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Smashwords book reviews by Kara Malinczak
- The Sword and the Dragon (The Wardstone Trilogy One)
on April 03, 2011
I'm conflicted. Part of me is glad I'm done reading because it's so long, but on the other hand, I feel like the characters have become a part of me and I'm sad to see them go. Really sad.
There were so many vivid scenes that are memorable in my mind. It's hard to explain, but when you are reading and you can picture a scene that's happening down to the most extreme detail in your own mind, then I believe you have an excellent piece of fiction in your hands(or on your computer).
The battle scenes are extremely well-written. Appropriate amount of action, gore, and detail. Somehow the book manages to cover every aspect of fantasy without being cheesy in any way. The climactic battle scene is just wow. It captures all the tension and I almost feel as if I'm standing there right next to the fighters.
This is a artfully done character driven novel with extremely deep and dimensional characters either likable or unlikable, but really detailed either way. A lot of the characters I like have died already. This makes me sad.
I read an interview the author did where he said Pael was evil. but likable. I didn't find him to be likable at all. He is grotesquely creepy. Just my observation. This is not a bad thing.
I am in love with Claret. I want a dragon of my very own. And the sword Ironspike feels like it has its very own personality. Strange(I wrote this paragraph while I was still reading).
I have heard criticisms on other boards about the lack of editing and grammar mistakes. I didn't find that to be a problem at all. There were a few, yes, but that is to be expected from a self-published novel. I have seen MUCH worse editing than this and I'm glad to say that it didn't detract from the magic of the story at all.
Also, I would like to add a personal thought to this review. I read something the author posted somewhere about the fact that a publisher turned him down because they didn't believe him to be stable enough to make an investment in. I thing this is a shame, because his writing is amazing and I believe it would sell like crazy. It appears as though he's making more money publishing on his own though so good for him. And it's definitely their loss. They missed out.
Such a great epic fantasy, I mean it was magical, emotional, and really drew me in, but when you decide to read it you are making a Stephen King type commitment. This is a long book. But it is so worth the read. There are self-published gems out there.
- The Royal Dragoneers
on April 13, 2011
I don't even know where to begin. All you need to know is that it was awesome. Everything I have read(two books so far), by M.R. Mathias I have loved. I could not recommend this author to you more. If you are a fan of fantasy or stories about magic, or you loved Harry Potter, pick this one up. I feel like this book is right up there with J.K Rowling's writing. And we all know how great those books were. This author needs more recognition. I know he already has a lot of readers and fans. But I wish he was more well known. I wish I knew how to get him there. I suppose I could continue to sing his praises from the rooftops, but there is only so much little old me can do.
I tend to get attached to his characters. Then he has a way of pulling the rug out from underneath you and ripping them away and leaving you devastated. I didn't cry during this novel, not like the last one( I was bawling). But that doesn't mean I liked it any less. It was absolutely fantastic. I got quite attached to the dragons, not as much to the people, but I liked them as well. My two favorite characters were Jade and Herald. Kind of odd choices, and you would understand if you read it(go read it).
The book is very character driven, but that doesn't mean there isn't a plot either. Because the whole story is amazing. It goes by very quickly. And I definitely didn't want to put it down. He writes his characters so well. It's like he really knows the ins and outs of what a true fantasy character should be. Now I will admit, I am not a huge fantasy reader, and I probably won't be after this, but whenever he asks me to read one of his books, I just can't turn him down because I know I will get an amazing story out of it. The descriptions are perfect. He describes battle scenes as if they are actually happening as you are reading them. Dragons whirling and spiraling in the air, people falling from the sky, the glittering of dragon scales, a massive brick wall separating an entire region of land topped with archers and dragon guns...WOW. I need to take a breath. And now I am quite attached to both of his fantasy series and I will absolutely need to find out what happens next.
Bottom line is this: Pick this one up. I highly recommend it. It is an enjoyable read; honestly it's more than that, but there's only so many words in the English language I can use without sounding like a pretentious idiot. It's available on Amazon, Smashwords, AND Barnes and Noble. You have no excuse.
And yes, I reviewed this the same day or purchase, but I read this book last month. The review is posted elsewhere in many places. :)
- Kings, Queens, Heroes, & Fools (The Wardstone Trilogy Book Two)
on June 02, 2011
If you haven't read the first book in this trilogy, The Sword and the Dragon, what are you waiting for? This so far has been the most exciting and vivid adult fantasy series I have ever read. Warning, there are spoilers for The Sword and the Dragon ahead, so if you haven't read it, stay away. I simply cannot do this review spoiler-free, but I will not spoil anything for K,Q,H,&F.
This book is an awesome continuation of the amazingness that was the first part of the trilogy. And let me warn you once again, this is no quick or easy read. It is a long series. But every second is worth it. K,Q,H,&F is a little bit shorter than the first book, but it still took me three days to get through. And I read fast.
During the first book, some of the characters I loved were killed. I was not a happy girl. But I still adored the book. There was an evil, evil villain and I was afraid that this book wasn't going to be able to stand up to the first book. But it did.
With the introduction of a couple of new characters, Oarly (a dwarf), and Phen (a young magician), there were amazing characters to love again. Also, the depth of King Mikhail and Hyden Hawk continued to grow. If that were even possible. I was also pleased to see that King Jarrek played a larger role in the story this time. I love King Jarrek, he's brave, tough,and loving, and one of my favorite secondary characters.
As for the villain aspect, I didn't find Ra'Gren or Shaella quite as intimidating or evil as Pael, but there were enough villains and conflict for it not to really matter. Plus you have the growth of Gerard in the Nethers and he is growing into a more evil villain by the minute. There was an incredible amount of action and the battle scenes were terrific.
Now that I am fully into the trilogy, I can state how amazed I am by the world building and the details. I am in awe of M.R.'s ability to work in details and descriptive passages without them ever being tedious or taking away from the story itself. That takes great talent and for this reason I am one of his biggest fans. Of course there are other reasons too, but I think he is one tremendously talented writer, and I hope he never stops.
I was ridiculously happy to obtain one of the first copies of this book before it was released to the public. And it was everything I had hoped it would be and more. This is a book for a person who loves books and reading. A book for someone who adores words and the English language. This is a book to savor. With a fantastic plot, a beautifully detailed world, and characters that jump right off the page (and I mean literally, Oarly was running around my living room and then he tried to feed me a cinder pepper, bad dwarf), this novel would make J.R.R Tolkien proud. I would without a doubt, recommend it to everyone I know. You are missing out if you do not read it.
- Cold Hearted Son of a Witch
on Sep. 02, 2011
Whenever a new M.R. Mathias book releases, I can't wait to read it. And lucky for me, I am usually one of the first. He is easily one of the most consistent writers I have ever encountered during my many years of reading. Consistency is a great thing to have when you are a writer. He has the ability to turn out book after book that is of the utmost quality and that never wavers. And he has done it again with Cold-Hearted Son of a Witch.
The author has said to me that this is a transitional book and that's why it's shorter than the rest. That may be true, but it sure didn't make it any less important. The story continues here from the first book, and it's just as exciting and animated as The Royal Dragoneers was. Listen. I am not a fantasy fan. At least not a high-fantasy fan. It's true that I don't have a lot of experience with high-fantasy, but I can't help but love this series. I love these dragons. And I love their riders.
The plot is paced well and the action jumps off the page. It was completely exciting and very difficult to put down. It usually takes me a little bit of time to read through a M.R. Mathias novel, but I finished this one in a few hours. I just had to know what happened next. And the book is also full of dry humor and wit, which is something that I really enjoy. I love laughing out loud when I read and I really adore the author's sense of humor. I think it's great.
I've reviewed more than enough of his books now, and I fear that at this point anything I say will sound like a broken record. I think all of my reviews for M.R. Mathias books sound the same! But I can't help it, because they are all really good and I can't help but repeat myself. There are only so many good things you can say about an author before you start running out of words.
A few quick things you need to know: Cold-Hearted Son of a Witch is a shorter book than The Royal Dragoneers, and will not take you as long to get through. And as always, they can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. This story was a lot of fun and I really cannot wait to continue the story with the next book. There were a lot of fun twists and turns with this one and I am dying to know how the story ends. This is a trilogy right?