Blog Book Tour | A special scrapbook glimpse into an author’s tour & a review of “The Breedling and The Trickster” (Book Two: Element Odyssey series) by Kimberlee Ann Bastian

Posted Thursday, 3 May, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: In 2016, I was on the blog tour via iRead Book Tours for the first novel in this series “The Breedling & the City in the Garden” wherein I reviewed the story but also hosted a guest author feature: an interview with Ms Bastian. It was a difficult time for me back then, as it was close to the time of my father’s stroke and thus, upon receiving the sequel, a lot of the back-story of the series was lost to me until I read the details over again which Ms Bastian thankfully etched into “The Breedling & the Trickster” to help re-establish our knowledge of her world. I was asked to participate on her Spring blog tour to run concurrent to her real-life book tour throughout the Mid-West.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Breedling & the Trickster” direct from the author Kimberlee Ann Bastian in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

What I appreciated about reading “The Breedling and the City in the Garden”:

Such a curious opening sequence – where we meet quite the interesting two characters – of whom start to set the tone for the story itself. The Tales Teller is an interesting character because she embodies the history of the origins within her mind and is electrically charged through her emotional angst for not being able to contain herself when she’s feeling vexed; despite the curiously magical situations surrounding her – such as self-brewing calming vapors by an apothecarist whose own intentions are as masked as her own. From the angle of entrance into this world, we’re curious to know more about the original origins of the Elements and how everything was first spun into orbit before it outspun itself into chaos – there was an organisation shift and a purposeful distortion of order causing a catalyst of after effects.

The back history itself reads similar to Earth’s own origins – about how natural elements are as important as the mathematical language which speaks for the universal codes. Elemental magic and elemental biochemistry are quite fascinating sub-focuses in scientific history but it’s how these particular elements were divided and then segregated away from each other that was most telling in the opening chapter to prove how disportioned this particular world had become since it was first conceived. There are only four elements hanging in the balance: Flame (in lieu of Fire), Wind (in lieu of Air), Earth (as itself), and Sea (in lieu of Water) who are being manipulated to exist outside of their own natural instincts. The spirit realm or the area known as Heaven (otherwise known as Aether outside of religious thought) is not separated into a fifth element but rather drawn into Wind – as Wind was cast out into Heaven whereas Flame was sent to Hell. Bastian has created an abridged origins story for her world which runs parallel to contemporary understandings of religious history through the eye of spirituality with takeaways from natural religious orders and the Far East. Metal and Wood are sometimes additional elements used to speak to the origins of balance in the natural world, however, they were not highlighted in this story.

There are twofolds to the story – the organisational backstory of the Elements themselves and how they influence and effect life in human society. Those who exist in the Elemental side of the world have a certain structure of duties and expectations – they are sent with specific goals in mind to carry out the will of those of whom control their actions, but what they hadn’t expected is one of their own to go against their rules and draw his own conclusions about what his purpose in his life was going to be outside of their controlling mandate.

Although I knew going into reading this novel it was loosely based on the Irish folktale of Stingy Jack – the only mentions of the fellow is fleeting on the outskirts of where Buck and Charlie are moving the story forward – even the Elements themselves have taken a backseat, allowing what happens in Chicago to become center-point to the evolving drama. Not that this is necessarily a negative but I did find it quite interesting how much time was spent on developing Charlie’s character – he’s very much well-defined and fleshed out, whereas Buck is loosely patched together with only a few inklings of his heritage and origin pierced together from the opening to the short revelations he’s giving to Charlie or the reader; as part of his point of view is in the narrative itself. You almost have to ‘take out’ the folklore origin story and follow Charlie on his path – as he’s the main character of the novel, which surprised me in a way, as I thought it would be Buck (given the title) but instead, I found myself drawn more to Charlie’s plight than worrying about what would become of Buck at this junction until the last quarter of the novel.

This is where Bastian pulled together why Buck was different from others like him and why Charlie and the Priest Charlie befriended were so very important to Buck – each of them were providing Buck with one piece of a puzzle only he could solve. There are great forces of good and evil weaving around the evolving plot as it thickens in and out of preference to continue telling Charlie’s story. Charlie’s story is very much hinged to Buck’s in a way that surprised Buck in the end as it was not what he was expecting to be true. Bastian wants her readers to read between the lines inasmuch as pay attention to the details she’s giving out in measured installments – you can tell she spent a great deal of time setting the scope of the series whilst sorting out what needed to be present and what could wait to be seen lateron.

You find yourself pulled into a story of ethics and morals – of sorting through the will of one vs the will of the majority and who decides what is right for themselves. There is far more to this story than what you first think is going to be revealled because Buck is set on a journey towards understanding why he alone is set apart from his kin and how his evolution away from tradition is a marked fixture of how time is yielding to reveall something altogether new to the Elements who until this point in time were a bit dormant in power. Bastian has written a story that encourages you to think back on what was revealled and when each revelation changed the perception of each character affected by the hidden truths of her world.

-quoted from my review of The Breedling and the City in the Garden

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Blog Book Tour | A special scrapbook glimpse into an author’s tour & a review of “The Breedling and The Trickster” (Book Two: Element Odyssey series) by Kimberlee Ann BastianThe Breedling and the Trickster
Subtitle: The Element Odysseys : Book Two
by Kimberlee Ann Bastian
Source: Direct from Author

“He was the lad who did it twice, tricked the Devil by a roll of the dice . . . He goes by the name of Stingy Jack; with a turnip lantern in hand to light his way through the black.”

For immortal soulcatcher Buck, acclimating to newfound freedom in 1934 Chicago would have been impossible if not for the selfless actions of Charlie Reese. Now separated from his mortal friend, Buck accepts a new mission: to save the Shepherdess, whose unclaimed soul will soon stand trial in his old world, Euxinus.

Buck must find the Shepherdess’ beloved, the infamous Trickster Stingy Jack, and convince him to testify on behalf of her soul. Furthermore, Buck must ensure Stingy Jack is worthy to stand as her witness. It’s no easy feat; Hades, sworn enemy of Stingy Jack, threatens to thwart Buck’s mission at every twist and turn in hopes of seizing the Shepherdess’ soul—and the secret she holds—for himself.

Set on a whirlwind path that leads him on an odyssey across the American Midwest, Buck must rely on untested skills while being ever mindful of his dangerous surroundings as he prepares himself for his return to the dark, desolate realm of Euxinus.

Genres: Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1634890885

Also by this author: The Breedling and the City in the Garden

Also in this series: The Breedling and the City in the Garden

Published by Wise Ink Creative Publishing

on 19th September, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 274

 Published By: Wise Ink Creative Publishing (@Wiseink)

The Element Odysseys series:

The Breedling and The City in the Garden byThe Breedling and the Trickster by Kimberlee Ann Bastian

The Breedling and the City in the Garden (Book One) | (see also Review)

The Breedling and the Trickster (Book Two)

The Breedling and the Shepherdess (Book Three) | → Winter 2019!

 Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Kimberlee Ann Bastian

Kimberlee Ann Bastian

Kimberlee Ann Bastian has a love affair with American nostalgia, mythology, and endless possibilities. When she is not in her writer's room or consuming other literary worlds, she enjoys hiking and cycling around the bluffs of her Southeastern MN home and catching up on her favorite pop culture. The Breedling and the City in the Garden is her debut novel.

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A special glimpse into the travels of an author on her *book tour*:

Whilst three of us have been preparing to showcase the Element Odysseys series on our blogs to help anchour Ms Bastian’s real-life travelling book tour throughout the Mid-West, she’s been preparing a lovely glimpse into what readers are encountering with her as her travels criss-cross through different cities and states. In this regard, I wanted to host a special peek into her travels by offering to show snippets of her scrapbook whilst talking about my reactions to the sequel The Breedling and the Trickster.

Scrapbook journal page by Kimberlee Ann Bastian (entry one) being used with permission.

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Scrapbook journal page by Kimberlee Ann Bastian (entry two) being used with permission.

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Scrapbook journal page by Kimberlee Ann Bastian (entry three) being used with permission.

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Which stop featured in these lovely scrapbook journal pages were your favourite? Be sure to talk about what you enjoyed seeing this virtual glimpse ‘behind-the-travelling-tour’ in the threads below to let Ms Bastian know where you wished you could have seen her on her author’s tour! Whilst of course, letting her know what you think  about a Historical Magical Realism series set adjacent to our own world.

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my review of the breedling and the trickster:

I still remember the emotions running through me as I was reading the first story in this series The Breedling and the City in the Garden – as it doesn’t take long to feel sympathy for the plight facing Buck. Not only is he asked to do more than his heart feels willing to sacrifice, as there is a line he seems to have to cross in order to do what is asked of him – but there is a moment where you feel he’s betwixt and between, where his own will is forever having to be yielded to the orders of others, who seek to control his actions.

As we resume where we left off with Buck, he’s still in the throes of understanding what Charlie did for him back at the orphanage – whilst out of the shadows comes a legend of his own right: Stingy Jack – whose story outlives the legend in many regards. This story is set to go darker and deeper into the back-story being built into the framework of the series, as this is the chapter of the series which focuses on bargains with the ultimate purveyor of Darkness where no one should be tempted to ‘trick’ nor ‘trade’ anything at all.

We started by seeing where Stingy Jack made his move, made his wish and was granted acceptance by his terms – yet you had to question his motives and the reasons why his terms were acceptable. Counterpoint to his actions, we find Buck unwilling to ‘let go’ of Charlie, yet without letting him go, he avoids his next ‘assignment’ which in effect brings us back to square one: by finding Stingy Jack and seeing if a mortal trickster can find redemption fast enough to save another person’s soul.

I admit, I had forgotten some of the darker elements of the series, mostly as quite a lot of time has passed between my reading of the first novel and now; to such an extent, I had also forgotten this particular story hinges most of its weight upon understanding the darker components of the series rather than the lighter ones – as there is a shifting in power as much as there is a shift in buoyancy between good and evil. There are factions set in place to take-down everything that is good whilst the pursuit of what darkly illuminates behaviour choices is one of the key elements in understanding the motivations of Bastian’s characters; in particular, the conflicted Stingy Jack.

Iona’s fortitude of strength and the purity of her courage surprised me – as in many regards, to find the disclosure of what Jack had to tell her in a moment of intensive opposition would have left anyone else questioning how they could place their trust in someone like him; but to her, she saw someone who was in the process of being who he could be rather than the after effects of a life lived wrong. Iona in many ways saw Jack as he could have been not realising that sometimes the hardest things to change are a person’s instincts – for his instincts were never on the right side of what was honourable, yet Iona breathed hope to his soul which at the time was outside of redeemable qualities. It was her influence on him which sought to change him from the insight out – but would her influence be enough to correct the sinister reflexes of a man who acted without mercy or conscience?

As we move through the different stages of redeeming Stingy Jack’s soul – even though he afears he is long past the time where such a thing could affect him, we are privileged to his back-story unfolding in-line with the current time-line. Each time we are on the verge of gaining traction of understanding about what makes Jack uniquely himself, we retreat into a flashback of a pivotal point in his history. Those flashbacks serve as a road map towards understanding who he encountered and why those encounters matter even today – as the past and the present are walking in tandem with each other rather than remaining separated. The past might be out of sight, but the actions and the moments contained therein still have a way of impacting the present which of course upsets the future all the way round.

Buck is trying to manifest certain events and incidents to take effect in Jack’s life – even if at the moment of action, he is curiously perplexed by how the effects of his efforts are influencing Jack’s responses. There are credible lessons of free will, conscience remorse and the infinity of thought which seeks to draw connections within this series – of how each of these characters are not entirely ‘cast free and alone’ from one another but how they are intrinsically tethered to one another, whether through choice or command.

Counter to Buck’s choices, of course, the opposition is attempting to inflict the same outcome but with a different ending from their angle of interest – thus, what you find is a cat and mouse game of who gets to Jack first and who proves their point more decidedly to where he will either blindly follow them forward or make a conscience choice of his own. That is the rub – of how influence can affect a person’s thoughts and how self-doubt can re-align all acts of reason. There are a lot of undercurrents of choosing a course of action and owning the action taken thereafter – of knowing your own nature and of understanding how that nature can be altered by someone elses’ intentions.

Whilst I was reading this sequel, there was a surprise element for me – a lot of the back-histories of the elements and the foundational bits of the series were held back in order to reveal the key players of who were inflicting the most danger on the lead characters. Charlie’s role was put on hiatus until he re-emerged towards the very end of this installment, where you gather the sense his predicament and story-line is being affected by the events involving the Breedling himself (Buck) whilst this installment offers a segue into better understanding the Shepherdess (Iona) of whom takes centerstage in the third installment forthcoming next year: The Breedling and the Shepherdess.

There were a few characters who moved in and out of this sequel which were quite distasteful for how sinister they truly are at their core – such as Rachel (one of the demons) and let’s face it, you won’t look at raccoons quite the same way again! Also, one character named Maddie I felt had such a curious back-story as this is where the Biblical histories intermix into the fabled and lore – as Bastian pulls from a variety of backgrounds whilst rooting her series in a tangible web of intrigue which parlays itself into back-bending into areas of known and unknown histories where there is a war being waged to re-align ancient power which has become lost.

Maddie was unique as she interlinked the story of Cain and Able – in a clever way, as her own fate was marred through events out of her control. It is how she was sympathetic and empathetic towards Buck which humanises her struggle and her strength – she has a more pivotal role in the series than I believe we are being granted understanding – as at first I thought she was working for the side of Darkness, but there are subtle moments where you find the number ‘seven’ being spoken with leverage of importance. Almost as if there are a select ‘seven’ who will be called at a particular point in time and they will be part of the deciding factor towards who ‘wins’ the war or rather who will be the upper hand towards the power re-alignment.

Despite getting back into the throes of the series, there was a part of me which felt this series was stemming into areas which are far darker in nature than I personally enjoy reading. The main character of this installment is Hades and I honestly can attest I was thankful when he took his leave out of the scenes as he is truly one of the best villains to be captured on page, for how vile his temperament is but also how crafty he is to create the atmosphere he evokes around him. For me, I think I might let the series move forward without me as I was starting to gather from here on out things are going to get quite complicated – digging further into darkness surrounding the characters we’ve come to champion and also, I think for me, this is one Dark Fantasy series which is personally hard to reconcile once it’s been read.

on the speculative & magical realism styling of Ms bastian:

What complicates this series are the layers of how Ms Bastian has arranged everything to fall into place – she has orchestrated a tightly conceived arc, where you first find it hard to know who to trust or which character is acting heroically or selflessly – or both. There is a discernible edging to her plotting – taking inspiration from lore, legend and moralistic beliefs – to where after your able to pull back the layers she’s instilled, your questioning if what is happening with her world is truly far darker than you could have ever imagined possible due to how intricate she’s created the back-story.

Bastian has created a historically centred Magical Realism Fantasy world – where there are elements of our known history within the series but then, it diverts into it’s own recognisable world. What makes it partially identifiable as ‘Magical Realism’ is because of how well this world is anchoured through ours, re-envisioned with elements of the supernatural and how the whole context of the world is an epic dance between Light and Dark; good vs evil.

Fantastical elements:

Supernatural creatures & characters:

Throughout the Element Odysseys are a motley crew of supernatural creatures and characters because each of the characters being revealled are not your typical protagonists. Charlie is mortal whereas Buck is something altogether different – his own origins are re-visited ahead of the mid-way point in the second novel – in fact, a lot of the origins of this world’s foundation are happily re-visited in such a way to bring a new reader into the realm with ease.

You even will find a domestic sized cat, a large panther and a racoon who have more abilities than their instincts would generally allow as two of these work on the side of Darkness, whereas the cat, cheekily enough attempts to work on the side of Light.

Outside of these foundational characters, who are positioning you within the world Ms Bastian has formed is Buck – as he is the Breedling (or soul-catcher) who can move between worlds but not as easily as the Tales Teller who acts as a bit of a historian of sorts and who actively had to keep track of every soul irregardless if they are Light or Dark.

Non-human elements:

One of the things which stood out to me in the sequel is the reaction of Jack to Buck’s injury on his face – as Buck did not bleed red, but gold. There are more instances of ‘seeing’ the world Bastian has built in the sequel, of how her characters interact with each other but also, of how they are individually different from their human counter-parts; even if some of them, appear human-like, they are most definitely uniquely created to reflect this ‘other world’ in which they reside.

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

Kimberlee Ann Bastian blog tour banner provided by the author and used with permission.
Kindly visit my fellow bloggers who are also showcasing this series:

Love Great Reads | Avalinah’s Books

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This post is part of Jorie’s participation within the blogosphere event:

Wyrd and Wonder banner created by Imyril and used with permission.Follow her fantastical adventures via this main hub of the 2018 event!

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Breedling and The City in the Garden” & “The Breedling and the Trickster”, book synopsis, author photograph of Kimberlee Ann Bastian author biography, and the blog tour banner were all provided by the author Kimberlee Ann Bastian and used with permission. Wyrd and Wonder banner provided by Imyril and is used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna, 2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

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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 Thursday, 3 May, 2018 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Blog Tour Host, Folklore and Mythology, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Magical Realism, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event

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