To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
standard quest plot, with appealing central characters, interesting world, evil villains and many armed and magical conflicts...straightforward chronological telling, predictable betrayals and twists...a bit too much "sweet romance", but, on the whole, a pleasing read...cute illustrations, and very suitable for adventure-seeking teens...a pleasant read for a lazy afternoon...
We were looking through the new offers on my kindle and they both saw the title, Dog Soldier. They laughed because that is what my old friends called me. We read it and laughed because it is really inventive and the grandkids were laughing and saying to me "was that what you were like? Looking after people and helping kids?" so we laughed and read it again, worthwhile book
I wish I could give this 4.5 stars. It's not perfect, but it's an engrossing work (as is the other half of the duology) that does not fall into the trap of triteness. The characters are fresh, the world is appealing even when it's horrid, and the plotting is excellent.
I didn't read the intro, so it wasn't until after I'd finished the second book that I discovered the author had written this in her teens. Her mature work, either under her own name or as T. Kingfisher, is spectacular and identifiable as hers. That easy identification is the only thing missing here, but all the other things I love about Vernon's work are present.
I love just about everything I've read by Ursula Vernon (and by her alias, T. kingfisher) but this book is, if not outright bad, significantly more mediocre than all those other books. The author's note says she wrote it when she was a teenager, which is more impressive than anything I've ever done, but, unfortunately, it kind of shows.
The good: Sadrao is a joy. The bad: Lyra, like many teenaged protagonist characters, falls into the common first-novel trap of having too many skills, of moving too far from where she begins too quickly. Her character arc suffers for this, I think, as do her relationships to the other characters. The awkward: -The love subplot. It is extremely perfunctory, and does not feel well developed. I know that this author can write wonderful, heartwarming love stories now, but this first one is... boring. Like dry white toast.
So... Yeah. Read *Summer in Orcus* instead. That book is amazing.
Kids are bloodthirsty critters, they never bat an eye at the grim tales of the Grimm brothers. They cheer when the wolf has its belly cut open, goats extracted, and filled with boulders to then fall in the well and drown.
However, this starts with the protagonist discovering her presumed half sister raped and with a cut throat in her (protagonist's) bed, the house is awash with blood, everybody else massacred - better not try to picture it too vividly or the bile may rise. I feel very ambiguous about giving these two books (because they are much the same when it comes to gore and pain) to prepubescent kids. And to be clear: I loathe censorship and the molly-coddling of kids. But there's some real horror here; more horrible than Lovecraft could ever have dreamed of. Poe, maybe.
Setting the horror aside, fantastic fantasy adventure. The protagonist (slowly turning into heroine) and her friends get into lots of scrapes, magical, mundane, and otherwise not to mention finding treachery, and they get out again. Not often without significant amounts of scarring.
If you think your stomach can handle it, you could do much worse than buying the Black Dogs books. They are very well written.
This is very clearly the first novel by Ursula Vernon, and it reads a lot like a D&D campaign, which isn't necessarily the same thing as a good book. Still, the characters are clearly defined, the plot comes together without a lot of telling or telegraphing, and the Bad Guys are nicely chewing up the scenery. Read this if you are a completist, or if you like D&D that much; otherwise chalk this one up to Beginner's Writing and get you the latest from Ms. Vernon.
As this is a first book it certainly have some minor flaws, but beats most fantasy authors without breaking any sweat. The story has been written before, a bildungsroman without any major twists and turns, but the adventure is engaging, the gallery of persons are top notch and so endearingly likeable. This is books to read to heal, to find inner peace and give your brain a bit of rest.
Having read a number of your books, under both writing names,I found this to be of reasonable quality in comparison. While I'm hardly an expert, it certainly kept my attention and flowed nicely .If there were plot problems they went unnoticed from my end. So relax, the only apology that might be needed later is if you decide to stop writing so you can become a trapeze artist in the circus!! Otherwise please carry on with what you do so well!! Such a lovely talent, thank you !