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Book Review: The Warlock By Deborah J Lightfoot

Book Review: The Warlock By Deborah J Lightfoot (Waterspell Book 1)

Title: The Warlock (Waterspell Book 1)
Author: Deborah J. Lightfoot
Genre: Upper YA Fantasy Romance
Date Published: November 2011
Synopsis: Drawn into the schemes of an angry wizard, Carin glimpses the place she once called home. It lies upon a shore that seems unreachable. To learn where she belongs and how to get there, the teenage traveler must decipher the words of an alien book, follow the clues in a bewitched poem, conjure a dragon from a pool of magic — and tread carefully around a seductive but volatile, emotionally scarred sorcerer who can’t seem to decide whether to love her or kill her.

Book Review

I didn’t really know what to expect when I started reading this book. After finishing the entire novel, I reread the synopsis for this book, I have to say that it does not cover the half of what this book is actually about. To me, this book was a journey, not just for Carin, but for all the characters. When you first meet the characters, you think that you know them and their story, but trust me, you don’t.

There are really only six characters throughout the whole book, with the main focus being on Carin and Lord Verek. I felt a whirlwind of emotions as I read this book as I could never decide whether I loved or hated each character. Each character is hiding something and as more and more about them was revealed, the more confused I felt as to what their true motives were. Whilst this was kind of annoying, it kept me on my toes and willed me to keep reading so that I could find out exactly what each character’s history was.

At the end of Book 1, I can’t say that I know that much more about each character as everything that I’ve learnt has led to a million more questions, which I assume will be answered in the following novels. The character’s are so compelling and you never know what to expect from them or what they’re capable of which makes this book all the more exciting.

What I found most interesting was the integration of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. It was interesting to have a well-known and well-loved story from our world woven into this fantasy tale. This book is written in a language that is foreign to Lord Verek, but for reason’s currently unknown, Carin is able to decipher it. It is for this reason that Lord Verek decides to take Carin in, though we are unsure as to whether this is for her safety or imprisonment.

The writing itself is absolutely fantastic with so much detail and description. The imagery was so vivid that I felt like I could see this mystical world forming around me as I was reading. Having just finished season 1 of Game of Thrones, I couldn’t help but imagine that the scenery was much the same. In addition, there is a certain preoccupation with the ‘North’, where Carin is determined to get to, despite everyone’s warnings against its many dangers which reminded me of the Wall.

This entire book is full of suspense and intrigue and there is not way to predict what is going to happen next. The mystery of Lord Verek’s abode and his magical powers alongside the mystery of Carin’s history make for a compelling read. This books ends on a massive cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more and I can’t wait to read the next two books which will, no doubt, be just as good!

I highly recommend this to any readers of fantasy and anyone else looking for a good read!

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Author Bio:

Book Review: The Warlock By Deborah J Lightfoot

Castles in the cornfield provided the setting for Deborah J. Lightfoot’s earliest flights of fancy. On her father’s farm in West Texas, she grew up reading extraordinary tales of adventure and reenacting them behind tall ramparts of sun-drenched corn.

She left the farm to earn a bachelor of science degree in journalism and write award-winning books of history and biography, including The LH7 Ranch (University of North Texas Press) and Trail Fever (William Morrow, New York).

High on her Bucket List was the desire to try her hand at the genre she most admired. The result is WATERSPELL, a complex, intricately detailed fantasy that begins with Book 1: The Warlock and Book 2: The Wysard, and concludes (for the present) with Book 3: The Wisewoman. But a legal pad filled with notes and tucked away in a desk drawer suggests a possible Book 4 before the saga may fairly be said to be finished.

Deborah is a professional member of The Authors Guild. She and her husband live in the country south of Fort Worth, Texas. Find her online at www.waterspell.net.

Author Interview

1. When did you decide that you wanted to become a writer?

I can’t remember when I wasn’t writing. No one in my family was a big talker. I grew up on  a farm surrounded by strong, silent people. From my earliest childhood, writing felt more natural than talking. I wrote letters and kept a diary. At college I majored in wildlife science, but as a junior I switched to journalism for the better job prospects: jobs were scarce for park rangers and wildlife biologists. After graduation, I worked as a magazine editor and feature writer. My first three books (history and biography) grew out of research I did for magazine articles.

2. Which writer, if any, would you compare yourself to?

The SF and fantasy author Andre Norton was among my major early influences. To quote from her Wikipedia profile, under the heading of Recurring Motifs:

“Again and again in her works, alienated outsiders undertake a journey through which they realize their full potential … In most Norton books, whether science-fiction or fantasy, the plot takes place in the open countryside, with only short episodes in a city environment. Protagonists usually move about singly or in small groups, and in conflict situations they are more often scouts, spies or guerrillas rather than regular soldiers …

“As could be expected of such characters, they tend to be resourceful and capable of taking independent initiative … the protagonists (often young) are thrust into situations where they must develop quickly …”

That gives a good sense of my WATERSPELL trilogy. My protagonist, Carin, is a teenager who undertakes a journey that taxes her resourcefulness to its limits. By the end of the trilogy, Carin is far along in realizing her full potential. Clearly, I’m influenced by all the Norton books I devoured in my adolescence.

3. If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be? 

An electrician. I enjoy working with my hands and figuring out puzzles. My husband is a gearhead, aka shade-tree mechanic, and I occasionally get to help him solve electrical puzzles in cars. I can read and understand wiring diagrams. They’re like maps, and I love maps. 🙂

4. What’s your all time favourite book and why?

Tough question! Of the countless books I’ve read, it’s nearly impossible to single out just one. I’ll fudge and say the books of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin. Every book in that series is extraordinary. The quality of her writing leaves me breathless with admiration. Her fantasy worlds are complete in every detail. Reading the books of Earthsea left me totally convinced that I was learning the history of a real place and a real culture.

5. Do you have any advice for budding young writers?

Join a critique group. It can meet in person, as mine does, or it can be an online group. Every writer needs to be able to bounce ideas off fellow writers. The group I’m in is a safe place. We bring our rough, first drafts and get feedback without fear of ridicule or condemnation.  My critique partners have given me invaluable support during all the years I’ve worked on the WATERSPELL trilogy. Every writer needs that support, and there’s not a writer alive who won’t benefit from the kind of thoughtful, insightful critiques that knowledgeable pros can provide. If you don’t have a serious, professional critique group to join, start one!

6. What inspired you to write Waterspell?

I can’t put my finger on any single inspiration. The story bubbled up and kept bubbling until I had no choice but to write it. I think it had been percolating, at least in my subconscious, since I was a teenager. After the publication of my third book of nonfiction, I felt restless. I wanted to grow as a writer. I wanted to try my hand at writing fiction.

It had taken me years to work up the courage to tackle the intricate, multilayered trilogy I wanted to write. I have
such respect for the fantasy genre, I had placed it on a pedestal and feared to approach it. I think I was afraid of failure. What if I tried to write a fantasy and bombed? Could I bear the disappointment if I discovered I wasn’t
capable of it? I had to do other sorts of writing until I got enough self-confidence and maturity to undertake “the epic,” the fantasy saga I dreamed of producing.

7. Where do you like to do your writing? 

In designing our house, my husband (with my help) spec’d an upstairs room as my office. It’s not a converted bedroom—it’s a purpose-built space with built-in bookshelves and cabinets. It’s under the eaves in the quietest part of the house. This is my retreat, my sanctuary, my place for thinking.

8. Which character from a book, if any, would you most like to trade lives with?

Elizabeth Bennet! She’s the most quick-witted member of her Pride and Prejudice family. And as we all know, she ends up with Mr. Darcy and Pemberley. A pretty good deal! But if I’m allowed to say it, I’d also happily live Carin’s life in my WATERSPELL trilogy. She ends up in a good place, too.

9. What are you working on next? 

My work in progress is called “Out of Mind.” It’s a story of the paranormal set in the American West of the far future. Eventually, too, there may be a WATERSPELL Book 4. I’m mulling over the threads from the trilogy that
could weave a framework for a fourth book.

10. And lastly, just for a bit of randomness, if you were any sort of fruit, what would you be?

An orange. Oranges have layers. Under the peel, there’s all those segments. I’m kind of segmented, too, with my different and varied interests. But then, I think many people are. Well-rounded people have multiple aspects to our lives. Oranges ‘R’ Us!

Thank you! I’ve enjoyed this Q&A.

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Laura is a culture and travel blogger based in London. She studied French at Oxford University and now studies Law in London. She’s an avid reader and traveller and loves to combine the two with literary travel. Find her tips and reviews on the best reads, eats and destinations on whatshotblog.com.

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  1. Deborah J. Lightfoot
    7th June 2012 / 4:27 PM

    Wow! Laura, I thank you most kindly for the great review, the fun interview, and the wonderful presentation! I'm so delighted that you enjoyed Book 1 and you weren't too annoyed by the cliffhanger ending. I didn't set out to end Book 1 on a cliffhanger, that's just the way the story wanted to be told. Book 2 ends at a more natural pause in the story. And then in Book 3, the questions get answered.

    Thanks again! Your review has made my WEEK. 😀

  2. John Paul
    9th June 2012 / 4:39 AM

    Nice blog ..

    visiting you from book-blogs!!

    would be happy to meet you on Another Author

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