of this. Each of her characters deserves such treatment.

Tarn's charming voice is a refreshing change in the modern world of bleak cynicism, cruelty and shock value in the interest of commerce. She's sort of the antithesis of the modern "neogothic dark" resurgence. I applaud her ability to maintain her cheer, but while she's fine with sparkle and charm, it's the dark side where her writing falls a bit short.

Because of Ms. Tarn's sweetness, it feels like her evil characters well... weren't particularly. For the first 200 pages, the worst of their sins seems to be petulance and indiscriminate fornication, with a taste for domination. If a bad case of the hornies makes someone a villain, then surely I'm damned.

In her magical world, there's no real sense of fear, and what conflicts exist are rushed through in the span of a single paragraph or less. In truth, her work would be far more effective if she built a little more tension and dread. I would have preferred if she'd built up the suspense, milked the moment a bit. For example, the killing of a high priest of darkness takes place in the span of under a paragraph, and the appearance of a goddess is described in a single sentence. In fact, gods and goddesses pop up constantly, like guests at a very crowded party.

While Ms. Tarn is fine at what she produces, it feels as if she's still stretching her wings before really taking off. One senses she's got the potential for first-rate fantasy within her, but still has some maturation to go. Learning how to tap into the vein of really deep, heartbreaking pathos and taking the time to pause and really paint a complete picture of her characters each time she introduces them would add to her work greatly, I think. Description, danger, pathos and tension. If Ms. Tarn can throw these liberally into the mix, she's on the path to writing some excellent fantasy.

The meeting between Kumar, the antihero, and the king was a nice bit of humor, and an original twist on the timeless fairy tale theme. In fact, Kumar is by far the most interesting of the characters, a sort of eternally petulant four-year-old boy, but with the ability to deliver a serious ass-kicking. The character can be depended upon to always do the unexpected, invariably acting amusingly rude, loutish, selfish and insensitive. If Tarn based her book primarily around this character, it would make for much, much wider appeal. The two lesbian harpies with the hearts of gold are also quite unique in fantasy literature, I think.

Having a heroine sit on a cloud was not particularly convincing however, destroying the plausibility of an otherwise consistent high fantasy setting - even in a magical world, water vapor is still water vapor.

In short, Ms. Tarn's work is charming, but not yet terribly compelling. She definitely has the talent to create much more deeply satisfying work, but she needs to reach deep within and evoke some of the less pleasant aspects of life to push her work toward its full potential. A character with the complexity of Kumar would be a great place to start.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Flora Bateman on Jan. 04, 2012 : star star star star star
I really enjoyed this introduction to the world of Silvery Earth. A world of magical races, immortals and ordinary humans. I loved the way that several stories were woven together into one as the characters came together. Each searching for their desitiny and place in the world. This world was wonderfully brought to life with good and evil and gray areas much like our own world. There was some mature content as we see sex used for power as well as promiscuity but it isn't in the context of erotica as there were no detailed scenes. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that enjoys fantasy genra. I thought it was a wonderful read and I am looking forward to reading more of this series.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Flora Bateman on Jan. 04, 2012 : star star star star star
I really enjoyed this introduction to the world of Silvery Earth. A world of magical races, immortals and ordinary humans. I loved the way that several stories were woven together into one as the characters came together. Each searching for their desitiny and place in the world. This world was wonderfully brought to life with good and evil and gray areas much like our own world. There was some mature content as we see sex used for power as well as promiscuity but it isn't in the context of erotica as there were no detailed scenes. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that enjoys fantasy genra. I thought it was a wonderful read and I am looking forward to reading more of this series.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Lydia Kurnia on Oct. 27, 2011 : (no rating)
Air was a wonderful experience into a world of magic, heartache, darkness but also hope. Silvery Earth is an amazing place with so much on offer, beautifully diverse races and cultures, intriguing laws and politics, incredible world overall.

I love the south asian and arabian influences, giving a sword and sorcery tale a different and exotic flavour altogether... And it is an exotic book, with adult themes all over, both in cruelty and in hope. Barb handled this beautifully through poetic words and realistic emotions.

The characters all come to life for me. I felt for each of them and by the end of the book really wanted them to make it. I have read other books by Barb but this one stood out as most polished and complete.

Thank you for the read. I really enjoyed this book. Air is a wonderful experience and great travel companion :)
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Tea on Oct. 02, 2011 : star star star star star
So, this was my first visit to the world of Silvery Earth, and I have to say, I enjoyed what I saw. In this world, magical creatures with mythical names (e.g. Sila, Fajrulo) live alongside the humans, and four Immortals – Earth, Air, Ether, Fire and Water champion the different races.

This book really wasn’t what I was expecting, but in a good way. I’m going to say here and now that there are certain points in the book where there are mature themes. There are points where characters within the book use intercourse and sexuality as a means of control or power, which was interesting to read, as it isn’t so very different to what can happen in the real world. These areas of the book, I felt, were well written, and whilst these themes were mentioned throughout, it wasn’t overbearing, and at no point did it seem to overshadow the actual storyline. However, due to these themes, I probably wouldn’t recommend this book to younger readers.

I appreciated the attention to detail on the descriptions of the races – especially characteristics – such as the Fajrulo not being particularly social or able to love. These are also consistent throughout, which helps make Silvery Earth into a tangible world. Of course, this is also helped by the descriptions of the differing cultures within the world, which vary by Kingdom. I felt that there were comparisons to be made between the inhabitants of various areas of Silvery Earth and specific cultures on Earth, but again, that added to the believability of the world.

Another important element in this book is the descriptions of the goings on in The Sect – a dark religious minority, with serious amounts of power. The descriptions were vivid, but left enough to the imagination that as a reader I was always left wondering what would happen next.

I have to admit, I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did – I ended up really caring for the characters, and hoping that each got the ending that they deserved. I also enjoyed the way that Tarn tied all the loose endings together by the end of the book – something which is often not managed as cohesively as this example. Overall, I really enjoyed this book – a good read, and I can foresee myself returning to Silvery Earth to read more in the future. Recommended for anyone into epic fantasy.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Joleene Naylor on Sep. 19, 2011 : star star star star star
A good fantasy book should have six things.
1) A diverse world with distinctly different cultures. Air has this. Silvery Earth has no only different magical races (each with their own customs and ideals(, but also distinct cultures of human occupants, as well. Like Tolkien and Middle Earth, Barbara Tarn has been working on Silvery Earth for many years through different stories and characters to create a world of great depth.
2) A large cast of diverse characters. Air also has this. From the dark, brooding human Kumar, to the Sila Winged Jesminder, to the Naveen, the captain of the Guard and beyond, the story is told through a host of characters. This allows the reader to see all of the subtle pieces to the puzzle and watch as they fall into place to complete the full picture.
3) Magic. Air has this in the form of the Magical races; winged Sila, Fajrulo who turn into dragons, Waiora who live under the water, not to mention the Immortals themselves: Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Ether.
4) Something evil to fight against. There has to be a bad guy for the heroes to band together and defeat. The sect, a group of people who use blood and sex to gain power from the dark pond, fit the bill nicely. Though Ramesh, the high priest, is suitably twisted, I think it is Keiko who wins the prize for the most sadistic.
5) Some romance. Whether it’s hinted at behind the scenes or out where you can see it, romance is a must. Air has several romance subplots, though to keep from spoiling surprises I won’t say who they are. I will say Kumar’s final decision was the most satisfying, though.
6) Fighting. Wars. Death. Air has just enough of this to make the world believable, but not too much to make it seem gratuitous or overtly bloody.
This book has just the right mix of twisted, darkness and sweet light to make it a real page turner. I like that Barb didn’t pull punches when it came to the sect. They did despicable things and, though the actions are not detailed blow by blow, there’s enough that you know how atrocious their actions are. I can imagine some women may take exception to the scene with Indira and Prince Anjan, but this is a fantasy novel, and fantasy societies are based on medieval societies. Social attitudes were very different then, and I was also glad to see that she stuck to that, too. I also have a deep, personal admiration for Ms. Tarn as I know English is not her first language. I can’t imagine the challenges of writing novels in another language!
In closing, did I enjoy this book? Yes! Do I recommend to to fantasy fans? Yes! AM I going to read the rest of Silvery Earth (including the short stories)? Yes! And, I’m looking forward to it!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Oorvi on Sep. 13, 2011 : star star star star star
Air has been my formal introduction to fantasy fiction. I think that I have indeed discovered an extremely interesting genre. I loved the characters - never black and white, always with shades of gray; as I turned the pages, they became real - and then they drew me into the story, into the fantastical world of Silvery earth. I loved every bit of it - the reality of the dialogs, the emotions, and the events, and the fantasy that tied it together. In a nutshell - a wonderful read!
(reviewed long after purchase)

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