David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party's Reviews > Moroda

Moroda by L.L. McNeil
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My first buddy read with TL, and wow, was it a good one! I'm so happy I was able to share such an amazing reading experience with her! :)

And now it’s time for another one of my trademarked…
”Book, you have the right to a speedy trial” reviews!

THE DEFENSE

- “Book, do you swear to tell an awesome story, the whole awesome story, and nothing but an awesome story?”


You know you’re in for a fun ride when the action literally begins on page 1! Once a member of a rich family (known as “Goldstones” in this world), Moroda finds herself thrown in prison simply for speaking her mind. Before she even has time to process what happened, her cell becomes a very dangerous place for her to be in when she realizes she’s sharing it with a notorious sky pirate and a ruthless killer. But it soon becomes apparent that nowhere in the world of Linaria is safe anymore after a dragon suddenly goes on a violent rampage, leaving a city in ruins and its people in devastation. In trying to discover why the once peaceful dragons have now turned against a world that has always revered them, Moroda finds herself thrust into a massive conspiracy and targeted by a growing army of aggressors. Now, to prevent an impeding war, Moroda and her band of allies must delve into the sins of their world’s past in order to ensure that Linaria has a future.

While the main storyline itself is an intriguing one, there is so much more going on! I don’t want to get into details, as it’s better to experience these plot developments firsthand, but there are many subplots and backstories woven into the main one. Every major character has their own agenda, some of which are occasionally at odds with the very people they travel with. And because there are so many plot threads being explored, this made for a rich reading experience. Some moments are sweet, others are shocking. I laughed many times and yes, even choked back tears at other ones. This novel is heartwarming at some points and heartbreaking at others. Exciting, entertaining, devastating, and inspiring, this novel is many things. In fact, the only thing the book never was is boring!

- “Please bring in your character witnesses!”

As captivating as Moroda’s adventure is, the people who accompany her in her journey are even more fascinating. They all have their own distinct voices and add so much personality to the story. There’s Eryn, Moroda’s feisty younger sister who insists “she should have been the older one”, and as formidable as she is at times, it’s hard to disagree with her. There’s stoic Palom and impulsive Anahrik, a pair of blacksmiths and weapons traders whose friendship is one of the bright points of the story. Sapora, an outright chilling assassin who often seems like he poses a far greater threat to the others than the enemies who are actually hunting them. Morgen, an Imperial guard who has a sense of nobility which leaves him horrified to be working with this group of outlaws. And Kohl, a battle-scarred warrior with quite possibly the coolest profession ever… that’s right, he’s an accountant, just like me! Okay, just kidding, he's not really an accountant (as awesome as that would be), he’s actually a dragon hunter… but one day I’ll get my wish for an epic fantasy novel starring a badass warrior accountant!

(I don’t know why some people think us accountants are nerdy, that simply isn’t true! Just look at how cool and adventurous these accountants are!)


Normally with such an eclectic group of supporting players, I’d say it was hard to pick a favorite, but that wasn’t the case this time. As interesting as all the characters mentioned above are, they couldn’t hold a candle (and wouldn’t dare hold a sword) to sassy sky-pirate Amarah. Armed with a sharp scythe and an even sharper tongue, Amarah not only steals as much treasure as she can store on her airship Khanna, she also stole my heart! Her wise cracks often brought some comedic relief as the dramatic events unfolded. I loved how strong and outspoken she was, but also that she did have a more compassionate side, which is seen when she and Moroda begin to form mutual respect for each other. I was very happy to see that a future book in the World of Linaria series is set to star Amarah, and I loved this character so much, even though her book isn’t due to come out for at least a few months, I already want to give it five stars!

- “Will the defendant please rise?”

With such a strong supporting cast, there’s always a danger that they could overshadow the star character. Fortunately, Moroda is more than capable of rising to the task of leading this story. Sometimes revealing the backstory of a fantasy world can feel forced, as it can appear that the characters are discussing things they should already be aware of. However, in this tale, seeing the world through the eyes of Moroda make for an excellent narrative device. As a Goldstone (Oh, how I love that term being used for the wealthy…how is it I’ve never seen any fantasy novel use that term before?!), Moroda had led a rather sheltered life, so it made perfect sense that she needed to learn more about her world’s history and cultures. I also appreciated how real she felt at times. While Moroda starts out with a strong spirit, she doesn’t instantly know how to wield a sword or a magical spell. In addition to learning about her world, she has to learn about herself as she progresses throughout her journey. I loved the sequences where Moroda had to train in order to learn various arts. The fact that she sometimes stumbles and has to push herself harder made her that much more admirable. True, there were characters here I sometimes found more entertaining (*cough* AMARAH *cough*), but Moroda remained the one I still cared about the most. Amiable, benevolent, and formidable, Moroda is an excellent example of someone who isn’t a born hero, she makes herself into one.

- “Let the record show, the world of Linaria has no legal precedent, it’s much too unique!”

There are three things I look for in a fantasy novel. A compelling story, interesting characters, and rich world-building. I’m happy to report that this novel does indeed feature the full trifecta! One thing that really struck me was how unique this world was. I’ve read books with dragons soaring the skies before, but this was the only one I’ve read where phoenixes seek out and trail those dragons. I also enjoyed the magic system as well, particularly the way it would flow through music at times. There are so many elements that are explored, from the history and abilities of the various people of Linaria (some of whom can even shapeshift into different animals), right down to the intricate details like the significance of the color of the gems some of them wear. L.L. McNeil describes all of this in such an energetic and clear fashion, I truly felt immersed in this world. The only thing more magical than the world of Linaria is the writing style of the author bringing it to life!

THE PROSECUTION

- “Is the person who attacked your castle in the courtroom today?”


While Moroda and her companions get many moments to shine, the villains aren’t so lucky. It’s not that the villains aren’t interesting, in fact, they’re absolutely mesmerizing when they do step into the spotlight. The problem is that they get so little time in said spotlight. Even the main antagonist’s motivation and backstory are actually told by someone else, rather than letting us experience it through the villain's own eyes or words. In those very rare moments where big bad Aciel and his chief general Jato do appear on the page, they are deliciously fun to read about, which makes it all the more disappointing that we don’t get to see more of them.

- “The dragons will take a short recess now.”

Although the second half of the novel flows very well, the pacing is a bit off in the first half. The book opens up very strong with the title heroine struggling to get out of jail, and the next few chapters race from one thrilling action sequence to the next. However, when the adventuring party reaches the town of Berel, it’s here that the action ceases for a while and the world’s culture and history are explored. While I did still find these sections fascinating, it seemed like the story would have flowed better if the action and world-building sections had been mixed together more. Fortunately, this gets rectified as the second half of the novel is more cohesive.

THE VERDICT

- “We the jury find the book… ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!!


“Moroda” may be the first novel by L.L. McNeil, but she already writes with the talent and imagination of a seasoned veteran. With its rich world, compelling storyline, and unforgettable characters, this book is a reminder of why I’m so grateful to GoodReads for introducing me to books like this. A must-read for any fans of the fantasy genre. But be warned, L.L. McNeil is such a gifted writer, she can really pull at your heartstrings at times, so make sure you have some tissues ready as you read this. Maybe one or two… boxes, I mean!


(Do amazing fantasy novelists like L.L. McNeil also own stock in tissue companies? Is that why they’re so good at make their readers feel such strong emotions? What do you mean I sound like a conspiracy nut?! You wouldn’t say that unless... you were one of THEM!!!)
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Reading Progress

June 27, 2017 – Shelved
June 27, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
June 27, 2017 – Shelved as: dashing-heroines
June 27, 2017 – Shelved as: fantasy
February 24, 2018 – Started Reading
February 24, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018-reads
February 24, 2018 – Shelved as: a-book-buddy-wrote-this
February 24, 2018 – Shelved as: buddy-reads
February 24, 2018 – Shelved as: read-by-kindlelight
February 24, 2018 –
1.0% "Today I begin my very first buddy read with TL,
the Queen of Awesomeness
! I'm so excited to be reading this book with her! Onto the world of Linaria we go! :D

"
February 26, 2018 –
10.0% ""You go and get yourself arrested the moment my back is turned! Like some common criminal! I'm sure I should have been the older sister!"

I'm sensing a little bit of sibling rivalry between these two! XD
"
March 3, 2018 –
15.0% "Pressing his ears back, the tiger bared his canines and roared before lowering his head and crouching down.
"Oh dragons above, he means us to ride on his back," Moroda whispered.


Chasing after a dragon on tigerback? Moroda is much braver than I! I would have reacted to the tiger more like this..
"
March 7, 2018 –
21.0% ""We have three moons now. The scholars would have you believe that our behaviour caused all Linaria to lose favour with this supposed Goddess who created us. Parts of Linaria were left shattered and the fourth moon disappeared."

That must have been some party to have an entire moon taken away! :o
"
March 13, 2018 –
29.0% ""Don't the Varkain transform as well?"
"The Varkain are fucking dirty creatures," Amarah said, still eavesdropping on the conversation. "Only snakes. That's all they change into. What does that tell you?!"


You're not supposed to let people know when you're eavesdropping, Amarah. You lack subtlety!
"
March 24, 2018 –
33.0% ""I think Amarah will have your hide if we keep her waiting."
"I'm not sure what's scarier, the thought of another dragon, or her wrath."


Definitely Amarah's wrath! I suspect Amarah looks like this when she's angry
"
March 27, 2018 –
38.0% "She felt the music as heat - it was fire, flickering and dancing, rising and falling, immersing itself into the very earth beneath her feet. She felt the aches slowly drift away.

I'm loving the magic system and world building! This is definitely a "don't talk to me when I'm reading" book!
"
April 4, 2018 –
42.0% "This book is so good! I'm tempted to call in sick to work just to read more, but I may have to put the book down if they check up on me


Maybe if I try to fake something really bad
"
April 7, 2018 –
46.0% ""It's such a cruel thing," Moroda replied. "They're... losing part of themselves. He's taking it from them. Time. Their hopes and dreams, memories and hearts."

"You should be a poet," Amarah smirked.


And that's why I love Amarah! She's so saucy. Her spirit animal should definitely be a cat!
"
April 14, 2018 –
48.0% "Topeko had filled the ship to bursting with food, drink, clothes, and books; more books than Moroda could ever read in a lifetime.

Everyone on GoodReads knows that feeling, Moroda! We go through it whenever we look at our "To-Be-Read" shelves!
(Doesn't stop us from adding more books, though!)
"
April 17, 2018 –
55.0% "As they approached the ship, Moroda exhaled, readying herself to join Amarah's ranks of thieves.

It will be very interesting to see how this plays out! Moroda is formidable but I'm not sure she's quite the master thief Amarah is!
"
April 29, 2018 –
58.0% "Jato flexed her wings, a cruel smile on her lips as she leered at Moroda. She raised her hand and spread her palm wide; blue-white light flickered from her skin, and she struck Moroda with a ball of lightning.

Poor Moroda! It's so demoralizing to get trounced before you can even enter the fight!
"
April 29, 2018 – Shelved as: dastardly-villainesses
May 3, 2018 –
63.0% ""Will you be joining us at the ball tonight?"
"Not my kind of thing," Amarah said, chewing on her lip as she leaned on her scythe."


This should be interesting! Amarah is very formidable in many things, but I suspect ballroom dancing is not one of them!
"
May 16, 2018 –
67.0% "Amarah slipped back into the palace, scythe and all. By the time she returned, her pockets were considerably fatter. The wealthiest of the ball guests would be staying in the palace. Amarah planned on making herself very rich indeed that evening.

Amarah is a master pickpocket!
Others, not so much.
"
May 19, 2018 –
70.0% ""I'd leave now if I were you, little Ro."

Did... did that just happen?! Wow, that was a shocking turn of events right there! :o
"
May 22, 2018 –
78.0% "When Moroda awoke, she was bathed in sunlight. She blinked several times, her mind very much alert as she adjusted to the brightness. Where was she? What happened in the battle? Her mind raced and yet her body was sluggish.

Racing mind... sounds like me any time I'm trying to get to sleep!
"
May 25, 2018 –
81.0% "Can't get into detail because spoilers are a tool of the Devil, but that was the best kind of plot twist right there! I was shocked, yet looking back I see the clues to the big reveal were sprinkled all throughout the story!

Well, played, L.L., I love a good plot twist! This pleases me (and Dumbledore)!
"
May 29, 2018 –
90.0% "Tacio was on the floor a moment later, so swift and sudden was Sapora's strike.
"I do not take kindly to being called weak, Tacio. Question me again and you won't live to do anything else."


Must be humbling to be knocked down so easily!
"
June 2, 2018 –
95.0% "He lunged at an invisible target, swung round and brought it down as though to cleave through a skull.
"I'm sure the Arillians will cower in fear."
Morgen dropped the sword with a clatter and looked up at the sudden voice.


How not to look impressive while handling a sword! 😂
"
June 4, 2018 – Shelved as: five-inges-because-inge-is-a-star
June 4, 2018 – Shelved as: favorite-books-or-series
June 4, 2018 – Shelved as: this-book-made-me-feel-stuff
June 4, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-27 of 27 (27 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Janna (new) - added it

Janna Marie Ohhh! I’ve been thinking about picking this one up. This mini-review already has me convinced that I need this book in my life! This baby is going straight towards the top of my TBR.. you said all of the things I needed to see in the mini-review.


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party Janna wrote: "Ohhh! I’ve been thinking about picking this one up. This mini-review already has me convinced that I need this book in my life! This baby is going straight towards the top of my TBR.. you said all ..."

YAY!!! :D I really think you'll like this one, Janna! Hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!


message 3: by Diane (new)

Diane Wallace Good review, David!


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party Diane wrote: "Good review, David!"

Thank you, Diane! :)


TL 😁 yay!


Jen ♥Star-Crossed Book Blog♥ Adulting is the worst! Blahhhhhh! Here' hoping life is back to normal now. ♥ And I'm so glad you loved this book so much!


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party Jen ♥Star-Crossed Book Blog♥ wrote: "Adulting is the worst! Blahhhhhh! Here' hoping life is back to normal now. ♥ And I'm so glad you loved this book so much!"

Thanks so much, Jen! :)


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party TL wrote: "😁 yay!"

It took a while, but my full review of "Moroda" is finally posted, TL! 😃


message 9: by Antigoni (last edited Jul 08, 2018 11:14AM) (new)

Antigoni David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party wrote: "… but one day I’ll get my wish for an epic fantasy novel starring a badass warrior accountant!"

Do you use the fantasy subreddit (r/fantasy)? I think there have been a few posts about that.
Also, excellent review!

Edit:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comm... (also links to a tor article)
https://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comm...


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party That’s awesome, I never even thought of Littlefinger in context with bad-ass accountants! I love it! 😂

Thanks for sharing, and for the kind words, Antigoni! 😊


message 11: by Kayla (new) - added it

Kayla Time for Leviathan Wakes now?! 😋🤞


message 12: by David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party (last edited Jul 08, 2018 12:35PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party Kayla wrote: "Time for Leviathan Wakes now?! 😋🤞"

Very soon, my friend! 😁 I’m halfway through reading “The Library at Mount Char” with Kristen (another book that’s absolutely amazing so far), and then I’ll be finishing up “Leviathan Wakes”! This has been a year of many incredible buddy reads for me! 😀


message 13: by TL (new) - rated it 5 stars

TL Great review!


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party TL wrote: "Great review!"

Awww, thank you! 😃


message 15: by Kayla (new) - added it

Kayla David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party wrote: "Kayla wrote: "Time for Leviathan Wakes now?! 😋🤞"

Very soon, my friend! 😁 I’m halfway through reading “The Library at Mount Char” with Kristen (another book that’s absolutely amazing so far), and t..."


Haha, no problem. Shocked you haven't flown through it yet is all, we started in January lol


message 16: by David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party (last edited Jul 08, 2018 04:35PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party Kayla wrote: "Haha, no problem. Shocked you haven't flown through it yet is all, we started in January lol"

HA HA! No one will ever accuse me of being a speed reader, that’s for sure! 😂🤣🤓


Mackenzie - PhDiva Books What a beautiful review!!!! I’m so thrilled to hear this was a 5-star books! I’ll have to check it out 💕


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party Mackenzie - Traveling Sister wrote: "What a beautiful review!!!! I’m so thrilled to hear this was a 5-star books! I’ll have to check it out 💕"

Thanks so much, Mackenzie, you're very kind! :)


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party TEQUILA SHOTS & BURRITOS wrote: "I really like reading your review. It brought a smile to my scarecrow face! Thank you David."

Thank you for the kind words, and for the friend request today! It's always nice to meet another book buddy! :)


message 20: by Audrey (new) - added it

Audrey Monster Hunter International stars an accountant, fyi.


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party Audrey wrote: "Monster Hunter International stars an accountant, fyi."

Oooh, good to know, I'll have to check that out! Thanks, Audrey! 😀


Erika (OwlwaysReading) " 'Moroda' may be the first novel by L.L. McNeil, but she already writes with the talent and imagination of a seasoned veteran."

Fabulous review David! ...as always ;) *claps hands* I will have to check this one out


"A must-read for any fans of the fantasy genre." Well OK then. Moving to "Want to Read" shelf now =D


message 23: by David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party (last edited Feb 24, 2019 04:38PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party Erika (OwlwaysReading) wrote: "" 'Moroda' may be the first novel by L.L. McNeil, but she already writes with the talent and imagination of a seasoned veteran."

Fabulous review David! ...as always ;) *claps hands* I will have to..."


WOO-HOO!!! 😀 Hope you enjoy this book as much as I did, Erika. Owl be very interested to hear what you think of this one!🦉


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party Shari Kay wrote: "Going on the TBR mountain. Ty for the great review."

Thank you so much, Shari! 😊


message 25: by Aiden (new) - added it

Aiden Anderson GREAT review, David!!! :)


David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party Aiden wrote: "GREAT review, David!!! :)"

Thanks so much, Aiden, I appreciate the kind words! :D


message 27: by Aiden (new) - added it

Aiden Anderson David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party wrote: "Aiden wrote: "GREAT review, David!!! :)"

Thanks so much, Aiden, I appreciate the kind words! :D"


No problem! Thank you for adding to my TBR!


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