The Book of the Dun Cow and The Flaming Sword

The Book of  Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin Jr.
I was recently gifted with The Book of Dun Cow by Emily Shiflet with the promise that it would probably end up in my Favorite Books list. That’s quite a promise, but not a vain one.

The Book of the Dun Cow is a beast fable written in a style that is a bit more telling than showing at times and strongly steeped in myth and Christianity. It has some of the most beautiful prose that I have ever read, some wonderful characters, a heart wrenching plot, and so many truths woven skillfully into a gripping story.

This is a book you savor. You could devour it in a few hours, but it’s so beautiful, you want to take a bite or two and then wait, letting those digest fully, before you take another bite.

The weird part about this book is its intensity. I have struggled with where to put it. It’s considered a YA book, but there is some language, a gruesome scene with the villain, and a depth that only gets deeper with age and re-reading. It reminds me a lot of Watership Down in that way. Yes, it’s a story about animals, but no, it’s not for little kids. It’s for older kids. It’s like Lord of the Rings. We often read it to high schoolers, but it’s really for adults…or it grows as we grow requiring a re-reading.

I would have loved this at 14 or so, but I don’t know that I would have grasped all the different layers of humanity and truth at that time. It is truly a book for all ages and one that should be revisited regularly.

Rated: PG-13: intensity, war, language (mild), adult situations (very well written, just sad and to an adult, a bit disturbing)

The Flaming Sword, Book Two of the Tethered World Chronicles by Heather L. L. FitzGerald

The long anticipated sequel to the Tethered World is about to make its appearance. If you loved going on an adventure with Sadie, Sophie, Brady and Brock to the Tethered World to rescue their parents, you won’t be disappointed when they return.

Filled with political intrigue, factions, unexpected enemies, a coming war, and the Larcen family again in danger, Book 2 ratchets up the action and builds towards book 3.

I loved watching Sadie’s character grow as she was tried and tested in some terrifying ways. For fear of spoilers, I won’t talk about my favorite moments with her, but they were many. Her dealings with her dad, the trolls, a nasty villain or two, and her Aunt Jules gave her plenty of opportunities to practice being brave. I was glad to see her rise to the occasion while relying on truth and the love of her family. I enjoyed having parts of the story told from Brady’s perspective. They helped balance out Sadie’s reluctance to adventure and showed Brady growing from boy to man. Heather skillfully jumped from one to the other giving us a very fleshed out story.

There were a few moments I expected the punch to be pulled and it wasn’t. I’m thankful for that…I can’t say more. Spoilers. ☺ Go get the book!

This series is excellent for introducing your family to fantasy. It allows the reader to meet creatures of myth without feeling like they’re trying to learn a whole new language, and with Sadie as the main character, those more reluctant to jump into an adventure are represented. Heather FitzGerald wanted to write a family-safe story that honored home-schoolers, the autistic, and Christianity. She’s done all that with loads of fun heaped on top.

While I missed Sophie’s unflappable courage, I think her being sidelined gave Sadie a chance to find her own courage when faced with ultimate and horrible choises.The slightly anticlimactic ending drove me to look excitedly towards Book 3. I can’t wait to get my hands on the last book of the Tethered World Chronicles.

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy of this book and am giving it an honest review.

Rated PG: intensity and war

Pre-order for $2.99: coming Nov 1!!!

The Tethered World by Heather FitzGerald

(I received an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.)
This book was an absolute delight to read. It has a little bit of everything: adventure, battles, political intrigue, betrayal, friendships, danger, legendary creatures, dragons, fairies, gnomes and so much more!
I loved that it centers around an eccentric home school family, and, no, not a denim skirt wearing family, just a normal home school family. (NO offense if you wear jean skirts.) The Larcens are fun, relatable, and just a little crazy.
Describing this book is hard because it has so many elements that would normally turn me off from a book: it’s safe, it’s Christian fantasy, it’s safe. LOL. I don’t need to put any sort of warning on it. There is no language. The kids are smart and not rebellious. The romance is sweet, mild, and not acted upon by either party. It has a family that trust the Lord and loves each other. There is nothing here that isn’t good and wholesome. Most books that I can say this about are also boring, badly written, preachy, and trite.
Not The Tethered World.

Map of the Tethered World.(Supplied by H. FitzGerald.)


When their parents disappear, the Larcen children have their lives turned upside down and the adventure begins.
The mythological creatures are handled perfectly: just different enough to be interesting and just familiar enough to tie them to other stories. The struggles faced by Sadie as she tackles a world she only wants to leave are real and relatable without being annoying. Sophie is my heart and I love her to death. She spends most of the adventure trying not to have too much fun. Brady grows into a man by fighting and sacrificing himself, and Brock finds his place. (Brock’s story is one of the great joys of this book.)
If you have a kid, boy or girl, who loved Narnia this is the next book for them. It’s written very much with Lewis’ world in mind and has much of the same feel. Danger and struggles are there, but not so detailed or dark that they overwhelm the story.
This is a great book to read to introduce the wide world of fantasy to adults and children alike.
So, I say this story is safe in the same way I would say The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is safe. It has moments of great darkness, but also great joy. It has moments that made me chuckle and laugh while I read, and moments that brought me to tears.
If you are tired of YA books that seem to have far more Adult and not enough Young, if you want a story about kids who aren’t so worried about boyfriends and girlfriends, but about taking care of their family, if you want faith that isn’t preachy, and if you want good fun adventure, check out The Tethered World.
On a personal note, I’ve worked with Heather for a couple years now on her writing and her on mine. She was one of the earliest members of the Manet Writing Group that I founded and a dear friend. The praise I’ve given her book isn’t something I take lightly and isn’t given because I actually know her. Her writing is wonderful and her world is magical. I plan on giving her book as a gift to my nieces this month and can’t wait to talk to them about it.
Join us for a FB Launch Party for the release of The Tethered World this evening! There will be some awesome door prizes given away including a Kindle and gift cards to Starbucks and Amazon. If you join us, make sure you say I sent you! 🙂
(If you follow the link above it will take you to Amazon where you can purchase The Tethered World which will give me a small kick-back. Thank you in advance!)


Heather L.L. FitzGerald lives in Texas with four someones that call her mom and one special someone that calls her his wife. She homeschooled her children–one of whom is autistic–and teaches ballet at a fine arts school in Forth Worth. Heather is a member of the North Texas Christian Writers, and helps to facilitate the Manet writer’s group in Fort Worth, Texas. She loves drinking ice lattes, cloud watching, and getting lost in a good book.


You can connect with Heather on her website/blogFacebook, Pinterest: (Belongs to her main character, Sadie), Character blog: (Sadie’s mom has a blog about legendary creatures.), Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads.