Book Review: ‘Robin Hood: Wolf’s Head’ by Eric Tanafon

Every now and then, as a reader, I experience an incredible moment of revelation when I take in an expression or image of something that is so powerful, it takes my breath away.

No sooner had I started reading ‘Robin Hood: Wolf’s Head’ than I had to stop and experience the moment. I had just read an extraordinarily beautiful sentence: “The forest clearing was a web of moonlight and shadows.”

What perfect imagery!  It is simple and direct, but powerfully evocative at the same time.

In that moment, I was there. I had been transported to that forest clearing and drawn into the world of the story, even before I knew anything else about it.

This is the magic a writer works when wielding the wand that is their pen.

Eric Tanafon Robin Hood Wolf's Head

Tanafon continues to cast these spells with magnificent imagery throughout this book. As tales are told and the various storylines develop, the author provides the reader with a feast of sensory morsels that both satisfy and delight the reader.

At times, such images can be consumed at speed. Others, like this one, demand more thoughtful digestion to fully appreciate the skill in Tanafon’s craft:

“The autumn day had dawned softly, with light mists gathered around the sun like a veil. In the late morning the forest was still sweet and moist, haunted by the ghosts of decaying leaves.”

As a writer, I lost count of the times I read a sentence or two and thought to myself, “I wish I had written that!”

Tanafon’s genius in reinventing the story of Robin Hood as a paranormal adventure is equally as enchanting as his writing. The stories of Robin Hood, his band of followers and of their enemies are interwoven, not as a braid but as a rich tapestry. Thus the old stories are retold, stripping back the gloss of legend and hero worship and offering the reader a far more thought-provoking and deeply engaging retelling of the famous tales.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It’s not just a fantastic read: this is literature absolutely worthy of the top shelf.

Available on Amazon.
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Book Review: The Undernet by J.S. Frankel

‘The Undernet’ by J. S. Frankel brings new definition to the age-old contest between good and evil, and between truth and deceit as a young man seeks answers that seem determined to remain hidden.

Jesse Frankel The Undernet

Frankel has crafted realistic, likeable and engaging central characters in Milt and his girlfriend, Robbie.  They’re not perfect, and their mistakes have consequences, which makes them easier to empathise with and understand. Insights into Milt’s thoughts and gut reactions, and his feelings about Robbie, draw the reader into the often very confronting story of his quest for justice and truth.

Part of Frankel’s genius in casting this story is designing characters who live and work in the shadows, so that the reader has to keep questioning whether they are the good guys or the bad guys. There are so many layers of intrigue and concealment in this story that the reader is kept curious and wanting to know, much like Milt throughout this story, seeing the truth despite layers of concealment and misinformation. In this sense, the Undernet and the Dark Net take on the roles of additional impersonal characters that deliberately obscure reality in this story, just as they seem to in actual fact.

Some parts of The Undernet are definitely uncomfortable to read. In graphic contrast to the sincere and honest friendship Milt has with Robbie and with his best friend, Simon, Frankel gives his readers a solidly-written exposè of the dark side of human nature as one is likely to find it on the dark side of the internet – or anywhere. This is delivered with confronting realism and honesty. Through all of this, It was the strong identification I felt with with Milt’s “ordinary person” response to the ugly side of life that enabled me to keep reading and hoping for him to find the resolution he was so desperate to find.

The Undernet is available on Amazon or from devinedestinies.com

‘The Lion and The Tiger’ by Lyra Shanti

Lyra Shanti The Lion and The Tiger

‘The Lion and The Tiger’ is a short story companion to Lyra Shanti’s ‘Shiva XIV’ epic sci-fi series. It fills in a little of the backstory of Hynfir, whom we meet in the novels as the general of the Tah army. For those who have not read the Shiva XIV series, this short story works perfectly well as a standalone.

Written with Shanti’s trademark eloquence, ‘The Lion and The Tiger’ is the story of the meeting and relationship of  the Lirhan warrior, Hynfir, and Leif, the man who should have been off limits.

‘The Lion and The Tiger’  is not very long, but it has profound relevance for anyone whose love or life challenges judgemental or restrictive social boundaries.

If you haven’t read the Shiva XIV stories, ‘The Lion and The Tiger’ will whet your appetite for the novels which are, in my opinion, the next great space epic just waiting to be discovered.

‘The Lion and The Tiger’ is available at Amazon for just $1.
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Absence of Colour: Spectrum of Colour Book 1 by Susan Wee

‘Absence of Colour’ is an engaging and intriguing tale of escaping the past and searching for identity and justice.

 
Susan Wee 1 Absence of Colour

The band of characters in this book are quite well developed, and the reader is drawn into a strong feeling of empathy with Conny, Frankie and Twig in particular. The villain is well-drawn and distinctly odious: there are times when  his actions do make the reader uncomfortable and quite angry. This sets the action of the story in motion: each of the main characters and a number of the minor characters must work together to achieve justice and to reclaim that which has been taken from them.

The book brings some resolution to the conflicts faced by Twig and Conny, along with a sense of relief in the immediate circumstances, but the reader is also very aware that there are still questions and problems that remain unsolved. In this way, the reader is strongly motivated to read the second book in the series – ‘The Colour of Evil’.  The title itself is both enticing and ominous, leaving the reader intrigued and eager to know more.

I’ve given this book a good solid 4 stars.

You can find Absence of Colour Book 1, and the rest of the series, on Susan Wee’s Amazon page.

Book Review: ‘Bumbling Bea’ by Deborah Baldwin

In ‘Bumbling Bea’ we meet an 8th-grade girl Deborah Baldwin Bumbling Beanamed Beatrice and follow her journey as she learns important lessons about friendship, self-control and self-awareness.
This book delivers a particularly important message about learning to see something from another person’s point of view and allowing that perspective to guide our decisions, actions and words.
Beatrice is a realistic character who struggles to deal with most of the things happening in her life. Early teen readers will easily identify with her and sympathise with her in the different dilemmas she faces. The other characters are well-developed and the story line certainly gets the reader involved.
This was an enjoyable story with some really good morals for kids.
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