Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











Fro18043874m Goodreads: Based on the life of Alessandro di Cagliostro, the Child of Egypt follows a young boy called Acharat on a life long journey of self discovery as he takes on the guises of Joseph Balsamo and Cagliostro and sparks a bloody revolution that will tear down the Bourbon monarchy in France before setting his sights on the heart of the Christian world, the Pope in Rome.

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This novel had a great premise and I really enjoyed the beginning portion that chronicles Acharat’s mother’s woes prior to his conception.  It was highly intriguing and I loved this in-depth look into his mother’s life as a concubine, her whirlwind affair with a Frenchman, her betrayal, and ultimately her death, all of which leads up to Acharat’s birth.  Stolen out of his world-be assassin’s grasp, Archarat survives, and the novel then jumps ahead to his teen years where he learns the truth about the man who saved him, the man to whom his life is indebted.  Learning about the magic his benefactor wields, and learning it himself, the novel then jumps again to his time in France and Rome, ultimately, showing his extreme changes and what the power he wields has done to him.

Overall, this was a great concept, but it ended up being much too long for me.  Like I said, I really enjoyed the beginning, and I liked the middle, but once Acharat/Joseph marries and begins plotting the downfall of the monarchy, condemning innocents and using his wife for ill, well, I lost all respect for the man and the novel began to drag.  The novel takes place over a span of many decades, and to the author’s credit, reading the text feels like it takes place over a span of decades—there is no sugarcoating or quickness about it at all, but I think I needed a much faster pace to keep my attention.  I don’t necessarily enjoy histories all that much unless there is something intriguing happening all the time, and there was just a little too much downtime for me once Archarat/Joseph comes of age to release his evil.

He becomes almost demonic, in a sense, which made reading the novel difficult for me as I lost my respect for him.  Yes, he had a hard life and yes, he was given the gift of magic through mysticism, but I believe he used it in the wrong way.  Watching all the sacrifices that were made for him in order for Archarat/Joseph to live, only to note that he turned out to be evil in the end, left me feeling a bit sour towards him, and, in truth, I felt no sympathy when his actions caught up to him.  He is truly evil, and if I don’t like my characters, I tend to have a hard time finishing a novel, and that was the case with this one, length aside.  I think lovers of histories, historical fiction, and attention to detail will really enjoy this novel, though—after all, it is very well written and, characterization aside, the plot is intriguing.  I, however, found myself liking it less and less as it progressed based on the actions of the main character, which, in truth, is no fault of the authors, but rather a personal preference.  Two and a half stars.

2 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.



18043896From Goodreads: Nidad Reik, the last mundane king of Verneece has fallen to the treachery of the sorcerers who once served him. Now the usurpers have gathered from the four corners of the kingdom to divide the spoils of victory. Among those in attendance are the Puppeteer and his ward, the Fortune Teller; the Sword Prince and his latest trollop; the Lady of Perfumes and her guards and lovers; finally, there is the fearsome Stonegrinder, master of earth and stone. The night is filled with feasting, entertainment .and gaming. In the wee hours of a long, winter night there is also murder.

The survivors look upon each other with suspicion of treachery. Who committed the murders and why? Or is there an outside agency moving against them to lay claim to their victory?

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“Set in the Blackstone universe, the history of Verneece before the coming of Queen Spiral is revealed” in this novella by Jason Beineke, a prequel to the Blackstone series.  This imaginative fantasy series expounds on sorcery and world dominance, but for those of you who haven’t yet read the masterful Blackstone novels, then I highly suggest you begin with this novella, especially if you’re intrigued by world building, sorcery, and fantasy—this series is not one to be missed!

Complete with engaging characters able to bend the elements and wills of others, readers are introduced to a band of strong and able sorcerers come to divide the spoils of the conquered Verneece.  Although a tad vulgar and disturbing in places—drinking wine from a skull makes me shudder—this novella truly sets the scene for the murders and betrayal that takes place between the pages, and continues throughout the series, as the gifted magicians begin to suspect and fight amongst themselves.  Showing the vast corruption that pervaded the land prior to the seizing of power by Queen Spiral, a vicious queen readers will get to know in more depth in Drawing the Circle, this novella gives readers a taste of what is to come with its imaginative world, deceptive characters, and jarring situations.  It’s a great read that I enjoyed very much, though I do wish it was longer.  However, a longer read would defeat the purpose, as this novella is meant to whet the appetite for more, and that is exactly what it does.  Had the characters been a little more pleasant, I do believe their plight and overall fate would have left me feeling bereft.  As it is, however, these vile characters gain no sympathy from me.  Three stars.

3 stars



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