A different kind of epic! Yes, there’s danger, and the stakes are high. Blood will be spilled. But there are also moments of humor, tenderness, beauty, and hope. The large cast of colorful characters includes two urbane but thoroughly evil wizards, an arrogant and unreliable concert pianist, a thief, a straight-laced governess, a half-breed demon, and a not-very-bright ghoA different kind of epic! Yes, there’s danger, and the stakes are high. Blood will be spilled. But there are also moments of humor, tenderness, beauty, and hope. The large cast of colorful characters includes two urbane but thoroughly evil wizards, an arrogant and unreliable concert pianist, a thief, a straight-laced governess, a half-breed demon, and a not-very-bright ghost. Men with crossbows appear from time to time, but there’s not a single knight or warrior, and the king wears reading spectacles. Even when the multi-faceted world turns dark, it’s not bitter or grim. [Note: This is the only edition approved by the author. The 2006 version is completely obsolete and unavailable. Please ignore it and any reviews of it.] At seventeen, Kyura is sure she’s nobody special, but her life is about to be flipped upside down. She works in her uncle’s inn, serving the dinner guests and sweeping the floors. The author wishes to apologize in advance for making her the hereditary ruler of the distant and troubled land where she was born. If the author had known The Chosen One was such a howling cliché, he would never have written this story, so we can all be grateful that he didn’t know. So anyway, a family of elves shows up, bringing a broken piece of a powerful magical amulet (another cliché — sorry) called the Leafstone Shield. The Shield was once her grandfather’s pride and burden. Now it’s hers. Finding the other broken bits is the least of the challenges she’ll face. And she will need the magic of the Shield to free her once-beautiful homeland from the iron grip of a fae lord and her unstable and casually murderous cousin. (You want villains? We got villains.) Kyura and her friends Meery and Alixia face impossible odds, swept up in a whirlwind of political intrigue, treachery, ancient legends, and exotic magic. And this is only Book One. The adventure begins.......
|Title||:||The Leafstone Shield|
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Number of Pages||:||384 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Leafstone Shield Reviews
Note: This review is of a version of The Leafstone Shield that was at one point available on Jim Aikin's website. That version was substantially different than the new series published in November 2017. The review is therefore mainly of historical interest.---Jim Aikin seems to be a man of many parts. I first encountered him many years ago, via The Wall at the Edge of the World, an excellent SF story about how non-telepaths fare in a world of telepaths. From there, I found his earlier novel Walk the Moons Road, a convoluted and disappointing story about human interaction with a tri-gendered race. The effect of the first book stuck with me, and more recently, I searched out his website, www.musicwords.net, which offered a set of free stories, and the first novel in a trilogy. I turned both into ebook versions for ease of reading. The stories are quite different from the novels - they're pleasant urban stories with a mid-century feel, very Jack Finney-like. I recommend them.Finally, then, The Leafstone Shield, the book I set out to review. This is yet another Jim Aikin, writing a YA fantasy epic. The book, which appears to no longer be available on the site, was written and self-published on spec, as the first in a trilogy. The other two books, whose table of contents is included, were available for purchase from Mr. Aikin.The story is about a displaced human, Kyura Lanviana, who has been chosen as the god Akneora's high priestess. She, of course, knows nothing about this, and is doing her poor best to run an inherited inn. An elf convinces her to give it up and challenge a powerful god-sired who's destroying her homeland to dig up valuable leafstone (a stand-in for coal). So far, so good, and Aikin's writing is smooth and easy to read. Disappointingly, the action is weak. The plot is a good if transparent story of environmental protection. But the execution is far less effective than The Wall at the Edge of the World or Aikin's short stories. In fact, it's fairly formulaic. Kyura makes only token efforts to resist her destiny, and the parts (including the requisite companions) fall in place with far too much ease to be really interesting.The Leafstone Shield is not marked as a YA story, but it reads as one. There's little real violence, and the action is light and fun. The characters are relatable and likeable. Everything happens pretty much as it should, and while risks and threats exist, they are all overcome in the end. This book sets up the real action in Books 2 and 3, which promise to be similar in style.As an adult, I found The Leafstone Shield lacking - it was too pleasant and predictable to really hold my interest, despite good writing. As YA fantasy, it is more successful, and could be especially appealing to girls, since there are a couple of strong and central young female characters.If you're an Aikin fan and looking for more of his work to read, I suggest you search out a copy. The book isn't available on the website anymore, and the terms of the original prevent me from sending out copies, but I imagine that if you write to Mr. Aikin, he'll let you have one. This book isn't what I hoped for when I searched out Aikin's website, but it's a fun light read, and could be good for younger YA fans. You should also check out his much more mature short stories, which are still on the site. They're good, and well worth the time to look up.
A few paragraphs into The Leafstone Shield, my professional brain--I work as an editor for a traditional publisher--screaming. The story is strong enough, but the writing itself is overly complicated and relies heavy on the use of passive voice. It seems the author is still trying to discover his voice, and the dialogue seemed forced. In the end, I gave up half way through the book.