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Journeys Through SpaceTime (Journeys Through Book 1) by James Talisman – Review by Anantha Rusum

Journeys Through SpaceTimeJourneys Through SpaceTime by James Talisman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Journeys through SpaceTime is a collection of stories running through parallel universes. Each story happens in one realm, and each story has the protagonist, the antagonist and an invisible force connecting them all, encouraging the protagonist to believe or remember his/her powers to fight against the evil. The focus shifts from one realm to another, we come across kings and queens of Egyptian empire, the vassals of the Roman empire, people from the Utopian empire and then humans of the current Earth. The book spans across different characters in multiple universes and in each universe, there is this good character, trying to battle the evil forces in any way they can.
It is a very ambitious sci/fi project with lots of details, and definitely not an easy read. There are too many characters and too many worlds. To be honest, as a reader I felt it should have been more spread out. But as this book is the first in the series, I am hoping the author is going to connect all the pieces of the puzzle together and we will know the reason behind so many different characters.
Based on how he constructs the plot, it can definitely turn out to be an epic fantasy/ science fiction series. It is not easy to imagine and building one fantasy world, and the author does a very commendable job building up so many at one point of time. It is a work of excellent imagination from a very promising author. Hope to see more work from him!

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Magic-Price (The Crown of Stones, #1)

Magic-Price (The Crown of Stones, #1)Magic-Price by C.L. Schneider
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“With great power, comes great responsibility”, is a well-acclaimed phrase attributed to spider-man. But this is a universal truth, applicable to all the people who toy with power. If the power is not used wisely, it will lead to chaos and destruction and we end up paying a heavy price. This forms the crux of this fast-paced, gripping fantasy novel from C.L. Schneider.
Plagued by his own past, a handsome warrior and a magician, Ian Troy, forces himself into self-exile to escape from his own power. He belongs to Shinree, a fallen race, scorned for their innate addiction to magic. Shinree are drugged to forget their power and enslaved to curb their usage of magic at free will. Ian grows up as a warrior and a soldier in the kingdom of Rella, whose queen looks upon magic as a bane. But when the barbaric Langorians engage in a fierce, gory battle with Rella, Ian is forced to use a powerful magical weapon to end the war. This entails heavy destruction, leading to a complete wipeout of armies on both sides.
Crestfallen by the damage he has caused, Ian lives in exile, succumbing to alcohol and women, to escape his own obsession with magic. But after a decade, he is confronted with a series of bizarre events that compel him to embrace magic again. An unknown powerful force has joined hands with his deadly Langorian enemy, and together they are uprooting empires. Rella, the kingdom to which Ian had pledged himself to, is in ramshackle and the current queen is in jeopardy. This powerful force aims to break Ian’s will and forces him to use magic, for reasons unknown. Ian is challenged at every step, subjected to physical and emotional torture through spells, both ancient and powerful. He has no other choice, but to invoke his own magical prowess, to tackle this omniscient sinister force.
In his quest to find his enemy, Ian encounters many people, none whom he can completely trust. He uses his instincts to the best of his abilities but finds himself misled and trapped in a magical labyrinth. The traps are set at every point and the magic runs thick and deep. Finally, when he unravels the mystery, layer by layer, he comes face-to-face with the hidden murky truth, which shakes the very foundation of the principles on which he had laid his life. The truth is nowhere close to what he had believed it to be. As the thin lines between right and wrong grow dim, Ian attempts to close down on the very source of magic which is causing this devastation. And as the burden of the power falls on his shoulders, he has to pay a heavy price, yet again.
The book is very fast-paced and manages to keep the reader engaged and hooked to the plot. The spells are very imaginative, and with each spell, the plot deepens. Both the friendships and the enmity run deep and it gets difficult to decipher the illusion from reality. The twists and turns last until the very end of the book, and it leaves the reader wanting more.
The only qualm, which I have is the portrayal of women in this book. All women are condemned and derogated. In particular, there are two powerful female protagonists, who demand a well-respected standing in the plot. But on the contrary, either willingly or tossed as a bait, they find themselves as objects of physical desire to the men. Though the author ties up the loose ends in the end and clears the air behind their intentions, I wish there could have been another way, that they were also addressed as noble and treated with some respect.
But with the sequels following, I am hoping that this impression will be erased and the women get their due credits.
Leaving this aside, it is a brilliant piece of work by the author. I could not put the book down and I am looking forward to reading the sequel.

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Alice Will: Dreams of Chaos Book 1 by Ashley Chappell – Review by Anantha Rusum

Alice Will: Dreams of Chaos Book 1Alice Will: Dreams of Chaos Book 1 by Ashley Chappell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The world in on the verge of war. The Gods are all set to fight against each other. A young demi-God, Trotter, who does not know her lineage and powers, finds herself in the middle of this epic battle, and before she realizes, the onus is on her to save the world.
There is the realm, the world of Gods and there is Aevum, the common world. There is a wedge, which connects these two worlds together. Gods are not supposed to cross the wedge and meddle in the life of humans, as per the signed Accord. But one demi-God, Alice breaches this accord by unknowingly tapping into her powers and alters the course of the world. This wakes up all the dormant Gods, both good and evil. Evil tries to reach out to Alice to change the course of events further and bring back the God of war, who had been tricked and trapped by the other Gods to maintain peace in the world. Now the good Gods reach out to fourteen-year-old- Trotter, to use her powers to stop Alice and the evil Gods, who are all set to seek their vengeance and destroy the world.
This is a typical fantasy young adult plot, but every book varies based on how the author constructs her plot and pours her imagination into the characters and the settings. I really liked the fantasy element in this book and how all the mythical creatures are described. The talking cat, the watching Falcon, the grotesque mermaids, and dangerous demons. There is the Canvas which holds the memories of one and all, a backdrop on which everyone can paint their own memories. So, the Gods who have access to this Canvas, can go back and forth and change the course of the World. All they have to do is to fiddle with a memory of someone, which can trigger a whole new set of actions. I loved this concept and the imagination is brilliant.
But I did feel a disconnect with the characters themselves, I felt they did not grow on me as much as I expected them to, at the beginning of the book. The destination matters and so does the journey. The relationships Trotter or Alice forge in their journey, do not seem deep as there is a constant rush to reach the end. Considering that the book is just about more than 300 pages, it falls trifle short to capture the huge appetite of the author. Too much happens in a very short span of time, and before you realize, you are at the climax. I felt there was not much need to tie up all the loose ends in this book. The author should have let somethings be, to be taken on in the subsequent books of the series. In the books of a similar genre, like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson or His Dark Materials, the loose ends are not tied till the very end of the series. Leaving this apart, the book is a very enjoyable read.
To summarize, a brilliant piece of work which triggers the reader’s imagination. I am very curious to read the second book, to see where this magical world leads to.

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