Book Review

Thorunn – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)

I was honored to be a beta reader for Thorunn as well as receive an ARC copy of the book prior to publication. Neither of these experiences have impacted my review.

Imagine being whisked away from Earth, relocated to a foreign planet where you’re expected to start anew. Of course, in most cases this would be uneventful, but this is not the case of Laine Riven whose parents whisked him away against his will to the planet of Thorunn. Yet, he manages to make the best of his new life…until the Outpost Terrorist attacks. And that’s when everything begins to change.

Esther T. Jones introduces us to the “shocking” world of Thorunn – literally. The unique landscape is known for its electric storms, as well as creatures reminiscent of dinosaurs, as well as cat-like shifter people known as klia’ans (or lokians). In an action packed adventure, Laine, as well as Kenton and Bo, uncover secrets about their families, the government, and in a series of correlated events, unintentionally come together to bring peace to Thorunn.

Yet, the journey to Thorunn is not without its hiccoughs. The start of the book is notably slow. It takes about 150 pages (or 25%) for the book to really pick up. This is not uncommon it fantasy or sci-fi adventures, where the author is trying to establish the world. Some dialogue is clunky, and Jones’s notably wordiness does get in the way of the story.

On the second read through, the world building was much stronger, but I am struggling to tell if it was because it’s my second read-through or because Jones took criticism. I believe some of it is due to changes she made between the beta draft and the final draft.But, I’ll let first time readers make that judgment themselves.

But, if you can get through those first 150 pages, the story really takes off. Wrapped in action, friendship, unique aliens, and unwinding twists and mysteries. Reminiscent of James Cameron’s Avatar, John Scalzi’s Fuzzy Nation, and dystopian novels like The Hunger Games, as well as elements from Star Trek, Star Wars, and Firefly. While some parts of the story are predictable, that doesn’t make it bad! In fact, it means that Jones did a fantastic job weaving in the hints, and in the end, I picked up on them!

So, if you want a fun sci-fi adventure, go check it out! You’ll be on the edge of your seat the whole time, holding your breath as Laine, Kenton, and Bo escape, attack, and save the day on countless occasion! So definitely check out this new book.

I’ve also expressed some of my additional thoughts in the video below.

What’s it about?

Nine years ago, Skytown soldiers brutally murdered Kenton’s family. Now those same men aim to return and destroy Kenton’s hard-won, idyllic life amongst the peaceful shifter people of the Hinnom Forest.

Meanwhile, Laine Riven–dragged from Earth to Thorunn against his will–is stuck navigating an unfamiliar school, his jerk of an uncle, and the rising threat posed by the Outpost Terrorist.

When their paths clash amidst tragedy and betrayal, Kenton realises he and his best friend Bo may have rushed headlong into a situation too impossible to fix.

Time is running out as frix season closes in, and their only shot at victory hinges on outrunning the seasoned bounty hunters, savage creatures, and unpredictably violent weather trying to kill them every step of the way. . . 

feature friday

Feature Friday: Author Esther T. Jones


Today I am honored to feature Esther T. Jones, Author of Tedenbarr of Have Lath and Thorunn. You can read my review of Tedenbarr of Have Lath here, and be on the look out of my comprehensive ARC review of Thorunn prior to its release date of May 20th!

Esther been creating stories since she was a kid, and really started writing them down when she was about 10. In her teen years she got serious about learning the craft, and hasn’t stopped since, going on to publish her debut novel Tedenbarr of Have Lath as well as her newest novel, Thorunn, coming out on 20th. Outside of writing, Esther loves gardening, cosplay, and music (as she is a flutist and pianist).

Why did you choose indie publishing?

Creative control! It’s fantastic working with editors and beta readers, but ultimately (unlike traditional publishing), it’s up to me to decide what I want to include or cut from the final product, and I love that.

Who is your favorite author and/or book?

I still really love the Redwall series, because of the rich descriptions, the nuanced characters, and the ability Brian Jacques’ works have to take you to a completely different world. Recently though, I’ve been loving everything by Jeff Wheeler, and I’m currently enjoying his “Harbinger” series.

What is your writing routine like?

I don’t really have one right now, haha. I’ve just started working on a new WIP (a portal fantasy about a lost princess), and I’m just aiming to get in around 1000-2000 words a week. When I’ve got the first draft down I’ve probably be a little more methodical about it, but since I’m a pantser, I need to have ample time to think about my story between writing sessions so that the words can flow when I sit down to type.

If you could give one piece of advise to your past-self about writing, what would it be?

Please, please read books, of all genres and types! It’s the most important part of being able to write well.

Do you want to give a shout out to anyone in particular?

I want to say thanks so much to my amazing cover artist Don Jones, who was awesome during the whole process. The cover for Thorunn turned out beautifully!

Can you give us an out-of-context spoiler to get us excited for Thorunn?

At one point, Kenton’s best friend Bo finds himself hurtling off a mountain on a makeshift hang-glider, trying to escape from the murderous, pterodactyl-like Chsaa-Rhee before they can stab his eyes out.

Thorunn is available for pre-order now! Check it out!


Follow Esther T. Jones

Books

Adventure! Treachery! Danger on the High Seas! After months of forced servitude aboard a cargo ship en route from the Kingdom of the West, all Tedenbarr wants is to return to his beloved home. But when a brutal pirate attack leaves Tedenbarr stranded on the far shores of the Eastern Kingdom, Tedenbarr must embark on an arduous and harrowing journey from East to West with only his wit, and will to survive against the many trials that beset him along the way. Faced with danger from land and sea, foreigner and country-kin, Tedenbarr’s travels promise to take him through perilous, lonely mountains, across vast, thirsty deserts, and into the very heart of a city poised on the brink of civil war. Only time will tell if Tedenbarr can succeed in his quest to return to Have Lath, and finally reunite with his friends, family and the woman he left behind. 

Thorunn

Nine years ago, Skytown soldiers brutally murdered Kenton’s family. Now those same men aim to return and destroy Kenton’s hard-won, idyllic life amongst the peaceful shifter people of the Hinnom Forest.

Meanwhile, Laine Riven–dragged from Earth to Thorunn against his will–is stuck navigating an unfamiliar school, his jerk of an uncle, and the rising threat posed by the Outpost Terrorist.

When their paths clash amidst tragedy and betrayal, Kenton realises he and his best friend Bo may have rushed headlong into a situation too impossible to fix.

Time is running out as frix season closes in, and their only shot at victory hinges on outrunning the seasoned bounty hunters, savage creatures, and unpredictably violent weather trying to kill them every step of the way.


Currently, I am not accepting any more applications for Feature Friday. Follow me for updates regarding when I will be reopening the application. Until then, signing off.

E.S. Barrison

Book Review

Tedenbarr of Have Lath – Book Review

Tedenbarr of Have Lath by Esther T. Jones

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5 stars)

Tedenbarr of Have Lath introduces a uniquely complex world that has many elements of well thought out world building and an array of different characters. While the story itself is a rather traditional hero’s journey, it keeps you rooting for the protagonist to return home to his beloved, as is his driving quality.

That being said, Tedenbarr is a sleeve-type of a protagonist: you put him on to see the world through his eyes, but because of that, you miss many other deeper and more interesting aspects to the entire story. I finished the book wishing to know more about many of the minor characters: Mikael, Tiana, Chester, and Lach to name a few.

The author has put a lot of thought into this world though and it is a shame it is all contained to one book. Some stories might not need multiple books, but I think this story with its multiple cultures, a long list of characters, and multi-tiered subplots would have thrived on multiple books. It would have given me, as a reader, a chance to really get to know Tedenbarr, as well as his friends and their struggles, and paint a bigger picture other than Teddy’s quest home.

Esther Jones is a fantastic writer though, and for a first novel, her prose is elegant and paints lovely pictures of the world as a whole. I do hope to see more of Aistes, Linkwood forest, and the world.

Needless to say, Tedenbarr of Have Lath is an outline of what might come in the future. I do hope to see this world again in later novels.

What’s it about? 

Adventure! Treachery! Danger on the High Seas!

After months of forced servitude aboard a cargo ship en route from the Kingdom of the West, all Tedenbarr wants is to return to his beloved home.

But when a brutal pirate attack leaves Tedenbarr stranded on the far shores of the Eastern Kingdom, Tedenbarr must embark on an arduous and harrowing journey from East to West with only his wit, and will to survive against the many trials that beset him along the way.

Faced with danger from land and sea, foreigner and country-kin, Tedenbarr’s travels promise to take him through perilous, lonely mountains, across vast, thirsty deserts, and into the very heart of a city poised on the brink of civil war.

Only time will tell if Tedenbarr can succeed in his quest to return to Have Lath, and finally reunite with his friends, family and the woman he left behind.


[Author/Book Recommendation Form]