I'm so glad to have read these 3 novels! Dragons, mages and magic, companions, love and even mysteries - oh yes adventures and battles. Oh so much fun in the wonderfully constructed and beautifully described world. Well done!
I have to say i was rather disappointed by this final book. While still an enjoyable read, it had far too much unfinished business and too many loose ends to be the conclusion. It leaves me thinking that perhaps the author lost interest in the series.
Until this book, I loved the series. I found it creative and fun. However, this book completely sidelined the main character then ended without finality. Amazon says that this is the "epic conclusion" to the story, but I would love to see at least one more book to redeem the series. The Golden Vial doesn't really work as a conclusion, but it would be ok as a part of the overarching storyline.
Once again Thomas Locke has drawn me into fantasy land with his third book in the Legends of the Realm series. I find it interesting that I can get so caught up in a story like this even though I never recall going into a bookstore or library looking for a fantasy to read. Whether it is a diversion from my normal reading habits or something else altogether, I discover after starting that I don’t want to put the book down. In this case, something about an orphan girl who has a special bond with the wolfhounds bred and raised by her benefactor intrigued me. Dally was an unusual young woman who was human but had special powers. She did not understand them nor did she know how to control them. Within a short time, her life is turned upside down as she quickly advances from having visions in the night to having an audience with Queen Shona who has traveled to meet with her. As Queen Shona is seeking to save the realm, she has learned about Dally and her secret powers. Suddenly Dally is thrust into the limelight, what we would call being given a national platform today. Even though this book is written for a wide, general audience, I think it gives some insight into the effect of evil on modern society. Just as the people in the story who were basically good seemed to think evil would go away if they ignored it, we have many today who want to believe things will get better as long as we refuse to acknowledge that evil exists. But just like the story, we must take a stand against the evil and do our part to push back the darkness. I received a copy of the book from the publisher. This is my honest review. All opinions are strictly my own.
Loved it, loved it so much. Book 3 in the Legends of the Realm series. I read book 1 in early 2015 and book 2 in early 2016.
I highly recommend you read Thomas Locke's answer to this question. Open this link in a new tab so you don't loose the rest of my review... come back and finish reading here... <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/questions/179187-where-did-you-get-the-idea-for-your-most">Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?</a> His most recent book happens to be "The Golden Vial". His answer is the reason why he has had so much success as a writer and especially with his fantasy/Christian fiction under his pseudonym. Oh, My! I love his writing.
Well thought out, well planned. Extremely well written. Creative. Like nothing else I have ever read. Drawing you in. Making the book impossible to put down.
This book continues the series, but starts with an unknown main character, someone knew on the scene. Dally works for the mayor and his wife in the village of Honor. She lost her family in a fire and came to live with the mayor. His wife Krim, however, is impossible to work for. Dally has no choice, she has no family, no money and no where else to go, so she endures the job the best she can and spends a lot of time with the wolfhounds the mayor raises.
I know this series well enough to expect some interesting abilities from the characters in the book. Dally has a secret gift, she can reach out to the wolfhounds and smell what they smell and sense what they sense. She can reach out from her spot in the holding pen with the dogs and tell what is going on in the village. She has also been having dreams, no not really dreams, visitations. She knew Shona was real and that she was coming to Honor. The town had been cut off from the world for almost 2 years. The arrival of an army is alarming and there is not much time, Shona and the army arrive at dawn.
Lady Edlyn, the new Mistress of the Long Hall of the Three Valleys tests Dally's abilities. First she test her with the dogs, she passes that quickly. Then they look for a sign. "Oh, you mean the candles." (skip down the page) "Dally went on, 'Then they speak to me.' Both mages froze. 'I'm sorry. They speak?' Edlyn asked. 'They did. Before these dogs came. Not in words. But...' Dally looked fro one face to the other. 'Did I do something wrong?' 'Lass, let me assure you of this one thing. Whatever events that have filled you with such fear are now behind you.' Something broke within Dally. She could no more hold back the tears than stop her own breath." (pg 30) "'Did I draw the beast that killed my family?' 'If you will please straighten up and look at me, I will answer you. Thank you. Dally, I will never lie to you. Even when the truth is at its most painful, you can trust me to be both direct and honest. The answer is, your talents are so remarkable it is possible they were noticeable to our foes. But I very much doubt this. Latent powers are invisible to even our most sensitive adepts." (pg 31)
So, now we find the basic plot of this book. The beasts have been tormenting the surrounding countryside and towns. They are a fierce enemy. The new mistress has come with her army to protect the citizens. Dally and her gifts will have a part in the upcoming battles. But there is more. Hyam, our hero from books one and two, has been struck by a terrible illness and cannot be awakened. Who will help them save him? Does Dally with her untrained talents and powers have what it takes to help the army defeat these gigantic beasts? Will the mages find out what is wrong with Hyam? Can they save him before it is to late?
Battles, powers, gifts, mages, wolfhounds and terrible beasts. Could anything be worse? Yes, but I won't tell you what you will have to read the book to find out the details.
"Who was she really? What did she seek to do with her life? Her past had been stripped away, the prison of her former existence gone. She was free, and yet Dally did not know what the word even meant. What course did she wish to chart for herself? She found herself struggling not to weep, though many of those gathered here bore tear-streaked faces. She was wracked by a sorrow that made no sense. She had a purpose. She had gifts. Her life held meaning. Should she not be thrilled? Where was the joy? In the silent, sunlit warmth, Dally realized she had no idea what she wanted. The confusion was as powerful as guilt, though she had done nothing wrong. She felt herself being reshaped by the questions as though images that had not yet appeared required her to ask what she had spent years fleeing. Worst of all was the simple fact that she did not even know her own name." (pg 102-103
Purpose. We all seek a purpose for our lives. Why was I put here, in this time and space? What does God want of me? This we, like Dally, seek to find. Purpose for our lives.
"The longer she focused upon this heart's light, the clearer Dally saw beyond her trapped state. For the first time she glimpsed a realization all her own, a purpose large enough to justify the hard life she had known. Here was an objection so gigantic, it made her years of lonely toil not just bearable, but necessary. She had <i>never</i> given up. Wept, yes. Ached and sobbed and experienced hardship, most certainly. All for this moment." (pg 178)
What moment... I can't tell you that it would give away
Some day I hope to find the same thing Dally did. A purpose for all my suffering... all my families suffering. In the meantime I will continue on. I will not give up. I have wept, many times. I am sure I will weep again. I have ached and sobbed like Dally, but I have not given up, and I will not give up now. It may be I don't know why things happened until heaven. Until then I will keep on and try to serve my Lord, my family and my community.
Do you want to know what happens to Dally? Do they save Hyam? Read and find out. I highly recommend this book and if you haven't read the series start with book one. This series is great. I am pretty sure I heard that book four is on the way soon.
Note: I was sent this book for free for me to review. My thoughts and review are honest and not influenced by the fact that I received the book for free.
<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/152458-ultimate-popsugar-reading-challenge">Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge</a> prompt(s) – A book that's published in 2018