Finally, my copy of Hard in Hightown has arrived! This short novel is written by the fictional Dragon Age II and Dragon Age Inquisition character, Varric Tethras (or in reality, Mary Kirby). Amazon has a funny “about the author” section on the book’s page, describing our favourite dwarven rogue. The “critic” quotes on the front and back are also by other Dragon Age characters, Merrrill and Hawke, which is an amusing touch too.
So many people get shivved!Merrill
The way the book is written definitely conjures up memories of Varric’s voiceovers in the games and so is spot on in terms of capturing his character and how he would write. The story is set in Kirkwall and features other well-known ideas and themes from the vast Dragon Age lore. Overall, it’s a tasty little portion of Dragon Age for fans starved of their favourite fictional world.
Though the book is a little shorter than I had anticipated, it has some wonderful illustrations and is still an interesting read. It’s a lovely item to have, especially for a massive Dragon Age fan, like myself. The pages have deckled edges, giving that “olde worlde” feel as if it really were made in Thedas. However the rather modern book cover doesn’t tie in with this, which is a bit of a shame.
The McKenzie sisters have done it again! Local Plymouth authors Carmella and Alison McKenzie have released their new books recently, Blooming Grand and The Sapphire Heart respectively.
I had the pleasure of reading their first books, Haberdashery and From the Future With Love, last year and so when I heard they had released new books – I just had to pick them up!
Out of all four books, The Sapphire Heart is most definitely my favourite. A completely new idea from Alison’s first book, not only is it beautifully written, it ticked all the boxes for me and reminded me of The Goonies and Romancing the Stone. The main protagonists go on a treasure hunt with the help of a charming ghost, tackling their own personal problems in the process and finding a lot more than just loot by the end of their tale! It is a perfect blend of romance, adventure and the supernatural and I implore you to read it if this sounds like something you’d like!
Whilst Blooming Grand can be read as a completely standalone novel, it shares similar themes and has many nods to Carmella’s first book, and even features a cameo from one of the much-loved characters of Haberdashery. This book is a fantastic blend of real-world meets fantasy world. The real-life elements of the story are so well-written, so natural and so easy to relate to that it makes for really easy reading as the characters are very believable. Blooming Grand features more magical mischief than its predecessor, which I loved, and the character of Merry was a personal favourite of mine.
I’m always keen to support new authors, especially local ones, so please check out their website and have a gander at their brilliant books.