Sarana and the Dark King by Ivy Keating


source: free review copy from the author
title: Sarana and the Dark King
author: Ivy Keating
genre: fantasy
pages: 268
published: March 22, 2021
first line: In ancient times, a powerful sorcerer played a trick on the rulers by creating maps with the location of tarilium, the strongest metal in existence.

Blurb:
The fearsome Dark King of Bounten, with a magical creature known as a Valomere by his side, is on a quest to find the rare metal tarilium. His brutal ways incite the powerful psychic Allani. But when news of his plans to invade the kingdom of Attaveer spread, a new opponent emerges—Sarana, the daughter of a farmer…or is she?

At birth Sarana was sentenced to death for her “cursed” white hair. The delivery nurse, Meriden, whisked the fair-haired babe to a loving home across the waters from Bounten. Her entire life she hid her appearance to avoid prejudice. Things changed when she discovered she too had a Valomere. She strived to learn the creature’s magic and master fighting skills with the hope of becoming a warrior. Her dreams came true when she was allowed to join the Attaveerian king’s network of spies–a group poised to help defend the kingdom from an invasion by the Dark King and his powerful army.

When word of the white-haired messenger reached the Dark King he vowed to stop at nothing to capture or kill his opponent.

The time for hiding is over.

Can Sarana save herself and her kingdom? Follow Sarana from death to destiny as she joins forces with psychics, Valomeres, and the power of inner strength, to defeat an evil king.


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My thoughts:
Sarana and the Dark King by Ivy Keating is an entertaining read centered around the Dark King, a gifted young woman named Sarana and the magical beasts the Valomeres.

The story begins Sarana is born with bright hair, infected eyes and a pale complexion all of which can be taken for a curse. In order to keep Sarana safe, nurse and healer Meriden whisks her away to safety while telling everyone the child has died. Meriden takes Sarana to her sister and brother in law who raise her as their own in Attaveer.

Without giving too much away, as Sarana grows up, the Dark King of Bounten continues to be obsessed with the rarest metal tarilium. Also woven into the storyline is the King wanting an heir from his Queen while keeping his mistress hidden on the side. The King’s mistress has a sister named Alani who is an oracle and who wants to take the Dark King down and free her captive sister.

As the plot twists and turns Sarana learns there will be war over the tarilium. With the help of her friends and her Valomere named Halo Sarana is willing to fight against the King and defend her homeland of Attaveer. It all culminates to an exciting ending where secrets are revealed and the story closes with the hint of more to come.

The story is brimming with adventure and the plot twists and turns made Sarana and the Dark King an engaging read. The author writes the main characters in such a way that you are drawn into the storyline immediately. I also enjoyed the imaginative world building. However, I would have liked further details as to some of what was going on. Specifically with the magical Valomeres and their powers because some of their abilities seemed unclear to me.

All in all, while fantasy is not my usual genre I enjoyed this one and I would recommend it if you’re looking for an entertaining adventure.

“The land in Attaveer was mostly flat with gentle rolling hills. It piqued her imagination when he spoke about the topography of his kingdom. There were mountains and waterfalls that spilled into rapids. He also told her about the native animals, like bears and caribou.”- 26% Kindle app, Sarana and the Dark King


“The oracle never liked the king of Bounten. His policy on metal taxes caused too much suffering, but now his behavior affected her personally. With Whisper curled up on the floor next to her, she could read him well. Tonight, she learned about his plans to trick the kingdoms and prepare his army to invade Attaveer.- 58% Kindle app, Sarana and the Dark King


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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I received a free copy of Sarana and the Dark King by Ivy Keating from the author in exchange for my honest thoughts. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

Book Spotlight: Any Dumb Animal by A.E. Hines




Good morning all. I hope you are enjoying these summer months and reading good books. Today I am spotlighting a poetry book called Any Dumb Animal by A.E. Hines.

With every pre-sale purchase of Any Dumb Animal by A.E. Hines between June and November 2021, a group of anonymous donors will match dollar for dollar each sale and donate it to The Trevor Project.

The Trevor Project was founded in 1998 and is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.

The publisher also is offering a limited time advanced sale price of $8.50 + shipping. Order here: https://mainstreetragbookstore.com/product/any-dumb-animal-ae-hines/

About the book:
Any Dumb Animal (Main Street Rag, 2021), the debut poetry collection by AE Hines, presents a memoir-in-verse as told by a gay man raised in the rural South who comes of age during the AIDS crisis. Flashing back and forth in time, a cast of recurring characters and circumstances are woven into a rich tale of survival and redemption, exploring one man’s life as a queer son, father, and husband, over a span of more than thirty years.



Advance Praise:
“This compellingly candid work speaks the language of courage, of breath-taking transcendence. Finely crafted, it is a remarkable debut collection. Take note, world: a powerful lyric poet has emerged. Take note and rejoice!” ~ Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita

“I was amazed over and over at the bravery of these poems, never shying from the difficult moments in life, and all the while staying true to the clear-eyed, fearless vision of their author.” ~ James Crews, Editor of How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope

“With a strong gift for storytelling and an eye attuned to detail, Hines ultimately shows us the beauty and knowledge made of experience.” ~Richie Hofmann, Author of Second Empire



About the Author:
AE Hines (he/him) grew up in rural North Carolina and currently resides in Portland, Oregon. His poetry has been widely published in anthologies and literary journals including I-70 Review, Sycamore Review, Tar River Poetry, Potomac Review, Atlanta Review, Crosswinds Poetry Journal and Crab Creek Review. He is winner of the Red Wheelbarrow Prize and has been a finalist for the Montreal International Poetry Prize. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Writing at Pacific University. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

Visit Poetic Book Tours for details on the blog tour.