Monday, April 21, 2014

Fire-Heart (Tales of Alterra, The World That Is #2) by C.S. Marks

Release Date: October 16, 2013
Publisher: Parthian Press
Series: Tales of Alterra, The World That Is, Book 2

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Not long after the battle, the Elfhunter went into darkness in order to heal, but vowed that he would one day enact vengeance upon the one who hurt him most - Gaelen of the Greatwood. The Company found themselves upon a different path filled with trepidation and new adversities as they follow Rogond in his quest to find more information about his past. The quest sent them into the far southern regions of Alterra, where the land itself can be an enemy.

Vast areas of dry sand, little or no greenery for miles, and a culture that places restrictions on freedoms people enjoy, Gaelen and her fellow Elves were hard-pressed to find joy in their latest venture. Adversity came in the guise of friendship and the group found themselves betrayed, not once, but twice as they continued their southern course. In the midst of arduous travel, unexpected trials and an impossible battle, an old evil trailed behind them and was determined to put right the many wrongs committed. Will The Company survive, much less find the information they seek?

Having completed the first book in the Alterra series, I was worried for the cast of characters which make up The Company. It wasn't a difficult decision to purchase this book in order to find out what happened since the great battle between the Elfhunter and the army of elves who call the Greatwood home. As with the first book, there was a core group of characters and many of them were introduced in the first book. Yet, this book did a wonderful job of reintroducing those familiar characters without dumping a lot of information into the story at hand. Though this book is the second within the series, the story within helped the book stand on its own so that you needn't have read the first to enjoy it. I would recommend reading the first one as it was a really good read as well.

The story built upon much of what occurred in the previous one but went a different direction than I expected. I was fully prepared for Gaelen and her merry band of companions to pick up the hunt for the Elfhunter in order to end the sense of doom hanging over them. I felt surprised when the story took the group on a quest centered around Rogond and his thirst for knowledge of his family. This quest led them to a region of the world of Alterra that I didn't know existed. It was exciting to experience the new realm alongside the elves who had never been out of the northern lands either. There were many things in the southern lands that the reader may recognize in the world today. I thought it was an interesting twist to combine the real world with Alterra, bringing more life to the world and the characters themselves by doing so.

Action took a little while to get into, but stayed steady until the very last word. There was a steady build-up of excitement as one thing after another befell The Company. Much of the trouble they experienced was forced upon them instead of the usual bringing it upon themselves. For me, this made some of what happened hard to read and at a couple of points, I really had to muster through. My perseverance paid off when the climax of the book happened and much of the resolution gladdened my heart. I say much because there was a door left open that left me wanting more. I will find the answers!

There's so much going on in this book that it was hard to review without giving a lot away. However, I very much enjoyed this book. It was a great continuation of events that took place within Elfhunter, the first book of the series, but it stood on its own two pages as well. Seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones that played important roles helped to give the book an engaging atmosphere. I feel like many of them are my old friends by now, including the horses which never failed to make me laugh with their antics. They were very much part of the story in both of the books. If you love a good, action-packed, fantasy tale with various species and unexplored lands, I'd say this is the book for you.

Fire-Heart (Tales of Alterra, The World That Is #2) by C.S. Marks is currently available at many online retailers. It can be purchased in either paperback or Kindle versions. Click the link below to buy a copy from Amazon.
Fire-Heart (Tales of Alterra, The World That Is #2) by C.S. Marks

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