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Karen E. Hoover has loved the written word for as long as she can remember. Her favorite memory of her dad is the time he spent with Karen on his lap, telling her stories for hours on end. Her dad promised he would have Karen reading on her own by the time she was four years old … and he very nearly did. Karen took the gift of words her dad gave her and ran with it. Since then, she’s written two novels and reams of poetry. Her head is fairly popping with ideas, so she plans to write until she’s ninety-four or maybe even a hundred and four.
Inspiration is found everywhere, but Karen’s heart is fueled by her husband and two sons, the Rocky Mountains, her chronic addiction to pens and paper, and the smell of her laser printer in the morning.
Sher A Hart
on Sep. 27, 2011 :
The Sapphire Flute is more than a magical tale—it is two tales skillfully interwoven around one world, Rasann, held together with fraying bands of magic long overdue for mending. If the white mage doesn’t appear soon, Rasann will fall apart at the seams and S’Kotos, the destroyer, will triumph. One story thread forms the warp and the other the weft of this tapestry, one dipping where the other raises, the mark of a sure hand at storytelling. Be warned, The Sapphire Flute is part of a series and will leave you anxious to see the complete tapestry. Color is key, so here are a few samples of the tones.
Ember, at sixteen, feels stifled by her mother’s restrictions against magic and chafes to free herself for better reasons than teenage rebellion. Dreaming she will die at the hands of S’Kotos’ evil servant, Ember knows she must flee her home and learn magic to protect herself. Terrible dangers await if she dares step out her door, yet magic can only be learned at the Academy, and then only if Ember possesses enough magic to survive the journey and escape her enemies long enough to pass the entrance exams.
Kayla, a talented young woman scorned by the aristocracy for her half-evahn heritage, is about to achieve her dreams through hard work and long practice. So beautifully does she play the flute, one might think it magic enough to win the king’s heart. Little does she know one small mistake will bring her world crashing down, endangering her life, her loved ones’ lives, and a city. Even Rasann may fall.
Without revealing the details of why I hated to stop reading long enough to change planes, I can only say Karen’s tale interweaves novel creatures and characters fully fleshed out with strong motives for preservation or destruction and draws them all taught. The wolfchild is like no werewolf you’ve ever seen, and I say see because you will see all Karen’s creatures and scenes if you were there. She dyed her story threads in all the hues of a rainbow, and I hope you don’t wait until a rainy day to enjoy its beauty.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on July 05, 2011 :
The Sapphire Flute caught my imagination from the beginning and I'm still involved in the story even though I finished the book a while ago. I definitely want to know what happens next!
The story is vividly written, the characters are strong and believable, and the settings brilliant. I give this fantasy novel 10 out of 10. Great writing.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on June 13, 2011 :
From my book blog, Melissa's Bookshelf:
Because I enjoy fantasy novels I was excited when I was contacted by Valor Publishing to be a part of the blog tour for The Sapphire Flute. Having just finished reading the book, I am even more thrilled to bring you my review, because I absolutely loved this first publication by Karen E. Hoover. (Today is the big release day, as a matter of fact!) Even more exciting (to me) is that this is the first of SEVEN books in the series. I truly think this book has the makings of a classic.
This is one of those books I can picture myself reading when I was much younger--I think it would be among my most-loved books of my pre-teen and teen years, along with A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, The Oval Amulet by Lucy Cullyford Babbitt, and Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles. Perhaps it may be presumptuous of me to rate The Sapphire Flute so highly (although I imagine The Oval Amulet is not so well known by many), I do so because this story resonated with me the same way those did. I can see my self re-reading this book many times down the road, as I have the titles I mentioned above.
Why did I love this book so much? Firstly, I enjoyed the characters--they are colorful and presented in great detail. Oh, and another bonus? Female characters are center stage--on both sides of the story, good vs. evil. I also enjoyed Hoover's creativity and ability to depict yet another world in the fantasy realm, full of magic and fantastic creatures. Any time that a fantasy writer can make a story feel new, you have to figure you are reading a quality writer. Additionally, I just thought the book was really well-written... It's vividly descriptive without being wordy and paced so well that you just don't want to put the book down. Some of the dialogue may not quite be true to high fantasy, but as this is a YA novel, I don't feel that hurt the book. I loved moving back and forth between Ember and Kayla's stories, and while the end of The Sapphire Flute is certainly satisfying, I can't say I am looking forward to having to wait for the second book now--I'm ready to dive back into the world of Rasann!
I truly think that The Sapphire Flute is a perfect book to introduce a younger reader to the fantasy genre. I know I would have loved this when I was younger and I hope to be able to hand it down to my daughter one day.
(reviewed the day of purchase)