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review 2015-02-21 09:56
Book Review: The Sword and its Servant by Victor Salinas
The Sword and Its Servant (Grauwelt) - Victor Salinas

Title: The Sword and its Servant
Author: Victor Salinas
Published by: Understone Group, LLC on 20th May 2014
Series: Grauwelt #1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Setting: Grauwelt [Fictional]
Format: Kindle [Received in exchanged for an honest review]

The links between the Nine Worlds of Creation are deteriorating. The Gates of the Underworld are closed. A veil of shadow shrouds all the land. Rumors of a dead savior reemerge.

Einsa finds herself without memory of her past and her origin, held prisoner by the Lowa, a species of warped monsters bent on using the Children of Mann for their horrendous genetic experiments. She and her companions are merely lab rats waiting to be plucked by their captors - until they decide to make their escape. Einsa's only hope for survival in the fallen world that awaits her rests with Klinde, an ancient and infamous warrior who is just as cunning and bloodthirsty as the enemy.



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Source: booksfor-ishiee.blogspot.com/2015/02/book-review-sword-and-its-servant-by.html
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review 2014-09-30 20:21
The Sword and Its Servant (Grauwelt) - Victor Salinas

The Sword and Its Servant is the first installment of what is planned as an ongoing series. This "portal" story is definitely a YA novel with its "coming of age" theme, but it also has a very strong element of horror incorporated in it with some nightmarish characters who do some rather nasty things. And that blending of YA and horror is definitely what gives this tale a uniqueness missing in many other books; something fantasy readers tired of the familiar fantasy tropes might find very refreshing.


The story begins on Earth with a young boy named Johannes, who is read a bedtime story by his mother. This fairy tale (for so they both believe it to be) talks about a world called Grauwelt, where a group of refuges has fled for safety only to find it haunted by a horrible supernatural creature who begins to devour them. When all hope of their survival seems lost, the leader of these refugees does the unthinkable and turns to hell itself for help.


After his mother stops reading and tells him to go to sleep, Johannes finds himself unable to stop his imagination from wandering. Instead of settling down to slumber, his mind races with images of himself as a brave knight, riding off on his mighty steed to fight the nightmarish hound-like creatures of Grauwelt called the Lowa.


And then the horror begins for this small boy snugged safety under his covers, as he finds a portal opening in his room! The pulsating whirlpool of light filled with the insidious voices and shadowy images of the creatures spoken of in the fairy tale – things that are not so easily vanquished by Johannes’ toy sword. And before he can even call for help, the youth finds himself forced into the sibilant vortex and taken to Grauwelt. A different reality that is somewhere between our own and that of Hel, filled with creatures that are straight out of his nightmares, all of them locked in a struggle to the death for survival.


From this beginning, Mr. Salinas develops the story through several different points of view. After Johannes’ introduction, a parallel story about a strange girl named Einsa is begun; her life being one of unending terror as she lives in pitch black cells full of abducted children. And then the author moves onto several of the Lowa, who are the sons of the King and involved in political machinations. Through these multiple stories, a vivid world of darkness and violence is carefully crafted.


There are several things to really like about The Sword and Its Servant.


One is that Mr. Salinas has crafted a rather non-traditional fantasy world, based not on humans but on another species entirely. The Lowas are truly horrible but also complex creatures who have their own peculiar traditions and civilization that are slowly revealed by the author.


Two, this is not a classic "good versus evil" tale. In fact, all the characters portrayed here are definitely gray. Throughout the narrative, you will find yourself thoroughly hating one for his actions, only to find the motives for those heinous deeds explained later and the hatred turning slowly into mere dislike or perhaps something even more. For example, the Lowas are definitely creatures out of a child’s nightmare, but Mr. Salinas develops them into intelligent beings whose vile acts are within the parameters of their culture. And even the denizens of "Hel" are not shown as completely evil, but something between the two polar opposites of good and bad.


Third, The Sword and Its Servant is not merely a book series; it is actually the introduction to the role-playing world of Grauwelt. Online, lovers of Mr. Salinas’ fantasy creation can immerse themselves into this world via a role-playing game aptly dubbed Grauplay. Something that isn’t exactly new, but the creative team does a great job of integrating the two things together in a new, inventive way, and it does add that extra dimension to the series as a whole.


Overall, I like The Sword and Its Servant. Mr. Salinas’ writing was more than adequate for this type of novel (something that I know will only improve as the series progresses), and the plot was inventive and fast paced, which makes it perfect for YA lovers. So if you are just a fantasy aficionado looking for something different, or a horror fan who likes it a bit fantastical, this is absolutely something you should check out.


I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank both of them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.

Source: bookwraiths.com/2014/09/30/the-sword-and-its-servant-grauwelt-1-by-victor-salinas
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review 2014-08-15 20:15
An interesting experience
The Sword and Its Servant (Grauwelt) - Victor Salinas

What first must be said about The Sword and Its Servant is that this is very much “High Fantasy Sword and Sorcery.” Good and evil is a large part of what the book stands for, though the whole concept of “gray areas” is a strong underlying theme. To be honest, I had thought that, being a “YA” book, that the violence would be minimal. And I would have been very wrong. This first in a six-part series is, in a word, nightmarish, with nightmarish scenes that would discourage me from recommending the book to the under-18 crowd.


With that said, this is indeed a very good book. There is an undercurrent of the horror genre that drew me in right away, as we first meet Johannes, whose nightmares we enter upon our first introduction to the story: He groaned as the terrible vision of a giant wolf chased him through his dreams. Dreams are an inherent theme throughout the book – though one would more easily say nightmares. Glowing eyes, shining in the dark . . .


The Sword and Its Servant is something more than a book. There is a whole world set up around the book series, the world of Grauwelt. Online, the Grauwelt follower is immersed into an experience well outside of the novel, as readers can immerse themselves into a whole world, including a role-playing game, Grauplay, on the publisher’s website. Apparently based upon a “Dungeons and Dragons” style platform, the site takes the storyline of the book series and pulls the reader even further into the storyline, and the world, of Grauwelt.


If you are a High Fantasy aficionado, with a penchant for horror, this is absolutely something you should check out. While the author and publisher say that the reading audience is “15 and up” I would, however, not recommend the book to those under 18. But then, maybe I am just behind the times. I know that bloody shoot-em-up, whack-of-body-parts violence is available to the younger set, but there is quite a bit of disturbing imagery in the book.


I received a copy of The Sword and Its Servant from the publisher in return for a realistic review. Personally, I will not continue the series, but for the proper audience, this is an exceptional read.

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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review 2014-06-22 20:22
The Sword and Its Servant
The Sword and Its Servant (Grauwelt) (Volume 1) - Victor Salinas

The Sword and Its Servant is the first installment of what is going to be a six-part series, all set in the world of the Grauwelt. The Grauwelt is a world that is somewhere between our own and that of Hel. It is full of creatures that are straight out of our nightmares, all fighting for supremacy.


One of my favorite things about high fantasy works is that there often isn't a clear line between that which is good and that which is evil. The characters in this novel are very much in the gray between them. There are many that you want to thoroughly dislike, if for no other reason than that they are beings out of nightmares. But they are also sentient beings who have moments that remind you of some part of humanity. Klinde is a Child of Hel is an ancient warrior whose physical form may surprise you. With the nomenclature of "Hel," one expects evil, but again there is such a gray area that one never really knows.


There are several parallel story lines that are carried throughout the book. They never truly intersect, but there are moments of foreshadowing that lend to imaginings of possibilities. By the end of the book, you have so many questions and very few answers. I expect that to some extent, as there is more to come with this series, but there were so many left unanswered that I honestly don't know how I feel about it.


This book is really more than a book, but part of a larger experience. It is a premise that I haven't encountered before and it will be interesting to see how it all works together. There is a huge interactive side to it that the publishing company intends to expand even further. The main website is here and I would recommend checking out the "About" page, especially "The Present and Future" section. Already there is a free online RPG called Grauplay, as well as the beginning of a wiki for the world of the Grauwelt. It is a fascinating idea!


Note: I have attached the content warning to this post, not because of sex or drugs, but because there is a lot of violence and mightmarish aspects to this novel. The author does describe this as YA and most of the characters are of that age, but it is definitely an older YA!


Things to love...


--The mystery and anticipation. With several story lines, there is a great deal of anticipation about how it all comes together!
--The foray into the nightmarish. The author did NOT shy away from the disturbing!


Things I wanted more/less of...


--More answers!


My Recommendation


This was unlike much of what I read, but I think it is a good start to an interesting new series!

Source: thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=10099
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