The Hunter’s Rede on Self-Publishing Review

The Hunter’s Rede, Book One in The Chronicles of Ealiron, where the Otherworld is alive, nature is sovereign and balance is kept by the sword. The books in this series are driven by an assassin named Lorth of Ostarin, a complex character with a bent toward bringing things to their darkest ends. These books stand alone as individual stories that happen in the same world with Lorth and some of the other characters appearing throughout. Each book includes a map and a glossary.

Below is an editorial review of The Hunter’s Rede from Self-Publishing Review. See it on SPR here.

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

“A lethal warrior without banner or cause rises to heights of heroism he never sought in The Hunter’s Rede by F.T. McKinstry, a dark and thoroughly fun new fantasy saga.

Tapping into the best elements of high-genre writing, with cryptic wizards, dark powers, and jaw-dropping plot twists, this character-driven knockout is a thrilling pleasure to read. The sprawling new realm of Ealiron is ripe for storytelling, and newly hooked fans will be pleased to know this is only the first in a four-part series.

Lorth is one of the most compelling new fantasy characters in recent memory, summoning shades of Drizzt Do’Urden, Aragorn, and other legendary loners from fantasy lit. Not only is he the most feared and well-paid assassin in the realm, having served the Wizards of Tarth for years, but he is a self-taught practitioner himself, which makes him doubly dangerous, and intriguing.

However, when he falls out of favor with those who have newly seized power, and kills one too many of the wrong people, the enemies begin to close in on him from every side, and fall to his blade. An unparalleled hunter being on the other side of the chase makes for exciting reading, as do the visceral battle sequences and graphic details from this author’s slicing pen. However, this novel is not all sword-swinging and sorcery – there is expert plot-crafting at work as well, not to mention multilevel world-building, original rules for magic, and a compellingly dark streak of philosophy.

The exposition is doled out like delectable crumbs, leading readers gradually deeper into this world, but still ensnaring them fully within the first few chapters. A lyrical meditation on darkness within the human soul, peppered with gripping action scenes that feel cinematic in their effortless intensity, this is a must-read work of fantasy, puppeteered by an author with an ear for authentic dialogue and vivid descriptions. The caliber of the writing deserves additional praise, as the dark mood is rarely broken, and every line of prose feels heavy with intention. “As he waited for Death’s exhale,” or “throbbed with prickling fire, like a glowing coal” are just a glimpse of the subtly brilliant lines that tie this novel together.

There is plenty of “journey narration” in an epic adventure like this, but the frequent twists of language and artful descriptions keep even the longest stretches of travel engaging. There are very few weak points in the writing that stand out – self-referential questions, overuse of internal monologue, and occasional lapses in point of view – and there are some overly familiar tropes and bland narration that could use another editing pass, but these issues are few and far between, and pale in comparison to the sincere pleasure of the reading experience. McKinstry has a masterful pen, one born for this niche of darkly epic storytelling.

All in all, this is a stellar first installment of the Chronicles of Ealiron series, with massive potential to be a heavy-hitting standout in the genre.”

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

The Hunter’s Rede, Book One in The Chronicles of Ealiron.Only wizards and hunters know the true meaning of darkness. Lorth of Ostarin, a highly paid assassin with the rough skills of a wizard and a penchant for bringing things to their darkest ends, is about to discover there are worse things in the dark than him.

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© F.T. McKinstry 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Book Review: Outpost

LITERARY TITAN

Outpost (The Fylking, #1)5 Stars

Delve into this mystical world populated with equally mystical beings. In Outpost by F.T. McKinstry we are introduced to a race of beings called The Fylking. Ethereal beings that have crossed over the universe and jumped from their world to the world of Math. These creatures shift from animal forms to those resembling a human but not quite. They cannot be seen by just anyone yet everyone knows they exist. A group of individuals known as Wardens act as liaisons between these beings and the rest of the world. For better or worse, they are entwined. We have three main characters who will shape the tale: Arcmael, a Warden, Melisande who is a woman that knits and Othin, a Ranger in the king’s employ. Innocent interactions beget the telling of an intricate tale: one that will see war, death and heartache feed off each other. Each of the three holds…

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#SPFBO Review of Outpost on Fantasy Faction

Outpost Cover Art

G.R. Matthews on Fantasy Faction has reviewed Outpost for the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off!

Check it out here.

spfbo-banner-6

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

Outpost Cover ArtOutpost, Book One in The Fylking.

A race of immortal warriors who live by the sword.
A gate between the worlds.
Warriors, royals, seers and warlocks living in uneasy peace on one side of the Veil.
Until now.

© F.T. McKinstry 2016. All Rights Reserved.

#SPFBO Update: Outpost Made Finalist!

Well, it’s official. Lynn over at Lynn’s Book Blog has put Outpost forward as her finalist in this year’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off put together by Mark Lawrence, author of the series The Broken Empire and The Red Queen’s War.

You can read Lynn’s lovely review here.

Outpost will now be considered with the other finalists by ten stalwart bloggers who will eventually pick one book as the ultimate winner. SPFBO is quite an undertaking, and I have great respect for the time and effort these guys have put into reading and considering 300 works, at 30 apiece, by self-published fantasy authors. Wow. Needless to say, I’m deeply grateful for this opportunity.

10 books out of 300. Check out the finalists here. Congratulations to all!

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

Outpost Cover ArtOutpost, Book One in The Fylking.

A race of immortal warriors who live by the sword.
A gate between the worlds.
Warriors, royals, seers and warlocks living in uneasy peace on one side of the Veil.
Until now.

© F.T. McKinstry 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Self-Publishing Review of Outpost

SPR Banner

Outpost, Book One in The Fylking, epic fantasy woven with Norse mythology, swords and sorcery. Here’s a new editorial review from Self-Publishing Review.

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

“Math is a world of cosmic connections. The Fylking, an immortal race of warriors from the Otherworld, use a series of gates to travel to and from their outposts in this realm. The kingdoms of Math, specifically Dyrregin, serve as garrisons in the Fylking’s interdimensional war with their ancient enemy, the Niflsekt. Humans are generally oblivious to the larger struggle into which their world has been involved. The Wardens, a guild of solitary wanderers, are the exception. Long ago, the Fylking made a pact with the original Wardens, in which the Wardens swore to maintain the portal gates for the Fylking’s travel and to serve as their representatives to the rest of humanity.

Both the Fylking and the Wardens are viewed with a mixture of suspicion and fearful respect…on the relatively few times the people of Math remember them at all. Arcmael, Warden of Dyrregin, is the first to notice the beginning of strange happenings, but his ability to comprehend coming events is threatened by his personal struggles. Melisande, a woman of supernatural abilities, also becomes privy to a widening plot, but her innate “pattern sense” may not be enough to protect her from the attention of gods.

Finally, Othin, Melisande’s lover and a skilled warrior, is estranged from his love at the very moment he discovers her peril. More is at work behind the scenes than the petty power struggles between nations. Arcmael, Melisande, and Othin must unravel the mystery behind the schemes before all of Math falls to a war that it has forgotten existed…

Outpost is a fantasy novel that manifests as part adventure, part mystery, and part romance, with a dash of horror thrown in. The cultures, religions, superstitions, etc. are all based on Nordic mythology and Scandinavian traditions, which provides an interesting and recognizable flavor to the plot.

The strongest aspect of Outpost is unquestionably its writing. The prose is polished and knowledgeable – a trait that immediately sets this book apart from the majority of self-published works. McKinstry’s excellent description is both fluid and elegantly simple, and it paints an effective picture of settings, events, and characters. Suspenseful scenes are suitably stressful, utilizing terse prose that provides for intense, hair-raising experiences.

The character-building techniques used are effective, and while some characters are easier to identify with than others, all are deep and ultimately relatable. In addition, the world and concepts McKinstry has created are fully realized, distinct, and gripping.

There are a few issues, most of them fairly minimal in their overall impact. Expository passages to fill in historical events are a bit heavy-handed, though not overtly distracting. McKinstry also resorts to a deus ex machina or two, but Tolkien indulged in that particular vice on occasion as well. Who am I to begrudge an author the occasional literary escape hole? The book’s cover could also be a bit more eye-catching, but, in a strange way, it manages to mirror the indistinct, ethereal feel of many of Outpost’s characters and concepts.

All in all, Mckinstry’s book proves to be one of the best independently published fantasy novels of the past year. Tense, gritty, exciting, and romantic, Outpost is a tale avid fantasy readers won’t want to miss.” 4.5 Stars

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

Outpost Cover ArtOutpost, Book One in The Fylking.

A race of immortal warriors who live by the sword.
A gate between the worlds.
Warriors, royals, seers and warlocks living in uneasy peace on one side of the Veil.
Until now.

© F.T. McKinstry 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Readers’ Favorite Review of Outpost

RF 5 Stars

Outpost, Book One in The Fylking, epic fantasy woven with Norse mythology and a touch of science fiction. Here’s a lovely review from Readers’ Favorite.

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

“Outpost by F.T. McKinstry is the first novel in The Fylking series. This novel is simply WOW. The story is complicated but in a good way. I have been on the lookout for a series that is as good as The Lord of the Rings and this novel came closer than any other series I have read previously.

The story is about a world controlled by the Fylking. This is an immortal race that taught human seers to build an interdimensional portal called the Gate. The Fylking’s enemies are hell bent on destroying it and they will go to any lengths to get what they want. After a period of peace, the war is on again, but this time it is something fierce. The seers are disappearing and the opposition is creating an army of warriors that cannot die. Will this be the end of the world as we know it? Or will a hero arise and save the world?

This is a novel that will get your heart racing and make you bite your nails. I had to re-read a few things to make sure that I understood what was happening around me, but that is the only negative. The tension was palpable, the dialogues were crisp and the characters were real, despite having powers. They had human flaws that made them approachable and understanding. I will definitely read the next novel in the series because, seriously, who can stop once they have started this series?” ~ Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

Outpost Cover ArtOutpost, Book One in The Fylking.

A race of immortal warriors who live by the sword.
A gate between the worlds.
Warriors, royals, seers and warlocks living in uneasy peace on one side of the Veil.
Until now.

© F.T. McKinstry 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Book Review: Into the Arms of Morpheus

Into the Arms of Morpheus

Into the Arms of Morpheus, by Jessica Nicholls
Fantasy
Kindle Edition, 166 pages

This is a remarkable tale. I was originally drawn to it by my love of Greek mythology. It doesn’t involve just any gods, but dark, enigmatic, dangerous gods: Night, Death, Dreams, the Sea. The author captures the essence of these beings with beautiful, hypnotic, subtle writing. It’s dark and gets right down into the raw core of things. I was captivated by the sensuous and high-contrast descriptions of moods, emotions, desires, landscapes, etc. Whether experiencing a cool night, the sadness of a god or the ugly underside of humanity, it was done with equal intensity.

I loved that the gods had issues. Messed up issues. This is played out through two well-developed, complex mortal characters who share a passionate longing to experience the Divine and to leave this world for the Otherworld. (Bad idea, as it turns out.)

This story is well edited and written in an interesting style. Short, crisp sentences, first person, present tense, as one might record a dream. This threw me a little at first, but I quickly became immersed. The point of view shifts around between mortals, gods, dreams and waking consciousness and in a few places I had to keep floating along until I figured out what was happening. By the end, it all became clear…in a startling way.

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

I received this book from Masquerade Crew in return for a fair review.
On Amazon: Into the Arms of Morpheus

© F.T. McKinstry 2015. All Rights Reserved.