Trial of Intentions (Vault of Heaven #2) ~ Peter Orullian

Trial of IntentionsISBN ~ 978-0765325723
Publisher ~ Tor Books; First Edition (May 26, 2015)
No. Of Pages ~ 672 pages
Links ~ Amazon, Barnes & Noble

The gods who created this world have abandoned it. In their mercy, however, they chained the rogue god—and the monstrous creatures he created to plague mortal kind—in the vast and inhospitable wasteland of the Bourne. The magical Veil that contains them has protected humankind for millennia and the monsters are little more than tales told to frighten children. But the Veil has become weak and creatures of Nightmare have come through. To fight them, the races of men must form a great alliance to try and stop the creatures.

But there is dissent. One king won’t answer the call, his pride blinding him even to the poison in his own court. Another would see Convocation fail for his own political advantage. And still others believe Convocation is not enough. Some turn to the talents of the Sheason, who can shape the very essence of the world to their will. But their order is divided, on the brink of collapse.

Tahn Junell remembers friends who despaired in a place left barren by war. One of the few who have actually faced the unspeakable horde in battle, Tahn sees something else at work and wonders about the nature of the creatures on the other side of the Veil. He chooses to go to a place of his youth, a place of science, daring to think he can find a way to prevent slaughter, prevent war.

And his choices may reshape a world . . . .

The second title in the Vault of Heaven series, Peter Orullian’s Trial of Intentions is a mesmerizing fantasy epic that turns the conventions of the genre on its head

5 Thumbs-UpYes, this is the second instalment in the Vault of Heaven Trilogy, and yes I have read the first book although I did not review it on here; the reason for this being it is a major player in my English Literature thesis.  Unfortunately though, for this book, it is not a standalone read and therefore the first must be read to make any sense of this one.

The main protagonists are many in both books, and their stories continue in this one; we see them grow from the children we first met in The Unremembered to adults that are still connected to their inner children at times.  I usually go into great detail about my likes and dislikes of characters in the books I read, but with this cast of characters I felt the mixed emotions one has when confronted with Family and all the imperfections they bring with them.  At times I just wanted to shake some sense into them and ask ‘why?  Just why?’ and at others I was in my full cheerleading garb, pom-poms and all doing high kicks to spur them on.  One thing I did find disappointing was the forced humour in the dialogue, this had come so easily in the first book as it does between friends, but in this one it seemed as if they were just trying to keep the humour going at all costs.  I am hoping that this stilted humour is more a result of the events the characters have been through up to the end of this novel, and not an indication that the Author has lost his humourous pen.  Rather than just continue expanding on characters from the first novel, the Author brings new ones into the storyline, and some that were introduced in Book One become integral to the storyline in this novel.

Unlike Book One, Trial of Intentions is up and moving from the very first chapter; the reader has moments where the pace slows down enough for them to calm their racing pulses before picking up and propelling them through to the very end of the book.  Something I was pleased to find in this second instalment that was present in the first was a musical quality that accompanies the writing of this Author; in gentle areas easy listening folk music is brought to mind in the way the language is placed on the page and I found myself reading everything rather than skipping the ‘song’ sections as I do in Lord of The Rings or The Hobbit; even when the action really picked up it was as if somewhere just out of view there was a rock guitarist playing some riff to accompany the action.  Whereas Clockwork Angels by Kevin J Anderson was music (an album of the same name by Rush) to words, this is a book that could be translated from words to music.

All of the major plotlines end on a cliff-hanger that leaves the reader waiting with baited breath for the final book in this trilogy, hopefully it won’t be as long as the wait has being for The Doors of Stone, book three of The Kingkiller Chronicle.  Despite the cliff-hanger endings, unlike so many books that finish in this manner, this one does not leave the reader feeling that the book is unfinished and that the Author decided they’d had enough and sent it off to the publisher as is.

I highly recommend both this book, and the first in the trilogy, for those who love to read this genre.  It was expansive, it was epic and it was rich with hidden things that come out when the novel was reread (I have to say I am on my fourth reading of this book).  Like an onion with its layers, this second instalment added a depth and richness to the world in which it takes place, and I hope that the Author continues in this way in Book Three.  I will definitely be waiting to read the next novel by this Author.

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Guest Review: Echoing Sacrifice: Traveler ~ Jessica Dodson

When writing their novels the reader knows that each Author has their own unique style and it appears by this review by Author Lex Allen, that is spans into the writing of reviews of other peoples’ work.  Lex gave this book a 5 star review.

echoing sacrificeStill reeling from the death of her parents, thirteen-year-old Khyl Livingston’s entire existence revolves around the care and protection of her brothers. But when an accident strands her in Dolimar, a world populated by both humans and dragons, she finds yet another child in desperate need of protection.

Rever barely survived the slaughter of the Echo Dragons at the hand of the Betrayer. When he meets Khyl, old wounds at last begin to heal, and their growing friendship distracts him from his need for vengeance. But the courageous Traveler couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Betrayer returns to Rever’s home, this time with an army and the intent to carry out a deadly bargain with the greatest threat in all Dolimar.

Bound in friendship and united by common purpose, Khyl and Rever stand against the Betrayer and his allies in order to save an innocent child from a fate worse than death. Dolimar itself hangs in the balance, and one wrong choice could cost them everything they hold dear.

Including each other.

Dear Jessica Dodson,

I am writing to personally thank you for committing the time and effort it must have cost you to write “Echoing Sacrifice: Traveler”. Without the slightest insincerity, I have to tell you that I think that this book will one-day become a classic among fantasy/world-building stories and novels. It must take a special kind of imagination, perseverance and aptitude to put together a novel of this magnitude and complexity while maintaining an easy to read level of dialogue, narrative descriptives and a huge cast of characters.

The premise—teenage girl from our world (Khyl – First Creation) enters the parallel universe (Dolimar) of Rever (Echo Dragon Clan) and promptly jumps into the hunt to save the SouthKing’s daughter (both human) while fighting against the evil of the Betrayer, aka Vayne (human – King of Feinden), his son Cyre, along with the bandit dragons and the EastGate guardian, Tymbos (dragon) and his Keeper, Tumulus (half-human dragon).

There are too many characters to mention them all, but those above are the lead actors in this marvelous tale of a parallel universe that’s a mixture of indescribable geography and scenes, creatures and dragons. I can’t begin to adequately describe, nor thank you for, the meticulous attention to detail that you incorporated into this story. The entire concept of dragon clans—their differences in colors, sizes, characteristics and talents is mind boggling!

Unlike the climax of many books that are part of a series, you designed an ending that is fully satisfying, in and of itself, while clearly leaving an opening for the sequel; a book I am eager to get my hands on. In short, I want you to know that I believe that “Echoing Sacrifice: Traveler” belongs on the bookshelf right between the classic high fantasy of “Lord of the Rings” and the science fantasy/creature horror series that is “The Dark Tower”.

In closing, thanks again and please get the sequel out there quickly!

Sincerely – Lex Allen

Author:
No Heaven
No Hell
Reviewer – Readers’ Favorite

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Review: Dark Escape: Tales of Arabella ~ Aaron Gee

Dark Escape

When Tam rescues Indura, he makes the fateful decision to spare her life. Despite their differences, they fall in love and begin a forbidden romance that threatens to plunge their two kingdoms into a devastating war. During a secret meeting between the two, Tam is captured. In order to save him, Indura must enlist the aid of Tam’s mentor, Captain Athon, and embark on a daring rescue. The only hope of rescuing Tam from prison is the protective cloak of darkness. But, how can there be darkness in a world where the sun never sets?

3 Thumbs-Up

This is the first instalment of the Dark Escape series.

This novel is interesting, it isn’t quite Sci-fi and it isn’t quite Fantasy, it’s more a hybrid born of both worlds.  But even though it doesn’t sit firmly in either genre, I would still classify it as an epic, with maybe a toe hovering over the Steampunk world depending on which direction the Author takes the other books.

The characters are well thought out, and nicely developed with there being not one, but two main leads; a male and a female.  The male lead is quite likeable and full of all the characteristics we would expect of a person of his position; unfortunately the female lead is his total opposite and, at times made me think of Sansa in the Game of Thrones series.

The descriptions in the novel are sweeping and epic, setting the scenes nicely for what will come in the future, and raises questions in the reader’s mind that I hope will be answered as the series progresses.  However, there were a few images I found a little too fantastical even for me, and this did detract from the overall feel of this novel

As with all first instalments it is hard to say whether or not  the remainder will be a success, as the Author is just getting his breath and setting off on his journey with his characters and in their world.  Personally, I would like to see the Author add some elements of Steampunk into his later works, as I feel this would add an extra dimension to the series, and really make it well worth the readers’ time.

I would highly recommend this book to Teens/YA and adult readers alike, and also to those lovers of the sci-fi and fantasy genre.  This is a quick read that moves along at a steady pace, and doesn’t need to be over thought, so ideal when you’re travelling.

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