“The Pariah Child and the Ever-Giving Stone” is the tale of young Sarafina (or Sarah to her friends) whose imaginary fairy friends aren’t all that imaginary, despite her strict mother’s best wishes. Threatened by her mother to abandon her fantasies of mythical talking friends or she’d be sent to an asylum, Sarah does her best to comply, until she is attacked by a not so ordinary pack of wolves. The “imaginary” friends she thought she banished have returned, begging for Sarah to help them save their world by returning something vital to it, or more nasty creatures will come to Sarah’s world, and destroy the magical place known as Lyrica. Sarah doesn’t fit in back home, and yet these magical creatures immediately offer her acceptance. Spurned by her small town, Sarah agrees to the task they have placed at her feet (she’s thirteen, it’s a lot of pressure for a young kid) and travels to Lyrica, not knowing anything about the place, its inhabitants, how it’s dying, or what she can do about it. She’s not entirely alone though, with the help of a few friends (not all magical), Sarah decides she’s not going to be afraid anymore, that she wants to help, at any cost. Oh man, there is so much in this book! Magical creatures of every kind, a dying world, a child of prophecy, a sweet coming-of-age story, an epic quest, and lots of action and adventure. This story was quite the roller-coaster, and I loved parts of it, but I think it was also trying to pack too much into just under 300 hundred pages of book.
I’m hoping that if you’re reading this, that you’ve read the first book in the Primal Patterns series, because “The Goblin Rebellion” isn’t going to make sense unless you do. The story picks up pretty much where the first book left off with only a brief recap that doesn’t help if you haven’t read book one, because you won’t understand the complexities of the world Jameson has created, and it’s seriously complicated. This is a dark epic fantasy meets hard science fiction tale with a little bit of a creation myth retelling thrown in—all these elements are present in the first book except the creation myth bit. To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book, but I will say that some of my problems with the first installment were addressed appropriately, but other problems remained, and others—that were present—became all the more overt in “The Goblin Rebellion”.
“Soul In Ashes” was originally created as four short novellas, but what I read was the first four “seasons”, and I must say, it’s much better to read these stories together instead of as short one off episodes. But, given the structure of how this book was crafted from these stories all revolving around one character and her struggles with an evil magic and vengeful / ignorant populace, it makes it an instant page turner. The reader follows along as Alswyn attempts to rebuild her life. Crippled after renouncing her evil ash magic and exiled by her people, she seeks sanctuary with a group of peaceful healers who have forsaken all violence. Only in their protective embrace can Alswyn heal, but there are bigger forces at play, forces that draw Alswyn back to the magic she has forsaken, the people who abandoned her, and the king of the rival country she grew up hating. It’s a compelling story, one that doesn’t start out with the goal of saving the world, but instead healing one princess, but that one good deed sets up a fun adventure all the way through each episode.
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