Book One of the Chronicles of Aronshae

Young Adult - Fantasy - General
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 12/08/2012
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

Author Biography

Jay and Katie Barber combine their names to write under the pen name, J. K. Barber. The couple lives in Roswell, GA with their children, Maya and Gabe, as well as their four rescue cats. Jay graduated from The University of Georgia with a degree in English literature, and Katie graduated from The University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in English creative writing. They combine their educations, writing together as a co-author team, for projects such as the "Chronicles of Aronshae" and "Mervidia."

In addition to their collaborative work, Jay and Katie also have individual titles: "Hidden Path," a prequel to their trilogy written by Jay, and "Fallen," a post-apocalyptic angel novel written by Katie. The Barbers enjoy being parents, table top gaming, reading, mixed martial arts, riding motorcycles, and playing MMO games such as World of Warcraft.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Eduardo Aduna for Readers' Favorite

Jay and Katie Barber’s "Spellbound" is sword and sorcery at its finest. Set in the world Aronshae, where an evil sorceress leads a host of ice orcs against the outpost city of Snowhaven, "Spellbound" follows the intertwined destinies of the twins Katya and Sasha, the lonely outdoors man Jared and a delightful cast of protagonists as they desperately try to thwart the Ice Empress’s plans. Things become even more complicated when an all-powerful being decides to take a divine hand in the war for Aronshae.

It has been a while since I have read a fantasy novel as enjoyable as "Spellbound". The “kingdom against an overwhelming horde led by a powerful evil magician” trope has been milked for decades in this genre but "Spellbound" manages to show how well-thought-out characters, with their own unique sets of talents and personalities can make an otherwise simple plot into a beautiful mosaic of interwoven fates. It is these characters that are the driving force of the Barbers’ novel. I love how these characters’ personalities are molded by their previous circumstances, and how they grow and adapt when thrust into new ones. The writing is well-balanced, with the dialogue engaging and detailed yet not approaching that particular point of tediousness. I squealed in delight as potions and herbs made a particularly strong presence in the story. That and the delightful new breed of magical creatures were little nuggets I appreciated. The Barbers have a way of ensuring that the pace is sustained, even with brief bursts of frenetic action contrasted with moments of character introspection. Of particular note are the fight scenes. The moves, expressions and sequences are so lovingly choreographed and detailed that I found myself actually imagining how I would react if I were facing off against a mean, bulky grappler. Suffice it to say, Jared fared far better in the book than I did in my imagination. "Spellbound" is a wonderful new book, one that I would happily recommend to fellow fantasy escapists to read. With the satisfying, yet obvious “set up for a sequel” ending, I find myself eagerly awaiting the next book in the Barbers’ Aronshae series.