May Magics Giveaway

Once again, the Fellowship of Fantasy is banding together to bring you fun prizes and awesome reading material!

May Magics

Use the rafflecopter below to win this super-fun journal that looks like a spell book, and has a wand-shaped pen AND the following titles to add to your own, personal ebook library:

The Bookminder by M. K. Wiseman

How to Catch a Unicorn by Various

Toil and Trouble by Jessica L. Elliott

The King’s Warrior by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt

​Toonopolis by Jeremy Rodden

Beyond the Fortune Teller’s Tent by Kristy Tate

From the Stories of Old by Various

Spellsmith and Carver: Magicians’ Rivalry by H. L. Burke
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

~ jenelle

Adventures and Episodes: Summing Up

Goodness, has it really been that long since I’ve done a monthly wrap-up post? I think the last issue of Adventures and Episodes was in November! tsk tsk.

Adventures& Episodes

“Let me explain… no, there is too much. Let me sum up.” <—This has become my life’s quote of late. Well, I’m not going to update you on everything since then, or we’d be here until the end of NEXT month, but a few of the goings-on in these here parts since the turn of the New Year are as follows….

Watching

Let’s see… what new movies have we seen this year…?

The Man Who Invented Christmas – a new all-time favorite! If you haven’t seen this one yet, I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you are a writer, this movie is a must-see, because you will identify so much with so many aspects of this movie. And if you are friends with a writer or have a writer in your family, this movie may help you understand them better. I have already watched it twice and I will definitely own this one at some point.

The Dark Tower – This movie was interesting. It wasn’t great – they were obviously trying to cram far too much plot and character back story into too short of a time, but there was nothing offensive in it, and while I don’t care if I never see it again, it did make me curious to read the books by Stephen King, and I’ve never been all that interested in anything he’s written before, so there’s that. And Matthew McConaughey did a great job portraying a super-sinister villain.

The Greatest Showman – By far the best movie I’ve seen this year. This movie is beautiful and powerful and elegant. The story is fantastic, the characters are amazing, the music is breathtaking. This is a movie that lives up to the hype.

Paddington – I know, the first one has been out for a while, but the previews made it look dumb. It isn’t. This movie is super-cute. Definitely recommend if you have young kids and you want to watch something that isn’t a cartoon with them.

Coco – I really enjoyed this movie. It kind of terrified my kids (most of the story takes place in the “realm of death” and several of the main characters are skeletons, so them being scared totally makes sense). This is one of those movies that makes you think, and can prompt some really fantastic discussions. I recommend it, but just know that even though it is a cartoon, it is kind of creepy, so it might not be the sort of thing your kids would enjoy.

Darkest Hours – This movie was quite intriguing. While it is not completely accurate to all the facts, it was a brilliant portrayal of Winston Churchill and the decisions and struggles he faced when he became Prime Minister. Also, Gary Oldman did a phenomenal job, as usual – I would NOT have realized it was him if Derek hadn’t told me. Definitely recommend this one.

Jumanji – This one was… in short… ridiculous. There were parts of it I enjoyed, and parts of it that were just… really stupid. Jumanji turning itself into a video game was clever, and I enjoyed how the writers and directors were obviously working to incorporate some of the feel and flavor of the original Jumanji movie with Robin Williams… but this movie ultimately fell far short of that mark. It lacked the sweetness of the original, and was nowhere near as terrifying. The humor was entertaining, but I’d probably only give it 3 dragon eggs… I’d give it 2, but I have to bump up one star for Amy Pond… she was hilarious.

Taken (TV show) – If you enjoy the movie Taken with Liam Neeson, this show is one you will love. While the actor they got to play Brian is NO Liam Neeson… he is VERY good at making you believe that he could BECOME Liam Neeson. And since this show is basically that character’s back-story, that’s a very good thing.

Star Trek: TNG – We’ve been picking our way through this show with the kiddos, as part of my never-ending quest to not have to watch cartoons for the rest of my life (I love cartoons and animated films… but there are a lot of live-action movies I love, too)! It’s been fun going through these a second time. And the kids’ favorite character, by far, is Q… of course. (He’s my favorite, too). They are highly amused to know that the actor plays the voice of Discord in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and I think that adds to their love of him.

Lost in Space (new version) – INTENSE! We’ve only seen the first two episodes, so far, but WOW this show is a white-knuckled, edge of your seat, thriller ride. Because of this, I really have to be in the right mood to watch it, but so far I’m enjoying what I’ve seen.

LEAP! – This is one I’ve been interested in for a while, and finally got around to watching. It’s on Netflix and in Redbox, and I definitely recommend this one. It is super cute. And the animation is just stunningly gorgeous. It is a sort-of Cinderella type story, and I enjoyed it enough to watch it twice in two days. The plot kiiiind of gets a bit ridiculous right at the end (an enormous sledge-hammer gets involved, and the Statue of Liberty… it’s kind of weird) but other than that, it was a very enjoyable movie.

Oh goodness! How did I manage to forget Black Panther? Seriously… this is what happens when you go 6 months between update posts. Really enjoyed Black Panther. When it comes to Marvel movies, I’d put it on par with my favorites, which are, in no particular order: Avengers 1, Iron Man 1, Thor 1, Guardians of the Galaxy 1, Doctor Strange, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Spiderman Homecoming, and Ant-Man. Black Panther was a really fun movie, with a villain who is actually not lame, which bumps it up in front of Civil War, at the very least. T’Challa is a compelling character and a hero worth rooting for, but Shuri was by far my favorite thing about the movie.

Reading

Haven’t read much for fun for just me this year, most of it has been stuff I’m reading to my kids for school. I was one of the judges for the latest (and last… sniffles) Rooglewood contest, so a lot of my reading time in January was taken up reading some amazing retellings of Snow White.

I did manage to read The Last Motley by DJ Edwardson and After by Savannah Jezowski, and even reviewed them! Both are top favorites for the year.

I also read The Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce – This was a re-read. I remembered it when I was looking for books about unicorns for my common mythical creatures post, and I got a hankering to read it again. It was every bit as fun as I remembered. I did NOT know it was the first in a series, so now I have more books to read.

The Game by Diana Wynne Jones – the only actual DWJ book I managed to read and finish during March Magics. I believe I have read this one before, though I had mostly forgotten it, so it was very like getting to read it for the first time again. Cute story. Not my favorite of hers, but then, Chrestomanci sets a pretty high bar. So far, Howl is the only one who comes close.

The Black Reckoning by John Stephens – Finished up this trilogy I’ve been reading with my daughter (she listens to the audio books, and I read the paper version, and then we discuss… which has been an absolute blast). It ended in a satisfying sort of way. I did get my heart ripped out at one point, so I’m still upset about that. Book 2 is still my favorite of this trilogy. It’s a little “Series of Unfortunate Events” meets “Percy Jackson” in some respects… though the fantasy aspects are more classic fantasy than mythological in nature.

Mythical Doorways – I read through our anthology with the Fellowship of Fantasy in April and highly enjoyed all 11 stories. I am so pleased to be a part of this stellar collection, and happy to recommend. All the stories are family-friendly.

Writing

In the months of March and April I’ve managed to write 42,000 words in the third book of my Turrim Archive. I also wrote about 6,000 words for a humorous, short story that is an original fairy tale. I am feeling pretty good about how much writing I’ve managed to get done, especially considering that we had a week-long vacation and we had a few bouts of illness sweep through our family.

Life-ing

We spent a week in Orlando, FL at the end of March. Derek and I took a day at Harry Potter World in Universal Studios (with a minor detour over to Jurassic Park for a river adventure). It was a very fun “date-day” and we enjoyed being completely nerdy all day, wandering around Hogwarts and Diagon Alley.

We also took our girls to Magic Kingdom for a day (left the boys with Gma and Gpa) and had a super magical day.

AWANA has wound down for the year, and I am happy to have that off my schedule for the summer. I love AWANA and being the Sparks Director, but I also enjoy having summer vacation.

We are finally getting ready to begin construction on our house! Yay! Breaking ground is supposed to occur in the next several weeks, so I am sure that the summer is going to be a lot busier than I realize, but we are very excited to finally see this dream come to fruition.

Grayden turned one.

Brant is learning to ride a bike.

School is winding down. It’s been a fantastic year, but we are looking forward to summer: swimming lessons, bike rides, picnics, baseball games, hiking, and more!

And that’s a pretty good recap on what life has looked like in these first several months of 2018.

What about you? Have you read or watched anything phenomenal this year? Had any exciting adventures in the real world? How’s your writing going?

 

~ jenelle

Beautiful People: Favorites and Farewell

I haven’t always been good about keeping up with the Beautiful People blogging meme, but I have enjoyed participating here and there, and I have enjoyed reading the posts others have written for it. So it is with some sadness that I saw Cait and Sky announce that this month’s Beautiful People is the last one, at least for the foreseeable future.

Favourite genre to write in?

My favorite genre to write in is Fantasy. Of course, that’s a broad, sweeping spectrum that includes rather a lot. I’ve written Epic Fantasy, Fairy Tale retellings, and now I’m dabbling with hints of Steampunk and a smidgen of High Fantasy, as well… and I love it all! I’m also looking forward to my next series, which will be a sci-fi/mystery set on Mars… I think that will also be very fun.

What book (a real actual published book!) do you think your character would benefit from reading?

Depends on what character we’re talking about…. in my current WIP, I think my main character: Dalmir would most benefit from reading something like “Surprised by Joy” by C.S. Lewis, or something dealing with the awesomeness of forgiveness and grace. But then, perhaps his story wouldn’t be necessary…

Favourite piece of dialogue you’ve written?

Dialogue is one of my strengths… and I enjoy writing it, so I have quite a few pieces of dialogue that I’m rather proud of. Instead of trying to list them all, I’ll just share snippets from two of my WIPs that I particularly loved:

From: The Orb and the Airship – Turrim Archive, Vol. 1

“I don’t believe it,” Aubri whispered, her voice reverent.

“I did not expect you would,” Dalmir replied. His normal tone and volume was strident in the hushed stillness of the night. “And yet, you must. If you value your lives, you will let us go in peace.

Ericole regained a bit of his composure. “My archers are still ready to fire on my command,” he blustered.

“Do you honestly think their arrows could damage me?”

Wynn looked at the old man, certain he was bluffing. Dalmir’s eyes, however, were clear and steady. He had an aura of power and authority about him that Wynn had never noticed before. His eyes were filled with ancient wisdom, but his face was strong and set. Wynn felt that he looked ready to go to war. As he studied the man, he realized that he truly believed that no arrow would touch anything Dalmir did not want it to hit. Glancing at their captor, he saw that Ericole, too, was wavering. The Dalmir who stood in the snow, bathed in the light of a tiny moon, made belief in magic seem quite reasonable.

Slowly, Ericole nodded. “Very well.”

Beren made a guttural noise deep in his throat. “Can we trust him, Dalmir?”

Dalmir gazed into Ericole’s eyes until the other flinched and lowered his face.

“Yes, Berenger, I believe we can, at least, for now,” Dalmir replied.

Beren loosened his hold on Ericole’s throat and the head of the Niveya family stumbled away to stand next to his wife. Aubri stood cool and calm and unflinching. Her chin up and cloak billowing out behind her, she appeared like a vision out of a fairytale.

“You have made an enemy this day, Lord Dalmir,” her voice was icier than the frigid air. “We were prepared to be reasonable. I will make sure you regret this moment.”

Something shifted in Dalmir’s face, something Wynn knew he would never be able to describe or understand. It was like a great sorrow, mingled with a burning anger.

“Dear woman,” Dalmir’s whisper filled the night, “I regret so very much. Nothing you could heap upon that pile would even be worth my notice.”

And then more recently, I enjoyed writing this bit:

From: Untitled – Turrim Archive, Vol. 3

“Sir, you left holes in the assignments to weed out students who can’t think outside the box. You wanted to find the ones who think like you. Even if I didn’t ask the right questions before, even though I believed that my answer would not work, I still came up with it. I still thought through a solution that was different than anyone else’s.”

Daegan did not slow, but he gave an abrupt nod. “Very good. But that is only part of it.”

“Yes, sir,” Wynn replied, matching the man’s long strides. “There is also the matter of security. I imagine that you would want to be very careful who you disseminate information to on what our capabilities are, particularly with the prospect of increasingly negative relations with our neighbors to the east growing more and more certain. It would never do to allow information on the Trackless to fall into the wrong hands.”

Daegan’s step faltered. It was brief, almost unnoticeable except that Wynn had been matching his pace exactly. His eyes flicked over to the artificineer’s face and he saw a tiny, tell-tale twitch of the man’s lips.

“The Trackless, eh?”

Wynn felt his ears grow warm. “It just sort of came to me as I was mulling over the problem last night. I was thinking of the great trains. My da rode on them before they stopped running. I’ve always wanted to ride one, always regretted being born in the wrong decade… ” He dragged the toes of his boots along the stone floor. “It is your design, of course, but I didn’t know what you had named it. I wasn’t trying to be presumptuous.”

“Genius is presumptious,” Daegan snapped. “And it doesn’t need to apologize, at least, not when it’s right. As a point of fact, I hadn’t named it. I spent years planning it, but I never gave it a name. I’m no good at names. The Trackless.” He nodded. “It has a certain ring to it.”

Wynn felt a mystified grin try to spread across his face, but then Daegan turned into the messy work room he had glimpsed the night before. It was still a shambles, and Wynn’s smile changed to a wince. How was he supposed to work in such a room?

What did your character want to be when they grew up, and what did they actually become?

Marik — Wanted to be a soldier for the Igyeum. Actually became an airship pirate.

Dalmir — Wasn’t sure what he wanted to be, as the seventh son of a king, he figured he’d be a noble or a soldier. Actually became the caretaker of an entire country.

Grayden — Wanted to go to the Academy and train to become a Defender. So far, he’s on track to achieve that… as for later… well, we shall see.

Wynn — Wanted to be an engineer and travel the world like his father. Actually went to the Academy… and may have discovered that adventuring isn’t all he thought it would be.

Favourite character name(s)?

All of them! My absolute favorites would probably be Brant, Grayden, Kiernan Kane, Kamarie, and Karyna. (I like “K” names, apparently)

What makes your character feel loved, and who was the last person to make them feel that way?

Dalmir feels loved when he feels needed. He hasn’t felt that way… in a very long time.

Marik feels loved when he sees the looks of trust in the eyes of his “family” and knows he has done a good job protecting them. He hasn’t felt that way since the beginning of Book 1.

Grayden feels loved when his mother makes him his favorite food, or when his younger sister annoys him, or when his father talks to him man-to-man. He hasn’t felt that way since leaving for the Academy.

Beren feels loved when his family is teasing him about his height. He hasn’t felt that way since the beginning of book 1.

Wynn feels loved when people listen to him and allow him to do the things he excels at. He is feeling pretty loved at the moment in book 3.

Favourite character you’ve ever written?

That would be Kiernan Kane.

If your character were permanently leaving town, what would they easily throw out? What would they refuse to part with? (Why?)

Brant: Throw everything out… except my sword. I might need that. And maybe that one gryphon feather…

Kiernan Kane: It can all go, except my mandolin, that was a gift from someone very special.

Kamarie: I kind of like my stuff… I don’t talk about it or look at it much, but I do tend to keep things for sentimental reasons. Oh, I suppose if I had to choose, I’d only take a few of my favorite books, and my sword, and my horse… but it would be hard to leave everything else, there are so many memories…

Wynn: I need my tools, and my schematics.

Marik: Stuff doesn’t matter. Unless you’re talking about my airship. But she’s more than just a thing, you understand. She’s my home. She’s family.

Dalmir: Nothing matters. *mutters grumpily and refuses to say more*

Grayden: There are a few things I’d probably want to take with me. The dagger I got from my Da. My mom’s apple pie recipe. But things can be replaced. It’s people that are the most important.

Favourite tropes to write!

Quests. Coming-of-Age stories. Mysterious characters with murky pasts. Nothing-is-what-it-seems. I like to turn fairy tales upside down. I enjoy writing prophecy-tropes, but I have to be careful because those can be polarizing!

Which story has your heart and won’t let go?

All of them…? What kind of question is this? The Minstrel’s Song has lodged itself in my heart and will always be my baby. Even though the series is complete, I have had unexpected moments of realizing that there may be other stories in that world still to tell…

But all of my new ideas are also tugging at my heart, begging for a turn. Some of them are demanding with a little less politeness than others… so, like a good parent, I’m making them wait. Can’t reward whining with instant gratification, after all!

Favourite relationship between characters you’ve written?

Definitely the “frenemy” relationship between Brant and Kiernan Kane.

There is a new relationship blooming between some of these new characters in Turrim Archive, though, that is very intriguing. Different… but super fun.

Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?

I’d love to see more YA and Fantasy books with solid friendships that don’t have to turn into romantic relationships. And I’d love to see more Fantasy books featuring strong families and good fathers and mothers. I understand why there are so many Fantasy Orphans, and I’ve even written a couple of them myself… but there is a dearth of solid mothers and fathers in the realm of fantasy, and I’d like to see more of them make an appearance in books.

I’d also like to see a lot LESS of the angsty teenage girl characters who are full of self-loathing and a sharp tongue who inexplicably have multiple guys who want to marry her following her around like puppies even though she’s a jerk to all of them. Ahem. Sorry for the random rant.

Favourite pinterest board / aesthetic for a book?

Um… despite being super visual person, I don’t spend a ton of time on pinterest or creating aesthetics for my books. However, I really liked the one I made for Stone Curse and the one I’ve made for my Minstrel’s Song series. I am actually working on one for Turrim Archive, but I’m keeping that one under my hat for a bit.

Favourite time periods & settings to work with?

I love writing in the Medieval and Middle Ages time period, particularly in an “Old World” sort of setting. However, I’m really enjoying exploring the Victorian Era for Turrim Archive, and have been learning about a ton of other cultures in that time period for this new series, as well… so that has been different and a lot of fun. The Turrim Archive will feature flavors from German, Norwegian, Romanian, Persian, Scandinavian, Spanish, and Italian cultures.

I certainly love the “Old World” and Medieval time period and settings. I’m also really enjoying playing with the Victorian-era

When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?

I most want people to find what they need in the pages of my books, and that is going to be different for every reader. Some readers just want a fun adventure, and I hope to provide them with that. Others need an escape, some want to find friends, some need inspiration, some are just looking for someone to root for. Overall, though, what I’d love for my readers to find when they read my books, is HOME. I hope that my stories can become beloved friends that make them feel like they are home, no matter where they might be or how far they might adventure away. Whether they are reading something that makes them laugh or cry or jump up and down shouting about whatever happens to be going on in the story… my dearest wish would be that these are the sorts of stories that can be read over and over again, and bring a breath of fresh air, a nostalgia for wherever they were when they first read them, and an intangible delight to curl up with this story just one more time… really, what more could I ask for?

~ jenelle

The Nicest Review: Guest Post

I recently received the following review of Minstrel’s Call in an email. It brought a smile to my heart and tears to my eyes. And, as I was given permission to share it, I thought I would here. One of the most difficult tasks for me as an author is to do any sort of raving about my own books. Don’t get me wrong, I love my books. They are exactly the sort of thing I want to read. But telling anyone that always feels like bragging or like it’s something that I’m not supposed to do… so when I get a review like this… it’s the sort of thing I can live on for years. I am grateful for you, dear Readers. And so humbled. Writing this series and sharing it with you has been one of my favorite things ever. I am honored by any who have taken the time to read these books, and touched by the words of encouragement and support from those who have loved these books. As I continue to write new stories, I do not in any way “move on,” or “leave the Minstrel’s Song behind.” They are my dream come true. Any new books I write are merely an extension of that same dream.

For those who have read the series and loved it, thank you. From the depths of my soul, thank you. You are more than readers, you are family.


Minstrel’s Call:

Minstrel's Call CoverNote:  I cannot possibly write a review that is worthy of this great story or that can adequately capture the beautiful writing, and perhaps more importantly, capture the “I LOVE THESE PEOPLE” descriptions of the Heroes and Heroines that permeate this book and ALL of the books in this Series.

Not in any particular order, I offer the following thoughts for prospective readers who may wonder if they should “commit” to reading this marvelous series of books entitled “The Minstrel’s Song” Series.  My comments are restricted to the Final Chapter entitled “Minstrel’s Call” but these comments are the building crescendo of thoughts that have grown and developed since first reading Book One of this Series called “King’s Warrior”.  

I cannot tell you plot lines…..or re-tell the story for you…..but I can tell you………..

I absolutely LOVE how the characters are ALWAYS AT THEIR BEST………there is no pettiness……no immaturity……..no wasting my time on trying to make our Heroes and Heroines…….human……or gross………or…….small.  Brant, Kiernan, Oraeyn, Dylanna, Kamarie, Leila, Jemson, Devrin, Tellemyack, Graldon, Kitry, Justan (the list goes on and on and on) are all Heroic……all the time………and they are believable……..they are what we aspire to………..and their BEAUTY…..is ALWAYS…..reflected in their courage…..their honor…….their decency………their self-sacrifice…….their work ethic…………all the while…………..LOVING BEING…..courageous, honorable, decent, sacrificing, hard-working……….without any inkling of a desire to be anything LESS than what they are…….and what they willingly embrace as………what is expected of them.  Thus they are very normal…….and very human…….and inspire the reader to adopt the absolute normalcy of that exact same code.  Time and Time Again while reading “Minstrel’s Call” tears would flow….not because of sadness…..but because of beauty.  An example of this is when Kiernan Kane reminds Brant, not only of who he is……but who he has always been..and who he has always been training to be:

”When at length he spoke, his tone was gentle, but his expression was filled with steel.  “High King, I tell you now that you already possess all that you require in order to defeat your enemies.  You have been gathering your weapons since you were but a child.  You have the Oath of the Aethalons running through your blood;  its power has come to your aid in the past and it will sustain you further in the future. You have the character bestowed upon you by Cruithaor Elchiyl, integrity and honor that you have strengthened throughout your life with diligence and discipline.  You have true friends and allies, each of whom will expend his last breath to fight for you.  And you have the Hand of Yorien; although you do not yet truly understand its power, I am confident that you will before this is all over”.  As the Minstrel spoke, it was as though scales fell from Brant’s eyes, allowing him to see clearly.

Wouldn’t we all love to have a friend who we regard more highly than ourselves……..say such things about us?  Wouldn’t we love to be worthy of such a description?   We have seen everything Kiernan describes about Brant for ourselves and we do not doubt Brant’s Quality…..but we understand why Brant does.   Our Great Hero has been defeated and his confidence shattered……….but not one time is he diminished in the readers eye…….or in the eyes of his friends…….but he feels diminished within himself………and the GREATEST HERO for mankind………gently…….but adamantly………….raises him up……..to see himself again……..as he has always striven to be and as he has always wanted to be…….and quite honestly as he has always been.  Brant’s character (quality of) raises everyone he comes in contact with.  Perfect examples of this is the Hero Worship that both Oraeyn (his young friend and brother-in-law) and Jemson (his young nephew) unashamedly bring to Brant.  We see this same kind of “inspiration to be the best” throughout virtually every character that is on our side in this great fight.   

I LOVE the mystery that surrounds Kiernan Kane…….and even though much is revealed…….it is revealed in mysterious ways.  The Dragons play such a critical role in letting us get a glimpse of who Kiernan Kane is.  The Dragons are the “keepers of history” and they have LONG MEMORIES and they are no less heroic or likeable or meaningful to the story as any of the names mentioned above.  Anybody who has read the full series knows that Brant “tolerates” Kiernan Kane and if the author was honest (and she is) it would be obvious that Brant is mostly annoyed by Kiernan Kane and believes him to be careless as well as useless……at least in the matters that are important to Brant.  However, we the reader, are not so blind to the Great Things that Kiernan does without any fanfare…..and so much of what he does seems to be easily forgotten by even his closest friends.  However……….the Dragons observe the same things…….and they do not forget……and their reverence for Kiernan may be annoying to Brant……but it is intriguing to the reader.  One of my favorite sections in the book is the conversation that happens between King Tellemyack (King of the Dragons) and High King Brant when Tellemyack says….

“High King Brant, I believe the time has come to explain to you why the dragons regard the Minstrel as we do.”

I personally could care less if Brant is interested…….but I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR (4) BOOKS to read what follows and the Author does not disappoint.  The Dragons and the Myth Folk do not obey………they do not acknowledge……..they do not fear…………they LOVE Kiernan Kane………..and for good reason.  It is truly a BEAUTIFUL MOMENT in the Story for many reasons……..the reverence we have for the Dragons (King Tellemyack bows to no earthly king and we don’t expect him to)……….the opening of Brant’s Heart…………and the WORTHINESS of the Minstrel.  As Brant inspires those around him………..Kiernan LIFTS everyone in his care……….and without any fanfare.  The Allegory is SUPERB and brings tears to my heart every time I read this……and I have read it quite a few times.

I am a HUGE FAN of stories where children and adults interact………..on an Adult Level.  I think of “Captain’s Courageous” or “Second Hand Lions” where the young boy is thrust into the world of grown men……..and the boy is expected to reach towards the adult level with zero expectation that the adults will lower themselves to the children’s level.  I don’t know if this is how life is meant to be……but I always find this beautiful.  The Author does a Fantastic Job of “lifting the lives of young people” through their necessary involvement with the adults.  There is a powerful interaction between Kitry and Brant where Kitry says:

“What is it about Kiernan that irritates you so?  Why do you hate him?”  

The exchange between the girl Kitry……..and our Hero Brant who is fully 70 years older than Kitry………..measures up and surpasses any exchange that I LOVE in the two stories noted above.  You have to read it!

In “Minstrel’s Call” Oraeyn and Jemson are no longer boys longing to be men.  They have become the very men that Brant has inspired in them……and they have become their own.  They both carry great responsibility and yet they are Servant Leaders.  They Love their men……and their people.  Many leaders would think that their people need to think highly of them……but the Author has a different and better worldview that requires that the Kings think highly of their people.  It may in fact be the number one requirement and we see this over and over again in Oraeyn and Jemson.

“Is it morning already?  Oraeyn sat up in his bunk, his thoughts groggy.  “No sire!  It’s the storm!”  The tumult of the wind and waves broke through the barrier of slumber.  Oraeyn stood and cast around for his boots, finding them at last in the corner where they had tumbled in the rocking of the ship.  “Thank you, lad.  Get yourself some breakfast, and when you are finished, bring me whatever the cook can spare,”  Oraeyn ordered with a wink.

A small, insignificant moment of time in this great quest…..but I LOVE how it reflects on Oraeyn.  

“Jemson stared up at the sky.  “It is not an easy thing that has been asked.  Even though Brant assured me that the  Enemy would not spread his forces too thin, I have to believe that the other kings are in some way being attacked or prevented from sending their sixth.  I know it would seem an unreasonable request to me, were I in their shoes.  Perhaps the ships are attacked even as they are on their way to us.”

When I read this, I wrote in the margins………..”Jemson is a MAN”.  One of those moments where he could have let his own fear and frustration cause him to “fault others” for not coming to his aid, but instead he chooses to believe the best about his allies and realizes that just as things are difficult for him right now……..it may also be the same for these other countries and warriors.  

I want to share one more passage which is just one among hundreds………that causes me to read this book and as soon as I am finished…go right back to the beginning and start anew.  I thoroughly enjoy being among these very special friends.  Please read this book for yourself and be inspired as I have been.  The Minstrel’s Song Series is a worthy match for Tolkien………but there is no match for “Minstrel’s Call”…….in my humble opinion:

By the time night fell, the Plain of Battle had grown crowded.  The sight of Aom-igh’s knights lifted everyone’s spirits.  Brant was grateful for their arrival, but he dreaded the dire events that would soon follow.  He had not chosen this war.  He had never chosen any of his battlefields, but he knew how the final landscape would appear:  men who were full of life, strength, and courage—who had families that loved them, who Brant himself knew well, and those he had never met–would soon lie dead on this ground.  Perhaps he would join them.  He had ever loved the training and competition of combat.  He loved building a heart and soul in himself–in his men, in his people who loved justice, honor, truth, courage, compassion–and the commitment to live and die for those values.  These were the things he had been fighting for his entire life.  These beautiful, precious facets of his people, that resided within all mankind, would never be stolen from them.  He gazed around at the men readying their weapons, bolstering their courage.  Each and everyone of these brave souls standing with him would rather die fighting for virtue and beauty than surrender to a life without either.

In the movie “Master and Commander” captain Jack Aubrey is describing an interaction he had with Admiral Nelson who told him that “he did not need a coat because zeal for king and country kept him warm”.  Aubrey said that if it were any other man you would dismiss the comment as “pitiful stuff” but with Admiral Nelson, it made your heart glow”.

“Minstrel’s Call” does the same!

Out of (5) Stars…………..I would give this (6)!

 

~ jenelle