Divine Invention by Linden Forster #BookReview #BlogTour (@LindenForster) @RaRaResources #RachelsRandomResources #DivineInvention #TheHerosArc

Divine Invention

I’m very pleased to be taking part in the blog tour today for Divine Invention by Linden Forster, the first book in The Hero’s Arc series. Thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to the tour and to the author for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Divine - 9780995794900

Most stories begin with either an unforeseen turn of events or a problem.

Krank has a problem. For centuries, the people of the island have lived on the animals and plants to be found there. It was bliss and so the population grew. It was not until very recently anyone noticed that the quantity of plants and animals had not. The delicate balance of the ecosystem has tipped and food is dwindling.

The King assigned the island’s two resident self-proclaimed geniuses, the Creators, to find a solution. The fruits of their labour ripen into the invention of the world’s first aquatic transportation device and promises to provide passage from the island to search further afield for food and resources.

So, there it is. Problem solved. End of story. Barring any unforeseen turn of events…

I don’t read a lot of fantasy but I am a fan of fantasy that is well written. I went in to this book not knowing what to expect, as this is a debut novel and it’s always a bit of a risk reading a fantasy debut because the quality can vary hugely. However, I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised.

I’m going to take a punt here and say that the author is a fan of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. This book is very much in the vein of that style of world-building and comedic writing and I could sense the influence in the book. This is not a negative, by the way, because I absolutely adore Terry Pratchett’s books. The man was a genius. This book does a great job of telling an original, funny, wry story with interesting characters in a similar way.

The characters were the real strength of this book, particularly Aereon and the king and queen of Krank. Their personalities came across very strongly and were really funny and cleverly written. Aereon in particular really goes on a journey in this book (the Hero of the series), both actually and in his character and I think he has a very compelling arc and a lot more places to go with it, which I look forward to reading about in the next book.

The story itself might not seem like the mighty quest you find in some fantasy books, Aereon is not heading for Mordor with the One Ring, he is trying to find some new meat for the barbecue on a small island, but you know, it doesn’t matter. It is part of the comedy, and it actually leads him to a much bigger adventure than you might expect. I made a deliberate reference to The Lord of the Rings because there are also nods to that great fantasy trilogy here and people who have read that will also enjoy it, in a different way. (I have a very clear picture of the books that the author had on his adolescent bookshelf after reading this!)

The ending? What? I need the next book!

This was a fresh, funny and original book from an emerging talent. I am really looking forward to reading and reviewing the second book soon. Comic fantasy fans will not be disappointed by this book.

Divine Invention is out now and you can get a copy here.

To follow the rest of the tour, check out the stops on the poster below:

Divine Invention Full Tour Banner

About the Author

Divine sky rowan edit

Linden Forster began writing at the age of seventeen. Divine Invention is his debut novel and it took seven years from the idea conjuring at the back of an English class to reaching the page.

Since then, writing has become his dream and passion. His sequel is finished and awaiting publication, while he types the third in a darkened room.

He is a lover of nature and enjoys walks in the country and often ventures out armed with a notepad and pen.

Connect with Linden:

Website: https://lindenforster.wordpress.com

Facebook: Linden Forster

Twitter: @LindenForster

Instagram: @lindenforster

Tempted by….Tales Before Bedtime: A Far Away Magic by Amy Wilson @AJ_Wils @panmacmillan @ShelleyFallows #bookbloggers #bloggerlove #readingrecommendations #booklove #AFarAwayMagic

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When Angel moves to a new school after the death of her parents, she isn’t interested in making friends. Until she meets Bavar – a strange boy, tall, awkward and desperate to remain unseen, but who seems to have a kind of magic about him. Everyone and everything within Bavar’s enchanted house is urging him to step up and protect the world from a magical rift through which monsters are travelling, the same monsters that killed Angel’s parents.

But Bavar doesn’t want to follow the path that’s been chosen for him – he wants to be normal; to disappear. Fighting one another as well as their fears, Angel and Bavar must find a way to repair the rift between the worlds, and themselves, before it’s too late . . .

Wow, these Mondays seem to be coming around quickly, which means it is time for the next in the ‘Tempted by….’ series, highlighting books I have been tempted to buy after reading reviews of them by my fellow bloggers.

Today I am showcasing A Far Away Magic by Amy Wilson, which I bought after reading this review by Shelley at Tales Before Bedtime. It was featured on the Tales Before Bedtime Juniors section of Shelley’s blog, as part of her  Summer Reading suggestions to keep kids occupied during the long holidays. My daughter loved Amy’s previous book, A Girl Called Owl, which I bought her for her birthday back in March, so I thought she might enjoy this too, but not until I’ve read it first!

My mother, when I ask her why she has never read Harry Potter, always responds with a question: “Why would I, as an adult, want to read a children’s book?” and I always reply, ‘Why wouldn’t you?” Children’s books contain some of the most beautiful, imaginative, innovative and exciting writing being produced today and anyone who thinks that the quality of writing for children is lesser than that in adult fiction is sorely mistaken. Plus, I think we all need a little magic and fantasy in our lives in these stressful times, to remind us what it was like to be uncynical; to be filled with wonder and imagination and optimism; to believe anything is possible for us. Why wouldn’t you want to read children’s books?

When I read Shelley’s review of this book, I thought it sounded like a book that might offer all of this magic and wonder and imagination. Shelley sums up the book in this quote: “Beautifully written, filled with magic, love and grief, this is a powerful novel with wonderful characters – I was left feeling a little of the magic had stayed behind with me.” Just what I am looking for when I pick up a book to provide me with a respite from the adult world for a time. I can’t wait to read this, and fully intend to steal back A Girl Called Owl from my daughter to read too. Actually, I’ll swap it for this one as fair exchange is no robbery.

Make sure you check out the full review of the book on Shelley’s blog, and have a further scout around while you are there. She has lots of interesting content, including some of her own writing which I am sure visitors will enjoy as much as I do. You can find Shelley’s blog here.

If you would like to get your own copy of A Far Away Magic, you can buy the book here. Amy Wilson’s new book, Snowglobe, is also out now.

Ravens Gathering by Graeme Cumming #BookReview (@GraemeCumming63) @matadorbooks @LoveBooksGroup @JgoodukJill #RavensGathering #Blogtober18

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“As she let her gaze drift around her, she saw that there were more birds. Perhaps a dozen or so, perched among the trees that stood on the edge of the clearing. And yet more were arriving, swooping down through the gap overhead and landing on branches that overlooked them. The birds weren’t threatening, yet the sight of them all coming together in this dark and isolated spot was unnerving. Tanya reached a hand out towards Martin, and was relieved to feel him take it. She felt him move in behind her. After the uncertainty she’d experienced with him in a similar position only a few moments ago, she recognised the irony of her reaction. His closeness offered security.
“You know what they are, don’t you?”

A stranger’s arrival in a small village coincides with a tragic accident. For the Gates family, in particular, it’s more than a coincidence, but unease increases following a brutal attack. As tensions rise, a dark past returns to haunt them and others, while newcomers to the village are drawn into a mystery with terrifying consequences.

And only a select few know why the ravens are gathering.”

Wow. I’ve been left a little adrift as to know where to start reviewing this book. It is an impossible book to categorise and has taken me to places that were totally unexpected before I read it. It has slightly blown my mind and I am considering best how to convey my thoughts about it adequately in this post.

Firstly, I have to take a minute to apologise to Graeme, and to Kelly at Love Books Group Tours, for the delay in posting this review. I was supposed to be part of Graeme’s tour but somehow some confusion happened in my addled brain and I missed my spot. It has never happened before and it won’t happen again. I blame hormones, as my diary system is normally failsafe, but I am mortified by my lapse. Sorry again, Graeme and Kelly.

On to the book, and what can I say. This novel was unlike anything I’ve read before, although it had elements of other books and movies I have loved in the past. At the beginning it made me think of The Wicker Man, then there was a part that brought to mind The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham (one of my favourite authors ever). There was another scene later that gave me a flashback to Straw Dogs, but at the same time this book is something completely unique.

I was totally gripped from the beginning, with intrigue, interest, but mostly a creeping and unsettling tension that bloomed to full on horror as the book progressed, but for most of the book I could not tell you why I was so very unsettled. The  tension was insidious and all encompassing, but there was nothing overtly horrifying about the story to begin. This was why it reminded me of The Wicker Man, I think.

The plot was very twisty and confusing, but this was obviously deliberately done. I had no idea what was happening or who was trustworthy and who wasn’t, which made certain events in the book all the more unexpected and shocking when they came. A couple of times I had to go back and reread a couple of chapters after happenings further on had totally spun previous events on their head in the light of the new information. In fact, I think I need to reread the whole book now I know how it ends, so I can hoover up all the clues that I clearly missed the first time around. It is really cleverly structured; it’s not often I am so completely bamboozled by a book as I was by this one. I bet Graeme is really good at crosswords, although I think his brain might be a slightly scary place to be sometimes!

This book has elements of crime, horror, fantasy and the supernatural. In places it is very twisted and explicitly violent, but everything was done in support of the story and not gratuitously. The writing reminded me in a positive way of some of Stephen King’s work, and there can’t really be higher praise than that, since I believe King is pretty much a genius.

This book isn’t going to be for everyone, but for anyone who likes a creepy, Gothic horror of a novel with a supernatural twist, this is a must read. I think my friend, Jill Goodwin of Double Stacked Shelves would love it, maybe you will too.

Ravens Gathering is out now and you can buy a copy here.

My thanks to the author for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

About the Author

Graeme Cumming - Author

Graeme Cumming has spent most of his life immersed in fiction – books, TV and movies – turning to writing his own stories during his early teens.

He first realised he genuinely had some talent when he submitted a story to his English teacher, Christine Tubb, who raved about it.  The same story was published in the school magazine and spawned a series that was met with enthusiasm by readers.  Christine was subsequently overheard saying that if Graeme wasn’t a published author by the time he was 25, she’d eat her hat.  Sadly, she probably spent the next 25 years buying her groceries exclusively from milliners.  (Even more sadly, having left school with no clear direction in life, Graeme made no effort to keep in touch with any teachers, so has lost track of this source of great support and encouragement.)

Having allowed himself to be distracted (in no particular order) by girls, alcohol and rock concerts, Graeme spent little of his late teens and twenties writing.  A year-long burst of activity produced a first draft of a futuristic thriller, Beyond Salvage, which has since lain dormant, waiting for a significant edit.

With the onset of family life, opportunities to write became more limited (though it could be argued that he got his priorities wrong), until he reached his early forties, when he realised he hadn’t written anything for several years.  Deciding to become more focused, since then he has written regularly.

With his interests in story-telling sparked by an excessive amount of time sitting in front of a black and white television, his tastes are varied.  Influences ranged from the Irwin Allen shows (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, etc.) to ITC series (The Saint, The Champions, Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) and so many more), so the common theme was action and adventure, but crossed into territories including horror, fantasy and science fiction as well as crime and espionage.

This diverse interest in fiction continued with reading books and his discovery of the magical world of cinema.  As a result, his stories don’t always fall into a specific genre, but are always written as thrillers.

Graeme’s first novel, Ravens Gathering, was published in 2012, and has been warmly received.

When not writing, Graeme is an enthusiastic sailor (and, by default, swimmer), and enjoys off-road cycling and walking.  He is currently Education Director at Sheffield Speakers Club, although he lives in Robin Hood country.  Oh yes, and he reads (a lot) and still loves the cinema.

Connect with Graeme (please do, he is extremely lovely!):
Facebook: Graeme Cumming