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He stood and watched Elec fiddle with the mechanism, expertly removing pins and gears, replacing them as fast as his hands would allow. Elec merely nodded, transfixed with his undertaking. Elec was so engrossed that he did not even notice the absence of his uncle until the call for supper that eve, several hours later. Elec awoke the next morning to the sound of a soft chime coming in through an open door. One of the elders of Acillia had come to greet him and stood in the doorway, here to prepare him for the wedding ceremony.

Elec winced at the thought. He squinted against the newly risen sun freshly entering the room as the shade was thrown open. He pulled his hair back and dressed himself, all the while listening to the elderly high elf mouthing instructions as the sun fell over him and began to warm his flesh. This went on for over an hour. He listened distantly to the elder speak, nodding occasionally, while grooming himself and fiddling with a trap mechanism. Elec knew of the elder, stringy and lean, with hair so white it was a contrast to even his own pale flesh. Try as he might, he could not remember his name.

Instead, his mind went to what responsibilities he and his friends and family were assigned for the wedding and how they should get ready for them. Elec was to cast the simplest magic of elven lights—quite possibly the mo st rudimentary of all elven sorceries intended to invoke alternating lights that shone intermittently, and often used in celebratory events. Once the spell was in effect, sparks and lights shot from the hands and into the sky, shining and popping with multi-colored light. The elder led Elec out of his chamber and down the spiral stairway to the dining room, passing through it and into the foyer.

Elec swung the door wide, noticing that all of his family had left already. They had probably been escorted to the site for the wedding—a spectacular hall not far from his home where, he was told, his own mother and father had been married. Once outside, Elec drew in a deep breath of fresh air. He took in the beautiful blue sky and the mountain range to the north that quelled the cold air and breeze from that direction, cutting it to a light and brisk gust once it arrived at the village proper. He heard a caw from above and looked to the sky to see many of the giant eagles and griffons flying with high elves mounted atop them.

His uncle instructed the Wind Riders, leading his kin in the training of these exotic creatures for use as steeds. It was one of the more famous endeavors for which the high elves were known throughout the realm. Round edges and domed roofs were the staple of this type of construction.

Beautiful arches, adorned with intricate stonework, graced every part of the grand hall. Both races of elves enjoyed spiral staircases, however. The forest elves made use of them to reach their homes in the trees, while the high elves favored them within their living spaces as a connection to their ancient past.

Elec entered the hall and was shown where he would be stationed for the wedding. One of the elders pointed at the perch upon which he would stand in order to bathe the ceremony in the multi-colored lights. Keryth Stormwhisper noticed his son enter and went over to him. He was taller than Elec, with silver hair and amber eyes that commanded respect. He was a well-known and powerful mage, well respected as a leader in the multitude of smaller villages on the island they called home.

Alaise, his mother, was a beautiful being with eyes of violet and hair of bright gold. She bestowed a smile upon her son that warmed his heart. Alaise pulled him away from his overbearing father and sat him next to his sister, Aeona. Her husband-to-be, Anthalion, was off doing his own preparations as the male elf was given more responsibilities and speeches to make than the bride-to-be. Alaise was fond of Jhaeronas and had remained friendly with him and his parents, always admiring his numerous achievements within the Circle of Mages, the spellcasting elite of Acillia.

He was also a friend and confidante to Elec, helping the elf in his arcane endeavors on many occasions. Jhaeronas and Aeona had intended to marry a few years prior, but Keryth did not approve of their relationship. Many within the Circle of Mages believed there to be an unhealthy rivalry between Keryth and the younger elf. Elec knew that, at the very least, Jhaeronas harbored resentment toward his father, and may even have held Aeona responsible for not protesting more vigorously, though he had never said it. Jhaeronas had always been the jealous type and held a vengeful fire deep within his amber eyes.

Elec was to be positioned near Jhaeronas at the ceremony and would certainly keep one eye on him. At the feast that evening, Elec watched Jhaeronas stare at Aeona and he knew that, despite his outward appearance and statements to the contrary, his friend was still in love with his sister. Elec chewed his food and contemplated that for the rest of the evening, feeling a deep sympathy for him. A broken heart was something that could never fully mend, he was told. The three days passed quickly and the day of the wedding was upon them.

The scene was a glorious event with hundreds of the Acillian high elves from many of the surrounding villages in attendance, and all dressed in the most noble of garments. The sight brought to mind exactly how influential a figure his father was, Elec thought, taking in all of the pageantry and splendor. He was truly happy for his sister and his brother-in-law to be, yet felt sorry for Jhaeronas at the same time. Elec could not shake the feeling that his friend was hiding something from him though he had not been able to pry free this deeply buried information, despite many attempts over the last few days.

He was fearful of the melancholy within Jhaeronas and wondered about bringing it to the attention of his brother, but Elandion was directly involved in the ceremony and was nowhere to be seen at the moment. Elec climbed the spiral stairwell to take his place in the rear section of the hall. Jhaeronas was stationed to his right. As the wedding began, beautiful elven music sounded harmoniously from both stringed and wind instruments, swelling throughout the acoustics of the great hall. The ceremonial participants preceded the bride and groom into the hall in a stately procession. Elec watched as the wedding party reached the beautifully carved platform at the front and took their places.

The dais was adorned with brightly hued fabrics in reds, blues, greens and yellows, crafted by the finest artisans of Wothlondia. Ivory, tan and even gold and silver candles were on display and mirrored by the three ornamental candelabra that surrounded the platform upon which they now stood. It was truly a magnificent and breathtaking sight. Elec watched Jhaeronas staring at one of the candelabra directly above the elven couple.

He began to wave his hands wildly above the crowd. Not a soul amongst the audience caught the display as the entire throng was transfixed by the ceremony. Elec was completely unsure what his friend was doing, but instinctively decided that it was not well intended. But, as on many of those prior occasions, Elec realized with horror that he had failed once more to bring the powers of Arcana into being—had failed once more to cast the required spell as it fizzled into nothingness.

Before he could chastise himself about it, Jhaeronas was at the end of his incantation. He watched helplessly as a minute bolt of arcane energy traversed the hall, hitting the heavy chain that fastened the candelabra above his sister and Anthalion. Elec screamed at Jhaeronas, infuriated that his friend could do something so dishonorable—and to his sister of all people.

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As the call echoed through the expansive hall, all eyes were diverted from the couple and turned to the source of the outburst, landing upon Elec. Anthalion reflexively shoved his bride out of the way as the heavy wooden fixture came to a stop upon his slender frame.

As its weight landed squarely on his back, he winced and yelped in pain. Aeona fell awkwardly from the dais upon which they stood, twisting her ankle and hitting the stone floor. The assembled spectators missed the commotion at the front of th e hall as they had all turned to face the balcony at the rear. The guests whirled once more when they heard the sound of the candelabra bursting into countless pieces on the body of the hapless would-be groom.

Suddenly, Keryth uttered a spell called Hand of Fate.

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An arcane form shivered into view, taking shape as the hand of the elven gods, summoned from the plane of Arcana. The massive thing enveloped Jhaeronas within its mighty grasp. It yanked him from his perch atop the balcony, lifting him into the air and holding him helplessly before it as the crowd parted. Several other mages began to prepare spells to aid Keryth if necessary, not knowing exactly what was happening. Jhaeronas remained silent and more of the throng backed away from the furious Keryth. Several rushed to help the fallen lovers at the front of the hall, including Alaise.

Elec watched dumbfounded. He was rooted in place, though not from any magical effect—he was frozen in shock at the recent events. He watched as some officials ran to assist Keryth, coaxing him into releasing Jhaeronas from his spell and then grabbing the limp elf as he was freed. The punishment for such a crime against his people was exile, Elec knew. Jhaeronas would no longer be welcome within any of the areas on Acillia and, if he were to return, it would be under penalty of death.

The elves escorted Jhaeronas away unceremoniously. After Jhaeronas was taken away, Aeona was helped to her feet and divine healing was given to Anthalion by one of the elder priestesses of The Dreamer. Elec descended the spiral staircase from the balcony and joined his mother and sister, lending them support. Keryth scanned the chaotic scene and then pulled Elec away from the rest of the family to stand near the center of the hall.

Faorath slowly followed them and purposely eavesdropped on the conversation. A moment passed as the two of them locked eyes but spoke no words. Faorath held his ground, though, and did not move away. Keryth returned his attention to his son once more. Elec kept his head down and his shamed gaze upon the floor while his father crossed his arms over his chest and shook his head in disgust. But, before he could further humiliate him, Alaise, wide-eyed, grabbed Keryth by the arm. Not here and not now! He spoke the words with conviction to Elec, as if they were fact and not opinion. While they were speaking, much of the crowd dispersed.

However, some elves remained to help where they could in cleaning up the now postponed ceremony. Elec could see the priestess of The Dreamer still chanting prayers and administering magical aid to Anthalion. Faorath and Elec both neared the dais, Elec moving closer to his mother and sister. It appeared that Anthalion was almost fully healed.

His father spoke no further to Elec, but despite what had happened to them, Aeona and Anthalion both offered him words of support. None of it made him feel better, however, and he joined in the clearing the hall before retiring somberly to his room for the evening. The next day, Elec set to task, working the springs and latches of a mechanism occasionally, while working his alchemical solutions, barely eating or speaking to anyone else. His mother finally entered his room late that evening. Upon closer inspection, Elec recognized it as his favorite—scrambled giant eagle eggs with a side of boar meat.

He could not help but smile at his mother in appreciation at her attempt at quelling his dour mood. He began to nibble at the food while Alaise sat close by silently, simply watching him as he ate. She moved across to be near Elec at his workspace, which was inundated with countless texts and scrolls. Suddenly, the door opened wide. Keryth stood there in his bright red robes. The ornate golden stitching all over the arms and chest added to the regality of his stature. The elders and mages are speaking of what happened and are telling the tale as they saw it—that Elec could have stopped the incident but failed to do so.

He failed to stop that fool Jhaeronas from injuring Anthalion. And it could have been worse! Then he spun on his heel and left the room in a huff. Morning came once more and the passing of time d id nothing to quell the guilt that Elec felt. He approached his alchemy that morning with passion unparalleled, diving into his work in order to forget about his problems. The hours passed and he continued mixing and testing elixirs, theorizing about different effects based on his findings.

He moved into view, startling Elec and nearly causing him to drop his latest potion, but fortunately he snatched it back in a flash. When he finally managed to look up, he witnessed his uncle exploring the contents of his bookcase, which was filled with texts on the topics of magic and science. It was a book explaining the training and handling of exotic magical beasts. When Faorath returned over an hour later, he found Elec once more deep in study, but this time he was reading the book his uncle had written.

Elec looked up from the thick tome and smiled, nodding a greeting. No matter, Stormwhisper has been a powerful name in the family of high elven mages over thousands of years, as you are reminded each day. Do not doubt this. Just because you do not show an aptitude for manipulating the powers of Arcana does not make you any less a family member. I do not understand why I cannot. I have never seen another high elf with features such as mine!

As for your features, you are exotic, yes, but it adds to your unique character. It does not detract from anything you do, nor does it define you. You will do well to remember that. But try as he might, this time he could not digest the words, for his mind was elsewhere. The Wind Riders used the caverns as well as the summit of the wide peak to train their apprentices. This venue also provided the magical beasts a place to make their homes. Elec could not wait to see it up close. As he made his way through the village, he could not help but overhear some of the elves making mention of the failed wedding and his failures in the events there.

Most of it was rumor, but it added another dimension to his humiliation as he heard many accusatory and damning opinions of his actions—or lack thereof. He began to run toward the pathways that would lead him to the top of the mountain and to his uncle. He did not look back or stop once along the entire two mile trail. Faorath sat atop a griffon. Elec stepped back as the creature advanced toward him. This time Elec calmly and confidently approached the creature and patted its head and beak, admiring also the leonine musculature that made up its hindquarters.

Elec turned to regard one of the Wind Riders leading a giant eagle down from the crest of the mountain top. The giant eagle did not even resist when Elec took them. It simply stood still as if waiting for its passenger to climb aboard, and Elec did so, slowly and carefully. He looked back at Elec and then gestured for him to follow.

With a flapping of their mighty wings, both magical creatures took to the air. Elec swallowed hard as he lurched forward. He was in awe as the eagle ascended into the sky, following the griffon. They flew for several miles before turning back to eventually land atop the crest of the mountain once again. It was magnificent, thought Elec. He could not quell the boyish excitement gushing forth as he smiled wide. He stroked the giant eagle on its beak and head.

The magical creature seemed to survey him before turning its head forward once more. Elec raised an eyebrow at that. They landed after the twelfth such trip. Faorath stopped him for a moment, commanding his griffon to stand next to Elec. Elec thought about this for a few moments, then looked to the sky with a smile. Tropisms New Directions Pearls.

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The Markhat Files. The Banshee S Walk. The Markhat Files 8 Book Series. The Haywood Brothers 3 Book Series. Ignited Verses. It's hard to say which place is more malevolent, Heaven or Hell. Hell is more obviously evil, but Heaven is not a fun place either. Bobby's superiors are not a nice bunch. Of course, you have to realize that Demons are just Fallen Angels, so the capacity for cold, hard justice was always there.

But even in Hell there is the occasional flash of kindness, things that get Bobby asking questions. If that sub-plot will take Bobby anywhere, I don't know, but I am intrigued. That makes it even better! I am now eagerly waiting for the next installment in this madcap mountain of mayhem! Published in , the Eyre Affair was Fforde's first novel. The book was generally acclaimed, with critics calling it "playfully irreverent," "delightfully daft," "whoppingly imaginative," and "a work of Fans of Douglas Adams and P.

England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost literally in a Wordsworth poem and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection. Fforde's ingenious fantasy—enhanced by a Web site that re-creates the world of the novel—unites intrigue with English literature in a delightfully witty mix. Visit jasperfforde. My Review:. First off, let me say that I have read both Douglas Adams and P. Either one is a lot easier to follow than Jasper Fforde. There is a plot; it is most definitely unique and extremely convoluted.

However, it is worth the effort. England is still a parliamentary government, pretty much owned by a powerful weapons manufacturing company with a questionable agenda, the Goliath Corporation. Wales is a separate, socialist nation, and for some reason that notion cracked me up.

Thursday Next is an awesome character, but following the plot takes work on the part of the reader. So I resorted to taking notes, which helped me keep things straight in my head. In the course of duty, Thursday gets shot and has to take a new job, where she is forced to team up with the awesomely named Jack Schitt, who really is a….

Never mind. So anyway. I recommend this book for people who love a real challenge in their reading material. Enough of the plot holes finally get filled in that there is a resolution to the tale. You are probably wondering why I am saying I enjoyed the pain—and I will tell you:. It is laugh-out-loud, freaking hysterical. The names of his characters and the situations he puts them in are genius. The whole concept of a world where a criminal master-mind can hold a world hostage through literature really rang my bells. Time-travel, entering into a novel and befriending the characters and changing history by changing the classics of literature--it's a grand idea.

Someone else may not have as much difficulty keeping Thursday's adventures straight as I did. Many people, including my son Dan, love this book with a passion, so I recommend you give it a shot. I will read it--just not soon. I am giving T he Eyre Affair four stars, because it did entertain me, and Fforde introduces some notions that had my mind working long after I put the book down. That , to me, is the mark of great book. I chose to reread The Mists of Avalon this week for two reason: first - as my reward because it is one of the greatest epic fantasies of all time, and second - it had been over a year since I last read it.

This book was a watershed moment in fantasy literature for me, and for millions of readers over the years. In Marion Zimmer Bradley's masterpiece, we see the tumult and adventures of Camelot's court through the eyes of the women who bolstered the king's rise and schemed for his fall. From their childhoods through the ultimate fulfillment of their destinies, we follow these women and the diverse cast of characters that surrounds them as the great Arthurian epic unfolds stunningly before us. As Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar struggle for control over the fate of Arthur's kingdom, as the Knights of the Round Table take on their infamous quest, as Merlin and Viviane wield their magics for the future of Old Britain, the Isle of Avalon slips further into the impenetrable mists of memory, until the fissure between old and new worlds' and old and new religions' claims its most famous victim.

The main protagonist is Morgaine, who watches the rise of Uther Pendragon to the throne of Camelot as high-king. When she was still a young child, she was taken to Avalon by High Priestess Viviane, her maternal aunt, to become a priestess of the Mother Goddess. While in training, she sees the rising tension between the old Pagan religion and the new Christian religion. At the age of fourteen, she is given in a fertility ritual to a young man whom she later discovers is Arthur, her half-brother. Morgaine conceives a child, Gwydion who will later be called Mordred , as a result of the ritual.

She conceals his existence from Arthur. After Uther dies, his son Arthur proves himself in battle and ascends to the throne. Morgaine and Viviane give him the magic sword Excalibur and a bespelled scabbard as gifts from the country of Avalon. Using the sword, which is a pagan weapon, Arthur succeeds in driving the Saxons away. But when his wife Gwenhwyfar is unable to carry and deliver a living child, she is convinced that it is a punishment of God: firstly for the presence of pagan elements a position which Morgaine deeply resents , and secondly, for her forbidden love for Arthur's finest knight Lancelot.

Hating herself for loving him, Gwenhwyfar becomes a religious fanatic, and the relationship between Avalon and Camelot becomes hostile. The story is compelling at the outset, and it captivated me from page one. Upon finishing this book I immediately re-read it! Zimmer-Bradley immerses you in the culture and mores of the mythical Britain of the seventh and eighth centuries. The thoughts and feelings of each character are clearly drawn, and so are the places and the societies in which they live.

The over-riding themes of love and treachery make for a tragedy with tremendous political ramifications. There are good and wise men and women and there are greedy, shortsighted people, and all are depicted with an impartial eye in this tale. The flaws and the strengths of each character are drawn with compassion. The personal choices those in power make change their society for all time. The clear and visible change in the cultural values of pre-christian Britain is vividly portrayed, setting the place of women in the society of Britain for the next 1, years.

Within the two generations that this book spans, we see women going from having a respected voice and power in their society, to being relegated to the position of chattel; property of their husband and having less of a voice than his cattle. This book crosses many genres, Fantasy, Romance, Historical Fiction--Marion Zimmer Bradley created a world that never existed before and breathed life into it, giving us real, solid people to envision when we think about the Arthurian Saga. It is a book that I think of as a cornerstone-book, one of the real foundation books in the library of truly great, modern storytelling.

My Review :. Quint, the leader of his group of friends is the strongest and is a fighter. Orphans all, they live on the abandoned boat, The Griffin. This cat who changes back and forth from a girl, to an owl, to a cat, depending on her mood, knows how to unlock the secrets of the magical knife and book. They do as they are told to and become the Magician, Thief, Priest and Fighter, four heroes with a task to right the balance of the world which must have equal amounts of Order and Chaos. The four boys are real — they are written as boys are, unfinished and not quite men yet, but the promise of their adulthood is there in each of them.

Mahra is an old soul literally hundreds of years old and is written as such, but she is also young in many ways. The travels and adventures the boys and Mahra have are well written and completely engrossing. The scenery and the backgrounds against which the tale takes place are rich and yet not overdone.

It is the first book of a fantasy series, but it is a stand-alone book, and I would recommend this book to anyone who simply loves a good adventure. Labels: Book Review , C. It lures me, making me want to fall into writing in their style. Just to read their words is a treat for the eyes. One author whose work beguiles me is John A. Elvis and Regrets, Adventures of a Hotshot Firefighter. What a beautiful, spiritual book!

Jacobo and his companions are beautifully drawn with words, and rise clearly in my mind as I read his story. I can smell the scents of the fires, hear the sounds and feel the heat.

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There is an economy of words, each one important in its place, nothing to distract me from seeing the world Jacobo, Joe and Valkyrie are living in, see them on their vision-quest, seeking truth and God through fire and darkness. It is a novella, only 63 pages, but it is a huge book, a fantasy and an epic quest for enlightenment. One cannot help but be changed by reading Jacobo's tale and that, to me, is the mark of a truly great book. Once again, quality trumps quantity. Aragon , Spiritual Journey , Vision Quest.

Robert Jordan wrote the first eleven volumes in the series, nearly completing the final volume which was so huge it had to be divided into 3 books. Unfortunately Robert Jordan passed away before the last book made it out of draft form, and after Jordan's death, Brandon Sanderson , who is famous in his own right for the epic Mistborn series, stepped in and finished the colossal undertaking, writing the final three volumes. When Robert Jordan died in , all feared that these concluding scenes would never be written.

But working from notes and partials left by Jordan, established fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson stepped in to complete the masterwork. The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is,. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time. I confess, I had my copy on pre order for a l-o-o-ong time, just waiting and drooling for this final installment, so on January 8th I hit the ground running with this book. First off, if you haven't read the first thirteen books in the series this book will make little sense to you as it is the culmination of many, many storylines.

This book is no less complicated than the thirteen books that have preceded it, so I will not be giving you a plot summary. Instead I am going to give you my impressions and say only that some of my dearly loved characters who should have lived, die, and some who should die, do not. Each and every one of the main characters have matured and become the sort of leaders we knew they would have to be if they were to succeed at Tarmon Gai'don, the final battle with Shai'tan, who is the personification of evil.

I liked that particular twist, and feel vindicated for having stayed with the series even when it went so far afield in The Path of Daggers. Rand, Mat, and Perrin each fight the battle from a different front, and their stories and unique skills are each central to the final resolution. Logain and Olver both play crucial parts in the last battle. Many minor characters have major parts to play in determining the outcome of Tarmon Gai'don.

The strong roles played by Elayne, Egwene, Nynaeve, Moraine and the other Aes Sedai in this final battle are clear and integral to the success of Rand's bid to win this battle. Love, loss, sorrow and the immense will to survive are part and parcel of the tapestry Sanderson has woven from Jordan's notes in this very fitting end to a monumental series.

The final battle is nothing less than epic. This encounter between Rand and Shai'tan begins with a contest of morality tales, which in the end determines Rand's course of action. I shed tears many times, but most especially at the deaths of two important characters in particular, believing they could have accomplished so much had they lived.

Yet that is what makes this book and indeed this series so fantastic - the reader CARES about the characters, and this loss makes the outcome more poignant and meaningful. I liked the way Demandred is finally exposed and introduced into Tarmon Gai'don, and I really enjoyed the plot twist in regard to Taim, now known as M'Hael, and the way he is ultimately dealt with. All of the Forsaken are dealt with in ways both creative and fitting. In the end, the final resolution is satisfying, and was well worth the journey. There is a large contingent of people who are upset that the epub edition won't be released until April 9, , but this was a choice made by Robert Jordan's widow.

I don't buy too many hard copies of books, being a fan of the Kindle, but I did make an exception for this book.

The Circle:

For me, some books need to be in hard copy form and the Wheel of Time Series is one of them, as are the Harry Potter books. Amazon's reviews are rife with trolls and nay-sayers who couldn't wait to emerge from the woodwork and have their say. Apparently very few of these people purchased the book, much less read it.

That is the price of success and these days it's almost an honor to have so many haters just spoiling to knock you down. But their strident caws and self-important rants should have no effect on the true fans of this series. In my humble opinion this work is a masterpiece and is a triumphant finish to the series. I love Brandon Sanderson's handling of this series finale, and feel I more than got my money's worth from this book, as I will definitely read it again and again; it's that good.

If you love this series, you will love the way it ends!