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Eolyn (Eolyn Chronicles Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Length: 328 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


"A child is hidden before her village is destroyed by the tyrant king's soldiers, after which she finds shelter in the forest with an old woman rumored to be a witch. Readers who persist beyond this familiar setup will find that the story deepens as young Eolyn, possibly the last of an ancient order of female magic users, matures while befriending Akmael, the prince whose father killed her family. Though Eolyn becomes the hope of a rebellion, she never has to carry the whole weight of the story; Akmael, the "witch" Ghemena, and other characters develop many intriguing facets. Gastreich allows her heroes to have flaws--including moments of cowardice--and some victories bring new sorrows. Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes will satisfy fans of traditional epic fantasy with a romantic thread." -- Publishers Weekly

Product Details

  • File Size: 3544 KB
  • Print Length: 328 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Hadley Rille Books (November 25, 2013)
  • Publication Date: November 25, 2013
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #827,714 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Welcome to a world of shadows and magic, honor and duty, fantastical creatures, and timeless love. Inspired by a lifetime of exploring lush forests and romantic landscapes, author Karin Rita Gastreich brings to vivid life tales of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose.

Karin's novels blend elements of epic fantasy, historical fiction, and romance. Grounded in traditional fantasy and real history, she crafts a diverse array of compelling male and female characters. A recipient of the Andrews Forest Writers Residency, Karin weaves the natural world into all her stories. From ancient woodlands to uncharted seas, readers will experience gripping battle scenes, heart wrenching loss, hard-won triumphs, and the ultimate magic of love.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Eolyn, Karin Gastreich's debut novel, is an excellent example of the other breed of Epic Fantasy epitomized by the works of Guy Gavriel Kay, which is to say, not the traditional "unlikely but fated and/or prophesied hero must face the dreaded return of dark lord." Instead, Gastreich's Eolyn focuses on the emotional, political, and physical conflicts between powerful and three-dimensional characters. You don't have any villains who do villainy because, well, that's just what villains do. Each character has compelling reasonable motivations. The action sequences are executed wonderfully and are unpredictable in that the character who "normally" triumphs doesn't always triumph.

Gastreich launches her characters on unavoidable collision courses and with her tendency to avoid stereotypes-- or use them to her advantage to create a surprising turn of events--the climatic sequence is thrilling because, for once, you really don't know how it will end.

The beginning of Eolyn, a clearly intentional nod to the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm, may give some readers pause as it feels young for an adult fantasy, but sticking with the story is amply rewarded and Gastreich does something with Eolyn in 328 pages that many fantasy authors fail to do with twice that page count: tell a complete and satisfying tale as the first novel of a trilogy. Readers of the aforementioned Guy Gavriel Kay and Robin Hobb will definitely enjoy this novel.

(This review is of an Advanced Review Copy)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I came to "Eolyn", oddly enough, by a Google Image Search, where I found the cover art, was intrigued, and decided to investigate, and I am very, very glad that I did so. "Eolyn" is the sort of book that comes along rarely in this genre, a book from a small press by a little-known author that while paying solid tribute to the forms of the past manages to chart interesting territory nonetheless. Downloading the Kindle sample, it took only two pages into Chapter 2 before I hit the quote that is the title of my review and was hooked. I purchased the Kindle version, but when you read the rest of my review, you will understand why I am planning on also purchasing the hardcover edition.

A cautionary note: The cover is of the sort of artwork that I would tend to expect to find on a young adult fantasy novel, and while at first the title character's age is unclear, it is clear that she is young, and soon we find that she is nine years old at the beginning of the book. This may lead some to conclude that this is a children's book. It is, put bluntly, not; Eolyn's early years are merely the set-up. The bulk of the story takes place after Eolyn reaches the age of 20, and adult themes of sexism, sexuality, coercion, and violence feature centrally in the plot.

I believe that I am going to have to read this book several times over to fully grasp its elegance.

In the grand tradition of many previous fantasy novels, our heroine occupies a world in which the gods had granted magic of various forms to the people, but bound them not to allow their rulers to practice magic, so as to avoid the conjoining of both magical and civil power in one person. This stricture is broken, and Tzeremond, a mage of great ambition and even greater enmity teaches Prince Kedehen in the ways of High Magic.
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Format: Hardcover
Eolyn is a great story, skilfully combining elements of familiar folklore and more original devices to ease the reader into a world that is at once both authentically complex in government, society and personalities and yet instantly accessible to the reader. Humour leavens the story (the 'house of sweetbread' is brilliant), but never becomes intrusive or undermines the strong threads of loss, duty, romance and revenge that permeate the book. And the action is often superb.

There are some times when some of the phrasing seems a trifle awkward (eg "I don't like it," decided Milena) but that would be my only complaint about what is otherwise a story fit to stand alongside the best of fantasy - because the story really is terrific and throughout avoids cliche or stereotype (except where the reader is lulled into assuming a cliche or stereotype, only to be surprised by Gastreich spinning the story in an unexpected way). Best of all, even the bad guys have actually a very reasonable (from their perspective) point of view: they have excellent reasons for their brutal repression of women's magic.

The ending is superb, both the climactic battle and its aftermath leaving no easy answers or trite successes: it's a real-world ending, and one that fits the characters and their desires and beliefs entirely.

Really, a great story, the best I've read so far this year. It can be devoured in a (long) sitting and then re-read at leisure to savour the many wonderful moments. It may begin a series, and I hope it does (though nothing indicates it will), but stands alone splendidly. A book to remember.
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Format: Paperback
I'm posting this for Dane Grannon the author of Lucky Streak

I want to preface this by saying that I know Karin through the Dead Horse Society Writing Group in Kansas City. I've been reading the sequel in our critique group.

As a middle-aged man, I don't feel like I'm the true demographic for this novel. I rarely read novels with a young female protagonist. It is a challenge for me to relate.

The book starts with a gripping sequence. There are many important bits of information which are necessary to understand the narrative, and they are given in just enough detail to keep the story making sense. I was riveted.

The next section is extremely important for defining the most important interpersonal relationship in the book. I found my attention wondering, but I knew the payoff would be worth plugging through. This is more likely a reflection of my state of mind than the novel. When I re-read it, I think I'll enjoy it more.

The remainder of the novel reads like an experienced novelist. To be honest, I felt it was more complex and subtle than King Rat. The plot contained many reasonable complications. None of the characters are exactly the way they appear. This rich world successfully engaged me to the point that I read the last hundred pages in almost no time. The ending was not a surprise to me since I'm reading the sequel, but normal readers will be excited by this.

All in all, I give this 4 out of 5 stars compared to all novels that I read. As a first novel this is 5 out of 5. I urge everyone to read it.
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