Book Review: Birdwing

Birdwing by Rafe Martin
Birdwing 
by Rafe Martin

4 out of 5 stars on GoodREads


Ardwin is the youngest in his family, cursed with one arm that is a swan’s wing. He is feared and reviled by the world, and sets out to seek an adventure that will lead him to his true home. But he will never find peace until he learns to accept himself, wing and all.

This is a continuation of the fairy tale of the brothers who are transformed into swans and saved by their sister who weaves shirts of nettles to break the curse. One little brother’s shirt is unfinished, missing a sleeve, and that arm remains a swan’s wing.

I loved Ardwin’s character! He’s a very deep thinker, and he puzzles through many ideas about identity, instinct, belonging, love, and hate, and forgiveness. There are so many wonderful themes that he wrestles with, but he ultimately finds where he truly belongs.

The plot is wonderfully fantastical, full of wizards, enchantresses, talking animals, deep earth magic, and impossible plot twists that kept me guessing and wondering and perfectly in awe. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Emiline

Emiline by Kimberli Johnson
Emiline: Knight in Training 
by Kimberli Johnson

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This picture book features Emiline, a little girl who is training to be a knight. She struggles with reading because she has dyslexia, but her teacher encourages her to do her best and rise to the challenge. When her fellow knights are in danger, Emiline is the only one who can lead the way to safety by reading the riddle on a magic door and opening the portal.

The story is simple and fun. The illustrations are soft and graceful. But I’m not particularly impressed.
The story is almost TOO simple. The illustrations are TOO soft. I would have liked a little more clarity in the artwork. And the plot needed some more depth. There’s a lot of “telling” instead of “showing”, and the dialogue could have been more polished.

It’s a lovely little book, and I enjoyed reading it. Emiline is completely adorable, and I admire her spunk.

Disclaimer: I received an ecopy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

Book Review: The Wizard Test

The Wizard Test by Hilari Bell
The Wizard Test 
by Hilari Bell (Goodreads Author)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Dayven hates wizards, believing the rumors that they are sly and dishonest, but he is required to take the Wizard Test to find out if he has any magical ability. When Dayven passes the test and the magic inside him is revealed, he must choose where his loyalties lie, and discover the true meaning of destiny.

I enjoyed reading this book, and loved the magic system! Nothing and no one is quite what you expect, because we see the world through Dayven’s eyes, and he has only known rumors and propaganda. He believes the enemies of his nation are stupid barbarians, and we are just as amazed as he is to observe that they have an elegant and vibrant culture. He believes that all wizards are selfish deceivers, and we are just as astonished as he is to realize that the wizards are compassionate champions of justice. I loved going on this journey of discovery with Dayven as he explores the truth of his world.

I loved the characters, and how they are described in just a few words that gives you a rich picture of who they are. I immediately connected with the main characters, and was pulled along in their emotional story. Continue reading

Book Review: Fire Bringer

Fire Bringer by David Clement-Davies
Fire Bringer 
by David Clement-Davies (Goodreads Author)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

As a little fawn, Rannoch is born with an oak leaf mark on his forehead that signals the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. When his father is murdered on the very night of his birth, Rannoch must be hidden and kept safe from the eyes of the tyrant deer lord, Drail. As Drail gets closer to discovering Rannoch’s true identity, Rannoch and his friends must flee to the North, propelling them on an epic journey towards freedom and healing for all the deer in Scotland.

It took me awhile to get into the flow of the story. There are far too many characters, some of them with similar names, making it difficult to remember them all, and the writing spends way too much time explaining boring details ad nauseum. But once the story began to move, I enjoyed the adventure, the characters, and the world-building of the deer herds and their culture. But then I was disappointed in the ending. It needed more flair, and it didn’t deliver quite the epic conclusion I was looking for.

A good read, but not amazing. The writing could have been more polished, and the plot needed better pacing to keep the story moving forward.