Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Battle for Darracia (Schism #1) by Michael Phillip Cash

On the planet Darracia, an ever-widening social gap between its inhabitants is causing turmoil that is fracturing a once peaceful world. Struggling with his identity, nineteen year old Prince V'sair must harness the power of the elusive Fireblade, the secret to a warrior's heart, in order to overcome his uncle Staf Nuen's lust for supremacy. Will the energy of the Elements guide the young prince to his true destiny or will Staf Nuen conquer Darracia? After the success of his first three books (Brood X, Stillwell, and The Hanging Tree) Michael is fulfilling a dream and creating his own epic fantasy world. Schism: The Battle for Darracia is the first book in a planned series.

I fell in love with Cash's work the first time I read Brood X.  It was vivid and inviting and invigorating. I went on to read the rest of Cash's work, only to find that each one, while having his particular style, were completely different genres.  I was really looking forward to reading Schism for many reasons.  First, I enjoy Cash's writing.  It quickly pulls me away into a netherworld that nothing can pull me out of until I've finished. Second, Cash is a darn nice guy, and I love being supportive of darn nice people.  Third, I was really interested to see if this book fell into the same genres as any of his other work.  While I'd definitely label them all science fiction, of a sort, they range from horror to mystery to tragic comedy.  Where would Schism fit? Would he let me down this time?

I'm glad to say this was definitely up to the standards I've come to expect from Cash.  Once again, we have a completely unique story and this time, well definitely being sci-fi, I found it to be an action/political romance!  We have these wonderfully designed species on a uniquely formed planet.  It's set up so that there's a monarch and subjects, but also there's great division between the species on the planet.  Our beloved monarch is in a position to fix this and make it a united planet, but subplots abound!  Things won't be as easy as our king imagines!  

Then, we have an inter-species romance going on.  It's sudden and passionate and just brilliantly defined.  If they can survive through the end of the book, they just may be able to make the king's dreams come true.  By combining their forces and natures, they could become an unstoppable team, and thankfully they have the knowledge and honor to back themselves up.

I was expecting it to take me awhile to figure out this new world and these characters, but it was flawlessly splayed for me.  I didn't have pages and pages of needless background information to absorb.  I didn't need to hear the entire history of the planet or it's peoples.  I was simply led into a strange place and subtly fed the information I needed as I needed it.  

I'm really looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next. From horror to fantasy, this guy can do it all.  If Cash continues in the same manner he has been, the sky is the limit.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Shawn

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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