Today we have a double review – for Sora’s Quest and Viper’s Creed. Check out more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and giveaways on the tour hosted by These Paper Worlds Book Tours. Please note that everyone who leaves a comment at any of the tour stops is entered into a drawing to win a custom blog design by Skyway Avenue Designs. The winner will be announced on November 1st at thesepaperworldsbt.blogspot.com. A full tour schedule is available HERE. Although, I think both books are worth 4 1/2 stars, I don’t typically give half stars. So I’m giving Sora’s Quest 4 stars and Viper’s Creed 5 stars, because I enjoyed the second book more than the first book.
Sora’s Quest (#1) Review:
Publisher: The Runaway Pen
Genre: YA Fantasy
Overall: If you read books for romance, then put this book down. There are teasers and hints of romance in these pages, but nothing that will satisfy readers who enjoy a healthy dose of lip-locking. That said, I loved that this book deviated from the traditional fantasy layout. Sora isn’t rescued, rather kidnapped, and you spend most of the novel trying to figure out whether or not her “kidnappers” are the good guys or the bad guys. Or maybe they’re not the ONLY bad guys, because her “kidnappers” are being hunted by a supernatural man with unstoppable desire for vengeance – who will kill anyone who gets in his way. Overall, I enjoyed how this book ventured down a very dark and unpredictable path through a well-crafted fantasy world, while still maintaining a clean YA rating: No sex. No language. Very little gore.
Characters: I guess you can say that there is a bit of a love triangle between Sora, Crush, and Dorian, but its downplayed. Sora finds herself repulsed by Crush (although I kinda like him) and yet the two of them keep getting paired up. Sora enjoyed the good-humor and flirts of Dorian much more, but it doesn’t seem that he’s taking her seriously. I really like Sora. She transforms from a teenager with a wild imagination to a woman who would do anything for her companions. She’s got a mouth on her and is anything BUT a pushover. I like the complexities of all the characters, although I’m a little disappointed that I know so little about Crush, Burn, and Dorian.
Plot: Sora plans to run away on her wedding day but instead gets kidnapped. She finds out that her companions (kidnappers) are being hunted. And then, she discovers that not only is there magic in the world but that she is in possession of a magical object that will help save her life. Sora gets few answers about what’s going on and where she is going and it left me just as frustrated as her at times. I do like that there are no lengthy info-dumps in this book. I also like that the pacing doesn’t lag much, although I wasn’t quite sure where the novel would leave me. There are quite a few deaths in this book, so be careful which characters you get attached to.
Ending: The ending shocked me in quite a few ways. For one, I expected there to be more of a romance. Two, there was a scene that made me particularly sad – I had gotten quite attached to a certain someone. And three, in the last couple pages I was ANNOYED by a certain decision made by two of the characters. Although Sora had some resolution to her issues (definitely not what you’d expect), there are many questions left unanswered about her companions. I like that this book was unpredictable, but don’t bother reading it without picking up the second book right after. This isn’t a stand-alone book.
A noblewoman, an assassin, and a soul-stealing necklace….
Sora planned on running away from her wedding, but she never expected to be kidnapped! Dumped into a world of magical races, arcane jewelry and forgotten lore, she finds herself at the mercy of a dangerous assassin, haunted by an even darker past. She yearns for freedom, but he won’t let her go—not when her Cat’s Eye necklace is the only thing that can save his life.
But the necklace itself presents a problem. It is an ancient device from the long forgotten War of the Races, and its magic has the ability to steal souls. Can Sora learn to wield its power—or will the power wield her? (Winner of the SKOW 2006 Best Fantasy Award)
Viper’s Creed (#2) Review:
Genre: YA Fantasy
Viper’s Creed is expected to be published October 31st on Amazon (later on Barnes & Noble). More reviews available on Goodreads.
(There should be no spoilers from the first book in this review.)
Overall: There’s slightly more romance in this one than the first, but not much more than teases and hints. Again, the world is so well defined that I can picture each town and place they visit with ease. I definitely felt more of a connection to the minor characters in this book that were also in the first. The chapters from Crash’s POV were my favorite -while in the first book, I liked the chapters told from Volcrian’s POV. I definitely recommend this series for those who like dark fantasy or fantasy that is out-of-the-box.
Characters: If you’ve ever read the Rhapsody series by Elizabeth Hayden, then the characters might seem familiar. There’s an “innocent girl”, moody assassin, and a friendly giant. Fortunately, these characters are more complex and immuned to the Mary Sue curse that hit every single character in Rhapsody one by one. By the third book in THAT series, I’d given up and marked the series as a DNF because the characters were reversing in complexity. Not here. In Viper’s Creed, we finally get to figure out more about Sora’s companions. Sora herself has grown up and is starting to realise her feelings for a certain someone. I think out of all the characters, Crush is the one who we get to learn most about and connect to. My suspicions from the first book are correct and he is guarding some very dark secrets. Ones that he won’t give up, even to his friends.
Plot: The book starts out with a bang. Like the first book, there will be deaths and no one is off-limits. In Viper’s Creed, Sora groups up with her companions. They have to kill the people hunting them and save the world. Easy enough, right? As opposed to the first book, Sora and her companions are on the same mission (or are they?). There is finally a definite goal and solution to the problem. Only…Sora can die from the solution, which isn’t cool because I like her as a heroine.
Ending: Again, the book ends a little too soon. It’s not a cliffhanger exactly but it’s pretty damn close. I’m frustrated that it will be a year before I get to read the next (final?) installment. Even with the ending, this was a pretty awesome book. I definitely recommend that you read it, but if you’re easily upset by unanswered plots…you may want to wait until the third book is available before tackling this series. You have been warned. Reading this book will make you stalk the Amazon page in hopes that pre-order becomes available for #3 Volcrain’s Hunt soon.
Sora is having visions. Strange, terrifying visions brought on by her Cat’s Eye necklace, an ancient and magical device. Spurred to action, she leaves her mother’s cabin to find Crash, the mysterious assassin who once changed her life. She is certain that together, they can discover what the necklace is trying to tell her.
Crash is still on the run from the dark sorcerer, Volcrian, but now a plague is spreading across the land. Volcrian’s quest for vengeance has awakened something far more evil than himself; a force that could destroy the entire kingdom. Together, he and Sora must harness the power of the Cat’s Eye and kill the sorcerer before it’s too late.
I received copies of these books as part of a book tour in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author:
(Image and bio borrowed from Goodreads.)
T. L. Shreffler lives in Los Angeles, CA. She loves diversity, fantasy, romance, iced tea, long walks, philosophy, and thrift store shopping. She recently graduated with a BA in Badass (Creative Writing) and her poetry has been published consecutively in Eclipse: A Literary Journal and The Northridge Review. She works as the assistant editor for the funky and fantastic Tinsel Tokyo Magazine!