Threadbare by Bethany A. Jennings
Threadbare is a short story about a young woman who has lost control of her powers. In this magical world, powers work like threads. After a fight, Bess’s threads are tangled. She faces the choice of being strangled by them or having them severed. Unable to fend for herself, she faces a life without magic, and puts her team in danger.
I loved the world building of this story. It was immersive, unique, and fun. I’m ready for a full length novel. Bethany wonderfully handled dropping us into this world for a short time without losing us with threads, waves, Sinkholes, and Drifters. I never felt confused or turned around. In fact, I just wanted more.
Bethany kept the pace moving forward at a run with a magical battle used to show us the depth of pain Bess felt at the choice she is forced to make. The ending brought hope and light to the story. This is where I longed for a full length novel the most. I wanted to taste everything a little longer before resolution. This is the hard part of a short story for the reader. I didn’t want it to be short.
If you want a quick adventure to read during a lunch break or while standing in line, this is well worth your money.
The Genesis Tree by Heather L. L. FitzGerald
After being on this journey with the Larcen family for several years now, it’s hard to believe it’s over. I read…devoured really…this story in a few short hours spread over two days. It didn’t let up. Gone were the childish elements. They’d been buffed away by the storms of life. Only strength remained behind.
With their return home from a second adventure into the Tethered World involving Trolls and Gargoyles and the threat of exposure, you might expect the Larcen’s to get some well-deserved down time. Wrong. Evil thwarted isn’t evil stamped out. The threat of exposure still looms over them, but now with a modern twist. It takes all of Sadie and Brady to withstand the death throes of their enemies.
There are two things I loved about this book. One I can talk about in more detail than the other. Spoilers, you know.
The first is Sadie. When this Chronicle started, I didn’t really connect with Sadie. She didn’t want to visit a magical world and have adventures. She just wanted to go home and be a normal teenager. She was everything I wasn’t. I connected with Sophie. Now there was a girl who appreciated riding dragons and meeting dwarves and gnomes. But Sadie is the main character, so this is Sadie’s story. I suffered her complaints and still enjoyed the story.
By book 3, Sadie has been tried and tested in the deepest of ways. She has faced lies, monsters, torture and betrayal. She has seen those she loved hurt and even killed. Adventure has taken on a decidedly harsh tone. Sadie has been tempered. In Book 3, we walk with a Sadie who is strong. I loved it. She’s not an Amazon woman by any means, but she has had the dross boiled away and found her faith solid. Sadie is ready to fight for the world she didn’t even want to visit a few months ago.
I really enjoyed the growth Sadie endured. She has gone from my least favorite character, to my favorite.
The second thing I loved about this book was a few difficult decisions the author made. This is a family friendly fantasy that tends to favor those who don’t enjoy fantasy. It’s a gateway fantasy. If you’re someone who hasn’t ever gotten into Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter, or any fantasy, this is the one for you. Heather never loses this element of her stories. But, in the Genesis Tree, she weaves in the cost of war in a way that kicks the reader in the gut. She takes this story out of the gateway realm for a time and gives it the heart of deep fantasy. I loved that.
I also found that the lack of epic battles worked well in this book. She worked out the details of betrayal and exposure without taking it into a mythical clash between Trolls and Gnomes, Gargoyles and Nephilim. At the end of Book 2, The Flaming Sword, I found that to be a letdown. At the end of the Genesis Tree, it felt right. Small events diffused mass battle.
The Tethered World Chronicles is now complete. Sadie is ready to join her family in their unique responsibilities. As a reader, I was satisfied. This is a wonderful series to share with your family. Children of all ages will enjoy it. It is clean but not safe. A hard balance to strike, but Heather does masterfully.
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