- Series: Militess & Mage (Book 1)
- Paperback: 409 pages
- Publisher: Stalking Fiction (June 20, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0985976144
- ISBN-13: 978-0985976149
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 66 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,076,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Shadow & The Sun (Militess & Mage) Paperback – June 20, 2016
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About the Author
Monica Enderle Pierce and her characters have been kicking the crap out of evil since 2012. Her first novel, Girl Under Glass, was a 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semi-finalist and a multi-category sci-fi bestseller. Of her historical, dark fantasy novel, Famine, reviewers have said, “Jeez. Effing heck. I need more now!” and “Just fantastic... Such a great read!” And Monica’s short stories have been featured in the best-selling Future Chronicles anthologies: The Dragon Chronicles and The Doomsday Chronicles. Her stories are immersive, detailed, and character-driven, full of love, tension, and bad guys getting their just deserts. Monica has an English literature degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and she lives in Seattle, WA, USA with her husband, their daughter, a neurotic dog, two crazy tomcats, and a fish. You can find Monica and her books via the following links: Facebook: (https://www.facebook.com/MonicaEnderlePierce/) Twitter: (https://twitter.com/MonicaEPierce) Website: (http://stalkingfiction.com) Email: (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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What I loved:
1) The main character conflict outside of the budding romance. The layering and build up of troubles for Gethen. How he was torn between two kings while being entrenched in one of the most dangerous situations of his Mage occupation.
2) The fight scenes were all well done with appropriate pacing and vivid action.
3) The epic fantasy elements are solid. The author excels at creature descriptions, and magic use/magic battles. There’s also a descent level of horror mixed in.
Areas of Opportunity:
1) The background and motivation of Gethen. A lot of page time is dedicated to his background story, however I was never convinced he was a necromancer. Mage, certainly. A reformed necromancer with a history full of torture, death, and demon swinging, nope.
2) The motivation of Halina is flat, leaving her in the realm of troupe warrior princess and not the unique character she had the potential to be. She’s a warrior, but she shrugs about it. She’s a royal, she might pull rank on you, but still doesn’t seem to care. She’s a bastard daughter, doesn’t seem to stress her out. Her most real moment is when she agree’s to sacrifice her freedom in order to get Gethen to commit to her goals, which are to help spare her people from war. Otherwise she has zero personal motivations. This made her one dimensional and boring.
3) The fantasy plot pulled me through the story, not the romance. There’s a romance plot, but it’s far less compelling than I anticipated.
Here's what I liked: halina was fun. author has a flare for descriptions
Here's what I didn't like: it was more like I was reading how it'd look as a movie with stunts...
The way this story was told is kinda outside my wheelhouse, which is fine. however it was hard to follow who was talking half the time, and some of her phrases were confusing, especially after Gethen gathered the knowledge he needed. The whole last quarter of the book felt like it had been rushed, but the overall story had been resolved.
While the story takes place in only two places, I did feel a sense of world building. There was perhaps a bit too much name dropping without a map to consult but it did give the sense of a larger world out there with several nations for future stories to consider. I really enjoyed the brief desert visit. I also think the story stands out from the crowd. (And I'm a sucker for bad boy wizards!)
Things were a bit too called out - like ooo here's mentioning this thing a few times so you get the idea that it is a Bad Thing. It made what happened too predictable whereas if it was more subtly brought up the impact would have been a good gotchya. There are at least two incidences of this where I eye rolled and went jeeze, how can the main characters NOT see this since it's so in your face.
Also I question the antagonist's range of power - she seemed too strong or not strong enough depending on what the plot required. Because of this, the final battle with the ultimate evil was simply ok. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't feel good awesome for me. I think this is a result of him getting instantly good and the enemy just hanging in there that made it lack tension.
I think the time spent 'learning' his sun powers was cut way too short. I feel that the shadow mage aspect was much more interesting because of his losing his powers and his refusal to use it to kill and we got to see how he used it both in absorbing spirit energy, dealing with the Void, and making potions. His sun magic was pretty glossed over and he just started using it at need with no fumbling and I'm not sure what he was using on his potions after that. While there was mention of him keeping his shadow knowledge, there was no evidence of him struggling to adjust once he just flipped the switch to full sun mage. I was expecting a bit of mishmash and didn't get it.
Also, the entire ending of the book seemed to trail off as if the author was so excited to wrap it up that things got glossed over. When suddenly you have people in the tower again and no idea how they got there or what happened it's a bit jarring. It is a HEA and no cliffhanger so no worries there, I just would have liked a bit more flesh to go with that post battle ending. The brother and ex lover and both kings were all marginalized at the end as well as the war that was brewing but maybe not anymore but I dunno because we weren't really told how that was resolved.
In summary, this is a really good unique story with just a few nits. I'd definitely recommend it.