Pawn of Prophecy

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Pawn of Prophecy is the first in the Belgariad series, and this is my second attempt at reading it.  It’s also the first book for my 2020 Reading Challenge with my city’s library system, where the library provides a list of 12 themes (14 if you want to do the advanced challenge), and you get to pick whatever book you like that you feel would fit the theme.  The theme I chose this book for was ‘A Book that is Older than You.’  Published in 1982, one year before I was born, it seemed a perfect fit.

Plus it was already sitting in my To Read pile at home so that helped I bit too lol

Anyways, Pawn of Prophecy is a very quick, and almost incomplete read.  We first given a brief introduction into the mythos and religions of the world before being introduced to young Garion and his aunt Pol.  Aunt Pol is the mistress of a kitchen in a small farmstead, and Garion has little plans in life other than to listed to his aunt and live on the farm.

But as is the way of things in these books, fate always has a way of turning expectations on their heads.

The Big Journey starts when a member of one of the more looked-down-upon societies came calling and started asking too many questions, leaving a spy behind which Garion eventually uncovered.  Sensing the farm-hold was no longer safe, aunt Pol packs up Garion, and they flee into the night along with the local blacksmith and a wandering storyteller known as Old Wolf.  The meet some unlikely allied in the woods, and off they go.

Most of the book is this journey, where Garion is being dragged across the face of the known world while the Old Wolf searches for something.  They do their best to duck the Murgos who seem to be the boogeymen of the series, and eventually Garion learns that Aunt Pol and Mr. Wolf are actually the fabled sorceress Polgara and her father the sorcerer Belgariad

So the one thing that really got my goat here is when young Garion learns who his aunt and the old wolf really are, he start acting out a bit.  Understandable him acting out, he’s well and truly been orphaned now.  For the first time in 15 years he has no blood relations as far as he is aware of, he’s been lied to his whole life about who his aunt Pol is, he’s been whisked halfway across the world and when he tries to learn more he is treated for the most part like a child who would not understand.  But the SECOND he acts out, his elders swoop down on him and I kid you not tell him he’s being rude, acting childish and “well these are all YOUR problems as to why you’re angry so suck it up and deal.” Like…WTF. No understanding, no explanations, they basically just spank his ass and tell him to apologize and HE DOES IT.  UGH.

I dunno maybe it’s just my impatience to figure out what’s going on, but I feel like if I was in Garion’s shoes I would have blown a complete gasket.  “Yeah it was wrong of me to act out like that and I will apologize, but it was/is wrong of you to keep so much of everything from me.  I deserve an apology as well, along with the truth.”

THAT is how he should have handled things in my opinion.  Not just rolled over and taken it.

Anyways, tangent aside, I ripped through this pretty quickly and really enjoyed it.  I did try reading it once back in high school but could not get into it.  Glad I was able to give it another go.

And that’s the end of JaNoReadMo 2020 folks!  As mentioned earlier here I have taken up the Toronto Public Library 2020 reading challenge, so stay tuned so see how that goes.  I’ll be flipping back and forth a bit, something from my To Read pile, something from the challenge, and I’ll probably go off on one or more series binges haha!

So next up we have something from the To Read pile.  I’ve had this book for…lawd almost 10 years?  Untold Adventures, a Dungeons and Dragons Anthology is next. Looking forward to this one as it has a few Realms stories in it. 🙂

Your favorite award-winning, critically acclaimed, and best-selling authors unite to tell stories set in the Dungeons & Dragons world, filled with desperate dragons and cruel elves, honorable demons and fickle gods, wild magic and the sharpest of steel. You don’t want to miss this rarest of opportunities to get a glimpse into the D&D adventures created by some of the most brilliant fantasy writers of our age

The Pyramid

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Eighth in the Jack Howard Series, The Pyramid picks up shortly after The Pharaoh ends.  Jack and Costas are in Egypt doing some secret deep sea diving, looking for evidence of the pharaoh Akhenaten’s charioteer mass suicide that they had learned about in the previous installment.  They find it, but cannot broadcast their findings as Egypt is currently in the middle of some intense political unrest that will eventually lead to a coup, where religious extremist overthrow the current government.

So Jack and Costas need to tread carefully.  As they fast track around the globe they gather evidence of something that could very well prove to be earth shattering: that Akhenaten was THE pharaoh of the bible, he and Moses worshipped two faces of the same god, and that the ‘escape’ if the Jewish people was actually all an elaborate hoax planned by Akhenaten and Moses.

Lots more actual history than I’m used to, but otherwise a good read. Though I have some to the conclusion that while I like David Gibbin’s works, I don’t enjoy them enough anymore to buy the rest of the series, or keep what I have already have.  Looks like I’ll be making a trip to the local used book store soon…

Anyways we’re turning to an oldie but a goldie: Pawn of Prophecy, first in the Belarad series by David Lee Eddings next.

Long ago, so the Storyteller claimed, the evil God Torak sought dominion and drove men and Gods to war. But Belgarath the Sorcerer led men to reclaim the Orb that protected men of the West. So long as it lay at Riva, the prophecy went, men would be safe.

But that was only a story, and Garion did not believe in magic dooms, even though the dark man without a shadow had haunted him for years. Brought up on a quiet farm by his Aunt Pol, how could he know that the Apostate planned to wake dread Torak, or that he would be led on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger by those he loved – but did not know? For a while his dreams of innocence were safe, untroubled by knowledge of his strange heritage. For a little while…

The Three Fates

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The Three Fates is technically book 3.5 in Kate Quinn’s Empress of Rome series and bridges Empress of the Seven Hills and Lady of the Eternal City.  Super quick read, takes place the next morning after the end of Empress of the Seven Hills.  We get a few hours of Vix, Sabina and Titus’ stories during this time.

Sabina consults a seemingly mad diviner over her fate and the fate of Rome now that Trajan is dead and she is married to the next emperor Hadrian.

Vix is tasked with taking out Hadrian’s political enemies, and that means turning on old friends and comrades.

It’s Titus’ wedding night, finally married to Sabina’s sister I think? Honestly can’t recall the familial ties between all the females in this city but I think that’s correct.  Anyways finally married, about to have his wedding night, and who so happens to show up but Vix.  As a rival of Hadrian, Titus is on Vix’s hit list no matter how much he would prefer not to. Thankfully Titus surrenders rather than fight and is led away to wait his fate until Lady of the Eternal City.

Not what I was expecting to read honestly, it was much much shorter than I had anticipated but still enjoyable.

Book 6 for the year is They Pyramid by David Gibbins next!

EVERYONE KNEW THE STORY OF ANCIENT EGYPT.
UNTIL NOW.
 
For thousands of years, Egypt was a rich, ingenious civilization. Then it became a fertile hunting ground for archaeologists and explorers. Now the streets of Cairo teem with violence as a political awakening shakes the region. In the face of overwhelming danger, Jack Howard and his team of marine archaeologists have gathered pieces of a fantastic puzzle. But putting it together may cost them their lives.
 
Howard has connected a mystery hidden inside a great pyramid to a fossilized discovery in the Red Sea and a 110-year-old handwritten report of a man who claims to have escaped a labyrinth beneath Cairo. For that his team is stalked by a brutal extremist organization that will destroy any treasure they find.
 
As people fight and die for their rights aboveground, Jack fights for a discovery that will shed an astounding new light on the greatest story ever told: Moses’s exodus from Egypt and the true beginnings of a new chapter in human history.

Nefertiti’s Heart

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Nefertiti’s Heart is the first in the Artifact Hunters series by A.W. Exley.  Part romance, part mystery, all steam punk, Nefertiti’s Heart really pulled me in.

Here we meet young Cara Devon, a woman born into British nobility and subsequently shunned after she was essentially sold by her father at age 13 to a member higher in the peerage, where she was held captive and raped over the course of several days.  Returning to London after a near-decade long sabbatical and the death of her father, Cara originally plans to stay just long enough to locate some treasures her father had stashed away – antiquities he had bought or stolen throughout the years – find a dealer to sell them, and be off again.

What Cara did not plan on, was meeting Nathaniel Trent, another member of nobility with ties to London’s underworld.  He pursues Cara relentlessly, albeit patiently.  While none of the peerage protected or defended her when she was younger, they all knew of it and as was the wont of society in Victorian England, she was blamed for it.

So yeah…you could say starting a relationship under those circumstances is a wee bit difficult and takes time, patience and understanding.

But as if that was not enough to muddy the waters, daughters of the peerage are dying, starting the day Cara returns to London.  One detective is determined to find the culprit, and has his sights set on Nathaniel and Cara as the keys to solving it all…one way or another.

Really quick, compelling read.  You can find it for free on Kobo which is a bonus, but I think it’s worth investing in which is why I have added to it my List.

I’ll get to the rest eventually hahaha!

Anyways, Next is a little nugget I found as I was going through authors I enjoy and making sure I was all caught up on their works.  Three Fates by Kate Quinn, looks to be a collection of short stories that ties her Rome books together so I’m looking forward to what is has in store for us!

Beloved Emperor Trajan is dead. His brutal successor Hadrian draws ever nearer to Rome. And three desperate souls try to forge new paths in a world turned upside down . . .

THE EMPEROR’S NEMESIS. Battered warrior Vix has always been Hadrian’s bitter enemy, and he vows that will never change, even when he is made Praetorian Guard and Imperial watchdog. But with his family’s lives on the line, Vix faces a bitter choice: kill a friend, or serve a foe?

THE EMPEROR’S RIVAL. Mild, scholarly Titus might once have been favored as Imperial heir, but he never wanted the throne. All he desires is peace in the arms of his new bride—but the jealous Hadrian has other ideas. A horror of bloodshed and violence interrupts Titus’s wedding night, and the man of peace finds a choice at sword-point: honor and death, or betrayal and a cell?

THE EMPEROR’S WIFE. Elegant, elusive Sabina is desperate to escape the bleak future that awaits her as Hadrian’s Empress, and even more desperate to conceal the secret growing in her own body. But when she begs a famous seer for a glimpse into her future, she receives an astonishing vision of the Eternal City under Hadrian’s rule, and the new Empress must choose: her own freedom, or the glory of Rome?

Three former friends find new futures in blood, omen, and prophecy. Three prequel vignettes to Kate Quinn’s long-awaited “Lady of the Eternal City.”

Dragonsworn

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Dragonsworn is the latest in the Dark/Dream/Were Hunter saga by Sherrilyn Kenyon and I am legit starting to lose interest in the series.  It seems most of this was recap of what’s come before the tracing the lineage of each character back to the start of the series so it gets pretty confusing (to me at least) and imho detracts from the story a bit.

Right.  So the story.  Here we are introduced to Falcyn the Akkadian (I think) dragon and Medea, granddaughter of Apollo.  Apollo has cursed the Damiens once more to death by sending a plague upon then to wipe them out and Medea has come hunting for Falcyn’s dragonstone, an item of ancient and mythological power to save her family.

Shortly after meeting each other however, they are thrown into a few other worlds where their powers are severely curtailed and with a few unusual allies have to find old and new friends to help them out to get back home again.

Now, both Faclyn and Medea have a hardness in their hearts which softens almost immediately when they see each other and within…what…24hrs?  They’re shagging in the middle of an empty plain after being told there’s some creatures in the area that are pretty much invisible and inescapable once they catch you.  Eh. Doesn’t matter so long as they gets their bone on.

On the surface, I get it.  They are both stupid old and pretty much immortal so who really cares about the social conventions of humans and what we would expect to be standard?  The thing that gets me with this and with most romances that do this is Medea is all ‘oh I lost my husband and my child and humans hurt me so bad and I need to be alone forever because I’m stronger alone’ and pretty much has her switch flipped when she meets Falcyn.  I would hate it just as much if the roles were reversed, if Falcyn was so angsts ridden then did a 360 as soon as he meets Medea.

My issue is let there be some time lapse, some inner turmoil and battle to overcome to allow themselves to love and be open to the possibility of being hurt again.  Or at least indicate that they have already been on that healing path and just found the catalyst to their emotional rebirth.

But yah rant aside it was ok.  I might be losing interest in the series but I’m going to keep reading it, especially as the End Game has been hinted at here so I want to see how it all winds up.  Oh and the saving grace to the book was Simi facing down a herd of angry dragons and a school of Charonte swarming over some ancient bad ass warriors like a school of pirahanna.  Those creatures are always good for a laugh and they’re always fun to watch in action.

Well we got a bit to go before the next instalment, so in the interim let’s check out Nefertiti’s Heart, first in the Artifact Hunters series by A.W. Exley next.

1861. Cara has a simple mission in London – finalise her father’s estate and sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when a killer stalks the nobility, searching for an ancient Egyptian relic rumoured to hold the key to immortality.

Nathaniel Trent, known as the villainous viscount, is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on both Cara and the priceless artifacts. His icy exterior and fiery touch stirs Cara’s demons, or could he lay them to rest?

Self-preservation fuels Cara’s search for the gem known as Nefertiti’s Heart. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she sacrifices her own heart and life.

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