Recommended Reads: The Bone Wall by D. Wallace Peach

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The Bone Wall is a great example of the importance of a book’s cover. I’ve been following D Wallace Peach’s blog for a while and while her books sounded intriguing, there was always another books I’d rather read more. Then she decided to have new covers created for her books (you can read the full story here) and The Bone Wall went from intriguing to must read (yes, I really am that shallow).

The Description

Blue light ripples and crackles as the shield walls fracture. The remnants of a doomed civilization stand vigil outside, intent on plunder and slaves, desirous of untainted blood to strengthen their broken lives. With the poisons, came deformities and powers, enhanced senses and the ability to manipulate waves of energy—lightbenders and fire-wielders.

For those who thrived for generations within the walls, the broken world looms, strange and deadly, slowly dying. While the righteous pray for salvation, Rimma prepares for battle, fueled by rage and blinded by vengeance. Her twin, Angel, bound to her by unbreakable magic, seeks light in the darkness, hope in the future, and love in a broken world.

D. Wallace Peach’s fourth novel combines elements of fantasy and science-fiction into a character-driven adventure. The Bone Wall foretells of a dystopian world where a poisoned planet no longer sustains its inhabitants. Who survives when there isn’t enough for all? Who decides?

The Bone Wall begins three hundred years in a post-apocalyptic future. Precisely controlled communities with forgotten histories thrive beneath protective energy fields…until those fields begin to fail. What happens when the facades crumble and the past’s dark truth is unearthed?

Twins Rimma and Angel share this first person tale of a life unraveling and mending. Both are strong female protagonists who chose opposing paths when thrust in the broken and perilous world. The simplistic lines dividing good and evil blur, and beg the question: Can one survive without the other? What is the secret of their lives that even they can’t comprehend?

If grimdark tales of spiraling destruction and redemption crowd your bookshelf, this fantasy adventure desires a place among them.

The Bone Wall contains scenes which some readers might find triggering.

 

The Review

The Bone Wall is a great book, packed full of ideas played out in a unique fantasy setting. Twin sisters Rimma and Angel live in Heaven, an island of order shielded from the broken world around them by God’s will. Or at least, that’s what they were told. But when the shield fails the twins begin a harsh journey where they discover everything they’ve ever known was a lie, about the world and themselves.

In The Bone Wall, D. Wallace Peach has created a riveting story about fractured people in a fractured world. And what a brutal world it is, with different groups fighting amongst themselves to control what meagre resources remain just to survive. At first the story appears to be a simple case of good versus evil, but it soon morphs into something much more complex as the motivations behind each faction are revealed. This twisting of initial expectations is one of the reasons I loved this book. It is excellent fantasy world-building.

We view this all through the eyes of Angel and Rimma, twin sisters less mirror images of each other and more yin and yang, bound by love but very different in character as they become moulded by the world and their experiences within it. The two both fight against and complement each other as their polar personalities help them both flounder and survive as they are thrown from one set of circumstances to another. And then there is the central enigma of the two, how come to most people only one of them is visible at a time?

It’s safe to say this is not a children’s story. The world Wallace Peach has created is tough, almost Darwinian in nature and the author doesn’t flinch from describing it in vivid, often graphic detail. The Bone Wall is to The Hobbit what Lord of the Flies is to Swiss Family Robinson, but in my view the book is all the better for it. It is also a very cleverly written, with many layers of meaning, especially around the central theme of the bone wall itself.

My only complaint is that there were times when the descriptive language was a little too evocative, bordering on flowery. It didn’t put me off the story but I felt it at odds to the stripped down, brutal world portrayed. This is, however, just a matter of personal taste.

Overall D. Wallace Peach should be applauded for creating a great story in a unique world with compelling characters. If you like your fantasy with grit and are looking for something a little different, I highly recommend The Bone Wall.

 

To buy The Bone Wall from Amazon.co.uk click here

To buy The Bone Wall from Amazon.com click here

Recommended reads are either independently published books – or those that are published via a small press – that I have bought and enjoyed. They are part of a commitment to ‘pay it forward’ to other independent authors by buying their work and promoting those that I have enjoyed, both here and on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t accept submissions but instead focus on people who have helped or inspired me through their blogging or who actively support other writers, but I only recommend those books I have personally enjoyed. If you are an independent author I would encourage you to do the same and help pay it forward to the community. For more information please see my blog post here.

Recommended Reads: Beyond the Realm of Night by Jane Dougherty

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Beyond the Realm of Night is the third and final part of the Green Woman trilogy. You can read my views on The Dark Citadel (Book 1) here and the Subtle Fiend (Book 2) here. Needless to say, I enjoyed all three.

The Blurb

At the end was darkness. Now it is time to go back to the beginning and rekindle the light.

Deborah, the daughter of the Green Woman, reaches her journey’s end only to find it has barely started. Escaping Providence was the easy part. Now, as her mother’s strength fails, the burden of the Memory passes to Deborah. The Garden is waking, the Iron Horde is massing, the Queen’s host is gathering. The Fianna have sailed the western ocean and Providence is alight. But evil has put down strong roots in the hearts of the citizens of Providence and Deborah fears she has not the power to tear it out.

If she cannot summon up the green earth magic of the tree, Abaddon and his Iron Horde will trample the new shoots of the Garden. For Abaddon has the power of death with him. The weapons to defeat him are life and love, but Deborah longs to join the shadowlands, and her love is dead.

This is the final volume of The Green Woman series, in which the broken pattern will be mended and the balance of good and evil restored. Or not.

The Review

With Beyond the Realm of Night, Jane Dougherty has created a fitting end to an epic trilogy. Picking up directly from where The Subtle Fiend left off, we follow Deborah as she comes to terms with her role to confront Abaddon and his evil forces and protect the garden, the tree of life, and the future of their world.

But as the two great forces get set for their final confrontation, it is the human stories that take centre stage. Over the course of the previous two books we have been introduced to a host of characters: citizens of providence, members of the Danann, the Fianna; along with Abaddon’s evil minions; and it’s now that all their interactions, their hopes and dreams, get played out.

This breadth of scope and complexity is the book’s, and the trilogy’s, great strength, but it’s also a weakness. With so many plot strands being pulled together, as often happens in these situations I found myself caring less as to what was happening in some of the sub-plots, especially involving the Fianna, which while interesting I felt they didn’t necessarily move the story forward.

That said, this is a minor quibble on what is an otherwise enthralling trilogy. As the book heads towards its denouement, Dougherty expertly draws all these threads together into a satisfying conclusion, without giving in to the temptation of they all live happily ever after. This is especially true for Deborah’s story. While it would have been easy to have transformed Deborah into a one-dimensional beacon of good, Dougherty kept her characterisation as a complex, feisty and sometimes difficult person all the way to the end, and for that she should be applauded. While during the final stages of the book, heroes and villains emerge, the majority of players are neither or both, which is how it should be.

Overall, I would recommend this trilogy to anybody with a love of epic fantasy with substance.

To buy Beyond the Realm of Night from Amazon.co.uk click here

To buy Beyond the Realm of Nigh from Amazon.com click here

Recommended reads are either independently published books – or those that are published via a small press – that I have bought and enjoyed. They are part of a commitment to ‘pay it forward’ to other independent authors by buying their work and promoting those that I have enjoyed, both here and on Amazon and Goodreads. I don’t accept submissions but instead focus on people who have helped or inspired me through their blogging or who actively support other writers, but I only recommend those books I have personally enjoyed. If you are an independent author I would encourage you to do the same and help pay it forward to the community. For more information please see my blog post here.

Recommended Reads: The Dark Citadel by Jane Dougherty

The Dark Citadel

The Blurb

Deborah has a secret
But she doesn’t know what it is.
The Protector does
And so does Abaddon.
Both of them want her destroyed.

A wild boy and a pack of wolfdog pups are all that stand between Deborah and destruction.
But Jonah and Deborah have forged a weapon that even the demon fears.
Love.

Between them, the pariah girl and the dog boy will change the world. Or die in the attempt.

 

If there is one genre I’ve so far avoided reading by self-published authors it’s fantasy. Not because I dislike fantasy, quite the opposite. I really love fantasy, and that was my problem. I was worried any books I chose would be derivative and not bring anything new to the genre. I should have known better.

In the Dark Citadel, Jane Dougherty has created a vividly layered, cruel fantasy world where the city of Providence acts as the last refuge of humanity against the demonic armies of evil. Yet even Providence has succumbed to the all pervasive corruption, where the heavily structured society where love and affection are suppressed by the rigid laws and a twisted, oppressive religion.

Out of this gloom we follow Deborah, a young orphan shunned by others because of her parents, who rebels against the fate mapped out for her. As she gets further into trouble, Deborah starts to learn more about her history, and the true history of her people. She decides to escape Providence and find her mother, a direct descendent of Eve, to change the world for the better.

I loved this book. Dougherty’s world may be bleak, but she has balanced the hope and despair with great skill to ensure the threat of disaster is always there but never overwhelming. Her multi-layered society is terrifyingly believable, especially the way the authorities use their twisted doctrine to ensure the population oppress themselves, and in Deborah she has created a wonderfully spiky, independent protagonist you cannot help but want to succeed – a great example of a strong, female lead.

If you enjoy you are looking to escape into a well-written, unique dark fantasy, you would be hard pushed to find a better book than this. I cannot wait to read the next two books in the series. Highly Recommended.

To buy The Dark Citadel from Amazon.com click here

To buy The Dark Citadel from Amazon.co.uk click here