I bring you two more of the Journeys in the Dead of Winter serial, and wow, we are getting close now…
I have been following author Ríordáin Geneviene for a number of years now, down many of the paths her imagination has travelled, from her blog, where she has created a number of serials with the participation of her readers (incorporating the items they propose into her stories), in many genres (steampunk, historical fiction, fantasy…) always with a seamless weaving of research (into artefacts of a historical period, language and fashionable expressions of an era, music, and recipes of bygone times, names and mythology and their link to specific places and meanings…), a wonderful playfulness in her use of language, and a penchant for flights of fancy and whimsy. It doesn’t matter how closely you are following the events and how well you think you know her characters, there are surprises waiting when you turn the next page, and you’re always left wanting more.
About the author:
Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene lives in a “high desert” town in the Southwest of the USA.
Teagan had always devoured fantasy novels of every type. Then one day there was no new book readily at hand for reading — so she decided to write one. And she hasn’t stopped writing since.
Her work is colored by her experiences from living in the southern states and the desert southwest. Teagan most often writes in the fantasy genre, but she also writes cozy mysteries. Whether it’s a 1920s mystery, a steampunk adventure, or urban fantasy, her stories have a strong element of whimsy.
Founder of the Three Things method of storytelling, her blog “Teagan’s Books” contains serial stories written according to “things” from viewers. Http://www.teagansbooks.com
Major influences include Agatha Christie, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Robert Jordan, and Charlaine Harris.
See book trailer videos here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoM-z7_iH5t2_7aNpy3vG-Q
Dead of Winter: Journey 9, Doors of Attunement by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
In this ninth installment Emlyn, Osabide, and Fotia (in Zasha’s body) traveled to a third world, so little known that it is only called the Other Realm. They hope to restore Zasha. Will Fotia willingly relinquish her new life in a young body? There the trio meet unpredictable, but vastly powerful beings known as the Listeners. One of them is a new enemy. Another might be friend or foe. Either way, he is dangerous.
Arawn has grown stronger. An army of the dead gathers near the Lost Library. Hallgeir faces one of the biggest decisions of his life.
Journey with our travelers. Adventure awaits.
Fantasy is a bit of a hit-and-miss for me, but based on my previous experience reading this author, I knew I had to try her new (although originally written as a single novel a number of years ago) serial, Dead of Winter. And, as usual, she has surpassed herself. I’ve come to eagerly await the next journey, to celebrate every monthly publication, and it has become a highlight in my reading schedule.
In Journey 9, we have Emlyn, the main protagonist of the story, and two of her friends (although one is not quite herself, and that is one of the reasons for their quest), journey through the “Other” realm. It is an strange and wondrous place, and they are soon confronted with decisions (if you love game shows, the fact that they have to choose one of three doors will bring all kinds of connections to your mind) that require not only courage, but also intuition, trust in each other and belief in themselves.
Emlyn uncovers new powers/abilities she didn’t know she possessed, and we find out that the “Listeners” can take many forms and are as puzzling,enchanting, and unnerving as most of the other creatures we’ve come across in these journeys. Readers travel beyond the Other realm, there are more magical objects to be retrieved, and although they achieve their goal, they also confirm that risks and dangers are getting closer and closer.
There is a touch of Alice through the Looking Glass in this journey (although in this case, through a painting), and we get to hear from Luce, one of the most enigmatic characters in this serial (and that is saying something!), who, for the first time, allows us to peep into his mind.
As this journey ends, Hallgeir —one of the men travelling with the Deae Matres and protecting them— finds his loyalty put to the test. Or his loyalties, because, should one always put family before everything else, or are other callings stronger than blood? It is a particularly tense moment, and I am relieved to already have Journey 10 waiting to be read, as it would have felt like a very long wait otherwise.
Those who are following the story already know the author includes a cast of characters and locations at the end, to ensure readers don’t lose track and don’t miss any of the details. This keeps being updated with each new journey, to avoid spoilers.
I loved the descriptions of the new characters, the places the protagonists visit, and, in particular, the insight we are given into their innermost thoughts, doubts, and feelings. A journey full of wonder and adventure, and an ending that pulsates with excitement and expectation.
Don’t forget to read the journeys in the right order, and go on, keep reading Dead of Winter.
Dead of Winter: Journey 10, Pergesca by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
“Dead of Winter: Journey 10, Pergesca” resumes outside the Lost Library, where Hallgeir was faced with a decision that could impact the entire world.
Lucetius is gravely wounded when he attempts to deliver a message. Emlyn, Zasha, and Osabide are again separated from all their friends. The Three must continue their journey without assistance or protection from the other travelers. They must reach the faraway city of Pergesca. That is also the seat of power of the ancient Society of Deae Matres. Will the companions eventually be reunited?
A vicious enemy returns, displaying unexpected strength.
An important character dies in this novelette. The death of a character is a rare thing in stories written by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene.
What to say! We’ve reached Journey 10 in Dead of Winter, and for me, it has definitely been a big journey into a realm I rarely visit, that of high fantasy. I’m not a reader lacking in imagination or preoccupied with productivity and getting the most out of any lecture time. My love for fiction was born when I was a child, and although I’ve read (and still read) a lot of factual and non-fiction books (for professional and personal reasons), my preference for my downtime is fiction. I read realistic fiction, but I’m quite fond of fairy tales and horror as well. My problem with high fantasy, I think, is not so much with the fantasy side of things, but with the build-up to the stories, the large number of characters, often with strange and somewhat similar names (I have the same issue with some spy novels, although those I find dry at times), and the huge amounts of backstory and telling usually required to explain the worlds where the stories are taking place. As much as I love a well-written plot, I have also been more of a character reader, and in some cases, those seem to get lost among all the scaffolding in some of the big fantasy sagas. So, reaching Journey 10 of this serial is an achievement, for me and one that shows the skill of the author.
In Dead of Winter, Ríordáin Geneviene manages to combine a weird, wonderful, scary, terrible, and beautiful world, with different realms and with a cast of characters that although not always “human” and/or “alive” we can easily connect with. Emlyn, the main protagonist, is a credible normal child (only twelve years old) but also gifted, unique, and the perfect hero to guide us on this quest. And I am sure every reader will have his/her own favourite among the many characters (creatures included).
This Journey is pretty special, as the author explains because one of the characters dies. I’m going to avoid any spoilers, although I was not surprised by the event. When I thought about the author’s prologue, I imagined who it could be; it is well done, makes perfect sense, and brings some sense of completion to that character.
There are many other adventures and magical events in this journey: we have characters surprising everybody with changes of heart (possibly); the three women with a most delicate mission (Emlyn, Osabide, and Zasha) are placed in great danger due to a mean and vengeful character trying to get revenge; a new favourite of mine puts in a star appearance; we have further “through the looking glass” moments; Emlyn finds herself in a city for the first time and doesn’t quite know what to think; Zasha —who is slowly recovering her old self, but with some changes— is back home and playing guide; there is further evidence of the breach(chasm in the veil separating the world of the living from that of the dead; we meet new characters and old characters who leave mysterious messages and warnings, and the future appears very uncertain.
The writing is immaculate as usual, with truly emotional moments, vivid descriptions of action and battle scenes where we can feel the danger jumping at the protagonists, and some reflective and quiet moments when we are privy to the thoughts, reflections, and doubts of the protagonists (mostly from Emlyn’s point of view, but we get some insights into Zasha’s thoughts and feelings as well). The pace of the story and the narration is quickening, and things are coming to a head. I will be sorry to see this story end, but, at this point, I’m also eager to know what will happen. Winter seems to have arrived already, and time is of the essence.
I’ve recommended this story to all and sundry, and other than people who only read non-fiction and cannot stand fantasy in any shape, I cannot imagine many who would not enjoy it. The serial format works beautifully to ensure that no reader gets overwhelmed by the story building and the number of characters and settings, and the author also includes a cast of characters at the end, which she updates as required, to help those who might have a doubt or want to remind themselves of some stray detail. Read the serial in the right order, and be prepared for the journey. It is a wild and magical ride.
Thanks to the author for this wonderful serial, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to stay safe and take care above all, and to like, share, comment, click, and, always keep smiling.