A MelanieM Release Day Review: Anhaga by Lisa Henry

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Aramin Decourcey—Min to his few friends—might be the best thief in Amberwich, and he might have a secret that helps him survive the cutthroat world of aristocratic families and their powerful magic users, but he does have one weakness: his affection for his adopted nephew, Harry.

When the formidable Sabadine family curses Harry, Min must accept a suicide mission to save his life: retrieve Kazimir Stone, a low-level Sabadine hedgewitch who refuses to come home after completing his apprenticeship… and who is in Anhaga, a seaside village under the control of the terrifying Hidden Lord of the fae. If that wasn’t enough, Kaz is far from the simple hedgewitch he seems.

With the Sabadines on one side and the fae on the other, Min doesn’t have time to deal with a crisis of conscience—or the growing attraction between him and Kaz. He needs to get Kaz back to Amberwich and get Harry’s curse lifted before it kills him. Saving Harry means handing Kaz over to his ruthless family. Saving Kaz means letting Harry die. Min might pride himself on his cleverness, but he can’t see his way out of this one.

The Hidden Lord might see that he never gets the choice.

I have read an amazing amount of great Lisa Henry stories over the years but I don’t remember one quite like this one.  There were her dark contemporary tales (When All the World Sleeps), the marvelous action adventure series of Playing the Fool , and even  her twisty scify series of Dark Space.

None of them are like Anhaga , Henry’s idea of a fantasy fairy tale.    Where of course, as Min will tell you, there’s no hero and certainly no real dragon to be found.

Min?

That would be the not so heroic, real, and oh so complicated Aramin Decourcey. Son of a whore, thief extraordinaire if you believe the tales told and a man of more layers to his personality and soul then he will ever admit to or even recognize himself.  Because some of those layers get people hurt, leave them vulnerable and open.  Things he left behind if he ever had  them at all.  Especially with his mother and childhood.  With Min as the narrator, one of crust, wryness, pain, and yes, someone who eventually works through his walls and rethinks a thing or two, this becomes a saga of a fantastical journey.  Not just of the one Min takes to bring back Kaz.  No that is merely the start.  It’s a emotional, mental, (often nerve wracking, sometimes fear inducing) and even psychologically twisting tale of changes, growth, and revelations for a number of characters here.  It just begins with Min and Kaz.

The characterizations are beautifully constructed, especially Min.  He’s a masterpiece of grit, experience, self sufficiency, thief, and rapscallion with his own sense of morality.  Let’s not forget intelligence, with a highly formed sense of self preservation as well.  The one person he protects better than himself would be Harry, his “nephew”.  What else he might be i’ll leave to the story. As you meet each new person, it’s like grabbing their hand, and “boom” they become alive. ,Harry the nephew, Talys the young woman he falls in love with, Aiode the hedgewitch, even Robert Talys’ father (and so much more).  These people become living, breathing beings here, with all their histories, snark, braziness, snobbery, fearliness, and pain.  How can you not love them?

The storyline itself builds and builds to a whopping crescendo!  Each time I thought Henry had us there, nope, we were just cresting over a small hillock, before heading to the next higher mountain with gathering anticipation.  That finale was amazing.

As was the ending.   It was everything I had hoped for.  No heros?  Maybe  or maybe they just come in different forms these days.

Either way, this is a fantasy tale to inhale and savor.  I highly recommend Anhaga by Lisa Henry.  It’s just fantastic!

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design.  Beautiful cover with a special element from the story.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: July 23rd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644054642
Edition Language English

Lisa Henry on Writing Fantasy and her new release Anhaga

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Anhaga by Lisa Henry

Dreamspinner Press
Published July 23rd 2019
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Buy links:

Dreamspinner Press: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/anhaga-by-lisa-henry-10641-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Anhaga-Lisa-Henry-ebook/dp/B07SX42V87

B&N : https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/anhaga-lisa-henry/1131014878?ean=9781644054642

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host a favorite author of ours, Lisa Henry on tour for her latest novel, Anhaga.  Welcome, Lisa.

✒︎

Hi! I’m Lisa Henry, and I’m on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words today to tell you a little about my newest release Anhaga.

I’m surprised it’s taken me so long to publish a fantasy book set in a magical world. I’ve always loved fantasy and, when you think about it, fantasy stories are our first introduction to storytelling. When we’re toddlers, our parents read us fairytales of princes and princesses, of dragons and magic, and of quests and adventures. Fairytales and fantasy worlds are some of the first universes we discover as children.

When I was a kid, my sister and I had a book called Dean’s Gift Book of Fairy Tales. Well, it was my sister’s—mine was Dean’s Gift Book of Nursery Rhymes. And the illustrations in these books were absolutely beautiful, full of beautifully androgynous princes and princess, fairies and knights, and—the most relatable thing of all—children with messy hair and grubby knees. I still have those books. I can’t remember the last time I read the stories, but the pictures still take me to all those magical places I imagined as a child.

Fairytales are archetypes, and fantasy worlds built using those same images are both familiar and new at the same time. There are no dragons in Anhaga, and no knights and princesses either, but there is magic, and there is of course a quest. It’s not a noble quest exactly—my main character Min is strongarmed into agreeing to kidnap my other main character Kazimir in order to save his nephew Harry’s life—but it’s a quest all the same. Min himself is more than aware that he fails to live up to the fairytale standards of the prince or the knight when he says, “Do we survive this, Kaz? In all of Harry’s books, the evil dragon is killed and the hero survives. We’re lacking a hero, I suspect, but I’m quite partial to the idea of survival.”

I had a lot of fun writing Anhaga. It felt a bit like a return to all the stories I’d loved so much as a child—just with more swear words, snark and sex. But if there’s one thing that fairytales and romances have in common, it’s that there has to be a happy ending. The good must be rewarded, and the wicked must be punished. And for someone like Min, who’s mostly good but definitely wicked where it counts, well, he slides through to his happy ending on a technicality I guess. There aren’t any knights and dragons here, but sometimes even rogues on ignoble quests can earn their happy endings as well.

Anhaga was definitely a change of pace for me—my most recent releases have all been contemporaries. It was interesting to have to build an entire world—although that old fairy tale archetype forms a pretty sturdy framework. For anyone who read fairytales as a child and moved onto fantasy novels, the world of Anhaga won’t be too unfamiliar. I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Anhaga Blurb:

Aramin Decourcey—Min to his few friends—might be the best thief in Amberwich, and he might have a secret that helps him survive the cutthroat world of aristocratic families and their powerful magic users, but he does have one weakness: his affection for his adopted nephew, Harry.

When the formidable Sabadine family curses Harry, Min must accept a suicide mission to save his life: retrieve Kazimir Stone, a low-level Sabadine hedgewitch who refuses to come home after completing his apprenticeship… and who is in Anhaga, a seaside village under the control of the terrifying Hidden Lord of the fae. If that wasn’t enough, Kaz is far from the simple hedgewitch he seems.

With the Sabadines on one side and the fae on the other, Min doesn’t have time to deal with a crisis of conscience—or the growing attraction between him and Kaz. He needs to get Kaz back to Amberwich and get Harry’s curse lifted before it kills him. Saving Harry means handing Kaz over to his ruthless family. Saving Kaz means letting Harry die. Min might pride himself on his cleverness, but he can’t see his way out of this one.

The Hidden Lord might see that he never gets the choice.

About the Author

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Lisa has been published since 2012, and was a LAMBDA finalist for her quirky, awkward coming-of-age romance Adulting 101.

You can connect with Lisa here:

Website: lisahenryonline.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisa.henry.1441

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LisaHenryOnline

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/5050492.Lisa_Henry

Email: lisahenryonline@gmail.com

A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review:Anhaga by Lisa Henry

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

This is written in the third person point of view of Aramin, or Min, who I wasn’t sure had anything to recommend his character except his adopted nephew Harry. This is the first clue that he has a heart in his cynical, morally flexible shell and if he lashes out in anger or bitterness, well it’s better than fear. His sass and wit are part of his charm. When Edward, the head of the Sabadine family, curses Harry to coerce Min into retrieving his grandson Kazimir from a seaside village called Anhaga, it starts a series of series of events that lead to tensions between the King of Amberwich and the Hidden Lord.

A large part of the book focuses on the morality or even fairness of what’s happening. I can’t help but think if the journey had taken longer, if the love had been fully actualized between Min and Kaz, it would have been more heart wrenching and interesting: a Sophie’s Choice, where random chance is morally preferable in the moral dilemma Min is caught in. It’s so close, but doesn’t quite get there because while there is lust, guilt, fascination, and attachment…it is not quite love yet in my opinion. Edward’s son, Robert, is also stuck between doing something reprehensible while doing his duty and being loyal to his father, or protecting his daughter. At first I wondered why Talys was even allowed/made to come on this journey and then I realized Robert probably thought it was the lesser of two evils rather than leaving her with Edward. There is a side love story with Talys and Henry. Of course, she is convenient for moving the plot along as are all the women in this story; they are strong, brave, and resourceful. Henry is sweeter than Min ever had a chance to be, and Min tries to keep him that way. Large parts of this show Robert in a bad light, but is Robert doing any less for Talys?

This book…was not what I was expecting. I was expecting high fantasy. I think it’s really a fairy tale. Sometimes I felt like it was trying to do too much and so it missed the opportunity to be great at any one thing. For instance, the scenery is described well, but not well enough for those who love fantasy world-building. There is nothing except what needs to be there at any particular moment. There is one well done love scene that shows you the possiblity of what Min and Kaz could be to each other, but the circumstances are not romantic. If looked at through the lens of a fairy tale, maybe I should just accept it is love, although to me that is what comes after the adventure. I thought this book was going to show the fae as beautiful and terrible as the lore does, only to have that change in the last chapter. Having said that, the creepy scenes are my favorite in the whole book–that feeling of catching your breathe and holding it. Once it gets going, the pacing is fast, as the plot moves from one point to the next. The book is foreshadowed well, but still manages to have a few surprises that are logical. Fairy tales get away with many things other stories do not, and this is so charming and satisfying as each layer of the story is revealed, I decided it was my expectations that were the issue, not the story. By the time of the final confrontation I was satisfied and if it was a little unbelievable, I didn’t even care because it is a fairy tale ending. The final chapter, which takes place four months later, gives the HEA everyone will want. I’m definitely going to reread it.

The cover art is by Tiferet Design. It is beautiful and striking. Now that I’ve read the book, it makes total sense and rather than just paying attention to the real buildings to give me a glimpse of setting, I should have also payed attention to the pastel, dream-like quality to give me a better hint of the story.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: July 23rd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644054642
Edition Language English