Official Review: Dagger's Destiny by Linnea Tanner

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Official Review: Dagger's Destiny by Linnea Tanner

Post by cristinaro » 30 Aug 2018, 08:41

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Dagger's Destiny" by Linnea Tanner.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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King Amren of the Cantiacci Celtic warriors warns his youngest daughter: “Water and earth can only meet at the shore.” Catrin remembers his words when she realizes her impossible love story with Marcellus, son of the Roman Senator Lucius Antonius, has devastating consequences for both her family and kingdom. Torn apart between duty and love, the Celtic princess is the only one who can change Rhan’s curse on the lapin-crested dagger. If the curse fulfils, her father faces a most horrific death and she will be at the mercy of her cruel half-brother Marrock. Accused of treason and sent into exile, the young princess needs to make a choice between her heart and her responsibility to her people.

Catrin’s story is much more than a sweeping romance; it is a journey of self-discovery. Set in 24 AD in Southeast Britannia, Dagger’s Destiny is book two in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Without hesitation, I rate Linnea Tanner’s novel 4 out of 4 stars. Since I have also read and enjoyed Apollo’s Raven, the first book in this amazing historical fantasy series, I had genuinely high expectations. Not only did the novel meet my expectations, it also by far exceeded them. Although it could be read as a standalone book, my recommendation would be to read the entire series. It is definitely worth it and I cannot wait to read the next book, Amulet’s Rapture.

There are many things I love about this novel. I am delighted with both the author’s professionalism and writing talent. Dagger’s Destiny is very well researched, thoroughly organized and exquisitely edited. Linnea Tanner is the kind of writer who pays attention to the tiniest details, helping the readers with a map of Britannia, a list of characters in alphabetical order or an explanatory author’s note.

Imbued with both Roman and Celtic traditions, myths and legends, the story draws a contrastive parallel between the two cultures and civilizations. There are memorable scenes such as the brilliant description of the fertility rite meant to validate Marcellus’s claim to kinship and to symbolize his union with the Earth Goddess who bestows rich crops and large livestock. If the realism of the story is ensured by the constantly changing network of political alliances and backstabbing, its beauty springs from the wonderfully interwoven mythological references and enlightening mystical experiences.

It is not an easy job to master the multiple narrative threads, but Linnea Tanner succeeds in keeping everything in control and adding unexpected twists and turns of the plot. The shifting perspective shapes complex characters and gives more credibility to the story. Secondary characters such as Myrddin, the Wandering Druid or Ferrex, the lion-hearted Celtic warrior are equally well-portrayed. Catrin’s power to prophesy, shape-shift or change people’s destinies give rise to magical scenes where readers can revel in the Depths of Possibilities. The symbolism of the raven is rich in meanings and gracefully ties all the sub-plots together. Messenger of the Roman god Apollo, the Raven becomes Catrin’s spiritual guide throughout her allegorical quest. Apart from the Celtic Princess, other female characters like Queen Rhiannon or Rhan, king Amren’s former wife, have strong personalities and represent a Celtic society still based on principles of equality and shared responsibility. Cultural differences as well as personal ambitions and the Romans’ expansionist policy will ultimately lead to military confrontation. The epic battle scenes once again reveal the true extent of the author’s writing skills.

Linnea Tanner’s series covers a large variety of topics from love, the value of loyalty and friendship and the importance of duty and honor to betrayal, political intrigue and cultural and military clash. Historical fantasy at its best, both Apollo’s Raven and Dagger’s Destiny have the potential to satisfy different reading tastes, therefore I wholeheartedly recommend them to all those who long for a complex and exciting series.

******
Dagger's Destiny
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Post by AmySmiles » 30 Aug 2018, 14:08

I appreciate your thorough review, but historical fantasy is not something I am interested in. Complex series is probably not something my mind can handle right now either. Thanks for the review.
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Post by Rosemary Khathibe » 30 Aug 2018, 15:38

Even though I'm not a fan of historical fantasy, the book seems interesting, especially for the fact that it contains a little bit of romance, which is my favourite genre. Intriguing review!

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Post by Britty01 » 30 Aug 2018, 15:43

I really enjoyed reading the review. This sounds like a very interesting series and a story about Romans and Celtic people is very appealing. I am sure I would like looking at the map also.

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Post by Georgia Lyonhyde » 30 Aug 2018, 19:56

I have just added Apollo's Raven to my shelves, there's no way I can bypass this one. The reviews score the series highly and I am interested in all the different cross over genres so I think I'll be thoroughly satisfied.

Good job on the review. It's very thorough and helpful.
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Post by AliceofX » 30 Aug 2018, 23:27

I didn't really like Apollo's Raven that much, so I won't continue with the rest of the series. You wrote a nice review, but I was hoping for more of a comparison between this book and Apollo's Raven. That's really what made me curious about your review.

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Post by cristinaro » 31 Aug 2018, 03:28

AmySmiles wrote: ↑
30 Aug 2018, 14:08
I appreciate your thorough review, but historical fantasy is not something I am interested in. Complex series is probably not something my mind can handle right now either. Thanks for the review.
The book is actually very easy to read. I only realized its complexity when I tried to summarize it and write the review. :) Otherwise, it flows naturally and you end up wondering how you got to page 50, 100, etc. Thanks for reading.
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Post by cristinaro » 31 Aug 2018, 03:35

Rosemary Khathibe wrote: ↑
30 Aug 2018, 15:38
Even though I'm not a fan of historical fantasy, the book seems interesting, especially for the fact that it contains a little bit of romance, which is my favourite genre. Intriguing review!
I wouldn't say the book contains just a little bit of romance. If you like romance, you'll definitely love this one because there is a wonderful love story at its core and it is actually this love story that shapes the protagonists' decisions and influences many destinies. You also have a love triangle: Marcellus - Catrin - Ferrex. There are references to Marcellus's former lover in Rome, a married woman who initiated him in eroticism. There are erotic, rather than sexual scenes included in the novel. :) I would add more, but I don't want to spoil the fun of reading.
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Post by cristinaro » 31 Aug 2018, 03:39

Britty01 wrote: ↑
30 Aug 2018, 15:43
I really enjoyed reading the review. This sounds like a very interesting series and a story about Romans and Celtic people is very appealing. I am sure I would like looking at the map also.
Linnea Tanner has done a great job with this series. While I was reading, I had the sensation I was transported back in those times. I mean, it was like learning a lot of things about the Celts and the Romans while living among them and participating to an amazing adventure rather than simply reading an arid history book about their lives. Thanks for commenting.
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Post by cristinaro » 31 Aug 2018, 03:43

Ti-G wrote: ↑
30 Aug 2018, 19:56
I have just added Apollo's Raven to my shelves, there's no way I can bypass this one. The reviews score the series highly and I am interested in all the different cross over genres so I think I'll be thoroughly satisfied.

Good job on the review. It's very thorough and helpful.
I often wondered what's the attribute of a great book. In many cases, I thik it's the author's ability to write a story that transcends genres, as you mentioned. Thanks for your nice comments and I hope you'll enjoy the series.
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Post by cristinaro » 31 Aug 2018, 03:53

AliceofX wrote: ↑
30 Aug 2018, 23:27
I didn't really like Apollo's Raven that much, so I won't continue with the rest of the series. You wrote a nice review, but I was hoping for more of a comparison between this book and Apollo's Raven. That's really what made me curious about your review.
I am wondering why you didn't like Apollo's Raven, but to answer your question, I couldn't insist too much on the similarities and differences between Apollo's Raven and Dagger's Destiny because I should have given many more details related to either the plot or character development and I would have spoiled the pleasure of reading for potentially interested people. Since Apollo's Raven is September BOTM, maybe we can compare the books there.
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Post by kandscreeley » 31 Aug 2018, 07:31

This one sounds complex but beautiful. Looking at it, I didn't realize it was the sequel to Apollo's Raven. I guess I would have to start with that one since I haven't read it yet. It sounds like the author is very talented. I'll have to look at both of these!
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Post by Emi_Review » 31 Aug 2018, 10:08

Thank you for the review! I'm currently reading the first book in this series and have been enjoying it so far, your review has made me want to hurry up and read the next book!

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Post by prhyme » 01 Sep 2018, 07:26

I am normally not thrilled by stories of dynasties and history, but all in all this is a great review!
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Post by kdstrack » 06 Sep 2018, 20:34

Thanks for the wonderful review. I am enjoying the questions and discussions about 'Apollo's Raven' on the Book of the Month forum. This sounds like a superb continuation of the story. I will definitely be following this series. You did a beautiful job of describing the characters and the setting.

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