By Jeff Parsons Published on: April 2, 2018 Blog Tour by: Blackthorn Book Tours
The Captivating Flames of Madness offers a wide variety of short stories that range from creepy and scary to also leaving the reader with a general sense of unease. But, amongst the collection there are several that also give you something to think about long after you’ve left the story.
If you’ve ever read The Hobbit then you know that dragons are intelligent creatures filled with greed as they closely guard their hoard of treasure. But time doesn’t stand still even for dragons and countries will begin to modernize whether the dragons want them to or not. So, what is a dragon to do when gold is no longer accepted as payment for goods or services?
I found about this book when I happened to run across a blog post by the author on WordPress. The author demonstrated a lot of enthusiasm for the story, which is what truly won me over into reading it. However, the beautiful cover didn’t hurt either.
Riyria Short Story by Michael J. Sullivan Published on: July 17, 2014
During the introduction of the audio book, we learn that this particular short story was part of the Unfettered Anthology. The Unfettered Anthology is a compilation of short stories donated by various authors to help Shawn Speakman pay a large medical bill due to his fight with cancer. He had previously had another form of cancer and was now uninsurable. Many well-known authors such as Terry Brooks, Lev Grossman, Mark Lawrence, Jennifer Bosworth, etc. donated their short stories and now there are multiple volumes of the anthology, which Shawn is using to pay it forward. This audio short story is currently free on Audible.
WHO WILL HAVE THE LAST LAUGH? Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A thief, a candlemaker, an ex-mercenary, and a pig farmer walk into a trap…and what happens is no joke. When Riyria is hired to retrieve a jester’s treasure, Royce and Hadrian must match wits with a dwarf who proves to be anything but a fool. Difficult choices will need to be made, and in the end those who laugh last do so because they are the only ones to survive.
This is a standalone short story of 7,200 words. No prior knowledge of The Riyria Revelations or The Riyria Chronicles is required to enjoy it to its fullest, making this a perfect introduction for new readers or a chance for Riyria veterans to spend a little more time with old friends. The Jester is a story of adventure, bonds of friendship, and a recognition that the choices we make dictates the future we find.
NOTE: This short story was originally published in the Unfettered Anthology edited by Shawn Speakman. It is also available for free in audio form on Audible.com, narrated by the amazing Tim Gerard Reynolds
I am a huge fan of Hadrian and Royce, who are two of the main characters from the Riyria books by Michael J. Sullivan. I love these two guys, their adventures, their wit and their banter. I would gladly read anything where these two characters are center stage. With that being said, this book technically falls after the TheRose and the Thorn and the before Theft of Swords, but is not necessary to know about these books to enjoy listening to this story.
The story starts with Hadrian and Royce falling into a well. They had been escorting two individuals, Wilmer – a pig farmer and Myra – a candlemaker and the owner of several pieces of a map that potentially lead to a treasure of some kind. After plummeting into the well they find themselves into a dwarven mine full of plenty of dangers.
It is suggested that Royce would have left the two a long time before the mishap into the well and forgone the money they were being paid. But that’s what you might expect from Royce. Truthfully, all any of them wanted was to find an exit out and for the expedition to be over. Eventually, everything comes down to decisions and choices they must make in order to move forward and still be alive.
Overall, I found the story entertaining and a decent way to listen to an audio book when you don’t necessarily have time or desire for a full-length book. The narrator was decent and told the story well, especially given the type of humor Hadrian and Royce stories usually bring.
Hostage of Empire Book 1 by S.C. Emmett Published on: October 15, 2019
I absolutely loved this rich, complex story, which is filled with what feels like a multitude of characters that each have their own motives and purpose within the story. The Throne of the Five Winds is simply beautifully written and one I whole-heartedly recommend.
Shades of Magic #2 by V.E. Schwab Published on: February 23, 2016
Have you ever liked a book or a series and yet didn’t like one of the main characters? I mean like really, really disliked a main character. That’s where I am with Lila Bard. I had trouble with her in the first book, but in this second book in the series my dislike for her has moved very far from just “trouble.”