Indie Review: “Shadows in the Stone” by Diane Lynn McGyver

In her book, “Shadows in the Stone,” Diane transports us into a fantasy world that she describes with enough expertise to fully immerse a reader. There are some overlaps into our own world, but they do not shake a reader out of the fantasy. Now, you may be thinking, “All fantasy does that.” Yes, you’re correct, in the sense that the moment an author mentions a sword, a shield, or a horse, they’re pointing to the real world. However, Diane brought in the concept of canned foods, and described a diligent accounting / government system within Aruam Castle, complete with pre-made forms, records, and bureaucratic filing. Yet she incorporated it so well into her world-building that any reader will seamlessly accept.

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Love is the fine lace woven through the main plot. We see familial love, the love of friendship, and romantic love all growing from the main story. It is the driving force behind the actions and determination of the characters.

Besides love, during our time within Diane’s world, there is murder, mayhem, magic, sword-play and a long, gritty pursuit. From these struggles and hardships, much is revealed about the characters’ pasts, loves, and fears. These aspects of the characters are revealed as a consequence of the main plot, rather than being conveniently parachuted in as filler material.

On Writing Quality: Diane Lynn McGyver stands head and shoulders above other indie authors. Her dialog flows well, as does her setting and internal descriptions. She knows how to show and not tell better than most. There is also a skillful knowledge of writing at work. Diane knows how not to overuse ‘to be’, adverbs, and a throng of other useless crutch or weasel words.

Word Creation: One item in the skill set of any fantasy / sci-fi author is creating new words and terms, either for things out of this world or renaming the mundane. I’ve seen other books where this practice is performed ad nauseam, to the point where a lengthy glossary is needed. But Diane managed it flawlessly. I especially liked her creations of sumortide, springan, yesternight, and Hauflin. These words helped me to immerse and stay there (very crafty, Diane). DLM


 F.Y.I  –  Diane maintains a spiffy blog as well


Characters:  “Shadows in the Stone” is a deep look into the heart and soul of the Dwarf Bronwyn Darrow. Now, I simply ask you to drop all of your Tolkien Dwarven standards. Diane has beautifully tweaked and redefined the notion of Dwarf, both in the physical and cultural sense.

Bronwyn Darrow stands as one of my favorite characters ever created within the sci-fi / fantasy genre. The other is Qui-Gon Jinn from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Let that sink in about the company Bronwyn Darrow keeps.

Parting Thoughts: I enjoyed every page of “Shadows in the Stone” as you will too. This is the first in the Castle Keepers series, which is available on Amazon.

 

 

 

The World of Tyrennia

I’m writing a fantasy novel called Storm of Divine Light. It is the first in The Tales of Tyrennia series. Set in a Tolkien-inspired world with other muses like the famous tabletop Role Playing Games (RPG’s) Dungeons & Dragons, and Pathfinder. Also, there are the equally inspiring experiences associated with Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) and World of Warcraft (WoW).

Within Tyrennia are the three Human Kingdoms of Ravenna, Easterly, and Quintalya. Ravenna is the most powerful and wealthy kingdom as is its main city Mentiria, which also lies near The Shantokran, a separate area for light mages.

In the far North lies the Dwarven Kingdom and The Golgent lands of the Dark Mages. There are also Gnomes and Halflings lands as well as an Elven refuge.

Eleven of the first twelve chapters are set within Mentiria, a hustling and bustling cosmopolitan city containing taverns, saloons, guilds, and shops of all sorts. The tale opens during the Festival of the Summer Solstice, in which readers will encounter street vendors, performers, magicians and drunkards. The city’s atmosphere and culture provide ripe raw material for tales, adventure, and world-building.

Within the novel’s pages, the reader will follow a quest-based adventure with my two main characters, Dagorat and Cyril. Something precious and powerful has been lost (and no, it’s not a ring), and our heroes must retrieve it. Along the way they will be joined by interesting personas, all of whom bring something unique and fun to the journey.

Although classified as a fantasy novel, Storm of Divine Light has a healthy dose of humor, magic, religion, romance, mystery, action and adventure.

Is Tyrennia the name of the world or simply the main continent? Or both because the continent is the known world?

You’ll have to read to find out.