Loosely organized by author:
As the main character, Tarod is dark, sometimes downright sinister. He came to the castle mysteriously, transported by a Warp storm. No one can doubt that his powers are great, yet they are almost frightening to the other sorcerers because he can perform acts that are far beyond their scope. Tarod is plagued with nightmares, which are slowly driving him insane. In an effort to stop the nightmares, he finds himself an unwilling pawn of Chaos, and a key participant in the battle between Chaos and Order.
I can't tell you more of the story for fear of giving away Tarod's secrets, but I found the trilogy to be a fascinating story of the battle between Chaos and Order, where Order is not necessarily Good. All three books were fast paced, and I'd recommend buying all three at once, because The Initiate and The Outcast have cliffhanger endings that will stick in the back of your mind until you start the next book.
Though this book is a prequel to the Time Master Trilogy, I'd strongly suggest reading it afterwards, because if you read it first it will give away many of the secrets of the Trilogy.
Star Ascendant takes place quite a bit before the Trilogy, when Chaos held sway over the world and Order was the power imprisoned.
Benetan is the captain of the Chaos riders, pledged to Chaos and his master, the First Magus. When the Chaos riders are sent to collect a human harvest to serve as servants and sacrifices to the power of Chaos, they snatch newly wed Iselia, who knew Benetan as a child. Iselia confides in him that she and her husband are heratics, serving Aeoris, Lord of Order. Benetan is torn by a desire to protect Iselia from the horrors of the Star Penninsula, and so he gives her into the questionable protection of the historian, Savrinor. In order to reunite Iselia with her husband, Benetan will unwillingly aid in Order's overthrow of Chaos.
Star Ascendant is the first of a series, but I have yet to find the
Indigo was Princess Anghara Kalingsdaughter, before she broke an ancient law and entered The Tower of Regrets. She released demons into the world, and now she is compelled by the Earth Mother to track the demons down and banish them. Though her family was slaughtered by the demons she released, her love, Fenran, is alive in the demon realms. Once she has hunted down all the demons, he will be free.
Book 1 is basically setting up the
plot and introducing her to her companion on her quest, a wolf named Grimya,
who can speak and is telepathic. Book 2 is focused on Indigo's quest
- and by the way, a must read for pyros. It'll warm you up on a cold
winter night. I avoided the microwave after I read it, though.
The story revolves around Jenny Waynest, a mediocre sorceress, and her love, John Aversin, who is the only living man ever to slay a dragon. It is set in something akin to Elizabethan times, with court intrigue and elaborate hairstyles and dresses. A young man named Gareth arrives in the Winterlands looking for Lord Aversin, to slay a mighty dragon that has destroyed the gnome's city and has taken up residence in the mines. Gareth, Jenny and John travel to the King's court, to unravel the mystery of the King's mistress and to battle the black dragon, Morkeleb.
Egad this book is good! If nothing else, it's worth reading for the last few chapters of the book - trust me trust me trust me.
Also cool by Barbara Hambly: The
Ladies of Mandrigyn
If you liked the TV series Forever Knight, or if you're just into vampires, you should hunt down this series. It's got all kinds of cool stuff in it, from vampires (obviously) to all kinds of lycanthropes and faeries and zombies. Lots of vampires and lots of lycanthropes, mostly. Most definitely read this series in order. Guilty Pleasures, Circus of the Damned, The Lunatic Cafe and The Killing Dance are the strong points of the series, but you'll need to read all of them.
On a side note, this series can be
gory (but with such cool descriptions!) and the last couple of books contain
some pretty sadistic stuff. Let's put it this way: the bad
guys are REALLY nasty. Just avoid eating anything meaty or red while
you're reading it.
Child of the Grove is all about how the wizard Crystal came to be born and her struggle against Kraydak, the last wizard existing, and the most powerful. Crystal is not mortal, but the fused essence of seven goddesses, and her purpose is to destroy Kraydak.
The very best thing about this series is the way Tanya Huff weaves the mythology of her world into her characters. I love the story in the very beginning, and I love the way the gods, wizards, and immortals are structured. Tres cool.
In the second book, Crystal is the last wizard alive. (Explains the title, doesn't it?) She's already fulfilled her purpose and knocked off Kraydak, and now she's wandering around, trying to find something to give her life meaning. Her companion is Lord Death. Yup, Death. Plus, the seven goddesses that combined to create her are splintering, giving her a case of multiple personality syndrome, only with deities. *shudder* This book had a great ending. :-) Death is a very interesting character concept - it's worth reading the book for him alone.
Also cool by Tanya Huff: Gate
of Darkness, Circle of Light
Vicki Nelson, cop turned private eye, teams up with Henry Fitzroy to solve various supernatural mischief.
I like Tanya Huff's take on vampires
(much different than Laurell Hamilton's) and her descriptions of were-wolf
life in Blood Trail are terrific.
Along the way Dara encounters the many inhabitants of the Keep and learns the story behind its creator. She also has run ins with the Guardian, Lord Vanian. The Crystal Keep is a place where anything can happen, which Dara soon finds as she learns unexpected things about herself.
I thought the ending of this book was fairly predictable, but it's a quick, entertaining read and I liked the main character, Dara. All the while I was reading it I was thinking, "Gee, this would make a great campaign idea."
Also good by Anne Logston: Shadow,
Dagger's Edge, Dagger's Point, Firewalk
Woven around a background of war, dark magic and the mysterious relics of the Old Ones, Joisan and Kerovan meet, but Kerovan assumes another identity to guide Joisan and her people to safety after her home is sacked. Sure, there's some nasty demon raising and battles going on, but what you really want to know is if Joisan will figure out that 'Lord Amber' is her betrothed husband, and if she does will she be able to handle the goat's foot package?
Joisan and Kerovan are both engaging,
believable characters, and since the story is told from their point of
view it's pretty important that you can identify and like them. Two
Alanna switches places with her twin brother, disguises herself as a boy, and trains to be a knight. The first two books cover her life from age 10 to 18, as she makes friends with Prince Jonathan, the King of Thieves, a cat named Faithful, and an enemy of the powerful sorcerer Duke Roger. She wins her shield at the end of In the Hand of the Goddess, and the next two books are about her adventures as she wanders the land as a Knight Errant.
Lioness Rampant, I must say, is awesome and will always be one of my very very favorite books. Alanna is a terrific character. Don't be shy about going into the juvenile section to find this series - it's worth it.
Also cool by Tamora Pierce: Wild
Magic, Wolf-Speaker, Emperor Mage, and The Realms of the Gods (The Immortals