‘Mere Enchantment’ & ‘Rings of Enchantment’ by Alicia Rivoli

Mere Enchantment

A modern-day magical, fun and adventurous fairytale

Recommended for readers 8 yrs and over

Mere Enchantment and Rings of Enchantment are Alicia Rivoli‘s Enchantment series books that have one epic adventure flowing through them as though they are a Part One and Part Two. Part Two continues the story beautifully. Personally, I couldn’t read one book without the other and therefore would recommend to any reader to obtain both copies. Aside from not feeling myself, this was also another reason for my belated review, as I had to read the sequel as soon as I finished Mere Enchantment!

The Enchantment series takes you into another world. The world of Mere. Under attack from the dark traitor, Jacan, and his army of Umbra, the Kingdom of Mere is struggling to survive. Jacan and his army have already taken over the city of Nebula and if nobody stops him, Jacan will strive to take over the whole Kingdom! It is therefore up to the five main characters, Preston, Chloe, Jason, Megan and Zach to prevent Jacan with the use of magic and their new-founded abilities in Mere to defeat Jacan and his army.

Mere Enchantment (Book 1) begins with Preston living in a cabin with his parents overlooking Mirror Lake. When Preston’s parents rent out their second cabin, across the other side of the lake, to two families, each with two teenagers, Chloe, Jason, Megan and Zach, Preston seems happy to have kids of a similar age visit. He quickly builds up a bond with them, in particular Chloe. Preston takes them to a cave nearby and little do they realise at the time that this cave is where the magic really begins for them!

There were a couple of instances in the very beginning that made me question why Preston’s parents treated him like a younger child, when he was an older teenager. I couldn’t quite connect to all of the characters, especially Preston’s parents, as I didn’t understand their behaviour. However, as this magical epic tale unfolds this question was answered very clearly, especially once the main characters entered the cave! One example of this is Preston’s father reading him what appears to be bedtime stories and yet, once he is in the Kingdom of Mere, Preston realises that those stories are most likely to be true and his father had been preparing him for his new journey to help the Kingdom of Mere as his new-found self, along with his magic and friends.

When they first enter the Kingdom of Mere they notice changes with one another, such as changes of appearance, age, clothes and later their powers. It is great how they all have these underlying magical abilities but it is only through entering the cave/kingdom that these skills naturally blossom. I particularly like the way in which they discover their powers in an instinctive manner as opposed to having be taught them through magic. The characters adapt to their new surroundings very quickly and, with the help of some wizards, they soon become aware of what they need to do save the Kingdom of Mere!

The group find themselves separated once they arrive in Mere, as Preston is with Megan and Zach, and Chloe is with her brother, Jason. I become a little lost when main characters are separated as I like to keep everyone together, however it adds the tension as the reader constantly pushes for them to reunite. But with Jacan and the Umbra taking over, controling the weather and using shadows for cover it becomes quite eventful. War is taking place and it doesn’t seem to be too long before Jacan will completely take over the Kingdom of Mere.

Rings of Enchantment  (The Enchantment Series, #2)In Rings of Enchantment (Book 2) I found the story to be slightly more action-packed as by now the reader is familiar with the characters, some of their abilities and the Kingdom of Mere. I also found the sequel to be a quicker read, with more dialogue and more magic being used and more involvement with the dragons. Jacan and his army are really beginning to close in on Mere, destroying the underwater kingdom of Rill and using everything he possibly can to win the Kingdom for himself. This sequel is darker and most certainly more intense.

Towards the end I found myself tensing as Alicia Rivoli leaves the reader on tenterhooks between chapters as she visits the different characters and picks up their story from a chapter or two before! This definitely teases the reader and makes you feel like you have to know more, encouraging the reader to quicken their speed, along with the action of the book!

I also found the glossary in Book 2 to be useful as the reader follows so many different characters in different cities and, as the main characters are slightly different people in Mere than they are in Oklahoma, it was nice to be able to check up on the characters and places once I finished.

I really enjoyed reading this fun series and I would recommend it for readers of the age 8 years and over. Kids would absolutely love the magic, the dragons, princes and princesses in secret kingdoms, the wizards and the whole adventure. Not forgetting the main plot to save the Kingdom from this terrible, dark traitor! There are cities in the sky/clouds and underwater. I actually had my own daughter (age 8) read a chapter as she had forgotten to bring home her school book. I was delighted when she read a whole chapter really well and was able to tell me afterwards what had happened. Even though I had her read from the middle of the sequel she was still able to tell me in her own words what had happened and what type of characters she had been reading about!

My hat goes off to Alicia Rivoli for writing a fantastic modern-day magical, fun and adventurous fairytale! It is clear to the reader that the author has spent a great deal of time creating the wonderful world of Mere, as well as beautiful characters with princes, princesses, wizards, dragons, merpeople and an army of darkness with a traitor as their leader.

At the same time as being in a strange, magical  land with dragons and wizards and trying to learn their own abilities, Preston, Chloe, Jason, Megan and Zach fight to be reunited again and to free the Kingdom of Mere!

I received both books from the author, Alicia Rivoli in return for an honest and fair review.

Please check out Alicia’s author post for A Reader’s Review Blog, along with her blog and Facebook page below. There is a fantastic trailer on Alicia’s BlogSpot that really catches the eye and adds great visuals for her Enchantment series.

www.aliciarivoli.blogspot.com

www.facebook.com/aliciarivoli

Cover art by Danijel Firak, his website is www.danijelfirak.com

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Dragon Rose (Tales of the Latter Kingdoms #2) by Christine Pope

Book cover of Dragon Rose

True Love versus Sorcerer’s Curse

As a re–interpretation of the fable Beauty and the Beast, this was a must read for me as it was one of my favourite fairytales as a child! I enjoyed Christine Pope’s, “Welcome to Skullcrusher Mountain” (see my review earlier this month) and Dragon Rose (Tales of the Latter Kingdoms #2) is a compelling read which has you rooting for a seemingly elusive HEA for the cursed Dragon and his Bride!

Dragon Rose is set in Lirinsholme, a town that forms part of “the Latter Kingdoms,” lands which have prospered since the end of the mage wars and the decline of magic. Rhianne, a potter’s daughter, is expected to marry well to secure the financial stability of her family and fund dowries for her younger sisters. In ages past, when sorcerers ruled, Theran Blackmoor’s form was cursed by a mage and he become known as the “Dragon of Black Keep.” The town of Lirinsholme, over which the Dragon presides, is bound to provide him with a Bride when he demands one to avoid the destruction of its property and its citizens. All know that marriage to the Dragon means certain death for the unfortunate Brides as none are ever heard of once they enter the Dragon’s keep.

Rhianne’s actions inadvertently cause a scandal, which threatens her family’s livelihood and reduces her chances of making a good match. The town also learns that the Dragon is demanding a Bride. Rhianne and all unmarried women between the ages of 16 and 20 are summoned to the selection, where Rhianne’s best friend Lilianth, who is affianced to her sweetheart, is selected, by virtue of her name being drawn. Rhianne volunteers in her stead, leaving Lilianth is free to marry her fiancé and ensuring that her own family is compensated generously for their loss.

Rhianne is immediately whisked away to the Dragon’s keep and married to Theran Blackmoor, the Dragon, who has the appearance of a tall, slender man, hidden beneath a cloak and a cowl. Although there is a wedding banquet of sorts, there is no wedding night and Rhianne is given sumptuous chambers, clothes and jewels to wear and is treated kindly by the servants. Theran even indulges her love of painting. Theran initially remains aloof from Rhianne, however, they slowly develop a friendship and Rhianne finds herself falling in love with him. Secrets abound in the castle and Rhianne embarks on a quest to get to the truth of the fate of the Brides and the curse. Rhianne is plagued by vivid dreams, the content of which she becomes obsessed with. She also hears strange voices and grows increasingly melancholic as she becomes terrified of what will be her eventual fate. All seems hopeless but the author manages to secure a HEA with an unexpected twist.

Rhianne is a wholly likeable heroine. Although self-sacrificing and modest, she is also unconventional and has a strong determination to find out the truth. Once she is convinced that the Dragon is not going to eat her, she becomes to regard the castle as home. Her attraction to Theran grows over time and she becomes drawn to him more and more as the tale unfolds, although she feels her love is unrequited as whilst she craves his touch he draws away. Theran remains a mysterious figure throughout the early part of the tale, although his kindness towards Rhianne is shown early on. We also witness him in his Dragon form on a number of occasions, which are terrifying to behold. We see that he grows to admire and care for Rhianne through his speech and  actions, but like Rhianne are left wondering at his reticence to invite further intimacies and to not reveal fully the details of the curse and what it means for his Brides.

The story is told from Rhianne’s POV, which enables us to experience her changing emotions, encompassing feelings of fear, pity, love and increasing desperation first hand as the story progresses. The descriptions the author gives of the castle and the town of Lirinsholme and the rest of the kingdom are vivid. Roses and the rose garden at the castle feature prominently, paying homage to the fairytale we know and love. I particularly liked the way the author’s descriptions of the castle and its environs were used to reflect Rhianne’s increasing melancholy towards the conclusion to the book.

I would recommend this novel to all those who enjoy a sweet romance, especially those who enjoy fantasy romances. I was intrigued by Christine Pope’s references to other parts of the world she has created and will be reading the prior novel, “All Fall Down (Tales of the Latter Kingdoms #1)” and the next instalment,  “Binding Spell,” the release of which is planned in late Spring this year, details of which are given on the author’s website. At the time of writing this post I noticed that the author also has details of some easy to enter book giveaways on her site, so it might be worth checking these out. if you think you may like her work

Copyright 2012 by Christine Pope www.christinepope.com

Published by Dark Valentine Press www.darkvalentinepress.com

Cover art by Nadica Boskovska www.theswanmaiden.deviantart.com

Cover design and ebook formatting by Indie Author Services  www.indieauthorservices.com

Reviewed by Tina Williams