Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Review - Shades of Virtue


Shades of Virtue

By: Jack Whitsel
Illustrated By: Ural Akyuz
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Publication Date: April 2014
ISBN: 978-1-60619-225-2
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: June 28, 2014

In the midst of a tournament to win the opportunity to rule the land of Rouvarre and earn the hand of Lady Basina, evil lurks at every corner trying to throw the land into chaos. Even though a jousting tournament brings together the bravest knights and gives the people a reason to enjoy the festivities, there is much more at stake than just winning a contest. The champion will not only be given the opportunity to better their life, but he will also play a pivotal part in ensuring the well being of the surrounding kingdoms.

Three such knights who are competing for this opportunity include Marcel, Lambert, and Aimon, who traveled together awaiting the chance to joust in this prestigious tournament. Each one along with forty-five other knights are introduced to Lady Basina at various social functions and all are cordial, but Marcel is completely transfixed when he has the chance to meet Basina. Marcel knows every other knight will be competing just as fiercely as he, but he can’t help but feel that he and Basina have a unique connection. Before this tournament is done he will have to overcome much more than just battling other knights. Marcel will face loss of family, past hardships, and evil magic.

While the excitement of the upcoming joust occupies the thoughts of many, three Dragon Maidens, Lucia, Tallya, and Dragana, are concerned with other problems as it seems sorcery unknown to them is working to manipulate the outcome of this important tournament. Ordinarily these three maidens would be able to sense any magic or witchcraft that was being conjured in the area, but nothing is revealing itself to them. Realizing that some of their powers are being blocked, the three Dragon Maidens know that they are likely dealing with magic much more powerful than they first thought.

The very first chapter of this book had me hooked as I was transfixed by the excitement of the joust tournament and then all of the secret treachery that surrounded the competition kept pulling me into the story even farther. Each phase of the tournament is wonderfully detailed, presenting the emotions and thoughts of the knights which allowed me to easily relate to the characters. In addition, the life in medieval times showcased in this story was in no way shown through rose colored glasses, but was presented in the raw way that a medieval enthusiast would enjoy. This book combined the intriguing traditions of medieval life with the fantasy of magic and witchcraft. With this combination the story was extremely exciting to read and had me turning pages as quickly as I could.

Quill says: This is an exciting combination of fantasy, magic, and medieval life.