This epic, brilliantly intricate series is like a family tree come to life with branches that stretch from the War of the Roses all the way to World WThis epic, brilliantly intricate series is like a family tree come to life with branches that stretch from the War of the Roses all the way to World War I. For me, to read it was to become absorbed not only in the characters of the family but in the character of England herself.
This is the kind of book that made me want to pick up my pen and start writing again and I'm sure I'm not the only one who has felt a little awe-struck by this series. I know people who are die-hard fans of her work but I just never 'got it' before now and I'm so glad to finally be a member of that club. I am really excited that Sourcebooks has taken the opportunity to publish her series from the beginning - I will definitely be reading along with the releases as they come.
One of the true credits to this book was the characterisation. Eleanor Morland, the fierce and resilient protagonist of The Founding, is both in equal parts a horror and a delight to read. It was not possible to always like or agree with her and at times she just seemed downright cruel (by today's standards) but at all times she was a formidable matriarch and a symbol of feminine strength. Cynthia Harrod-Eagles unveiled the light and shade of Eleanor's personality with such careful consideration that it's hard to believe she didn't really exist. This character lived and breathed on the page and I was engrossed with her story from early marriage to her eventual death - no one else could have possibly launched the Morland Dynasty series but the fiery Eleanor.
There are currently 32 + books in this series and even if that sounds daunting, I urge you to and pick up book one, The Founding. I hope that as I did, you find within its pages a story to captivate you and characters who will sweep you away to a world long past.
If you're a fan of Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, I'd love to hear how many books you've read and which one was your favourite. Leave a comment :)
PS Talk about prolific! Did you know that Cynthia Harrod-Eagles has written over 72 books? Check out her website for more info.
New York Times Bestselling author Allison Brennan dishes up a devilish tale with Original Sin, the first novel in her exciting new Seven Deadly Sins sNew York Times Bestselling author Allison Brennan dishes up a devilish tale with Original Sin, the first novel in her exciting new Seven Deadly Sins series. With demon-fighting and witch-hunting, this series is being touted as 'the next big thing' in paranormal romance and it certainly does shatter some of the concepts and storylines we've become used to.
For me, this was an enjoyable read and although it didn't quite set the page on fire the way I had originally hoped, there are plenty of readers who will find this novel hits the mark with them. For often times, it's the things that make a novel different or unusual that are the most admired.
The unique aspect of Original Sin comes down to the way Allison Brennan chooses to deal with magic. In this first book at least, all magic is bad and comes essentially from the devil and can only lead to evil. So with the heroine as an ex-witch she contains within her a deep and powerful knowledge of sorcery and has to remain firm in her decision to defeat her evil mother without it. I liked that Moira didn't just conjure a spell to get past plot obstacles and I think in this case, the restrictions the author placed on the character served to make her more resourceful and entertaining. You can tell Allison Brennan put a lot of thought into the character of Moira and it pays off.
One thing I'd really like to mention is that it took me approximately 60 pages to find my feet with this book - the writing was great but I wasn't quite sure what was going on. Then, around page 60 there's a flashback scene that really explains everything. Apparently, there is a short story that Allison Brennan wrote as a prequel to Original Sin and I think it would have been really helpful to read first. Alternatively, the flashback at page 60 may have served better as a prologue. I think it would have just helped me get into the story a little quicker and would've cut out the confusion.
The cast of supporting characters was fantastic - I really enjoyed the jaded, tough-talking demonologist Anthony and his feisty girlfriend Skye (the town sheriff). She gives you a perspective of many of the players in this dark and twisted game and it really deepens your reading of the book. I know that this novel only covered a small blip in the timeline so I can really see the plot getting a whole lot bigger and a whole lot darker before Allison Brennan is done with it!
Also, as you'd expect from a novel titled Original Sin, there is a distinct religious flavour to the book and I felt some of the concepts were borne of Christian ideology. You need to approach the novel knowing that it will discuss heaven and hell, good and evil as these are its essential themes. The author is skillful and she definitely does this tastefully so I don't believe it would really alienate any readers. This also ties into the fact that the novels are distinctly less sexual then I guessed they would be as the romance does take a backseat to the plot at times.
All in all the book really was enjoyable and I think you'll find it to be an edgy new take on the paranormal thriller.