November 3, 2022 · 1:00 am
Title: Well of Fate –
Author: Savannah Jezowski
Publisher: Dragonpen Press (Self-Published)
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Historical
Length: 39 pages
Source: I received a free copy from the author.
Rating: 4 Stars
Discontent with his life as a tale-spinner, Ratatosk the squirrel goes searching for the Well of Fate hoping he can change his destiny. But what he finds at Yggdrasil will test the very core of his resolve. When he faces the unexpected dangers beneath the great tree, Tosk will have to choose between saving himself or risking all to do the right thing. Changing his destiny proves harder than he ever imagined.For fans of “When Ravens Fall” and Norse mythology, reunite with old friends and meet new ones in this compelling short story about destiny and hard choices.
Courage comes in many forms…including small, fuzzy ones!
Ratatosk was a brave and assertive squirrel who refused to take no for an answer. I haven’t read many books that have squirrels as protagonists and so had no preconceptions of what he would be like. It was delightful to get to know him, especially once I realized why he was so eager to find the Well of Fate and what he hoped to accomplish there. I’ll leave it up to other readers to discover for themselves what he was looking for and if he found it, but his adventurous spirit was perfect for this setting. He might be a little miffed at this comparison since they’re not the same species, but fellow fans of C.S. Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader might also be quickly reminded of a character in that book that acts a lot like Ratatosk and would happily go on adventures with him if they lived in the same universe.
It would have been nice to see more attention paid to the conclusion. While I know this was meant to be a teaser for a full-length series, the writing in that scene felt a bit abrupt to me, especially for those of us who were being introduced to the characters and setting for the first time in this short story. I wanted to give this a full five-star rating and would have done so if this tale had been given a chance to wrap everything up more satisfactorily. Everything else about it was well done!
The world building was handled nicely. Obviously, there wasn’t a lot of space here to explain how everything worked or what was going on with certain backstories, but I received enough information to understand why Ratatosk’s quest was so important to him and what dangers he may face along the way. An air of mystery about the rest of it is a good thing in my opinion. It kept this reader feeling intrigued and asked questions that I can only assume will be fully answered later on.
You do not need to have an in-depth understanding of Norse mythology in order to appreciate this short story, but knowing a few basic facts like the names of their most important gods would be helpful.
Well of Fate –
Filed under Science Fiction and Fantasy
Tagged as 2010s, Adventure, Animal Protagonists, Book Reviews, Dragonpen Press, Dragons, Fantasy, Historical, Mythology, Norse Mythology, Norsevember, Savannah Jezowski, Self-Published, Short Stories, Young Adult
July 14, 2022 · 1:00 am
Author: Lea Doué
Publisher: Butterwing Publishing (Self-Published)
Publication Date: August 30, 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Historical
Length: 24 pages
Source: I received a free copy from the author
Rating: 3 Stars
Hiding from sorcerer hunters, Marisol travels in search of those she can help with her dangerous gift of healing. With every life she saves comes the risk of being discovered, but only if her secret doesn’t destroy her first.
Sweet Basil is a stand-alone short story set in the world of The Firethorn Chronicles, a series drawn from The Twelve Dancing Princesses and other fairytales.
Content Warning: Pain and life-threatening illnesses. I will not mention them in my review.
Would you continue using your powers for good even if doing so put you in terrible danger?
I’d never read a tale about a magical tattoo, and the idea excited me as soon as it was introduced in one of the very first scenes. The person who had that tattoo knew that it was something incredibly special that not everyone around them would understand, so they had to take measures to prevent others from noticing that their tattoo could do things like move around of its own accord. I’m dancing around this subject a little to avoid spoilers, but I was impressed by how creatively the author explained this portion of the plot. It made me think about tattoos in an entirely new light, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much this item affected the course of the storyline.
It would have been helpful to have more world building. No, I didn’t expect the author to explain everything, especially since it was a prequel that was primarily meant to whet the appetites of new readers for more. With that being said, there were a few scenes I found confusing because of how little time was spent explaining what the rules of magic are in this universe and how someone can reasonably expect a magical object to behave when it is used. I simply didn’t know enough about those matters to tell if items like the tattoo were acting out of the ordinary or not.
One of my favorite things about this story was how it depicted Marisol and Renzo’s friendship. Many storytellers, especially in the fantasy genre, immediately assume that any two characters who are single and who share compatible sexual orientations must end up in a relationship together no matter how much this may or may not make sense for their individual character arcs or for the plot as a whole. Given this trope, it was refreshing to see how the author handled their friendship and where she took it. Her decisions made sense for for what I know thus far about the characters and the plot. Obviously, I can’t say how the rest of the series will develop from here as I haven’t read it yet, but I appreciated what’s been done with it up until this point.
This is a prequel to a series. It can be read as a standalone work.
Filed under Science Fiction and Fantasy
Tagged as 2020s, Book Reviews, Butterwing Publishing, Canadian Authors, Dragons, Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Illness, Lea Doué, Magic, Pain, Pain Relief, Self-Published, Short Stories, Sorcery, Tattoos