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review 2016-11-05 13:45
Review: Commitments (The Order, #2) by A.C. Donaubauer
Commitments: The Order - Book 2 - A.C. Donaubauer

Review originally posted at RabidReads.com.


Fantasy Page Turner Magical


This is the second book in The Order series by A.C. Donaubauer. I really enjoyed the first book and was excited to get the second. This series has really long stories, but I really enjoy them, so it doesn’t bother me that they are 900 to 1,000 pages long. That being said, it took me a long time actually start this book. That’s because I’ve been in a bit of a slump, so I knew that trying to tackle such a long story would be difficult in that frame of mind. When I went on vacation earlier this month, I thought that was the perfect time to get started. I had several days to do nothing but read, and this was the first book I picked up.


This story picks up right where The Order left off. Eryn is working on her healing practice. She is trying to get some of the other magicians to learn the craft. She is still inept at politics (she reminds me a lot of myself in this respect). She just wants to do her job and talk straight. She says what’s on her mind and doesn’t tend to think about all the ways others could try to play it. There are people who are desperately trying to help teach her the world of politics, but it is something that she isn’t a fan of (I really don’t blame her at all).


She does leave the castle walls with some of the herb gatherers to show them how to find and properly preserve the herbs that she needs. Here, she brings along a few familiar faces. Plia, the servant girl, and Vern, Eryn’s first friend in the kingdom and son of her trainer, Orrin, both go along with her on this excursion. She gets young Vern permission to go because he’s going to draw all the plants to be put in a book for later training and the plants need to be documented. Plia goes as a servant and finds that she’s really good with the herbs and has a lot to learn. We also get to meet several of the guards that go with her for her and the team’s protection. She is still able to get herself into trouble.


While on the trip, she comes across a wild cat. During a large storm, a tree falls on the cat’s mom, leaving behind a cub. She couldn’t bare letting one of the guards kill the cub, so she decides that she will keep it as a pet (no recommended at all in real life, by the way). She does worry what her husband, and second-in-command wizard, will think of this new addition. She is quite surprised when she comes back and learns that he already knew about the addition. She figured out two of the spies on her own and who they reported to, but while she knew the other two guards she knew were spies, she didn’t know which person they were giving their information to.


After they get back, the king calls Eryn into his presence. He has taken upon himself to help teach her the fine art of politics. He also manipulates her into a diplomatic trip back to her original homeland. She doesn’t want to go, because she wants to work on her new health care center, but king convinces her that she could learn a lot from the healers in her old world, not to mention books. The girl loves books (another thing we have in common LOL). So her and Enric make the trip.


Once they arrive back in Takhan, that is when things really start to get interesting. Eryn meets some of her family that she didn’t even realize she had. Her family is pretty interesting and things get even more political. We also learn more about Ram’an (the diplomat that we met in book one) and his interest in Eryn. I won’t go into too much detail because this is where I think the story has the most interesting parts that I don’t want to spoil. I will mention how much I loved Eryn’s Uncle Valrad and her cousin Vran’el. Vran’el is gay, but has daughter. In this world, offspring is very important because everyone wants heirs. Marriages are also generally arranged, but both parties do have to agree. In Vran’el’s case, he had an arrangement with the mother. She didn’t want to get married and he wanted to pursue a relationship with a man. Once he conceived a child he was free to do whatever he wanted. He has a wonderful relationship with another man. The story did not go into whether Vran’el’s lover had a child or not.


Once again, this book was another great addition to the series. The story is very well told, but also very long. There were parts that were a little slow and things that I thought could’ve been edited down some, but still a wonderful story. It is really the characters that make the story for me. I loved my time with the old favorites from book one, but I also really enjoyed the addition of new characters. I’m excited to see what goes on in book three, which was released earlier this year. With a title like, Schemes, I’m expecting even more politics in the future.


This quote is between young Vern (a teenager) and Eryn about her dislike of political games, but using them too.

“Well done. he complemented her. “So the woman who ants to show that we can all work together without tricks and dishonesty just tricked a bunch of her gatherers into teaching her about the weather. Nice move.”
“You should have stopped after Well done.” She sighed.
He pretended to think for a moment, then shook his head. “No. Where is the fun in that?”

This quote is about Urban, the large cat that Eryn adopted on her herb gathering trip. Enric took her with him for a hunt.

Her gaze fell on Urban and the mess of bloody smears on the ground before her. “She has been successful as well, hasn’t she?”
Enric followed her gaze, still frowning. “Yes. Three small animals. Not bad for her first hunting outing, not at all. It seems that gutting our throw cushions served as sufficient preparation for the real world.” he added dryly.

My last quote is about Obal, Vran’el four-year-old daughter, who loves Urban.

“Cat!” Obal screamed when Urban strolled into the room. “Come here! Here!”
The mountain cat froze in mid-step, then turned around in a liquid movement quickly to slink back into the corridor she had emerged from.
“Another one who will be glad when she can return to the peace and quite of Anyueel tomorrow, I imagine,” Valrad laughed. “The might beast, put to flight by a four-year-old girl.”

**Book was provided to me by the author. This review is my opinion and was not requested or provoked in anyway by the author.


The Order Series

My Review


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Source: rabidreads.ca/2016/10/review-commitments-by-a-c-donaubauer-mlsimmons-ac_donaubauer.html
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review 2016-05-16 01:08
Review: The Order (The Order #1) by A.C. Donaubauer
The Order: Book 1 - A.C. Donaubauer

Review originally posted at RabidReads.com.


Fantasy Page Turner Magical


This book came highly recommended by Dolly from Just Talking Books. When she told it was available on NetGalley again, I jumped at the chance to review it. There are a few things I will mention. I went into this book not noticing the page count. It has been a long time since I read a 900+ page book. I’ve listened to a few, but it has been a while since I read a book that long. It isn’t that I don’t like reading long books, it is just that the PNR/UF books that I normally read are closer to 300-500 pages long. All that being said, the page count in this book wasn’t a problem. It did take me longer to read than most, but I was fully engrossed in the story the entire time.


This is the story of Eryn who is a bit different from everyone else. She lives in a village where she hides her hair color magically as she is the only non-blonde person there besides her father. She also has magic which is not known to the town. That is until she is knocked out and her mind quits applying the magic to her hair color. She is then turned over to the king and the Order of Magicians where she is bound in gold to suppress her magic.


The Order and the kingdom have not seen a female magician in over 300 years. They also haven’t seen anyone with a hair color other than blonde in that amount of time. They are amazed at her lack of training, but also at her sheer power. She is the third strongest magician in the land, but knows nothing about it outside of healing, which they know nothing of. Her father is from a different kingdom and taught her different uses for her magic, but he also taught her to be very wary of the the Order and using magic for defense and battle. The one time she did, it went really bad for her, so when the Order forces her to use her to learn to fight, she is very reluctant.


It was fun to watch what can happen when you take a reluctant captive with a lot of brains and ingenuity and see what they can teach themselves. Eryn gets herself in quite the amount of trouble as she tries to escape and outsmart the elder members of the order. But it is also great as she becomes friends with them as they learn to work together. Eryn is a very fiery person. She is also very loyal to her trade as a healer and to the people she believes she needs to help. She has little respect for authority and doesn’t have a problem proving that fact to anyone.


The romance in this book is very much a slow build. Enric is intrigued with Eryn from the beginning. Eryn, not so much. Which, Eryn didn’t like the Order from the prejudice her father left her with about it and about fighting with magic. Add that to the fact that Enric had to knock her out at their first meeting because she was panicking and fighting back. Needless to say, their first meeting wasn’t a great one. Then they imprisoned her and forced her to learn to fight against her will. With Enric being the second in command of the Order, she saw all of this as a slight on him. It took him a long while to build the trust to romance her.


This story has great characters. There is her original combat trainer, Orrin, and his son Vern. I really loved them. I loved that as much as Orrin was a warrior, he loved his son, even though his son was so not a warrior. There is also Junar, a seamstress in town that befriends Eryn. The character I disliked the most was the king. He was a manipulative bastard. There was another character that I really disliked, but I’ll keep him to myself for now. There are many other great characters, but I won’t list them all. Just know that this story is full of wonderful characters.


The thing that is very different for me with this story, there is no epic battle, no epic mystery to solve. That didn’t mean I was glued to the pages. I’m very much used to stories like Kate Daniels or Gin Blanco running from one catastrophe to another without a chance to breathe. The stories are very fast paced. That was not the case here. I wouldn’t say that the story was slow, nor was it fast. It was just a pleasant stroll through the life of Eryn and Enric. There is the question about why haven’t there been any women magicians in 300+ years and why all the same hair color. These questions are answered in this story. I’m very interested in seeing where the story goes from here.

“Yes, Orrin,” she hiss. “I do understand you. I am neither deaf nor stupid.”
He straightened again. “Good. And it is customary to address a high ranking magician using the title of Lord.”
She smiled acidly. “Is it now? Thank you so much for enlightening me as to this charming little custom, Orrin.”


The Order Series


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Source: rabidreads.ca/2016/05/review-the-order-by-a-c-donaubauer-mlsimmons-ac_donaubauer.html
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review 2015-09-24 19:33
Review: The Order: Book 1 by A.C. Donaubauer
The Order: Book 1 - A.C. Donaubauer

I pick The Order as the sleeper of my reading year!!

What I liked: Oh my, I really and sincerely enjoyed The Order. Ms Donaurbauer took me on a fantastic journey and I can't wait to see what happens next.

I'm not going to rehash what's covered in the synopsis. Just imagine knowing you are completely different from everyone in the world you've come into contact. Every person in the Kingdom has some shade of blond hair and yet, you and your father have dark brown. You know and learned you've magic in your body but are forced by your father (who also has magic) to hide it. You and your father are healers but can't openly use magic to heal or to hurt. You think it's unfair you can't use the magic to protect yourself but your father explains using "bad" magic has a price. The one and only time you use magic, dire circumstances occur.

This is what our main character, Eryn, is facing. In addition, she knows from her father that they come from a different Kingdom where magic is more accepted but used for self-gain and protection. Through a set of tragic acts, Eryn ends up alone as a teenager. She stays in her village to continue her father's healing practice. Then through an accident her village turns her into the King. And there the real part of the story begins!

Ms Donaurbauer is a fantastic storyteller. When I first saw The Order on NetGalley I was a bit torn but ended up being enthralled, through the whole book. Everything in the book fell into place. You had the back story on the two main characters, Eryn and Enric, the jump to present day and the struggles Eryn faces. She's a very strong character and more than once confuses and confounds her captors. And yet, they are more than intrigued by her lack of training in using her powers to protect the Kingdom, after all, that's all Magicians are good for, right?

All the Magicians in the Kingdom work for the King to protect him and the Kingdom. Of course politics enter into the power struggle between the Magicians and the King's current advisers. Through all that, Eryn is being taught more about her powers in fighting and protection. She totally thinks it's a waste as all she wants to do is treat and heal individuals who need her more than the Kingdom needs another Magician warrior.

Not only does Ms Donaurbauer have a special hand in world building, her characters (all of them) are been surely and completely developed. I know it's hard in a first book but The Order is a bit longer than what I currently read. Each character is meticulously developing. I found myself laughing with them, worrying as they worry and connecting with each one of them; good and bad.

What I didn't like: This is the first book in the series and was just released in August, I don't like not knowing when the next book is coming out!!!

Overall, I could go on and on about The Order but instead will recommend it to epic/urban fantasy lovers!

Highly Recommended!!!!

Source: www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-the-order-book-1-by-ac-donaubauer
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