Saturday, August 22, 2015

My review of "Coal" on the Diverse Book Tour

Welcome to "Coal" Blog Tour, featuring
author Constance Burris and brought to you by Diverse Book Tours!
Read on down the page to learn more about this
diverse fantasy and read my review~

~About the Book~

Coal has lived most of his life in the fey realm with his elven best friend, but when a human child he promised to protect unintentionally breaks a law in front of the fey elite, he will have to choose between betraying his best friend or saving the child’s life.


Looking for some of the juicy stuff? Check out the Coal's excerpt!


Book One of the Everleaf Series

Constance Burris
Chapter 3 Excerpt

One kiss couldn’t hurt, right? Chalcedony thought, but then, she lost herself in the sensation, and one kiss became many. 

Coal’s hand brushed through her hair, sending tingles through her body.
“Princess!” someone shouted from behind. Chalcedony leaped off Coal. A royal guard stood a few feet away with his sword drawn. 

“Are you okay, Princess?” the guard asked, looking from Chalcedony to Coal, and back again.
Bren, she remembered. One of Madoc’s personal lackeys. He had ash-blonde hair with tawny-colored skin. His face was twisted in disgust and anger emanated from his pitch-black eyes.
Coal stepped slowly in front of Chalcedony. She wanted to tell him to stop. Bren was more likely to hurt Coal than her, but she didn’t want to take her focus away from the guard. She felt for the hilt of the knife she hid underneath her shirt. “What are you doing here?” she asked, looking over Coal’s shoulder. 

“I was sent to patrol the forest.” His hands shook, but he never lowered his sword.
“Are you going to attack me?” she asked with a haughty toss of her hair, hoping to draw his attention away from Coal. Bren flicked his gaze towards his weapon, before he lowered the sword.
“I’m sorry, Princess. Of course, I would never hurt you.” 

Chalcedony relaxed, released the knife, and stepped from behind Coal. “Since when do we patrol the forest?” she asked. 

This forest hid the door to the human realm, but it was not guarded. Only a select few were supposed to know it existed. Patrolling would only attract attention. Instead, an invisible barrier prevented anyone from entering without permission, protected the forest.

“Um,” Bren stuttered, his eyes lowered.
“Madoc sent you, didn’t he?”
“He … um, I was sent to patrol the door,” Bren answered. She closed the space between the two of them. 

“Look at me,” she ordered. He met her gaze. “Are you lying to me?”
“No, Princess. I was assigned to patrol the forest today. I didn’t know you would be here.”
She studied him, searching for a lie. She was not a mind reader, but Tetrick had taught her to look past a fey’s surface to recognize emotions and truth. Chalcedony saw fear, embarrassment, and disappointment, but there was no indication of a lie. Perhaps Madoc had set him up.
“Leave my forest before I have you banished for spying on me,” Chalcedony ordered.
“Princess, I’m sorry. I swear I didn’t know you would be here,” Bren said, shaking.

“Leave now!”
“Yes, Princess.” 

He placed his sword in its sheath and stalked away. Once Bren disappeared between the trees, she walked towards the bridge.
“Are you alright?” Coal reached for her arm, but she flinched and moved away.
If she wanted Coal to live, she could never let him touch her again.

Coal followed her over the bridge. “Shouldn’t we talk about what happened?”
“No. I shouldn’t have done that.”
He was about to argue with her, but everything was different, wrong. The air became denser, making it harder for Coal to breathe. The trees, the grass, and even the sun were less vivid. It was as if he were looking through a smudged window. 

“Chaley, where are we?”
Chalcedony met his gaze. “We’re in the human realm.”
“I didn’t see any door.”

She placed her hands on her hips. “If it could be seen, everyone would know where it was.”
He turned in a slow circle, drinking in all he saw. The tree’s brown bark was dull and washed out. The green leaves were watered down and muted. The grass cracked and moaned underneath his feet as if it were dying of thirst.

He had never stopped to listen to the everyday sounds of life; they’d always been in the background. But the singing and harmony of the forest had disappeared. This terrible silence made him feel as if something were missing. 

The human realm, Coal decided, was a weak, lifeless version of the fey realm.

Title: Coal: Book One of The Everleaf Series
Author: Constance Burris
Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing Platform
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Publication Date: June 11th 2015
~About the Author~

Constance Burris is a nerd, writer, wife and mother. Most of her stories are speculative fiction. She was lost the moment she read her first science fiction story in kindergarten about people living on Venus. 

When she discovered the story was fiction, she was heartbroken, but it didn't affect her love for all things fantastical.

You can follow her bookish movements on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads or her Official Site!

~My Review of Coal~
First of all, many thanks to Constance and Diverse Book Tours for providing me a free e-book in exchange for my honest review. I enjoyed this diverse high/urban fantasy which I can honestly say is like no other book I've ever read. Why? When was the last time you read a story about a friendship between a black fairy and a black  human? Granted, this fairy, Chalcedony, can change her appearance at will, but she chooses to be black like her human friend, Coal. Chalcedony is developing amorous feelings for her childhood friend, Coal, but she's strongly encouraged not to because fairies aren't supposed to like humans. It would be unseemly for a fairy queen to have a human consort. Her indecision on this point, not to mention her own pride, causes a great deal of trouble in the story.
For reasons I'm not quite sure of, Chalcedony snatches another human child on a whim, much the way she snatched Coal when he was younger, and brings the girl to the Fae world. Chalcedony is coming of age and must assume the throne soon. The pressure is on her to be rid of Coal. For some reason she thinks a new human child can replace him? (It was a bit of a sticky plot point for me as a reader because I don't really get her thought process here. Maybe she was irrational?)
When the child accidentally draws Chalcedony's blood, there is a high price to pay. Coal attempts to rescue the child from the harsh punishment required by Fae law, putting his own future at risk.
The story definitely has some unique aspects to it. I especially liked the idea of swords having their own consciousness and the concept of Legacy, the Fae home tree with it's own awareness. In the Fae world, there's a strong high fantasy feel, but in the human world, it feels more like urban fantasy. The transition between the two is a bit jarring in places.  I liked the title character, Coal, and I felt for him when Chalcedony's actions were so confusing - can she be trusted or no? I wished he was more determined about his own destiny and more opinionated about the crazy Fae running his life. Chalcedony really seemed to run the show. And the ending does leave you hanging like any good series would. I hope the next book in the series lets Coal shine in his own right. I give Coal two thumbs up for any lover of high fantasy!

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