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Posted November 19, 2012
Lichgates follows the two main characters, Kara and Braeden, (and some others) during a journey in Ourea, a world tied to Earth through lichgates – or gates to other worlds.
While out hiking one day, Kara accidentally finds herself walking through a lichgate and falling into a hole in the earth where limbs began grabbing her. She falls into a library, with no doors, and the only furniture is a desk and chair with a red bound leather book sitting on the desk. Curiosity overcomes her, and she opens the book, sealing her future with something that she doesn’t want. She is now the Vagabond of Ourea. It is then that she meets Braeden, and they are thrown into a journey together. One they’ll never forget and one that includes trying to bring peace back to Ourea instead of war. But can they do it?
Kara has to overcome so many obstacles, including coming to terms with her past, learning how to trust, and learning that she can’t always trust those she thinks that she can. Braeden has to deal with the same thing – except his past is tied to his future which is bleak at best. But there is one thing they can always count on, each other, but at times, they probably shouldn’t.
I fell in love with this book quickly. Ms. Boyce definitely kept me wanting to know more about this book, and she did a wonderful job of creating a new world – a world full of strange beings and beings that I quickly fell in love with.
This book is definitely deserving of 5 Stars, and I strongly suggest picking up a copy today and reading it! If you like LoTR, Narnia, and other fantasy novels, you’ll love this one!
Posted July 16, 2012
I'm quite impressed and slightly disappointed at the same time. Impressed because this book came as such a pleasant surprise, and disappointed because it is not as hyped as it should be. Half the fantasy novels nowadays can't even hold a candle to the world S.M. Boyce has created for her Grimoire series.
Enter Ourea, a magical world divided by magical creatures of all shapes, sizes, colours, and names, and with interesting mythos for each of them to boot. The main creatures of note in Ourea are the yakona race, divided into six kingdoms which are not particularly friendly with each other. The kingdoms are comprised of yakona very different from each other, but one kingdom in particular has been the sole outcast because they are pegged as evil by the rest of them, and these are the Stelians.
Braeden Drakonin is the heir to the Blood (the word for king here) of the Stelian Kingdom, but he doesn't want to be a part of this evil race, nor does he want to be under the control of his father Blood Carden. As per the laws of the yakona, each and every subject of each Blood is bound to him/her, and so the Blood can control them and draw power or energy from them at his/her will. The Heir is no exception to this bondage. It gets more difficult for Braeden to resist Carden's will when he's closer to him, so he ran away with his Mother's help when he was very young. His desire is to break his bond with his father and the Stelian race in general, and he believes that the way to do this is by obtaining the Grimoire and becoming the Vagabond. That is, until he meets the Vagabond herself.
Kara is a human girl who passes through a lichgate (a portal to Ourea) by accident one day during a hiking trip. There she finds the red book that is the Grimoire, as well as the pendant of the Vagabond. The Grimoire opens for her and even speaks to her, choosing her to be its next Vagabond. Right from the very beginning, Kara and Braeden are captured by Blood Carden, and that served as the readers' introduction to the yakona, as well as Kara and Braeden's introductions to each other. As we go along, we find out that the Stelians aren't the only cruel yakona in Ourea, but they sure as hell are the only ones who do not try to hide it under pretenses of righteousness and propriety.
I love how quickly I got sucked in to the world of Ourea. The world-building was well-thought out, even down to the mythologies of each kingdom and yakona. Every time Kara visited a new, unfamiliar kingdom, the author did a good job of vividly narrating the glaring differences in the appearance and culture of the specific type of yakona living there, as well as the environment and the attitudes of each kingdom's royal bloodline toward the Vagabond. These descriptions effectively set the mood, and the most detailed of them are usually found only at the beginning, when Kara is seeing each new place for the first time. I especially like the monsters included in the story. Since each kingdom has one beast that more or less symbolizes them, I thought it a nice touch to completing each kingdom's identity. Also, when I say this book is filled with magic, I really mean <em>magic</em>
. None of that kid stuff where magic is used to levitate things to impress others, or when it is used in the most juvenile ways to get back at someone. Here we witness the sort of magic that kills people, the sort of magic found in deadly weapons, and magic that requires some sort of concentration to summon.
The concept of the Grimoire is the one that drew me to this story as based on the synopsis, but I find the whole workings of the Bloodlines more fascinating. The yakona are probably one of the most interesting fantastical races I've come across. I felt that most of the Kingdoms have been given enough exposure to make us get an idea as to where they stand in terms of the Vagabond being back. The old Vagabond makes various appearances throughout the story as well, mostly for Kara's benefit, but I find that he is probably my favourite character so far. I guess it has a lot to do with how mysterious he is, but he has this presence that holds your attention every time he appears in the pages. That's saying a lot since I do like the main characters in this story very much.
Since this is the first book in the trilogy, it serves majorly as an introduction to the world and the series, and the role each of the characters plays in the story. It's mostly about Kara and her journey to understanding her new responsibility as the Vagabond, the person tasked to unite the whole yakona race, while grappling with her own personal issues. Along the way we see how strong in character she really is, because while her fate is a heavy one, she doesn't let it weigh her down or dictate her actions. She's written in such a way that I feel like I would gladly join her in her cause, or at the least be one of her friends. This kind of connection is very rare for me. Also, and I think many people will be happy to hear this, she isn't like the slew of female protagonists lately, the sort who throws herself at her leading man every chance she gets. No insta-love involved here, folks. There is time taken to develop the spark between the characters. And by spark, I mean, the holy-hell-my-heart-just-palpitated-let-me-read-that-part-again kind. The chemistry between Kara and Braeden were especially magnificent to read. You can't help but root for them! I love the two of them separately, but the two of them together is just almost too perfect to bear. Their relationship just kind of took its natural course, and I'm fairly certain there will be a twist in there somewhere that will make it so much more.
However this book is not centered on romance (mostly just a flicker here and there actually), and thank goodness she avoided that pitfall. It's mostly about the charactersi inner battles while battling the evil forces in Ourea. Braeden himself is quite conflicted, and I think of the two of them, he has the worse luck compared to Kara. The author does a good job in showing us the kind of secrets that Braeden has been holding on to for so long, but I get the sense that there's still a whole lot more that is yet to be revealed. There are characters here and there, like Twin or Garrett or Adele, whose major roles are yet to be revealed, and I just know that none of these characters have been placed in the story purposelessly.
One of the best things about this book are the characters. They are all quite likable and convincing, except that Kara has this ridiculous stubbornness when it comes to wearing dresses that landed her in more trouble than was necessary, and Braedan has this annoying habit of winking incessantly. But all in all, I like how complex and imperfect they are, and even the secondary characters get some scenes where something really important about them is revealed. I also like the flow of the dialogues, which just blend into the story to make it equal parts funny and equal parts heart-stopping. The scenes where there's thrill and action were executed well. I could feel the urgency and the shifts in moods very effectively. The fast pacing makes it seem like she accomplished so many things in so little time. Not even the moments she spent resting or training (or even idle) dragged, and this is just perfect for a story as adventure-riddled as this one.
The ending, I thought, was well wrapped-up. It doesn't involve a gut-wrenching cliffhanger (seriously, there are authors who are so cruel!), and actually kind of gives closure to the main goal that Kara had set out to accomplish for this particular chapter in her duties as the new Vagabond. Then the epilogue hints at something big about to happen, and it simply makes you want to grab the next book as soon as possible.
My only problem was that I felt that things seem to have been too easy for Kara. It's not in the sense that she knew everything she needed to do and where she needed to go in a
Posted June 10, 2012
In Lichgates, S.M. Boyce shows--in grand style and with a debut novel, to boot--that she is capable of joining the ranks of the genre's greats.
Her characters are charismatic and endearing. Their story is compelling. Her world overflows with magic, drama, adventure, and layer-upon-layer of intrigue and suspense. Boyce's storytelling is so rich and deftly executed that I found myself bouncing between pure amazement, unadulterated enjoyment, and absolute, perverse envy. She is that good.
Are there flaws? Of course--the fact that we must wait for the second book!
In fact, forget what I said earlier--Lichgates immediately places S.M. Boyce in the pantheon of fantasy writers. It isn't all wine and roses, though. In addition to the epic story Boyce must complete, she now has to contend with the monster of expectations that she, alone, is responsible for creating.
Bottom line: if you read only one new book this week ... this month ... this year, read this one.
Posted June 6, 2012
I started reading this book slowly, so I could enjoy in it longer. But today I started reading it and I totally lost myself in it. Before I could stop myself I finished this book and 3 hours just passed like that. I feel like I woke up from a dream.
At the beginning of the book it reminded me of Narnia and then I thought it has some connections with The Lord of the Rigs, and also I could see some stuff I saw in books for kids or somewhere when I was little. At some point I stopped thinking about that and then I realized that this book has it own story. Everything fits in its place.
Here you'll find some new species like Isen, yakona and the Blood, but your attention will be on two people (well technically one of them is Blood) Kara and Braeden. So basically this book has three main things that I like in books: fantasy, magic and romance. But not that romance that they're dying for each other and that they can't live without each other and bla bla bla. Here you'll be fascinated with Ourea and its Kingdoms.
I really hope that one day this book is going to be published and translated so I could read this to my kids before they go to sleep, I’m sure they’ll have sweet dreams. Now I can’t wait for the second book. Just tell me if there is a line where I can wait to be sure to get it.
Posted May 2, 2012
The story begins with a young woman, Kara, hiking through the forest in the northern Rockies when she unexpectedly passes through a Lichgate, a magical doorway into a hidden part of our world. She discovers a powerful book, the Grimoire, and finds herself entangled in a dangerous web of political intrigue, deadly secrets, and racial war. Guided by a dangerous prince who must live in constant disguise, she is never certain who she can trust. As everything that matters to her is stripped away, she must take on a new identity and find a way to promote peace in a world determined for war.
Sounds awesome, right? It is! This book is full of action from the very beginning. There are deadly creatures at every turn and Kara struggles to stay just one step ahead with little to guide her in this dangerous place. It will keep you turning pages, believe me!
The characters are just as detailed as the many and various creatures. Imagine different races that are not only distinct in their appearances, but in their abilities and how they live. Can they ever learn to respect one another and work together? Must they always fight and consider each other enemies? I adore what Boyce has done with the prince in this story, Braeden. As if it isn’t fabulous enough that he lives in constant disguise, hunted by his own father and feared by all others, he softens for Kara, showing a side of himself, and his kind, that none believe to exist. I think even he is surprised by it. How incredible it is that Boyce is able to convey all of that to us in a way that feels as though we are discovering Braeden as he is discovering himself. Wonderful work!
Watch this author, friends. Her sequel, Treason, is expected to come out this summer. I am on pins and needles for this one. I can hardly wait to see what happens next to Kara and Braeden. Will they finish their quest or die trying?
Posted April 19, 2012
What a fun adventure Kara's journey turned out to be. She's smart and sassy and fun to follow through this story.
Having just lost her mother, Kara is looking for an escape. When she goes hiking one fine afternoon and stumbles on a lichgate her life turns upside down. She is immediately drawn into an adventure of a lifetime and doesn't look back, well, mostly. She is trapped by a book that makes her its guardian. Along with the book comes a lot of responsibility, and I don't blame Kara for not wanting it.
Kara faces many obstacles along her journey. I admire her spunk and resilience especially considering all she had to put up with from the species and world she couldn't have previously immagined. This story has more of an epic fantasy feel with rich description between vivid action. Boyce paints the world of Ourea with delicate strokes. Kara and Braeden are fun to follow and each brings an important roll to this story. I have to admit I wanted more romance, but that's just me. We do get a little toward the end, but I wanted more, dang it. As to the story as a whole, my only complaint is that a few things came too easily to Kara. I don't do spoilers, so you will just have to see if you come to the same conclusion. This wasn't much though, and it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book. I'm really glad I purchased it. Overall rating 4.5 shining stars. I can't wait to see what happens next.