lunes, 9 de junio de 2014

White Heart of Justice: reseña y sorteo / review, interview and giveaway

de Jill Archer

Queridos arrebatadores, quizás recordéis que os presenté las dos primeras novelas de esta trilogía de fantasía new adult y os dije que me había hecho fan de la autora, Jill Archer. Por fin he leído la tercera novela, WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, y estoy dividida entre lo maravillosa que ha sido y lo frustrada que me ha dejado. Ay, sí, esa ausencia importantísima de Ari me ha dolido. Y ese final... es esperanzador, pero devastador también.

Aún así, ha sido una aventura impresionante, en la que el arco de la historia se ha completado con primoroso detalle, con la salvedad de la relación personal de Noon con Ari. Sin embargo, ha explorado multitud de aspectos que me han dejado muy satisfecha y asombrada. La autora ha vuelto a someter a Noon a pruebas físicas y emocionales que la han transido de dolor, la han llevado al límite, le han hecho comprender muchas cosas sobre sí misma así como sobre su familia, amigos, enemigos y amantes. 

Noon, la aprendiz de magistrado mágico que debe juzgar y ejecutar demonios díscolos en un futuro tras el apocalipsis en el que Lucifer pereció tras ganar la batalla contra los ángeles, se embarca en una gesta para hallar una reliquia perdida. En el camino, luchará contra monstruos, el frío gélido, su atracción por el ángel Rafe, sus sentimientos oscuros por Ari, los enemigos que tratan de matarla, los secretos legendarios del pasado y contra su propia naturaleza.

La evolución de este personaje es absoluta. El uso de la magia está muy enraizado en la historia demoníaca y legal del mundo de Halja, del que descubrimos muchas cosas más. Aunque echo de menos un mapa, la descripción es muy gráfica y vívida por lo que es fácil imaginar los recorridos, las culturas, las idiosincrasias de ángeles, demonios y magistrados. Todo ello está magistralmente hilado con la fabulosa protagonista que es toda una heroína y con el romance sensual, profundo y emotivo que convierte esta fantasía en algo único que voy a recordar siempre. 

Os recomiendo esta trilogía encarecidamente si os gustan la aventura, las heroínas que no saben que lo son hasta que aprenden a serlo a base de lecciones durísimas, los romances llenos de secretos y drama y sensualidad, y una magia demoníaca muy original.

¡Un mensaje de la autora para los lectores españoles!

Sólo hablo y leo un idioma. Así que me abruma y estoy agradecida de que lectores cuyo idioma natal no sea el inglés se animen a leer mis libros. Quizás algún día se traduzcan a otros idiomas. Todavía recuerdo el día en que mi blog recibió visitas desde más de cien países. Fue una sensación maravillosa. El mundo es un lugar muy grande pero compartir historias puede darnos la impresión de que es pequeño e íntimo.

Muchas gracias, Babel, por esta fantástica entrevista y por ser una gran campeona de la serie. Si alguien quiere saber más sobre El Corazón Blanco de la Justicia, este vínculo dirige a la página en español de Amazon.

Los mejores deseos y feliz lectura para todos los lectores en Torre de Babel.

My opinion of White Heart of Justice

It's a pleasure to return to the world of Halja. I fell in love with Noon and her tumultuous life in the first book, Dark Light of Day. I was heart-stricken by her odyssey in the second novel, Fiery Edge of Steel. Now, I'm in awe of White Heart of Justice. In awe, I tell you!

This is why I read books.

Noon is being tested again, and the tests are pitiless. It's all in the name of competing in the Laurel Crown Race. If she wins, she'll be able to choose her next assignment on her own terms which could be permanent and safe. Not an easy feat in Halja. However, this final test is so full of pits that it's going to prove an insurmountable challenge. In the meantime, Ari still haunts her heart and Rafe harbours more shocking secrets.

Again, I loved the first books. And the third one is a hell of a ride. Literally. It reincarnates the traditional journey of the hero who seeks a relic that will beknight and redeem him in his search of himself.

Noon's quest is the highest bet possible. It's everything or nothing. And nothing means her life. The horrors she faces, the sacrifices she endures, are as intense and harrowing as the discoveries she makes along the way.

From the very beginning, I've felt very invested in Noon's story. Regardless for a moment how appealing it is to follow her adventures and evolution as a character, I also find myself deeply intrigued and attracted to the world she inhabits. I think it would be extremely easy, and tempting, to read other plots and spin-offs deviating from the one we know and cherish. How cool would it be to read about demons as main characters? To explore this land of wondrous dangers? To disclose more of its hidden powers and treasures? That'd be something worthy of dreaming about. On another note, I still miss some maps that illustrate the geography of this hell on earth. Still, in this book we get to know more about the land and its people's origins. I love all the legends and stories that continually spring up.

Personal Anecdote:
There is a popular quote from Shakespeare that's repeatedly used to belittle women in all kinds of situations, and I was so happy to see the tables turned for once.
Cheers, Jill!

There is a beautiful balance between plot, world building, magic and character growth. Everything is equally important, and deserves detailed and loving attention. Not only the main characters get their spotlight. I was very fond of the brief, albeit emotional interaction Noon and her mother share. Though Peter is also becoming quite surprising.

Angel Raphal Sinclair is an amazing character. As a love interest for Noon, he's over the top. Though I missed the dynamics between Ari and Noon so much. I've never been too much of a fan of love triangles in novels because I usually pick up a favourite, and they prove to be a distraction from the plot or the real romance. In this case, though, just thinking of choosing between Ari and Rafe has my heart divided and painfully pumping.

While Noon's motives were understandable (who can blame her for being drawn to that charming beacon of light?), it still felt odd and a little bit disappointing that Ari was put aside. Yes, he did what he did, but his love for Noon was authentic, as was hers for him. Doesn't that account for some loyalty? Ah, my heart betrays me...

Despite my hunger for Ari's presence, I must admit this book is a homage to Noon's independence. She's always been evolving and learning things about herself and her power, but in this last adventure she travels far in her revelations about not only her powers, but also her sense of self. I think the author had a wonderful time discovering Noon's true potential.

Another asset of this novel is how satisfyingly it develops the arc of the story. It touches on all aspects, all details and relationships, powers and legends, to convey meaning and significance to everything that has been building up. As with waning magic, no matter how destructive it is in essence, in the right hands, Noon's hands, it becomes almost life-creating and hopeful.

The novel never slacks. It's well-plotted and punctuated with shocking surprises as ever. With a quirky sense of humour and a fantastical worldbuilding, White Heart of Justice delves deep into a quest of magic, freedom, redemption and love.

Alas, it never forgets that Noon is a true heroine. No doubt, she has help along the way, real allies, but she is the one who ultimately faces the big challenges, she who wields her growing abilities to defeat her enemies, and saves the day, the hot guys in distress and changes the world as History knows it.

One cannot simply stop reading after book two, and starting book one was an eye-opening, thoroughly exciting experience for me. So this trilogy is a must and I recommend it whole-heartedly to everyone who loves the best things in a reader's life: creativity, emotional intensity, adventure, a new look into a genre and fun, lots of fun.

Now, please, tell me there is a fourth book to follow after that wise, emotionally-overcharged, heart-fluttering ending. Dear Jill, you can't, just can't, leave Noon, Ari, Rafe and ME like this. We need closure!


- Noon is a complicated character in a far more complicated world. How and why did you choose the challenges she has to face in order to come to terms with who she is?

I’ll admit, Dark Light of Day has a lot of subplots. Throughout the story, I tried to choose situations and conflicts that would be a plot nexus, bringing together two or more subplots. Everything was set up to support the ending, where all of the plots converged and merged Noon’s struggles with academics, romance, magic, and her own self-identity.

In Fiery Edge of Steel, many of the challenges Noon faces have to do with her becoming more comfortable with her destructive waning magic while remaining true to herself and coming to grips with the path she’s chosen and what she’s expected to do.

In White Heart of Justice, I wanted the challenges to be even bigger and the consequences for screwing up to be more extreme. Noon faces competition from her peers, but this time their competitive arena is more deadly than ever. And it’s not just one person or one outpost at risk; it’s all of Halja. Noon faces numerous demon adversaries, as well as “other miscellaneous atrocities made of blood, bone, metal, and/or magic.” Nearly everything in the book is broadened, deepened, or intensified: the magic, Noon’s relationships, her choices, and their effects.

- I get the impression that some mythology or ancient folklore was incorporated into Noon's world. If that is the case, how much and what kind?

The short answers are “lots” and “all sorts.” I often use real world myths, legends, and folklore as inspiration.

Lamia, Nergal, and Kalisto are all characters that were inspired by real world deities. Lamia was a Greek demon with shark, sea monster, and vampire associations. Nergal was a Mesopotamian solar deity who was also referred to as a god of war, plague, and pestilence. Callisto was the Greek goddess who was turned into a bear by Hera and set among the stars as Ursa Major.

In writing parts of Fiery Edge of Steel, I was inspired by two children’s songs and a fairy tale. The songs were “Duérmete, Mi Niño” and “Señor Don Gato” and the fairy tale was Charles Perrault’s “Little Thumb,” all of which were modified for purposes of the story.

I use research as a jumping off point for my imagination so my final fictional creation may or may not resemble its real world inspiration.

- How did it occur to you to tackle such an obscure albeit intriguing concept as demon law in a fantasy book?

Noon was very loosely inspired by the Egyptologist Evelyn “Evie” Carnahan from the movie The Mummy. I was having lunch with a bunch of writers during the time when I was seeking inspiration for a new project. I was still practicing law and I sat next to a librarian. We each shared with the other that we felt our day jobs were fairly pedestrian and not necessarily something that could be tapped into to create a dynamic, otherworldly character. I then mentioned Evie as an example of a wonderful librarian character, who found love while battling the undead, despite her bookish ways. So that conversation got me thinking… If Evie could do it, maybe another similarly bookish lawyer character could do it too.

- Are you a pioneer in New Adult Fantasy? Is there more of its kind?

I am flattered that you would ask this question, but I don’t think I am. Others are writing it, and were likely writing it, before I was. And I’m not even sure that Fiery Edge of Steel or White Heart of Justice can be considered New Adult. In Fiery Edge of Steel, Noon is still coming to terms with who and what she is and her place in the world and, in White Heart of Justice, one of her biggest motivators is wanting to win the right to control her own professional destiny. And the books have significant romantic elements.

But, after reading a handful of other NA books (albeit all contemporary), I’m not convinced that my books fall squarely within the New Adult umbrella. Instead, what I try to do is present the series as an option for NA readers who like fantasy. I consider myself a fantasy writer first and foremost.

If anyone wants to read more of my thoughts on whether or not the Noon Onyx series is New Adult, as well as hear from other SF/F NA authors, a great place to start is the guest blog series I did back in April ( I interviewed six other NA SF/F authors and we discussed all sorts of good stuff, including:

Is the term “New Adult fiction” synonymous with “college romance”?

Is there a market for New Adult Fantasy?

Is Multi-Genre NA a Fantasy?

- Is it a worthy risk to add steamy romance to a fantasy plot?

Romance and fantasy are two of my favorite genres. So adding them together just makes a book that much better in my mind. I’m aware that some fantasy fans prefer to keep the bedroom door shut. And I’m aware that some romance fans are impatient with too much worldbuilding. The Noon Onyx books are not their best choice.

The readers who love these stories adore dark worlds, dangerous doings, and deeply felt relationships.

- I fell in love with Empyr, a restaurant and private club in the world of Halja with a wonderfully magical wine menu. Was it loosely based on or inspired by a real experience you've had?

I think it’s wonderful that you fell in love with Empyr. It’s nice to know that a particular aspect of the world appeals because I spend lots of time tinkering with the people, places, and things in Halja to get them the way I want them to be, which is entertaining and purposeful.

I’ve dined in private clubs at the top of tall buildings but I didn’t base Empyr on any one place. The wine menu was inspired by various antique apples. I never realized how boring the types of apples are that I eat. Red delicious, Macintosh, gala, even the pink ladies seem positively prosaic compared to the vintage varieties. I spent a lot of time at this site, studying names and descriptions: 

- Did you plan all three books in advance or did you encounter some surprises as you wrote along?

I loosely plotted out a total of seven books in the series, but none of the books have ended the way I originally envisioned them so the series probably won’t either. I generally work off my outline for at least the first half of the manuscript. Throughout the writing process I allow myself to go “off script.” In Dark Light of Day, for example, the “petites fleurs” scene (chapter 2), Serafina, and Vigilia were not part of my original outline.


- Are you going to write more Noon Onyx stories?

I’m actually in the process of deciding that now. I feel that White Heart of Justice ends in a place where those who have loved the character and the world can walk away satisfied. But it’s hard to say goodbye. Halja’s a fascinating place and Noon is an interesting, strong character to write about. Part of me would like to see where she goes next.

But if I move forward with a fourth book, I’d likely be self-publishing it. It’s a big commitment. So I’m asking readers to weigh in. After you finish WHOJ, let me know whether you want more Noon Onyx stories! :-D

(NO, NO, not satisfied, I NEED more!)

- What’s next?

The next story of mine that will likely be available for purchase is a short story called:

 “Dream, Interrupted” in the Mammoth Book of Southern Gothic Romance  

It features a new heroine, Corelei Neverest, who’s just as interesting as Noon. Her world is different, of course, but it’s also dark, creepy, romantic, and deadly.

- Any message for Spanish readers?

I can only speak and read one language. So I’m humbled, awed, and grateful that someone whose first language isn’t English would even read my books. Maybe someday my books will be translated into other languages. I’d be thrilled. I still remember the day I realized my blog had gotten hits from over a hundred different countries. It was the most amazing feeling. The world is a big place but sharing stories can make it seem small and intimate.

(such a beautiful, endearing feeling, one of the reasons I love reading)

Thank you, Babel, for this fantastic interview and for being such a great champion of the series! If anyone wants to read more about White Heart of Justice, here’s a link to its Amazon page in Spain:

Best wishes and happy reading to everyone here at Tower of Babel!


White Heart of Justice
Noon Onyx
Book 3
Jill Archer
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Ace
Date of Publication: May 27, 2014
Number of pages: 304

Cover Artist: Jason Chan

Since Lucifer claimed victory at Armageddon, demons, angels, and humans have coexisted in uneasy harmony. Those with waning magic are trained to maintain peace and order. But hostilities are never far from erupting…
 After years of denying her abilities, Noon Onyx, the first woman in history to wield waning magic, has embraced her power. She’s won the right to compete in the prestigious Laurel Crown Race—an event that will not only earn her the respect of her peers but also, if she wins, the right to control her future. However, Noon’s task is nearly impossible: retrieve the White Heart of Justice, a mythical sword that disappeared hundreds of years ago. The sword is rumored to be hidden in a dangerous region of Halja that she is unlikely to return from. But Noon’s life isn’t the only thing hanging in the balance. The sword holds an awesome power that, in the wrong hands, could reboot the apocalypse—and Noon is the only one who can prevent Armageddon from starting again…

Tour giveaway details

$50 Amazon eGift Certificate (or bookseller of winner’s choice)

5 copies of White Heart of Justice
 (or an earlier book in the series, winner’s choice)
(international so long as Book Depository ships to your address)

Dark Light of Day themed SWAG pack
(incudes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies)
 (US only)

Fiery Edge of Steel themed SWAG pack
(incudes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies)
(US only)

White Heart of Justice themed SWAG pack
(incudes signed copy of book and other awesome goodies)
(US only)

Estoy tremendamente feliz de haber descubierto a esta autora y sus libros, y de haber podido disfrutar de una lectura maravillosa y un breve, pero emocionante interludio de amor de fan. La autora ha sido majísima con su disponibilidad para la entrevista y dejando un mensaje para los lectores españoles :o)

Babel fantásticamente adicta.

9 comentarios:

Tamara López dijo...

Hola :D
Tiene buena pinta, una pena que no lea en inglés...
Un beso ^^

Lid dijo...

Ah que buena reseña, me ha encanto lo que has dicho, quiero leerlo *O*

Un beso ^^

Maka dijo...

Tengo pendientes de leer los dos anteriores, ¡que los quiero leer porque me dejaste con muchas ganazas! Así que he leído la reseña de puntillas, por si acaso.

También he ojeado la entrevista un poco y la autora parece un encanto.

Un beso!

Aglaia Callia dijo...

No lo conocía y tiene muy buena pinta, me gusta todo lo que has contado.

Un besazo, guapa y feliz lunes.

Anónimo dijo...

Stopping by to say hello and thank you to Belinda for sending me the link to this wonderful review of White Heart of Justice. I've loved reading your thoughts on each of the books in the series. It is truly heartwarming to hear from readers like you who love the books so much.

If I continue the series (it's looking very likely with reader feedback like yours!), I'm going to try to find an artist who can do some maps for me that I can include on my website. I'll be sure to keep everyone posted about my future plans!

Have a wonderful week. Best wishes and happy reading to everyone at Tower of Babel!

Sol dijo...

Participo! tiene pinta :D

Eilonwy dijo...

Los tengo en mi lista de deseos desde la primera vez que los mencionaste en la Torreta :)

Este verano, en cuanto tenga tiempo, a ver si me pongo con ellos y los disfruto, que estoy ya verde de envidia :D

Besotes britanos!

Eilonwy dijo...

Los tengo en mi lista de deseos desde la primera vez que los mencionaste en la Torreta :)

Este verano, en cuanto tenga tiempo, a ver si me pongo con ellos y los disfruto, que estoy ya verde de envidia :D

Besotes britanos!

Pinkiland dijo...

Tienen buena pinta a ver si los sacan en español!
Besos cielo : )