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Serengard #1

Coldness of Marek

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Serengard has been under Orion rule for centuries — centuries of insufferable adherence to laws and traditions that its people no longer believe in. Raised by her scholarly grandfather in the fiery southern city of Neroi, Trzl is dedicated to turning the monarchy into a free society where knowledge is king and no one has to be subject to the whims of an Orion.

As the rebellion escalates, her choices have an eerie impact on the revolution at large, elevating her to a position of influence she has only dreamed of attaining. But there are downsides to her new power that entangle her in a dangerous web of emotions, appearances and alliances. Even as she plays to the attractions of Hodran, a rich nobleman who wants to aid her cause, she is drawn to Mikel, a loyalist farmer who hates the rebellion but just might be winning her heart.

By the time Trzl realizes she is in too deep, she has an infant son and a dark mess of betrayal and lies. She runs to the furthest corner of the kingdom in hopes that she will be left alone with her child, but she has created too many demons. A figure she once trusted will take her captive in the chilling Cliffs of Marek, throw her back into the political upheaval she helped create, and leave her at the mercy of a man she never wanted for an enemy.

290 pages, Paperback

First published March 1, 2012

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About the author

Rachel O'Laughlin

4 books11 followers
Rachel O’Laughlin grew up writing adventure stories on an archaic laptop that only ran one program, couldn’t connect to the internet, and died every few days—which provided a nice excuse to use a typewriter in the middle of an epic murder scene. After high school, she pushed novels to the backburner for immersion in the arts, touring with her band, and a hands-on education in sustainable living. At last she admitted to herself that she missed her first love and returned to fiction full time. She lives in New England with her husband and two kids, listens to The Fray, and drinks too many lattes. Two novels in her SERENGARD fantasy series have been released, and a third is scheduled for December 2014.

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Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews
3 reviews
June 10, 2012
First of all, this is my first Goodreads Giveaway win, so I was pretty excited to receive it.

Pros:
I thought it was a good storyline. I was impressed by the imperfection of the protagonists. No one is perfect, and neither were the main characters. They made flawed decisions and said things (or didn't say) some things that drove you crazy.

Cons:
It was a strange writing style-- one that I'm certainly not used to. For instance, sometimes there would be question marks at the end of questions and sometimes there wouldn't be. It must have been on purpose, but it just make it look sloppy.
There was also a pretty large gap in the development of the relationship between the two main characters. It went from zero to 60 in no time flat. I could have used more development.
Profile Image for Debra.
94 reviews27 followers
November 25, 2012
Beautifully written fantasy book. I really enjoyed reading this tale of the lives of Trzl, Malcolm, and Lord Marek. The characters are so deeply intertwined, yet easily understood. The richness of the landscape is brought out so you feel that you are there, this is truly a fantasy book that draws you in to another world. Really amazing. I am very thankful to have won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway!
Profile Image for Mara Valderran.
Author 6 books72 followers
August 2, 2013
I haven't felt this immersed in the world of a book in a long time. Rachel O'Laughlin's attention to detail is amazing. She doesn't spend pages upon pages describing the world to you, but does an excellent job of letting you see it all through each character's eyes. The changes in POV were fluid, the overall voice never faltering, but still giving you a feel for the differences in the characters and their views. There were times I would come back from a reading break and forget that the story wasn't written in first person because of how strong of a feel I had for the characters, particularly Trzl.

The story has a great build, right from the action at the beginning. The intensity never seems to let up as you piece together what happened in the 10 years since Trzl and Mikel first met. I love the changes you can see in Trzl from that stubborn and somewhat naive rebel using her feminine wiles to aid the cause she so believed in, to the protective mother she is today, willing to anything and everything to keep her child safe.

Reading the fight scenes felt like watching a dance. They were easy to follow, but not mechanical in any way. Some writers can get a little too caught up in the action, making the fights too busy. But Rachel did an excellent job writing descriptions that might cause you to wince, but not scratch your head in confusion.

The romantic undertones were very well written and distinguished from the usual cliches you might find in fantasy novels. Trzl is not a damsel in distress by any stretch of the imagination, and Mikel is very much so the reluctant hero. The conflict between these two somehow manages to play a minor and major role in the overall story. It is a card that is never over-played by Rachel, which made the story all the more enjoyable. There might not be any actual hope for these two to get together with everything that has happened, but watching them fight against their own hearts is very compelling.

I was also very pleased with how Malcolm was written. He's a brave young boy instead of one hiding behind his mother's skirts. I loved how tough and intelligent he is. He picked up on a lot more than the adults gave him credit for, with the exception of perhaps Marek. The minor characters were all very well distinguished from one another, with their own sets of goals and problems. The twist with Tev really caught me offguard, which was great.

There isn't a dull moment in this book. Every chapter, every scene--something is always happening. I really can't sing enough praises for this book. I can't wait to see what happens with the sequel!
Profile Image for Sharrice.
1,187 reviews64 followers
August 13, 2013
See original review and author interview here on my blog.

I received a copy of Coldness of Marek for an honest review.

Trzl has been a part of the rebellion since she could remember. Under the wing of the leader, Trzl’s grandfather Trzl feels very strongly about the cause to remove all the Orion’s from rule. At a meeting one night she meets Mikal who Trzl immediately falls for, but their beliefs are different and those differences separate them by worlds. Still the two can’t stay away from each other. When the time for the rebellion to strike comes Trzl tries to save Mikal and ends up finding his true identity, the Prince. Now Trzl must flee and runs into the arms or Mikal’s enemy. For ten years Trzl believes Mikal dead and tries to move on with her child and away from the new rulers. When Trzl and her son Malcolm are kidnapped and taken into the mountains their capture is someone Trzl never thought she’d see again someone who was supposed to be dead. Mikal or rather Lord Makal is not the same man Trzl knew so long ago and with secrets and lives keeping them apart Trzl must do everything she can to protect Malcolm. When Malcolm is kidnapped and sold back to the people Trzl was running from it’s up to Mikal to save her son but he may not make it out of the city alive this time.

I had such high hopes for Coldness of Marek but alas this book did fall short of expectations. Throughout the entire story I was completely lost. I felt there were so many characters, places, name of things, traditions, plans and just overall everything revolving around this story that I had a hard time keeping track. Another thing is the point of view, throughout most of the story I had absolutely no idea whose pov was being told. Almost every character got their pov told I think and I wish there had been some indicator as to whose perspective was being told. None of the characters were all that relatable but I did like Trzl the most out of the characters even those she was selfish and rude most of the time.

Overall, Coldness if Marek had many flaws but regardless I would still like to know what happens next with Malcolm, Trzl, and Mikal/ Marak. I feel as if Coldness of Marek is definitely one of those love it or hate it books. I hope everyone will at least check this book out.
Profile Image for Hafsah Faizal.
Author 8 books7,286 followers
March 28, 2014
Serengard has been under the rule of Orion for centuries. And now the people are rebelling. They shall overthrow the Royal Family.

Trzl, grandaughter of Otreya the leader of the rebellion, is one of many that wishes her people were free of the laws. Enter Mikel, the mysterious loyalist farmer, who seems to be intent on changing her mind on the King and the rebellion. Before long Trzl finds herself alone in a tangled web of betrayals, danger, and heartbreak.

Woah, Rachel O’Laughlin knows how to write an epic fantasy novel. She is a pro. The characters, the world, the plot – COLDNESS OF MAREK was epic.

I will admit that before going in to COLDNESS OF MAREK, I was highly expecting it to be boring—I mean first of all, the main character already has a son and second of all, I’m not really a big fan of that cover. But Rachel O’Laughlin’s writing style is unique and entirely different from many other books I’ve read. And the plot had a lot of up and downs.

Read Asma's Full Review Here
Profile Image for Darci Cole.
Author 3 books245 followers
August 10, 2013
If you enjoy fantasy, you will love the Serengard novels. They're set up in a way I've never seen before, and it makes reading them an adventure of its own. I've been privileged enough to already get an eye on a section of book two and a section of book three, and from what I've seen all three will make you love the characters, get you invested in an incredible world, and touch your heart for good... and sometimes ill.

As for COLDNESS itself, this is Trzl's story. I wasn't sure I liked her at first read, but because the story and the writing were so engaging I kept on. Eventually Trzl won my heart with her love for her son, and I was amazed at how much she grew and changed throughout her experiences.

I don't want to give anything away, but I will say this: COLDNESS OF MAREK ranks up there with my favorite fantasy novels. Serengard is a detail-rich land, and the characters (Mikel in particular) completely won my heart.

Overall, I loved it. That's all I have to say about that.
Profile Image for Crystal Clifton.
Author 6 books68 followers
August 28, 2012
I can sum this up in a short review, I gave it a four star because it kept you in the story in the lives of the characters but especially the main character Trzl. Living life running and fighting and not knowing who to trust is a big part of her life. I felt like I could see every detail of the book. I believe everyone should have a chance at this book for reading. I won this on goodreads and I don't know why it took me so long to read it. Thanks for such a great book.
Profile Image for Michelle Roberts.
304 reviews
May 21, 2013
4.5/5 Stars.

OK, I'm biased. I admit it. It's not perfect, but nothing ever is. All I can say is that this book, written by my lovely Critique Partner, is amazing. It was such a good thing to take down the old version. This is the rebooted version and it is sooo much better!

Great characterization, engaging characters and plot. I can't wait to see the completed version and read it yet again!
Profile Image for Savina.
141 reviews4 followers
October 20, 2013
This was my first Goodreads giveaway first reads, and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. The first few chapters were harder to start with but once I got into the plot with all it's twists and turns, I couldn't put it down. Wonderfully written and anxious for the sequel.
Profile Image for Brett Jonas.
45 reviews47 followers
October 26, 2013
I started this book, intending to read two or three chapters and then go to bed.

...3 hours later...

I finished the book and crawled into bed, muttering "why, Mikel, why?!?"

Yes, it's one of those books. I can't recommend this highly enough!
Profile Image for H. E. Gryphus.
32 reviews18 followers
June 19, 2013
I've been struggling with fantasy novels lately. Nothing has really drawn me in. Until this. I couldn't stop reading. Absolutely wonderful book. Loved it. LOVED.
Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews

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