Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Audio #Review: Harvest of Dreams by Debra Holland - 5 Wine Glasses

21787303Title: Harvest of Dreams 
Series: Gods' Dream Trilogy #3
Author: Debra Holland
Narrated by: Noah Michael Levine
Length: 13 hrs and 46 mins 
Format: Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:08-19-14 (first published August 31st 2013)
Publisher: Debra Holland
Links: Goodreads | Nook | Kindle | Audible
Source: Author
Reviewer: Linda
Rating: 5/5

BOOK THREE IN THE GODS' DREAM TRILOGY by Debra Holland, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

A captive God who must be freed.
An Evil God set to enslave the world of Kimtair.
A hero and two heroines from Earth join forces with Kimtair's warrior-princess and princes to battle the Evil One's minions.

Can they defeat the Evil God and win freedom for their people?

Linda's Thoughts:
Before Sadie had time to think about what was going to happen, she drifted to sleep.
Sadie found herself holding the handle of her travel case and standing at a wooden door set in familiar looking green stone wall. "I'm in Sea Gem", she marveled, wondering why the goddess had sent her here.  
The door opened and Theron appeared but a Theron she'd never seen before.  Young, perhaps even younger than she, auburn haired and vibrant.  He grinned at her, golden eyes alight with pleasure, and gestured with a leather-wrapped sword he held in his right hand for her to come in.  
Shocked at his appearance, Sadie rooted her feet to the ground.  
Theron glanced behind him.  
She saw his profile. He looks like the face of a coin--with his auburn hair, he's a shiny copper penny.  "How…how?"  
Theron reached out and grabbed her hand, towing her into the room. The wheels of the travel case rattled on the floor. "Ask not the ways of deities," he said.  

HARVEST OF DREAMS by Debra Holland is the truly epic conclusion to an awesome sci-fi fantasy trilogy! It is the final amazing installment in Debra's Gods' Dream Trilogy series. While it can be enjoyed as a standalone as Debra seamlessly fills in information necessary to understand who and what has happened before, I highly recommend reading all the books in this series, as they've all been fantastic! 

There are interconnected characters and a continuing thread, which I believe is best appreciated by enjoying the series in order. If I had not listened to the series in order, I don't think I would have formed the deep attraction to the characters and storyline that I did, and, while I would have still enjoyed the tale, I don't believe I would have been as mesmerized as I was.  AND I was utterly spellbound...

Debra has created an original, magnificent fantasy world with lavender skies, two moons, gods, goddesses, romance, suspense, and both good and evil. In HARVEST OF DREAMS, we get to meet Sadie, our heroine in this book, who had made a brief appearance in the preceding book, and are treated to seeing Thaddis/Theron, our hero, in a new light. We welcome back Princess Daria and Khan and Prince Indaran and Jasmine who all also figure prominently in this conclusive episode. 

Noah Michael Levine continues as the narrator. As he has with each installment, he does an excellent job of bringing the characters to life, while differentiating between them and capturing their fears, angst and caring in his voice. Under his care, the story flows smoothly keeping listeners spellbound.  I was not acquainted with his work before I started this series, but I have thoroughly enjoyed his narration and will definitely look for other works that he has narrated in the future.

I had so many favorite scenes, it's very difficult to choose which to spotlight to give you an idea of Debra's word building, flowing writing style and her marvelous way of bringing the characters to life.  Since I can't pick them all without sharing the whole book, I'm sharing excerpts from the following two.  

The first scene I'm spotlighting was a communal Che-da-wah .wedding ceremony that embraced both of our favorite couples from the preceding books and an endearing Che-da-wah couple who had also graced a previous book. This scene combined so many wonderful elements: tradition, ceremony, togetherness, love... and it left me with a huge smile that still elicits the warm fuzzies whenever I think about it. Following please find an excerpt from that scene:

Jasmine glanced up at him. “This is so different from the wedding I dreamed of.” 
He cupped her cheek. “I’m sorry your family could not be here.”
Jasmine smiled up at him, love in her eyes. “As am I. Yet, Khan is here, the brother of my heart. Even without my family, I would not choose anywhere else to be but right here with you.”
He drew her close, gratitude sweeping through him.
The two leaders motioned the three couples to gather close. The Stridzae waved to a row of men and women sitting cross-legged on either side of Arvintor’s statue, squat round drums in front of them. The drummers slowly pounded with the flat of their hands, a slow thrum that matched the beat of Indaran’s heart. 
The Stridzat beckoned the three couples to gather closer to the fire. He chanted something in a dialect so ancient Indaran could barely make out the words--something about unity. The man reached into a beaded pouch hanging from his belt and tossed what looked like a handful of sand into the fire. To his surprise, the flames blazed with a blue hue, and a cloud of sweet incense drifted his way. 
The Stridzae waved her hand. Using the same dialect, she intoned several sentences in a commanding tone, sounding as if she ordered them to love each other. 
Indaran glanced down at Jasmine. He needed no such injunction.
At the same time, she looked up at him, devotion shining in her blue eyes. 
She already has my whole heart and will for the rest of my life. 
From the corner of his eye, he saw the Stridzae throw sand from her pouch into the fire, and the flames turned green. 
In unison, the two Stridza raised their arms and recited a blessing, joining each pair as one in Arvintor’s name. From a second pouch, they took a handful of the sand and tossed the granules into the fire. The grains sparkled like rainbows before bursting into tiny fireworks and shooting into the sky.
The drumbeat deepened, and the multicolored flames rapidly died to knee high. The watching nomads clapped in time to the drums, and the rest of the people joined in. Some Che-da-wah shouted “jump” and waved their arms toward the fire.
Roe-al flashed Indaran and Khan a challenging grin. “Watch and follow, my friends.” He pressed a hard kiss to Jora’s mouth, left her side, and leaped over the fire. 
The crowd yelled. 
He turned and held out his hands to Jora, who jumped after him and into his arms. They laughed and exchanged looks of love. 
Jora nodded, and together they reversed directions, took two running steps, and sailed over the fire. 
The nomads roared and called their names.
The two hugged, before breaking apart and facing Indaran and Jasmine.
Jora gave Jasmine a quick hug.
Roe-al slapped Indaran’s shoulder. “Your turn.”
Indaran glanced at Jasmine, eager to make her his all over again. “You ready, dearheart?” 
She smiled, her blue eyes alight with excitement. “Just jump high. I don’t want to have to heal burns on the night of my second wedding.”
Hands gripping her shoulders, he kissed her with a fervent promise of what was to come.
The drums picked up the pace, and the sound blended with the blood racing his veins. He broke into a run, leaping into the air as high as he could. For a moment, soaring over the flames, inhaling the pungent fumes, Indaran felt like he was flying, only to have his feet hit the earth all too soon. He pivoted and extended his arms to his mate.
Jasmine gathered up her robe with both hands and jumped.
Indaran caught her and twirled her around, only dimly hearing the laughter and catcalls from the audience. He set her down facing the other direction. This time, Jasmine held his hand, bunching up her robe under her other arm. With a nod she indicated her readiness. Together, they raced to the fire and jumped, landing on the other side. Not as smooth as Roe-al and Jora, but he suspected those two had practiced before.
He pulled Jasmine into his arms, holding her tight. After a kiss, he released her. They joined the clapping for Daria and Khan.
Indaran opened himself to the moment, trying to absorb every sensory detail--the shine of the fire on his sister’s hair, the sparkle in her green eyes, and the look of love she threw at her husband. He inhaled the scent of smoke and incense, saw the happy faces of those around him, felt the smack of his hands clapping to the beat, Jasmine leaning against his side, and the energy swirling around the clearing.
In only a few seconds, Daria and Khan were married for the second time. And in watching his little sister, grown so beautiful, Indaran’s vision blurred. He felt grateful to the very depths of his heart to be able to witness her wedding. Would I have felt so intensely about Daria’s marriage if we hadn’t been parted for so long? Would I have taken her for granted, no matter how much I loved her? 
Jasmine ran to Khan to hug him, and Indaran embraced Daria. “Congratulations, sister. May you have many happy years together.”

Another favorite scene was the freeing of Yadarius from his underwater prison. This scene actually had me alternately holding my breath until I thought my lungs would burst as the danger and suspense ceaselessly built in crescendo and then yelling “Yes! Yes! Yes!” in jubilation as Yadarius' freedom culminated. Following please find a short excerpt as Yadarius was released from his chains: 

The ocean churned and frothed. Sea creatures sent up a cacophony of shrieks and squeals, both encouraging and heralding the emergence of their God. Their energy joined with that of the humans.
Pressure built in Sadie’s chest, an echo she knew, of what Yadarius was experiencing in His watery prison.
A fist bigger than the seadragon breached the surface.
Cheers broke out up and down the mountain. Some men hugged, others from Seagem wept with joy.
Philan whooped. He cleaned off his blade on a handful of long leaves and snapped his sword into the sheath in the manner of a job well done. 
The snapping sound of breaking chains shot through the air. 
Yells of fear from below told Sadie the pirates had seen what was happening with Yadarius.
Gradually, the SeaGod rose from the water, appearing as tall as the palace in Ocean’s Glory, an immense figure made up of waves and light, His expression a thundercloud of rage. Yadarius lifted His broken trident, and the strength of His fury propelled everyone back a few steps.

Words cannot begin to express how incredible this series is!  I will say that there's not been a day since I finished this trilogy that I haven't fondly remembered it. Sometime I'd like to go back and listen to it all over again. Debra's writing paired with Noah Michael's voice ensured my complete immersion in the story.  I highly recommend HARVEST OF DREAMS, indeed this whole series, to anyone who enjoys exciting sci-fi fantasies.  If you're looking for a series with a rich storyline, nail-biting suspense, well-drawn characters who will steal your heart and incredible drama and adventure in imaginative worlds, then look no further than The Gods' Dream Trilogy by Debra Holland.

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