Hello darlings! Now I'm super excited to be hosting author Devri Walls here on Wake Up at Seven but I have a huge headache. Incoherent thoughts and sentences will be fixed as soon as my head stops trying to explode, if there are any. Which I'm sure there will because I'm already halfway to drifting off to sleep.
Wings of Arian
By: Devri Walls
Review by: Kaede
Publisher: Stonehouse Ink
Series: The Solus Trilogy (#1)
Format: E-Book Review Copy
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Kiora thought she had never heard a lie until she was sixteen. But she was wrong. Her entire existence was based on nothing but. She thought that evil did not exist. Lie. That magic was not real. Lie. And that the land of Meros was all there was. One more lie.Fantasy has always been a much loved genre, and Wings of Arian seemed like a good a read as any. And it was good, I have to admit. Better than I expected it to be, but still not perfect.
With Aleric telling her that evil is knocking on the door and that she is the only one who can stop them she has a choice to make. Refuse, or start the wildest most painful ride of her life.
She reluctantly dips her toe into her new existence of magic and threads, dragons and shapeshifters, and the person who wants to take control of it all: the evil Dralazar.
However, this journey was never meant to be hers alone. She will be accompanied by a Protector. To her disbelief, and utter irritation they name the hotheaded, stubborn, non -magical, (albeit gorgeous) Prince Emane. They will have to trust each other with their lives, but right now Kiora would settle for a non hostile conversation.
And now it comes down to this, If you had never heard a lie, would you know when you heard one? Is knowing good from evil innate? Kiora finds herself having to decide who lives and who dies on those very questions.
Kiora has been granted the title of Solus, and is the hope to destroy all evil with pure magic. However, Kiora's training has lasted only a mere week or two, and she is certain she is anything but prepared. Kiora constantly doubts her own abilities and herself. I do like characters who aren't perfect and have flaws, and Kiora is somebody that readers can easily root for. But, personally, I'd like to see a bit less sensitivity. Because for goodness sake, you can't be the freaking Solus and tear up when somebody is being smacked or, I don't know, an insect is crushed by a person's feet. And the road ahead for the Solus Kiora won't be easy.
Our protagonist won't have to go into battle alone though. Siding with her against the evil Dralazar is her fated protector, stubborn but undeniably good-looking Prince Emane. Kiora and Emane aren't exactly on the best of terms, so can they survive against the deadly magic of the Dralazar?
I really liked Walls's writing style. I thought that for the most part, it flowed nicely. It has a good solid pace and nothing seemed overly rushed. Although this novel was over 400 pages and had more than enough time to flesh out characters and plot twists. I think that a little less on the volume of the book could have done it good, and Kiora would have benefited from a bit more characterization or backstory. But overall, I do recommend Wings of Arian to young adult fantasy fans. There is much potential in Wall's story.
3 ½ coffee cups!
Add WINGS OF ARIAN to Goodreads
By Devri Walls
Review by: Kaede
Publisher: Stonehouse Ink
Series: The Solus Trilogy (#2)
Format: E-Book Review Copy
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Kiora is rapidly learning that evil and lies come in shades of black and white and swirling greys, but nothing could have prepared her for the shock of leaving Meros.Wings of Tavea opened up for much growth in story and characters. I sincerely thought, while I still wasn't entirely content, that Kiora had developed into a far more likable character, along with Emane.
Kiora and her protector Emane step through the pass into a world they never knew existed but were always meant to save, only to find it far worse than they could have ever imagined. Good has been forced into hiding for its own survival, while the rest of the land bows to the Shadow, a force that pushes any remaining thoughts of Dralazar from Kiora’s mind. This land is full of new creatures, each more dangerous than the last. Her visions have taken on a deadly twist, and magic, or what comes of it, was never so real. And then there is Alcander: a Tavean, their guide, and an entirely different kind of trouble.
With Wings of Tavea a few new characters are introduced. Some play a significant part in the story while others didn't. Although, I do think this second installement really stepped things up. Danger far more deadly than in Wings of Arian is here and Kiora and her companions are forced in a corner.
I love action, and this book had more than enough. Walls managed to keep me both intrigued and invested to the very end. I can honestly now say with certainty that the Solus Trilogy can be enjoyed by both adult and younger readers. Walls has created a world that is not only original but also not easily left.
4 coffee cups!
Add WINGS OF TAVEA to Goodreads
Devri Walls lives in Kuna Idaho with her husband and two kids. She has worked as a music teacher and currently, a preschool teacher. She majored in theater and her love of a story still drives her today. Thankfully, she has finally found an outlet for all the voices in her head. Her first novel, Wings of Arian, is available on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and Apple. The second book in the Solus trilogy, Wings of Tavea is scheduled for release Nov 2012.
Find Devri: blog | twitter | goodreads
Drustan began to morph without warning. Hair grew all over his body, his nose elongating. His body bent forward until he stood on all fours.
Kiora’s heart rose in her throat despite knowing full well it was Drustan. “Was that really necessary?”
“I’m sorry. The Hounds have the best sense of smell of any creature I’ve found.”
The Shifter-Hound sniffed the ground, following the scent trail back the way they had just been. “Bubble us, please,” Drustan said. “We need the Illusionist to think it has thrown us off the trail.”
Kiora bubbled herself and the Shifter-Hound as they tracked the Illusionist’s scent through the forest. Nearly an hour later Drustan stopped in front of a large, gnarly pine tree, his nose moving up and down its bark. Stepping back, he morphed into the human form with the pointed ears. Why did he always revert to that form? Kiora kept forgetting to ask him.
“Why are we stopping?” Kiora asked.
“Because we have found them,” he announced, looking rather pleased with himself. “Rather clever potion.” Motioning in front of them, Drustan said, “This tree is not a tree.” Turning back to Kiora, Drustan grew serious. “Before you drop this bubble, I need to know you’re ready.”
She nodded. “I'm ready.”
“Don't forget,” he stressed. “No matter what you see, it is not real. An Illusionist quite literally feeds off your belief. You are the only one with the power to make what it shows you real.”
“All right then, drop the bubble.”
Kiora dropped the bubble, expecting something dramatic to occur. Nothing happened. The tree was still a tree. Kiora looked from the tree to Drustan and back again. “Are you sure this is it?” she asked.
“I'm sure,” Drustan said. “You have to tell it that you know what it is. Then we
will have to take Emane. It will not release him freely.”
Kiora felt ridiculous as she stepped towards the tree. “I know what you are, and I
know you have Emane. Let him go.”
The tree shuddered and began to change. For a second she thought she saw Emane's face in there. Then he was gone. The tree didn't shift as Drustan did. She would have been prepared for that. Instead the branches popped into a black swirling cloud, whipping and whirling around her. Kiora took a startled step backwards. The cloud collapsed in on itself, smaller and smaller. Suddenly it exploded into an Aktoowa, three times the size of the one they had already met. Kiora screamed, stumbling back. The bird screeched, drowning out whatever it was that Drustan shouted. Taking advantage of Kiora's fear, the bird quickly nipped her arm, its sharp beak drawing blood.
She looked down at her arm in shock. Maybe Drustan was wrong. Maybe this really was a Shapeshifter. The Aktoowa moved towards her again and Kiora reacted, throwing a bolt of magic. She sent the bird flying into a tree.
“Kiora! It has Emane," Drustan shouted. “Stop. It’s not real, Kiora, it’s not real.” Drustan tried to run to her, but the Aktoowa had already gained its footing and was coming at her again.
Kiora couldn't hit it with magic or she would hit Emane. She had to convince herself to stop believing what she was seeing. The bird lunged at her again. Despite her best effort not to, she jumped back in fear, and again the bird drew blood. Kiora gasped in pain, her hand flying to her new injury.
Drustan cursed loudly before morphing into an Aktoowa of matching size. He jumped between Kiora and the Illusionist, biting at it.
“I can not defeat this by myself,” Drustan yelled between attacks. “As long as you believe what you are seeing it will get stronger.”
Easier said than done. She dropped her face into her hands. Nothing about this animal seemed like an illusion. When Drustan clipped the Aktoowa with the back of his wing she heard the collision. And her arm was still bleeding in two places. She held her head, trying to force her brain to ignore the throbbing in her arm. “It’s not real, it’s not real.” Kiora repeated the mantra over and over to herself. But she could still hear the battle raging, undoing any progress she thought she had made.
“Kiora, you had better figure this out,” Drustan yelled at her. “Or I am gong to accidentally kill Emane.”
“It’s not real. It’s not real,” Kiora repeated even louder, wrapping her arms around her head.
“Oh, that is enough,” Drustan bellowed.
Kiora peeked out to watch Drustan morphing into a very large, very thick man. The Giant grabbed the Aktoowa and pulled it down to the ground with a thud that shook the dirt beneath her feet. Wrapping his arms and legs around the bird, Drustan secured it. The Aktoowa kicked and flayed its legs, sharp claws flashing dangerously in Kiora’s direction.
“Come on, Kiora,” Drustan yelled at her as he struggled against the Aktoowa. “The only way it is going to give Emane back is if you take him.”
“How am I supposed to do that?” Kiora yelled in frustration, dropping her arms to her sides. “I don't even know where he is.”
“Kiora—” Drustan grunted. “Listen to me carefully. You need to reach in and take Emane’s hand. He is in here somewhere.”
“Reach in?” she squeaked. “You mean, in its mouth?”
“No!" The bird thrashed and Drustan almost lost his grip. He wrapped his arms back around it, clasping his hands together over its chest. “In the middle.”
Kiora walked hesitantly over to the Aktoowa. She could hear the rustle of the feathers under Drustan’s grasp and its ragged breathing through the sharp beak. Kiora could still feel where that beak had opened her skin. Closing her eyes, Kiora shoved her fist into its chest. It thudded as it connected with the bird, who shrieked in response.
Drustan was livid. “Damn it, Kiora,” he yelled over the Aktoowa’s shoulder. “There is no faking this! This is not real—the only thing making it real is you. Save your Protector or we might as well go home. If you can't handle an Illusionist, there is nothing in this land you can handle.”
His words stung and Kiora blinked back tears, swallowing the lump in her throat. She had to do this. Gritting her teeth she held out her hand to the bird. “This is not real, this is not real,” she muttered again hoping this time she would believe it. Kiora’s eyes fluttered open to see the Aktoowa's beak around her arm preparing to bite. Her eyes narrowed. She had to get Emane back. “This is not—”
The bird clamped down, its beak sliding harmlessly through her arm, just like an illusion. “Real!” she exclaimed, shoving her hand through its stomach. There was nothing but open air behind it. The creature screamed as Kiora groped around for something solid. She felt a hand and then an arm. Grabbing it, she jerked with all her might, pulling Emane out of the creature’s grasp. Dead weight slammed into Kiora. She fell to the ground, an unconscious Emane on top of her.
Now my question was a share on Devri's feelings about lies, and if it effected the story and character in any way.
Devri's answer was:
I have had a lot of guest post requests, and this one threw me for a loop! The topic is; What is my take on lies? Both how it affected my main character, Kiora, and my personal view on them.This is a tricky topic, but here we go!
Lies are soooo complicated! I wish I could say that I never lie. I am, overall, a very honest person. I am the girl who, if I find someone has not charged me enough, or an item did not get rung up, will drive back to the store to pay for it. I get some really weird looks. (Which makes me sad, by the way.) So, if I feel so strongly about honesty that I will turn my car around and walk into customer service to pay the difference, why would I still lie?
Here’s where it gets sticky. In the society we live in it is nearly impossible to not lie. Before you all start screaming and throwing fruit at your computer screen let me explain. Let’s say you listen to someone give a speech. It is a wreck. Not that they didn’t know what they were talking about, but the delivery was off. They looked at the ground, mumbled their words, and overall it took all your effort to keep yourself invested. Then you end up at lunch with this person afterwards. They ask you what you thought. Are you going to tell them your honest opinion? Probably not. More likely we will say; “I thought it was great, you made some very interesting points.”
Why? Why do we do that? Would it not be helpful to that person to learn the flaws in their delivery? Would they not be much better next time with your input? But here is the problem. We live in a world where unkindness runs rampant and cruelty is far too often looked at as amusing. This person would likely take your opinion as mean, cruel and thoughtless. Not only will they probably disregard what you have said, but also strongly dislike you. It is not until you have a loving or respect based relationship with that person that you could tell them your thoughts without it angering them.
In comparison; the world I have created in Book One, Wings of Arian, is a world free of evil, of lies. One of my earlier reviews stated that the reader had a problem with lies being grouped as evil, because lies always exist, the white ones especially. I can see and respect her thoughts because of the world we live in. That is all any of us have ever known.
“Do I look fat in this?”
Maybe a little, but we say, “You look great!”
“Is my child bothering you?”
Driving me crazy! “Not at all.”
The list goes on, and is long, and is very very acceptable for our society. Very acceptable for me. I don’t want to hurt others feelings in the name of honesty.
Now, in comparison, let’s go to a world where there is no evil, no maliciousness, no desire to hurt another person. Lets take that mindset and repeat some of the above situations.
“Do I look fat in this dress?”
You say, “A little. It just isn’t very flattering on you. I think you should wear the blue dress instead.”
The person you are speaking with will knowthat your intentions are for her and only for her. You were honest with her because you loved her, and you want her to look her best. You are not being mean, or jealous. You are certainly not looking at her as she walks away thinking, what a fat cow!
Do you see where I am going? When the intentions are always pure, feelings are not hurt. Bad things are not assumed. Conclusions are not jumped to. Everything changes.
In Wings of Arian Kiora is thrust out of her perfect and comfortable world. She is told that evil is returning and that she will have to fight it. She is exposed to evil and the pain of seeing it is excruciating. She fights against it, doesn’t want to be part of it. But near the end of the book some very important revelations come to light. The world she has loved, that peace her people enjoyed, were in fact based on lies.
That truth rocks Kiora, just as it would rock any of us who have had our reality ripped out from underneath us. However, this is what helps her to finally realize what her place in this world is. And it is because of this that we see her really start to grow in book two, Wings of Tavea. Not to say that the lies influenced her in a positive way. But sometimes seeing the black makes the white clearer, and visa versa.
In her new reality, these two worlds cannot coexist. For one will always infiltrate the other. And, unfortunately, it will never be utopia infiltrating the other. The lies, the deceit, the hurt- it changes things. It plants seeds of doubt that were never there before, seeds that grow into motive questioning trees.
That got a little deep there at the end, I feel like I should attach a cartoon or something to lighten the mood. I would really like to hear your thoughts. What do you think?
Now this post is super long, so congratulations if you made it all the way. As a prize, I'll introduce the giveaway!