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review 2016-06-08 17:12
Good start to a new series.
Paladins of the Storm Lord - Barbara Ann Wright

This is probably my favorite of the author's books that I've read. Well, maybe tied with her very first book. Either way, it was good. The world building was pretty well done and the characters - and there were many - were, for the most part, interesting. I'd definitely pick up the next in the sequel to see where things progress. Oh! And there are no cliffhangers, which I really appreciate.


I received the book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-05-19 19:10
Review: The Fiend Queen
The Fiend Queen - Barbara Ann Wright

Within the walls of her palace, Princess Katya’s best friend lies at her feet, close to death. Her pyradisté is overwhelmed by some mysterious power, and her former lady-in-waiting has stabbed her in the back. Wounded and nearly alone, Katya must find a way to sabotage the magic of her Fiendish uncle Roland, or those who fight for the capitol will be overwhelmed by hypnotized guards and Fiend-filled corpses.

Starbride’s pain is nearly overwhelming. The agony inside her only lessens when she satisfies a strange new desire to hurt those around her. She may hold the key to banishing Fiendish power from Farraday, but only by using it herself. Together, Katya and Starbride must make a final desperate push to take back the kingdom, but even if they survive, can the strength of their love keep them from madness? After all, fighting evil with evil has its consequences.



This book gets the third star mainly because I still like the series as a whole (and the characters have grown on me) and because I really hate the main trope that is used here but don't think that it's a bad trope generally. There are probably people who enjoy reading about it. But I don't. Really. Not at all.

I'm talking about corrupted by power/demonic possession. Yeah, that thing that is neither really and both a bit. I'm all over corrupted by power, especially, when, like in this book it's connected with questions like How evil do you have to become to fight evil? How far can you go before you just fuck up things differently than the previous bad guy? 

I'm less fond of possession but can still cope with it but the combination of both always feels like a cop-out to me. You see: it wasn't really her doing the bad things! The demon made her do it. Sort of. Mostly.

Additionally, the POV chapters of a corrupted-possessed person are just very tedious reading. In the middle, there are several chapters that are mostly the same: her friends try to reach her, she begins to have doubts, the demon interferes and plays on her insecurities, she believes him, back to square one. (The playing on the insecurities-bit was something I actually quite enjoyed since it gave her better reasons for listening to the demon than 'wants power and revenge') After a few times that got very boring.


The end managed to tie up some ends very neatly and leave others too open for the final book in a series. I don't need to know everything about all the characters at the end but I'd like to have an idea of where they're going.

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review 2016-05-14 17:07
Review: A Kingdom Lost
A Kingdom Lost - Barbara Ann Wright

Princess Katya Nar Umbriel has little left to lose. Her uncle Roland took her home, scattered her family, and forced her to abandon Starbride, her dearest love. Slim hopes and righteous anger carry Katya into Starbride's homeland to raise an army and take back all that was stolen from her.

Starbride never dreamed she’d lead a pack of foreign rebels against a Fiendish usurper. She holds the capital city out of love, denying any rumor of Katya’s death. As the two strive toward each other, Roland dogs their every step, loosing Fiend-filled corpses on Katya’s army and hypnotizing the capital’s citizens into hunting Starbride down. If they ever meet again, it’ll be over his dead body.


When it comes to the things I enjoyed in this book I can just repeat what I already said about the first two in the series: I love the characters, I love the dynamics between Katya and Starbride, and the dynamics between them and the side-characters in general. Also taking about character dynamics and relationships: I love how there are characters that are good guys but that don't (always) get along that well with the main characters. They're not arrogant jerks who have to be endured because they are very good at what they do. They just have very different ideas from the others and so they're sometimes difficult to be around. Though in the case of Redtrue and the other adsnazi I quickly got tired and exhausted of their views. Towards the end, I found it easier to see their point of view but I still would have wished for less stubbornness on their part. I'm not saying I expected any of them to agree completely with Katya but someone showing some doubts would have been nice. Instead, everybody held to their opinion without moving an inch.

Another thing I enjoyed: while the book can't be considered a 'clean read' it's not because of any extremely explicit sex scenes but because it's a society that's not ashamed of sex and talks openly about it (and loves dirty jokes so much, something they share with me). I'm not a big fan of explicit sex scenes. Even if I love the author's writing style there's a high chance I'll just skim over the sex scenes. But a good dirty joke? Give it to me! Lots of them? Even better!


Like in the second book, the plot took a lot of surprising turns and I went 'WHAT?' more than once. And while I found the 'mirroring' of storylines a bit odd (Katya and Starbride were apart and dealing with very different things but yet seemed to have success and misfortune always happening at the same time) I didn't have the problem with it being a bit too fast-paced, as with the last book.


So: perfect book, five stars? Alas, no. And the ending is to blame for that. I don't mind cliffhanger endings but there should at least be a momentary conclusion with the big questions still left open. There was no conclusion of anything. It just stopped. Literally mid-battle. There wasn't even a solution to anything in sight and that is rather frustrating.

(And now I have to read the next book soon...)


ARC received from NetGalley

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review 2015-10-08 14:19
Thrall by Barbara Ann Wright at Curve Magazine
Thrall: Beyond Gold and Glory - Barbara Ann Wright

Lady Vikings, monsters and magic. What’s not to like?


I don't often go for fantasy novels, but I'm certainly glad I gave this one a shot. Wright did a phenomenal job with her world-building and character development, even if towards the end the massive amount of conflict became a bit jumbled and overwhelming.


My favorite part of the book was the blood witch Laret, whose soul didn’t match the body she was given at birth. She was complicated and conflicted and I wanted more of her. This is a story of finding one’s path where you would least expect it, with alliances being forged and broken. Also there are cool monsters and blood-thirsty battles, which are always nice.


Calling all lovers of lady Vikings!


Click the title to head over to Curve Magazine for the comprehensive review


Copy provided by Net Galley


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review 2015-06-16 00:00
Exercises in Style
Exercises in Style - Raymond Queneau,Barbara Wright Utterly entertaining, full of linguistic games and imaginative variations of the same story.
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