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Today the Dragon Wins
Choices Meant for Gods is a tale of prophecy twisting out of control in the captivating realm of Onweald--where even the gods have to turn to an unlikely fugitive for help.
Not even the gods noticed when Chariss was born with the mark of The Protector. Now she and her wizard guardian seek shelter from a mad sorcerer in a household not just full of secrets and false hope, but watched by the god who will unwittingly reveal her role in an impending war.
When an orphan sets aside a lifetime of running and fear to accept the responsibilities of guarding an arrogant deity, can she face the trials in the prophecies she uncovers? Will Nigel Taiman of her latest refuge dare to use his dragon heritage to bind her to his estate or to help her in her duty?
From Chapter 27
"We just need to be ready to stuff you back outside if anyone comes knocking on the door."
The dragon nodded and lowered its backside to the floor. With wings folded nicely at its back, it took up the space of two grown men.
"You're bigger every time I see you."
"It's from eating all the deer in the orchards."
Chariss gave him a wan glance as she sat down at the harp, but found the slim skirt of her nightgown kept her from getting her legs on either side of it. Well, this was only a dragon, so she wouldn't be behaving inappropriately to push the material up a bit. The creature tilted its head, as if trying to understand why she bunched her gown up on her lap.
First, she strummed the strings to be sure they were relatively in tune. Then she played some simple notes, plucking the strings gingerly. She apologized when her audience winced. "I don't play well…I just play."
The dragon listened for a while, seeming pleased with the scene. "What other instruments do you play? Oh, please, don't stop."
"What others? Have I exhausted your tolerance for this one?"
"Of course not. I just wish to know what other skills my human pet possesses."
She raised an eyebrow to question his sanity in even teasing about such a thing. "I would play the harpsichord for you, but I don't believe the Taimans have one of those on hand."
"Pity. Do you sing? Singing seems one of those virginal qualities ladies are expected to possess and flaunt for potential suitors."
"I do not sing."
"And that is said with a resolution that should close the subject."
She grinned. "I don't sing, but I do dance."
Its lower jaw dropped, revealing a great many teeth.
"You'll catch flies like that."
"You dance? I can only assume you're referring to the refined ballroom dancing of an ofersey'n court?"
"You seem to know a lot about human customs all of a sudden. Who's your tutor during the day?"
"I'm asking the questions tonight."
Sandy Lender's Choices Meant for Gods
By EM Sky, Wet Ink
Twenty-year-old Amanda Chariss Derdriu has been running for as long as she can remember. Jamieson Drake, the tyrant who intends to conquer all of Onweald, wants her dead and buried, and now he is coming after her with two armies and the very incarnation of evil at his side.
But Chariss is a force to be reckoned with.
Not only is she guarded by the great wizard, Hrazon, she is watched over by the immortal gods of Mahriket. And even they may not understand the true extent of her power.
Born with the geasa, the mystical ability to draw energy from the natural world and harness it to her own uses, Chariss is beginning to manifest a potential that even her own mentor could not have dreamed possible.
When Chariss is sheltered by Kora Taiman, daughter of the greatest god in all of Mahriket, she is introduced to a realm in which gods walk the mortal earth, and she finds among the Taiman clan the last things she expected: a home, and the love of Nigel Taiman, Kora's oldest son.
But visions and prophecies converge on the young woman, pointing her toward a higher purpose. Now Chariss may have to set aside a budding romance and the promise of a home she has never known in order to face her destiny—to protect even the gods themselves.
Over the first few chapters, Choices Meant for Gods interlaces high action with a rich historical background, introducing the reader to this sweeping saga of war and ancient divination. But once the story's essential elements have been set in place, the novel resolves into a steady, seductive rhythm, drawing the reader ever more deeply into the lives of Ms. Lender's remarkably alluring characters.
The heroine is lovably flawed, marked by the impulsivity and brazenness of youth, but she is also daring and compassionate, strong-willed and noble-hearted beyond her years. Her intricate blend of strength and sensitivity brings to mind echoes of Anne McCaffrey or Catherine Asaro.
The leading man adds his own complexity to the picture, complementing his lady perfectly. Nigel Taiman is wonderfully genuine in both his affections and his depth of character, and Lender paints him as she does all her creations, with thoughtful style and grace.
While Choices Meant for Gods deals primarily with the growing relationship between hero and heroine, later books in the series promise even more action as the suspense continues to build and the decidedly epic nature of the story comes to the fore. As in any trilogy, this first book leaves several questions unanswered, but one thing is certain: Sandy Lender is a notable addition to the realms of fantasy literature, and she's here to stay.
Choices Meant for Gods
By Jamieson Wolf, American Chronicle
What would you do to save something you loved? What would you do if you were threatened? Would you cower? Or would you fight with everything you had, every ounce of strength and magic you possessed? Some of us aren't even given that choice.
When Jamieson Drake, evil sorcerer, attacks the settlement of Treown, Amanda Chariss is left with no choice. To escape Drake and his army, she teleports herself and her mentor, the wizened old wizard Hrazon to the Taiman family home. There, they may find help and Chariss may find a cure for the magic that has infected her blood.
Chariss has the geasa, magic older than time, and she must use it if she and the people of Onweald are to stay alive. For Drake hunts her, wants her dead on his blade. Why is anyone's guess, but Chariss is has an inkling. For years, Drake has hunted her with the sole purpose of killing her. Chariss suspects that Drake is hungry for her power. But, in reality, Drake is in love with her.
He has enlisted the help of a Dragon who now walks in the human form of Julette. Older than time itself, she uses Drake like a pawn. She has her own plans, her own agenda and knows that she must help Drake to get what she wants. Of course, the fact that she is a Goddess doesn't hurt either.
Chariss must depend on all the help she can and her unsteady magic if they are to survive this first battle. She must be careful though, for she must make choices meant for Gods and one wrong move, one mistake, could lead all of them to death…
As a general rule, I don't read high fantasy. The whole genre bores me; it's grown stagnant with nothing new added to it. Each author that tries to write an engaging high fantasy tale fails to write anything new, anything fresh. Thankfully, Sandy Lender has changed all that. She has changed the very face of high fantasy itself.
Choices Meant for Gods is without a doubt the freshest most engaging high fantasy novel to come out in years and breathes new life into a tired genre. The characters leap off the page and the plot is lightning quick and deftly written with many layers that tease the mind and imagination.
What I love most about Choices Meant for Gods are the characters and how they interact with each other. She has thrown a new spin on what is good and what is bad and her characters are flawed and imperfect. They are people you grow to care for and, indeed, I didn't want the novel to end; I couldn't stand knowing that it would be some time before I saw them again.
She has reworked the standard quest into something meaningful and engaging. She has mixed magic with romance, battles, sorcerers, danger, and suspense; there is everything here that makes up a good store. My meager review doesn't even do justice to the plot. The pages flew by as I became ensnared under Lender's spell as she weaved her story. She writes with such assurance, such poise, that it is hard to believe that Choices Meant for Gods is her first novel.
Choices Meant for Gods is not a mere novel; it is a gorgeous piece of written art. I can hardly wait for the second book! If you read only one good novel this year, no, this decade, read Choices Meant for Gods. I'm going to be reading it for a second time. But read it yourself, won't you?
It will leave you breathless.
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