Exciting! My Discovery Reviews were Featured!

I have not yet blogged about my reviews on Reedsy Discovery… probably because I don’t think anyone actually reads my blog. But this is too good not to share: I recently wrote editorial reviews for two books that launched two days apart (on January 10 and 12). The Reedsy team found both reviews “so compelling” (I quote from their email notification) that they featured them on their home page!

Edge of the Rift by R. N. Jackson was a direct submission, meaning the author asked me to be the one to review his book. I have no idea why, though I’m flattered… and I loved it! Mr. Jackson has quite the personal background (shot at in Kashmir; and saved from kidnap with the use of a Brazilian hunting knife gifted by a bare-knuckle fighter for the Mafia…), and he definitely managed to put more than a splash of adventure into his young adult fantasy.

Now before I mention the second of this moth’s features, I have to give a shout to the book that was my first ever Reedsy review: Drops of Glass (the first in The Shards of Lafayette series) by Kenneth A. Baldwin. It’s historical fiction set in WWI, but with a fantasy twist, and it’s good stuff. I have since purchased a paperback copy for my history buff son (and need to get another for my firstborn, who is an aerospace engineer and will enjoy all the realistic detail surrounding some of the first planes to take to the sky).

Meanwhile Blood of Fire by Myrielle Glassman was such a good read, I just have to repost my review below ⬇️

Must Read 🏆

An exquisite look at intertwined contrasts: Fae and mortal, beauty and evil, immortality and time… and a friendship that transcends all.

(Note the cover has been updated since I first reviewed the book. The second is undoubtedly more readable, but I really loved that first one—in fact, that’s what immediately drew me to take a closer look at the book in the first place.)

SYNOPSIS

They say the War was won. But she lost everything. Standing in the ashes of her honour, haunted by the memory of all the faerie lives she took, Bloodborn knight Meara renounces the Order. Before she can flee, she is bound to an enchanted ring and a most unlikely quest—the rescue of a mysterious faerie named Tamsen. In the shadows, drawn by the blood and fire spilled by mortal and immortal kings, ancient Darkness awakens to finish what it began: the dominion of worlds. As kingdoms burn, old enemies must come together. Or fall one by one.

REVIEW

“In that short summary lay the tumultuous origin of the worlds. As if words, no matter how beautiful, as if stories, however elaborate, could ever capture it adequately.”

Not just anyone should attempt to write of Faerie (though it seems almost everyone does). The topic itself is lofty, fair and complex; and the Greats—Patricia A McKillip (Kingfisher, etc.), Robin McKinley (A Door in the Hedge), George Macdonald (The Complete Fairytales), Tolkien himself (Smith of Wooton Major)—have set the bar too high. Mediocrity seems the inevitable outcome. 

Yet Myrielle Glassman has wowed me with Blood of Fire. She seems to weave elements of the Judeo-Christian creation and angelic fall stories with Celtic mythology to create a world in which every name seems somehow familiar, as if recalled from annals of some other lore, yet which has become its own unique entity.

Despite the claim to “mild explicit content,” the book is darkly gritty. We begin with the gruesome aftermath of war—and not just any war, but the crusade of a grieving king driven beyond reason by bereavement. With our protagonist Meara, we walk the back streets of his ravaged kingdom, and it is ugly-dangerous.

What makes the book so wonderful—besides Glassman’s enchanting eloquence—is its look at intertwined contrasts: Fae and mortal, Seelie and Unseelie, beauty and evil, immortality and time… and a friendship that manages to transcend all of it.

“ More than a century and half spent wandering all the places that were not home and he had finally found a piece of it in a pair of human eyes… In the deep pause resonating between them, he traced the rise and fall of her breathing, and saw the precise moment when trust began.”

Blood of Fire, Myrielle Glassman

Trust blooms inexplicably between two of the most unlikely candidates, carries them through battle and hardship, and then just as suddenly implodes. “In this, both Fae-kind and mortals were too alike. It was always less painful to look at another’s wrongs so that one’s own vanished; it was infinitely easier and more comforting when fury at another obscured fury with one’s self.”

But this is no ordinary bond. These two must forgive each other—and themselves—because it is no ordinary enemy they are destined to face together. “We mortals have a saying: history repeats itself. The Fae would call it Fate.”

Glassman’s prose is exquisite. Rarely, I tripped over a sentence that could have been expressed with less poetry and more simplicity. More often, I highlighted gems and read them aloud to my family. The copy I received needed more editing; the occasional typos increased towards the end, as the tale pawed the ground like an aughisky ready to race to the climax. But I didn’t care. 

Like Tamsen and the leprechaun, “I know true gold when I see it.”

REVIEWED BY KIT TRZEBUNIA

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