Review: Asylum (The Ferryman + The Flame, #5) by Rhiannon Paille @RhiPaille

When all they could be was broken . . .
For fans of The Shannara Chronicles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sword Art Online

All Kaliel has left is the lingering scent of Krishani. Suicidal, hopeless and deserted, Kaliel wanders her old life with fresh new eyes, her memory like jagged shards. She has never been so alone, so afraid and in so much danger.

Krishani is a broken boy on the wind, slave to the masters who would rather use his soul as the destructive thing it’s become than allow him his freedom. In a desperate attempt to keep his secret safe, he leads them to the witch, not knowing that all consequences are dire.

Torture, Wonder, Truth and Retribution collide in the fifth installment of The Ferryman & The Flame.

Blurb and cover from Amazon

4 out of 5 stars

It’s alright, I wasn’t using my emotions anyway. Just go ahead and stomp all over them like last year’s leaves, why don’t you?

While Mercy remains my favorite, this book was pretty darn good, too. As I had hoped, there was more reference to the Land of Beasts and the Land of the Immortals, there’s even so more of Avristar in here. It ends in the closest thing to a happy ending that we’ve had since the end of the second book, but don’t start hoping for that HEA for a bloody second.

The plot:

I thought the plot had less clearly defined goals and direction than Mercy, but I feel that was due in large part to Kaliel’s loss of essentially her will to exist. There were lots of shockers (Pux is WHOSE son?!), “we’re all going to die” moments, but Paille went and threw in a few scraps of happiness to breathe us poor readers back to life.

The characters:

It is kind of hard not to feel horrible for Kaliel. After losing Krishani again in the last book and regaining her memories of what she did, her human family treats her like crap, her human friends treat her like crap, the other Flames and immortals alternate between treating her like crap and trying to torture her whilst Pux has gone AWOL. I got mad at her when Krishani came back, but, yes, I’ll admit her standoffishness was realistic.

Krishani takes a bit of a backseat role for the first half or so of the book. Back to being a Vulture, he’s enslaved to the Valtanyana again as he will be for eternity—or will he? Pux also takes a bit more of a less-visible spot for most of the book, but when Krishani turns up, there’s a lot more interaction between those two than there has been before. If nothing else, it was interesting to see their dynamic when Kaliel was out of the equation.

In case you were wondering, Tor still deserves to be hit in the head repeatedly with a brick. I have no idea exactly what that cad is planning, but it involves him, so I don’t trust it. That weasel.

This time around I actually empathized with Shimma—Shimma! That blonde succubus who wants to steal Krishani from my baby Kaliel. I even started to feel bad about all those times I wished she’d drop headfirst down a well. Poor thing.

In closing, Ishtar has earned himself something horrible alongside Tor. Klavotesi kind of has the right to be angry, but he still needs to calm down a bit. If we can’t off the whole of the Valtanyana, then we should at least find somewhere to lock them up in a deep dark mine for eternity.

I really, really want Chaos and the author has promised me a happy ending to that book. It’s been a heartbreaking, but worthwhile ride with these characters and when that time comes, I’ll be sad to see it end. (But happy if they’re happy. They’ve been through so much horribleness, poor babies.)

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ARC Review: Mercy (The Ferryman + The Flame, #4) by Rhiannon Paille @RhiPaille

Mercy

Sometimes it hurts instead . . .
For fans of John Green, Assassin’s Creed and Sailor Moon

Krishani thought Kaliel was lost forever. Slave to the hunger, and the cold, and the enemies who took everything, he longs for death. Taking shelter in a human body, Krishani finds the one thing he gave up on centuries ago — Kaliel.

Maeva doesn’t know who she is — what she is, but she knows she doesn’t belong. Hunted by her past, stalked by a boy intent on killing her, she longs to remember. Confused and alone, Maeva learns why memories are the most painful things of all.

Sorrow, Hunger, Passion and Danger collide in the fourth installment of The Ferryman & The Flame.

Blurb and cover from BN.com

5 out of 5 stars

Best in the series yet, but man oh man do I need extra therapy now.

I came into this book with a mixture of excitement because I loved the earlier books as well as dread because, as implied, I have read the earlier books. When I heard there was a ten thousand year gap between this and the previous installment, Vulture, taking us into modern times, I was a bit hesitant, but I thought it was pulled off very well. The author eases us into the 21st century without losing the flavor of the other books or letting us forget that in ten thousand years, even immortals change.

The plot:

I had no idea what was going to happen and pretty much every time I made a prediction, I guessed wrong. The story took its own path and I thought it turned out better than my original expectation. As with the earlier books, I loved the blending of mythologies and the references to different cultures and the author’s explanation for how they were all interconnected.

There was less reference to the Land of the Beasts and the Land of Immortals than in the previous novels and I’m not sure how I felt about that. I suppose it was understandable since the story was taking place in the Lands of Men, but I’m hoping for more of the other Lands in Asylum.

The characters:

Kaliel is on her fourth body to date (I’m not counting all Tor’s failed attempts) and as far as she knows, her name is Maeva and she is nothing but a normal teenager in an obscure Canadian town. She seemed more mature to me, there was less naïveté to her personality and greater wisdom, not sure exactly how to put it.

As for Krishani—oh my poor sweet baby. After ten thousand years as a Vulture, he’s managed to cling to his identity and the past nine years in the body of a cancer patient. I felt for him more in this book than I did in Justice when he was slowly turning into a soul-eating demon. I just…loved everything about his character in this book and want, want, want them to have a stupid HEA at the end of this series so fricking bad.

On a brief note, I adore Pux as much as ever (another of my sweet babies), hate Shimma (that blonde succubus can jump headfirst down a well), am reevaluating my initial appraisal of Elwen (he’s on probation), and am waiting for someone to upside Tor in the head with a brick (he has it coming).

I am as much a fan of this series as ever and I certainly recommend it. The descriptions are beautiful, the love story is gorgeous, the world building is epic, and it just keeps getting better.

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{Interview) Rhiannon Paille, author of SURRENDER @RhiannonPaille

Today the talented Rhiannon Paille is stopping by the talk to us about her New Adult Epic Fantasy Romance series, The Ferryman and the Flame.

Rhiannon is a booksmith from the middle of nowhere, Canada. She holds a PhD in Metaphysical Science and Parapsychology, which is to say she happens to know a lot about what goes bump in the night. When she’s not writing she’s singing karaoke, burning dinner, and hiding her superhero identity. She’d like to own a unicorn one day, as long as it doesn’t eat her. You’ll find her sipping iced cappuccino despite her allergy to coffee at www.yafantasyauthor.com

If you had to use seven words or less to describe The Ferryman and the Flame series, what would they be?

Sexy Ferryman, Dangerous girl, Bad ass villains.

 

Where did the idea for The Ferryman and the Flame come from?

The first snippet of The Ferryman and the Flame I can recall is this vision of a young girl in a white dress running through the forest, long matted white hair down her back, a violet flower pinned in her hair. The violet flower falls from her hair and wafts to the ground. Immediately after that the girl is standing at the mouth of a volcano, prepared to do whatever it takes to save everyone she loves. It was very cut and paste from beginning to end, and took me forever to learn more about that girl and why and how she’d end up at that volcano.

 

The Ferryman and the Flame is a mash-up of several mythologies and bits of folklore. What inspired you to mix so many legends?

I feel like I didn’t decide on a lot of what happened in The Ferryman and the Flame series. The story came to me in bits and pieces, and there wasn’t much room for deviation from the plot forming in my head.

The mixed mythologies came later when I realized Krishani wasn’t a Watcher but a Ferryman. Actually, he was a Death Walker, which isn’t a very widely used term for Grim Reaper anymore, but at some point I realized he transferred souls to the other side, and I went through all the names used for those types in history and well The Death Walker and the Flame isn’t quite as catchy as The Ferryman and the Flame.

 

The series uses a few familiar names, but quite a few unusual ones. How did you come up with them?

Kemplan helped a lot with the names. I made a joke once about how the story is fictional but the characters aren’t. I meant that. I think the only reason Kemplan helped me with the plot line and character development was because he got to star in the prologues.

 

What has been your biggest challenge in writing Kaliel and Krishani’s story?

Sorting the real mythological story from the fictional version of the tale. I wove some of that into the story, Kemplan burning the books on the Flames, High King Tor wanting to hide the Flames from everyone. So their actual legend is out there somewhere, but a lot of it had been erased because of what had happened between them. Digging it up and figuring out how to tell it as a coherent YA book was really hard. The legend had a lot of sex, violence, and a couple of super stupid things happen in it. Krishani for instance, he didn’t leave Avristar of his own accord in the legend, in the legend he was exiled for stealing from Lord Istar. I changed it in the book because Krishani had far better reasons to leave Avristar than theft.

In the legend however, Kaliel did set the volcano off, and she caused an ice age. So when I said it was difficult to deviate, that’s what I meant, this was its own lost and largely unknown myth I had the task of recreating.

 

Have you ever made yourself cry when writing?

Yes, while writing, editing, thinking, outlining . . . it was an emotional story for me to tell because I was channeling these characters and it was so tough to tell their story.

I’m glad I got through it though because this was the story that needed to be told.

 

You were recently signed on with Kevin J. Anderson and Wordfire Press. What’s that been like thus far? What does this mean for the series?

It’s an epic collaboration. Kevin is so supportive of me I never expected that, and it’s the first time I’ve had someone in my corner (that’s a professional in the industry, I’ve had others in my corner of course!)

We’re both control freaks, so we constantly send e-mails back and forth about what’s happening, he’s very quick to respond to anything I send even if he’s crazy busy. He had a fantastic team I’ve began meeting and working with including Peter J. Wacks, Quincy J. Allen, James Sams, Valerie, and of course his wife Rebecca who recently went for major surgery and is in recovery mode. So how he does all of these things is really beyond me, but it feels awesome to be part of a team.

 

What’s a question you’ve wanted to be asked in an interview? What’s your answer?

I’ve always wanted someone to ask a question about TFTF that goes into the very small details, like why did a certain character do this or what happened to Khryannalin and Mythos afterwards? Stuff like that.

Find Rhiannon on:

Her website

Facebook

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Thank you, Rhiannon, for stopping by! Check out my reviews of her books and don’t forget to visit her links!

Read my review of Skeleton and Dust

Read my review of Surrender

Read my review of Justice

Read my review of Vulture

ARC Review: Vulture (The Ferryman and the Flame, #3) by Rhiannon Paille @RhiannonPaille

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How far would you go to betray everything you’ve ever known?

Kaliel didn’t think second chances came with this much turmoil. Exiled from her home, surrounded by strangers and in love with a boy she barely recognizes, she can’t take it. She has her best friend, a new mentor, and a chance to win the war against the Valtanyana, but it’s all wrong. Desperate to salvage some semblance of her former life, she makes a deal that shatters everything.

 Blurb and cover from Goodreads

4 out of 5 stars

Thanks to Rhiannon for an ARC of Vulture! She knows I’ve been wanting it for awhile.

This book took me sometime to finish because I have read the previous books and I knew this one was going to have an ending to put Shakespeare’s tragedies to shame. Still, I bit the bullet and forced myself to keep reading even as I wanted to keep living in blissful denial. Despite the heart wrenching conclusion, I expect to be one of the first to snatch up Mercy when it comes along.

The plot:

The bad (the serious bad) takes a goodly amount of time to roll around and I was wary of letting it lure me into a false sense of security. There are sword fights and attacks and magical struggles so it wasn’t as if everyone was lying in fields of dandelions, but I was waiting for a very specific type of calamity and, yep, it happened. The plot trots along and there weren’t any parts I found slow despite the 400+ page printed length. (Yes, there were sex scenes in here and I skimmed/skipped them as per my usual modus operandi.)

The characters:

I laud Paille for not adding a love triangle into this. That is one source of angst I cannot abide and this story already has plenty of that.

Kaliel has a bit of trouble grasping just what happened to Krishani after her death and I wish she’d been just a tad more understanding. The poor slob went through purgatory when she was killed, he needs her. I also wish she’d been more ready to embrace her power as the Amethyst Flame and fight the Valtanyana, but looking back, she’s never been eager to fulfill Tor’s designs, even in the First Era. What she did was understandable and made sense for her character, even when it had me internally screaming “nooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!”

Krishani is much better off than he was in the last book, but is still plagued by the malady of the Ferryman when he doesn’t perform his duties. He’s now willing to do them so he can be with Kaliel, but there is still an impressive amount of friction between him and Tulsen.

Pux gets a love interest in here and I really don’t like that. I would have preferred for him to remain the perpetual, never-grow up, Peter Pan type. He always just struck me as so boyish and childlike it honestly never occurred to me about him falling in love. Oh well.

I started to hate Klavotesi less in this one and didn’t want to smother him in his cloak quite as often. Perhaps it was because I more understood here why he was pushing for the things he was and towards the end he showed something akin to…humanity in his internal monologues.

If you like Epic Fantasy and New Adult Romance, this book is for you. But brace yourselves, because you might end up needing chocolate at the end.

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Review: Skeleton and Dust (The Ferryman and the Flame, #3.5) by Rhiannon Paille @RhiannonPaille

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In the First Era, before Kaliel and Krishani fell in love, Tor runs. He escapes the Land of Kings and the tyrannical Valtanyana. In the depths of Tempia he forges weapons– The Flames– strong enough to oppose the Kings he betrayed.

Aria, The Amethyst Flame, cannot touch the living or the dead and her kin are silent ghosts. Hidden in a cairn deep in the haunted forest, Aria becomes obsessed with the Ferryman, the only boy who can feel her touch.

Before Aria knows it, The Flames, The Ferryman and Tor are swept up in the first war against the Valtanyana.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

5 out of 5 stars

This is one of those series that I fixate over and can’t really put my finger on why. Maybe it’s the reshaping/mixing of mythologies, the transcendent romance, the sheer originality, or the swords and sorcery, but this is a series I haven’t been able to forget and I expect I will be following it to the very end.

The plot:

This gives the backstory on Kaliel and Krishani’s first life when they fell in love for the first time. It was a quick, succinct read that was still long enough to get to know and care about the characters, even if I hadn’t read the full length novels. There were quite a few “oh, that’s what they were talking about in book one/two” moments, but I think this is a book that can be enjoyed without reading Surrender or Justice.

The characters:

It was interesting to see how Aria, or Kaliel, has always been different, even when she was first created, even among the other Flames. Despite her sweetness, she still stuck up for her fellow Flames when it came to Tor and was very brave. She was innocent to the point of naiveté and it made me cringe because I knew what was going to happen to her in this life and I really didn’t want it to.

Kallow, the Ferryman, first makes his appearance as an aloof, somewhat detached skeleton. Yes, a skeleton. The first one or two scenes had me wondering “how is this her Krishani?” but then we learn more about who the Ferryman serves and the rules he had to follow and everything makes sense. Kallow proved to be much more feeling and caring than his introduction would have you believe and if I hadn’t known they’d be reborn and find each other again, the ending would have broken me into tiny, teary pieces.

Some people might say Aria and Kallow—or Krishani and Kaliel—had insta-love. While this is sort of true, it makes sense for them to fall in love the first time because they had each never met someone so akin to themselves and makes sense the second time because they’ve already fallen in love a first time.

I think Tor was very different here than in the later books. Which there’s a few thousand years gap, so that’s understandable, but I thought he was much more sympathetic and perhaps less jaded here. He had a problem when it came to viewing the Flames as weapons, not sentient beings, but meant well and I couldn’t really fault him for that.

On a side note, it was strange to see Klavotesi, the Obsidian Flame, supporting Aria/Kaliel when he came across as such a jerk in Justice. I may have to rethink my opinion of him, but that will have to wait until I finally get to read Vulture.

Imagine a villain of the caliber of Tolkien’s Sauron, multiply it by twelve and you have Valtanyana. They are excellent classical villains bent on total domination of the cosmos who only needed Tor’s help to succeed. They were such good baddies that inspire dread, fear, dislike, but you can’t really hate.

I recommend this book to not only fans of the series or people wanting to try it, but anyone looking for an untraditional take on mythology, but if you want HEA, you won’t find it here.

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Freebie Friday #3 Surrender (The Ferryman and the Flame, #1) by Rhiannon Paille

If you know of any Kindle books that are free today or on upcoming Fridays, I’d love to hear about them!

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How far would you go to save everything you ever loved?

Kaliel was warned about her love for the Ferryman. One day he will marry the land and leave Avristar forever. She doesn’t listen, and because of what she is– a Flame– one of nine apocalyptic weapons, she sparks a war. In a desperate attempt to save her home and her love, Kaliel tries to awaken Avred, not knowing she may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

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Review: Justice (The Ferryman and the Flame, #2) by Rhiannon Paille

Justice (The Ferryman and the Flame, #2)

How far would you go to destroy yourself?

Krishani always knew he would have to go to the Lands of Men, but he never thought it would be like this. Enemies everywhere, an ancestor he can’t respect, elders he can’t trust, a curse he can’t stop and friends he can’t help but hate. Desperate to end the pain, he sets out on a quest to find the other Flames and face the enemy that took everything from him.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

4 out of 5 stars

I started this one right after the first and I must say, I thought it was much, much better than Surrender. Why? I have absolutely no idea. I think it was because this one has less romance (though it is still there in dreams and flashbacks) and is darker and more based around violence and destruction—wait, that sounded wrong…um…how do I put this? It was more about the action. Yes, we’ll go with that one.

The plot:

I really wasn’t sure if I would like the plot because it seemed to me like the story was taking a deviation from answering the questions I had at the end of the first book and I wanted to know if there was a way Kaliel could come back. Nonetheless, once I got over my own idea of where the story should go, I enjoyed it very much and was surprised by the bubbly, happy feeling I had at the end. (Though the happy feeling is tainted by a sickening pit of dread as to what the author will do to torment her characters in the next book.) There were still parts, namely the sex sequences in Krishani’s flashbacks and dreams, that I skipped. I know I mention steamy-scene-skipping a lot, but I’m a comparatively sensitive person on the subject of amorous activity and I feel obligated to mention when I do that for the sake of being honest. Still, I did have fun with this book and I’m looking forward to Vulture which released on June 18!

The characters:

Looking back, Krishani was selfish, whiny, and drowning in a cesspool of self-pity, but while I was reading, I knew he needed to snap out of it, I was just too caught up in his emotions to care. The author does a brilliant job of making the reader empathize with what he’s going through and the general lack of sympathy from the characters around him. I just wanted to hug the poor bloke and I was worried sick for him and still am.

One character I have to mention is Klavotesi. At this point, I have decided not to like him. He seems stiff and self-righteous and while he’s really into justice, he doesn’t seem to be too big on compassion. I can appreciate his reasoning, but like Krishani, I didn’t want to hear what the Obsidian Flame had to say and I really wanted him to shut up.

The other characters were multidimensional, complex, and defined. There’s still clearly a lot of backstory on some of them, particularly the witches and I look forward to reading more about them all in Vulture.

In conclusion, this is a tragic, often tender, action-packed, magic-filled thrill ride and I recommend it to mature readers with a taste for dark fantasy and forbidden romance.

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