Saturday, December 31, 2022

New Year's Eve

As 2022 rolls away I think it is only fitting to look back on this year's accomplishments:

  • The Nine Realms series by Sarah Kozloff
  • Prince of the Blood by of Raymond E. Feist
  • Terciel and Elinor by Garth Nix, prequel to his Abhorsen series
  • The Last Keeper, Book One of J.V. Hilliard's Warminster Series
  • Escape from Falaise, book #5 of the Ranger's Apprentice: The Royal Ranger series by John Flanagan
  • In the Serpent's Wake by Rachel Hartman, sequel to Tess of the Road
  • Volumes three through six of the Novels of Tiger and Del by Jennifer Roberson, one of the few series I have given a second chance.
  • Five Little Pigs by Dame Agatha Christie
  • A rereading of Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia A. McKillip, who was lost to us this year.
  • The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta
  • The Murder at the Vicarage by Dame Agatha Christie
  • The first two books of Jaclyn Moriarty's Kingdoms and Empires Series
  • Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
Of course, this was also the year I joined the hallowed ranks of Fantasy authors with the publication of my own book, The Last War: Book One of the Cynnahu Saga! With luck I shall publish book two, Dragon Guardians, ere my next New Year's Eve post. (The rough draft is fully written, but editing takes time.)

I have started Vorodin's Lair, Book Two of J.V. Hilliard's Warminster Series

"Crimson flags borne on horses of white, see them ride, ye children of light." – The Ballad of Eldwal

I have started Vorodin's Lair, Book Two of J.V. Hilliard's Warminster Series.

Almost a year ago I read the first book, The Last Keeper, at the author's request for an Official Book Review but once I get hooked on a series I stay till the end, and by the Ancients am I hooked in and by the magical and marvelously deep realm of Warminster! So do I reunite with Princess Addilyn Elspeth and Last Keeper Daemus Alaric as they, with a pair of mercifully not-beheaded friends, make for the scholar city of Abacus on a quest guided by Erud. But Graytorris the Mad will not let them make it unhindered anymore than let the rest of the realm escape unscathed, for treachery blooms like the dark flowers on Bone Elf daggers. Daggers already watered in blood as this epic, unique, and unpredictable saga continues.

"The blade of betrayal, the sharpest of weapons, is wielded not by your enemies, but by your friends." – Warminster the Mage

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

I have finished the Nine Realms series by Sarah Kozloff

I have finished The Cerulean Queen by Sarah Kozloff, the fourth and final volume of her Nine Realms series.

After an era of war and injustice, corruption and fanaticism, peace has – like Queen Cerulia the Gryphling – returned to Ennea Mόn. A peace long-fought, well-earned and exquisitely detailed, the Nine Realms series that chronicles it is one of the most stately, dignified fantasies I have ever read. For while its plot, partial grittiness and modern themes steps a toe or two into the grimdark, Sarah Kozloff maintains the high-minded moral integrity I associate with Tolkien on a journey that for the characters spanned over a decade. Making this series more in the vein of Mercedes Lackey in that it shows the best and worst of humanity, as well as the sacrifices good people must make to see their people through to an earned dawn.

Spirits Blessings to you Queen Cerulia & Commander Thalen, Percia & Marcot, Tilim, Stalhia, Ciello, Chronicler Sewel, Norling, Peddler, Gunnit, Spinner Destra, Nana, Healer, Cerf, Tristo, Wareth and all the rest of the Raiders, all the Queen's Shield, Rector Meakey and the rest of the Scholairium, Lemle, and so many others. To those righteous who passed, may your Spirits guide your souls.

"When danger through the realm may reach,
The Nargis Nymph allots to each,
A Talent for the Times."

Friday, December 16, 2022

Goodbye, Pokémon Master Ash

We never thought it would happen, but it did. As of the end of the Pokémon Season 25, Ash Ketchum realized his dream and became a Pokémon Master. Which is why, while there will be a 26th season, Ash will no longer be the main protagonist.

After more than two decades Ash's journey has reached it's final chapter... It is hard not to feel a little emotional as so many of us grew up with him - even as he remained forever 10. For myself, I remember being introduced to him and Pokémon in Kindergarten, watching the very first episodes with my friends even as we haggled over Pokémon cards. Pokémon was a cornerstone of my childhood, the first and only adventure series I either watched or read before I got into Fantasy literature. I followed Ash on his journey. 

I still remember, vividly, watching Pokémon the Movie: 2000 for the first time, namely the awe I felt at the climax with Lugia's song - the first time I ever recall feeling that emotion. I remember going to the theater to see Pokémon 3: the Movie, and literally shouting with excitement as Charizard battled Entei. I remember crying with my sister at the ending of Pokémon Heroes (the 5th movie). With my friends I memorized and sang the new theme songs as he ventured into Johto then Hoenn, borrowing their VHS tapes to watch at home. I collected Pokémon action-figures (which I still have), played and beat Crystal Version, kept collecting and trading cards. Then stopped for a while.

I had not lost interest, but life got busy and I was never enough of a TV person. I still watched the VHSs then DVDs, never finishing Heonn but seeing the first chunk of Sinnoh. Until, in my final years of High School, I saw that Sinnoh had ended and found a website where you could watch every episode from every season for free. So I watched. Every day when I got home from CRLS I sat at the computer and watched two episodes. I followed Ash on his journey, watched all the movies, until I was all caught up. Because, and I say this without shame but rather with intense pride, I LOVE Pokémon. For its eternal lessons of wholesome friendships and determination so powerful they can overcome impossible odds. Lessons I learned later in Fantasy, but Pokémon was my first teacher.

So I say now, feeling blessed to have been part of it and bittersweet that it is over, congratulations Ash. I will miss you, Pikachu, Brock, Misty, May, Max, Dawn, Iris, Cilan, and all the rest. It is the end of an era. Thank you Ash and Pikachu for being such a huge part of everyone’s childhood. (I still have some season catch-up to do actually, but knowing that the journey has a final ending changes things for me emotionally.)

(By the way, I still have all the songs memorized in addition to my cards, the latter of which I still look at from time to time, remembering the hours of trading and shrewd deals that earned me each and every one from so many dear friends.) 


Thursday, December 15, 2022

Quote of the month

"When you choose the fight you must take the consequences, win or lose." - Bain of Black Rock sept of the Shaarad Aiel

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Readers' Favorite Book Reviews of The Last War (The Cynnahu Saga Book 1)

Not one, but three more 5 Star reviews for my book The Last War! All by reviewers from acclaimed review site Readers' Favorite. You can read them per the above link, or continue on here.

Review #1:

"The Last War is a work of fiction in the epic fantasy and adventure subgenres and forms the opening novel of The Cynnahu Saga. It is intended for the young adult reading audience and was penned by author Ian E.S. Adler. In a faraway fantasy land plagued by war, the threat of a new invasion sets events in motion for this to be the war to end all wars. Two youngsters and three talented mages set forth on a quest to save their land from the serpentine threat of the Naga, but the riddles they must solve to traverse dangerous lands and collect all the pieces of the Song are only the beginning of their challenges. Author Ian E.S. Adler has found a superb balance between a fantasy adventure novel that is accessible and appealing to young adults, and one which is suitably complex and immersive enough to also grip adult readers from start to finish. I particularly enjoyed the ensemble cast of characters and the mixture of ages, which bridges the gap nicely between the young heroes who have much to learn and the older wise mages with echoes of the classic fantasy heroes that young readers will no doubt go on to enjoy in the future. The worldbuilding is also a highly engaging aspect of the work, with Adler putting a great amount of detail into the history and culture of Cynnahu, so much so that every battle-scarred vista becomes cinematically real in the reader’s mind. Overall, I would certainly recommend The Last War as a superbly engrossing series opener, and I cannot wait to see what the author has in store for us next."


Review #2:

"The Last War: Book One of The Cynnahu Saga by Ian E.S. Adler takes you on an epic ride into the world of fantasy. Peace had reigned in the Archipelago of Cynnahu for hundreds of years. Now ancient serpentine foes, the Naga, cut across the waters of Cynnahu, seeking to unleash destruction upon humanity. Guttural screams and hisses can now be heard closer than ever, and a great fleet of dark vessels can be seen fast approaching the westernmost isle of the Archipelago. The island's defenders are outnumbered six to one by the enemy, and even the most astounding magic from a mage will not be enough to keep these snake folk at bay. When the dying groan of the defender's captain echoes across the island, all know that it's a lost battle. With every mile that the Naga invades, doom for humanity draws nearer. Hope stirs on the heels of fear. A group of two young people and three mages are on a quest to summon an ancient power that ended a war thousands of years ago. Humanity may have a chance to escape the impending catastrophe if the team succeeds in its quest. The story is set up with a prologue to give readers a basic understanding of the setting. You learn the history of these lands and how the first human mages arrived with great might to save them from a race that had oppressed humans for a long time. The author also visually sets the stage with a precise map to help you get into the story and keep you from losing your way. Whenever a challenging term or concept is introduced, Ian E.S. Adler uses footnotes crafted in easy-to-understand language to provide explanations. This is a great way to guide the reader without disrupting the flow of the story. Even though this book has a large cast of characters, they all had important roles in advancing the plot. Even so, you will choose your favorites. My favorite character was Sakura. I liked her ability and quickness to learn new skills, despite her youth. With war looming, every fighting skill she learns will be vital to her survival. With a fiery mage for a teacher, she'll be the best. Or will she? The Last War takes you off the grid for the epic adventure you are seeking. Grab a copy and enjoy."

Review #3:

"The Last War by Ian S. E. Adler is the first book in the Cynnahu Saga. The Cynnahu people have a heritage rooted in a war that saw their ancestors taking over the land from the Dragonkin. Now history seems to be repeating itself as the Cynnahu people are facing a war with their long-time enemies, the Naga, who have decided to invade. A prophecy comes to light that tells of the Last War between the two enemies with salvation for their people coming in the form of five chosen ones. As the five are drawn together, they discover their true destiny and undergo rigorous training. At the heart is an ancient riddle that serves as a catalyst for the prophecy and as a guide for the characters to follow. The riddle features hints as to what's to come in the story, the Hour of Doom, and a reference to one that shall fall in Elderland. But will it be enough to stop the invasion of the Naga? Fine details stem from classic fantasy elements such as swords, magic, war, fantastical species such as the Naga, and destiny. These elements work to create a world that draws you in with lovely visual images. Magic is heavily featured, rounding out the culture of the Cynnahu and the world to create a fantasy atmosphere. Several instances of magic are seen in training and used in battle with various spells that conjure up the four elements. These are subtly included by Ian S. E. Adler which makes magic feel like a natural part of the world. The world has a rich history that ties back to the Cynnahu's ancestors who took over the continent after wiping out the Dragonkin. This history is deeply rooted in the progression of the story with Adler weaving in various details such as the diary of Gwydara, various texts read by Aneirin, and letters that refer to the prophecy. The focus of the plot is on the war between the Cynnahu and the Naga which is where each character is found, training for their destiny, digging into the prophecy, and with individual journeys that push them to become heroes. The plot is character driven with the growth of the protagonists rooted in the destiny they were handed. Dive into The Last War which delivers a fantasy adventure through a vivid world with great details, magic, a map, prophecy, and characters seeking their destiny."

Saturday, December 3, 2022

I have started The Cerulean Queen by Sarah Kozloff

I have started The Cerulean Queen by Sarah Kozloff, the fourth and final volume of her Nine Realms series.

At long last the Queen has returned! But tis one thing to reclaim the Nargis Throne and another to keep it, leaving Queen Cerulia of Weirandale to deal with traitors by the hundreds and foreign fire-worshiping fanatics by the thousands, not to mention returning order to a realm long corrupted.

"Remove your cloak and boots, weary traveler,
And rest. For you are not fully returned.
Land, walls, or brooks don't guarantee welcome,
And a nation - or a family - must be earned."

Friday, December 2, 2022

My author logo

Call it marketing if you will or vanity if you must, but paying $10 for an official author logo (courtesy of GetCovers, the same people who designed the cover for The Last War) is ten dollars well spent.