As part of The Wildcat of Braeton blog tour, I will be doing an interview with author Claire Banschbach, giving my review of her newest release, and sharing about the giveaway she's offering!
So let's begin, *smiles*
About the book:
“If you’re fighting our battle, we’d best make you look like a champion,” Tam said to Aiden. Tam and Blair began to apply the war paint the Clans had worn into battle since before they arrived in Braeton.
“You ready?” Tam asked when they finished.
“As I’ll ever be,” Aiden replied. “Tam, if everything goes wrong, you take charge after me.”
“I’m praying nothing goes wrong,” Tam said. “Just remember what Diarmad said when he built this place: ‘In times of trouble, a Champion shall rise up and Scodra shall not fall.’”
His term of service to Lord Rishdah now complete, Aiden returns to his home in Braeton. As he travels he hears rumors that trouble plagues Braeton. Clan Canich is being attacked from within. He arrives, determined to save his father, his brothers, and his Clan from the treachery of one man.
A year has passed since the Calorins were driven from Aredor and Corin is struggling to rebuild his country. Despite the peace, a fear haunts him that the Calorins aren’t far away. The Hawk Flight takes to the forest again to defend the borders against a possible attack from the neighboring country of Durna and its Calorin ally.
As Aiden and Corin struggle to adapt to their new lives they know one thing for certain - war is coming to the North!
Title: The Wildcat of Braeton
Author: Claire Banschbach
Series: The Rise of Aredor #2
~ MY REVIEW ~
Ooh, hard one to rate! Don’t let my low(ish) rating stop you from picking up this novel; The Wildcat of Braeton really was quite an impressive book … set in the middle of a well-done, fascinating, non-magic fantasy world, and brimming with great characters.
It follows The Rise of Aredor and continues the grand adventures of Aiden and Corin, and all their friends and loved ones. There’s epic battles, wonderful friendships, and endearing romance. The quest to guard Aredor continues as both Corin and Aiden rise to new heights and responsibilities in their lives.
I did really enjoy it, truly. It is probably not exactly my style book though. I would recommend it more to boys 12/13 or so and on up. And also, girls with more Claire Banschbach’s taste! Some portions of The Wildcat of Braeton just didn’t capture me as much as an epic, gorgeous fairytale would, you know, *winks* But for the most part, I really liked this tale. I found myself wanting to return to Corin and Aiden and see where things would go next. Their lives intrigued me. Their fight for their homeland stirred my patriotic side, *smiles*
Since this book is titled for Aiden, I shall mention his family a bit. So the Clans, (including the Braetons), were really fascinating. I almost feel like the idea of these group of people was taken from Scottish ancestry or something of that sort. In any case, their traditions and lifestyle charmed me, *smiles* Loved the dancing, the bards, and the songs! So fun.
I will say again, I felt Claire’s world building was quite well-done. It has the feel of being thought-out and all. So that was great. I was inspired by the world of The Rise of Aredor and The Wildcat of Braeton. And Claire has definitely found her writing style/flow. I didn’t notice any choppiness in this book. It all came together very nicely!
And we get some romance this time! *winks and smiles* Some friendships developed into something more, and there were a few sweet kisses and moments. Some words of love exchanged. I was happy to see more of the girl characters and explore a bit of their thoughts, feelings, and adventures.
There isn’t very much of a faith element. We have some talk of singing the dead off to Lleu’s Halls or something to that sort; and other little mentions of Lleu. A few Clan-traditions/folk-lore kind of thoughts scattered throughout as well.
As I mentioned above, there were some endearing kisses exchanged as for romance. All sweet, *smiles* There’s some talk of cursing and rough(er) bantering between friends. Also, there’s frequent mentions of ale/drinks.
But, after enjoying the story for a while … then we start getting to the heart-rending parts. Be warned, fellow readers, your heart will be (utterly) crushed a time or two. As for me, I like that “happily ever after” fairytale ending feel most of the time, so it was really hard for me to come to grips with certain happenings of The Wildcat of Braeton. And the ending was … different. I’ve read one other book, I believe, with that sort of ending; it leaves me with a bit of a surreal feeling. I haven’t decided if I’m okay with it or not yet, lol! *winks* So there is some sorrow in this book that my girly, fairytale-ish self had a very hard time holding up under. That would be the reason for cutting off a half of star from the rating I wanted to give.
But overall, I really liked The Wildcat of Braeton! A chance to explore Aiden/Emeth’s story and journey along more with Corin as well. Just the last bit left me floundering, *wrinkles nose* Here’s what I suggest. Read The Rise of Aredor and also give The Wildcat of Braeton a try. We have a fantastic writer here and wonderful non-magic fantasy, *smiles* You can see if the story elements are more to your taste than my personal preferences!
I received a proof copy of The Wildcat of Braeton from the author in exchange for my honest review.
About the Author:
Claire Banschbach was born and raised in Midland, TX, the fourth of eight children. She was homeschooled through high school and is now a proud member of the Texas A&M University class of 2014. An avid reader of Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and many other adventure novels, Claire was prompted to begin writing her own fantasy novel at seventeen after several years of daydreaming. She continues to write in her spare time (and often when she doesn’t have spare time). When not scratching out stories and homework with pen and pencil, Claire partakes in the joys of watching the Boston Red Sox, Aggie football, playing volleyball, and horseback riding. She hopes her faith and strong foundation in God will continue to help guide her writing. She is currently working on her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center.
Release date info-
Due to circumstances beyond my control, the release date has been moved to (most likely) May. However, if you feel that you cannot live without this book, you can buy it here- https://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-68097-981-7 Warning- it costs about a hundred-million dollars (or I’m a poor college student and anything over $20 is expensive), so I would wait until its official release date and you can shop more cheaply! Stay tuned on my Facebook page or blog for more info on the release date!
Connect with the author:
Connect with the author:
Interview with Claire Banschbach:
Me: Hey Claire, so good to have you on my blog! :-) I’m looking forward to chatting with you and discussing your new release, The Wildcat of Braeton!
Claire: Thank you so much for having me! I’m excited to be here!
Me: So, how old were you when you first discovered the desire to write stories?
Claire: I wish I could say that I’ve always wanted to write stories. I’ve always had a vivid imagination but I didn’t start putting anything on paper until after I saw The Lord of the Rings at home and in the theater. Those movies really gave me a jump start on making my own stories. When I was about 12-13 was when I started doing some writing, some truly awful attempts that will never see the light of day. Then there was a break in there until I was about 17 and I grabbed a notebook and started writing the story that had been living in my imagination for about 4 years. I haven’t stopped since.
Me: Awesome! I’m with you about the first stories that will never see the light of day, lol! From reading your books… You seem prefer having men as your main characters? Why?
Claire: I think it comes from reading more male-centered adventure stories growing up. And I can still safely classify myself as a tomboy. But really I think that male characters are easier to write because they’re pretty straightforward in terms of actions and reactions. Women on the other hand have a whole different dynamic. We have different focuses, priorities, thought processes, etc. So did I just call myself a lazy writer? Maybe. But as someone just starting out with writing, I think I wanted to shy away from female characters because you see some negative stereotypes, in fantasy especially, and I wanted to make sure I had some practice before I really tried to do us justice in a story and not just recreate that helpless, annoying girl character that frustrates me so much. But now I’ve begun to write more female main characters and I’m finding that it’s really quite fun!
Me: Hmmm...interesting thoughts for sure. I understand the negative stereotype thing! In any case, I’ve really enjoyed your female characters and think you wrote them very nicely! :-) Favorite book genre and one book you’ve read from it?
Claire: I do love fantasy, but I’m also fond of historical fiction so we’ll go with that. My absolutely favorite historical fiction is a book set in ancient Egypt called Shadow Hawk by Andre Norton. I highly recommend it.
Me: Sounds intriguing. Fantasy and historical-fiction are also my favorites. Do you have a quiet or outgoing personality?
Claire: When I’m thrown into new situations, especially with a lot of new people, I get really quiet. It takes some time for me to “warm up” and really display my true personality. One of my good friends once said that she didn’t know why people thought I was quiet because I don’t shut up! So, I’m a little bit of both depending on the situation.
Me: Sounds reasonable! :-) A food that makes you sigh in delight…? :-D
Claire: A big, juicy hamburger. Definitely.
Me: Mmm, now you're making me hungry! :-) I’m gluten-free, so I don’t often get hamburgers, but Burgerville has gluten-free, and oh their hamburgers are to die for! ;-D What’s one personal dream you have?
Claire: It’s been my dream for the past six years or so to become a physical therapist. I’m now about to finish my first year of three of physical therapy school. After I graduate? To quote Flynn Rider, that’s the good part because I get to go find a new dream.
Me: That’s wonderful. Aw… Flynn Rider, :-) Do you prefer dystopian or science fiction or neither?
Claire: I have enjoyed some of the recent dystopian works but I’m more likely to pick up a science fiction work if they were lying side by side.
Me: Cool. I’m more into dystopian, but with the ones I’ve been watching recently (a.k.a. Mockingjay: Part 1 (2014), I may just want to stay away, ha!). One place you’d like to visit someday?
Claire: I would love to visit Wales! It’s just really struck my imagination after reading Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle. It also caused me give the country of Aredor a light Welsh theme. I’d love to backpack Great Britain! I guess that’s also one of my dreams. :-)
Me: Lovely! That would be fun! Thanks for being here, Claire! It was great hearing some of your thoughts! :-)
Claire: Thanks again for having me!
Opens at midnight March 23 and closes at midnight on March 28. Giveaway includes 2 signed copies of The Wildcat of Braeton and accompanying sets of four notecard sized illustrations from the series! Click the link below to enter in the rafflecopter giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d11da96b1/
Blog Tour Schedule:
Monday, March 23
Tuesday, March 24
Wednesday, March 25
Thursday, March 26
Jaye L. Knight, Author Jaye L. Knight – Author Interview
Friday, March 27
Saturday, March 28