Review: The Portal Prophesies A Halloween Curse

A Halloween Curse is the second book in the Portal Prophecy series by C.A. King. This is a fantasy series for YA/NA readers.

This is an action packed story with decent pacing and interesting characters. The story is quite twisty and the characters are complex, even the bad guys.

There is a large cast of characters of varying magical abilities from a variety of worlds or dimensions. Sometimes it is hard to keep track of who they are and what they can do because you often go several chapters without hearing from someone.

The descriptions are good, and the imagery and detail is fantastic. The author has put a lot of thought into the double meanings and vague possibilities of all her prophesies, curses, and warnings.

I worry that some of her characters are becoming over-powered and that it may cause plot-failings later in the series but for now the team continues to grow in strength and numbers while the problems facing them grow in complexity. Also, there is tension between the members of the group and quite often the girls are frustrated by people not taking them seriously.

Over all I’m impressed with the series and the scope of this fictional world.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

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Review: When the Leaves Fall

When the Leaves Fall is a short story written by C.A. King.

The story is written in limited 3rd person from the point of view of Ralph. This made the beginning of the story very awkward as you weren’t sure who or what Ralph was.

The ending of the story was bittersweet and heavy with lessons.

There was nothing wrong with the writing itself, no obvious errors, but this wasn’t a story I’d pick up to read normally.

I give this story a 3 out of 5 stars.

I’m sorry for the short review but I don’t want to give away any spoilers for this story.

Review: Tomoiya’s Story – Escape to Darkness

Tomoiya’s Story – Escape to Darkness is the first book in a paranormal science fiction story by C.A. King

Phew, okay, this book starts out with star ships and space travel. A young girl, Tomoiya, is on a space ship leaving home. She has a book with her, a keepsake from her mother. The captain comes to tell her the ending of the story that is in that book – a story about Allaynie. When he is settling in to tell the story I was reminded of the opening scenes of The Princess Bride.

The majority of the book is actually about Allaynie and a criminal named Woden. The story was interesting but distant. Because the story is being told to Tomoiya by the captain it has that recounting feeling to it. There’s very little immediacy and very little tension. You know all this happened years or decades before the actual story. Even hints that Tomoiya and Allaynie are somehow linked, somehow will walk a similar path, and that this story is a warning to the young girl, isn’t really enough to spice the story up.

What I did enjoy was the way Woden spun things so he’d look like the good guy and Allaynie and her entire race would forever be condemned. I think it really played on the fake news and media fed fears we face now, but at such a scale it almost seems ridiculous. And yet, it worked.

Sadly, I feel I know more about Woden than I do about either Allaynie or Tomoiya, their families, or even their race.

This is definitely more of a prequel than a stand alone, or even a book 1. (Having written a prequel story that is very much telling and not showing myself I know how difficult it can be to write something like this).

I give the writing a 3 out of 5 stars BUT I give the concept a 4 out of 5 stars and I would like to read book 2 in the series to see where this is going. I’m hopeful book 2 will be more action, more emotion, and less distant storytelling.

Review: Portal Prophesies Book 1

The Portal Prophesies Book 1 is called A Keeper’s Destiny and it is by C.A. King. This is a high fantasy epic novel.

The book starts with Willow, the orphaned teenage misfit who has a tattoo of two black cats that she doesn’t remember getting, it’s always been there. She also hears voices. Willow lives in a little village where she sells produce. The village is segregated by caste or class. The people of her village have hair that changes colour when they are young until it settles on a colour at sixteen cycles. Their hair reflects their mood until it stops changing, then it would announce the strength and type of her abilities. Which means this world also has in-born magics or abilities.

From here we move on to meet the people of her town and get a feel for the social structure. The history of the world, which involves Guardians and Keepers, who are bonded to each other, dividing up and protecting realms of fantastical races to keep them safe or keep them from causing harm, is gradually revealed, as is Willow’s role in all this.

The social turmoil within the village provides the opportunity for an attack that ends their peaceful existence and forces the survivors to use a Portal to one of these other realms. We get a few training sequences and some character growth, and then end with a major character in distress.

On the one hand this world is extremely unique with an interesting history and some potential for “that’s not what you told me” and a bad guy who believes he’s the good guy and the Guardians are evil tyrants. On the other hand, it’s prophesy based, and that runs the risk of being either cliched or forced or both. She can’t lose because she’s the chosen one, right? She’s just going to keep unlocking abilities until she’s big enough and strong enough to win no matter what. BUT I hold out hope for this series based on the wide cast of characters, the interesting set-up with potential for betrayals and side reversals, and the decent writing style.

This book is perfect for older middle years and high school students. It has that teen drama feel to it, with amazing powers and adventure and self-discovery.

Considering what this book is trying to be, and what it achieves, I give it a four out of five stars and I look forward to reviewing the second book later this summer.