Completion Date: August 15, 2012
Reason for Reading: TLC Book Tour.
In the kingdom of Areya, humans, animals, and the magical creatures that inhabit the Eternal Forest have long coexisted peacefully, but now something is horribly wrong. A terrifying stream of monstrous creatures has begun to emerge from the secret depths of the earth, terrorizing all of Areya’s native inhabitants. From the tiny, wise drevalyankas to the bellicose cave-dwelling gnomes to the devious kikimoras who gather roots and herbs in the marsh, everyone is in danger.
With the aid of Urart, the magical sword that has been passed down from the time of the ancient northern ancestors, Grand Duke Vlady can offer temporary protection to his people. But Prince Vraigo, Vlady’s nephew, who is endowed with magical power himself, understands that the source of the evil monsters must be found if there’s any hope of survival. Along with a motley crew of his forest-dwelling friends, Vraigo sets off on a perilous quest in search of the koschei, the powerful, corrupt Archmagus whose mission is the destruction not just of Areya, but of the entire world.
When Urart disappears from the duke’s stronghold, Areya is doomed, and only Vraigo, the White Raven, can possibly retrieve the sword. This journey requires Vraigo to use all of his keen wits and magical abilities, as well as to ally himself to dangerous creatures like yagas and werewolves, natural enemies of man, and precipitates the young prince into the most bewildering, complex challenge he has faced yet: life in the twenty-first century.When TLC Book Tours do fantasy novels lately for tours I usually jump at the chance to read them. I don't read nearly enough fantasy anymore and sometimes need an excuse to remedy that situation. It just gets lost in the shuffle of everything else that is going on. Needless to say White Raven sounded interesting and I was eager to see what the reading experience would be like. I was a bit worried in the beginning. I kept picking it up and not getting caught up in the story. You have to work at it a bit, but in the end I read most of the book in one sitting. I even stayed up late with it both because I had to write this review and because I wanted to know what happened.
The author takes many aspects of popular fantasy and weaves it together to make a story that seems backed in mythology. She got her inspiration from Siberia and it was almost like visiting there even though it is a fictional world she has created. It is still Earth, though. The book is basically a sword and sorcery story and I like a good fantasy novel of that type. It also includes paranormal elements and science-fiction elements. There is time travel. I was a bit leery of the time travel, but it was actually handled rather well. It is covered in the second half of the book. The first half is set in Areya exclusively. I knew that the time travel was coming, it says so on the back of the book, and I wasn't exactly sure how the story was going to lead in that direction. The transition wasn't perfect, it was almost too set-up, but it didn't distract me too much from my overall enjoyment.
The book follows the White Raven for the most part, especially in the first part of the book, but there are many secondary characters. In the second half of the book there is also Nik. He represents the 'modern' world. It is interesting watching him try to interact with someone who has lived a very different life. I also liked how the amazing ability to understand each other was developed enough that it doesn't seem strange. The authors brother did the translation and I think this was a great way to keep the book as close to the original as possible. Overall, I enjoyed my reading.
A recommended read! You can find some interesting promotions associated with this book below. Check out the tour page to visit other sites reviewing this book.
The book also includes a map of Areya and a list of characters. These are both very helpful additions.
There's a special promotion going on that was extended especially for this blog tour! Orders placed through the Light Messages site will be $12.00 per book instead of $16.95 (that's about a 30% savings), and folks will also receive a PERSONALIZED, signed post card from author Irina Lopatina. Postcards feature landscapes from Altai, Siberia––the inspiration for White Raven's Kingdom of Areya. The promotion goes for 14 days after your individual tour stop. You can find all the information at www.lightmessages.com/whiteravenpromo.
If readers submit photos of themselves with their copies (or e-copies) of the books, then Irina will send them a personalized, signed book plate for the front of their book. Go here and use the Contact link to submit the photo.
I apologize this is a bit late posting... I had a blog problem earlier and now I am racing to get this done in case the thunder I hear off in the distance gets closer.