Karen Azinger's The Battle Immortal was published in October 2015.
Information about Karen Azinger:
Karen L. Azinger has always loved fantasy fiction, and always hoped that someday she could give back to the genre a little of the joy that reading has always given her. Eight years ago on a hike in the Columbia River Gorge she realized she had enough original ideas to finally write an epic fantasy. She started writing and never stopped. The Steel Queen is her first book, born from that hike in the gorge. Before writing, Karen spent over twenty years as an international business strategist, eventually becoming a vice-president for one of the world's largest natural resource companies. She's worked on developing the first gem-quality diamond mine in Canada's arctic, on coal seam gas power projects in Australia, and on petroleum projects around the world. Having lived in Australia for eight years she considers it to be her second home. She's also lived in Canada and spent a lot of time in the Canadian arctic. She lives with her husband in Portland Oregon, in a house perched on the edge of the forest. The first six books of The Silk & Steel Saga have already been written and she is hard at work on the seventh and final book.
Click here to visit the author's official website.
Information about The Battle Immortal:
The Battle Immortal is a time when long-foretold prophecies live and die, when magic runs wild, and legends clash with nightmares. Darkness eclipses Erdhe. The Mordant holds the Spider Queen's city in thrall, while his plots slither like tentacles across the southern kingdoms. Kath and her small band race to Pellanor, but the red comet is nearly set. Ancient magics clash as prophecies spawn unforeseen traps and twists. Darkness is poised for victory, daring the Light to risk all. The Battle Immortal is the 7th and final book of The Silk & Steel Saga, an epic tale of swords, sorcery, courage and deceit.
A REVIEW OF KAREN AZINGER'S THE BATTLE IMMORTAL
Karen Azinger's The Battle Immortal is the magnificent seventh and final book in The Silk & Steel Saga that has grown deeper and richer with each new book. It gloriously continues the captivating story that started in The Steel Queen and then continued in The Flame Priest, The Skeleton King, The Poison Priestess, The Knight Marshal and The Prince Deceiver. It follows on from what happened in The Prince Deceiver and moves the story towards the epic confrontation between the forces of good and evil.
The Battle Immortal is an excellent and highly entertaining story about the battle between good and evil. I've read many fantasy books and series about battles between the forces of good and evil, but there's something different and invigorating about this book series that hooked me from the start and made me enjoy it. The most noticeable difference between this fantasy series and other similar kind of series is that Karen Azinger has spent time polishing her story. She has created an amazing story that is pure entertainment from start to finish and lacks all the weaknesses that can be found in many other stories.
When you read The Battle Immortal, you'll notice that Karen Azinger clearly wants to entertain her readers by writing as a good and entertaining a story as possible. She knows exactly how to keep up the reader's interest in the story and she's capable of maintaining tension throughout the whole series, because the characters find themselves in all kinds of dire situations and have to find a way to solve the problems or perish. Her love for fantasy fiction can be seen in every chapter of this book, because the story flows effortlessly from start to finish and contains many surprises.
One of the best things about this book - and the whole series - is that you don't know how it's going to end. The author keeps so many plot threads in motion that you won't be able to guess what happens next, because anything can - and will - happen to some of the characters. When you begin to read this book, you'll find yourself wholly immersed in the story and you'll almost skip pages to find out how the story ends and what happens to the characters.
As readers may already know, this epic fantasy series was originally supposed to have been a shorter series, but the story grew in the telling. I think it's great that the author decided to tell the whole story instead of shortening it, because the story is wonderfully complex. I think that readers will agree with me on this when I say that it's fantastic that the author didn't leave anything important untold.
Here's a short recap of what happened in the previous book:
The Mordant met Liandra and matched wits and powers with her. He intended to rot Erdhe from within. Jemma became Liandra's friend, ally and protégé. Liandra wondered about many things and wanted to find answers to them. She was concerned about the Prince of Ur who had come to town, because she thought that there was something odd and unsettling about him. The Priestess and Steffan traveled to Pellanor, and soon after arriving in Pellanor the Priestess found herself in trouble. Bryce was still imprisoned within the Mordant and tried to find a way to fight against him. Nimeria summoned something ancient and powerful. Master Rizel asked advice from the dead...
Here's a bit of information about this book:
Lenore flies as an owl across the Southern Mountains and runs into trouble when she finds out that flying fiends are spying on people. Kath arrives in the seaside kingdom of Navarre. She intends to slay the Mordant or die trying. Ambrose begins a dangerous journey towards Castlegard with the ancient sword, Invictus. He finds out that he has a lot to learn about many things and his life may change. Danya goes to cast the runes and receives a warning. Quintus is concerned about what's happening to the mage-stone walls of Castlegard, because Castlegard no longer seems to be invincible. The knight marshal is under the spell of the Dark Sword and thinks of himself as the God of War. Queen Liandra feels helplessly trapped, but tries to find a way to outwit the Mordant who has imprisoned her. Bryce's soul is still captured within the Mordant. Jemma is held a prisoner and tries to escape. The Priestess is furious about what the Mordant has done to her and yearns for vengeance. The Mordant continues to deceive, corrupt, divide and conquer people. He weaves cunning plots to destroy all of Erdhe...
This is all I'll write about the fantastic story, because revealing too much information about the final happenings wouldn't be fair to anybody. The story is so detailed and full of different happenings that I don't want to spoil anybody's reading pleasure by too many revelations about the happenings and plot twists. The less you know about the story, the more you'll enjoy it.
Worldbuilding is excellent in this fantasy series. The author has created a vast and interesting fantasy world that is filled with different races, beautiful cities, mountains and forests etc. It's a world where anything can happen and all kinds of terrors and wonders can be found.
The events in this book take place all over Erdhe, because the tentacles of evil have reached every corner of the world - even the Kiralynn Monastery is threatened by dark forces. By writing about what happens in the different places, the author offers an interesting glimpse into a detailed fantasy world that is about to be plunged into darkness.
The characterisation works well and all of the characters are interesting. The author excels at writing about realistic and strong female characters who have their own problems, feelings, desires, needs and ambitions. These characters are brave and strong, but they're also vulnerable and have their own weaknesses. What unites them is that they try to do their best in complex situations.
Queen Liandra is a well created and fascinating character, because she's a strong woman who is formidable and intelligent. In this book, Queen Liandra finds herself being captured by the forces of evil and realises that she has to fight against an ancient evil who's cunning and doesn't play by the rules. Her situation is dire and unsettling, because she's being kept a prisoner and has to learn to play without rules to fight against the enemy. I enjoyed reading about Queen Liandra's problems and feelings, because the author wrote fluently about them and avoided clichés.
The Priestess has been one of my favourite characters for a long time in this series. She's an intelligent, powerful and evil woman who uses her intelligence and sexuality in a shamelessly seductive way. It was fascinating to read about her deeds, because she was being kept a prisoner by the Mordant and tried to find a way to avenge what had been done to her. She didn't accept her situation, but rebelled against the Mordant in a cunning way.
I also enjoyed reading about Kath, because she had a mission to do. She had to find a way to defeat the Mordant or die trying. In my opinion, Kath is one of the best female heroines in modern fantasy books, because she's a young woman who has a role to play in the Battle Immortal. She also has to prove herself to others, because there are men and warriors who don't believe in women.
The male characters are also well created characters who have their own problems, feelings, strenghts and weaknesses. It's nice that the author has managed to write about them in an interesting way.
It was especially enjoyable to read about the knight marshal, because he was totally under the seductive power of the Dark Sword. He thought of himself as the God of War, because the lure of the Dark Sword was strong and irresistible. I was impressed by how well the author wrote about him and his condition.
It was also interesting to read the Master Archivist and his feelings towards Queen Liandra. By writing about his feelings and deeds, the author added a lot of depth to the story and made the characters come alive.
Master Rizel of the Kiralynn Order is one of the most intriguing male characters in this series. He's a wise man who realises that the evil is coming to the Kiralynn Monastery and something ancient must be released to save the monastery and vanquish the enemy. What he does to save the monastery will be of interest to all fans of this book series.
The Mordant is one of the most fascinating evil characters ever found in fantasy series, because he's a different kind of an evil being. He has lived many lives and has gained knowledge about many things that give him an opportunity to deceive others in a masterful way. He's an intelligent evil character who uses many tools to corrupt good men and turn them into his followers. He's a sadistic and ruthless evil character who delights in spreading fear and destruction around him.
I appreciate it that Karen Azinger is willing to sacrifice some of the characters for the sake of the story, because it adds depth and style to the story. I won't reveal which characters survive and which don't, but I'll mention that the author manages to surprise her readers by a few unexpected plot twists.
One of the most intriguing things about this book series is that it contains lots of magic that ranges from good and useful magic to dark and twisted soul magic. Prophecies also play a big role in this series and the author writes well about all things related to them.
It's great that the author pays attention to how magic affects its user. No matter what you do and what your intentions are, there's always a price to be paid for using magic - you can't wield magic without consequences.
The story contains entertaining dark fantasy elements, which will be of interest to all who enjoy reading dark fantasy. I personally enjoyed reading about what the Priestess did with her magic and how the Mordant used his dark magic to cause damage to people and their souls. I think that many readers will be impressed by the way he uses soul magic to create twisted creatures that follow his commands.
One of the things that has impressed me a lot in this fantasy series is how the author writes about the nature and mechanics of evil. She tells how evil characters use different kinds of methods to corrupt people and turn them to evil. Enchanted objects, lies and half-truths are powerful weapons to those who are evil, because people can be deceived and betrayed in many ways. Even little lies have the ability to grow into terrifying and destructive truths when they're told in a convincing manner. The consequences of telling lies can be fatal and unexpected to many people, because there are people who believe in lies and react to them.
Karen Azinger writes fluently about sex and sexual situations in this series. It's especially intriguing to read about the Priestess and how she uses sex to her advantage (she knows how to cause pleasure and uses her succubus skills to drain power from her sexual partners). The Mordant also has sexual needs of his own and the author writes well about them.
The battle scenes are approriately gritty, ruthless and violent. The author doesn't glorify violence, but shows how brutal it can be and what kind of horrors warriors face on the battlefield. In other words, she approaches violence in a realistic way. This is good, because it adds a level of brutality to the story.
There are many intriguing scenes in this book, but I think it's best to mention only a few scenes, because I might end up writing too many spoilers about the happenings.
I have to mention that it was intriguing to read about what happened to Ambrose when he met the Children of the Deep Green and the Treespeaker and learned the truth about the sword he was supposed to carry to Castlegard. I'll also mention that it was enjoyable to read about how Kath learned an ancient secret, how Ty became a monk and what Master Rizel did.
I want to mention separately that the scenes that take place at Castlegard are amazing. The author writes fluently about the happenings and pays attention to small details that intensify the story. I was impressed by these scenes, because the author delivered excellent action and kept the story in motion in a perfect way. Reading about how the characters fought against the evil was enjoyable and rewarding.
I think that many readers will be interested in knowing how the story ends. I can mention that the ending is excellent and perfect. It will satisfy fans of this book series, because there's something beautiful and touching about it that is not often found in fantasy books. It's great that the author has written a beautiful ending with bittersweet undertones, because it fits the story.
There's so much more I'd like to write about this series and its entertainment values, but I think I'd better stop writing now or this review will turn into too long an essay.
Before I write the final paragraphs of this review, I have to mention that I sincerely hope that Karen Azinger will continue to write more fantasy stories, because she has a talent for creating entertaining stories. She's one of the best authors when it comes to writing entertaining adult fantasy.
In my opinion, this fantasy series is an amazing achievement in terms of storytelling and entertainment values, because everything works well and the story is gripping. I personally think that it's one of the most entertaining fantasy series ever written and deserves to be read by fantasy readers who want to be entertained.
If you haven't haven't yet discovered the magic of Karen Azinger's The Silk & Steel Saga, now would be a good time to start reading them. Because this long-running series has finally reached its conclusion, you don't have to wait for sequels to be written and published, but can enjoy the whole series from start to finish without interruptions. If you enjoy reading entertaining epic fantasy, please do yourself a favour and take a look at this series, because it's something special. If you give this series a chance to charm you, you'll most likely find yourself enjoying it a lot.
Karen Azinger's The Battle Immortal is a brilliant final instalment in The Silk & Steel Saga and deserves to be read by fans of the series. It's everything that readers have come to expect from Karen Azinger and more, because she has a few surprises in store for her readers. The story is magnificent and it will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.