Reviews of Minstrel:
“Minstrel is a story of music, morality, love and politics in a troubled age. When a young troubadour gets involved in telling the story of an aspiring ruler, his life of hunger and want is replaced with a much more dangerous game. Minstrel is a bittersweet tale that sings with detail, drama, and captures the broad sweep of good historical storytelling. Five stars.” –Daniel Swensen, author of Burn
“Minstrel was a fantastic read, up there with the greats like Terry Goodkind, George R. R. Martin and James Clemens. Ames weaves a tale that’s gripping in its story telling and also with the suspense and intensity of her characters.” –Jean Booth, author of the Origins of the Supernaturals and Zombie Wars series
“Wonderful story! Marissa Ames has created a multi-faceted world full of interesting and multi-dimensional characters. I couldn’t put the book down until I finished the story and then I was sad that it ended because I wanted to remain lost in that world a while longer. I loved the book!” –Rebecca Fyfe, 5 Stars via Goodreads
The beginning of something great: 5 stars “I was a little unhappy that this ended. The world the author created is very full and well defined. the kingdom and its politics, the organization of it, elements of the religion and the social strata- everything was so clearly laid out that it felt like a whole world was created from the ground up.
“Having such a vast world to play around in, the writer kept to the story and laid out a really involving plot. there were no real tall tales in this kind of fantasy with heroes and magicians or grand battles. instead the story evolved through close settings and likeable characters. Liam, the head of his group, is center to all of this. he is the Minstrel who is little more in the beginning than a minstrel of a small troupe trying to eke out a living. his personal story, the story of the troupe, becomes embroiled in the struggles of the kingdom under a ruthless king trying to hold onto power. the politics and the struggle, the deceptions and the trust of the characters all flow nicely into a plot that becomes even more engaging as you get to the second half of the story. then the real struggle and the excitement begins and it just gets better from there on in.
by the end of the story I was so wholly immersed into this world that it came to an exciting end, with the main character having become so much more than the minstrel he was at the beginning of the tale. however there is so much more left open, much more to the struggle left to be told that I find I want the next one…now!” – via Amazon.com
“This a fascinating book focusing on a minstrel and his band of performers. It is based mainly from the common peoples point of view of the corruption of power. After the death of the king two brothers vie for power of the kingdom. As usual the common people get caught and squeezed in the middle. I loved the ups and downs the main characters Liam and Molly faced as they danced in and out of the royal intrigue.
“The only thing I am confused about is the prequel. I waited the whole book for the magic to be referred to that was told about in the prequel. Maybe it will come in future books. I think it should at least been referred to somehow. I wouldn’t advise reading it first it just confuses. Standing alone this book is great. It gets a 4 star.” – Voracious Reader
Reviews of Darrion:
“Marissa Ames’ high-fantasy short story, Darrion: A Story of Tir Athair, will have readers longing to read more. Darrion is the prequel to Ames’ larger work, Minstrel, and I dare anyone who reads this short story to not want to pick up a copy of Minstrel in order to find out what happens next. Lana believed her dreams had come true when Kellan, a gifted healer, pronounced his love for her, but there was trouble ahead for their romance. The realm of Tir Athair was at war, and Kellan had been called upon to use his powers. There were darker forces at work than either of them could have realized, however, and Kellan is soon being used as little more than a weapon. To make matters worse, Lana bears a child who is gifted as well, and under the kingdom’s new regime it is a law to relinquish her child to the king’s control. Can Lana escape the kingdom and save her child from the same fate as her husband?
“Darrion is a short story that gets me quite excited to see what else Marissa Ames has in store for readers. In just a few pages, Ames creates a rich and vibrant story full of emotion and intrigue. The author has created a romance that tugs at the heartstrings and, from this joining, a potential hero that readers will want to learn about. I can’t help but wonder what sort of future lies in wait for Darrion. I see a lot of potential in this series, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Minstrel.” – 5 stars, via Readers’ Favorite
“This short little prequel accomplished what it set out to do, sucked me in and made me want more. As with most of these little novellas or prequels it is way too short. Lucky for me I have the next book to work on now and I am looking forward to it. I loved the death scene and that’s all I will say or I will give away to much. The diaper scene with the poo cooking on I had to chuckle at even though it might not have been meant to be humorous. In summary I liked the book and recommend it. Now on to the next. I give it 5 stars.” – Voracious Reader
An emotionally loaded and fresh fantasy short: 5 Stars: “What happens after a young woman marries her magically gifted lover? This is a short, emotional tale of a woman raising a son with unusual gifts — not the polite, easy kind of gifts that are charming and harmless, but the kind that are dangerous and difficult. Ames doesn’t pull any punches in this short, and the crackling attention to detail that characterized MINSTREL is here as well. You can finish it in one sitting, but it’s worth your buck.” – via Amazon.com
Powerful and Haunting: 4 Stars: “This is a short tale that will enthral its readers right from the very first sentence.
The story switches between present and past with ease as you are drawn immediately into a romance, which will haunt you by the end of the story, and a mother’s fierce struggle to save her gifted son.
The author’s world building in such a short story is also to be commended as I was drawn right into their realm and politics. The pace is controlled, building up tension and fear with both vivid and powerful description.
The final scenes totally immersed me, brought me to tears and gave me chills. This is a tale that satisfies, but leaves me with a desire to read more by this author.” – via Amazon.co.uk
“At heart a tale of just how strong a mother’s love can be, this short introduction to the world of Ms. Ames’ startlingly good debut novel Minstrel will captivate you from the start. Splendid characterisation and beautifully woven scenes attest to the author’s talent as a wordsmith. Read this. You won’t be disappointed.” – Michael Wombat, 5 Stars via Goodreads
“Marissa Ames is an up-and-coming author. Her foray into fantasy was well-appreciated. Bottom line: I want to read more from her, and I relish any news of new projects.
Some spoilers below! If you’re interested in reading ‘Darrion’–go go go!
‘Darrion’ is a short about a mother’s struggles with her magically-imbued son. The kingdom is at war. The violence of Cynegil’s war is brought home by the glimpses that we see of Kellan returning from the front. His time as a healer on the front has become something dark. With the ravages of Kellan, we see the horrors of fight.
Though the book presents as a quick read, I found the pace to be quickened by the cross-cutting between Lana’s present–the almost unbearable task of raising a gifted son with a body-racking illness–and her past, when she fell in love with, and married, Kellan. The read was quick because I absolutely needed to know what happened next. Now that I’m finished with my fairly breathless first read, I will go back to enjoy the emotional highs and lows for a second time.” -Tracy, 4 Stars via Goodreads