Tag Archives: Hero’s quest

Hernandez, Jessica: Capering on Glass Bridges (Hawk of Stone I)

Capering on Glass Bridges, 2015
On Fiaru Island, in the Kingdom of Greylandia, on the world Acu lives the Stone family. We first meet them at the Pairing ceremony of the youngest daughter. Meeting your canonipom and bonding with it is the most important day in the lives of Greylandians. As far as the people we meet know, Kaia Stone (16) is the only person who never did so. The Stones are humans. Canonipoms are not.

A canonipom is about a foot tall and humanoid in appearance, the same gender as its human and similar in nature and looks. Being a companion seems to be its sole purpose. Once a Pairing is complete, the two have a bond that allows telepathic communication.

Soon after the family returned from the bonding, a flird appeared with a message from the Speaker Council on Zavonia. A flird is a type of shape-changer. One form functions as a flying messenger capable of conversation and memorization. Its other form is flower-like. Travel for a flird must be instantaneous because the time it took to go back and forth between Zavonia and Fiaru was, at most, a couple of hours.

The Council invited the Stones to appear before them. Speakers are human magicians whose words, or Utterances, manifest. As with most magicians, talent and work ethics differ between Speakers. To get to the secretive island, the Stone family had travel overnight by ship. The Council of Speakers asked Kaia to go on a mission to the cursed Kingdom of Mar.

Ten years ago, Marians slaughtered the Tivmicians and, thereby, into conflict with one of the Speakers’ utterances:

“Should a group ever seek the extermination of another group, … let Acu’s skies cry blood on that day. Let the plagued realm know only misery, and let it offer escape to none.”

And so the Marians were cursed forever. Or so it seemed. Recently, the Utdrendans (one of the first three races) told the Speakers there was a chance the curse could be lifted. To do so, Kaia Stone of Greyland and Sir Pelliab Blackwell of Darlbent must go to Mar and report the Utdrendan message to King Richard of Mar and discover a cure. Kaia and Pelliab would not have to travel alone. The Council promised to send along two Speakers and five of King Robert’s (brother to Richard) sons. Mr. Stone refused outright to let his 16 year old daughter traipse off into unknown territory. Kaia felt this quest would, finally, give her life meaning and felt devastated by her father’s refusal. However, just as she was about to enter the return vessel, one of the Councillors pushed a flird bulb up her sleeve. If she chooses to go, it will have to be without her family knowing and that worries her.

Capering on Glass Bridges is a hero’s quest story, and that means we know what Kaia will decide. She is our main character and it would be strange if she stayed home. So. We get to meet five princes of King Robert’s 1000 children (busy man), two speakers and a kingsman along with the various people who are part of the adventure. Kaia and Pelliab’s challenge lies in getting to the Kingdom of Mar, then getting to King Richard, then finding out what they and the kingdom need to do to lift the curse. A solution is not found in book one of the duology.

Capering on Glass Bridges is Hernandez debut. It has a good story-line. Genre betas and/or editor would have improved it. Terminology is important and there were inconsistencies. However, there very few spelling/grammar problems, and the plot and creatures fit the “hero’s quest” genre.


The author gave me a reviewer’s copy of Capering on Glass Bridges.

Capering on Glass Bridges is available at Smashwords

Lindskold, Jane: Wolf’s Head, Wolf’s Heart (Firekeeper Saga II) (2002)

Hard cover for: Wolf’s Head, Wolf’s Heart
Cover artist: Julie Bell
Cover artist: Julie Bell

As you can tell I had a difficult time choosing between hardcover and paperback cover art, so I added them both.

Having begun reading to my son about Firekeeper we kept on going. Believe it or not, but quite a bit of snuggle time goes into around 600 pages worth of story. 600 pages is a lot of words. Sometimes I think the two of us get so caught up in how words and sentences connect that we forget to pay as much attention as we ought to. In my world that is only possible when the writing is tight and attention is paid to how writing is similar to music. Sometimes we have to laugh when I have trouble figuring out how to pronounce a name or two. What we do then is have a discussion on pronunciation and come to an agreement.

On to content. The Firekeeper Saga is about politics and relationships and coming of age if it is about anything. Sure there is action and fighting, but this is not what the series is about. I love action fantasy and science fiction and I love stories like the Firekeeper saga.

Wolf’s Head, Wolf’s Heart is still about Firekeeper and Blind Seer’s emerging role as ambassadors between humans and Royal kind. On that journey some of Firekeeper’s illusions about the superiority of the Royal kind are torn down. Blind Seer seems more of the adult than Firekeeper in this regard and is in fact one of the people who challenges Firekeeper’s previous beliefs.

Derian is another favorite of this tale. I imagine Lindskold has made certain that I be aware of him. Derian is Carter made Counselor, a role he had never imagined and feels overwhelmed by. He is easily Firekeeper’s favorite human friend and a very faithful one.

Waln Endbrook is a really good bad guy. He is the ultimate bully – afraid of letting go of power and ready to step on anyone who gets in his way – especially if they are weaker than he is. One of the more fascinating parts of Waln’s character was the mental acrobatics he was willing employ in order to avoid blaming himself for anything. It was always something the other person had done or said that brought about trouble. I hate meeting these people in real life because they scare the shit out of me. But I have also learned, the hard way, the necessity of seeming strong around them.

Elise and Doc are the “hopeless romance” carriers of the series. Poor guys. So in love and yet bound by the strictures of society from having any kind of romantic attachment. Politics sure do stink at times.

We are also introduced to Firekeeper’s adorable adopted brother Edlin Norwood. Hugh Laurie in Bertie Wooster exemplifies just how I imagine Edlin speaks.


  • Published: August 24, 2002
  • File Size: 1100 KB
  • Print Length: 620 pages
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003G93YE6
  • ISBN-10: 031287426X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312874261

My review of Through Wolf’s Eyes

Drake, David: Sea Hag (1988)

Cover by Larry Elmore

David Drake is an author that has been in the business for ages. I have this really strange relationship with his work. For some bizarre reason I usually imagine that I am not going to enjoy what he has written. And what happens? I’m sucked in every time. EVERY time! And still I expect not to like his writing. Slow learner I guess.

The Sea Hag was no exception. I thought, “nah, I don’t like David Drake” …. What a joke. Of course I like David Drake. I always do. And I did.

When I started reading Sea Hag I thought it was a fantasy tale. That is intentional from the author’s side (see link). In addition to being a fantasy, it is also science fiction. You will see why, when you read the novel.

Dennis discovers his father has made a promise to the Sea Hag in exchange for a wish. But Dennis’ father tries to get out of his promise. When Dennis discovers what the promise was and that his father has no intention of keeping it, Dennis sets off to somehow make up for his father’s failure. What we end up with in The Sea Hag is a hero’s journey. As his helper/side-kick we have Chester. Dennis and Chester are odd. I don’t know how else to describe them.

Dennis starts off like most of us – terribly naive. His ideas of what it takes to make it in the big world are off by a long-shot and he is incredibly lucky to have Chester along. At the same time Dennis is plucky. He has that combination of stubbornness and stupidity that a hero needs. By stupidity I mean the inability to see when something is supposed to be impossible.

Like all heroes’ tales the journey of Dennis and Chester brings us a great deal of unlikely scenes. I just love the stuff heroes survive, this hero too. The duo is loveable.

Did I like The Sea Hag. Hell, yes. Of course, I did. David Drake has ended up writing a book that he says people either hate or love. I am in the second category.

Bradley, M; May, J and Norton, A: Black Trillium (1996)

Black Trillium” is a collaboration between Marion Zimmer Bradley, Julian May and Andre Norton. These three women are oldies but goodies within the science fiction and fantasy genre. As such one might be tempted to think that this three-in-one package would create a work of wonder. However, three strong personalities can make for problems as well.

The end product has the three authors writing about one character each. Sadly, this is quite apparent to me in my role as reader. While the story keeps to its plot (I presume), the different writing styles makes me have to adjust again and again as I go from chapter to chapter. Sometimes the writing is very young in its audience appeal and sometimes I connect a bit more to it.

As the princesses Haramis, Kadiya and Anigel go on their separate journeys to save Ruwenda from the Labornok and its magician Orogastus they also have to face their own flaws and failings. In a typical younger audience hero-writing style, we are presented with three young women who face difficult challenges and overcome them in a manner that destroys the wicked, changes the hearts of brave people and brings the heroes back as saviors to their people.

A younger reader than myself might very well find this book a completely different journey to my own. Perhaps I have become too old and jaded in my reading experience to fully enjoy something so clearly intended for a younger audience.