Stories in the Spotlight | The “Imago Chronicle series” by Lorna Suzuki #Histfic translated into a world of #EpicFantasy (by #CanLit author!)

Posted Wednesday, 4 February, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments


An unexpected encounter after #IndieChat with an Indie Novelist whose book series has been pitched and accepted into motion picture adaptation, led me on a bit of an unexpected foray into a series that is both challenging (as it is outside my comfort levels on one score) as it is empowering (as it is told from the point of view of a female warrior); thus I stumbled into the world of “Imago” by Lorna Suzuki.

Acquired Samplers By:

Chapter Samplers for her Imago Novels provided for free download by the author, Lorna Suzuki via her Smashwords Author’s Page. The samplers are complimentary of the author, Ms. Suzuki to encourage readers to become familiar with her writing style, character, and the breadth of where her fantasy novels will lead a reader to journey ahead of purchase. I was not obligated to post a review nor share my opinions of the chapter samplers I downloaded; as I elected to do this for my own edification. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

Why my curiosity was piqued: 

When I noted the series was referred to as being similar in style and voice as “Lord of the Rings” I knew it was quite the epic story; a High Fantasy with a compelling arc of narrative and driven by character. Character driven stories are my absolute delight to read, however, being that the lead protagonist is a warrior I was quite prepared to encounter a woman with an arduous past rife with potentially intense trauma and recovery; psychologically speaking, I knew most characters writ inside stories of this nature have an uphill climb to recover from what they were afflicted by in their lives.

Mind you the mash-up of saying this was a LOTR + 300 equates out to The Last Samurai; half of me wondered what honestly appealed to me personally as I would run in the complete opposite direction of the 300 film series even if I happily watched the first three Lord of the Rings per release month! (including a *midnight!* release!) There were sequences within the Trilogy (LOTR) films that were a bit mind-numbing (i.e. the battle scenes, for starters) but it was the overall journey of the characters that left me speechless and hungry for each new installment. My heart shattered at the conclusion, as despite knowing where Frodo and Gandalf would end their journey, it still uncorked my emotional heart’s ability to spilt out tears as the credits rolled.

No, what I think drew me to becoming curious about this series was the author’s approach to inspire a reader’s attention, which quite ironically has left her in a sea of controversial feedback! ?? I seriously do not understand the reading public at times. I am a firm believer in ‘more information upfront’ when it comes to stories and the contents of novels. A quick blurb or a shorter showcase (a traditional book review) isn’t going to sway me one way or another because the bones of the story are left to your imagination; that’s a dicey slope! How do you know if you are going to soak inside the story and/or appreciate the tone of the writer’s voice? What if the undertone is underlit too dark? What if there isn’t enough light to hold you into their vision?

I often lament IRL (and as the occasion arises virtually) the reason I was drawn to being a book blogger is because I wanted to blog my heart out about the stories that soak inside my imagination. I want to write down the bones and flesh out the pulse of what inspired me to ‘stay within’ the writer’s world. To cultivate an open conversation about what moved me, what staid with me, but most of all, how I was left impressed by the characters, the arc of the character’s journey, and what was left within me once the story was put down. (or you could read what I said on my Introduction Post!)

If something takes me ‘out of the story’ or if the pace and/or flow of the narrative itself is disrupted by an oppressively heavy amount of vulgarity (read my Review Policy) or there are choices where the level of (graphic) violence sickens me to my stomach rather than curates a plausible reason for inclusion (clarified: violence in moderation for sake of action/trauma/plot point/back-story etc; not explicit for explicitness sake!); then I will equally be as open about these ruminations as I am gushing about why the story left me with pieces of it’s essence firmly etched into my memory.

Like most readers, I have my own barometer — I have stumbled across stories that on the surface contradict what I wrote inside my Review Policy; as there are ‘exceptions’ to this rule of mine, as most will find they have their own exceptions to the general advisory of which stories they will accept whilst reading and which stories they cannot read, irregardless of the story’s best intentions to capture your interest. I attempt to keep an open-mind on which stories alight on my path, either due to the ‘timing’ of their discovery and/or the storyline itself; there are numerous inter-connections between one story to the next, to see the path of our reading lives intersecting with our path at a moment where a story was meant to be read or put down for another time. It is a mindfulness to become aware of stories giving us this tangible connection to the world’s creative conscience inasmuch as the art of the craft behind how the stories are written and revealed to us.

Long/Short: I am optimistically curious about the Imago Chronicles!

Books within the Imago Chronicles:

Imago : Book 1 : A Warrior’s Tale | Synopsis on Riffle 

Imago : Book 2 : Tales from the West | Synopsis on Riffle

Imago : Book 3 : Tales from the East | Synopsis on Riffle

Imago : Book 4 : The Tears of God | Synopsis on Riffle 

Imago : Book 5 : Destiny’s End | Synopsis on Riffle 

Imago : Book 6 : The Spell Binder | Synopsis on Riffle

Imago : Book 7 : The Broken Covenant | Synopsis on Riffle

Imago : Book 8 : Revelations | Synopsis on Riffle 

Imago Chronicles : Prophecy (Prequel 1) | Synopsis on Riffle

Imago Chronicles : Legacy (Prequel 2) | Synopsis on Riffle

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

About the Author: Site | Blog@LornaSuzuki | YouTube | Smashwords 

Converse via: #ImagoChronicles

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My Review of Imago: A Warrior’s Tale

{ Chapter Sampler of 25% | Read 1st Chapter}

{technically not ‘quite’ the complete 1st Chapter!}

The only true emotion young Nayla grew to accept as a barometer of her hours with her father, was one of absolute fear. A brute of a father burnt by the fact this hybrid (part mortal, part Elven) daughter had keen insight (near to the capacity of ‘second sight’) on what was right and wrong as far as how to command rule over their land, Nayla challenged her father to the very core of whom he saw himself as a leader of their people. He clearly never abated his disdainment for inter-marriages nor for any blood not pure of the Elven race; his prejudicial mind corroded his ability to separate his actions from his thoughts, as he was inflicting torturous misconduct upon his daughter from a surge of darkness not befit a King. Blinded by his own lack of justice and morality, he intended to break his daughter’s spirit and condemn her soul past the point of return.

Portions of this opening sequence reminded me of the plight of slaves in the Deep South whose lives were permanently brutalized by their masters; indentured past the mercy of humanity and demoralised by control from those whose hearts were turnt to black. On the opposite end of the opening chapter is the strength of a soul whose life might not have started out on solid ground where love, hope, and kindness were nurtured and fostered, yet yielded to the ancient wisdoms of her inheritance. Partially inspired by Far Eastern beliefs and the lifeblood of honour all warriors share amongst each other, and partially attributing to the human’s conviction for overcoming oppressive rule, this is a story that engages the reader due to the depth of where Suzuki is taking us within the pages of where Nayla steps outside her body and fuses us to her spirit.

You see the fragility of Nayla’s countenance as much as latch onto her desperate yearnings to get out from under the yoke of her father’s misguided error in judgement. A better man would listen to his daughter, to seek her guidance when her words spoke the truth he could see in front of him, but her father is a man saturated in pride. His discontempt for her stems out of his dissociative nature towards her mother; he sees too much of his wife in Nayla, and for whichever reason, this entreaties him to cross the lines between good and evil. A spiteful man at the core, yet somewhere inside Nayla she has retained a shield to her body and a freeing conviction to overcome his temper.

An unexpected rescue takes Nayla out of her environment and transitions her into a period of time for re-growth and healing that enables her to proceed forward with her destined path. Nearly found to the brink of embitterment and disillusion, her rescuer secured her sanity before her father took the one thing that could regenerate her will to not only survive but to live to embrace her true calling.  

There were a few echoes of my readings of Susan Spann’s Shinobi mysteries* and a bit of my reading from Laura Joh Rowland’s samurai series.

*Claws of the Cat (Shinobi Mysteries 1)

Blade of the Samurai (Shinobi Mysteries 2)

The Iris Fan & Observations of San Ichiro series

Wherein I could denote the code of honour of warrior’s whose lives are dedicated to their calling and who are endowed with an intrinsically entwined sixth sense of knowing things ahead of their years and/or of their station. They have a way of tapping into a confluence of ancient wisdom and are openly able to teach their minds to help their body overcome pain whilst re-directing fear. To draw more strength out of their courage than to allow themselves to succumb to far against their own will to survive.

The manner in which this opening sequence is a flashback memory at the point of near-death of the adult Nayla is a compelling start to a novel! I loved how we get to see Nayla at a different point in her life than where the chapters take us when she was a mere child. We see her at a brink of losing the tether she has with her lifeblood as an adult which is anchoured against her childhood where she was in the same plight, but brought on by different circumstances. Flight of her mind is a vein of connection between the two parallels of her life. I am quite curious if this flashback segue will continue as I dig further into the story (when I sort out how to obtain a print copy) or if we walk with her from childhood to the moment arises we’re back in the blustery snowstorm? It could go either way,… an enticing cliffhanger to leave your curiosity about a story you’ve just sampled!

On the writing style of Lorna Suzuki: 

Her words are poetic as they are guttingly honest in their approach to how to safeguard a reader’s will to read a story writ with a tenacious grace for historical fiction splintered into a High (Epic) Fantasy realm where the courage of the small must counter-balance against the war facing thousands; to gain freedom out of arduous beginnings and humble the character whose meant to become a heroine for her people by showing how strength in the blight of injustice can level the field and give the most hope out of despair.

Suzuki takes the reader only so far in her narrative, allowing you the grace to fill in the missing bits with your own imagination and giving ‘just enough’ of the gritty details not to offend a sensitive heart. Being that I read quite an extensive amount of historical fiction harbouring between Southern Lit and the World Wars (specifically in regards to The House Girl, Maggie’s War, Citadel, The Tiger Queens, etc) the past few years, I can assure you that Suzuki tempers the rawness of her scenes with a deft hand for etching in an undertone of redemptive light. She implores you to continue reading, to inspire you to want to hear Nayla’s path and exodus away from her father’s house to a place where she can stand on her own merits and live her life without traumatic abuse. By juxtaposition, there were scenes inside both Citadel & The Tiger Queens which pushed my own envelope for what I can handle within a novel!

To be honest, her style of writing is reminiscent of the Epic Fantasy series The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind, as I had started to read Wizard’s First Rule in my late teens / early twenties; finding inside his first novel an epic breadth of adventure, a riveting sense of world-building and a scope of story that was introspective and character defined. It half-surprised me that I found myself unable to put down the novel (until sadly, I did and need to re-start from the beginning!) as it was borderline outside the cosy comfort of my ‘reading wanderings’ but within his title character and the expedition he has to undertake, I found myself captured by Goodkind’s humble honesty, his knitted narrative that propells you forward, and a story that is writ to highlight humanity out of adversity.

I appreciate humanistic story-lines even when fantastical characters are introduced into the breadth of where the narrative takes the reader. In many ways, it was quite evident of this style of appreciation because I was positively mesmorised by “Avatar” and am on pins awaiting the sequel in full hopes that it lives up to my mind’s intuitive hopes of where the next installment can lead us.

Although I began to read Goodkind’s epic prior to Tolkien (as I’m a reader who sought out the British editions of the full-histories of Middle Earth to gather alongside the rest of his works on this side of the Pond) it is a happy-hearted discovery, because what drew me inside High Fantasy worlds at the jump-start (here I refer to The Crown of Stars series by Kate Elliott) were the compelling back-stories rooted inside fully envisioned worlds where heroes and heroines are inked onto the page with such an emotionally stimulating story as to soak inside your mind’s eye from the opening pages til the final chapters! It is a genre I abandoned for more years than I can admit possible, but a genre I am slowly making an enroads back to reading full-time.

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This Chapter Sampler Review is courtesy of the author:
Lorna Suzuki
who provided her chapter samplers to be available to everyone interested in her stories
Listen to why she provides them:

And here is our conversation:

(tweets returning soon)

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{SOURCES: Books in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 4 February, 2015 by jorielov in Book Spotlight of E-Book (ahead of POD/print edition), Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Canadian Literature, Cliffhanger Ending, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Domestic Violence, Elves & the Elven, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Folklore and Mythology, Heroic Fantasy, High Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Inspiring Video Related to Content, Light vs Dark, Lyrical Quotations, Martial Art History, Methodology of Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Psychological Abuse, Realistic Fiction, Sampler Chapters &/or Excerpt of Novel, Self-Published Author, Sudden Absence of Parent, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Suspense, The Deep South, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Writing Style & Voice

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