First Wild Card Tour – Janalyn Voigt

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

 

 

and the book:

 

Harbourlight Books (December 31, 2013)
***Special thanks to Janalyn Voigt for sending me a review copy.***

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 

Janalyn Voigt’s unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and fantasy creates worlds of beauty and danger for readers. Beginning with DawnSinger, her epic fantasy series, Tales of Faeraven, carries the reader into a land only imagined in dreams.

Janalyn is represented by Sarah Joy Freese of Wordserve Literary. She serves as a literary judge for several international contests and is an active book reviewer. Her memberships include ACFW and NCWA.

When she’s not writing, Janalyn loves to find worlds of adventure in the great outdoors.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Elcon, an untried youth, assumes his duties as High King. But as trouble stirs between nations and rebellion threatens Faeraven, his position is far from secure. Can Elcon trust that the Elder youth accompanying Kai is the DawnKing, sent by the High One to deliver his people? Or has something gone horribly wrong?

Driven to prove himself, Elcon embarks on a peace-keeping campaign into the Elder lands, where he meets a beautiful Elder princess. But Aewen is betrothed to another, and Elcon has promised to court the princess, Arillia, upon his return. Declaring his love for Aewen would shame them both and tear apart the very fabric of Faeraven.

Elcon’s choices lead him into the Vale of Shadows, where he learns that to deliver his people, he must find redemption himself.

My Review:

Janalyn has a way with words. She’s created an incredible fantasy world with mystical creatures and intriguing characters. The allegory to Christianity is embedded throughout the story, but it’s not preachy in the least.

The first book centered around Shae and Kai and Shae’s calling to release the Dawn King. Wayfarer centers more around Elcon and his ascent to High King of Faeraven. As I read, the character of Elcon drew me into the story. He’s real and he’s flawed just like us.

While fantasy isn’t the normal genre I read, I did love the book. It’s a great read for a mature teen or adults.

 

 

Product Details:

List Price: $15.99

Paperback: 298 pages

Publisher: Harbourlight Books (December 31, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1611162920

ISBN-13: 978-1611162929

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Part One: The Bridegroom
1
Return to Torindan
An indrawn breath alerted Kai. Unsheathing his
sword, he peered into the shadows beneath a weilo tree’s curling tresses.
Nothing stirred.
“Show yourself!” His challenge rang through the
vale.
No response.
He stepped closer.
Kai. His
name sighed in a sudden wind that ruffled the waters of the weild. Morning
mists eddied above the river, but the leafy canopy over his head remained still
and silent.
Impossible! And yet he knew that voice. “Shae?”
With his heart beating in his throat, he pressed forward.
Beneath the weilo a many-hued light shimmered,
swirled, and took shape. Shae stood before him, her eyes closed as if in
prayer. Her unbound hair cascaded in burnished curls to her waist. Beneath her
scarlet cloak, she clutched something at the end of the fine chain encircling
her neck. The glint of silverstone between her fingers told him she wore his
locket. She opened her eyes and smiled at him. “Kai.”
But he backed away. “Are you some dryad come to
enchant me?”
“Please.” She held out her hands imploringly. “Stay.”
“Why should I trust you?”
“You have nothing to fear. It’s me—Shae.”
He shook his head. “I saw you vanish from this
world. Do you return by another gateway than Gilead Riann?”
“Gilead Riann is the only Gate of Life, but there
are soft places like this one where I can look into Elderland, if only for a
time. When I saw you near, I called to you over and over.”
Even as a spark of hope flared, he hesitated. “I
heard your voice once only, borne on the wind.”
She clasped her arms about herself and smiled,
although tears glistened in her eyes. “And yet you answered my call.”
“I love you, Shae.”
“No. Release yourself.” Her voice broke on the
whispered words.
The longing to take her into his arms left him
weak. “You ask more than I can give.”
“I can’t bear to see you suffer.”
“Then you must not look.”
Shae’s image shimmered like a reflection in wind-stirred
waters. “I release you.”
“Wait!” As he rushed toward her, she dissolved
into glimmering light that melted into shadow…
Jerking heavy lids open, Kai blinked against the
weak light tilting through swishing weilo leaves. His dream had seemed so real.
A moan sprang to his lips but died behind gritted teeth. Short, swift breaths
relieved the tightness in his chest. His mind, however, knew no ease.
He turned his head and met a pair of dark, rounded
Elder eyes. He let his lids close to shield himself from their penetrating
gaze.
“Kai.”
Emmerich’s murmur called him back from the edge of
thought. He rolled onto his side and pushed to a sitting position. His
companions, their shapes little more than shadows in the gathering mists of
morning, bent over their bedrolls. Behind them the canyon walls of Doreinn
Ravein rose into obscurity.
At the expression of pity on Emmerich’s face, Kai
balled his hands into fists and rode out a surge of heat. Shae might stand
beside him now, but for Emmerich.
As soon as the unworthy thought came, he pushed it
away and forced his hands to unclench. Shae had willingly traded places with
Emmerich at Gilead Riann. She’d sung her own death song by choice. And he, to
his joy and sorrow, had urged her on.
He glanced sideways at Emmerich. “Sometimes, when
the wind blows, I think I hear her calling.”
Emmerich’s eyes gleamed. “Perhaps she does.”
Kai waited until he could trust himself to speak
again. “She comes to me in the land of dreams.”
Emmerich tilted his head, and a lock of dark hair
fell across his brow. “Does she speak to you?”
Without answering, Kai bent and rolled up his
bedding.
Emmerich waited.
Kai sighed and looked away. “She tells me to wait
for her no more.”
“I see. And will you heed her?”
He dusted off his hands, lingering over the task,
and then glanced sideways at Emmerich. “At odd moments I expect to see her, to
hear her voice. I can’t stop hoping for a sight of her—looking for her return.”
The words wrenched from him in a rush. “I can’t release myself from loving her.
I don’t know how.”
“Patience does not spring from sorrow with ease.”
All at once, Kai laughed. “You have both wisdom and youth—a fearsome combination.”
“Those with ready ears often hear wisdom, even from
a youth.”
****
“Steady, Fletch.” Kai touched the neck of the
winged horse beneath him and looked out over the frothing weild, which fell to
rapids here. Sudden memory caught at him. He could almost see Shae combing her
hair on the flat-topped rock at water’s edge.
At a restive movement from the other wingabeasts,
Fletch shuddered in sympathy. Kai turned away from the wraith of memory and
gathered his wits before facing his companions. “Thank you for your faithful
service. Each of you went beyond duty. Although we–” He heaved a breath. “Although
we return without Shae, our quest succeeded. In that we can give thanks to Lof
Yuel, the High One, who has kept us in His care.”
He signaled Fletch, and wings rose to enfold him
like a feathered curtain. As the great wings lowered and they lifted on
invisible currents to the top of the canyon walls, draughts rippled across him.
At this height the mists thinned but would still hide their movements from any
stragglers from Freaer’s forces retreating from the siege of Torindan.
How would Lof Shraen Elcon, Faeraven’s new high
king, react when Kai returned without Shae? He put the thought from him and
focused, instead, on navigating the twists and turns of the canyons. They
emerged into a flat land as the horizon blushed and the shadows lengthened to
stain the eastern desert purple.
The ground folded and rose beneath them, and then
crested a rise. In the distance, past the broken peak of Maeg Streihcan,
swelled the hills that Kai’s people, the Kindren, called Maegren Syld. The
Elder nation knew them as the Hills of Mist. To the west, the kaba forest
stretched to meet sandy shores where the tides of Maer Ibris ebbed and flowed.
Torindan, fortress of Rivenn, perched on an arm of
rock thrusting into Weild Aenor, the wild river of legend. Kai caught his
breath at the sight. How long ago it seemed since they had left.
****
Raena Arillia stepped toward Elcon in the dance,
jewels and eyes aglitter. Her figure had softened since he’d seen her last, and
the luster of her golden hair echoed the glow of her skin. He captured her by
the hand and waist and turned her toward him. When she smiled at him, he forgot
everything but her beauty.
He clapped his hands in tempo, and Arillia swayed
in a circle that brought her back to him. Dainty, light on her feet, and quick
to smile, she reminded him of Shae.
Shae.
Elcon’s hands stilled, and his smile died. He’d
tried and failed to reach his sister with the shil shael, the hereditary soul
touch they shared. He could only hope she still lived.
Arillia’s smile faltered. “Are you well?”
Without replying, he offered his arm to her. She
took it without hesitation, and he guided her out of the crush of dancers
toward the leaping fire in the nearest of the great hall’s three large hearths.
Arillia’s parents smiled down upon them from the
dais at the end of the long chamber. Shraen Ferran and Raelein Annora had conspired with Elcon’s
mother to thrust Arillia and Elcon into one another’s company all of their
lives. No formal marriage pact existed, but he and Arillia knew they were
expected to wed. As children, they’d laughed at the notion many times.
With a tug on his arm, Arillia brought him up
short. “What ails you?” Such trusting eyes she turned on him, eyes of palest
gray. She knew him well, but he thought she did not guess he used her company
as a balm. In her presence, he found ease for the worries that tormented his
rest.
Her gaze probed his, but he glanced away, out the
tall window behind her to the fieldstone paths that cut through the lush sward
to the inner garden.
Ah, the garden. They’d often whiled away entire
afternoons gathering the roses that nodded beneath twisting strongwood
branches. Side by side, they’d dropped bright petals into the silken waters of
the pool and watched the water cascade in glinting ribbons from the tiered
fountain.
Elcon pushed away his memories and looked down
into Arillia’s troubled face. “Naught but shadows.”
Her expression registered her disbelief, but he
offered nothing more. For Shae’s safety, he couldn’t claim her as his sister.
And how could he explain to Arillia the feeling of doom that weighted him?
And yet, when he looked into the cool depths of
her eyes, he could almost persuade himself she understood. The thought should
draw him to her, but it only made him uneasy. Perhaps he and Arillia shouldn’t
spend so much time together.
“As you please, Elcon.” Irritation edged her
voice. “It’s clear you mean to keep your thoughts private.” Arillia stepped
closer to the fire and gazed into its depths as silence stretched between them.
“But I still wish—”
Elcon took her by the elbow. “Forgive me. I must
return you to your parents.”
Her eyes widened, but as he pushed her through the
crowd toward the dais, she didn’t resist. His perfunctory bow to her parents
included Arillia. He caught the glint of tears trembling on her lashes and
hesitated, but then hurried across the great hall. Arillia, and all the
confusing emotions surrounding her, would have to wait.
By the time he reached the main archway, Weilton,
the second guardian of Rivenn, had joined him. In Kai’s absence, Weilton had
assumed his duties as Elcon’s personal guard. Elcon answered the question in
Weilton’s light gray eyes. “I saw from the window a company of wingabeasts
approaching from the south. Kai and Shae return.”
****
Kai sent Flecht into a spiral and touched down
beside his companions on the arched bridge outside Torindan’s barbican.
Although they could have flown into Torindan, protocol and good sense called
for the guardians to land their wingabeasts outside all strongholds, even their
own, and obtain entrance in the usual manner.
“Who goes there?” A guard called from the parapet
above the barbican.
“Kai of Whellein and a company of weary travelers,
all friends of Torindan.”
With a rasp and screech of metal, the drawbridge
lowered over the moat’s dark waters and the barbican’s timbered metal doors
swung open.
As they passed beneath the iron fangs of the
portcullis, Aerlic drew his silver wingabeast, Argalent, abreast of Kai. Just
behind, Emmerich rode Ruescht while Guaron and Dorann brought up the rear. They
had barely passed through when the doors thudded shut and the bar clanged back
into its rests. Chains clanked, and the portcullis dropped with a squeal and a
thump, sealing them into the treacherous “walls of death.”
Fletch’s hooves clattered on the wooden
floorboards and rang when they found trapdoors above pits. As Kai guided his
wingabeast onward, bars of light penetrating through arrow slits in the outer
walls fell over him. With much clanking and screeching, a second portcullis
gave way, and they emerged before the inner gatehouse.
Kai, blinking in the sudden light, answered
another round of salutations. A small drawbridge lowered across a second
channel of the moat. More doors opened, and they passed beneath twin turrets
into a short corridor.
Footsteps, light and fleet, approached from the
outer bailey. With his eyes adjusting again to dimness, Kai halted Fletch and
his companions gathered around him. Two figures entered by the archway from the
outer bailey. “Kai. You return.”
Kai’s vision cleared, but he’d already recognized
Elcon’s voice.
One of the guardroom doors along the corridor
flung open and Craelin, First Guardian of Rivenn, stepped out, the lines around
his eyes crinkling from the force of his smile. Beside him strode Eathnor,
dressed in the green and gold of the high guard.
Kai dismounted and bowed before Elcon. “I’ve
returned, but without Shae.”
“Rise.”
Kai obeyed.
Elcon looked him over. “You’re too thin, and I’ll
warrant, weary. You look like a strong wind would knock you over. Still, I’m
glad to see you. Has Shae stayed behind with her sister in Graelinn?”
Kai swallowed his surprise at Elcon’s response. “Forgive
me, but I should explain in private.”
“Tell me where she is.”
Kai flinched. “She remains within the gateway of
Gilead Riann.
Elcon’s eyes narrowed. “What madness is this?”
“Only the truth, I promise. Shae went through the
gateway of her own will.”
“Why would she do such a thing?”
“So that Shraen Brael could enter Elderland.”
“The DawnKing of prophecy has entered Elderland?
But where is Shae?”
Craelin stepped forward. “If I may suggest,
whatever news Kai brings might better be given in private, Lof Shraen.”
Elcon opened his mouth as if to speak but closed
it again. “Yes. Yes, of course.” His glance slid past Kai and landed on
Emmerich, just dismounting. “Tell me, Kai, why you ride with this Elder. Has he
strayed from his path so far it brings him among the Kindren?”
Emmerich lifted his head. “I know well my path,
Elcon, Shraen of Rivenn, Lof Shraen of Faeraven. I follow it to you.”
“I don’t understand.”
“That is the simple truth.”
Elcon paced before Emmerich, his gaze a challenge.
“Who are you?”
Emmerich stood without flinching. “Are you certain
you wish to know?”
Elcon stared at him, but then looked to Kai. “Bring
him to my meeting chamber, and we’ll discuss these matters at length.” At the
archway to the outer bailey, Elcon shot a final piercing glance at Emmerich. “I
look forward to that conversation.”
Elcon went through the archway with Weilton behind
him. In the small silence that followed his departure, Kai drew his hands into
fists at his side. After all they had suffered and sacrificed, would Elcon now
reject Emmerich?
“Are you all well?” Craelin said near Kai’s ear.
Kai considered the question. “Well enough. We
sustained injuries besides the ones you knew, but most have healed. Some take
longer than others.” And some never heal.
“How did you and Eathnor fare on your return to Torindan?”
A smile lit Craelin’s face. “Well enough, also. We
reached Torindan in advance of Freaer’s charge and just managed to take away a
small group of messengers. We rode like the wind to summon the loyal Shraens of
Faeraven but had to dodge welke riders to save our own lives.”
“Ah.” An
image of dark riders pursuing through the mists of morning came to Kai. “We had
a bit of trouble with them ourselves.”
“If not for Eathnor’s skill as a tracker we would
not have survived to spread the alert.”
Kai nodded to Eathnor. “Well done. And so you have
joined the ranks of the guardians. I commend Craelin’s choice in you.”
Eathnor clasped Kai’s hand. “Thank you. I hope to
prove myself worthy of the company I keep.”
Dorann dismounted in one leap, and the two
brothers gazed upon one another with eyes that shone. At last, Eathnor dipped
his head. “You’ve healed.”
Dorann put a hand to his once-blackened eye as a
slow smile spread across his face. “In truth, I’d forgotten it.” He took in the
garb his brother now wore as part of the lof stapp. “Green suits you.”
Eathnor laughed. “That it does.”
With Eathnor beside him, Dorann led his dark gray
wingabeast, Sharten, through the archway into the outer bailey, where the
stables lay.
“Welcome back.”
At Craelin’s greeting, Kai smiled for the first
time since entering Torindan. But he also felt like weeping. “Thank you. I’m
glad to see you.”
The bright blue eyes nested more deeply in Craelin’s
face. “And I, you.”
Kai cleared his throat. “We should hurry, although
I dread facing Elcon again.” With slumped shoulders, he led Fletch after the
others into the outer bailey, where smoke hung heavy and the stench of charred
meat fouled the air. Dogs snarled and yipped, fighting over a bit of offal
thrown to them. A scarred wooden door hung open in a doorway, through which
emitted the clash and clang of cooking.
With Craelin keeping pace beside him, Kai took the
side path to the stables, which squatted across the sward from the kitchens.
Waiting for a groomsman at the stable door, he breathed in the heavy scent of
hay. Thudding hooves, soft whickerings, and calming voices drifted to him. A
lump formed in his throat. He’d forgotten what it meant to come home.
Craelin touched his arm. “Give it time, Kai. None
but a fool would think you gave less than your all for Elcon or Shae.”

 

Kai wanted to shout that his all hadn’t been
enough. He’d failed Shae, and he had failed Elcon.

About mdyer

Marcy G. Dyer is a Registered Nurse and suspense author. Like so many other writers, she began writing at a very young age. For information on her current and upcoming novels, please visit: http://www.marcydyer.com/books. Marcy is an alumni of the Christian Writer’s Guild and long-time member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She hosts a small critique group for ACFW and is involved in two other critique groups. As followers of Jesus Christ, Marcy and her family are active members of Crossroads Fellowship in Odessa, Texas.
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One Response to First Wild Card Tour – Janalyn Voigt

  1. Thanks for such a nice review, Marcy. I’m glad you enjoyed reading DawnSinger and Wayfarer.

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