Book Review: The Stealthmaster’s Shadow

Oh my. Let me tell you about this book.

I think The Stealthmaster’s Shadow is my favorite of all the Legends of the Light so far. I’ve read all the other three and loved them all in turn—but this one broke all previous records. It was beautiful.

The plot was amazing, with high stakes, action, cool Stealthmaster-y… well, stealth, and just a dash of romance. I honestly thought we weren’t going to make it out alive for a few moments, and was lamenting the fact that yet another of my favorite characters was going to die. (It’s tragic. I have a thing for all the characters that die. I mean… Newt. R.I.P., buddy.)

And yes, you heard me right. Favorite character! I have a new precious charrie THAT NO ONE BETTER EVER KILL. (Hear that, Hope? Verus is under my personal dragonly protection. Don’t lay a single razor-sharp ax upon my baby’s neck. *growls*)

But really, Verus is amazing. The tone, the sarcasm… he’s the best. And Adreana is totally the perfect fit for him. She pulled off the “strong woman” stereotype very well. (Plus, the whole “misshapen monstrosity” thing was awesome.)

So now that we’re done ranting, let me move on to the actual review.

~ My Review ~

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Is that epic or what?
Verus, a retired soldier, determines to enforce the peace the victory ought to have brought. His wanderings bring him to the city of Nerva, a sprawling riverside chaos no other Stealthmaster will touch.Commandeering the task of a former comrade, Verus presents himself to the governor and promises to search out hidden Subverters. The true reason for his actions he keeps to himself. After all, the tyrannical governor will hardly approve of lending aid to those pitted against him, but the Subverters need information. Maybe even weapons.

The wishes of the Subverters themselves are immaterial. They weren’t there during the war. They didn’t see the horrors Tauscher spread.

Verus has.

So has the new ambassador from Zahavia who strides through the great doors of the feasting hall, bringing Verus face to face with nightmares from his past.

As the simple mission dissolves into confusion, Verus struggles to help those he’s plunged into danger, from a serving lad to the infuriating woman he’s taken to calling “Princess.” Fleeing will only make the enemy stronger. But staying…

Staying could doom them all.

Perfect for those who love fantasy but don’t have the time to sit down for a full-length novel, the fourth novella in the Legends of Light series presents the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses in a clean, exciting, and inspiring manner. Full of wit, secrets, danger, and distant threats looming on the horizon, this is more than the mere retelling of a favorite fairy tale.A stand-alone story, The Stealthmaster’s Shadow focuses on the fourth fruit of the Spirit, long-suffering, while following the results of the war between the Prince and Tauscher.

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~ Overall Rating: 4/5 ~

I loved this book. The characters were great, the plot intense and action packed, and the Christian themes and message beautifully weaved into the story. But there were a few points where I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on, or who was talking. For the most part, context and subtext told it all, but there were some spots were I was a bit confused, which is why I’m rating it 4/5.

~ Genre ~

5/5 Stars

Fantasy/Allegorical Fantasy/YA/Fairy Tale Re-telling

This book totally fit the genre. The fantasy feel was spot on, and the settings incorporated a lot of realistic, fantasy things that made me so excited for when Hope finishes her WIP Fidelyon, which I believe(correct me if I’m wrong, Hope) is set in the same world. So we’ll get a more in-depth view of the world of LotL and I can’t wait to read about it all.

The fairy tale this book was based on–The Twelve Dancing Princesses–is a rather hard fairy tale to pull off a re-telling of, in my opinion, first because it’s not nearly as popular as other fairy tales, and second because it’s a little bit different than other fairy tales. I haven’t read the original fairy tale in a long time, but I think Hope did a good job writing in little hints and references to the original. I could pick up everything referring to the fairy tale pretty well, and I even noticed more hints and more references the second time I read over it. So go Hope!

~ Plot ~

4/5 Stars

I loved the plot. It was high-stakes, action, sarcasm, and just plain fantastic. As I mentioned before, there was some confusing spots that I had to re-read and think over, but nothing to confusing. Plus, I think this was possibly one of the most high-stakes plots I’ve ever read. I loved the amount of tension and internal conflict(and conflict in general) in this book. So go, my dragons. Read this book. It is epic.

~ Characters ~

5/5 Stars

One word. Verus. There is one main reason I read a book. Characters. If you don’t have interesting characters, I will not read your book. In fact, I may take your book(like the only Stephen King book I’ve ever owned) and throw it across the room, and then throw it in the the trash can. But this book–I will re-read it again and again, because of the characters. Verus. Adreana. People-I-forget-the-name-of-but-who’s-personalities-and-story-is-forever-branded-in-my-mind.

Those guys. People like Huckleberry Finn(did any of you ever just cringe with sadness for poor ol’ Huck when you read the line in Tom Sawyer ‘He[Huck] wavered, and started to slink away, but Tom seized him and said, “Aunt Polly, it ain’t fair. Somebody’s got to be glad to see Huck.”‘) and Kylo Ren, and Newt Scamander, and Draco Malfoy(Okay, yes, I’m an anti-hero/villain-whatever lover.), and Newt(The Maze Runner, #R.I.P.). But these are the guys and cheer for. These are the guys I get up at 2 AM to find fandom updates for, these are the guys I’d personally write a letter to their author screaming about their unjust and terribly unnecessary death.

And The Stealthmaster’s Shadow has characters like that. Verus and Adreana? I’d do that for them. I’d read through twenty books about these guys. I’d search the web diligently for new bits of info on them, and skim Pinterest for new art and pin ever piece I find, and then search for more. Verus–he’s sarcastic, funny, and just strong enough to be real and tough but just weak enough to be human and huggable. Plus, he had this cute and slightly childish side that was just… adorable. Adreana–she was amazing and smart and witty and saucy at the same time, while not being one of those irritating strong female characters that just sound like rude, bossy girls who hate everyone.

So Hope, I’m giving you an A+ on the characters.

 ~ Notes ~

This novel was probably the darkest of the Legends of the Light so far, but I don’t think it was to dark. I think Hope handled it very well, but just to warn you there is some gore and a torture scene towards the end.

-I loved Verus. Enough said.

-As always, Hope has surprised me again by weaving allegory and the story of the Bible beautifully with a new, fresh fantasy feel.

And now, snippets!

“Thank you for the company, gentlemen.” Verus quickened his pace and slipped between the two foremost guards. “I’ll introduce myself to the governor, if it’s not too much trouble.”

“That was a warning.” Osvaldus stepped back in front of the Stealthmaster. “At least Tauscher had real men behind him.” His gaze slowly traveled over Verus. “Ten years ago, you were what? A lad pretending to be a soldier?”
Verus grew rigid. “I was seventeen when peace came.”
“Like I said, a lad.” Osvaldus turned away. “A dreamer trying to bring in the new age after his Prince failed to do so. A camp follower sent to hide with the baggage when real blows were exchanged.”
“I was a soldier!” Verus took a step after Osvaldus. “I bore a blade into conflict more bitter than you have seen and—”
“I don’t care.” Osvaldus spun and seized the front of Verus’s cloak. He dragged him close, his eyes inches away. Lights glinted there, bright and dangerous. “I don’t care. What I do care about is a group of Subverters hiding in my palace, operating outside of my control. A group I want in chains before Renatus appears.” His grip tightened. “If you fail me, I will execute you for the trouble you’ve caused. Can you do it, soldier lad?”
Verus clenched his jaw and didn’t look away. “Yes. I can do it. Maybe I even will.”

“I’m sorry. I truly am.” She bent close, pressing one hand against his forehead. The faintest smile lit her lips. “Though you are much pleasanter like this.”
Why the little… Verus tried to twist away, but his arms were so heavy. His head. His eyelids. This answered one question at least. He forced back the webs of sleep clouding his mind. “You… you’re one of…” His chin slumped to his chest.

~ About The Author ~

 

 

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Hope Ann uses chocolate to bribe a wide ring of spies, from the realm leapers of Aslaria to the double agents of Elkbend, for their stories. Based in Indiana, she is the self-published author of the Legends of Light series, personal writing coach, and the Communications Coordinator for Story Embers. You can find out more about her at authorhopeann.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Art Dump #2

Hello everyone! I now return with the second and long overdue part of my art dump. (You’re welcome.)

Anyhow, enjoy.

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Guess who? Only my favorite ball of angst, Jax.
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Experiment on mountain style for map-making…
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Cutest ship ever…. Jax & Vyrn from my WIP, Firemaster. Will someday be completed in watercolor. But today is not that day. *insert epic Aragorn gif*
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Experiment on clouds for map-making…
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If you’ve ever wondered what happens when Kirin(my MC) fire-bends, this is what his eyes look like. Sorry for the blurry photo.
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Brush pen calligraphy….
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Jax again…. he’s my favorite. XD This one’s a character sketch. 
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More Jax fanart…. depressing fanart, to. Oh well. Watercolor. 
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Unfinished fanart of future novel: Shape-shifter prince and human princess. An epic re-telling of Beauty & The Beast like you’ve never seen before. *confetti*
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Random guy… I was working on my profile sketch, and this is what came out of it. 
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Gate designs for the world of Firemaster
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This one I’m rather proud of. It was the first time I’d sketched more than doodles with brush pens, and I think it turned out really well. In fact, it’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever drawn.
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A random sylph.(I think? Cat boy? Neko? Whatever.)
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Guess what? More eyes. This time in brush pen. I bought a set of three from Micheal’s and promptly went on a brush-pen art splurge. It’s supposed to be Jax(top, blue) and Vyrn(bottom, red).
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Dragon eye and shadow study on eyes. Charcoal.
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Steampunk Obito! (If any of you know what I’m talking about, here’s some cyber chocolate and all seasons of Naruto in special edition. XD)
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World Domination For Cats. Prismacolor Colored Pencils.
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Firemaster fanart! So, you remember how I talked about Kirin being able to manipulate fire? Well, here’s all the abilities that benders–called Masters–can do. Each person only has one ability, and when they use it, their eyes change like shown above^^
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MC eyes! From the top: Shadow, Vyrn(ya, I know she’s not finished.), Jax, and Kirin. Both Shadow and Kirin are masters, which is why I made their eyes like that. See if you can find out what Shadow is. 😉
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Jax. Again. Poor guy, I really can’t not draw him. He’s so fun to draw. But this did start out as just another profile workout to perfect my manga profiling. Then it changed into a character sketch of Jax…. XD
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A random… thing. I have no idea what it is. Some sort of fox-wolf-spirit thing from Japanese or Chinese mythology. I believe the actually name is Kitsune, but I could be wrong. And don’t ask me why I drew it… or why there’s a saddle. I claim no knowledge.
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Can anyone guess who this is? (Come on, there’s got to be at least one anime freak among you.) Fine. Don’t know? It’s Colonel Roy Mustang, from Fullmetal Alchemist:Brotherhood. Shame on you for not knowing. 
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Now this here, is a spoiler. Remember that serial story I said I was writing? Here’s the MC. Kija, Second Prince of Iskra(working name), son of King Kazuko Kaien. And yes, there’s a reason he’s got those tattoos and why one eyes is lighter than the other. You’ll find out eventually. I did not just put them in there cause they look cool. *shakes head*

And there you have it. The latest art from this here dragon. Like it? Hate it? Tell me.

And if any of you know who Roy Mustang and Obito are…. talk to me. I’ve been sadly deprived of fellow fandom freaks lately.


Ever onward, upward, and forward;

~Sarah

 

I Return! {In which announcements are made, promises are not, and I love GIFS}

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Yes. I’ve been absent for an insanely long time. And yes, it’ll probably happen again in the future. I’m not going to promise to post every week this summer, not even every two weeks. Heck, I might not even get around to it every month.

Why? I’m working as a full time lifeguard this year (Which means seven days a week, with maybe Saturday off. The joy.), and I’ll also be juggling 4-H market sheep, selling one of my horses(Because, honestly, I really don’t have the money to pay 120 dollars a month when I don’t have time to ride and I’m saving for college.) getting my driver’s license, and doing some Algebra that I missed last year and left-over Biology(ugh!) during the summer.

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So therefore, I won’t be posting very much. I’m not going to abandon this blog, but it will slow down immensely during the summer months, and other than the occasional photo shoot, art dump, tag or novel update, you probably won’t see me very much. Consider yourself forewarned.

And now, on a happier note, I’ll tell you about the future of this blog.

  • I will be updating my theme, graphics, font, and name shortly. This blog has changed names… what, four times? But this will be my final change, unless someday I decide to move to an “official” author website completely. Currently, I am working on building an author site that will stay separate from my blog.
  • I am going to clean up a bunch of my old posts, delete some things, add some pages, and update my “About” page. I won’t be deleting anything good, but some of my old posts from when I first started will definitely be going, just to make this site less cluttered and chaotic.
  • Short stories will be added! I’ve written several, and when the time comes, I will be adding them on their own page, so look forward to that!
  • Book reviews–I will now offer my superb literary skills to authors, including an in-depth blog review, Goodreads review, and possibly an amazon review, if I can get the site to work with me. (It really hates me.) So if you’re an author, know an author who wants a book reviewed, or just want me to read something over and give my opinion, comment below. I check this blog more often than my emails, so notify me first on here and then send me the email(I will add a contact form shortly.)
  • A serial story will be coming, as of the start of the school year. This gives me all summer to perfect it and plot, plus I like making you guys wait. (I know, I’m evil. It’s an INTJ thing…) So if you like outlaws princes, telepathic horses, cursed eyes, plagues, mysteries, romance, bandits, Robin Hood, and mysterious swordsman, start counting down the days till school.

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Excited yet? I sure am.

 

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Well, that’s all I’ve got for today. See you next time,

~Sarah

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