Readers' Favorite

April 12, 2016

J is for Juxtaposition, June 2015, and Jumping back into a Familiar World #AtoZChallenge

by Elisabeth Scherer

I don’t know about you but I love when a book I really enjoyed ends up being the start of a new series. I patiently wait for the next book to come out, well okay I admit that I wait impatiently, and as soon as I have my grubby paws on the next book I devour it.  So today as part of the A to Z challenge I am jumping back into a bookworld I first visited and reviewed back in June of 2015.

Welcome back to A.F.E. Smith's world of Mirrorvale and the realm of Darkhaven. When we last left our unsung heroes Thomas Caraway was rescuing his rightful overlord, Ayla Nyteshade, from the clutches of the dastardly Captain Travers.

Goldenfire takes place three years after Thomas has taken over as captain of the Helm, the body guards to Darkhaven and the Nightshade family, and Ayla has assumed the role of overlord of Mirrorvale.  There is word sent by Naeve Sorrow, kick butt sellsword from Darkhaven, from outside the realm in Sol Kardis that there is a plot to assassinate Ayla coming. It is also the time of year when the fifth ring accepts new warrior trainees in to try to earn a coveted spot on the Helm.  It is a great juxtaposition that the assassin is probably in the juveniles attempting to enter training for the very group of people whose job is to protect the overlord of Darkhaven. This year there are two females attempting to join the Helm  for the first time in Darkhaven history and there is a growing threat of firearms being smuggled into the city.  All the while Ayla is doing her part to try to protect herself from the assassin with the help of alchemy.

The book follows multiple storylines that interweave and keep the reader guessing as to what might happen next and who might be the villain. It's clever because the different storylines all push the plot line forward but it is not overwhelming with keeping the characters straight. She gives you just the right amount of detail to get to know these supporting characters so that the reader is rooting for the trainees, attempting to ferret out the assassin, and hoping that Ayla will be able to defend herself with it matters most.

A.F.E. Smith does a wonderful job introducing new characters and spinning a tale of mystery.  I am usually pretty good at figuring out who the culprit is but she keeps you guessing with suspects and twists and turns in the story.  She has created a vast city full of structure and detail that you can really feel like you are stepping onto the streets of the first ring, or watching the training in the fifth ring, or visiting the temples in the sixth ring all the way to the massive looming tower that is Darkhaven. The pace on the book picks up speed as it goes along and you can feel the sense of urgency as the book progresses.

I like the relationship quality that happens in this book as well. There are so many facets that are interesting but not overly complicated to make the story come together. Each relationship was unique and the way that the story is told switching around to different things happening is one of my favorite techniques ever since reading Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

We also get just a glimpse of the world outside of Mirrorvale, just enough to peak my curiosity as to what might happen in the next book.  There is a secret Brotherhood that seems dangerous and full of mystery that I think will probably play a big role in that next book.

All in all I would recommend you read this book series. Read Darkhaven, Read Goldenfire, read them both. It's fantasy with a hint of a long ago, far away time meets page turning mystery. It has a satisfying ending and promise of more conflict on the horizon with the introduction of firearms to a world unaccustomed to the weapon.

And just for a fun bonus I thought I’d let you know some of my favorite literary J things.  First is Jane Austin and my favorite two books of hers are Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. Secondly anything by, Jasper Fforde, most notably The Thursday Next Series (book one is The Eyre Affair) , and finally Jabberwocky because I love everything about Alice in Wonderland and the different offshoots available and it is also a hint at my review coming next week.

Buy Goldenfire at Amazon

Elisabeth Scherer, reviewer. Elisabeth grew up in a very small town in Minnesota but now lives in the lovely Pacific Northwest where she spends most of her time raising her two young children. She and her husband have a large collection of books that takes a good space of their small condo. When she's not reading she has a variety of hobbies that include crocheting, drawing, baking, cooking, and movie watching. She is currently training to run her first half marathon later this year! You can also find her blogging at

Book Info:
Available formats: ebook (400 pages) and paperback (July 28th, 2016)
Published on 01/14/2016 by HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN-13: 9780008103514
Genre: Fantasy
Read: February 2016

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  1. I love Jane Austen, and the two you named are also my favorites of all her novels.

    I tend to find series books after they've been out a while, so I rarely have to wait for the next book. That's one benefit to being behind, I suppose.

    Another J author of note is JK Rowling of course.

  2. I'd not heard of that series or author before but that book cover is the sort of thing that I'd end up picking up in a bookshop and buying without knowing anything about it - such a pretty cover!
    Good luck with the rest of the A-Z Challenge.
    My theme for the A-Z Challenge is my favourite fictional characters at ElenaSquareEyes.

  3. love Jane Austen's works... My mum's married name is "Jayne Austin" so it was meant to be ;)

    Joy @ The Joyous Living

  4. Hi Elisabeth, I haven't read this one but your review sounds very interesting. A ggod mystery is always a great respite from the mundane. Cheers
    @KalaRavi16 from

  5. Jane Austen is one of my most favorite and I believe I have all of her books. As for KIssing, I don't think I am a fan of kissing. I expect I've never met a good kisser. :-)

    Patricia @ EverythingMustChange