Monday, 23 February 2015

the Legacy of the Key (Ancient Guardians #1) Review

the Legacy of the Key(Ancient Guardians1) by S.L. Morgan
Published by: Pasidian Press, Dec. 20, 2012
Genre:  Young Adult, Fantasy, Supernatural
Pages: 447 Kindle edition, 374 paperback
Source: Amazon Kindle eBooks

Synopsis: Reece Bryant returns to medical school after the death of her father. Inexplicably, she encounters two mysterious men who start a series of extraordinary events that take Reece to their parallel dimension world of Pemdas. Reece learns her family legacy is a lot more special than she imagines, and a lot more dangerous.

The Legacy of the Key is the first book of Ancient Guardians by S.L. Morgan.  I keep getting drawn back into YA books because of the fantastic range for storylines and I love a little paranormal/romantic magic. This is classified YA despite Reece being a university med student, so this likely is on account the story is sweet.

S.L. Morgan brings the reader to Pemdas, a world that exists with the earth but in another dimension. Some of the story elements are very interesting, such as traveling to a parallel dimension/world that runs on advanced power sources while at the same time the populace practices 1800s dress and customs. The fact that Reece travels not just to Pemdas, but to the royal palace of the Emperor, gives the author a beautiful locale for the story.

The first part of the book involves the reader deeply with Reece’s stay on Pemdas.  Reece is a very courageous heroine in dealing with her quite drastically altered circumstances, though staying at a royal palace isn’t too hard either. Neither is having Levi, the Emperor’s handsome son, and cousin, Harrison, dancing polite attendance on her, even if she is the Key.

The action picks up quite a bit when the Pemdai return to earth with Reece for a universal council with beings from all over the galaxy.

I found the writing style a little pedantic, though this may be mostly on account of the 1800s court fashion (over) politeness of the Pedmai people.  It’s nice to see politeness though, I think.  I can see that the author wants to highlight courtly behaviour towards women, though I feel like I’m in a Disney movie while reading this and it seems a little too over emphasized.

At court we are also introduced to Simone, one of the young ladies visiting there who has her own eye out for Levi. She proves to be not in line with the main characters, but I love hating Simone!

Overall, I thought the story very interesting and lovely, perhaps a little too Disney-esque for my taste, but well done. The romance element was very sweet.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Choose a Setting for Your Book

Choosing a setting for a new novel is something I like to take time over since it will really colour the entire work. I also like to dream long-term and tend to envision how the movie version will look so want great visuals! I’ve read that some publishers/editors out there are also keen on book settings.

When deciding where to locate the Iron Web, I wanted somewhere magical since my novella will have some magical elements . One of the first locales that came to mind was Wales as it’s famous for its legends and mythology and is fabulously beautiful to boot.  And those weather inversions! Gorgeous foggy scenes for mood.  Did you know Wales has something called a Celtic rain forest? There are even trees with hanging moss on them. I’m thinking it’s a cinematographer’s dreamscape.

Here is a great Youtube video, Bread of Heaven - Visit Wales Promotional Video, by Visit Wales Holidays Unpackaged, to get a glimpse.

Researching my new locale, I go through google maps, and endless internet articles. From these I source place names, character names, local mythology for helping inspire plot or events, and the local social culture.  Rugby is very popular in Wales, so one of my characters will be dating a rugby player. Google Translate also helps with sourcing Welsh translations on expressions. You get the idea. Here are some of the special elements that I love about Wales and that I will be incorporating into the Iron Web:

Dinas Affaraon
Dinas is a mythical city, sometimes also called Dinas Emrys, or the “city of higher powers”. I’ve read that Dinas is a place where the Druids go to reach the apex of their spiritual powers (Atlantis Rising magazine). It has been placed in the beautiful Snowdonia mountains.

Raven Magic
Ravens are common to many cultures as well as to Wales. They are thought to be messengers, and usually are connected to death and the underworld. Ravens are thought to prophesy by their various calls, and foretell omens by the direction of their flight.

Celtic Rainforest in Wales
Found along a region of Snowdonia and western Wales, there is a swath of steep valleys surrounding river tributaries. They are dense and jungly, with high rainfall and mists. When Bryn has to flee Penrith, she will travel this way to avoid detection as this area is isolated.

How do you decide on location for your new books? What other factors influence your choice? Definitely I love researching locales, and find inspiration for every facet of a new work from this.
Image is River Llugwy, Snowdonia, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons