New Series Coming! The Runners of Abra

I am so excited to announce that I have signed on with Crimson Pulse Media to author a serial story in 2017! THE RUNNERS OF ABRA will debut on January 7th on BrockEastman.com!

THE RUNNERS OF ABRA:

When Eric was only thirteen, he was taken from his family and the peaceful rice fields on the island of Jedros to become a Runner. Roaming the five islands of Abra, Runners are tasked with jobs — jobs they must see to the end. Either finish the job or die.

And then a mysterious benefactor arrives with a bag of gold and Eric’s first job: find the girl spotted somewhere in the northern islands responding only to the name Bella. Simple enough. But this job is not what anyone thought. Others are searching for the girl. Others who will kill to keep Bella a secret.

But Bella has her own secret to keep. And if it gets out, the very fabric of the known world will change forever.

Join the launch party on Facebook!

Happy reading!

-Shaun

BOOK REVIEW: Death Weavers by Brandon Mull

A year was a long time to wait for Five Kingdoms: Book 4: Death Weavers, but, a year wait does not disappoint when it comes to Brandon Mull. Mull’s signature high stakes fantasy adventure fills the pages of this next installment, and definitely leaves a few surprises for the very end that had me gasping at the last pages.

Cole and his friends have been through three of the five kingdoms in the Outskirts: Sambria, Elloweer, and the futuristic kingdom of Zeropolis. And now, they have finally ventured over into Necronum, the land of the dead. Apparitions appear frequently with slippery deals and valuable information. Hunters lick up their trail. And a mysterious fiery horse named the Mare has been sighted roaming the vast lands. When Cole’s friends fall prey to an evil entity, Cole must travel to the land inbetween the Outskirts and death and try to rescue his friends before they are separated from him for good this time.

Death Weavers felt very different from Mull’s other books, but also very similar in some ways. At this point, we have arrived at a bit of a formula for these Five Kingdoms books: find a princess, rescue the princess, and reunite her with her run-amuck power. While that structure is truly at the heart of this fourth book, there are also some other pieces at play. We finally discover more information about some of the evils lurking throughout the Outskirts, and we also learn more about what exactly has happened to bring Cole to these kingdoms. As usual, Mull is quite innovative when it comes to twisting up the typical fantasy tropes and make them into his own creations, giving us some of the most unique places in the five kingdoms yet.

However, Cole continues to remain something of a flat character. This is something I noted from previous installments in the series, and it is definitely true here. Cole has a bit of a character arc, but he feels much more typical than Seth and Kendra from Fablehaven or even Jason from Beyonders. There is something about Cole that seems to keep him stunted in character growth. Is the story still entertaining? Yes. Is it a page-turner? Oh yes. Is Cole someone worth rooting for? Sure…?

Fans of the previous books will love Death Weavers. Newcomers will definitely feel lost entering the series here, and it is really best to go back to Sky Raiders and start from there. Mull has set up some great conflicts for the last book in the series coming in another year, and it will be interesting to see how he ends up wrapping things up.

You can purchase this book on Amazon.com.

BOOK REVIEW: Isle of Stars by Wayne Thomas Batson

When I first heard Wayne Thomas Batson would be returning to the world of pirates, I was beside myself with excitement. Isle of Swords and Isle of Fire were two of my favorites when they first came out back in 2007 and 2008, respectively. So to hear that another installment in what was truly an incredible series of books would be arriving soon was enough to get me itching to return to a world of pirates, swordplay, and adventure. And Batson definitely does not disappoint here.

To begin with, Isle of Stars is a shorter story than the first two books in what is now known as The Isle Chronicles. The story is smaller is scope than the previous two, and the characterization is much more subdued than before. Also, Batson weaves in characters from his Dreamtreaders series, and readers unfamiliar with those books may be lost at the beginning of the book. Also, the plot device to bring in those characters from Dreamtreaders is a little forced, which may turn some readers off.

The story this time circles around Cat and Anne, who are going to be getting married soon — hopefully by Christmas, but no guarantees what with pirates about — when word arrives that the nefarious pirate, Captain Tobias Dredd has surfaced and is looking for the legendary Isle of Stars, an island that has never been desecrated by human sin. When Dredd kidnaps young Hopper, it is up to the crew of Captain Declain Ross’ ship to rescue him and stop Dredd from reaching the starlit isle before it’s too late.

Isle of Stars moves very quickly, and returns the reader to the world of the Batson’s pirates in a way that left me wanting much, much more. I was aching by the last page for another full novel set in this world, and time will tell if Batson plans to return here later. There is some violence here as well that does come across a bit shocking when it arrives, but it fits the world created here.The climax of the book does come rather quickly as well, and I had to stop and take stock of where things were at a couple of times to make sure I was still following the storyline.

All said, Isle of Stars is a very welcome addition to The Isle Chronicles, and I deeply hope Batson continues to put out more of these kinds of adventure stories. Here’s to hoping.

You can purchase this book on Amazon.com.