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The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Review: Kindred and Wings (Shifted World 2) by Philippa Ballantine

Kindred and Wings
Author:  Philippa Ballantine
Series:  Shifted World 2
Publisher:  Pyr, August 6, 2013
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 263 pages
List Price:  $18.00 (print)
ISBN:  978-1-61614-779-2 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Review: Kindred and Wings (Shifted World 2) by Philippa Ballantine
On the back of the dragon Wahirangi, Finn the Fox flees the world he has known. As he sets out to find the brother he never knew of, he still holds in his heart the memory of the Hunter. He has denied his love for her, but he cannot deny it forever.

In the halls of the Last Believers, Talyn begins to uncover her own mysteries, but her lust for the death of the Caisah is still strong and clouds her vision. She must choose her path, as the Seer of her people or as the assassin of the overlord.

Meanwhile, Byre, Talyn's brother, must venture into the fiery world of the Kindred, to
rebuild the pact that his ancestors made. He will risk everything he is as he forms a new pact that will change his people forever.

Dragons and myths will be reborn, as the Hunter and her Fox face each other once more.

Melanie's Thoughts:

Kindred and Wings is the second installment in the fantastical, fantasy series Shifted World by Philippa Ballantine. Book 2 starts almost immediately after Hunter and Fox and all our favourite characters are back. Finn the Fox is searching for his lost brother on the back of the glorious dragon Wahirangi, the former Kindred that he named. Talyn, Finn's lost love has left the evil Caisah and is in search for a cure to the Harrowing while her brother Byre and the blood-witch Pelanor find themselves witnessing a past that answers a few questions, creates a few more but more importantly, shows them a past Byre rather he didn't know. We are also given an insight into the past of the Caisah both through Byre's adventures and through his concubine Kelanim. We get to see a different side of the Caisah although Ballantine does not make him anymore likeable which I liked as this would have diminished him as a character and influence in the overall plot. Equo and his brother along with Nyree are also prominent players in this novel and key in the final chapters. I am never quite clear why Equo isn't mentioned in the summary of either of the books as he is integral in the dialogue with other lead characters and him and his brothers are 'enablers' that propel the story forward.

Ballantine keeps a frenetic pace in this book. However, I found it more accessible than in the first novel in the series as I already knew the characters and the strange setting of Conhaero and the Chaos. Ballantine creates such a rich and multi-faceted world for her characters which combined with the sheer number of characters can make it challenging to keep everyone straight. In this installment Ballantine pairs her characters off for most of the story  - Finn and Wahirangi, Byrne and Pelanor, Equo and Nyree, and Talyn and her sykur (horse-type beastie who is treated more or less like a silent character) and then brings them all together at the end of the story. This seems to simplify and streamline the plot, without compromising the overall plot arc. I loved the two 'big reveals' towards the end of the story that slowly started to unravel throughout the book. Its done so subtly and with a smooth build up that it feels like the secrets are exposed to both the reader and the character the same time. I couldn't guess what was going to happen and this is unusual for me as authors tend to pepper the story with so many clues its a wonder the characters don't guess much earlier than they do.

I am a big fan of Ballantine. I love her writing style and story telling abilities however, this series is probably more challenging than her other books. Her environment is richly textured, the characters complex and the plot seems to float along while at the same time it is very tense. Before I started Kindred and Wings I thought that it had a way to go before I liked it as much as her other fantasy series - Books of the Order - but Ballantine does it again and pulls a solid, fantasy novel out of her writing 'bag'. This series however, isn't for everyone. Firstly, you have to like high fantasy and even if you do you have to like a plot that is subtle and a lot of characters that don't always do what you think/want them to.  Kindred and Wings is another great book from Ballantine with another gorgeous cover. I dare you not to spend as much time looking at the cover as you do reading the book.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 17, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review - November 17, 2013

Hello! This was my first week back home after my holiday in Canada. I got over my jetlag but am trying to adjust to the more autumnal weather. As winter approaches I want to read more 'snuggly' types of books. Did I manage it???  Well this is what I read.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 17, 2013
I finished Kindred and Wings (Shifted World 2) by Philippa Ballantine. I will be reviewing this book so I don't want to give to much away but what I can say is that Ballantine is extremely talented. She has the ability to write light-hearted, funny and intriguing steampunk to thoughtful, imaginative fantasy. I don't think I have ever read so many books by one author that I have loved as much. This is a great series, as is her Book of the Order series. I have a special soft sport for the Ministry series and I can HARDLY wait until the next Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences book is out next year. Ballantine writes this series with her hubby Tee Morris and I LOVE IT.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 17, 2013I turned back to Amazon Recommendations for my next book which was 100% naughty as I had loads of other books to read. I decided on Fire and Thorns which was the first in the series by the same name written by Rae Carson. The story sounded sounded quite intriguing  - chubby princess sold off in a political marriage, country at war and a mission to help the helpless. It all sounded like a great, quick, enjoyable read. It was definitely quick and I quite liked it at the start but I soon got bored. It all seemed to be a bit too cliche with the plump princess who turns svelte and gazelle like while at the same time saving all those around her. I thought this was pretty good young fantasy but perhaps a bit too young for an adult reader.

I am really struggling with King of Thorns (Broken Empire 2) by Mark Lawrence. I really enjoyed the first book of this series, the premise and his writing style, but this second installment is just soo morose. I can barely stand to continue on as everything is soo dark and unforgiving. I will continue with it though I may not finish it as soon as I thought I would.

Melanie's Week in Review - November 17, 2013
I bought Pantomine (Pantomime 1) by Laura Lam a few weeks ago and then forgot about it. I decided it was high time I get to this book and now I am totally gripped. What a great hero/heroine. How ingenious Lam was to have a hermaphrodite as the main protagonist and combining this with the circus just adds another dimension. I am hoping to have this finished to tell you all about it next week.

That's it for me for this week. I hope I have more to tell you about next week so until next week Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 27, 2013

Melanie's Week in Review - October 27, 2013

I think I was a tad too smug last week with the number of books I read as this week it was much more dismal.  I only read 1 measly book!! ONE BOOK!!!  Well I should qualify that and say I only finished 1 book but started a few more.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 27, 2013
I managed to read Hidden Among Us by Katy Moran. It is the story about a baby, named Lissy who is stolen from her parents by the fae. She is returned but only after her mother agrees to return her in 14 years. The story fast forwards 14 years and we find Lissy, a truculent teenager returning to rural Wales and almost directly into the hands of her childhood captors. The story is largely told from Lissy's POV so  I guess it is YUF (tee hee)  - young urban fantasy. The chapters alternate between Lissy's brother Rafe, their mother Miriam and another boy named Joe. The fae are largely infertile and have been stealing babies for centuries in the hope of using them for breeding stock when they mature. Lissy is different and it isn't long before we find out why.  I normally quite enjoy UF/YA but in this case I thought Hidden Among Us was a bit boring. While there was quite a bit of action towards the end there is little character development so I just didn't care what happened to the protagonists. Perhaps this improves over the series but I don't think I will find out.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 27, 2013
I also read Dragos Takes a Holiday by Thea Harrison which is an e-novella in the Elder Races series. I got it from the good people at NetGalley. It is Harrison's first self-published work and will be out on November 25th. The clue to the plot is in the title with this one but it took a slightly different format with POV chapters from Pia, Dragos and even from little baby Liam. He sounded adorable and portrayed exactly how you imagine a baby to be thinking/doing. With all the stress of looking for new sentinels, having a baby, killing some baddies Pia decides its high time they go on a holiday so the family find themselves in sunny Bermuda looking for lost treasure. This story is all about sun, sand and sex with a little twist. I quite enjoyed this mini installment and it was like taking my own short holiday reading it as it seemed to fly by.  I am looking forward to Kinked (Berkley, November 5, 2013), the 6th Elder Races novel.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 27, 2013I have to admit I haven't made much progress with King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence as I picked up and started two other books. One is Kindred and Wings by Philippa Ballantine (Shifted World 2) and the other is Blood Shadows by Lindsay J. Pryor.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 27, 2013I always love Ballantine's writing and really enjoyed the first book of the Shifted World series. An added bonus is the cover. It is lovely although the cover of Shifted Worlds 1, Hunter and Fox, was a stunner.  I was always staring at it.  I will be reviewing Kindred and Wings so don't want to say too much plus I am not that far into either book to make any real judgements.

That is all I managed to accomplish this week and I am heading off to Canada for a holiday and to see my family. I will be in the same time zone as some of you so maybe you will leave me a comment or two! Until next week Happy Reading.
Review: Kindred and Wings (Shifted World 2) by Philippa BallantineMelanie's Week in Review - November 17, 2013Melanie's Week in Review - October 27, 2013

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