Tag Archives: Cecilia Dart-Thornton

The Ill-Made Mute by Cecilia Dart-Thornton

Overview
Image result for book cover the ill-made mute

Title: The Ill-Made Mute
Author: Cecilia Dart-Thornton
Series: Bitterbynde #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Fae, High fantasy, Romance
Dates read: 8th – 22nd March 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Pan Books
Year: 2001
5th sentence, 74th page: This warmed their spirits somewhat, although not toward him.

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Synopsis

While the lordly Stormriders land their splendid winged stallions on the airy battlements of Isse Tower, far below them, in the fortress’s depths, their superstitious servants sit by the hearth to tell each other ghastly tales of evil creatures inhabiting the world outside – a world most of them have only glimpsed. Yet it is the least of these servants – a mute, lowly, utterly despised foundling – who dares to scale the Twoer, sneak aboard a Windship, and then dive from the sky.

The terrified fiugitive is rescued by a kindhearted adventurer, who finally gives the poor creature a name – as well as the gift of communicating by handspeak, and an amazing truth never guessed at previously. Now the newly named ‘Imrhien’ begins a journey to distant Caermelor, in search of a wise woman whose skills may change everything.

Along the way, Imrhien struggles in a wilderness of endless danger – for those hearthside tales are all true. Unhuman wights haunt every pool, every turn in the road, and they perpetually threaten and torment all travellers. Lost, and pursued by these monsters, Imrhien is finally saved by a mysterious Dainnan ranger whose gallantry and courage are matched only by his martial skills. Unknown to them both, however, a deadly plot is unfolding… as a dark force summons the malignant hordes of Unseelie, and foul things amass in the night.

As the journey grows longer, the challenges more deadly, Imrhien discovers something more terriyfing than all of the evil eldritch wights combined. For this spurned outsider, with an angel’s soul and a gargoyle’s face, is suddnely falling in love…

In a thrilling debut combining masterful storytelling with a treasure trove of folklore, Cecilia Dart-Thornton creates a lushly romantic epic adventure of stunning scope and magical proportions, set in a world brimming with wonders and terrors.

Thoughts

I’ve been putting off reading this because it just looked seriously intense. And a little bit scary. Which are the kinds of books that I’ve been avoiding lately. And now I kind of regret that. I wasn’t wrong. This was intense, and full on and so multi-layered that my head felt like it could explode. But it was also amazing, unforgettable and kind of impossible to not think about. Whilst there were moments when I could put it down. There weren’t many moments in the two-week period of my reading that I actually stopped thinking about it…

One of my favourite things about this book was the world building. It was done in an incredibly unique way. Rather than the typical world building were facts are provided as the character travels through the world, the history, facts and shape of the world is provided as a series of stories and anecdotes told by the characters. To the amnesic lead. I loved flicking between what was currently happening and all of the tales being told by the supporting characters, there was something fun and unique about the way in which this was done. Although, it did mean that I had to pay attention – that way I knew who was talking about what.

Although Imrhien does have a romantic interest in this story (eventually), it’s not a heavy-handed romance. I can see where this story can go with that feeling of interest, and I can’t wait. But it’s not like the many other romances that I’ve been reading lately. Which was nice. This actually was a great book to read – it reminded me of all the reasons why I love fantasy so much. I’ve been on a fair bit of a romance kick lately…

The use of another language, the fae and the more traditional outlooks on them was absolutely brilliant. I get a bit fed up with the Peter Pan version of fae… so I love any book that sticks to the more Celtic, pagan views. And I can’t wait to find out more about this world and the past of Imrhien – I can only imagine that it is going to continue getting better and better as the next two books unfold!

 <- The Enchanted ReviewThe Lady of Sorrows Review ->

Image source: Goodreads

October 2017

October 2017

October has been a super weird month, I’ve had a tonne of assignments due (finals here we come), quit a job and just generally felt a little lost and aimless. It’s meant a bit of reading since I tend to read when I’m overwhelmed, but I’m still feeling a little lost…

Image source: Van Vorst Park Association

The Enchanted by Cecilia Dart-Thornton

Overview
The Enchanted

Title: The Enchanted
Author: Cecilia Dart-Thornton
Series: Bitterbynde Companion
In: Legends of Australian Fantasy (Jack Dann & Jonathan Strahan)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, FaeRomance
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘I wish that your coming-of-age would befall tomorrow, Mistress Blythe,’ said Hawkmoor as they strolled.

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Synopsis

In the enchanted and magical world of Erith, danger comes to Kelmscott Hall as the trows seek to claim Mazarine’s baby. But it is Thrimby, the mysterious servant of the master of Kelmscott who will save them all from the most dangerous of bargains …

Thoughts

Stories that feature the fae are always something that I enjoy sinking my teeth into, and this three-part journey was one such beautifully constructed novella. I also really enjoyed that, for me at least, there were three distinct parts of this story, each with its own mini beginning, middle and end. It, would, theoretically make it easier to put the story down after each point of conflict passed. It didn’t. But, maybe for one less geeky it would.

Starting with Miss Blythe’s quiet brownie friend, her trials and romance are impacted by the presence of the fae throughout her battles against her guardian. The fact that she falls for the man’s son just seems to compound the difficulties that she is forced to face in an attempt to find her happily ever after. Yet, as with all stories, it is her position as an heiress that seems to get her (and her loved ones) in the most trouble. Alright, so some of the story line is a little predictable, but it still has this beauty and sweetness to it that made me fall in love within the first few pages.

After our sweet, and somewhat unassuming chief protagonist loses the man she loves, is forced into an unwanted confrontation with her guardian and leaves her temporary home, she has a whole new set of circumstances that become difficult to face. Again, the grey ones are lingering on the edges, but it is her strength and willingness to see justice that helps to carry her through the second trial of the novella. And, of course, when all seems lost, her love comes to the rescue. At the risk of his own demise.

It is in the third bit of this story that Dart-Thornton really plucks at my heart strings. There is an overarching feeling of the happy ending, everything seems right, and everyone is alive and healthy. And then a baby is due to arrive and the guardian again rears his ugly head. Now is the part of the story that really draws upon fae folklore, and it is the humorous, intriguing way in which this is dealt with that has stuck with me, even days after I finished this story.

I can’t recommend this novella enough – it combines folklore, love and tragedy in one neat package. And although some of it is a little predictable, it is still incredibly enjoyable.

 <- The Battle of Evernight ReviewThe Ill-Made Mute Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Legends of Australian Fantasy edited by Jack Dann and Jonathan Strahan

Overview

Legends of Australian FantasyTitle: Legends of Australian Fantasy
Editors: Jack Dann & Jonathan Strahan
Authors: Garth Nix, Trudi Canavan, Juliet Marillier, Isobelle Carmody, Kim Wilkins, Sean Williams, D.M. Cornish, Ian Irvine, John Birmingham, Jennifer Fallon & Cecilia Dart-Thornton
In: Legends of Australian Fantasy (Jack Dann & Jonathan Strahan)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Fantasy, Short story collections
Pace: Fast
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘And… and from the Charter, milady.’

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Synopsis

From two of the best editors working today … These are the legends of Australian fantasy – eleven of Australia’s best-loved and most widely read writers … Gathered together by equally legendary editors Jack Dann and Jonathan Strahan to produce an entirely original compilation … Celebrate the legends of Australian fantasy. Extraordinary voices … extraordinary worlds. Come to Erith, to a faerie tale with a sting, or to Obernewtyn, long before the Seeker was born. Revisit a dark pocket of history for the Magician’s Guild or get caught up in the confusion of an endlessly repeating day in the Citadel. Cross the wall, where Charter magic is all that lies between you and death. A trip with a graverobber can be gruesome, and it’s hard to share the fear of a woman who must kill her husband if her child is to rule … A mysterious tale plays out in Sevenwaters. Catch up with Ros and Adi as they prepare for the greatest change of all. Other twists in these fabulous tales bring us to demonic destiny and an alternate WWII.

Thoughts

I love pursuing Australian authors – after all, I would love to be one one day, and they are my people. So, discovering that there is a book that features not one, not two, but nine of these phenomenal people made me break out in a huge grin. And I wasn’t disappointed. Actually, the main disappointment came when I finished the last novella and had to find a new anthology to go and read.

The pace of each of these nine novellas was entirely unique and, in most cases, quite unexpected. The only tie that they had to one another was that they are all fantasy stories, and they tied into a series or world created by the author. Which, ultimately means that I have another seven series to go out and buy (I already owned two). Sometimes, this kind of variety doesn’t really work. The stories don’t flow well and it is really just feels haphazard in how they’re collected. But, the short author introduction at the beginning of each story and the rationale behind the story worked brilliantly and made it a cohesive whole.

If you want a taste of the brilliance that some of Australia’s finest fantasy authors have to offer, I’d definitely recommend that you buy this book. Or borrow it, whatever tickles your fantasy. It was a fantastic welcome to a few new worlds and I’ve got a couple of new books to add to my shelves now.

 <- The Enchanted Review To Hold the Bridge Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Australia