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Review: Ciara’s Song by Andre Norton

Ciara's Song

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The wonders and adventures of Andre Norton’s “Witch World” saga have thrilled millions. Now comes a new chronicle about the hidden realms of the Witch World.

Ciara of Elmsgarth is only a small girl when the edict is issued by the Duke of Kars: KILL ALL WITH WITCH BLOOD, AND TAKE ALL THEY OWN.

A greedy mob murders her family, but Ciara is protected by the powerful Lord Tarnoor and his son, Trovagh. Safe in the isolated, siege-proof citadel of Aiskeep, Ciara and Trovagh grow, marry, and raise children.

Then the folly that grips Karsten worsens. Bigotry and corruption lead to crime, civil strife, war, and poverty — and the rise of an evil sorcerer, a black mage on a vendetta to destroy all Ciara has, and everyone she holds dear.

I love this book and the sequel The Duke’s Ballad.

This is one of the few books in Andre Norton’s Witch World series that I feel allow for new reader explanations. It’s also an unusual Fantasy book by today’s standards: It’s mostly a stand-alone, it follows the lives of three generations but it’s under 300 pages. This is one of the strengths of Ciara’s Song, in my opinion.
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Review: Alta (Dragon Jousters #2) by Mercedes Lackey *Spoilers*

Alta

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National best-selling fantasy legend, Mercedes Lackey created a vivid, dynamic fusion of the Upper and Lower Kingdoms of ancient Egypt with the most exciting, authentic and believable portrayal of dragons ever imagined.
In the second novel in Mercedes Lackey’s richly-conceived Dragon Jousters series, the dragonrider Vetch escapes to Alta, the subjugated land of his birth. There, he hopes to teach his people to raise and train dragons-and build an army that will liberate his homeland.

NOTE: This review will contain spoilers for the first book in this series, Joust. If you haven’t read Joust, please do not read this review unless you are ok with spoilers.

This one is cute. I enjoy this book but not as much as Joust.

Alta continues the story of the serf Vetch from Joust. In Alta, Vetch is no longer known as the serf “Vetch.” He is “Kiron, son of Kiron,” a displaced but well-born son of Alta and a dragon rider. Kiron arrives in Alta, gets settled and becomes a jouster-in-training almost immediately. He is also given lessons: reading, writing, philosophy and history. Throughout the book the reader can see Kiron’s change from unlettered serf to educated noble by the way he speaks and carries himself. I felt Lackey did a good job showing Kiron’s maturation.

Kiron has achieved his goal: he is no longer a serf – he is a free Altan and dragon rider. But in Alta all is not what he expected: there’s something rotten at the core of Alta and Kiron seems to get into the midst of things very quickly.
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B&M Bookstores: The Annapolis Bookstore, Annapolis, MD

The Annapolis Bookstore
35 Maryland Ave
Annapolis, MD 214001
(410) 280-2339

My Impressions: This place is great! They sale used and rare books – a few new books but not really.

I loved the atmosphere. There’s a cafe right inside but unlike Hard Bean (I visited both on the same day) The Annapolis Bookstore is clearly primarily a bookstore. A wild and crazy bookstore that is the equivalent of having a book crazy old family member who stuffed their entire house to the gills with books. And then let you free to roam with the ability to take home any book you like.

It’s like WOW! My goodness. I need a couple of hours here!

I also located a used copy of Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey. Magic’s Pawn was the very first brand new book I purchased with my own money from my first real job. I’d read the entire Valdemar series published multiple times from the library…but this was the first time I could afford to buy my own.

My New(sed) copy of Magic's Pawn beside my trashed copy.

My New(sed) copy of Magic’s Pawn beside my trashed copy.

My uncle (father’s brother) had come to live with us – he was very young and full of himself. Well, we got into an argument before I had to leave for school one day. In retaliation for the argument he decided to take my book, place it in the bathroom sink and turn the water on…just a drip. O_O By the time I got home Magic’s Pawn was totally saturated and I was devastated. Being broke, I carefully dried out Magic’s Pawn page by page. When I was done the book was readable but it was still trashed.

Years have passed (more than 10) but I kept my trashed copy of Magic’s Pawn as a reminder of my uncle. When I saw the used copy at The Annapolis Bookstore I decided that now was the perfect time to replace my original copy of Magic’s Pawn.

2014 Book Purchases: April

I always start the draft for these monthly book purchase updates at the beginning of the month. It gives me a chance to look back over the previous month and encourage myself to do better.

I already feel that I’ve spent too much money on books this month – Sad, aren’t I? 🙂

I’m going to have to try harder. But I’m nervous about April because it is my birth month. I always find a way to indulge myself in April…

01-May-2014 Update: Yaaaay! I managed not to go over my $20 budget!!! 😀

Wind-Gone-MadBook: Wind Gone Mad
Author: L. Ron Hubbard
Cost: $2.99
Format: Paperback
Date Purchased: 02-Apr-2014
Notes: Shits & Giggles, plus that cover! O_o

 

 

The Phoenix EndangeredBook: The Phoenix Endangered (The Enduring Flame #2)
Author: Mercedes Lackey, James Mallory
Cost: $4.50
Format: Hardback
Date Purchased: 02-Apr-2014
Notes: Second in a series
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Review: Joust (Dragon Jousters #1) by Mercedes Lackey

Joust

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For the first time ever, national best-selling legend Mercedes Lackey draws from her extensive knowlege of animals—and her professional background as an avian expert—to create something truly special…

The most exciting, authentic and believable portrayal of dragons ever imagined.

It is a richly conceived, fully realized vision, inspired by the culture of ancient Egypt, the legends of Atlantis-and the science of animal behavior and biology. This is how dragons would live, breed, hatch, hunt, and bond.

The first book in this thrilling new series introduces readers to a young slave who dreams of becoming a Jouster-one of the few warriors who can actually ride a flying dragon. And so, in secret, he begins to raise his own dragon.

Joust, the first book in Mercedes Lackey’s Dragon Jousters series, is a wonderfully rich re-imagining of ancient Egypt. The story follows a young serf, Vetch, as he slowly gains agency.

Vetch is an Altan serf. He became a serf when Alta lost a major war with their neighbor Tia. Vetch’s father was murdered and the rest of the family were turned into serfs and bound to the land they once owned.

As a serf – which are considered less than slaves – Vetch was severely mistreated. He was beaten, starved and overworked by his master. During one of the many miserable days in which Vetch lived this spirit-breaking life, Dragon Jouster Ari happens to see him. Ari – noticing that Vetch was being mistreated – decides to take him and make Vetch his dragon boy. Dragon boys live in a complex with their dragons, Jousters and support staff. Dragon boys were not mistreated, overworked and they were fed well and regularly. For Vetch, starved as he was, it was like he’d almost reached Heaven.
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Andre Norton’s Witch World: Estcarp, Escore, and Karsten

Estcarp, Escore, and Karsten
Estcarp and Escore are the primary countries where the following books are located. Estcarp and Escore are both rife with magic (witches, warlocks and Adept Sorcerers) while Karsten has very few and mostly hidden magic practitioners. Witchcraft is outlawed in Karsten and is punishable by death.

 

 

Witch WorldTitle: Witch World
Series Cycle: Witch World #1, Estcarp Cycle #1
Published: 1963
Status: Owned (Omnibus: The Gates to Witch World)
Rating/Review:

Ex-colonel Simon Tregarth was a hunted man–and the hunt was beginning to come to its inevitable deadly end. Tregarth was desperate, and his situation required a desperate solution. His only alternative was wild beyond imagining–sorcery.
Simon was forced to give himself up to the mysterious Siege Perilous, the ancient stone of Power. It would judge him, determine his worth, and then deliver him into a world in which his mind and spirit should be at home.
Simon Tregarth’s lot would pit him against an uncanny world where the laws of nature operated… differently. Where in fact, “magic” was science.
For Simon Tregarth there would be no return, he could never escape from the WITCH WORLD.

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Andre Norton’s Witch World: Inspiration

Andre Norton is my favorite author, period. I’ve been reading and collecting her work – with an emphasis on the Witch World series – for over 10 years. I often read her books or refer to them and since this is my blog… I’m going to selfishly read, review, and list them. All. 😀

What is the Witch World? How was it created?

From Andre Norton.Org:

Witch World really grew from another idea altogether. Years ago, before I entered the sf-fantasy field of writing (no one was interested in buying ms. that were book length then), I had an idea dealing with the Norman holdings in Outremer during the Crusading period – those small baronies (ect) which were carved out and held by landless knights who did not wish to return to Europe after their long travel to the Middle East.

The section in the first book which deals with Verlaine and its heiress was an incident I had imagined for such a book. The book was never written except as scraps at the time. Then, much later, I came across the legend that the mysterious seat at the Round Table which came to be Galahad’s – The Siege Perilous – in reality dropped into another time and place those rash enough to try it who were not fitted to be seated there. That gave me an opening for an adventure tale.
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