Sunday, December 16, 2018

Answering review request: Amanda Moonstone Darkbane sorceress

Dan Wright asked me to review his story "Darkbane sorceress", which is the second book in the Amanda Moonstone series. I reviewed the first one and every other book that Dan has written for this setting. The review for the first one can be found here. I will examine Plot, Character and Polish, and then assign a grade.


This is a revenge narrative. Thus, it has a much different look and feel from the previous plot's story of a villain maintaining power. This villain is also far more sympathetic, which makes the conflict tragic.

It has a theme of parenthood, and how devastating it is to lose children or fail them in some way. Indeed, many of the heroes and villains are defined by tragic experiences with their parents and/or children. It changes them personally and influences their behavior.

What I especially like about this story is the way in which it justifies events which would otherwise be narrative weaknesses, and thereby, instead turning them into narrative strengths.

For instance, there are points in this story where Saevita could kill the heroes cleanly, easily, quickly and without any Can't Kill You Still Need You caveats. She SAYS this is because she wants them to suffer as part of her revenge, but there are a number of things influencing her decision. I count three of them. Even when she whirlwind banishes the heroes to a spot within spitting distance of the one person in all of Celtland who could help them stop her, Fridge Brilliance states that this is her subconsciously sabotaging herself.

There is one thing that strike me to say...lack-luster. It is the two principal villains, Saevita and Vladrac. By themselves, they are great (more detail in the next section) but they bear a striking resemblance to villains in Trapped in Draconica. To say is more spoilers for both books (Dan! If you want details, let me know and I'll send you a private message). As a long time reader of Dan's stories, this similarity stuck in my mind. Personally, I prefer Trapped on Draconica so these two paled in comparison.
The book has, in my opinion, the best kind of ending. The current conflict is resolved but its aftermath lingers and the conflict of the series continues.
Also, Daniar Dragokin cameo! Fun.
Amanda has certainly developed since the last book. Since she was in a bad spot in the previous book, I'm inclined to think this is more true to her natural self. A showwoman, a friend-to-all-children and fiery tempered.

Her issue with magic deserves its own paragraph. She clearly puts a lot of her self image into her knowledge of, and skill with, magic. She sees herself as "Amanda Moonstone the dragon gem sorceress". This goes back to her childhood, where we see her reading books about previous users of magic and desiring to use it herself. Over the course of the story, she has to confront this reliance in more ways than one.

Wilfred is a classic Useless Boyfriend (husband in this case). An amusing early scene is him heaving around one heavy bag while Amanda effortlessly lifts several with wind magic. While he is something of a Butt Monkey, he is also more than that. He is a Cowardly Lion and a pillar of emotional support. If he got some royal guard training, then he could be a fine Sword for his wife's Sorcereress.

Saevieta Darkbane is Amanda's foil. She is what Amanda would be given the wrong decision at the wrong time. It's like that Batman comic "One Bad Day".  She is sympathetic and tragic while also possessing classic Evil Is Hammy and a funny running gag a nutshell...gets dark.

Vladrac is a nasty piece of work. Known as "The Butcher" and the leader of a mercenary group "The Singing Screams", he would be a vicious character even before one factors in certain Reveals. He is responsible for the most heart-wrenching tearjerker Dan has ever written. Seriously, those two scenes were hard to read.


I counted maybe five or so technical errors in total. This across several hundred pages so it is pretty good over all.

Trickster Eric Novels gives "Amanda Moonstone Darkbane Sorceress" a B+

This has been a free review request. The author asked for an honest review so I provided one.

Click here for my next book review (a request): Jack's Wagers: A Jack O' Lantern Tale for Halloween & Samhain

Click here for my previous book review (for fun): The Lives of Confucius

Brian Wilkerson is a independent novelist, freelance book reviewer, and writing advice blogger. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).

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