Ever wish that you could take a leave from your predictable, established world and find adventure Well, the heroine, Kate, does just that, although by accident Leaving her NYC accounting life, she travels to Scotland to settle her deceased aunt s estate In meeting her reluctant laird neighbor, she finds that she s suddenly crossed into an Oz filled with strange creatures This Oz is a composite of the elements of many other fantasy novels Kate has a mission to fulfill, and she develops pow Ever wish that you could take a leave from your predictable, established world and find adventure Well, the heroine, Kate, does just that, although by accident Leaving her NYC accounting life, she travels to Scotland to settle her deceased aunt s estate In meeting her reluctant laird neighbor, she finds that she s suddenly crossed into an Oz filled with strange creatures This Oz is a composite of the elements of many other fantasy novels Kate has a mission to fulfill, and she develops powers she didn t know she had And she must go on a quest to save this strange land The story develops a bit slowly, as Kate slowly acclimates to the strange place As she comes to appreciate her developing powers, she becomes a likeable character, and tothers in her entourage grow as well From the time that the main character, Kate, a New York professional white collar worker, plunges into the fantasy lands of Hallion, to the time she and her merry band of accomplices descend beneath the monastery to the gloomy depths where they fight hideous creatures and she becomes separated from the group, I was bored Unfortunately, that was a good third of the book, riddled with so much inner dialogue and tidbits about the fantasy world that were random and unfocused I kept reading, though From the time that the main character, Kate, a New York professional white collar worker, plunges into the fantasy lands of Hallion, to the time she and her merry band of accomplices descend beneath the monastery to the gloomy depths where they fight hideous creatures and she becomes separated from the group, I was bored Unfortunately, that was a good third of the book, riddled with so much inner dialogue and tidbits about the fantasy world that were random and unfocused I kept reading, though, intrigued by the idea of a modern day woman suddenly entering an alternate fantasy world.From that point on, the book took off I loved the ecstasy that Kate savoured when she was treated to a luxury spa when recovering from her battles, and how she was trained by the over zealous warrior, Wolperia And Ryyd, the gentle, all knowing lion that accompanies Kate on her adventures who wouldn t want a companion like that The encounter with the bog witches and the mythology that was spun out in great, delicious detail was amazing This author is very unique, and she s demonstrated that she sthan capable of unravelling totally new and inspired mythology making I don t want to give too much away, but the riddle of the nine cups was an amazing plot device Like I said, this author has a totally new take on epic fantasy, bringing in some modern taste I see that she writes a lot of romantic history, which does not interest me at all As a man, I m glad she writes this kind of fantasy, so I could truly enjoy what she writes There are some what the heck moments in the book like a Roman end of empire party being held in the middle of fierce fighting but if you can get past the beginning that starts after she is transported into this fantasy realm, you ll definitely be rewarded Kate is your everyday, run of the mill sort of person living in New York The next thing she knows, she s off to Scotland after her aunt passes It s one thing after another at that point portentous dreams, creatures believed not to exist, and magic enough to overwhelm even the toughest of New Yorkers.Judging by the title, the author intends this to be the first book in a series One can only hope that is the case, so to expectgreat fantasy adventure.It s a good read. I found this book as part of the Book Review Depot group on Facebook As with most of the books I have found there, this one is another great read Synopsis from the author Through a dimensional rift, stuck inside a tarot card spread, and trying to solve the mystery why her aunt stole something that could spell the end of an entire continent, modern New Yorker Kate McKnight has to face the fact that she has landed in a different world Totally unprepared, she is plunged into a war where evil i I found this book as part of the Book Review Depot group on Facebook As with most of the books I have found there, this one is another great read Synopsis from the author Through a dimensional rift, stuck inside a tarot card spread, and trying to solve the mystery why her aunt stole something that could spell the end of an entire continent, modern New Yorker Kate McKnight has to face the fact that she has landed in a different world Totally unprepared, she is plunged into a war where evil is moving toward resounding victory As she is forced to develop skills she never knew she had, she struggles to reconcile what is real in her life and what is a dream, all her beliefs put to the test Jamie Kirkland attempts to right the wrongs of his father who perpetrated the rift, only to be told he is facing a useless death Even if his efforts will not make a difference to saving Hallion, he has to support Kate in her struggle to discover the clues of their mission, a race against time that will take them to the heart of evil They have to recover the six items that will give them the power to restore Hallion, but they have to face all of their own inner weaknesses to succeed, and a dark force that permeates everything.What I liked I thought the concept of using Tarot Cards and a dimensional rift that links present day Scotland and Hallion was unique and intriguing With plenty of action and interesting characters, Maria Greene created a cool new world to explore I liked the use of the scepters as a focus for magic, and the s made for a twist on the mythology of the warrior women, and the character of Ryyd was very unique to me Nicely written with good story flow, it was a book a truly enjoyed What I didn t like Though the Hornbeams were an important part of the story, I didn t get a real sense that they belonged to the story Perhaps that is something to be developed in later books I thought that Jamie was a little one dimensional, and the training sequence with Wolperia was a bit predictable.Overall impression Trials of Hallion, Two of Swords Book One was a great read Filled with a nice blend of magic, action, adventured, intrigue, and romance, it was everything I could expect from a fantasy book I would recommend it to any fantasy fan above 16 mostly due to language My rating 4 stars Trials of Hallion Book 1 Two of Swords by Maria Greene is an epic fantasy about a New York office worker named Kate who battles evil sorcery in a fantasy land.Kate McKnight inherits Liliath Cottage from her eccentric Aunt Mattie Soon after she arrives in her aunt s Scotland hometown, a magical door takes Kate into Hallion There she embarks on a quest to overthrow an evil sorcerer named Kil Morgol, whose magic is poisoning the land Helping Kate is Scotland native Jamie Kirkland, the current E Trials of Hallion Book 1 Two of Swords by Maria Greene is an epic fantasy about a New York office worker named Kate who battles evil sorcery in a fantasy land.Kate McKnight inherits Liliath Cottage from her eccentric Aunt Mattie Soon after she arrives in her aunt s Scotland hometown, a magical door takes Kate into Hallion There she embarks on a quest to overthrow an evil sorcerer named Kil Morgol, whose magic is poisoning the land Helping Kate is Scotland native Jamie Kirkland, the current Earl of McAndrew Problem is, Jamie has rejected the Old Art of his linage and is ill prepared to assist Kate Soon after arriving in Hallion, Kate receives a tarot card reading that identifies puzzling obstacles in her upcoming journey But it s clear that Kate and her allies must find hidden scepters and a mysterious artifact called the Drewander Codex to gather magic powerful enough to defeat Kil Morgol His sinister magical taint is everywhere, even in the eavesdropping plants Time is running out for Hallion.Trials of Hallion Book 1 Two of Swords is awhirl with a hero s journey icons While tarot card symbols are a familiar fantasy technique, the story uses it well Maria Greene has a deft hand at scattering unusual people in Kate s journey A surprise awaits the reader concerning an unexpected shape shifter This story is recommended for fantasy fans that like a traditional tale mixed with the practicalities of a modern day heroine This book presents some really good ideas and shows a lot of promise.Kate is left a Highland Cottage by her aunt, and upon arriving is sucked into another dimension through some mystical tarot cards.There, she gains allies and enemies as she finds herself embroiled in a war whose mythologies closely echo that of our own world.There are some nice touches the warrior Wolperia, the talking lion Ryyd, and I personally loved the bog witches The riddle of the nine cups was good, but I had kinda gues This book presents some really good ideas and shows a lot of promise.Kate is left a Highland Cottage by her aunt, and upon arriving is sucked into another dimension through some mystical tarot cards.There, she gains allies and enemies as she finds herself embroiled in a war whose mythologies closely echo that of our own world.There are some nice touches the warrior Wolperia, the talking lion Ryyd, and I personally loved the bog witches The riddle of the nine cups was good, but I had kinda guessed the answer pretty early on, and it annoyed me that the main character couldn t see what I could see.There are some minor issues too there is a lot of inner dialogue I would have preferredshow and less tell and then there are some strange tangents a big party in the middle of an epic battle , which I just didn t get A number of characters distrust one other, but put that aside for the sake of the quest, rather than being careful.There is some good subtext too Kate s world is one of industrialization, whereas the land of Hellion forces her to becomein touch with her own inner power, and I liked the message of that.This is at a great juxtaposition to the demonic Eavedroppers, who torment Kirkland, Kate s neighbour So we have industry in our world, where nature is fighting back, and Hellion where nature is about to fall and the main character spanning the divide it was a nice touch and I really got it.If you prefer Narnia to Lord of The Rings, then you will love this This book shows a lot of promise The settings are interesting and there are some truly innovative fantasy creatures to catch the imagination The history of the world, the links with Scotland in our own world The use of Tarot cards to guide the main character and the story onwards was another high point Taking those parts together this was an enjoyable book.Unfortunately there is a but I really struggled with the characters at times They were well written and felt real, however too often This book shows a lot of promise The settings are interesting and there are some truly innovative fantasy creatures to catch the imagination The history of the world, the links with Scotland in our own world The use of Tarot cards to guide the main character and the story onwards was another high point Taking those parts together this was an enjoyable book.Unfortunately there is a but I really struggled with the characters at times They were well written and felt real, however too often it felt that their choices and actions were being driven by the storyline and didn t really fit An example is that in several places character A would express severe doubts about the trustworthiness of another character, but then would decide they had no choice other than to trust and so would make the decision to trust fully putting aside all their doubts Not proceeding carefully and watching that person, which would make sense, just dropping all doubts completely.Overall I d say the book is definitely worth a look for the world and the creatures, but download a sample first Perception of characters varies a lot between readers so what caused me problems might not be an issue at all for you This review is written by Nic s wife.Decently written, and a fun fantasy story There were a few leading things to the initial setup that felt heavy handed to me, but not enough to actually prevent me from engaging with the story I wasn t as thrilled with the second act, when Kate s verbose weakness became overwhelming, and there was one plot element that I kept waiting for one of the characters involved to question it further Fantasy s usually got its twists and turns, though, so sometimes yo This review is written by Nic s wife.Decently written, and a fun fantasy story There were a few leading things to the initial setup that felt heavy handed to me, but not enough to actually prevent me from engaging with the story I wasn t as thrilled with the second act, when Kate s verbose weakness became overwhelming, and there was one plot element that I kept waiting for one of the characters involved to question it further Fantasy s usually got its twists and turns, though, so sometimes you just have to look at the overall journey, rather than any given moment of it.It could use a proofread there were enough missing words, extraneous words or quotation marks, or missing quotation marks to slow me down picking apart what was intended But it was definitely worth the effort I m not as huge a true fantasy fan as I was in my youth, but that s mainly because I found a few great ones that no other entry to the genre could compete with I might have to give it another try, though, because the Trials of Hallion definitely whet my appetite forfantasy Trials of Hallion, Two of Swords, book 1 by Maria Greene is a brilliant fantasy set in Scotland, yay I have read many great fantasies set in the northern land and this one ranks right up there as a winner.Kate McKnight leaves New York to settle into Liliath Cottage in the Scottish Highlands Soon, Kate s dreams are taken over by images of a female fighter dressed in a magical cloak She reads her dead aunt s letter telling her to correct a terrible wrong and to meet Jamie Kirkland, local lo Trials of Hallion, Two of Swords, book 1 by Maria Greene is a brilliant fantasy set in Scotland, yay I have read many great fantasies set in the northern land and this one ranks right up there as a winner.Kate McKnight leaves New York to settle into Liliath Cottage in the Scottish Highlands Soon, Kate s dreams are taken over by images of a female fighter dressed in a magical cloak She reads her dead aunt s letter telling her to correct a terrible wrong and to meet Jamie Kirkland, local lord Jamie is also in distress with fantastical creatures and plants slowly destroying his castle He and Kate join forces to right the wrong mentioned in the letter, sending them on a journey to Hallion in a terrifying alternate realm.The author excels with breath taking descriptions in the fantasy world, swords and sorcery abound to delight all fantasy readers and how can this fail, we are in Bonnie Scotland.FIVE STARS for this fantasy and so highly recommended Through a dimensional rift, stuck inside a tarot card spread, and trying to solve the mystery why her aunt stole something that could spell the end of an entire continent, modern New Yorker Kate McKnight has to face the fact that she has landed in a different world Totally unprepared, she is plunged into a war where evil is moving toward resounding victory As she is forced to develop skills she never knew she had, she struggles to reconcile what is real in her life and what is a dream, all her beliefs put to the test Jamie Kirkland attempts to right the wrongs of his father who perpetrated the rift, only to be told he is facing a useless death Even if his efforts will not make a difference to saving Hallion, he has to support Kate in her struggle to discover the clues of their mission, a race against time that will take them to the heart of evil They have to recover the six items that will give them the power to restore Hallion, but they have to face all of their own inner weaknesses to succeed, and a dark force that permeates everything