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on March 21, 2013 :
This dark fantasy uses an interesting format of short pieces from different points of view over time to tell the story.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Feb. 23, 2012 :
Author A.F. Stewart’s words paint pictures in glorious colors in this short story collection, tall curling spires with swirling delicate traceries on the walls. The reader feels as small as the narrator entering these halls. But darkness stirs and vengeance threatens this pastoral opulence.
The author creates magical scenes and imbues them with emotion, faint hints of modern-day questions lurking on the tongue. Different characters narrate the tale, giving the story immediacy and depth while keeping the chapters fresh and the reader eager for more. Mixing past and present tense, hope and fear, deep emotions and relentless powers, the haunting vignettes in these tales grow together into a convincing and intriguing tale with a nice sense of warning and completion. Occasional typos might mar the stories for some readers, but powerful writing drew me deeply into the author’s vivid imagination—an enjoyable journey.
Disclosure: The author kindly gave me an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Feb. 18, 2012 :
When I read the description of this story, I immediately liked the idea. I liked the dark fantasy, the "post apocalypse" feel of it (though that's not precisely the case), and the idea of the intertwining perspectives of the after effects of a single terrible event.
The book didn't disappoint. I liked it. It could have done with a bit more editing in terms of the Tense, as some Present Tense stories shifted in and out of Past Tense at points and that got distracting. A couple stories also had this odd... removed feeling in the narrator, when it should've been more immediate for the topic and Voice.
Otherwise, though, I really don't have any complaints. The author has a very interesting concept and shows it over the course of a span of time, showing it in a multi-faceted way that makes for some interesting reading. I just wish some of the stories had been longer, so we could see more!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on Dec. 04, 2011 :
A.F. Stewart has the wonderful gift of using words to paint vivid pictures. In my case, maybe too vivid. Regardless, she is a gifted, great writer and deserves a review.
The city of Elowen and the Sapphire Palace are so easy to imagine. Quote: “ “Pain screams through my body and I fall back to my knees, spitting blood. But I will finish; he needs to know. “The founder of this place, …Thelphin bound the walls of this city with dark magic, with the bones and souls of the dead of Karrul. Didn’t you wonder why these walls have never been breached?””
I would recommend this book to all readers that enjoy black fantasy.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)