Fantasy enthusiasts will recognize Sandy Lender as the author of the epic novels "Choices Meant for Gods" and "Choices Meant for Kings" and a leader of workshops on world-building and characterization. Her four-year degree in English and eighteen-year career in magazine publishing augment her book publishing experience for a variety of presentations, including blogging, troll extermination, and writing a 50,072-word novel in the Canadian 3-Day Novel Contest.
But that's only part of the story. Sandy is also a sea turtle conservationist, serving in the group Turtle Time since 2005. It takes one ring on her cell phone to discover she's remained obsessed with Duran Duran since about 1984. She got rid of an unnecessary husband and beat cancer in 2008. She learned dragon whispering during the 1990s and can be called on to lull these creatures into a catatonic state when needed. Finally, she remains unaddicted but "strongly attracted" to all forms of chocolate and welcomes discussions about her handsome and demanding muse at any time. If you'd like more information about Sandy, you can find her all over the Internet with sites like FiledBy, Goodreads, facebook, AuthorIsland, Twitter, etc. She especially invites you to learn more about the fantasy characters she loves at her Web site www dot authorsandylender dot com.
When we first met Amanda Chariss, she was on the run from a madman.
Evil sorcerer Jamieson Drake has been chasing Chariss since she was a young child, with hopes of one day possessing her for his own. Chariss, with the protection of her Wizard Hrazon, knows that one day she must kill Drak or be killed.
Chariss has the geasa, magic older than time, and she must use it if she and the people of Onweald are to stay alive. She knows that her time of battle is coming and that the battle is soon.
Drake has enlisted the help of a Dragon who now walks in the human form of Julette. Older than time itself, she uses Drake like a pawn. She has her own plans, her own agenda and knows that she must help Drake to get what she wants. Of course, the fact that she is a Goddess doesn't hurt either.
When Choices Meant for Kings opens, Juliette has traveled to the distant lands of Lorendell to visit with King Vrel Wendan. She wants the Dreorfahn army for her use so that she can conquer northern Onweald. She wants to take them for her own. But there is more going on than meets the eye.
There is a prophecy in place. When Jake Taiman and Tiaha Wold marry, Juliette's powers will increase and she will be more powerful than ever. Powerful enough to do away with Drake once and for all.
Amanda Chariss is now the Protector of the Master, God of Onweald. After questioning the corrupt Emperor, he admits that the Dragon Juliette has plans to conquer Onweald. Chariss knows that she must once again do all that she can to protect the land, and the Master, that she loves so much.
But something goes horribly wrong...
Choices Menat for Kings is an absolutley amazing book.Read more ›
Once upon a time, when someone came to me recommending a book, I would smile politely and promise to add it to my "I'll read that someday" pile. About five years ago, I started picking up books to read, but found that there were few that held my attention long enough to finish. Even more unusual was the series which would have me reading the second (or more) installment. There are two "series" of books for which I anxiously await the next one, and the "Choices" series is one of those. (There used to be four such "series," but two of them seem to have concluded.)
The good: Ms. Lender's style balances well between description and movement. There are no several-page sequences describing a tree, or anything else, except perhaps the main characters (even that is spread throughout the books). Conversation moves at a lively pace; the spoken wit of the main characters never seems contrived. Several plotlines take the narrow and difficult path instead of the easy way out. These are the little things that so easily distract me from other novels, particularly in fantasy, but "Choices" avoids the pitfalls of triviality. The author does not spend too much time trying to convince you that her world is real; instead, she writes with an assumption that it is. This gives the novel the feel of a conversation about the country of Spain, not some galaxy far, far away with different physics and endless description of how things are different. Onweald lives.
The bad: Well, this is a 5-star review, so ... there is not much in this category. "Choices Meant for Kings" had fewer "showdowns" of might between key players and most of those are held off to the end. As someone who enjoyed Ms.Read more ›
"Choices Meant for Kings," by Sandy Lender, is a brilliant piece of high-fantasy. This sequel to "Choices Meant for Gods" delivers romance, suspense, tragedy, war and a beautifully drawn magical world that is exquisite in its detail. In Onweald, the gods walk amongst the people and have remarkably human failings and frailties. Chariss, the heroine of the Choices trilogy, knows by this second book that she is fated to be the protector of a not-altogether-trustworthy god. What she doesn't know is that she may even be a goddess herself. The growing romance between Chariss and landowner Nigel is tested in numerous ways, and the reader waits eagerly to find out if they do get their happy-ever-after in book three.
The cast of characters is large, but each is so well developed, so full of secrets and needs and emotions, that every one becomes a part of the world the reader finds herself drawn into. If I have any complaint at all, it's that the book does end on a cliffhanger, one of those, "Oh, no!" moments that leaves the reader breathless, waiting to find out how the characters we've grown to care about can survive. I know I'll be chafing to read "Choices Meant for All" the minute it hits the shelves.
The fantasy novel? I can't say that I've read many of them...wasn't a hobbitual reader of any such be-witchery, what with their trappings of secret rings and codes and ancient lore, but I was persuaded to have a go at Choices Meant for Kings, the second novel in a trilogy by Sandy Lender...mainly because the book is getting rave reviews by the likes of sophisticated readers such as Harriet Klausner, number one reader/reviewer of Amazon.com, not to mention various experts in the fantasy genre...and then, right there on page one is some fine writing, the beautiful imagery of this: "The mouth of the Freotho Mountain gaped as if in a scream, left in a state of perpetual terror at what it had seen..."And this: "She cradled him, her braided hair providing him a sort of curtain to die behind as she leaned over to kiss his head."
The Choices trilogy or at least Book II where I came in concerns Amanda Chariss, who given the job of protecting the god of a place called Mahriket, proves to be so outrageously cheeky that she astounds the men who surrounds her, combining the fighting spirit of a warrior with the a savvy of a political strategist. A Shakespearian style tragedy is at the heart of the story, the daughter of a flyweight emporer marries a forbidden fruit son and the prophecies are upset and Chariss's people are demanding that the teenage Jake Taiman denounce his beloved wife Tiatha Wold for the good of the race, or at least the Taiman line.
Saboteurs sneak into the family compound, right through Chariss's own army staked out on the front lawn, meaning there are snitches among the goddesses' own ranks.Read more ›