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Ruined City Paperback – December 9, 2013
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
About the Author
A. F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, and still calls it home. She has always had an overly creative mind, and an active imagination. She is fond of good books, action movies, and dabbles in oil painting as a hobby.
Ms. Stewart has been writing for several years, her main focus being in the fantasy genre. She also has a great interest in history and mythology, often working those themes into her books and stories. She has authored and published several books, including Gothic Cavalcade, Killers and Demons, Chronicles of the Undead, Shadows of Poetry, Passing Fancies and Once Upon a Dark and Eerie...
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Top customer reviews
I traditionally don't like short stories, and I picked this up even though I thought it was an anthology because a Goodreads group I'm in was reading it. So I thought, what the heck, it couldn't hoit!
What surprised me is, despite the above, I really liked it. The twelve stories were interwoven into one cohesive story that spanned decades. It's the same story, just told from different points of view. It did get a little glitchy at times spanning different time periods, and the adjustment at times was a bit rocky, but overall I didn't have a problem figuring out and following the timeline.
Each POV is told in first person. While that may seem awkward and questionable, for me it worked because you spend so little time with each character, the first person POV gives you better insight into their thoughts and feelings. I liked being able to get into each character's head for our short visits.
If you're looking for a quick, engaging fantasy, give this one a try.
I have always enjoyed A.F. Stewart's work. Her wordplay is instinctual and she reminds me of Poe with a little King mixed in. She is classically dark with a touch of the maniacal. I am of course speaking of her work. In life Ms. Stewart is a great support to authors both beginning and established. Her writing, however, is diabolical... and I mean that in the good way.
Ruined City, her latest work, is a thing of beauty. One of my few complaints of Ms. Stewart's past work is the lack of continuity within a tale. The first book I read, Once Upon a Dark and Eerie, was well written but the micro short stories left me dissatisfied and hungry. The next I read was Killers and Demons, a much more filling book of longer tales that I enjoyed... but in Ruined City Ms. Stewart has an enduring work.
Ruined City is the tale of a cursed city seen over time thru the eyes of the inhabitants. From the servants to the king we are privileged to candid insights that guide us thru the connected tale of worry and woe. Even the demons themselves are not safe from our prying eyes as we witness the story from their perspective.
My favorite part is that of Elderen and Nisee, two lovers that enjoy their first kiss as the last thing they know. Fatally optimistic, they are a perfect example of how a positive outlook can overcome the worst of all situations. Even in death there can be hope.
Pros: A wealth of imagery brings the Sapphire Palace and the surrounding town of Elowen to shimmering life. The back story is detailed and believable. The characters are well fleshed out, even as it is being torn from their bones. The horror is nicely balanced with plot. There's no sense of gore for the shock value. When blood spills in Elowen it moves the story forward. This tale is well-edited, concise and immersive.
Cons: There was one paragraph where I noted a typo that caused me to re read for clarification but otherwise I really have no complaints. It is a shorter read, but it is so perfectly balanced I think making it longer would just create drag.
I'd recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a more classic style of literature. Ms. Stewart's writing is mentally stimulating and has the descriptive feel at times of a distilled Dickens - all the description without all the pages. Ruined City is focused, hard and brilliant like a cut jewel held up to the light. Every way we turn it reveals another fascinating plane to contemplate.
Originally posted at: [...]
The author creates magical scenes and imbues them with emotion, faint hints of modern-day questions lurking on the tongue. Different characters narrate the tale, giving the story immediacy and depth while keeping the chapters fresh and the reader eager for more. Mixing past and present tense, hope and fear, deep emotions and relentless powers, the haunting vignettes in these tales grow together into a convincing and intriguing tale with a nice sense of warning and completion. Occasional typos might mar the stories for some readers, but powerful writing drew me deeply into the author's vivid imagination--an enjoyable journey.
Disclosure: The author kindly gave me an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The city of Elowen and the Sapphire Palace are so easy to imagine. Quote: " "Pain screams through my body and I fall back to my knees, spitting blood. But I will finish; he needs to know. "The founder of this place, ...Thelphin bound the walls of this city with dark magic, with the bones and souls of the dead of Karrul. Didn't you wonder why these walls have never been breached?""
I would recommend this book to all readers that enjoy black fantasy.