By Sword and Star by Renee Carter Hall
By Renee Carter Hall
Prince Tiran of Silverglen may be heir to the throne of all Asteria, but he’s always felt more at home among the villagers, no matter how many lectures he gets from his father.
But when the elk-lord Roden slaughters the royal family and claims the throne for himself, only Tiran is left to avenge their deaths and take his place as the rightful king.
His journey will lead him from the shadowed heart of his forest home into the treetops with the squirrel-clan of the Drays, across the western plains, and among the mysterious and deadly wolves of the Northern Reach.
With his allies’ help, Tiran must become the king his people need him to be – or risk fulfilling an ancient prophecy that will spell the end of Asteria itself.
Cover artwork by Sara Miles.
Style - Novel
Pages - 208
ISBN/UPC - 9781470108540
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Customer's Reviews for By Sword and Star by Renee Carter Hall
Before I start, I'd like to mention that I'm friends with the author. It's hard to avoid it, since my name is featured in the acknowledgements, but that's because I've been a fan and supporter of Renee's work for many years. And once again, By Sword and Star did not disappoint. It's just as good when I read it the second time (which I rarely ever do), and it proves that Renee is an exceptionally talented writer.
By Sword and Star is a fantasy novel set in a world of anthropomorphic animals and it centers around a unicorn prince named Tiran, who enjoys drinking, playing cards, and spending more time with the common folk than being a member of the royal family. Until his world is turned upside down by the invading elk-lord Roden and his army. The royal family is killed and Tiran is spared, be it by fate or by luck, because he's hanging out at the bar. From there his quest is set, and it will take Tiran to the treetops where he meets the squirrel-clan of the Drays, through the Shadowgrove to run with the Children of the West Wind, and to the Northern Reach where he has to hunt with and gain the trust of the wolf-clan. Ultimately, it leads to his triumphant return where he has to do battle with the elk-lord who slaughtered his family. And if he fails, then all the animals of Asteria will lose their sentience, a gift granted to them by their God, who's referred to as The Lady.
What I truly loved about By Sword and Star is how the fantasy aspect of this novel is so beautiful woven. I've never been a big fan of the fantasy genre, so if someone can write a fantasy novel that I can enjoy, then they're doing something right. The story is concise, never having a dull moment, and it isn't bloated down with extra material to pointlessly increase the author's page count. The book also has a great balance between the physical combat and the use of magic (called erys). The characters are believable, memorable and lovable, especially when it comes to the excellent supporting cast. Characters like the squirrel warrior Rikka, who prefers a few swigs of ale before battle to steady her hand, and the hardened, yet passionate wolf huntress Zeta who hopelessly falls for the "promised" prince Tiran. If anyone ever wanted to know how to write an anthropomorphic tale with meaning and purpose, this is how you do it.
And I really don't have any complains. The dialogue did cause me to stumble a few times, mostly because it is a fantasy novel and the characters talk in a different, sort of old world dialect from time to time. Then there are some of the secondary characters who are so beautifully put together that they could literally star in their very own novels. Normally not a typical complaint, but I found myself getting disappointed when they had to leave because I wanted to see even more of them. And I wish that the story was longer, only because I didn't really want it to end. It's great to find one of those books that you can't wait to read every night when you go to bed.
Overall, this is a fantastic novel that any fan of anthropomorphic animal characters should read. A true gem that brings you back to the joy and love of reading a truly wonderful tale.
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