My Take: Team Urban or Team Epic?

 

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Hi all,

Today is the final day of Entangled Teen’s Team Urban vs. Team Epic Fantasy Promotion, and in honor of the conversations of this week, I would like to elaborate on a statement.

Earlier this week, I clearly declared what side I was on. Now I’m going to tell you why.

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I have always loved fantasy novels of any kind. A popular theme here on the blog is that I like weird stuff. I like to read it, I like to watch it, I like to write it. So I enjoy most stories in which something out of the ordinary occurs. Fantasy was a natural interest for a person like me.

There is nothing wrong with epic fantasy. There is a beauty to the pure inventiveness, the creations of entirely new worlds, languages, people. For the early part of my childhood, I was raised on fairy tales, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien. My father even had a Tolkien calendar. My favorite video game was The Legend of Zelda, and if that isn’t an epic fantasy loving gamer’s dream, no game is.

But at some point, things shifted. As I grew up, I became exposed to television series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it touched me in a way no other series, or anything else for that matter, ever had. I was absorbed, completely moved. I fell in love with these characters, saw myself in them, saw myself in their weekly trials. I tried to decide which one I was more like. It didn’t matter if they were dealing with real life troubles, the monster of the week or some deep seated evil that spanned seasons. They felt more real to me.

The reason for that is that they were grounded in my reality. I could see myself going to school and having to deal with my principal as I snuck out to fight a demon. I could see myself sacrificing my social life to devote my life to something bigger. And somehow, those metaphors for life that were present in every fantasy novel struck a chord within me. Suddenly, I saw the challenges in my world as monsters to be defeated, the lessons to be learned as my spell book.

And ever since then, I found myself leaning towards Urban Fantasy, because if Buffy was a book, that’s exactly what it would be. I still love Epic Fantasy, but not with the ferocity with which I devour stories about real people dealing with their supernatural problems in concert with real world troubles. Killing monsters while dodging police. Hiding magical abilities from their parents. Having nobody believe them about who they are. Coming to terms with the strange in such a normal society.

I’d take a thousand magical societies hidden in plain sight over a dragon flying over head any day.


Thank you for hanging out with me for Entangled Teen’s Team Urban vs. Team Epic Promotional Event! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway and check out all of the books we discussed this week!

I’ll be back next week to discuss the difference between outlining a short story and a novel. See you then!

 

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Entangled Teen Presents: Why I love Epic Fantasy!

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Today, we’re continuing Urban vs. Epic Fantasy Week with Entangled Teen’s Epic Fantasy Authors discussing why they love their genre.

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Erica Cameron – Island of Exiles (The Ryogan Chronicles, #1):

Why do I love epic fantasy? It’s a blank slate. We can erase all of our preconceived notions of society and law and even science, throwing all of that over the side of a cliff. Epic fantasy lets us push humanity well past the breaking point with ever more impossible landscapes and situations. It lets us see what we could be if only we let ourselves get there. Plus, epic fantasy is, well, epic!

Book Description:

9781633755963-1In Khya’s world, every breath is a battle. On the isolated desert island of Shiara, dying young is inevitable. The clan comes before self, and protecting her home means Khya is a warrior above all else.

But when following the clan and obeying their leaders could cost her brother his life, Khya’s home becomes a deadly trap. The only person who can help is Tessen, her lifelong rival and the boy who challenges her at every turn. The council she hoped to join has betrayed her, and their secrets, hundreds of years deep, reach around a world she’s never seen.

To save her brother’s life and her island home, her only choice is to trust Tessen, turn against her clan, and go on the run—a betrayal and a death sentence.

 

Buy Island of Exiles

Amber Mitchell – Garden of Thorns:

When I read and write, it’s because I want to escape and nothing gets you farther from your troubles than the distant shores of entirely new worlds. Epic fantasy invites you onto its tropical beaches, into its lush jungles and through its exotic cityscapes, shaking out its uncharted map for you to explore. Every page brims with fantastic characters questing, battling men and extraordinary beasts alike with magic flowing from nimble fingertips and daring sword fights. The allure of entirely new cultures, the epic stakes, swoon-worthy romances, and the flowing dresses of epic fantasy will always have my heart.

Book Description:

9781633758483After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. But the hostage she randomly chose from the crowd to aid her isn’t one of the emperor’s men—not anymore. He’s the former heir to the throne, who is now leading a rebellion against it.

Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic, the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. But he assumes Rose’s attempt to take him hostage is part of a plot to crush the rebellion, so he takes her as his hostage. Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, and she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she’ll tell him all the Garden’s secrets.

Except the one secret she’s kept for seven years that she’ll to take to her grave if she must.

Buy Garden of Thorns

L.E. Sterling – True North (True Born, #2):

Don’t get me wrong — #TeamUrban is great. I love time jumpers and magicians running around a book. They make you blink and question what you saw. But I prefer life in a funhouse mirror. Give me a goblin market. Give me a warrior queen with immortal blood. I want the snow queen’s glass shard to be embedded in my eye. I want to completely escape the bounds of reality — not be shackled by them. I don’t want to just question my perceptions — I want to know I’m not in Kansas any longer.

Book Description:

les_truenorth_final500Abandoned by her family in Plague-ridden Dominion City, eighteen-year-old Lucy Fox has no choice but to rely upon the kindness of the True Borns, a renegade group of genetically enhanced humans, to save her twin sister, Margot. But Nolan Storm, their mysterious leader, has his own agenda. When Storm backtracks on his promise to rescue Margot, Lucy takes her fate into her own hands and sets off for Russia with her True Born bodyguard and maybe-something-more, the lethal yet beautiful Jared Price. In Russia, there’s been whispered rumors of Plague Cure.

While Lucy fights her magnetic attraction to Jared, anxious that his loyalty to Storm will hurt her chances of finding her sister, they quickly discover that not all is as it appears…and discovering the secrets contained in the Fox sisters’ blood before they wind up dead is just the beginning.

As they say in Dominion, sometimes it’s not you…it’s your DNA.

Buy True North

Nicole Luiken – In Truth & Ashes (Otherselves, #3):

First for the endlessly inventive magic. Second for the fascinating new worlds to explore. Third for the fantastic creatures that dwell there: dragons, gargoyles, demi-gods and phoenixes are just a few of the ones I’ve used.

Epic fantasy gives a writer a bigger canvas to paint. Instead of a city, a country or even worlds. Wars. Heroes. Villains. Destinies. Everything is bigger is epic fantasy. The stakes are higher, instead of a single group, the fate of a world can hang in the balance.

Book Description:

9781633755451-1The Mirror Worlds are but dull reflections of the True World, where magic and technology blend together…

On the True World, Belinda Loring has known from childhood that she must Bond with the son of another noble First Family. Uniting the families ensures hers will hold onto its powerful position, and so she’s always pushed down the tender feelings she has for her best friend—gorgeous, steadfast Demian, who isn’t noble.

But when the ceremonial magic goes disastrously wrong, Belinda becomes a national disgrace. Scorned as Broken, she turns to Demian for help getting revenge on the man who ruined her: the radical Malachi.

But the seeds of Malachi’s murderous plans lie buried in Belinda’s past, in the dark days of her kidnapping—a period of which she has no memory. And Demian may hold the key to recovering all that she’s lost—and saving the worlds.

Buy In Truth & Ashes

Renee Collins – Relic:

Book Description:

9781622660155-1After a raging fire consumes her town and kills her parents, Maggie Davis is on her own to protect her younger sister and survive best she can in the Colorado town of Burning Mesa. In Maggie’s world, the bones of long-extinct magical creatures such as dragons and sirens are mined and traded for their residual magical elements, and harnessing these relics’ powers allows the user to wield fire, turn invisible, or heal even the worst of injuries.

Working in a local saloon, Maggie befriends the spirited showgirl Adelaide and falls for the roguish cowboy Landon. But when she proves to have a particular skill at harnessing the relics’ powers, Maggie is whisked away to the glamorous hacienda of Álvar Castilla, the wealthy young relic baron who runs Burning Mesa. Though his intentions aren’t always clear, Álvar trains Maggie in the world of relic magic. But when the mysterious fires reappear in their neighboring towns, Maggie must discover who is channeling relic magic for evil before it’s too late.

Relic is a thrilling adventure set in a wholly unique world, and a spell-binding story of love, trust, and the power of good.

Buy Relic

Rebekah L. Purdy – The Summer Marked (The Winter People, #2):

Epic Fantasy is an escape from the “real world” and takes you to other lands, places you can only dream of, which is why I love it so much.  And there’s so much more opportunity to really explore new creatures and characters within these worlds. I mean, who doesn’t like the idea of stepping through a closet and finding a cool fantasy world? LOL.

I’m also a big fan of the epic battles (think Lord of the Rings or Throne of Glass). Girl with a sword=Awesome.

Book Description:

9781633750098Fresh off a break-up with her boyfriend, Kadie’s glad to be home from college for Thanksgiving. All she needs is a rebound guy, a box of chocolates, and some girl time with her best friend, Salome. Problem is, Salome isn’t returning her calls, and her family won’t say where she is. Feeling sorry for herself, Kadie ends up at Club Blade, a place filled with pumping music, dangerous guys, and promises of a good time. However, when midnight strikes, Kadie’s fun turns into a nightmare as she’s ripped from the human world into Faerie by a vengeful Winter Prince named Etienne. For the first time in her life, she realizes the monsters Salome always spoke of are real, and they’ll stop at nothing to destroy her friend.

Salome thought the winter curse was behind her. But winter has left its mark. Not just on her, but on the whole summer court. The Kingdom of Summer is falling apart, and Nevin is hanging onto his throne by a thread. With war on his doorstep, he has no choice but to send Gareth into enemy territory, which means Salome will be left alone—vulnerable in a world she doesn’t understand. A place where beauty is deadly and humans are pawns in the macabre games the Fae play. Both Kadie and Salome will have to call on all their strength to survive in a world where humans aren’t meant to be. With death and enemies all around them, it’ll be a miracle if they can survive.

Buy The Summer Marked

Chloe Jacobs – Greta and the Goblin King (Mylena Chronicles, #1):

Book Description:

9781620610039While trying to save her brother from a witch’s fire four years ago, Greta was thrown in herself, falling through a portal to Mylena, a dangerous world where humans are the enemy and every ogre, ghoul, and goblin has a dark side that comes out with the eclipse.

To survive, Greta has hidden her humanity and taken the job of bounty hunter—and she’s good at what she does. So good, she’s caught the attention of Mylena’s young goblin king, the darkly enticing Isaac, who invades her dreams and undermines her will to escape.

But Greta’s not the only one looking to get out of Mylena. An ancient evil knows she’s the key to opening the portal, and with the next eclipse mere days away, every bloodthirsty creature in the realm is after her—including Isaac. If Greta fails, she and the lost boys of Mylena will die. If she succeeds, no world will be safe from what follows her back…

Buy Greta and the Goblin King


That’s all for today! Come visit tomorrow when I talk about my own personal choice and share a little bit of why I favor it.

Entangled Teen Presents: Urban vs. Epic Fantasy Week!

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In my continuing effort to talk all about YA literature and the fantasy genre as well as introduce you to new authors and books here on the blog, I am participating in Entangled Teen’s Urban vs. Epic Week! 

The Urban vs. Epic Fantasy Week is a chance for readers – like me and you – and Entangled Teen authors to make their allegiances to either urban or epic fantasy known. You may have kept your preferences a secret until now, but now it’s time to confirm your #TeamUrban or #TeamEpic tendencies loud and clear over the course of the week. You bet I will.

Here’s what we’ll be doing over the course of the next few days.

Urban vs. Epic Fantasy Week Schedule: 

  • Tuesday, February 28th: Team Urban vs. Team Epic Fantasy Twitter Chat @ 9-10 pm EST
  • Wednesday Mar. 1st: Bloggers post a feature with authors who ascribe to #TeamUrban
  • Thursday, Mar. 2nd: Bloggers post a feature with authors on #TeamEpic
  • Friday, Mar. 3rd: Bloggers and authors can write / share related posts, including: why they’re Team Urban or Team Epic, their Top 5/10 Fave Urban or Epic Fantasy Reads, and/or the Top 5 Reasons They Loved _____ (an urban or epic fantasy read).

Wednesday-Friday’s events will be taking place on my blog as well as many others!

Enter the Giveaway hosted by Entangled:

As for me, I’m pretty sure you know where I land…

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See you for the rest of this week!

Author Spotlight: Aaron-Michael Hall

Today, I would like to introduce you to fellow Fantasy author, Aaron-Michael Hall. The first two books of his trilogy, “The Rise of Nazil”, have already been released, and the third and final book will be available in July. Aaron-Michael is here to tell us about the “Rise of Nazil” series, and a little bit about himself. Enjoy!


Released The Rise of Nazil, Book 1

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It was the 75th year of Alberoth when the AsZar summoned the Guardians. There was an imbalance in the lands of Faélondul. The Zaxson, Draizeyn Vereux covered the lands in a pall of darkness. There was a plan to exterminate the infestation in Nazil, a plan to eradicate the humans.

Led by the priestly cast called the Cha, the Xenophobic Nazilians dominating Faélondul justified their brutalities against the humans. But when the First Chosen of the elite guard discovers Brahanu Ravenot lost near the gates of the city, not only his life but also his entire system of beliefs is forever changed. With all the darkness covering the lands, can love—forbidden, yet eternal—save both humans and Nazilians?

The Rise of Nazil is an adult fantasy novel that takes your breath away. Intricate plotting, intense passion, exciting battles, and complex, challenging characters pull the reader into the mythical world of Faélondul, where powerful ethereal beings wrestle for domination against the brutal Nazilian rulers.


Book Trailer


Released: Seed of Scorn, Book 2 of the “Rise of Nazil” series:

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With The Rise of Nazil and the defeat of the Vereuxs, the lands of Faélondul were freed. Pentanimir Benoist now stands as Zaxson—the most powerful man in the lands. The love he held for Brahanu was the catalyst for Nazil’s liberation. Will that same love also lead to its destruction?

In Seed of Scorn, the much-awaited sequel to The Rise of Nazil, Pentanimir and the entire House of Benoist face an insidious threat—a threat that assails them on all fronts, yet remains largely invisible. Both Nikolina d’Garrion once pledged to Danimore Benoist and Molag Bomgaard—unwittingly manipulated by an ancient evil—threaten the peace of the lands and the lives of the Benoists.

With the release of a Zon’tul and an indissoluble pact, the pall of darkness manifests. A darkness the Guardians could not foresee nor deter.

Coming Soon: Piercing the Darkness, Book 3 of the “Rise of Nazil” series:

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Release Date:
July 15, 2016
Available for Pre-Order:
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Goodreads 

Piercing the Darkness is the third novel in The Rise of Nazil trilogy. Pentanimir has taken his place as Zaxson to establish peace in Faélondul. None could have known the darkness of Sanctium would be awakened.

Piercing the Darkness is the final chapter in this Adult Epic Fantasy trilogy. The complexity builds, as does the cast brought forth in defense of the lands and the Benoists. The mystery, intrigue, and manipulation reach unheard of levels as the plot mounts to its inevitable end.


Author Bio: Aaron-Michael Hall is a native of southern Illinois. He was born and raised just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Mo. After moving about the country, he has returned to his roots and where this journey began.

When he was younger, Aaron-Michael would get lost in the fantasy and sci-fi worlds created by Andre Norton, N.K. Jemisin, R.A. Salvatore, Octavia Butler, Ursula K Le Guin, and R. Scott Bakker. His recent favorite authors are Michael Moorcock and George RR Martin.

Being from a large family, Aaron-Michael would often steal away high in a tree or nearby wood seeking solitude. While enjoying the peace his natural surrounding provided, he created his own worlds and languages. For hours, he would be lost in the magnificence of his own imagination. Some characters and elements created then are used now in his current series.

The Rise of Nazil is the first in a series of books from this new author. It is a fun and intriguing read with a host of characters. When asked why he wrote this novel, Aaron-Michael simply said, “It needed to be written.” It is his hope that the readers enjoy the wonders of Faélondul even more than he enjoyed writing about them.

Website     Facebook – Author Page     Facebook – Series Page     Twitter         


Mini-Interview with Anthony-Michael Hall

Q. What drew you to writing?

A. I have been writing since I knew how to write. The first story I can recall was about the way the worms wiggled at the end of my hook. It was my first experience fishing with my father. It was a big hit at home and school. Since then, I have written hundreds of poems, short stories, and many novels.

Q. Tell us one thing you learned, during research or about craft, while writing your latest book.

A. I learned that researching is not only important; it is time consuming. If you desire to get the details correct in your work, you need to research every important aspect.

I recall researching something I thought would be simple. In my first novel, The Rise of Nazil, I needed to know how far a horse could travel over rough terrain in a 24hr period. Sounds simple, right? Well, there was much more to it. In order to get the conditions, mileage, rest time, etc. correct, I had to do a lot more. I had to measure mileage on the map of my world and calculate all of these different factors for horses alone, with riders, pulling carts, etc. By the time I was finished, I had no time to write the scene. And that was something very small.

The ancient herbs, plants, etc. were interesting as well. My least favorite was researching torture techniques.

I literally learn something knew with each day. I believe a huge part of writing it not only improving your literary skills, but growth.

Q. What makes a story interesting to you?

A. Naturally, the plot must be interesting. However, I prefer a character driven story. I love the interaction and depth of the characters. If they are compelling, they drive the plot.

Q. What inspires you?

A. Telling the stories that I always wanted to read and could never find. It is truly fulfilling when I receive an email or review telling how my stories and characters have touched someone. Having diverse epic fantasy is something that has been lacking. Every person wants to identify in many ways with a hero or heroine. It is nice to have that hero/heroine to resemble you physically as well as internally.

Q. Do you have any conditions you need in place in order to write? What does your writing environment look like?

A. I have illustrations of most of my characters made into posters. They hang around my writing desk along with a large map of Faélondul. I find it easier to write about the lands and the inhabitants that way. At times, I gaze from one to the other as if questioning what they may be thinking or what they are up to.


I hope you had fun meeting Aaron-Michael Hall! Stay tuned for more posts from me and Author Spotlights in the weeks to come!

Virtual FantasyCon

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Hi all! Today, I’m here to discuss this great event that I’m participating in this Sunday, November 8th. I will be hosting a booth for YA Sunday, but I am also featured on one of the panel discussions. Virtual FantasyCon was created to reach out to readers and lovers of the speculative, the fantastical, the strange. The convention, which is hosted in Facebook events, actually started yesterday and will continue through the 8th, with varying topics as the days go on. For more information on what you can find throughout the week, check out the flyer below.

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The conventions is being run by these hard-working individuals who are doing it all for the fans.

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And finally, please find the links for each of the targeted days of the convention below. Come join us! Find some new books to read and some new authors to love. We’ll be waiting for you.