Tuesday, July 23, 2013

INDIE BOOK REVIEW: 'The Dusk Gate Chronicles' are magic for fantasy fans



Finding something new in fantasy that is not only entertaining but endearing is pretty hard these days.

The truth is, just about everything in the fantasy realm has been done before.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t take an old idea, tweak it and create new magic.

That’s exactly what Breeana Putroff has done with ‘The Dusk Gate Chronicles.’

I usually read one book in a series and then post a review. I happened to read the first book in this series when I was on vacation, though, and then I polished off four more books and one novella in about four days time.

That’s how much I loved this series.

The first book, ‘Seeds of Discovery,’ introduces us to teenager Quinn Robbins. Quinn is driving her younger sister Annie home on treacherous roads when she happens across an accident – and the town loner – William -- trying to help an injured individual at the scene.

In short order, Quinn becomes obsessed with finding out why William was on the dark road alone at night. She starts following him – but what she finds changes her world forever.

You see, William is from another world. It’s a world filled with castles and kings, where things like
cell phones don’t work. While William is from this world, he travels to Quinn’s world to learn as much as he can to help his home realm with new medical techniques. Then he returns to his own world as often as he can.

How does he get there? At dusk, you see, there is a gate between the two worlds that opens briefly. Once you go through the gate, though, you’re stuck in William’s world for 10 days. Essentially time moves differently in the two worlds – it’s a long story.

Anyway, Quinn is now stuck in Eirentheos for 10 days – with no way to contact her family and a lot to learn.

There are four books in the original series, including ‘Seeds of Discovery,’ ‘Roots of Insight,’ ‘Thorns of Decision’ and ‘Blooms of Consequence.’ Then there’s a short novella called ‘A Christmas Rose,’ followed by ‘Canes of Divergence.’

I’m not going to go into each book separately, mostly because it would take too long,  but the central mythology of ‘The Dusk Gate Chronicles’ not only grows with each book, it also enriches earlier storylines as the reader learns more and more about Eirentheos, Quinn and the central Rose family.

Suffice it to say, Quinn has ties to Eirentheos that span generations – and she didn’t stumble upon the world completely by accident.

Quinn’s ties to her own world are threatened by the love she starts to feel for this new world. She struggles with finding happiness in either -- since any choice she makes will cause her to lose something.

‘The Dusk Gate Chronicles’ has the usual horses and swords, but its greatest accomplishment is in the family itself. These are people you would want to meet. In other words, when they fall in love, you fall in love and when their hearts are broken, so is your heart.

I’m not going to pretend the series is perfect. I think the biggest problem with them is the titles of the books themselves. I think the author was trying to liken them to ‘Game of Thrones’ – but the problem is, a lot of the titles don’t make any sense. Take ‘Canes of Divergence,’ for example. When you break it down, it means sticks that go different ways. How is that supposed to suck people in?

This is an indie, but for the most part, the typos are pretty sparse. There are some there, so if you’re a grammar junkie that gets your thrills from finding typos in indie books you should probably steer clear of this series.

Also, the price points of the books are all over the place. The first book is free – which is great for
suckering fans in. Then the second book is .99. The third book then jumps to $3.99 and the fourth and sixth books are $4.99 each. The Christmas novella book is $2.99.

It’s not my place to stay, but I honestly think the author would make more sales in this extraordinary series if she adjusted the price points of the later books down to $2.99. I had no problem paying the higher prices – but I know a lot of people that won’t spend more than $2.99 on an ebook – and I would hate for people to miss out on this world in its entirety because of the price. On a side note, the novella is way over-priced – I’m not going to lie.

Still, the characters are all richly drawn and – even if I’m a bit creeped out by the message that its okay for teenagers to get married and pregnant at age 16 in the later books – the overall heart of this series is one that shouldn’t be missed by fantasy genre fans.

‘Seeds of Discovery’ is currently free on Amazon. ‘Roots of Insight’ is .99. ‘Thorns of Decision’ is $3.99. ‘Blooms of Consequence’ is $4.99. ‘A Christmas Rose’ is $2.99. ‘Canes of Divergence’ is $4.99.

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