I’ll never forget her voice. Deep, throaty, with a strong Slavic accent. She read to us of Mr. Tumnus, Lucy, the Beavers, Jadis. From her, I learned to love the world of Narnia. From her, I learned to see the symbolism of the Lion of Judah in the mighty, fierce, loving Aslan.
Mrs. Elkins. My second-grade teacher. My hero.
I’m not sure I would ever have loved fantasy if I hadn’t been introduced to it at just the right age, with someone so kind and loving leading the way. After The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I didn’t touch another fantasy book for years.
I didn’t need to, actually.
But once I did, I discovered two different kinds. There are “high” fantasy and “realistic” fantasy… and the occasional blend. I tended toward a blend or the “realistic” kinds. Tolkien? Yeah… I tried. I really tried.
Please excuse me a moment as I hang my head in shame.
Fast-forward about thirty years, and someone bragged about attacking a Barnes & Noble employee for inviting her to participate in a launch day party for the Harry Potter books. I was ashamed for her. The kid was just doing her job, and this woman made Christians everywhere look like jerks.
So, I went out and bought the first book—having no intention of reading it. I wasn’t interested. It just made me feel better to give that author the money, despite the book content. I’d been told it was about kids who go to a school to learn witchcraft. That’s not something I’m okay with.
But then a sick day came, and with nothing else I hadn’t already read a dozen times, I pulled it off the shelf.
I read it.
And it wasn’t about kids going to a school to learn witchcraft. In fact, it wasn’t what I’d been told at all. Instead, as I plowed through the series, I saw a whole lot of Christian symbolism in the book, and I understood why a Wiccan I knew hated it—thought it was offensive to people who celebrate and practice witchcraft.
That did it. It resparked my love for fantasy. I read Narnia all over again—every last one of them. The Squire’s Tales—retellings of Arthurian legends by a Baptist pastor in Wisconsin. You can read my review HERE.
Then came The Ranger’s Apprentice series. I loved it. Devoured all of them (although, I didn’t care for the Skandia book). Once more, I tried Tolkien. Sigh. Not there yet, but I’m determined to love it someday.
And then I had the chance to request a review copy of another fantasy series—one that someone equated to Narnia. How could I resist? I requested it lickety-splickety. And…
Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Additionally, I requested a review copy and below is my opinion
Dragons? Good? Evil? Magic? What Doesn’t This Series Offer?
Well, this isn’t a boring book. It’s not full of weak characters or simplistic nonsense. It doesn’t offer hours of mind-numbing not-so-entertainment.
So, if you were looking for something to lull you into a stupor, you might want to keep looking. I recommend How Green Was My Valley… except you might end up depressed. I sure was. So, maybe go for Moby Dick. Or, if you’re not afraid to rock boats… The Lord of the Rings trilogy… *whistles*
Full of adventure, intrigue, battles of good vs. evil, The Winter Series offers an exciting, engaging read. Dance of Shadows, the second book in the series, begins with an assassination. For me, this was confusing, because I hadn’t read the first book.
Make no mistake. I will be reading it now. And I’ll be rereading this one so I can fully appreciate all that I didn’t get the first go-round.
Brutal honesty time. I found myself skimming parts. That was not the book’s fault. Again, you really need to read this series in order. Still, even with that, I hated to put it down at the end, and I did go shelve the first book, Winter Queen, right away.
‘Cause I’ve gotta know what’s going on here.
Written with powerful description, strong characterization, and a plot and a world that keep you engaged even when you’re lost, is it any wonder that I decided to give a book that I still don’t quite “get” a full five stars?
I love this world. Erica Marie Hogan gave me everything I could hope for in good fantasy. The least I can do is give her everything a good reader should—my full attention.
Yeah. You’ve got just about everything any book could give you—except bad writing, a boring plot, and flat characters. I don’t think the author knows how to do that stuff. Thank, goodness.
I look forward to more from her.