I’m not going to try to introduce the reviews of the two next journeys in the popular series Dead of Winter. Those who read my blog regularly know I’ve been following it for a year now, so, without further ado…
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 11, the Sumelazon Escarpment.
Meet a new character in this Journey of Dead of Winter. She is a Deae Matres whose encounter with Gethin Gwilym has an unexpected result. Next in Pergesca, we get better acquainted with a noblewoman or a “HaDritak,” who is an old friend of Zasha. She has a few tricks up her sleeves.
Emlyn sees and experiences places, customs, and foods that are foreign to her. One of her gifts is growing.
As the conclusion of Emlyn’s “Journeys” draws near, we see that our heroes are underdogs. They are out-manned, “out-spirited,” and under-powered — physically, magically, and politically. With no other recourse, they make use of deception and manipulation. Although, how can that possibly be enough?
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What to say? Teagan Geneviene has managed to hook a non-high-fantasy reader like me, into this story, which I have followed since the first instalment, and now I have been reading it for over a year. The fact that it is divided up into short and manageable bits, and that it builds up slowly without dumping huge doses of backstory and never-ending descriptions of complex worlds into the readers laps, demanding absolute attention and devotion, has helped me stay the course so far, and I have to admit that I will miss it when it is over (and I know the end is approaching).
For those readers who might leave some time between one instalment (or Journey) and the next, the author includes a cast of characters and locations at the end, which is continuously updated with all the new information, and allows us to catch up or refresh our memories of what went before.
Although the central character and main protagonist of the story is Emlyn, we get the opportunity to see the world from some of the other characters’ perspectives as well, and in this journey —which is one of those where we get a chance to catch our breath, digest what has come before and get ready for what is to come— we meet some new characters as well.
A Deae Matres from ancient times finds one of the male characters (Gethin), tells him a few things aboout himself and his ancestors, and brings him a magical object as well. History is never quite past and gone in this story, and destiny, fate, family lines and legacy all play fundamental roles in the events.
Zasha comes into her own and shows us (and Emlyn and Osabide) that she has learned a lot about the inner workings of her world and the Deae Matres Society. HaDritak Baki, a friend of Zasha’s, is quickly becoming a new favourite of mine (she is a character!), and Lucetius, one of the most fascinating beings in a story full of them, comes back and proves that Emlyn was right in her feelings about being somehow connected to him. We meet a military man as well (and I do like him already), and Emlyn and Luce manage to do something quite extraordinary.
As I don’t want to spoil the story, I won’t give you any further details, but if I had to highlight something from this chapter, it would have to be the richness of the language and the beautiful descriptions of places, smells, foods, and most of all, clothes, which play a very important part in this Journey, especially for Emlyn. Oh, and there are some surprises in store about the Deae Matres Society, their membership, and their politics.
So, yes, don’t hesitate if you’ve already been following Dead of Winter and carry on reading it. The story keeps getting better and better and this journey is proof of that. If you haven´t started yet, you should, but do it in the right order, and begin reading Journey one immediately. You won’t regret it.
Dead of Winter: Journey 12, Goddesses by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
So far in previous Journeys of “Dead of Winter,” we’ve encountered villagers and city folk, religions, armies, and societies. We learned of terrifying beasts, nightwalkers, and the enigmatic Listeners. The final battle is at hand. Journey 12, brings us yet another type of extraordinary being – goddesses. Yet are they salvation? Or another complication… or even a threat.
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You know you are hooked onto a series when you see or hear something and you wonder what the characters would say, see a piece of clothing and it reminds you of a dress one of them wears, or think about what might be happening there even when you are not reading it. And that is definitely what is happening to me with this series. I was watching TV and some of the things I saw in the news made me wonder what the Brethern of Un’Naf would have said if they had seen it, and I am sure I often stare at people because they remind me of one of the characters in Dead of Winter. Irrespective of the genre and how often you read it, if the story and the characters become alive for you and you care for them, you’ve found a new favourite.
I don’t want to reveal too much of the story for those who haven’t been following the series (you need to read the journeys in the right order, as the story builds up as it goes, and each journey is carefully designed to fit in neatly into the overall narrative), but things are coming to a head. Winter is no longer coming. It is here with a vengeance.
In this particular journey, as the blurb suggests, we have new beings that make an appearance, and it seems that they will play a big part in the events to come, at least some of them. The Goddesses of the title appear in the prologue already, and their magic spreads throughout the journey, where we also renew our acquaintance with other characters and get to see what is happening elsewhere, back where the first journey started.
Emlyn is happy to be joined again by a character she has become very fond of (sometimes the families we create are a much better fit than the ones we happen to be born into, as is the case here), and she even wonders about a possible romance (no, not for her, don’t fret); there are apologies and we get a new understanding of some past events, and other characters we have met before come bearing information and warnings.
I thoroughly enjoyed this journey, but some of the highlights for me were: the opportunity to see Emlyn become more independent, daring, and introspective; the way some characters got a chance to learn about new inventions and build up their knowledge by sharing it with others; our new insight into the feelings of one of the male characters (I am sure I wasn’t the only one wondering about this); the opportunity to learn a bit more about the World of the Dead and how thing work there; and especially the joy, playfulness, and sense of humour of one of the beings that comes into the story and makes quite an impression. Yes, she is a Goddess, and I love her already. Well, being a Goddess, I guess I adore her.
Although I haven’t been sharing samples, to avoid spoilers, I couldn’t resist including this one, because it made me laugh, and it shows how much more relaxed and at home Emlyn is now.
Here, Emlyn is talking about a character she met before, who suddenly turns up again:
She was the picture of everything Emlyn had always imagined a well-to-do young lady should be. Well, except of course for being dead.
We are coming close to the (final?) battle, and the preparations are in haste, so I recommend anybody who enjoys creative stories, wonderful characters, and colour worlds and hasn’t yet started reading this series to start now, as I’m sure you’ll want to be ready for the ending, which I have the feeling will be quite spectacular. I can’t wait, although, at the same time, I don’t want it to end. I’m sure you know what I mean.
Thanks to the author for these journeys, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to stay safe and take care, to keep smiling and reading, and to enjoy every minute.