Monday, October 13, 2014

REVIEW: Cairns of Sainctuarie (+$25 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: The Cairns of Sainctuarie
Author: Hawk MacKinney
Series: The Bleikovat Event #1
Pages: 228
Date Published: N/A
Publisher: Sage Words Publishing
Format: eBook
Genre: Science Fiction / Suspense
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
Synopsis:
Among the close-kin clans of western rural Malfesian Murians, farming and gelf ranches are long held traditions.  Times are good…full barns, fat gelf calves and large families thrive among the sprawling grain fields and hamlets and the river from which they derive their name—the Feldon.  Word comes with the trade caravans that times are not so good in the regions far to the east of the Feldon River:  tumultuous changes stir among the remote province of Bleikovia.  Old timer Feldovats shrug it off as one more squabble between clans over boundaries or water rights…too distant to affect the Feldovats.
           
The western clans learn too late, however, it is no local squabble.  Outnumbered and unprepared, Feldovats resist a hoard bent on plunder and conquest.  Days of battle along the Feldon River stain the riverbanks in green Murian blood.  In the finals days of exhausted fighting, Judikar Klarvko Celo, leader of the Clan Klarvkon and the Feldovats, is fatally stabbed with the slow-acting sevon poison.  The Judikar’s consort, Etikaa Klarvkaa, becomes Regentkaa, and with Celovat Field Commander Korvo Celo serving as her advisor, she leads the demoralized Feldovat survivors on a gruesome ill-prepared winter trek through high mountain passes of ice and blizzard snow in an attempt to elude the Green Dragon forces of the Bleikovats.

But famine and a pandemic pestilence stir old hates and nurse former ambitions.  The enraged Overseers of Bleikovia move against the Klarvkons, this time bringing bloodshed to Maalonovia.  The exiles from the Feldon must fight once again, but starvation and plague across the Planete Myr make it a different war from the battles along the Feldon…a na’รค blikovat…the Bleikovvat Phenomenon…an event with unexpected consequences and outcomes none could have foreseen.


Before the vendetta killing is exhausted, the Regentkaa Klarvkaa and her son are swept onto the Maalon throne, setting the Klarvkon Dynasty and the Murians toward an intergalactic golden age, and a star-flung destiny the once-agrarian Feldovats could never have envisaged.
~My Thoughts~
Hawk's writing style is straight, no nonsense, and to the point. I like that. While he does have flowing descriptions full of imagery, they don't get out of control to the point of having entire pages dedicated to one image of the galactic plains or something. I have found, particularly in Science Fiction and Fantasy books, that this can become the norm, leaving me completely bored and yelling at the characters to just get a move on already. Hawk avoided this trap spectacularly, while still maintaining a very good show of visuals and dynamic characters. 

I have to tell you that the names were not exactly to my liking for this book. Having studied linguistics, there are certain rules that are typically followed when creating names and places in any given language. Logically, they should follow the same patterns and flow of whatever language from which they are birthed. In this story, many of these names seem overly complicated and do not roll off the tongue easily (such as Klarvkon), and they don't seem to have any logical creation other than just being pulled out of the air. I mean...the first name we even come across is Klarvkaa Etkaa Celovaa Bremanovaa...talk about a mouthful. And the name didn't seem necessary to the plot or development of the character...it was just some ridiculously long name. Additionally, she was referred to as Etkaa or other denominations of her name, leaving me utterly confused at times as to who a character was, and what constituted items like titles or races, and what was simply a name. 

It is clear that Hawk is well educated, and has done his research for this particular book. He uses interesting mixes of word choices to get his points across such as "yestereve" and " " which were jarring at first, but then gave the book a cute sort of colloquial sense that these are an individualized race of beings with different concepts and thoughts than we currently use. So...that was cool! :) Told in third person (relatively omnicient), this is my favorite format of storytelling. It's just so much easier to see complex events spelled out without having to see through the direct eyes of one character! Still, I also liked being mainly focused in Etkaa's mind and enjoyed getting to know her directly.  

As for the plot, there are many moving pieces and parts. all culminating nicely and resolving themselves before your eyes. Those of you who enjoy science fiction from independent authors should definitely get an eyeful of Hawk MacKinney! 
~Try an Excerpt!~
Etkaa pulled back a canvas siding of the shelter.  Distant dawnlit skies to the west glowed with billows of dull red already sweeping through the far provinces.  She swallowed a sour distaste, knowing her part in the doing of this.  There were no protests.  Their last illusions going up in smoke…taking more than hope in the going.  No longer could these exhausted bloodied fighters hold any hope to throw the Bleikovats back across the river…or return their lives to the ways they had been.  The pale Murian skin of stunned faces washed red by the flames in the west saw the sprawl of war consuming everything.  The dazed faces of the fighters said more than words.
           
One grizzled warrior’s anguish stabbed out, "...our crops burned, gelfs slaughtered…do those orders you hold show how we are to feed what families we may have left?  Better we stayed on our farms.”  Honest feelings spoke from a pained heart confronting the unimaginable.
           
Etkaa said, “We will share what food we have.  Better that than crumbs from a Bleikovat table.”
           
From another Feldovat warrior, “Better we return to our hamlets and fields while we can.”
           
Etkaa said, “Those who would return may find much worse than ashes.”
           
“Yes…ashes…” the Feldovat shouted.  “Burned by your orders.  Not Klarvko’s.”
           
Etkaa fought the wash of sadness.  Left her with nothing to say.  Much of what the warrior said was true.  A harried Korvo said, "There is another troubling matter.  With nothing to relieve their pain, the severely wounded and those poisoned cannot be moved into the mountains."


"I do not care what is written in the orders,” someone shouted.  “I will not leave clan kin to the Bleikovats.”
~Meet Hawk!~ 
Welsh and Scottish Hawk MacKinney grew up in northwest Arkansas, and wrote for his school newspaper. Hawk served over twenty years as a Special Staff Corps Officer with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, a Naval Academy Blue and Gold Recruiting Officer, a Navy Recruiting Command Liaison Officer, and Commanding Officer of units attached to the U.S. Marine Corps bases at Parris Island, South Carolina and Twentynine Palms, California. Along with his postgraduate degrees, he studied English and Russian history and foreign languages. As a faculty member in major medical and veterinarian universities, he authored professional articles and taught postgraduate courses in the United States and Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem. In addition to his sci-fi series, The Cairns of Sainctuarie, Hawk MacKinney has authored the Craige Ingram Mystery Series and Moccasin Trace, a historical romance nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award. You can find Hawk elsewhere on the interweb! Check him out HERE: 
Hawk will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour!
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25 comments:

  1. Thank you for your thoughts. Very helpful.

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    1. You are very welcome Mary! Let me know if you give it a read yourself and tell me what you think!

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    2. I'd much appreciate both your thoughts - always fun to hear from my readers -

      Hawk MacKinney
      gingramme@gmail.com

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  2. Replies
    1. And thank U for dropping by -

      Hawk MacK

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  3. Replies
    1. It is a good excerpt - glad you liked it -

      Hawk MacKinney
      www.hawkmackinney.net

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  4. Excellent review! For anyone interested, this book was nominated for a 2014 Readers' Favorite Award, and it is also available in paperback.

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    1. Thanks Barbara! Good to hear from you :) I love Reader's Favorite! Congrats on the nomination!

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  5. I enjoyed the excerpt, thank you.

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    1. I'd like to claim I picked it but I didn't -

      Hawk MacKinney

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  6. Great excerpt. Loved the cover.

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    1. A good excerpt AND a cover I wished I'd designed. I'm about to learn to leave the experts alone to do their magic - the cover for Vol II, The Missing Planets, coming our this fall, took my breath away. If you want a preview glimpse of it, it's on the HOME page of the website below.

      Hawk MacKinney
      www.hawkmackinney.net

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  7. Unabridged Andra – in a followup to The Bleiikovat Event book blast, Thank You for hosting this review tour of The Bleikovat Event, Vol-I of The Cairns of Sainctuarie. It’s fun to delve into other genre(s) and the linguistic twists I played with. Taking character-driven plots in tales of green-blood worlds and cultures, yet in familiar ways showing they could be the same as ours, while keeping more than a touch of romance in rough and ready conflicts with the characters stories blur the lines between genres. Vol-II of Cairns, The Missing Planets will be released this fall, 2014 with Vol-III in the works.

    Hawk MacKinney
    www.hawkmackinney.net

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  8. Thank I enjoyed the excerpt and your review. I have to agree with you thought about complicated names as it tends to bog me down a bit as well but all in all it sounds like an interesting read

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    1. Glad U liked the excerpt; I liked it being chosen. Hope U enjoy the read; I sure 'nuff enjoyed the write -

      Hawk MacKinney

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    1. I liked the excerpt - gave a quick glimpse into the actions & emotions stirred by tale. Thank U for stopping by & commenting -

      Hawk MacKinney
      www.hawkmackinney.net

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  10. I liked the blurb, seems like a nice reading. And thanks for the review.

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    1. I enjoyed the write of Bleikvat - hope U enjoy the read. It is a good review - plants the leadin to Vol II, The Missing Planets that was recently released -
      Hawk MacKinney

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  11. Thanks for the review! I always like a peek inside a book, so the excerpt wins for me. :-)

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    1. Thank U. I like Andra's review & how it laid things out for readers, and the excerpt gave a good peek inside the cross-currents & conflicts confronting characters & their desperate attempts to survive & keep their loved ones safe -

      Hawk MacKinney
      www.hawkmackinney.net

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  12. A good review – one I much appreciated - specially the time & detail she took with each facet of character(s), setting(s), i.e. the whole mix that constructs a tale - thank U for dropping by & thank U for commenting how much U enjoyed the review -

    Hawk MacKinney

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