Articles tagged with: magic

Wicked Deeds: Witches, Warlocks, Demons, & Other Evil Doers Anthology

I am super excited to finally be able to share this with you guys. Last year I sold a short story I wrote called “Shiv” to the Sirens Call Publications anthology: Witches, Warlocks, Demons, & Other Evil Doers. 

I just discovered this anthology has gone live at long last, so it is officially available for purchase. I’m excited you can finally read it, as “Shiv” is one of my most favorite short stories I’ve ever written. A heart wrenching tale about losing oneself to dark magic and vengeance, it’ll leave you asking just how far you’d go, how much of yourself you’d sacrifice to avenge the one person in your world who means everything to you.

wicked deeds

Sometimes wicked people do wicked things simply because they can…

The twelve stories in Wicked Deeds tell tales of witches and warlocks with ill intent, devilish demons bent on destruction, and other doers of evil who make the world a terrifying place. What is a mother to do when her daughter is gifted but lives under the thumb of her fanatical preacher husband who will brook no talk of the supernatural? What of a demon so desperate to free himself of a trap that he will force another to repeat his atrocities and condemn a young boy to his demonic fate? Or maybe the story of a crotchety old witch with a score to settle against the town she lives in is more to your liking – what evil will the seemingly harmless town-crazy call upon when faced with an ultimatum?

If you’re looking for wicked people with supernatural abilities doing wicked things, this is the collection for you!

Now available in eBook and paperback format from Amazon.com

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

the black prismAfter falling in love with Brent Weeks’ Night Angel Trilogy, I was eager to dive into The Black Prism. A world dominated by magic crafted through light spectrums, pistols, musketeers, war, and right at the center of it all a powerful magic user the world reveres called The Prism. And he’s not just any powerful magic user, Gavin Guile is the most powerful man in the world.

The problem with power is that it never lasts. The ruling cycle for a Prism expands seven year periods, and Gavin is currently in the third seven-year period of his cycle. Time is running out, and he has a list of the amazing things he’s going to accomplish during his rule, but when word reaches him that he fathered a bastard during the war he fought against his brother, Dazen, Gavin doesn’t know how to feel about this news.

Sixteen year old Kip is a fat bastard, literally. He’s fat, he’s a bastard, and his addict mother’s more or less spent the duration of his life making sure Kip knows just how worthless and pathetic  and unwanted he is. He’s a burden, good for next to nothing… Even as a self-proclaimed king burns Gavin’s town to the ground, and his mother is dying, she’s sure to tell him how much he’s ruined her life and let her down just before thrusting a priceless treasure into his hand and taking her last breath.

As Kip narrowly escapes the blaze of his burning city, it’s happy circumstance (a little too happy for this reader,) when his estranged father happens along to save the day, whisking him away to Chromeria and claiming him as his nephew in public. It’s here things started to get interesting and we discover Gavin’s entire life is a lie, and the prison he keeps chained beneath Chromeria holds the key to exposing that lie. Meanwhile, a war brews on the horizon, Gavin’s love, Karris, has been taken captive, and the only people it seems he can count on to aid him are the mages who’ve grown too old and wild to control their magic and a host of enemies who once served his brother Dazen during the Brother’s War that secured Gavin’s rule.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about this book at first. Weeks crafted a unique and intriguing world, chock full of so much terminology and vocabulary they had to include a glossary at the back of the book to make sense of most of it. To a degree it was self-explanatory after a while, but diving straight in without that glossary could seriously deter a less-determined reader. The plot was intriguing, but at times the character development was skewed. There were some seriously well developed characters, and a few who fell a little flat, balancing the story in a way that kept me reading, even at times I didn’t know if I was going to stick it out.

I did struggle with some things, namely the ease with which certain instances transpired without much explanation. For example, Kip’s first meeting with Gavin is completely random. You have this boy standing amid an army about to destroy him because he is the last remaining citizen of the city they just burned to the ground, and in swoops Gavin and Karris (rather literally,) to save the day. The thing that made this sort of ridiculous for me was they had no idea who they were saving, but after a moment of (not-so-careful) consideration, Gavin determines this lone survivor of the still-smoldering city must certainly be the bastard son he only just found out existed a few hours ago. Too random to be believable, and as the story continues to unravel there are moments I kept coming back to that, not only because it felt ridiculous, but because the ease with which everyone just accepted this random boy Gavin said was his ‘nephew’ as they brought him into the city and began testing his ability to wield magic.

Overall, the good outweighed the questionable, and I enjoyed the story. I docked a star for those moments I found hard to believe and gave The Black Prism, the first book in the Lightbringer series, four stars. I will definitely pursue the next book in this series after a little break to read something else.

Blood Mage by Stephen Aryan

bloodmageUnlike the first book in this series, Battle Mage, I came into Blood Mage by Stephen Aryan with a few expectations. The war that took place in Battle Mage was wrapped up with a smoldering black bow, a world ravaged left in its smoking ruins, and while it was the combined efforts and sacrifice of the land’s battle mages that ended the war, the people now fear magic and all its implications. This makes life difficult for a magic user like Fray. Before the war, he could openly practice his art without much derision, but now he must hide in the shadowy cracks for fear of persecution. He barely earns enough in trade goods to survive, so when his father’s old partner, Byrne, arrives to ask for Fray’s assistance in catching a strange, magic-wielding serial murderer, Fray knows he can’t refuse. Despite is stubborn refusal to follow in his father’s footsteps as a Guardian of the Peace, his father’s death left Fray feeling detached, and perhaps the similarities between the case Byrne needs his help with and the case that took his father’s life will bring the young man some closure.

For me, that was the core plot of the book. The story of the “Flesh Mage” serial killer. However, much like Battle Mage, the story was separated by character perspectives exploring several aspects of life in the city, including a crime syndicate preparing to collapse in upon itself on account of the “Flesh Mage’s” careful ministrations. Aryan also returned to the underground spy network, combining the overall plot with an assassination attempt on the queens of two nations. The politics tend to overshadow the actual magic in these books, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for me I wanted far more magic and fantasy than I got with this book. A little balance and more emphasis on the actual magic would have been nice. Maybe I’ve spent too much time in Thedas over the years, and my expectations of blood magic is way too specific; I don’t know.

This is not to say it isn’t well-written. Stephen Aryan develops his characters really well. He takes a lot of time to get inside their heads and hearts, and works hard to make them believable people–something a lot of other authors skimp on, regrettably–but at times the characters feel like they overshadow the story itself. After the time spent developing the magic of the world in Battle Mage, I expected a little more about the actual “Flesh Mage,” perhaps more time in his head might have provided the balance I was personally looking for. There was mention of an end goal, motivation for these “Flesh Mages,” but it wasn’t explored as deeply as I would have liked. Instead the story kept returning to the crime families and the assassination plot, so the actual magic didn’t feel like it was done nearly as much justice as it was in the first book.

Which leaves me torn about whether or not I want to finish out the series in October when Chaos Mage releases. As I said above, Aryan is a decent writer. One of my favorite things about his work so far is the attention to character building he pays. This is only his second book, and on that account it is very well done, I’m just not sure the series is meeting my personal fantasy and magic needs at this time. I think I’m going to sit with it for a couple of months and make my decision about finishing out the series closer to release date for the final book.

I give Blood Mage three out of five stars, and recommend it to fantasy readers who find themselves slightly more intrigued by politics and intrigue than magic when it comes to their fantasy.

Coming January 2015: Siren

Coming Soon Cover

Coming Soon CoverRemember last week when I was talking about that little eccentricity I have? The one where I don’t like to talk about things anymore until I’ve at least finished the first draft? I mentioned in that post I was working on a project I am beyond excited about… and I can finally start talking about it!

I finished the first draft of that novel on Tuesday evening and have since shoved it aside with shaking hands to work on something else until I’m ready to dive back in and start whipping it into shape for publication. I’m hoping this will give me a chance to wrap up Morovio’s next tale and start publishing those installments, and of course I will begin preparing for NaNoWriMo, during which I will be working on the next Serpent of Time novel.

Now, about that project I’ve been so very lip-zipped about… If you look up at the top of the site, under Jennifer’s Books, you will see a new book under the header called Siren. Inside that link there is nothing but a coming soon cover, but I’m going to give you a quick synopsis to whet your appetite right here!

SIREN

Three years ago Siren Talbot’s boyfriend, world-renowned historical fantasy author Carver Ashmore, disappeared in the middle of dinner just as he was about to propose. One minute he was holding her hand and the next he was just gone. She can’t remember what happened in the moments leading up to his mysterious disappearance, but she knows he isn’t dead. Carver would never leave her, and she doesn’t know how to carry on without him.

When an attractive contractor named Patrick Blakely moves into the apartment next door, Siren doesn’t know what to make of him. Her cat, Mr. Pounce, can’t stand the man, and she should really follow her instincts, but Patrick always seems to show up just when she needs someone to lift her spirits and it’s kind of nice having someone around who lives to make her smile. He’s nothing like Carver, but in time she finds herself falling for him, almost as if some outside force is guiding her emotions against her will. There’s just something about Patrick she can’t resist, and before she knows it they’re married and moving into a house he’s promised to make a home.

But Patrick has secrets, a mystical and murky past he doesn’t like to talk about, and sometimes the darkness of his moods is terrifying. When Siren begins to suspect her new husband might be involved in the murder of a local homeless man, she tugs at the strings of Patrick’s carefully woven facade only to discover everything she thought she knew about him was a lie. He is darkness incarnate, capable of manipulating the fabric of the world around them in ways she never thought possible, and he will use that power to keep her with him no matter the cost.

Coming January 2015 from fantasy author Jennifer Melzer, an urban fantasy tale of darkness, magic and betrayal. Stay tuned to the site for updates, excerpts and more!