Monday, January 27, 2014

Review and Giveaway: River of Dreams

River of Dreams (Nine Kingdoms - Book 8) by Lynn Kurland

Publication Date: 01/07/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Pages: 384
ISBN-10: 0425262820
ISBN-13: 978-0425262825

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Sensation)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Lynn Kurland on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

Star of the Morning (2006), The Mage's Daughter (2008), Princess of the Sword (2009), A Tapestry of Spells (2010), Spellweaver (2010), Gift of Magic (2011), Dreamspinner (2012), River of Dreams (2014)

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from, River of Dreams, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.


New York Times bestselling author Lynn Kurland returns to her enchanting Nine Kingdoms saga as the epic adventure of a weaver and an elven prince continues…

Aisling of Bruadair is frantic to find both the truth about her future and a mercenary to save her country. When an offer of aid comes from an unexpected direction, she is relieved her quest is almost complete. But she soon realizes her task is far from over . . . and will include perils she never dreamed she would ever face.

Rùnach of Ceangail has offered to help Aisling with her quest, then he fully intends to take up his life as a simple swordsman far from magic and evil mages. Unfortunately, a chance finding of a book of indecipherable spells tells him that an ordinary life is never going to be his--especially when he realizes that the book he has in his hands belongs to a black mage who will stop at nothing to have it back.

With time running out, Rùnach and Aisling must solve what seem to be unrelated mysteries before others find those answers first and plunge the Nine Kingdoms into a darkness it will never recover from  . . .


Author Lynn Kurland continues her Nine Kingdoms series with her latest book, River of Dreams. This is a fantasy novel that will draw readers in with Kurland's phenomenal powers of description and superb world building skills. A mix of both romance and magic, this is a tale of woman trying desperately to save her kingdom and an elven prince who joins her quest. It is a journey of self-discovery and most of the weaving and welding of magic in a magical land.
A great addition to the series!

What I liked:

This was my first experience reading a Lynn Kurland novel. Though I had seen the Nine Kingdom series around I had never had the opportunity to review one of the novels before. I was excited, being a fan of high fantasy in general and magic in the extreme. I certainly was not disappointed. Kurland has gift for description that doesn't often come along. She can put words together that seem to flow like poetry. This book is worth reading just based on that. If you love words and how the can bring to life scenes that you may never have seen before, this book is amazing. Kurland is a skilled wordsmith. 

Another things that really stands out about River is Dreams is the world building. Fantasy and Science Fiction writers have either a challenge or a curse when it comes to dreaming up and writing about worlds that the reader has never heard of or that don't exist. They can either be horrible at it or very good at, as Kurland is. I haven't read the other books in the series, but it obvious from reading this one that Kurland has created a world based on magic and magical principles. It doesn't work like our world and wasn't meant to. The people and even the objects don't operate as most readers would expect them to and that can be frustrating if you are not a fantasy enthusiast. But I think Kurland did a fantastic job of bringing Aisling and Runach's world to life. 

Aisling was an interesting character. She was very strong and courageous, but she had a lot of self-doubt. She was vulnerable where Runach was concerned. She didn't feel worthy or important enough to be with him and that give their relationship the needed conflict the story hinged on. What I thought was interesting was that she did not have a concept of how she was able to do what she did, how she got her abilities or why she had them. That was another angle of the story that was not only captivating but riveting. Kurland character development in Aisling's case was circumspect but very clever.

Runach was a wonderful hero. He had been stripped of his magic but it is easy to tell that he had a commanding presence, a regal bearing that was unmistakable. He is prince in hiding, who wants nothing more than to be left alone as a simple swordsman, but he is drawn to Aisling and her quest to save her country. I thought he was sensitive and thoughtful in regard to her and he knew she was special even if she didn't know it herself.

Fantasy titles are generally light on the romance, but this book had that romantic element that is often times missing. I liked the relationship between Aisling and Runach and thought it developed at a steady pace and did not seem rushed or too vague. Kurland was able to tell the story of their love without a lot of "colorful metaphors" (strong language), or vulgarity. I really appreciated that and I think readers will as well. These two characters were obviously made for each other, though it took them awhile to get there.

This book was in itself a tale of self-discovery for the main characters. I liked Kurland's take on finding one's place in the world and how we all play a part in how things turn out. We have a destiny. That was cool.

What I didn't like:

I think it took a bit too long for Aisling to discover exactly who she was. Not only for the other characters to know but for herself. I'm not always fond of a character who is self-deprecating or down on themselves. But Kuland does turn that around and brings the character full circle to the point that she sees her worth and value, so in the end it's not really a criticism.

Bottom Line:

Fantasy fans you don't want to miss this one. Romance readers, this is an example of a good clean romance that is set in a magical world. Lovers of words and descriptions, this novel is truly magical. 

River of Dreams is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Lynn Kurland is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels and short stories, including All For YouOne Magic MomentOne Enchanted EveningTill There Was You and the bestselling Nine Kingdoms series.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of River of Dreams by Lynn Kurland.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, February 10th.

1. Please leave a comment describing your interest in fantasy, your favorite fantasy authors or something related to fantasy.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


jmcgaugh said...

Of course, all of us were exposed to the fantasy of fairy tales when we were children and, at that time, I was enthralled by Disney's Sleeping Beauty. When I got a little older (around 14), I started reading science fiction and fantasy and had my first encounter with Andre Norton's Witch World. She is probably still my favorite.

Unknown said...

I love fantasy; it takes me away on a different level than other types of books. Of course, the world building has to be exceptional, or the vision isn't believable, so it takes a real wordsmith to craft a great fantasy.

Carl Scott said...

Although my attraction to fantasy fiction is not as strong as it was when I was younger I still enjoy the classics and some more recent books and movies in the genre. If the characters and the world are believable I'm totally willing to lose myself in the story. Thanks.

catslady said...

I've just discovered this genre and love it. I read my first time travel with this author and absolutely loved it. I can totally suspend all belief when reading a good fantasy!

Di said...

I've read some of Lynn Kurland's Scottish time travel books and loved them, but haven't read this series. Since I think time travel counts as fantasy (it's not real is it?) I do enjoy it!

traveler said...

Fantasy leads me to other realms, and becomes an experience which is memorable. saubleb(at)gmail9dot)com

bn100 said...

like the authors' creativity in fantasy books

Natasha said...

I love how you can get lost in a magical world in fantasy books.
Thanks for the chance to win!

Unknown said...

I grew up reading fantasy and to this day it is one of my favorite genres. My mother got me hooked on it by having me read books from Anne Mccaffrey and Robin Hobb. Two authors who to this day are my favorites. I love that with fantasy, anything goes, your imagination is limitless.

Brooke Showalter said...

I have really taken an interest in fantasy just within the last several years. This is a series that sounds simply delightful!