Book Review: Dragon Champion

I came across a nice read at the library the other week: Dragon Champion by E E Knight. The characters and the plot were uniquely written, and the pacing fast and exciting, though it started a bit slow earlier on. I enjoyed the read, and may continue to the sequel.

Premise

The plot follows the life of a young dragon—named Auron—from birth, through war, dragon romance, and fellowship. The first half of the book was lacking in its plot depth, as it was Auron traveling the world. Granted, the first few chapters were better about it. The dragon protagonist explores new lands and encounters friends and foes in odd places. Many of the descriptions were splendid, and the fantasy immersion excellent.

Length & Readability

Close to 350 pages, Dragon Champion delivers a rich story in a reasonably-sized volume. The scenes and chapters read well, though some of the paragraphs were harder to read than others. Rewording various sections would have improved readability.

Characters

The characters are a mixture of humans, elves, dwarves, and dragons. The interesting part was the perspective of Auron and his draconic views coloring the story. As most stories follow the path of humans or hominids, I enjoyed the change.

Magic System

The magic felt underdeveloped in Dragon Champion. There were mentionings from chapter to chapter, but little of it was shown. As with my previous book review, the story could have done without it. Although it did help fill in for fantasy ambiance and worldbuilding, so I wasn’t overly concerned.

Conflict

The tension and pacing were excellent. It drove the plot from chapter to chapter and gripped me better than most books. Developing challenges for a dragon provided an atypical approach to tension. I appreciated how creative the author was in this regard.

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The Good

Dragon Champion had wonderful tension, action, and a slew of colorful dragon characters that interested me. The lore and story were rich and enrapturing.

The Bad

The first half of the book—sans the intro—was sluggish and the plot on the weaker side. Some of the chapters were harder to read than others, and I found myself backtracking to understand it all. Other characters—mainly the hominids—felt lackluster, boring, or undeveloped.

The Ugly

I don’t have anything to add here. Dragon Champion was a solid book, with its share of strengths and flaws.

Auron’s story was a worthwhile read, and I am considering the sequel. Its fine dragon characters, unique PoV, action, and worldbuilding made up for its rough start and average readability. If you’re a lover dragons, be sure to check out E E Knight’s work. You won’t regret it.


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Book Review: Sword of Fire

After finishing a long beta read and dealing with more hours at work, I’m ready to get back to blogging. In the meanwhile, I finished another fantasy book. The Sword of Fire by Katherine Kerr was an interesting read.

Premise

The story of Deverry is a generic fantasy with dwarves, elves, dragons, and humans. Here’s where it gets interesting. Politics plays heavily into the plot, and even the overall feel of Deverry. Several scenes take place in royal courts, towns, and conferences where lengthily dialog ensues. The dialog was excellent, and the character cues spot-on.

Length

At around 350 pages, the story wasn’t a boor to read. Chapters and scenes were well organized. The author also included a bonus short story at the end, explaining more of Deverry and its characters.

Characters

Many of the characters are politically motivated. Corrupt laws and loopholes riddle the land of Deverry, and aristocrats are often at war. One of the protagonists, a young law student (if those could exist in medieval fantasies; they’re known as bards here) goes on an adventure with sellswords to save the kingdom from the corruption. Other characters serve as nobility PoV perspectives.

Overall, the characters began shallow and dull, but they grew on me later on. Katherine Kerr has a unique way in how she bonds characters to the reader; subtle at first, but heavily towards the end.

Magic System

Dwimmer (sorry if I butchered that) is the soft magic system in Deverry. It isn’t seen much, but when it is, intriguing results ensue. Mind reading, telepathy, telekinesis, and elemental manipulation are some of the abilities used. Nonetheless, it didn’t contribute much to the story. Moreso, it felt like it was there for the sake of the genre: a fantasy.

Conflict

The tension and pacing were slow and gradual. There weren’t many jarring scenes; even the more brutal ones were mediocre; though there was one scene that struck me. The ramp in tension towards the end of the book was, at best, underwhelming.

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The Good

The Sword of Fire has charming characters, a unique premise in Deverry—mixing fantasy with political intrigue—and good throwbacks to history. The Silver Dagger faction, a clan of dishonored mercenaries, was fun to read about and played well into several character arcs.

The Bad

The magic system, while interesting, did little to enhance the story or characters. In fact, the plot could have done without it. Tension was underwhelming and poorly executed into prose.

The Ugly

Some of the old English terms seemed amusing and sometimes awkward. I wasn’t particularly a fan of their usage, but they still established a nice “historical fiction worldbuilding” feel.

The story of Deverry was decent. With its premise, characters, and political issues, The Sword of Fire offered much potential for its worldbuilding and story arcs. Despite this, poor tension, pacing, and an awkwardly executed magic system made the read tedious at times. I enjoyed it, but won’t be reading the sequel.


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Ethereal Seals Blog Update 4/12/21

It’s been a while since I shared an update. Editing book one of Ethereal Seals, working on the manuscript for book two, a long beta read, lots of health and healing research, plus increasing hours at my day job—I’ve been quite busy.

Edits and Revisions

After another read through of Blade of Dragons, I’ve finished edits as they relate to changes made in book two: Heart of Dragons. Most noticeable was Gerald Highmane’s character arc, changed from a minor villain to an antihero with his own story.

I’ve added breadcrumbs and Easter eggs—messages if you will—from certain authors I admire, like Arnold Ehret and David Hawkins. The majority of these messages relate to spirituality and health. Needless to say, Ethereal Seals is a New Age life improvement book disguised as a science fantasy.

Publication

I am satisfied with how the book reads. After passing it along to a professional editor and/or proofreader, the manuscript should be set for publication. Then I’ll need to find a cover artist to polish up the book cover.

I’m hoping to expand upon my mailinglist and perhaps hire a freelance agent to help spread word of mouth before I officially publish. This may take a while, but I’m in no hurry. Book two—and perhaps book three—will be well on its way by the time book one is released.

Exploring Atläs

It’s been fun revising the manuscript from its older self. I’ve realized there’s too much worldbuilding potential to squeeze the story into a trilogy. Four or five books is what I’m aiming for. If I could describe Heart of Dragons in one word it would be thus:

Exploration.

There’s plenty of worldbuilding with new kingdoms, villains, and protagonists. I delve into Gerald’s backstory more and explore his connection to the other characters. Tarie Beyworth and Pepper Slyhart also see a sizable degree of character growth. The prose retains its rich worldbuilding, coupled with tense action scenes and romantic feel.

Maps and Word Count

I’ve also finished the beta map for book two. I use a program called Wonderdraft, an excellent program for DIY fantasy maps. I’ll plan to do an article on the program soon.

Unlike Blade of Dragons, set at 130k words, book two will hover closer to 150k. The theory behind the word length is: if your readers loved book one, they won’t mind—and may love—the content in the second installment. Many writers have told me you can take more risks with book two. Whether or not it works, we’ll see.

I’ve enjoyed helping my beta with his second installment of his Eternal Defenders series, a classic fantasy story. As I may have mentioned, sci-fi and fantasy are among my favorite genres to read. There’s something about Thomas’ series that grips me, perhaps the way he structures his world. It also reminds me of some older video games, like Warcraft, Zelda, and Morrowind. He’s come a long way in improving his writing, so be sure to check him out here.

The past several weeks have been brutal for me, from a healing perspective. I’ve finished several short water fasts, plus a nigh 3-day water and salt only fast. My gut felt all twisted up, aching, yet by the time I finished, I felt renewed. Reborn. I’ve also hired a trainer at a local gym to help me rebuild my body on feeding days.

Though still a neophyte to cleansing, the more I read about it, the more I realize how crucial it is. For everyone. We’ve been inundated with so many toxins, poor lifestyles, and childhood traumas that it takes effort to dig through it all. The more I detox, the better my creativity and ability to brainstorm and worldbuild.

Some of the books I’ve read through recently on healing and nutrition are up on my Goodreads page.

It isn’t my passion, but I’m grateful that it’s a low-stress retail job—with a health food niche added in. I’ve applied for additional hours in other departments. With the added income, I’ll manage my expenses better and pay off my worthless college degree student loans.

Thanks for reading. May your cup overflow with abundance, creativity, and joy.


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Book Review: Farseeker

Farseeker, by Joanna Starr, presented a story I’ve rarely read elsewhere. Filled with new age concepts, classic fantasy tropes, and more—the story was worth the read. Let’s dig into this review, shall we?

Premise

Farseeker is a science fantasy, with a blend of sci-fi and classic fantasy tropes. The story begins as a straight fantasy, but quickly transitions. Everything from dragons, unicorns, to extraterrestrials are present. There are a few Doctor-Who like themes such as time travel. With so much going on, the plethora of themes is a double-edged sword for the story.

Length

The book is long, at around 500 pages. Scenes organized chapters well, but sometimes chapters carried on longer than they should have. There were also some—in my opinion—unnecessary scenes that didn’t add much to the plot or characters.

Characters

Thaya, the main protagonist, is the sole PoV of the story. Her scenes were good, but lacked sufficient depth for me to connect with her character. Granted, a few scenes were excellent and marked the zenith of her arc. Overall, she was a balanced heroine with cool abilities, high amounts of action, and mediocre exposition.

The side characters were interesting, but some vanished from the plot, only to reappear much later. This made it difficult for the protagonist to bond or relate to them. Other characters like talking unicorns were amusing to read about.

Magic System

A soft magic system rules the universe of Farseeker, magic of a whimsical and unexplained nature. Thaya gains new abilities as she progresses through the story, some abilities with humorous outcomes like nauseous spatial travel. There’s also technology, with adds a nice twist to the whole fantasy-magic trope.

Conflict

The tension flowed great between chapters. The monsters and enemies were mysterious, unpredictable, and frightening. This made for a dynamic story and challenged Thaya from start to finish. There was some romance introduced late in the story, but it was underdeveloped and not particularly interesting. This may be a device for book two, however.

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The Good

Farseeker has an excellent blend of fantasy and sci-fi themes. The high tension kept me turning the pages, and offered plenty of excitement. Magic battles were flashy, satisfying, and helped with the story’s immense worldbuilding.

The Bad

Thaya came off as an protagonist who could have been excellent, but fell short. The lack of internal exposition and emotional depth—while not bad—felt mediocre. Side characters were there, and then they weren’t. This added a chaotic and disorganized feel to the plot flow.

The Ugly

There was a rape scene I didn’t care for, although it added an interesting detail to Thaya’s arc. Much of prose was somewhat unpolished and could have been condensed better.

Despite its excellent worldbuilding and level of tension, the chaotic plot felt rattling and confusing at times. The characters could have been fleshed out better, the prose polished, and unnecessary scenes deleted. Still, the story had some fascinating information in it and unique blend of themes, which bumps my overall rating to four stars. The new age concepts presented in the plot made me smile, and I love it when I find these types of Easter eggs within fiction.

For the curious and patient lovers of science fantasy—or new age fans like myself—, this is a perfect read. For those who prefer simple plots and deeper characters, you may want to look elsewhere.


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Book Review: Beyond Training

I’ve been reading more lately, delving into the world of nonfiction. And boy, what a dive it was…

Beyond Training by Ben Greenfield was a hell of a trip, a good one at that. The book was well worth the read, and I’ll share the details of my experience below.

Premise

The book starts fast and hits hard. The author covers everything from weight lifting, athletic programs, nutrition, detox, lifestyle hacking, even spiritual science, yoga, and meditation. There’s a lot here, and I was initially overwhelmed at the depth Greenfield goes into. Some of the material I skipped over, but most of it was helpful and easily applied to my own life.

The book is catered to athletes and weightlifters, but most of the information can be applied to anyone, even those seeking to optimize their IQ.

Length

The book is bulky, clocking in at around 500 pages. Each chapter contains subsections for the sake of organization. Thanks to this, I never got truly lost throughout the book. Greenfield keeps the text simple and to the point, but he also included sciencey bits for us nerds.

Information

As mentioned above, Greenfield’s chapters focus on athletes and weightlifters. Things like eating a clean, wholefood diet, living ancestrally, squatting, staying organized and in the moments—these are a few of the things he covers, and so much more. I even picked up parenting tips and advice on biohacking technology.

For this reason, not everything in the book will cater to a specific reader. Instead, the book should be read as a reference guide, with certain sections skimmed if needed. That’s what I did, and I still got a lot out of the book.

Greenfield begins with chapters on fitness, training secrets, and recovery protocols. He then branches out to lifestyle and nutrition, hormone balancing with habits like cold showers, saunas. Greenfield ends with a chapter on optimizing the brain and IQ.

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The Good

Beyond Training is a worthwhile read for anyone, with its plethora of tips about getting the most out of life. A reader can take what resonates and apply it, reaping the rewards.

The Bad

The book’s strength is also its flaw. Information overload is rampant in Beyond Training, and this might turn off some readers. Other sections are tougher to read with science jargon thrown in.

The Ugly

Some of the lifestyle tips border on either unfeasible or unaffordable. For most people, a $700 Earthpulse isn’t a likely purchase. Granted, I haven’t tried this technology myself, so it may be worth the investment. But that’s the thing: investing in one’s health is a journey, involving pitfalls, rewards, pain and suffering, joy and surrender.

Beyond Training is a fantastic read, though it may appear daunting at first. It can apply to a wide niche of readers, and due to its organized sections and chapters, a reader can find what he or she needs with ease. I will certainly reread it over the coming years—and I encourage you, dear reader, to do the same.


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—Ed R. White

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Book Review: Stormbringer

I finished a fantasy novel not a few days ago—and as I promised, here’s the review. Stormbringer, by Isabel Cooper, was an enjoyable read for me. I intend to read further installations when the books are available.

Premise

Stormbringer is a fantasy novel, fast-paced with lots of action. The story follows a classic mythological sequence, full of monsters, magic, and rich world-building. The occasional romance scenes add flavor and diversity to the story, especially an erotic scene towards the end between the protagonists. The final showdown with the villain is exhilarating, engaging, and left me intrigued.

Length

Chapters are fairly short, broken down into smaller scenes that alternate between the two protagonists. I found this convenient, as it was easy to park my bookmark if needed. The book, overall, isn’t long, clocking in at around 340 pages. I was able to finish it within two weeks.

Characters

Two protagonists tell the story from their PoVs. One protagonist, Amris, is a war hero, emerging from a 100-year magical slumber. He’s courageous and steadfast, having seen his share of monsters and magic. I enjoyed Amris’ scenes, particularly the bravery he employed towards the end of book.

The other protagonist, Darya, is a young woman, gifted with magical boons and keen with a bow. Her personality is rough around the edges, but enjoyable. The romance scenes felt a tad rushed and underdeveloped, particularly on Darya’s end. I’m hoping to see more depth in her character in the sequels.

Magic System

Magic in Stormbringer was generic and not explained too well. It came off as a soft magic system, whimsical and spontaneous. This was another spot that could have used more depth, perhaps a steeper cost or limitation to using said magic.

Conflict

Tension was strong from chapter to chapter, whether it was a battle against monsters, or a heart-racing romance scene. I didn’t mind the constant action, and it kept me reading. Other readers may exhaust at the fast pacing and high degree of conflict, however.

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The Good

Stormbringer has good pacing, intriguing world-building, and a story that feels organized and easy to get into. Anyone with an interest in fantasy-romance will find this a worthwhile read.

The Bad

Darya came off as underdeveloped with her romance scenes and inner struggles. Despite the world-building in lore, monsters, and gods, the magic system felt shallow to me. Granted, this was the first book; I am willing to overlook these, as sequels may build upon any shortcomings.

The Ugly

Some nitpicks from yours truly. The erotic scene towards the end of the book felt rushed a bit gaudy. I didn’t see the characters bonding, except through sex and as comrades in battle. The last chapter also ended on a flat tone in regards to the two characters’ relationship, but did well in spelling out fantasy ideas for book two.

Despite its flaws in character development and magical systems, Stormbringer presented an enjoyable fantasy world. The lore of the gods was fascinating, and the two protagonists did their jobs in telling the story from alternating perspectives. The showdown with the villain was also exciting and promising.


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Aspectä rey’lief, fair reader, and thanks for reading!
—Ed R. White

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Taking Some Time to Rest

Quick post today. I’ve decided to take a break from blogging to recharge my batteries. 2020 was a rough year—for all of us. I’ve decided to catch up on some other activities, in addition to starting a beta read with Tomas Grizzly.

My meditations are going well, and I am doing several bodily and spiritual cleanses to prepare myself for this new year. It had me thinking: what will 2021 bring? Will wee see peace and truth return to society? What new challenges will arise? I have no doubt that all of us will be able to face them. Head on.

Change is what inspires us. It encourages growth. Development. We cannot force change, only surrender to it and learn to adapt. As Bruce Lee said:

Empty your mind; be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

I’ve started on a new science-fiction book called Hyperion. It has great world building, and the concepts therein are fascinating. I have several more books on my 2021 reading list to go over. Exciting.

Book 2 of Ethereal Seals: Heart of Dragons has begun. The alpha manuscript is underway, with some exciting plot and character developments that old beta readers of book 1 will enjoy. Once I get the manuscript polished, I’ll be looking for betas for that.

My goal is to do three to five beta manuscripts before I publish the first book, Blade of Dragons. This way, I can interconnect the books better than if I did them one by one. This is a strategy that Brandon Sanderson recommends in his lectures on writing epic fantasy.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the wintry weather, and may peace and prosperity find you.


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You’ll also get the latest news on projects.
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Huge Christmas Book Giveaway!

A short post, but worth sharing. A fellow blogger is hosting a massive Christmas giveaway! You can find all kinds of books, mostly in the fantasy and sci-fi genres, with a few historical fiction, romance, action and thrillers in the below list. All free! Select the images below to be taken to the giveaway pages. There are over 400 stories waiting to be read!

Merry Christmas!


Interested in joining my mailing list? Members will receive free poetry, special deals, messages to inspire and empower your life, and short stories. You’ll also get the latest news on projects.
Aspectä rey’lief, fair reader, thanks for reading.
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December 2020: News and Personal Reflections

We live in tough times, between geopolitical events and the Coronavirus. It can be hard pushing through life. I’ve been there. The only things that pulled me from the brink of depression these past several months have been my creative world-building, meditation, and health-seeking journey.

We Were Designed to Progress.

Every human being has the potential to thrive and survive in this world. We fall to the depths of despair, so we can rise to heights of unconditional love. Remember what it is that brings you joy, to seek the lightless light of Truth.

For me, it was my fictional daughter, Pepper Slyhart. Pepper suffers through the Hero’s Journey, allowing her to rise above the vicissitudes of life. It is this adventure of the hero that is inside every one of us.

The Creative Journey

Creative writing is a ritual that many of us take for granted. We get stuck or we procrastinate. But there are methods to combat this mental block.

Writing is a journey of humanity itself. See this book review I did on David Hawkins book to see what I mean. Transcending the Levels of Consciousness certainly opened my eyes to the truth about reality. About life. Needless to say, it’s improved my writing ambition.

Languages and Music

Writing a high fantasy novel gets trickier when you delve into fantasy languages. Here’s a post on developing a fantasy language, with a portion on the one I invented: the Primeal.

That said, the creative process is daunting. Remaining in a relaxed state during our lives is essential to our well being. This is demonstrated in Blade of Dragons through a process called terraum. I’ve listened to Biotropic music lately to ease me into that meditative state. Give it a listen. You won’t be disappointed.

Books Read

I finished a handful of delightful books this past month. Of mention, one was an urban fantasy called The Wild Hunt by Ron Nieto. It’s a curious book about fay in modern society and the magical adventures of a young teen rescuing her grandmother. Another book was nonfiction on the practical uses of Real Alchemy by Robert Bartlett, which will likely receive a book review soon.

Final Notes

Life as an artist, spiritual seeker, and naturopath isn’t easy. It is with help from readers like you that make it possible. Thank you for your time and attention. I hope these stories inspire you to new heights, helping you to progress, to seek the Truth within us.


Interested in joining my mailing list? Members will receive free poetry, special deals, messages to inspire and empower your life, and short stories. You’ll also get the latest news on projects.
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Book Review and Spiritual Reflections: David Hawkins, Transcending the Levels of Consciousness

When it comes to writing, few authors consider the spiritual implications involved. Writing is, in truth, more than an art. It is a path to the soul.

A type of meditation.

In my journey to understand my own spiritual journey, I sought a book that resonated with me. You see, each book carries with it markings of its author. Leftover vibes, if you will. Books are like a preview in the author’s soul—but that’s a topic for another time.

Enter David R Hawkins.

He does a superb job describing the matter of the soul. The Hero’s Journey, which I stress again and again, is the crux of not only storytelling, but of humanity itself.

Premise

David Hawking’s book is filled with information on the psyche among other spiritual essays. Hawkins explains his scale of consciousness.

The chapters are well organized and filled with tips on improving one’s personal life. I always get a thrill progressing from page to page, like the vibes from the author are filling me with wisdom and insight.

Most of the information he shares is heavy-duty, so don’t expect a light read from this author. Hawkins doesn’t pull punches when describing the issues with humanity. Some readers may be discouraged by this attitude.

Length

The book is quite long at over 400 pages. The beginning and end of the book include generalized essays on human consciousness. Chapters on the individual states fill in the rest.

Information

The chapters spell out the states of the human condition, starting with shame and guilt. Hawkins’ information begins more concrete, but becomes abstract as he discusses the upper states of peace and enlightenment.

He also mentions a form of divination called muscle testing. The practitioner says a statement, and if it is false, the muscles in the body go weak. For the experienced, this can be (theoretically) a useful method to discern truth.

I’ve read the book three times over the past couple years; each read, I discover new insights. Depending on the reader’s own state of mind, s/he may pick up different impressions.

The Good

David Hawkins’ book is a pleasure to read for any spiritual seeker or the curious. It also provides excellent information on human emotion and how to better understand it from a creative writers’ perspective.

The Bad

Much of the book reads on a college+ level, and many of the ideas are abstract. The average reader may feel overwhelmed upon a first read.

The Ugly

Not so much ugly as deep and hard-hitting, Transcending the Levels of Consciousness digs deep into the human condition. It spares no mercy spelling out human issues and the implications behind them.

Despite its high reading level and abstract concepts, I found this book magnificent. It speaks to me like few books ever could. I plan to read more of Hawkins’ works in the future—and I encourage you, dear reader, to check it out too.

Writers and artists often focus too much on the craft itself, instead of the spiritual beauty behind it. Each piece is a measure of the author; a window into the soul. Perhaps by understanding these simple concepts suggested by Hawkins, we may unravel new depths to our writing and creative abilities.


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With much love and gratitude, fair reader, thanks for reading.
—Ed R. White

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