Review: Live & Learn by Vance Pumphrey

Disclosure: A copy of this book was given by the author for an honest review.

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Age: Teen-Adult

Pages: 368

Book Blurb:

Defense of the Land Series

Book One

In the age old struggle of good v. evil, who gets to decide who—or what—is good?

Can a beautiful, goody-two-shoes paladin knowingly consort with an assassin? Depends on how desperate the assassin is….

Jaramiile throws her sword in with five others to stop the scourge of evil that has been reborn in The Land. Yet can she face her god when one of her companions admits to being hired to slay another? What if the target is her sworn enemy? To further confuse the matter, the assassin has skills their party needs—and he is very handsome….

Come along on yet another magical ride as Vance Pumphrey weaves The Valdaar’s Fist tale from another perspective—those who would stop the raising of the dark god.

Discussion: Vance Pumphrey has created an Epic Fantasy chocked full of orc battles, paladins, magicusers, rogues, narrow escapes and earth-shattering secrets. While able to stand-alone, I recommend reading Dragma’s Keep first as Live & Learn takes place simultaneously, coming from a different perspective.

As a brilliant example of hunter turned prey, Vance Pumphrey pens a magical page turner with this newest woeful band of misfits. Tracking Sordaak and his crew through the underground maze toward the elusive Dragma’s Keep, this group of characters sometimes bites off more than they can handle. While struggling to gain ground on Sordaak, they face monumental battles, a devious demon, and hidden agendas that strain the tenuous relationships forged on their journey.

Coupled with an interesting plot, I appreciate the parallels that Mr. Pumphrey includes in this latest installment. Since I have read Dragma’s Keep, I enjoyed reliving the hazards that befell Sordaak’s crew, and it added a sense of urgency and dread to the novel. After growing attached to Sordaak and his companions and hoping for their success in raising Valdaar, I began Live & Learn with a bit of trepidation. Not wanting to root for this new set of warriors, devoted to Praxaar, I held a grudge for a time. However, Vance Pumphrey writes in a way to compel those with the strongest of wills to hold the newest cast of characters of Live & Learn in high esteem. By the end, I respected their grit and determination, even though my alliance remained with Sordaak.

In the same fashion, similarities abound between the groups, each with a paladin, magicuser, healer, and jack-of-all-trades. Their devotion to a cause speaks volumes, and in any other circumstance, both sides would probably get along rather well. I can imagine them sitting around an open fire, drinking ale, and rehashing past battles and proudly displaying war wounds. Of course, the only obstacle that pits them against one another is who they serve which encompasses an age-old conflict in a thoughtful and vibrant way.

Vance Pumphrey breathes likability into each character, giving them notable, but believable, flaws that propel the story on and keeps the reader’s attention throughout the book. A likable mix of intensity and humor, Live & Learn gets 5/5 stars. I look forward to the next in the series!

For information about the author, his books, and updates, please check out vancepumphrey.com.

Happy reading,

KD

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Review: The Platinum Dragon by Vance Pumphrey

Disclosure: The author sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Genre: Epic Fantasy

Age: YA to Adult

The final installment of The Valdaar’s Fist series, The Platinum Dragon leaves no stone unturned. What was once a crew of misfits has now turned into a well oiled machine with deep friendships forged. The final book finds our crew undergoing weeks of training with their respective masters, honing and fine-tuning their skills. They plan to reunite on the Isle of Grief with the Storm Giants in tow.

Construction of Sordaak’s Keep, thanks to the dwarves of the Dragger Clan, prosper and the temple for Valdaar’s resurrection is well under way. However, when Vorgaath never turns up, a successful excursion ensues to rescue Vorgaath from the clutches of feudal clans. Once reunited, the crew head back toward the Isle of Grief only to come under attack by none other than servants of Praxaar, including Sordaak’s half-sister. After narrowly escaping death, Sordaak forms a sketchy plan to obtain Valdaar’s Fist from Bahamut, the king of all the mighty dragons.

Each team member is pushed to the ultimate limit of skill and power. The epic showdown leaves a jaw-dropping and unexpected conclusion, impacting each in different and profound ways.

Like the other books in the series, The Platinum Dragon is an entertaining page turner. The author’s words flow effortlessly, creating 3-dimensional characters, vivid imagery and a flawless plot. The downside of any epic fantasy is the length, but with the final turn of the page, I found myself wanting more.

Vance Pumphrey astounds, mesmerizes and fascinates in The Valdaar’s Fist series. I anticipate his future endeavors to work magic of their own.

For more information on Vance Pumphrey and to buy his books/merchandise, please visit www.vancepumphrey.com.

Happy reading,

KD

Review: Ice Homme by Vance Pumphrey

Disclosure: The author presented a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Each book of Vance Pumphrey’s exceeds the previous in anticipation, plot twists, and character development. As readers learn more of the dangers lurking around the next adventure, a growing fervor persuades us to keep turning the page. Ice Homme, the third in the Valdaar’s Fist series, sends our band of brothers on another unforgettable path towards death and destruction.

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The book begins with our tried and trusted crew outside the Library of Antiquities fully rested and loaded with supplies. Having obtained tidbits of information on Valdaar’s infamous sword and Cyrillis’ lineage, the crew sets off for Ice Homme, stronghold of the Minions of Set.

On their journey, a detour takes them on a dangerous path towards the Isle of Grief, Sordaak’s primary spot for his own Keep, an important destination and revelation for all included.  While on the way, the team must conquer the town of Ardaagh, full of ghosts, ghouls, and zombies, including a nasty Lich Lord that would like nothing better than to annihilate each one of them.

As if that is not enough, unforeseen events propel them onwards, attempting to best Storm Giants, Troglodytes and Minions, only to encounter alliances in the most unlikely of places. However, ancestral secrets abound, threatening a halt to their quest.

The ritual to raise Valdaar from the dead is futile without the possession of Pendromar, Dragma’s staff, and Valdaar’s sword. The hunt is on, the stakes are higher, and our trusted team is set to encounter their toughest challenge to date.

With subplots of infidelity and magical cloaks, Vance Pumphrey elevates his writing to another level in this third installment titled Ice Homme.

For more information on the author and to purchase books/merchandise, please visit vancepumphrey.com.

Next week, I’ll review the last in this series, The Platinum Dragon. Stay tuned!

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Happy reading,

KD

Review: The Library of Antiquity by Vance Pumphrey

Disclosure: Author provided a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Stumbling across a series of books that set tongues wagging and imaginations soaring is rather difficult. A fan of Epic Fantasy for decades, I can say that I am more than picky. Books, in general, must not only hook a reader from the opening sentence, but it must hold our attention throughout hundreds of pages. A rather formidable task in this day and age of publications. So, it was with great pleasure to have been introduced to the Valdaar’s Fist series which took me on a ride of unimaginable proportions.

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The Library of Antiquity is the second installment of the series. It picks up with our band of misfits trained, rested and chomping on the bit to continue their quest. The cast must bring their A-Game as they enter a living library ready to thwart any entrant from solving it’s plethora of challenges. Magic, spells and potions are no match for this library as the cast soon realizes. The culmination of staggering events lead our tried and weary group on an exasperating maze towards either triumph or death.

A wicked tale Vance Pumphrey weaves on this fabulous second installment. I look forward to posting my review on the mischief and mayhem this cast of characters entertain in the third book titled Ice Homme.

Happy reading!

KD

Review of Dragma’s Keep by Vance Pumphrey

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book by the author for review.

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Epic Fantasy has met its match with the publication of Dragma’s Keep, the first in The Valdaar’s Fist series, written by Vance Pumphrey. Swept into a magical world full of drow enchantments, mage-summoned demon familiars, armed Minotaurs, underground labyrinths, powerful ancient artifacts, mind-bending puzzles, and a dead god, our outlandish band of characters are assembled by way of theft, arson, persuasion and rescue. Forced to overcome their distrust of each other, the fearsome five find themselves on a journey toward resurrecting a dead god named Valdaar to restore a balance of power long since forgotten by most. This spellbinding book appeals to the adventure seeker in all of us, compelling the reader into depths of the unimaginable and fantastic.

Dragma’s Keep introduces the reader to a remarkable cast of characters who begrudgingly trudge down a path toward friendship. A good mix of humor and despair, Vance Pumphrey expertly crafts a memorable and endearing group, without sacrificing the fiercest of battles, and keeps the reader glued to the pages. I look forward to the journey’s continuation in The Library of Antiquities.

Happy reading,

KD

The Valdaar’s Fist Series Review

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The Valdaar’s Fist series, authored by an up-and-coming writer named Vance Pumphrey, includes Dragma’s Keep, The Library of Antiquity, Ice Homme and The Platinum Dragon. An interest in Dungeons and Dragons, while spending years at sea, sparked his desire to pen a tale of the most intriguing of characters, each with their own strengths and quirks, to hook and enthrall readers for hours on end.

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The robust cast of characters, initially with differing agendas, unite under the guise of finding the elusive Dragma’s Keep, a lair filled with ancient spell books and a magical staff among copious amounts of booty. This lair, hidden for eons within a deadly labyrinth, is thought to hold an ancient staff known as Pendromar, Dragon’s Breath, once owned by a powerful sorcerer (a.k.a. Dragma). The staff is now sought after by Sordaak, novice sorcerer, and his enlisted crew of Savinhand, thief, rogue and all around hack, Thrinndor, a paladin of the Paladinhood of Valdaar as well as Vorgath, a barbarian dwarf of the Dragger clan from the Silver Hills.

Upon a shaky start, the fearsome foursome add a fifth member when they stumble upon and rescue a young woman by the name of Cyrillis who had been bound within the labyrinth and left to die a most gruesome death. With the accrual of a healer of Valdaar, the group presses on uncertain of their futures and of each other. However, amidst the journey to Dragma’s Keep, the legend of Valdaar’s Fist, a sword crafted long ago, entices the group further down the path towards waking a god long since dead for thousands of years.

Their harrowing journeys throughout the series find them navigating labyrinths, an ancient teleporting library stocked full of rare and valuable books and relics, lands ruled by minions of Set, and dragons that possess superior intellect in addition to magical prowess, all in which solidify an enduring bond between the companions, hurtling each member towards heart wrenching disasters and bittersweet triumphs.

The series abounds with twists, turns and unexpected revelations while even accruing other beloved characters along the way. As each member grows in their crafts and skill sets, ground shattering truths, heartaches and friendships are pushed to their ultimate limits.

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Vance Pumphrey has crafted a titillating tale of beautifully flawed, but determined, individuals who sacrifice their own personal gains for the microscopic chance of resurrecting a god lost thousands of years before. It is to this humbleness of needs, this inherent desire to achieve the seemingly impossible, that sets these books apart.

With quick wit, a superior plot, a remarkable cast of characters and engaging dialogue, The Valdaar’s Fist series is an entertaining and captivating read sure to impress for generations of readers to come.

For more information about the author, or to purchase one of his books or merchandise, please visit www.vancepumphrey.com.

In the coming weeks, I will be delving into each book separately. Stay tuned, my friends!

Happy reading,

KD