Thursday, August 15, 2013

Book Spotlight: The Coldness of Marek (Serengard: Book One) by Rachel O'Laughlin

Salut, Beardies!

A few weeks ago, we received an invitation from our friends at Fae Books to be part of a blog tour for a debut author, Rachel O’Laughlin. Rachel is currently touring the blogosphere with her novel, and she was kind enough to drop by The Bearded Scribe. Not only did Rachel grace us with an interview and giveaway for the tour, but she also gave me an advance copy of the book for review! I really enjoyed reading it and can’t wait to tell you about it, so let’s get to it!

Ten years ago, Trzl of Neroi and her grandfather were at the heart of a rebellion that sought to overthrow the strict class system and despotic rule of the Orion in the land of Serengard. Pursued by two men and quickly rising to power within the rebellion, Trzl went into hiding to protect herself and her son from the betrayals and political upheaval. But when she and her son are abducted and taken as prisoners to the Cliffs of Marek, Trzl is thrown on the mercy of a man who once betrayed her, in the midst of the mayhem she helped create, where nothing is as it seems and no one can be trusted.

Gems for Writers: 
World-Building. The first book of a series is the most important for world-building, and Rachel O’Laughlin’s is fantastic. She clearly establishes many aspects of Serengard, while leaving some world-building open to be done in future books. Chiefly, in this volume, we learn of Serengard’s political structure, and class system, both of which feed seamlessly into the atmosphere of civil unrest, creating mood and suspense as a backdrop for the story.

Conflict. Rachel O’Laughlin creates an intricate web on conflicts in this story, and uses them to their best effect. Past and present conflicts, both in the world and within the characters themselves, play off each other like ripples in a pond, so smoothly that it is barely possible to tell where one ends and the next begins. Some are resolved and others are not, paving the way for future novels and leaving the reader eager for the next installment in the series.

Smoke and Mirrors. There’s definitely more to Serengard and all of its denizens than meets the eye. A heart of gold may reside in a villain, a good exterior can hide treachery inside, and everything the reader thinks they know may be wrong. Nothing is as it seems and the reader rarely, if ever, sees the twists coming. This keeps the suspense building and the pages turning. It also makes the reader want to return to Serengard over and over, because there are surely new discoveries to be made with each re-reading.


I really enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series. Thanks again to Rachel for being with us today, and good luck to all who enter the giveaway once it posts!

Keep Calm and Scribe On!

***The Coldness of Marek (2013), by Rachel O’Laughlin, is published by and copyright Dublin Mist Press. It is available in stores, online (see above), and from your local public library.

***Per FTC Regulations: I received an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) from the author and was not compensated in any way, monetarily or otherwise, for this review.

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