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on November 7, 2011

Trueblood's Plight is a fascinating fantasy read. The characters include human, as well as magical creatures, the Gryphons. There are other fantastical characters, who are peripheral, and not described very well. After the initial necessary slog through scene setting and character introduction, the story moves fast. This is a classic story of good versus evil, trust versus betrayal, and love versus debilitating hatred. Above and beyond that, the story becomes an intricately woven mystery. At a point near the end, it is difficult to tell what is truth, and what is magical illusion.

Ava's clan is under attack by the Kar'itsai - a group of creatures who have closed off their food supply, with magic and troops. The Gryphons, giphens, and their human allies are starved to the point of non resistance. The enemy want Ava, and more importantly, her magical abilities. As one of only two truebloods in existence, they need her to use against the other trueblood - who has turned against his own clan. My heart went out to Ava and her human friend Kivra, as they forge into enemy territory to form an alliance with a powerful mage.

The story revolves around Ava, a young giphen, and her gryphon elders. As a novitiate to gryphon lore, I didn't know that gryphons and giphens were two different races. They are of the same species, but different. I thought they were the same creature, but the author was having spell check issues. It's possible that gyphens are the author's own construct, and not related to accepted gryphon lore, so I was confused until the difference in race was mentioned around the fifth chapter. I think the character analysis should have been a little less confusing at the beginning.

Trueblood's Plight is a powerful tale, with many ins and outs winding through the plot line. The reader has to pay very close attention to each one of the main characters, their emotions and their actions. As the story unfolds, it's a bit difficult to decide who the good guys are, and who are evil incarnate. There is a lot of grey area, where it's hard to tell. This story could be rough to wade through for readers who are unused to fantasy story lines that change their direction entirely, merely by invoking some convenient magic. Fortunately, I am a fantasy fan who enjoys a good challenge that engages my imagination. I loved it!
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on November 3, 2011
When I was in high school, I was big on reading high fantasy. Though since I married somebody who loves gryphons, now I wonder things such as:

Why do dragons get all the action?

Why don't gryphons get as many books?

Is it because fire-breathing and scales are considered more bad-ass than talons and floof?

E.S. Lark adds to the much-too-small library of gryphon stories out there with Trueblood's Plight, the story of these loyal creatures and their human friends.

Right away, you know there is something amiss in the world. An enemy known as the Endarkened attacked many decades ago, and the world has been at war ever since.

The main character is Ava, a special giphen (basically a miniature gryphon) gifted with powers beyond normal gryphons, and therefore a very important ally in the fight against the Endarkened.

Told mostly from her point of view, this high fantasy will appeal to fans of the Mercedes Lackey gryphon series. I love how E. S. really gets into the world of the gryphons and giphens, giving us not just the story of a world at war, but a sense of the tension between the two races of magical creatures. She has done an amazing job giving Ava a voice, from the giphen's thoughts to her movements and gestures. You're not just reading about a giphen. You're looking through her eyes, which is the goal of any story - for us to identify with the main character.

I've read some wonderful animal-centered books in my time (my favorite is The Heavenly Horse from the Outermost West), and I think it must be especially tricky to write from the point of view of a non-humanoid creature, but E.S. does it very effectively.

Little Ava shares a special bond with the human, Kivra. I was particularly moved by the scene in which Ava drapes her wing over the distraught human in an effort to comfort her after hearing the news of an ambush that leaves the lives of several of their warriors in doubt. Both Ava and Kivra feel guilty and responsible for the tragic event. They are able to confide in each other and move on past what has happened.

Furthermore, the Endarkened is well-aware of the threat that Ava's very special nature poses to them. Ava finds herself involved, not just in a larger fight for the safety of their world, but also in danger on a very personal level.

From that moment on, Ava's journey takes many twists and turns as she learns more about herself. True to epic fantasy style, this is not just a story about a war and people on the brink of losing hope. It is a journey of self-discovery for the main character.

This is a worthy addition to the personal libraries of gryphon and fantasy-lovers alike. I know that I found myself cheering for Ava, hoping that she would find the happy ending she deserved. ^.^
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on November 2, 2011
I did not know about gryphons before reading E.S. Lark's books.
Now I'm happily well acquainted with them. Not only gryphons but giphens as well (smaller creatures). I love the way Ms. Lark (The E. stands for Emily) has created a non-human main character and showed us a fantasy world from the animal's point of view. Imagine the stories about the boy boy wizard from the viewpoint of the owl, and that's kind of what you have in these books.
Little Ava is a giphon. She shares a bond with her human friend Kivra.
Throughout this book Ava goes on an amazing journey of self-discovery.

At times, this book reminded me of Paolini's Eragon series, but I enjoyed this much more. I loved TheWaking Grove (free ebook for Amazon Kindle) but found the second book to be even better.

Ms. Lark has been able to enchant and captivate us with her writing. The characters are intense but warm and likeable. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys fantasy novels and I'm anxiously awaiting the third book from this author.

Do yourself a favor, sit down and read both The Waking Grove and Trueblood's Plight. You'll be glad you did.
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on May 1, 2015
This book is very good because I haven't read stories that have this particular type of mythical creatures. It was good to learn something new.
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on January 1, 2013
You will enjoy this book if you like the genre since it is well written, and good background takes you there as well.
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