Monday, April 4, 2011

Review: The Darklands Saga, by Autumn Dawn

I came across this little treasure while searching to Were stories online. I don't tend to read reviews on books, movies or songs, since what I get out of them is hardly what a professional critic sees. I did read the summary on the first book, The Charmer, was intrigued, and ended up spending the day and night reading the entire series.

The first thing you should know about The Darklands Saga is that its a series of six books with central characters that interact in an intricate web throughout the stories. It's also MOSTLY about shapeshifters from a parralell plane/world and their interaction with humans . . . females for the most part.

The Darklands series is about a alternative plane of otherworldly inhabitants, and the drama, betrayal, love and loss that occurs among and between different species. They're stories about identity, community and the things we do, the sacrifies that are called for, in order to feel like we belong – to someone, somewhere. They're aslo about the predjudices held between people of different cultures, beliefs and appearances, and the painfully slow process of circumventing such ingrained , ancient and outdated distrust.

What worked: The blending of different species and cultures that make up this 'new' world added a degree of realism to the saga. One recognizes current fashions, cultures, beliefs and trends in modern living in this world amongst the supernatural and futuristic setting of the stories.

A sense of pride and confidence in the way of life and mannerisms of the inhabitants of the Darklands, a standard in every good Were tale, is always prevelant. The strength of their convictions is often tested by the earth humans, which makes for some real “HMMMM” moments as well as emotion tension between the characters.

There's a sense of spirituality in Autumn Dawn's writings that calls to me. I enjoy the thought that Werefolk have an affinity for a Higher Being, as well as mores and laws beyond the pack mentality.

I also liked the way we are presented with a window into the world of the Darklands and its inhabitants, the battles between the species both emotional and physical, and the connection to this world. Autumn Dawn paints a clear image of the individual characters that was unforgettable, as well as well scripted. Their interactions were quite believable. And I liked the romances in the story lines. You bet I did.

What didn't work: While I liked the romance, I was not in love with the aspect of kidnap and forced bonding of the central females in the stories. I also hated the idea that the future, and other worlds, hold the same amount of predjudice and hatred or intolerance of differences in species that is prevelant between races in the here and now. The last two books weren't as enthralling for me, whether because I should have been tired of reading by then, or because they centered more around Non-Were characters is a toss-up.

Overall: I'm glad I read this series. It was unique in regard to both plot and the structure and entertaining. I definitely recommend reading Autumn Dawn's works!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Law of the Lycans series by Nicky Charles

Okay, so I was surfing Blogger for Were haunts, and stumbled across a blog that listed three titles by Nicky Charles. I googled the author and found the online versions. I read The Mating last night, the first in The Law of the Lycans trilogy, and I was entertained as well as pleasantly surprised.

The premise isn't new - young Were darling finds herself mated to an Alpha she has never seen or heard of before her mating; is thrown into a new pack that is very alien to the ways she was raised; faces danger and heartache which are overcome, and discovers - well there are two sequels. I read it voraciously because of the way Nicky Charles wove her tale.

I love a heroine who rises above - the norm, her pain, insurmountable odds, her own doubts compounded by the doubts of others, you know where I'm going. I have also been looking for female main characters that are not raving beauties who stop traffic or have men drooling over their looks. A woman who thinks . . . even if her conclusions are not necessarily right . . . rather than just reacts. I saw some of these qualities in Nicky Charles' Elise.

Kane, the Alpha in this story, was a surprise for me in that he was more like a regular Joe who happened to be Were. Most of my forays into the world of the Were brought me face to chest with Alpha males who were Were who just happened to have a little human male in them. Kane is strong, spiritually and physically, and silent - a bit laid back, which is what throws one into thinking you could get over on him, including other characters in the story . . . bad idea.

The supporting characters are easy to relate to and memorable, whether you love or hate them, which leaves you wanting to know more about them. Readers get to find out more about them in the following stories - YEA!

I was a bit put off at points in the story where the male characters are so Cro-magnan and the females so self effacing they nearly blend into the wall pattern. At one particular point, Elise has been accused of being 'catty' and aggressively rude to one the Alpha's pack. Kane chastises her, without asking her what happened, or even giving her a chance to explain the truth of the situation. He tells her to befriend the injured party, and that's the end of the matter. Elise swallows it all down, seeing that her mate is under a lot of stress. Of course neither her nor she allow at anytime that Elise's life has been turned totally upside down. This wasn't the first instance nor the last of this type of behavior, and I understand that many writers see modern day Were as more than a little old-fashioned, but - really?

Overall, as I said at the start, I'm delighted to have stumble across Nicky Charles' trilogy - The Keeping and The Finding are next on my To Read list.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


In my heart, I'm a writer. I've been the family storyteller to a few generations of youngsters, and I was thinking it's not much harder to put the words down than it is to come up with them verbally on the fly. Man was I wrong!

I've always had a healthy respect for authors, and now I see them as some sort of demi-gods. They paint pictures with words, create characters, situations and scenarios the readers can relate to and identify with, and make it all come alive! I give kudos to anyone who dares to share their stories, be they beginner, seasoned storyteller or somewhere in between.

Hopefully, I'll be able to overcome my need to be perfect and post a tale or two. 'Til then, I want to point readers in the direction of some wonderful, marvelous tales of the paranormal/were/shape-shifter/vampire genre.