The King of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany

Title: The King of Elfland’s Daughter
Author: Lord Dunsany
Date Added: June 16, 2016
Date Started: May 16, 2018
Date Finished: June 15, 2018
Genre: Classic, Fantasy/High Fantasy, Fairy Tale

The King of Elfland's Daughter coverPages: 203
Publication Date: 1924
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Media: eBook/Kindle


The poetic style and sweeping grandeur of The King of Elfland’s Daughter has made it one of the most beloved fantasy novels of our time, a masterpiece that influenced some of the greatest contemporary fantasists. The heartbreaking story of a marriage between a mortal man and an elf princess is a masterful tapestry of the fairy tale following the “happily ever after.”


Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany was considered one of the greatest writers in the English speaking world during the 1910’s.  More than 90 of his works were published in his lifetime, but today he’s best known for The King of Elfland’s Daughter, a novel that explores life after the “happily ever after.”

The lord of Erl is told by a parliament of his people that they want to be ruled by a magic lord so that their land could go down in history, so the lord sends his son Alveric to fetch the titular fairy princess, Lirazel, who goes with him willingly.  As time passes slower in in the fey lands than they do in the real world, Alveric returns many years later to discover he has inherited the lordship after his father’s death.  Alveric and Lirazel have a son, Orion, and Lirazel tries to adapt to a mundane life, while still keeping some of her fae traditions.  Alveric; however, discourages this and admonishes her for her “un-Christian” ways.  He tries to make her less fae and more like the court ladies, but she is what she is.  Eventually, Lirazel uses the rune her father gave her, returning to him in Elfland.  Lovesick Alveric goes after her, leaving their son to be raised by his witch nursemaid.  Abandoning his kingdom for the hopeless quest, Alveric is eventually betrayed by his own men who hold him hostage and keep him from Elfland out of their own jealousy.  Meanwhile, Lirazel becomes lonesome for her mortal husband and son, and, seeing she’s unhappy, the king of Elfland uses up the rest of his runes to engulf the land of Erl, transforming it into a part of Elfland and bringing about half the wishes of the old men who wanted Erl to have a magic lord, but as the land passed out of the human history due to this act, no one in the mundane world would ever remember it or know.

This was…interesting, oddly interesting though the writing was so dry and plodding (a common “complaint” of classics).  You are still drawn into how it all will end.  Will Alveric find Elfland?  Will Orion heed the call of its horns?  Will Lirazel return of her own accord?  The story is a literal classic “Be careful what you wish for” tale with the elders of Erl wishing for a magic lord so that Erl would be remembered for its greatness, but in obtaining their desire, they lost what they hoped to gain from it.  Erl passed out of all living memory in its absorption by Elfland.  To this end, as well, all of the years of Alveric’s searching are washed away as Elfland finds him instead of the inverse.

The King of Elfland’s Daughter was incredibly hard to read at times.  If Soulless was endowed with dry humor, this novel was just dry.  The text functions more as poetry in the language used, as well as in how it repeats.  Dunsany frequently mentions “the fields we know” and “the fields we don’t know” to reference earth and Elfland respectively.  It’s not annoying, but the prose has a winding way about it that can be hard to follow if you’re not paying attention.  The value of this novel comes more from the foundation it laid in showing the modern subversion “happily ever after” is older than I thought.  The happy ending occurs in the first two chapters where the rest of the book is dedicated to the aftermath.  It’s the difference between conquering a kingdom and ruling one, which is not my most feminist metaphor, but it serves to show how enamoring a princess isn’t the same as maintaining a relationship.  Since this was published in 1924, over a decade before Disney’s release of Snow White (1938), Elfland proves that subversion of fairy tale tropes predates the mouse’s co-opting of them.

This is worth exploring for the sake of education, research, or posterity, but I wouldn’t recommend it to the casual reader.

4 stars.

The Bone Doll’s Twin by Lynn Flewelling (The Tamir Triad #1)

Title: The Bone Doll’s Twin
Series Title: The Tamir Triad
Author: Lynn Flewelling
Date Added: June 9, 2016
Date Started: March 22, 2018
Date Finished: April 30, 2018
Reading Duration: 39 days
Genre: High Fantasy

The Bone Doll's Twin coverPages: 524
Publication Date: July 16, 2001
Publisher: Bantam Spectra
Media: eBook/Kindle


Sometimes the price of destiny is higher than anyone imagined….

Dark Magic, Hidden Destiny

For three centuries a divine prophecy and a line of warrior queens protected Skala. But the people grew complacent and Erius, a usurper king, claimed his young half sister’s throne. 

Now plague and drought stalk the land, war with Skala’s ancient rival Plenimar drains the country’s lifeblood, and to be born female into the royal line has become a death sentence as the king fights to ensure the succession of his only heir, a son. For King Erius the greatest threat comes from his own line — and from Illior’s faithful, who spread the Oracle’s words to a doubting populace.

As noblewomen young and old perish mysteriously, the king’s nephew — his sister’s only child — grows toward manhood. But unbeknownst to the king or the boy, strange, haunted Tobin is the princess’s daughter, given male form by a dark magic to protect her until she can claim her rightful destiny. 

Only Tobin’s noble father, two wizards of Illior, and an outlawed forest witch know the truth. Only they can protect young Tobin from a king’s wrath, a mother’s madness, and the terrifying rage of her brother’s demon spirit, determined to avenge his brutal murder….


This novel is told from the point of view of the past where the prologue isn’t the precursor to the narrative, but rather the ending.  Since the first chapter starts with Iya, Arkoniel’s teacher, and we learn from Arkoniel, the POV of the prologue, that Iya is dead, we therefore know Chapter 1 occurs prior with only Arkoniel left to remember. Whether or not the wizard and his late teacher succeeded remains to be seen, but what they had to do in order to secure both Tobin’s safety and future from King Erius would torture anyone with a conscience for the rest of their life.

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The WIP Tag

The Tag Catch Up Project continues.  I’ve also been deleting some of the older ones that I wasn’t directly tagged in that are sadly out of date (like one for 2017.  I’m seriously that late, alas), so there’s less to get through, but you know a narcissist like me can’t resist talking about her own writing so here we are.  This was found on Pretty Deadly Reviews, which consists of a duo of bloggers who are both very pretty and very deadly exactly as they claim.  I’m glad they left this tag open for anyone to snatch up.

I’m working on several thing as most of you know, but for this I’m going to use the original novel I started working for NaNoWriMo 2017.  I’m hoping the more I write about it, the harder I’ll try to figure out when I can actually work on it.


1. What is the working title of your book?

The High Archon.  It was originally called The High Lord, but the character who owns that title is much more than a lord (high or not).  I usually figure out a title before I start writing, but this one might possibly change since the story’s focus is technically on another character, but the titular one is important, too.  I’ll make that determination when I start writing.

2. Where did the idea come from?

This story is the reason I wrote The Broken Rose to go into overdrive on the horrible paradigm I needed to write about, but the characters have been with me for a very long time.  They’re from the first novel I wrote that’s still unpublished just in slightly different roles.  I love to shuffle around character roles and motifs.  It gives me something familiar to work with in different settings.  This may also be why I love writing fanfiction so much.  Creating “what if” situations for familiar characters is an enjoyable mental exercise.

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Half a King by Joe Abercrombie (Shattered Sea #1)

Title: Half a King
Series Title: Shattered Sea
Author: Joe Abercrombie
Date Added: July 14, 2015
Date Started: May 27, 2017
Date Finished: June 18, 2017
Reading Duration: 22 days
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Grimdark

Pages: 385
Publication Date: July 3, 2014
Publisher: Del Rey
Media: eBook/Kindle

Shares Paradigms With: Hamlet, The Lion King, ASOIAF, Radiance (Wraith Kings), An Ember in the Ashes


“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”
 
Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.
 
The deceived will become the deceiver.
 
Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.
 
The betrayed will become the betrayer.
 
Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.
 
Will the usurped become the usurper?
 
But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.


If life has taught me one thing, it’s that there are no villains. Only people, doing their best.

Prince Yarvi lives in a society very similar to the Ironborn of George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire: harsh, cruel, and unforgiving of weakness.  They follow Mother War, eschew Father Peace and present a juxtaposition within the two ideals, as the mother or feminine side is usually associated with tranquility whereas war and battle are typically portrayed as masculine.

Seriously…you don’t get much more “masculine” than this, and he’s literally the God of War.

As the second and youngest son of King Uthrik, Yarvi had neither hopes nor ambitions for the throne.  He was meant for the ministry, studying under Mother Gundring, where having only one good hand would make no difference.  Yarvi’s bitterness bleeds on the page, because he cannot live up to his culture’s expectations, and neither of his parents let him forget this.

A man swings the scythe and the ax, his father had said. A man pulls the oar and makes fast the knot. Most of all a man holds the shield. A man holds the line. A man stands by his shoulder-man. What kind of man can do none of these things?

I didn’t ask for half a hand, Yarvi had said, trapped where he so often found himself, on the barren ground between shame and fury.

I didn’t ask for half a son.

His mother isn’t much better in the beginning.  She has nothing but scorn for her disabled child, but considering their culture, his parents’ behavior makes perfect sense.  It doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but rather is a product of the harsh climate and culture they live in, which could be overlooked through the lens of presentism. This is not to say that Yarvi deserves his plight.  He doesn’t.  No one does whether from ancient history or far flung future; however, his misery fits into that zeitgeist, and his reaction to the emotional abuse and gaslighting is timeless.

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The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1)

This is one of the many articles/review that I have reblogged from Caffeine Crew, the collaborative geek blog I write for.  I am in the process of truly posting these here on my personal blog.  While they will be edited for any prior missed errors, I will not be really updating them beyond that so some information could potentially be outdated, erroneous, or defunct.
This is the review of the first book in The Kingkiller Chronicle Series.  The review of book 2.5 can be found here.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things (KC #2.5)–>

“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. The story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”

“The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.”

The Name of the Wind CoverPatrick Rothfuss’s novel The Name of the Wind follows the tale of Kvothe, a man who holds his silence as readily as he keeps his inn. Like many a mundane character, Kvothe is far more than what he seems and this is the story of his life told in the frame of Chronicler’s dictation for the world to finally know. The world of Name is currently as tumultuous as the innkeeper whose tale is revealed. Set in the quaint villages and towns of that amorphous medieval age, demons and fell things are afoot, and in the midst of this Kvothe’s story is laid out and somewhere in between they entwine.

Drawing both reader and storyteller back into the past, Kvothe recounts his earlier years, and the events that led him to the great university to study the truth behind the mythical and mysterious Chandrian, a race of beings once thought legend in this word now wreaking havoc in both story and meta story. Through his adventures and misadventures, he manages to make a dangerous enemy, both impress and annoy the university’s masters, rise through the ranks of novices, prove himself a master musician, navigate life through the heavy veil of poverty, and find infatuation with the opposite sex. A good portion of his time is spent of pursuit of one woman, but despite all of his talents, Kvothe seems positively defective when it comes to that.

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