Spoiler-Free Book Review: “Eyes of the Hunter” by Rosa Marchisella

Day 32

‘Sup, everyone! Hope you’re staying warm.

I recently read a book called Eyes of the Hunter, a new fantasy novel by Rosa Marchisella.

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“Prince Erin, heir to the throne of Simanthea, spent a lifetime protecting a dangerous secret no one can know. Not even Caley, Erin’s best friend and devoted bodyguard. 

But even the most tightly guarded secret can’t be kept forever. 

When Caley discovers the depth of Erin’s deception, his rage explodes like wildfire and devoted guardian turns to terrifying bounty hunter. To survive, Erin must outrun the past and evade the Eyes of the Hunter.”

As a lover of fantasy, I gobbled this one up.

After birthing six daughters, Queen Marianna is terrified that if she fails to produce a male heir to the throne of Simanthea, her life will be forfeit. The kingdom rejoices when the birth of a baby boy is announced, and the queen insists that only she care for the baby, whom she names Erin.

She hires a boy, Caley, to protect her son with his life. I truly loved this beginning to the book. I sympathised with the queen, a kind soul who had been basically used by the king “as a breeding mare” for his desire to have a son. Caley was also introduced well, being a shy and quiet boy but delivering when it mattered most. He won the right to become Erin’s guardian.

As a child, Caley was blamed for something he didn’t do and we get a taste of the king’s merciless heart and lack of empathy. When the secret comes out and Erin is forced to run, the atmosphere of the story goes from quiet contentment (if tense) to full-blown excitement and fear.

Caley goes from solid protector to hunter. We see Erin survive, a feat which would not be easy for a pampered member of royalty. However, with Caley’s teachings, Erin can find ways to get through some tough times, which is a little ironic for Caley since he’s now chasing the person he taught.

Rumours fly like wildfire through the land about the hunter, some far-fetched and some not far from the truth, keeping us on our toes as to what Erin will do to shake Caley off, because he always seems closer.

I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to read and Marchisella creates vivid descriptions. I know when I’ve read a good story because my mind wanders to think about the characters at times when I’m not reading, and as this happened a lot, I know the writer did extremely well in creating a world into which I could invest my time and heart.

There were some things that I wasn’t sure about; for example, some skills and knowledge that Erin had were not mentioned before so they could have been foreshadowed. I also felt that another character got the raw end of the deal towards the end of the story but, as we know, life is unfair, and that is possibly what Marchisella was trying to convey.

I recommend Eyes of the Hunter for lovers of fantasy, especially fantasy with rich worlds. I found myself wanting to know more about the kingdoms, what lies beyond the oceans. I’m hoping for a sequel to this engaging tale! Overall, I give it four stars out of five.

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Get Eyes of the Hunter on Amazon US
Get Eyes of the Hunter on Amazon UK

Reading “The Illustrated Mum” as a Child VS. Reading it as an Adult

Day 26

What was your favourite book when you were a child? I remember being about six or seven and getting a box set of Jacqueline Wilson books from my auntie. I read all of them many, many times and ended up getting even more of Wilson’s works. I was a big fan of hers; I still am.

With the Kindle and Kindle app, it’s great hunting down old books you loved and getting them on your e-reader within seconds. I’ve just finished The Illustrated Mum again, but the reading experience was pretty different from when I was eight.

If you’ve never read this book, it’s about a ten-year-old girl called Dolphin who lives with her older sister, Star, and their mother manic-depressive mother, Marigold.

Reading it as a kid, I saw the world from a child’s perspective and completely understood that Dolphin was confused and upset that Star was showing less and less interest in Marigold as she got older, angry at Star for leaving her mother and sister behind, and terrified alongside Dolphin when Marigold had rough spells of drinking or crazy shopping. Dolphin did her best to not let anyone, even her friend Oliver, see just how bad Marigold could get when she was in a state.

As an adult, I felt so much pity for the poor little girl we read about, her youth and unconditional admiration and love for her mother clouding the fact that she was much better off without her. I wanted to take care of Dolphin, to feed her and wash her properly and give her a warm and safe home. Reading as a kid and reading as an adult were two entirely different experiences.

Jacqueline Wilson has a remarkable gift for writing from the perspective of a child who really doesn’t know better. What does a ten-year-old know about bipolar disorder? Or about hospitals? She feels so bad for calling the ambulance when Marigold finally goes over the edge, yet we all know as readers that she did the right thing.

There are a few more really depressing (but awesome) Wilson books that I now can’t wait to read again. No doubt the experience will transform from an adult’s eyes, too.

Think You Aren’t Good Enough? Do it Anyway

Day 20 [New Year’s Resolution]: Think You Aren’t Good Enough? Do it Anyway

Think about that thing you want to do, but you know you never could. What is it? Singing? Acting? Dancing? Growing the world’s largest turnip? Thing is, everyone was here at one point: at the bottom.

With this in mind, I took a leap. I did it. I did it. If I fail, it’s just £40 wasted, nothing too life-changing.

I just bought this.

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And this.

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I’m getting massive anxiety just thinking about it. My heart’s pounding even though I’ve been sitting on my fat bum all day. What are you thinking, girl? Traditionally published? You?

Do you remember when I was talking about rediscovering our love for writing? About finding that pure passion and inspiration without the fear and crippling self-doubt?

I want that again.

I just saw some ads about this new book out by HarperCollins and the hype that was surrounding it. The book isn’t even released yet and she’s got reviews, fans, gushing bloggers, giveaways, and all those things that most of us only ever dare hope for. My despair in my author journey so far caused me to start to believe that “nobody reads anymore, dammit!” We all know this isn’t true, of course.

I’m horrible at marketing. I can’t really advertise things, let alone my own books. When I worked as a sales assistant, I would whisper out of the corner of my mouth to prospective customers, “Sure, this knife has a sharper blade and a higher steel rating, but the £49 set will do you fine. You don’t need the fancy one,” though don’t you dare tell my old boss that.

Deciding to try the traditionally published route isn’t out of laziness, though. I’m not doing it because I want to get out of marketing or editing or cover creation. No, it’s because that when I was a kid I was determined to have a publisher. I just believed it was going to happen for me one day. It’s time to make that dream a reality and stop letting doubt overtake it.

So I think it’s time we just stood up and did it. Today. Now. Not waiting until tomorrow or letting doubt beat down your dreams before you’ve even tried. I usually dislike cheesy quotes, but this one by Suzy Kassem is excellent: Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.

If We Could All Discover Our Love for Reading

Day 19 [New Year’s Resolution]: If We Could All Discover Our Love for Reading

You know, I got so caught up in thinking about losing our love for writing that I didn’t spare a thought for our love for reading. Reading, after all, must come before writing, and one can’t exist without the other.

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Last year, I played a lot of video games. I worked a lot. I bought hamsters. I even wrote a bit. This year, I’m hoping to write one post a day on this blog, among a lot of other things which I won’t bore you with now.

After re-reading the Harry Potter series, I realised with an unpleasant drop in my stomach that last year I hardly read anything at all. There were some indie books, some work-related stuff, and… well, that’s it, really.

I had lunch with one of my students after a lesson yesterday and she was asking me about all these famous western writers, asking if I’d heard of them or read their work. Her eager little face looked so disappointed when I said I hadn’t even heard of most of them. She seemed surprised that I, a native speaker of English, didn’t know about all her favourite novels that she struggled through as a learner of our complex language.

I felt really bad. So I decided this year that I’m going to spend a lot more time reading. There are loads of books in the spare room I bought or was given and never even opened. Worlds waiting to be explored, characters waiting to be known, pages waiting to be turned. I am shocked it took this long.

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We’re so distracted by social media and the busy pace of life that most of us have forgotten what it’s like to curl up with a book (paperback OR electronic; there’s no shame in owning a Kindle). There’s really no excuse; people who claim to love books, yet say they are too busy to read yet spend three hours a day on Facebook, what are you doing? I’m determined not to be one of those people.

So hopefully you’ll see a lot more posts about awesome books in the coming months! After all, what is a writer that doesn’t read?