Reviews on my books:
"Stirring Sagas" review done by author Mysti Parker November 29, 2011
Four stories comprise this anthology of fantasy tales, each with themes of love set against war and treachery. I'll list the reviews of each
of the stories below:
Princess of Varik takes us to the kingdom of Fragia, where the Viking-like Prince Evan, fifth son of King Grieg, the Hammer is sent to the Arabesque land of Varik to woo Princess Siria and make her his bride. I particularly loved Evan's humble nature. He's been brow beaten by his older brothers so long that he knows how to handle himself in battle and how to treat others the way he wants to be treated. He respects his father enough to follow his wishes, even though he has to risk his life to do so. I had mixed feelings about Princess Siria. She seemed an odd mixture of both weak and stubborn, but I did empathize with her when she had to endure a traumatic event. The story up until the end was fairly strong, but it left me unsatisfied. I think it might be leading up to a sequel, but I wanted that yummy feeling of loose ends tied, characters where they needed to be, etc, and it didn't quite happen for me.
Orbis Veritas takes place on a newly discovered, thought-to-be-uninhabited planet. Dillon Craig is a brilliant scientist and explorer, a man one might call a "nerd." He's been unlucky in love, so to mend his broken heart, he sets out to discover what he can about the planet's extinct society. He ends up getting much more than he bargained for. In this one, I felt bad for Dillon. He deserved better than his love interest, Trina, who came across as shallow and fickle to me. In fact, I was rooting for him to end up with the alien woman he found instead. In this one, I didn't really connect with any of the characters as much as I wanted, but it was an interesting story of alien technology gone haywire.
In Battle Master, a super-warrior by the name of Torik is shipwrecked on a primitive planet and must face the most challenging foe he's ever come across-a woman who won't take no for an answer. Alana is as persistent as Torik is militant, and the two of them combine to make the beginning of this story a laugh-out-loud, fun read. Things get more serious though, after Torik surrenders his heart. When his old comrades finally locate him, he learns there is much more at stake now that he loves someone. This one had some very poignant moments at the end. I think Alana was my favorite heroine out of all four of these stories. She knew what she wanted and didn't back down, even in the face of death. Torik developed well and became a much better man by the end of the story.
Family Lost was a poignant journey about young Crown Prince Falen, who's had to endure strenuous battle training his entire life, without the love and support of his family. All he knows is that his mother left his father and abandoned him after he was born, and that his father all but disowned him. He blames his very existence for his neglect, but unlike other stories in which the scorned child might take revenge, Falen remained a humble and steady man, though women confuse him to no end. What I liked most about this story are the lessons we can learn about perceptions-sometimes things aren't what they appear to be. There's always more to the story, and it was a touching experience to see Falen learn that for himself. The ending was a good one, and well-fitting to end this anthology as well.
Overall, these were pretty good short stories. if you love plot-based strories with an epic fantasy or sci-fi flair, you'll like these. For me, I would have loved to see all the characters fleshed out more, perhaps each story expanded into its own novella or novel. Many times, I had trouble connecting with the sort of "distant" feel to the POV and couldn't quite put myself into the setting. It's no secret that I love strong characters. Their development was probably strongest in Battle Master, though Family Lost was a close second. But don't take my word for it-grab your own copy and discover your favorites.
Love scenes are mild and non-graphic, but for the violence and adult situations, I'd recommend this book for adults who enjoy fantasy and sci-fi with romantic themes.
Mortus, Book I of the Faenum Quest" review done by Shirley Marie Vernon for
Pacific Book Reviews March 5, 2012
Mortus is a unique epic fantasy with high and dark fantasy elements. Author Dennis K. Hausker is realistic about the flawed and dark nature of society and allows this to come through in some of the characters he creates. But where great evil is found great good and virtue are also found. In this story Dave Cray and his comrades represent's this good. Dave is the hero who undertakes a hero's journey, but he is only following his intuition and has no idea he is now on a life-long quest that will culminate into an ultimate battle between good and evil.
Dave lived on Earth until his mother died. Soon after an unknown uncle visited and convinced him to travel to the planet of Faenum. Once there Dave feels overwhelmed, unprepared, and without skills to help him face the many challenges and dangers he finds in this dark and evil environment. Amazingly, he overcomes each and every trial. No one is more astounded than Dave at his ability to do this. He realizes magical powers are assisting him and his powers are getting stronger day by day. His father had once been a great wizard and lived on Faenum in the land of Mortus. Dave sets out to find Mortus and gathers a band of unlikely comrades who feel compelled to journey to Mortus with him. None of them understands why they feel compelled to journey with Dave, they only know they must.
When Dave first landed on Faenum he all but crashed into Jenna's camp. She's the missing prima virga of the Warlen tribe. Jenna has fled her kingdom because Ragar fought for her hand and won. He is evil beyond belief and she will not marry him. Jenna and Dave start traveling together and soon meet Selane the white witch who has left her sisterhood.. A giant mountain troll insists on protecting Selane and will not leave her side. Then there is Lissette, a supreme warrior elf, and her nemesis, Angus the dwarf: a funny pair they are. And, Graile is the master bladesman who teaches Dave how to fight. They become a family and even adopt a deathcat as their pet. The deathcat is a fearsome animal part cat and part bear. With his powers Dave tames the deathcat to obey his every command. "Bear" lets Jenna pet him like a kitten only to become ferocious again should an enemy approach the group.
Soon Dave falls in love with Jenna and wants to marry her. It's forbidden since he's not a Warlen. He's disappointed and often frustrated not knowing what to do about any of his problems. His powers keep growing until he supercedes his father as the most powerful wizard in the land of Mortus. He becomes a chieftain and a leader among the people although he doesn't really want the title. Everyone can see that Dave is a worthy hero-everyone except Dave that is. Often he's apprehensive about his life and what he should do next, but much to his amazement he's revered and loved by all. He gains the confidence of Jenna and her parents. He marries Jenna and is very happy, but the fate of the group remains unknown. They travel to the imperial capital city and meet the evil emperor and his wife. Along the way, they meet many other characters. It's difficult to tell who is good and who is evil. Where will they journey next? Will they overcome the evil that hunts them, the evil that is lurking there someplace just out of sight, just ahead, or just around the bend.
In Mortus Book I of this trilogy author Dennis K. Hausker has created compelling characters you come to love and wish for them a safe journey home. They meet dark and villainous characters that set the stage for an archetypical and confrontational battle between good and evil that will ultimately take place in this imaginary universe. Mortus is an epic fiction written in third-person narrative. It's a hero's journey complete with magic, swords, and sorcery. These are elements that will speak to the imagination of a broad audience of readers. It's a "must read" for those who enjoy epic, high and dark fantasy. Also those who want to escape for the weekend without leaving the house would enjoy this enchanted saga and find it easy to follow the odyssey straight into the second and third books of the trilogy The Gathering Storm- Book II of the Faenum Quest Series and The Faenum Awr- Book III.
"Mortus, Book I of the Faenum Quest." review done by author Tahlia Newland on April 13, 2012
Mortus is an epic fantasy about a witch, a troll, an elf, a dwarf, and a human, who set off to defeat an evil dictator with unbeatable magic power. Sound familiar? Yes, this is true to the traditional epic fantasy style.
What's a little different is that the central character, Dave (an unlikely name for a hero) is a man from our world. His mother has just died and his uncle, whom he has never met, appears and tells him that his father came from another world and that he is needed there to stop some great evil. Dave is a bit of a gung-ho innocent and he doesn't (a little unbelievably-I would at least pack a gun) require much convincing to leave with his uncle.
He travels through a void and arrives in the other world, having lost his uncle on the way, then he sets off to see what he can do. He happens to run into the other characters and one by one they join him. Initially, it wasn't clear to me why they joined him, or where they were going, but as Dave's power grew, I could understand his appeal. However, even after their goal was clarified, Dave didn't seem to have sufficient motivation to go to what people kept telling him was sure death. The fact that his uncle told him he was needed to stop the evil was enough for him to rush blindly into the dark fortress. Dave is either more courageous or more stupid than me- probably both.
This doesn't mean that I didn't like the character. In fact, I found his directness and naivety quite appealing. Dave is very much Jung's archetypical fool, not only in his foolishness, but in his openness and directness also have an aspect of wisdom. For example, he insists that the native inhabitants adopt the more enlightened earth ideas. He didn't come over as a zealos missionary, just as someone who believed that our ways are simply better for all concerned, so why not adopt them. The vagaries of his human speech also provided some quite delightful moments of lightness.
There is some very interesting mental magic in this book and the images of its working are quite powerful. However, I feel that Dave's abilities develop a little too easily. Perhaps the most interesting characters, apart from Dave himself, were the cannibalisitic wizards, and I liked the huge man-eating cat. I would have liked Dave to have had to work a little harder to make him tame though. The other characters I found a little two dimensional, and even given leeway for speech patterns of another society, the dialogue often felt stilted.
The book has clearly been well proof read and copy edited, but the writing style, though clean and fresh, sometimes lacks immediacy (it's a little too much telling and not enough showing for my taste). I also didn't like the story's dependence on coincidence to move it forward, and I felt that the characters often lacked sufficient observable motivation to do what they did.
Overall, it's an enjoyable story perfect for fans of epic fantasy. I give it three stars.
"The Gathering Storm-Book II of the Faenum Quest" review done by Shirley Marie Vernon for Pacific Book Reviews March 17, 2012
The Gathering Storm continues with Dave Cray, he's a prophet, an avatar, and a champion for good who becomes a legend. Dave and his comrades have left the evil Rajduki Empire. They all have had devastating experiences there, but forge onward with their crusade across the planet Faenum. They must unite the diverse and warring races in order to defeat the evil emperor and survive the imperial battle that is coming soon. It's a daunting task, as the people are hostile and have different cultures, morals, standards and belief systems. Dave and his small band of comrades worry they may not be ready for the ultimate war that looms on the horizon. When they are met with monumental challenges, Dave alone is undeterred. Against all odds, he provides benevolent leadership and wins the people over.
Dave unites people from the flat lands, the forests, the foothills, and the coastal regions. He carries the message he gave to the Warlen tribes and the Rajduki refugees warning all of mortal peril; the elves, the dwarves, the trolls, the Agia men, the sisterhood, and the confederation. "Join our mission or be annihilated by the evil master and his dark magicians," he said. The people worship Dave, but their hero is wounded inside. He feels awkward and overmatched compared to Wilphrus, a wizard from the first order and the King of the High Council. Wilphrus no longer looks like a gnome and he has great magical presence, carrying a thick staff of power with rune carvings. Dave wonders if he has lost his beloved Jenna to the brilliant shape-shifting wizard.
Faenum is filled with prejudice. It's a barbaric planet where the strong have no compassion for the weak. On Earth people pretend they care, pretend evil isn't real, but not on Faenum. It's a long slow process, but Dave accomplishes the impossible with confidence. Gradually the people come to accept the new order of life. They intermingle, learn new ways of doing things, while some marry their former foes and even "Bear," Dave's pet, has a family of baby deathcats! Yes, wonders never cease on Faenum, but Dave is sad because Jenna is no longer at his sidde and he has made a pact with Wilphrus not knowing what price he will ultimately pay for Wilphrus service.
The Gathering Storm is another fascinating read from the Faenum Quest trilogy. Dave and his family are beacons of light on the planet of Faenum, yet they realize everyone has darkness in them. Through his characters, author Dennis K. Hausker brings a poignant message that even moral, principled, and decent people possess elements of darkness. As with Mortus, The Gathering Storm is an excellent book for lovers of epic, high, and dark fantasy. Follow the champions of this story as they bravely continue into a cataclysmic battle between good, evil and an uncertain fate that takes place in The Faenum War-Book III.
"The Faenum War-Book III of the Faenum Quest" review done by Shirley Marie Vernon for Pacific Book Reviews April 23, 2012
In The Faenum War the trilogy will end. Dave Cray and his comrades have crusaded across the planet of Faenum for years. They've gathered and united the elves, the dwaves, the trolls, the sisterhood, the wizards, the Agia people, the Warlens, and the Rajduki refugees. People from all factions have joined Dave's effort-all except the confederation. That will change as this war will determine the ultimate fate of all who dwell on the planet. No one takes this mighty war lightly because it is Faenum's catacylsmic battle between good and evil.
Dave is a champion for good. He has endured so much during this quest; facing many setbacks, failures, affronts, impossible situations and, yet, he never gives up or shrinks from his responsibility to free the inhabitants of Faenum. Regardless of his internal or external wounds he refuses to let the people down. Author, Dennis K. Hausker, created Dave as a loving and caring epic hero who will die trying to save everyone from the evil that threatens their existence. After much bloodshed, atrocities and near defeat, Dave bravely goes forward to fulfill his destiny by facing the vile and evil master from beyond.
As a beloved spiritual leader, Dave sees more good than evil in all beings. This is demonstrated throughout the story as goblins, gnomes, ogres, black witches and warlocks come to battle their cousins. Dave offers them a chance to work for good in the world. He wants to change their evil red power to positive blue power, but few will accept a new way of life. They vow to kill him instead.
At times, Bear the deathcat comes to aid Dave during battle. And, Wilphrus is a wizard from the old order. He is as mysterious as ever bringing to life a killing creature that cannot be contained or controlled, not even by himself, Bear, or Dave. In the end the master kills the evil thing with a hearty laugh and a twist of his hand. One can only wonder if Dave can or will survive the master after this horrific happening. For all the outer battles that he wins, Dave feels he has lost Jenna for good and that is his true defeat. He loves no other woman like he loves her, but she's gone for two years. If he dies at the hands of the master it may save him from his own torment over losing her to Wilphrus.
Author Dennis K. Hausker delivers his first trilogy in classic epic fantasy style with Dave coming to the planet Faenum as an average person who grows into a worthy and powerful hero. His books are expertly written in third person narrative with many first person accounts. The characters of Dave and his entourage of friends are developed in such a humanistic way it is easy ro feel connected and endeared to them on a deep level. Dave and his friends encounter many trials and also subtle scenarios woven throughout the story that are thought provoking and reveal the author's deeper message about humanity's flawed nature and how important it is to forgive. Young and mature adventure and fantasy readers alike will want to add this exciting trilogy to their collection; beginning with Mortus-Book I, then The Gathering Storm-Book II and this grand finale, The Faenum War-Book III of the Faenum Quest and where it all ends for Dave and his inner circle, or does it? I think we will see more books in print by this talented author.