Saturday, June 30, 2012

"tarnished" by daniel & christina morrison

About the book (from the back cover): A journey to find purpose is about to entangle Garyn in a fight for the survival of the entire Human Race!

Leaving the isolated Sylvanwood to enter the diversely populated city of the Tarns sounded like a grand adventure. But Garyn Stelifar never envisioned a world where a lack of magical power would incite fear and prejudice; where simply being Human is a liability.

Stumbling upon unlikely allies, he’ll need every friend as he squares off with Orkyn, an evil wizard who harbors a festering hatred for all humans. This battle will tax more than Garyn’s friends, but also his own resolve to follow the path laid out for him by the One who sent him on the journey. Dealing with dragons, goblins and a vile wizard while discovering other Humans will prove harrowing. Even if Garyn manages to survive, how will he keep from becoming tarnished?

My take: Tarnished is based on a classic story, which I knew before beginning the book, but I forgot until about chapter three. Then I realized, "Hey, this sounds just like __________!" (Sorry, I'm not going to tell you which story—part of the fun is in the discovery!)

Tarnished could have read like a retelling of the classic Bible story (see, I'll give you a hint!) with fantasy elements thrown in, but instead it took twists and turns I wasn't expecting, and the main character, Garyn, doesn't have a biblical counterpart (at least as far as I could tell). This added interest to the story and kept me guessing. Especially satisfying was a major twist at the end revealing a relationship between certain characters that gave the book an emotional punch ... and gave me goosebumps!

Tarnished isn't a perfect work—a few descriptive words are used in odd, nontraditional ways, and I wanted to add more than a few commas as I read. (Note to ... everyone, as I see this often: two independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction [and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet] should have a comma before the conjunction. Grammar lesson over.) I also would have benefited greatly from a glossary, as the book features a myriad of creatures—gryphons, tarns, ogres, sylvans, dragons, and more. While each creature is described well, I found myself forgetting what they were supposed to look like and having to flip back to find the descriptions again. A glossary would have saved me a lot of time!

While Tarnished is geared towards ages 12 and up, I think younger kids would enjoy it, too. Basically, a child who can enjoy The Chronicles of Narnia is old enough for Tarnished. I liked it a lot, and I look forward to hearing the audio book once the Morrisons finish it! 4 stars.

About the authors: Christina Morrison grew up in Northern California as a voracious reader and avid outdoors woman. She graduated with a degree in education and was a teacher for a number of years before she met Daniel Morrison and was married soon after. Daniel grew up in the Bay Area and gravitated to filmmaking at an early age. He graduated with a film degree and established Remnant Studios a few years before marrying Christina. They now have two children and reside in the Denver, Colorado, area.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the authors. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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