Fantasy Book Review | The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier
Never has a fantasy story touched me so profoundly that I was brought to tears not once but twice. The Harp of Kings is a moving tale of love lost, the power of family, and the qualities of a hero among men. The story takes you on a journey that never slows and never disappoints.
The Harp of Kings is story-driven but could easily have been character-driven as Liobhan, Dau, and Brocc touch our hearts with their individual stories, goals, and choices. The tale is masterfully written so that it draws you in much as a night of live music does – with its ability to lift hearts and bring forth memories that touch your soul.
The setting is historical from a time and place that spurs the imagination. Scottish and Irish mysticism is well documented, and the stories are numerous, such as the story of Merlin and King Arthur. This tale keeps that tradition alive and elicits similar feelings of being in “a land of myth and time of magic.” The descriptions are so detailed that I could imagine my own ancestors as they walked, lived, and played in Scotland and Ireland long ago.
Liobhan is a strong female character and, as always, I love a strong heroine. She has that spunk and fire that pulls me into a story. Whereas, Dau starts out as the typical male lead but grows and changes along the way into a more profound and full-fledged hero – one that you end up rooting for by the end.
This is usually the place where I gently complain when a book is written in shifting perspectives. As a reader, I find that often this device breaks up the flow of a story to a point where it negatively impacts my enjoyment of reading it, but that is NOT the case with The Harp of Kings. The device was used in such a way that it enhanced the story. The reader would have lost out had it not been used.
If you want a fantasy tale that will touch your heart and entertain your mind, The Harp of Kings is the right choice for you!
Mystery Book Review | Fiddling with Fate by Kathleen Ernst
What do you get when you create a medley of history, culture, and murder? You get the musical mystery novel Fiddling with Fate – a charming cozy set in a small Norwegian village. It will warm your heart, appease your puzzle-solving brain, and make you want to dance a Halling.
The exquisite detail used when discussing Norwegian cultural items. The fiddles, embroidery, and doilies are described to the smallest detail. You can see the object in your mind as clearly as if there had been a photograph.
The historical interludes that complimented the current day story. Even though I don’t review any historical fiction, it is a genre that I enjoy. So, those parts of this novel stood out to me, giving me the chance to enjoy a little historical fiction within the mystery.
The nod to genealogy fit so perfectly in this story. Anyone who has worked on their own family tree, taken an Ancestry.com or similar DNA test, or just listened to old family stories understands what it means to learn about the history of your family. Chloe learning about her family history is heartwarming and fits so perfectly with the mystery in the novel.
The motive for murder had been stronger. The character who did it is believable, but the reason is a bit of a head-scratcher. It did not take away from the reading experience, but the plot is strong and on-point, so the fact that the character’s motive is weak really stood out. Why were the family heirlooms so vital to him or her, important enough to murder or at the very least, injure?
I wish Amalie’s letter and what happened to her had been part of the novel. The reader learns so much about the family history, I really wanted that last piece of the puzzle to be revealed. Perhaps it will in the next book in the series?
Fans of mystery and historical fiction will love, love, love this novel. It brings many elements together to appeal to a broad audience, so it should not be overlooked.