The Shard Axe by Marshelia Rockwell

Sabira Lyet d’Deneith, a Sentinel Marshall, is called upon by clan Deneith to perform a mission only she can do but has to return to a person and place she promised herself she never would.  Eight years ago she watched the murderous Nightshard die and saved a life that earned her the nicknamed “The Shard Axe”.  Now a series of murders are occurring in Stormreach that are all too similar to Nightshard.  Sabira must return to face her demons save the life of one who cost her so much.  In a city full of enemies can she keep the past from repeating itself?

This is a book to be devoured in one setting.  It is fast paced with bits of backstory dropped in at choice moments that flesh out Sabira’s story perfectly.  While I am not as familiar with Eberron as I am the Forgotten Realms, this book required no previous knowledge of the Eberron setting and can be enjoyed as a standalone novel.  The key element of the story is Sabira, to say that her methods are unorthodox and she is a “bit of a rule breaker” is an understatement but she has a fierce sense of duty that guides her actions.  So her prisoners are brought in a little worse for wear?  It is part of her charm…

What I liked most about this book was the character development.  This is a very character driven story.  A first blush you see Saba as a very rough, do what it takes to get paid type of person, but as the story moves forward and her past is revealed you see how events have molded her into who she is.  I don’t like books that lay a characters entire history out before you in the first chapter, instead  I like hints of what happend to be placed here and there throughout the book.  This keeps me turning the pages and piecing the character’s story together.  That is the kind of book I like and exactly what Marcy delivers in “The Shard Axe”.

The cover art is amazing and one of those that would stop you at the bookstore and make you want to buy it for the cover alone.

I give this book 5 stars for an amazing story and incredible character development. It is a great edition to the Eberron line and if you want to read more by Marshelia Rockwell, I recommend her other book also set in Eberron, Legacy of Wolves.

Today is National Buy a Book Day

Today is National Buy a Book Day.  The rules are simple:

  1. Go to a bookstore (brick and motor or online).
  2. Pick out a book (physical or e-book).
  3. Buy the book.
I discovered this on the awesome book review site Grasping for the Wind.  Everyone go out and support and author or even better authors and buy some books.  Turn off the TV tonight and read a book!

Logo by Clifton Hill


Legacy of Kings by C.S. Friedman

Legacy of Kings is the final book in C.S. Friedman’s Magister trilogy.  Legacy picks up immediately following the events in “Wings of Wrath”.  King Salvatore is building his army to make a final stand against the Souleaters all the while trying to come to grips with his lyr blood and how that will affect his faith.  Queen Gwynofar is racing against time to train as a guardian and decipher the series of events after her sacrifice on the Throne of Tears in order to unite the lyr bloodline in her son’s army.  The Witch Queen Sidera Aminestas and the Souleater queen are building a new empire and plan to loose their vengeance on the Magisters. Kamala is exploring her unique Magister abilities and still trying to fit into Magister society ruled solely by males. Colivar’s past is finally revealed and he alone knows the origin of the Magisters and what this will mean in the battle to come.

My favorite part of this book and the entire series is the magic system.  Unlike some series I have read where magic wielders draw from the elements, or study various arcane phases and formula, Friedman’s system ups the ante a bit.  How would you use magic if you had to draw from your own life force and could not replenish it, or on the flipside, if you could draw power from the soul of someone you had never met and when you used it up you simply moved on to another person?  Each group is faced with different choices and their decisions shape their lives and the lives of others in dramatic ways.

There are many revelations in “Legacy” and all your questions are answered.  There were many “ah ha” moments for me and several things I never saw coming.  I love being surprised like that. I recommend re-reading Feast of Souls and Wings of Wrath before reading Legacy.  You certainly do not have to nor will it detract from the amazing experience this book gives, but there are many things I did not catch in my initial reads of Feast and Wings and it made Legacy even more enjoyable.

I have not read all of Ms. Friedman’s work but the Coldfire trilogy is my all time favorite read.  I rank the Magister trilogy right up there with it because she writes such compelling characters.  The characters are complex and never black and white, but myriad shades of gray.  At first blush you clearly see the “good” and “evil” side but as you read further you see the reasons behind their actions and can sympathize with them.  The mark of a great author is when you are so drawn into the story that you begin to rationalize the characters actions and think, “yes, that is exactly what I would do”, or  “I see why they made that decision”.

I was fortunate enough to get an ARC copy of Legacy from the publisher.  One final comment is on the cover art, it is absolutely stunning  I whole-heartedly give this book 5 stars and look forward to re reading the series and future books from Ms. Friedman.