May 14, 2013

Spotlight on: The Arrival by Nicole MacDonald

Title: The BirthRight Trilogy

Author: Nicole MacDonald

Genre: Fantasy

The first book, The Arrival, is FREE everywhere.

Download Links:
Smashwords (available in any format)
iTunes UK
Wattpad  - where The Arrival is now available 

Synopsis:
Cat, Kassie, Sian and Loi are anything but damsels in distress. Fed up with a lack of decent male specimens they cast a love spell in the hopes of finding their soul-mates. And inadvertently land themselves on another planet.
Oops… 
The Arrival, follows the girls' adventures as they stumble through a foreign and often hostile world where humans are NOT at the top of the food chain. Friendships are forged and love teeters on the horizon while the threat of civil war looms thanks to the girls' very unexpected 'gifts'. Will the girls master these gifts in time to survive a war in which, not only are they the ultimate weapons, but also the ultimate prize...

 

A whole new world - Guest Post by author Nicole MacDonald

Writing fantasy is both a blessing and a curse. A whole new world is yours for the creating, but, if you don’t plan it carefully and abide by your own rules, you can turn it from fantasy to pure nonsense. Having now completed a trilogy of fantasy novels I’ve experienced researching like I never would have fathomed prior to it. For example;
-                      How far can a griffon fly in a day? Or an hour? What is ‘top’ griffon speed.
-                      How would syrens work, and why? Because as silly as it might seem debating a mythical creature, to make it believable in a tale it has to seem logical…
-                      Why do dragons breathe fire? And would they all?
-                      If you have dragons and griffons, what would they eat? Surely a cow wouldn’t be big enough.
-                      How long would an ‘average’ human live?
-                      What colour are the oceans, and why?
-                      Is there magick on this world, and how does it work?
Creating another world, with believable creatures and characters, all in a completely foreign setting requires some meticulous note taking (well, that or flicking back and forth between your drafts *grin*) and an absolute dedication to make it read as logical as possible. It can create some writer’s block like you’ve never experienced but at the same time the sense of freedom, and adventure, in being the first to pioneer your ‘ne world’ makes it all worth it.

Excerpt from The Arrival:
The track quickly led to the river and I dropped my stuff near the edge. Kneeling, I dunked my top in the water and scrubbed it full of soap, smiling when I heard splashes further out in the water. Audi’s such a water baby and as long as it’s by choice rather than me giving her a bath she’ll swim anywhere. I swished the top under the water, rinsing the soap out. The splashes got closer and I glanced up.

Alek stood in the middle of the river, the water lapping mid thigh on him.

I froze, heart thudding loudly in my ears as I stared.
The water cascaded down his taut muscular body, his blue black hair shoved back out of his eyes and his white essentially see-through undergarment. My jaw dropped; I don’t think I’d ever seen such a fantastic specimen in real life before.
Alek stared at Catherine in surprise; he’d thought all the women would have slept for a few more hours at least. About to call out a greeting, he stopped when he noticed her slack jawed expression.
Suddenly I could make out the rational voice in my head, it shrieked at me; STOP STARING! HE’S LOOKING RIGHT AT YOU!
My eyes jerked up to dark blue ones that regarding me in amusement, an eyebrow arched.
OH MY GOD.
And in the manner of any intelligent, attractive, level headed female who’s been caught out… I promptly blushed beetroot, muttered something unintelligent and snatched my things before bolting for the tent. I hurtled past Daron heading toward the river.
Alek stared after Catherine. She’d turned a rather remarkable shade of red then run off. Not far off the color of her hair, Alek mused in amusement. She obviously approved of what she’d seen; he chuckled at the recollection of shock in those wide green eyes when she realized he watched.
'Alek! What’d you do to Catherine?' Daron appeared at the end of the track, a concerned expression on his face.
Alek smirked.
Uh oh, thought Daron, I know that look. He stopped in the track and gave Alek a look of his own. 'Explain. Now.'
Alek arched an eyebrow at Daron’s tone. 'I did nothing to her,' he struggled to keep a straight face. 'She didn’t notice me swimming here and seemed a bit,' he paused and shot Daron a crooked grin. '…surprised to find me.'
Daron envisioned the scene and gave a snort of amusement. 'You do know your shorts are see-through when wet, Alek.'
'You know, I think Catherine noticed that.’ Alek smirked then shrugged. ‘I thought they’d sleep for a few more hours. Didn’t think I’d need to worry about company.'

The Arrival by Nicole MacDonald

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It really, really, scares me how close I came to putting down this book around Chapter Three and never finishing it. I ended up forcing myself to keep reading, and thank goodness for that!

I'll start with the things I really liked about this book. Nicole MacDonald has created a very detailed and interesting fantasy world, and then made it even better by adding likeable and engaging characters to it. The story centers around four best friends who cast a spell looking for their soul mates, and they end up being transported to a new world. Here they meet four men who literally swoop in and save them from death. With a cast of otherworldly people and creatures to delve into, MacDonald can seemingly keep you entertained indefinitely with new things. However, at first, the large cast of main characters is a little overwhelming to keep up with. Even at the very end of the story, I was still a little sketchy on who goes where, but the story is still very enjoyable despite that fact.

I also enjoyed several aspects of the plot. There is a good romance story going - on several different fronts. There is magic, a battle between good and evil, and four women who are dropped into a world that they must learn to navigate quickly (as in life-or-death quickly). I absolutely love, love, love the Griffons. As one/half of the human/Griffon duo needed to form the illustrious Griffon Guard, they are essential to the story line, and add just the perfect amount of something special. Audrey, Cat's canine companion, is also a very close second for my affection for inhuman species in this book.

Now for what I didn't like. I gather that Nicole MacDonald decided to purposely write this book with alternating POV's. Like, as in eight (or more) different POV's. When I first started reading, I did not know this was intentional. I just assumed it was bad writing. This was the number one reason I nearly tossed this book aside. Even once I did a little bit of research and figured out the shifts were intentional, it still annoyed the heck out of me. This book could have easily been a 5-star favorite of mine, but I am NOT a fan of alternating POV's. It's confusing, disrupts the flow of the story, and kind of leaves me feeling like I'm bobbing along without something anchoring me to the story, or steering me in the right direction. A goodly amount of the story is told from Cat's point of view, and those are the times when I really found myself getting caught up in what was going on. This happens a little later on the book, so it did get easier for me to read.

I also was not a big fan of the way the book just abruptly ended. I'm all for a good cliffhanger or a heavy dose of suspense, but this was just ridiculous. It was like running down a familiar path and then finding yourself unexplainably falling off the side of a cliff that you never saw coming (and shouldn't have been there). Thankfully, books two and three in this series are already available, so I can begin reading them immediately. If this would have been book one of a series where I had to wait several months for a sequel, I would have thrown a seriously big hissy fit!

Overall, I definitely recommend this book to fans of the fantasy/romance genre. Just be warned that you will probably be supremely irritated at first (and maybe even well into the book) by the shifting POV's, but I guarantee that the story is worth toughing it out.


Author Bio
Nicole MacDonald is a thirty something year old Kiwi who loves to read and moonlights as a novelist. From a young age she fantasized about being the heroine in the books and/or movies she watched and credits the series ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ for really inspiring her. Writing only occurred to her a few years ago after reading an abysmal tale with silly useless females where upon she decided to write a tale solely for herself where the girls got to kick butt without the usual sob story—betrayed/abused/abandoned etc. That little tale eventuated into the BirthRight Trilogy.
Nicole’s current daydream is that Joss Whedon (aka the genius of film) will discover the BirthRight Trilogy and demand the film rights to it. Until then, she’s working on several other writing projects and aiming to explore the world with her partner.
 

  

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for hosting me today :) and good on you for toughing it out; interestingly enough some people don't even bat an eye at the change in POV's - it seems to be very much something that'll either 'click' in your mind, or something you'll have to force for a bit. I hope it was worth it ;) And yes, the multiple POV's is very much intentional, if you get to reading the next books I hope you can see why I chose the (maddening to some) method *grin*

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    1. My pleasure - glad to have you! :) I will say that I was very easily able to following the multiple POV's in book two. I'm not sure if I was just used to it, or if the formatting change with a space and a dash made it a lot clearer. Either way, I was able to enjoy the flexibility that it lent to the overall story. Can't wait to post my review of Awakening tomorrow and Feel the Burn on Thursday!

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    2. I suspect it's a bit of both. The Arrival was my debut so it's only natural that I should improve (hopefully!! ;p) with each book, and I do think Feel the Burn is the best of the three. The formatting should have been the same on each book but sometimes I miss placing the occasional dash in *blush* which doesn't help!

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