Monday, 27 February 2017

The Oracle by K.S. Marsden


Title: The Oracle
Series: Book 2 of Enchena
Author: K.S. Marsden
Genre: Fantasy

After a brief respite, the Gardyn rebels have returned to fight the tyranny of King Hrafn and Prince David.

Samantha, Jillis and Tobias will have to find their place in the new vision of Enchena; but first, they have to risk everything to make it real.

New allies will rise, as the past plays a huge part in the future; and an Oracle must be brought, to guide them all.






My Review:

The second book of the series starts out with a new 'leading lady', but it's not long before she meets up with Samantha and other characters from book 1.
The story is well-written with plenty of twists to keep me hooked.
In my review for The Lost Soul I said:
"The detailed descriptions allowed me to visualise the landscape, the scenes, and the characters."
The same applies to this book.
I enjoyed revisiting Enchena, and am looking forward to further visits. The book ended well, without a cliffhanger but definitely leaving room to continue the story.


The Author:

Kelly Marsden grew up in Yorkshire, and there were two constants in her life - books and horses.

Graduating with an equine degree from Aberystwyth University, she has spent most of her life since trying to experience everything the horse world has to offer. She is currently settled into a Nutritionist role for a horse feed company in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

She writes Fantasy stories part-time. Her first book, The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter #1), was published in January 2013, and she now has two successful series under her belt.







Guest Post by K.S. Marsden:

Overcoming the Stereotype

One of the wonderful things about being a Fantasy writer, is that you are only limited by your imagination. No magic, miracle, creature, timezone etc is out of bounds.
You can create something completely new and unique to your series, or you can use something that already has a basis in history or fiction.

In the Enchena series I decided to include both.

The mallus is a nightmarish creature that hunts in the Great Forest. I wanted to create something that could be terrifying, could be real and mysterious. The mallus are designed to be the perfect hunters, so no one survives long enough to confirm they are real.

I had an image in my mind of a dark shadow moving through the trees, long claws clicking against the wood, to drive fear into their prey.

At the time I created them, I hadn't planned for one of the mallus to be a good guy, but that was where the plot ended up. As I said, there are no limits or restrictions in writing Fantasy!

One of the most notable creatures found in Enchena are unicorns.
Bear with me, I know a lot of people will want to run a mile at the mention of the u-word.
What do you think of when I say unicorns? Rainbows, fluffy animals and girliness? I think a lot of people do.

That's the reason I thought long and hard about publishing the Enchena series. The unicorns in Enchena are wild, and prone to violence. They are incredibly intelligent, but also driven by their natural instincts. When I was creating them, they had been inspired by everything I loved in the Narnian books when I grew up, in The Silver Brumby and The Last Unicorn.
But all that didn't help overcome the fear that people might expect something fluffy. I also didn't want anyone to get part-way through the book and suddenly roll their eyes that unicorns appear.
In the end, I decided there were two things I had to do, if I wanted to publish this book:

  1. Make it bloody obvious that the story contains unicorns;
  2. Make it my marketing campaign that #UnicornsRcool

Part one was a little tricky. I'm not very good at writing blurbs at the best of times, and I couldn't find a way to word it succinctly that it included unicorns as serious characters.

So I went to plan B and got them featured on the front cover. After all a picture says a thousand words...

OK, so maybe my cover designer was saying the wrong thousand words. He was obviously hindered by the fluffy stereotype.

But, not to fear, it's rare to get the cover you want for a new series on the very first attempt. We discussed what I was looking for, and that the book features war and betrayal, etc.
What he came up with after that was perfect.

So, now set with my perfect-not-a-hint-of-fluffy book cover, it was time to hit social media and let them know that there was no shame in mentioning unicorns!

I decided to start the ball rolling by turning my own horse into a unicorn with the help of some tin foil – Blue Peter eat your heart out!

I then persuaded (bullied) my baby sister into riding him, so I could get some photos. It was actually a lot of fun, and I forget I'm supposed to be one of those grown-up thingys at times like this.


Suddenly, unicorns were everywhere, and people were sending me photos and memes, links to websites and unicorn-related gifts!
Sure, it's a bit of a double-edged sword, propagating the silly and cartoon aspects of these creatures; but I found people more willing to discuss them, and they were no longer ashamed to admit they were intrigued by the unicorn characters.

Did I succeed? Check it out for yourself, with some comments left by reviewers:

"I'm a thirty-nine-year-old male and something told me when I was assessing the alluring front cover and plot synopsis that I was not the intended demographic for this book - but I love it.
Samantha, David, Jillis and Tobias are all clearly drawn and sympathetic characters, and I cared about all of their fates. Then there is the aforementioned unicorns. K. S. Marsden has done the unthinkable and breathed new life into this mythical creature. They are wonderful here - dignified and noble - Alina and Autumn in particular are captivating and heroic."

"K.S. Marsden did an absolutely wonderful job of turning unicorns into fully fleshed out characters with motives. This isn’t some kind of my little ponies gag but rather human characters in equine form.
Marsden uses the mannerisms of horses to express their feelings and thoughts with great effect. When a horse neighs or stamps its foot, you can tell whether it’s afraid or angry or impatient. What’s most fascinating to me is that I actually liked the unicorn characters. I’m generally the type of reader that prefers human characters over animal characters, but in this book the animals totally stole the show. There’s stubborn unicorns, vengeful unicorns, distrustful unicorns, sympathetic unicorns, basically an entire selection of diverse characters who don’t feel campy in the slightest."

"That there are unicorns in this book should not be a turn-off. They were another race among the other inhabitants of the land of Enchena and were characterized very well."

"So let’s start off with the book cover. If you’re a reader who isn’t really interested in reading a book that seems heavily catered to girls (think Barbie’s playhouse). You may think that The Lost Soul is not for you since it has a unicorn featured prominently on the cover.
You would be mistaken. The Lost Soul is an extremely refreshing take on a well treaded genre. First off, the cover is pretty indicative of what you’re going to get, a fantasy story that also involves unicorns. I promise you, this is not a bad thing."

"The plot and characters too just made me unhappy. The two main characters were poorly drawn. Things happen in this book but none of it was truly interesting. I mean: boring unicorns! How can unicorns be boring? Sad."

Four out of five, that makes me very happy!





3 comments :

  1. Thank you for taking part in the blog tour, Rainne! And for all your awesome continued support!
    Kelly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very welcome, Kelly.
      Thank you for writing awesome books!

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    2. I'm currently working on a Witch-Hunter sequel that should be out late this year, I'll have to give you a shout when it's ready!

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