Good Lord, the last couple of days have been crazy busy, and I have been crazy lazy, so I haven’t gotten around to making this post until now. Doug Meeks was kind enough to send a couple of more series that have caught his attention along, and that got me thinking of doing up a Reader Recommendation post. It is a good way to find out what other great series fellow readers have stumbled across, and help get the word out for those books that sometimes sail under the radar.
This time around, Doug sent over two series to spotlight. The first one is the Shadow of Destiny series from Leia Shaw. So far, the books are only in e-format.
What Doug Says…
Well after a marathon reading session that lasted for several days I have finished all the known releases of the Shadows of Destiny series. This series has captured my attention in several ways not the least of which is that the whole series covers an overlapping timeline (means things in one book may be happening at the same time as other things in another book). I should mention up front that all of these books feature a strong heroine who for reasons that seems to be more hormonal than intelligent falls for an ultra alpha male type. In most cases she does not even like the guy. While this is a basic formula that pervades all the stories it does not keep each one from being unique and entertaining. I should also mention that these are pretty much R rated for sexual content (but less so than Demonica or Horsemen of the Apocalypse series). In the reading order I have placed below the first 2 stories are pretty much shifter action/romance tales and then the alpha males switch to vampire types (think of it as vampire 2.0) for the next 2 books and then becomes a demon/vampire/sorcerer/other type (still not exactly sure what he is) but in my opinion all were very entertaining even though the times the author allowed the “Tarzan” mentality to go too long it became frustrating but then she would rein it in and make him somebody you could enjoy reading about. This series is far from finished and I cannot wait for the next book later this year, I suggest you click the links and read the summaries but bottom line if you like action, romance, good endings and a bit of serious sweaty bodies close to the end of most of them (the author gets Kudos from me for not overdoing the sexual theme as many do), you WILL enjoy these. While as a whole I would give this series a 4+Star recommendation (HEY, I just spent 4 days reading them whenever I could, obviously I liked them). The reading order is a bit convoluted and the author actually tried to make them all semi stand alone books but there is enough overlap to make spoilers so the below is my personal recommended reading order (reading order is my suggestion to avoid minor spoilers):
Short Story – For the Love of Harmony (available only in PDF at this link http://www.leiashaw.com/harmony.pdf)
Destiny Unchained (Shadows of Destiny) (officially book 3)
Destiny Divided (Shadows of Destiny) (officially Book 1)
Destiny United (Shadows of Destiny) (officially Book 2)
Destiny Bewitched (Shadows of Destiny) (officially book 4)
reading in this order will prevent most spoilers, they are close to stand alone but there are mentions of other characters that kind of let you know some major stuff before you read the books. Highly recommended.
The second one is the much-anticipated new series from Sarah J. Maas, called Throne of Glass. I have been seeing this one everywhere lately, and it seems to be living up to the hype.
What Doug Says…
NOTE : This rating ONLY applies if you have read the novellas since without them you might not even like the book, with them I feel it is 5 Stars.
I finished the Throne of Glass novel today and it was for me the 5 Star novel I had always assumed it would be BUT I read all of the below novellas FIRST:
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord: A Throne of Glass Novella
The Assassin and the Desert
The Assassin and the Underworld (Throne of Glass)
The Assassin and the Empire (Throne of Glass)
without the background, knowledge and the world building contained in these novellas your enjoyment of this novel is sure to be muted at best. I expected nothing less than a 5 Star reading experience and was not disappointed with the level of writing in the above novellas and in this novel. People that have not read the 4 novellas really should not review or even read this book because even though it was not marketed that way I can see that you don’t have a feel for who the characters are or why they act the way they do because their history and the world building is in those novellas. They should not have put the book out for review (or for reading IMHO) for anyone that has not read them IMHO. The better method would have been to incorporate them in some fashion but too late now.
NOTE: Let me stick one thing in the middle of this review, I hate the love triangle, it might be resolved at some point but I thought it really sucked (now back to our review).
SO, what I am writing really applies to the whole story up until now, Celaena has been through every conceivable emotion and had heartbreaking losses and betrayals, she IS the best assassin in the world and should be living the high life but is living more like a pauper in most of these stories and with the novel it gets better and worse at the same time. She must fight to become the King’s Champion for a King she hates but holds her life in his hands and such is the crux of the story.
While the 2-3 Star reviews have not made me any less enthusiastic about this series, it has made me aware that without the novellas you really don’t have a clue as to what got the “assassin” to this point in her life (or why she may still be a bit naive). While I was completely engrossed by this book it HAS made me aware that the marketing for this novel was severely lacking, several reviews have been less than complimentary and the major cause was the lack of information in the novel that was included in the novellas. It becomes obvious to me that the novel as a standalone book was lacking since I found the novellas to be 5 Star reading (well maybe not the first one The Assassin and the Pirate Lord) but they do all the world building AND give you tons of history and insight into who Celaena really was/is. I can’t believe she wrote all these 5 Star novellas and then wrote a 3 Star novel but as I see it, that is about all most people can get out of this novel if they have not read the others, it makes this 3 Star standalone novel into a 5 Star work in a series I cannot wait to get my hands on the next installment (assuming there will be another installment). I can overlook a lot of things but at the end if I have been entertained by a good story then I consider it a good book (possibly with flaws but very good never the less) and this story was exceptional if you read it all and not just this novel.
If anyone has a series that they would love to spread the word on, write up a few lines telling what it was about, and what made you love it, and drop me a line in the Contact Me page. Anyone is welcome!