Hey y’all!! So sorry that I did not finish my reviews of each Ilyon book! You can blame it all on the last week of school and midterms lol! Anyway today will definitely make up for it because I have some SUPER exciting news! So yesterday was the release of Bitter Winter by Jaye L. Knight and in a few days Decree by Tricia Mingerink will be released! The fun of that news is that I am apart of the BLOG TOUR for these two books *swoon*!! There is also a side story to the Ilyon Chronicles called Lacy but I will not be reviewing that today. So today I will be doing an author interview with the authors of the amazing books and reviews of these book!! Y’all I’m so excited right now, I love these books SO much!!!!! OK let’s get on with it!!!!!
So first let us start with the author interviews! So without further ado here is the beautiful Tricia Mingerink and Jaye L. Knight!
1. How did you go about building the very intricate world of Ilyon/Acktar like all the cities, peoples, worlds, etc.?
Jaye: I basically started out with the different peoples. The race profiles I have at the end of each book were some of the first things I ever wrote about Ilyon. I built the cities and cultures around those profiles and just added in what I needed to as the story went along.
Tricia: Acktar has a lot less worldbuilding than Ilyon, or even Tallahatchia from my other series. I base a lot of the setting on real places, such as Acktar’s geography is based on South Dakota while Nalgar Castle is based on Raglan Castle in Wales. I put my own spin on it, but it does give me a starting point when crafting the world.
2. What has been your favorite thing about writing the Ilyon/Acktar series?
Tricia: Besides writing about Leith and assassins? I love Acktar’s mix of medieval meets American West. I read a lot of Westerns growing up, and I love incorporating the Western genre tropes into the fantasy genre.
Jaye: The characters. I am such a character writer. I adore my characters.
3. Was it at all hard or intimidating to portray God in your fantasy novels knowing many people would read it? How did you go about it?
Tricia: Since God in The Blades of Acktar is portrayed exactly like He is in our real world, it was less intimidating than it could have been, though it is always a delicate balance between my own personal beliefs, the characters’ beliefs, and making it accessible for the readers’ various beliefs, especially when it comes to writing characters like Martyn who spend a lot of time with wrong beliefs and slowly, painfully, revise their thinking. I am very careful on how I word certain things, I purposely don’t use any long doctrinal type words, and I have several friends read it over to double check that I’ve worded the Christianity part of the story as best I can.
Jaye: Like Tricia, I portray God as God. All I really do is give Him a fantasy world name. Ilyon Chronicles got a bit technical in that the beginning of the series is basically like Old Testament and I ended up having to create a simple sacrifice system. The hardest and most intimidating part was writing Elon (Jesus). Writing a Messiah character is very difficult. You want so much to get it right and have no idea how readers will respond. I mean, how do you write a character as Jesus? I’m just human and there is SO MUCH to Him. What I like to do is pick out a particular aspect of His character to focus on. Usually that’s His love.
Tricia: Yes! Writing a character as Jesus is one of the scariest things to do as a Christian writer. I didn’t face that in The Blades of Acktar, but I did in Dagger’s Sleep. I spent a lot of time reading the Bible to find how the Bible describes Him, especially allegorically, and stuck to those kinds of descriptions. I know Jaye did something similar when writing Elon (Jesus) in Samara’s Peril because we had a few very good chats about her approach to writing Elon in that book.
4. What was your inspiration for this series, or especially this book Bitter Winter/Decree?
Tricia: I actually had several of the stories in this book written before Deliver was published, including The Blades As They Should’ve Been. I hadn’t planned to continue The Blades of Acktar quite this soon, but Martyn kept pushing for his story to be told in The First Mission, and after that, I couldn’t help but write the rest of the book. So whatever you think of Martyn, you have him to thank for me writing Decree, lol.
Jaye: I’ve been writing Ilyon Chronicles for so long that I honestly don’t remember the initial inspiration for Bitter Winter. The story was just part of the grand plan, and I guess I wanted a book that gave Jace his own mission. He’s usually part of the group missions, but I wanted to write something a little more personal. Plus show that even though he has changed and grown, he’s still not perfect, just like all of us, but God can still use us anyway.
5. Who is your favorite character that you created in the Ilyon/Acktar world?
Tricia: Leith. ‘Nuff said, lol.
Jaye: Jace. The entire thing started with Jace. He will always be one of my all time favorite characters.
A big thanks to Jaye and Tricia for answering my questions and letting me be apart of this awesome blog tour!!
Before I get on to the reviews I just want to say that I received ebook ARCs from the authors of these books in return for my honest review!
Jaye L. Knight’s newest novel, Bitter Winter, and companion novella Lacy have been released! Bitter Winter is the fifth book in the Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles.Tricia Mingerink’s newest novel Decree is also releasing! Decree is the fifth book in the Christian fantasy/kingdom adventure series The Blades of Acktar. Read about these books below and be sure to check out the other blog stops on the tour by visiting the official tour page. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!
The Ilyon Chronicles
About Bitter WinterAlready struggling with a harsh winter and the threat of food shortage, a catastrophic event leaves those in the Landale camps reeling. Just when things couldn’t get much worse, camp members fall ill with the same devastating sickness that’s sweeping across the country.Determined to gain the cure, Jace sets off to Valcré. However, there are only two sources—the queen, or a powerful gang of smugglers who have made the dangerous city their home. When Jace gains audience with the gang leader, he finds the price of the cure is steeper than any of them imagined, forcing him to make an impossible choice—betray his conscience or let those he loves die.
OH MY GOSH WHERE TO START!!!!! This book is absolutely STUNNING AND AMAZING!! I cried so much in this book it was SO SAD YET SO BEAUTIFUL!! Once again I was blow away by the incredibleness that is the world of Ilyon! This book was mostly about Jace *SWOON* my sweet little gem. He went through so much in this book MY POOR BABY!! But once again we see in his weakness he grows, and at the end of the day trusts God and God helps and loves, him however broken he may be! This book had SO MUCH IN IT it is so hard to review without spoiling!! It was so satisfying yet so heart-wrenching! In the end when we see Jace reflecting on all that has happened in his life over these books it is absolutely stunning! The way I view these characters changes with each book as I watch them grow into these wonderful beans! This book was very different than the rest because it didn’t have as much action and wars that kept the characters feeling they had some semblance of control, no, they were struck with suprise attacks and plauges, something that was in no way in their control. They struggled, especially Jace, with being at the mercy of others and God. They all go through so much but they don’t let that turn them bitter, instead they rely on God and let Him work through their lives and in the end they turn out all the better, all the sweeter! I love these books SO MUCH because not only does it have quality characters, stories, worlds, plots, etc. but it also teaches me so much about the Lord! I grow some in my faith and learn more about how great God is with each book! JAYRIN IN THIS BOOK THOUGH!!!!!!!!!!! *squeals* *swoon* *cries* *fangirls incoherently* I’M SORRY I JUST LOVE THEM SO MUCH #sorrynotsorry!! They are so beautiful and I can’t say more without spoiling! The only thing I didn’t absolutely love about this book is that it was very fast-paced. Everything happened so fast and some of it could have waited if she is indeed making more books? This book had a very different vibe to it than the others, in many, many ways it still felt like Ilyon but in some ways it felt very different and was harder because it seemed the characters had kinda changed and the whole vibe felt a tad off. It was still amazing and I loved it so much! I might try to do a longer review in the future just because there is so much in this marvelous book
I Give This Amazing Book A Four and A Half Stars!!!!
Available now on Amazon!
About Lacy The last thing Aaron ever envisioned was falling for a prostitute. Everything about it spells trouble. However, he can’t help noticing the way her smile lights up when she sees him and how much brokenness she hides behind it. Neither can he ignore how desperately she needs rescue and protection. When Lacy shares a life or death secret with him, Aaron is willing to risk everything to help her and to show her Elôm’s love. Yet, such a choice could destroy his reputation and maybe even cost him his freedom. An Ilyon Chronicles Novella
Available now on Amazon!
Haven’t discovered the world of Ilyon yet? Find out more at the official Ilyon Chronicles website!About the Author
Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Etsy.
The Blades of Acktar
About DecreeThe Adventure Continues.Discover more of The Blades of Acktar in this collection of novellas and short stories.The Blades as They Should’ve Been A test and the Gathering of Nobles will decide Leith and Martyn’s futures. Can they fight to become more than the Blades they were? Will Keevan accept the man who attempted to kill him as family?The First MissionWhen Martyn visits Surgis, his past seems determined to haunt him. Can he figure out how to forgive, especially when confronted with an enemy in need of his help?To the Far Great Mountains A death sends Leith and Martyn far beyond the borders of Acktar. Will they be able to arrest their quarry before they are caught themselves?From the story of how Leith and Martyn met to Ranson’s search for a life outside of the Blades, these stories will answer plaguing questions and expand the world of Acktar.
OK so honestly I just finished this yesterday but AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! THIS BOOK IS JUST ASDFGHJKLASDASDFGHJKL! Again SO much happens in this book as well and I don’t even know what to think or feel because ALL THE FEELS!! It is like AWESOME but also TORTURE to watch all of my precious, innocent beautiful little baby beans grow up!!! This book is insanely CRAZY WITH ALL THAT GOES ON! This book, by the way, is a short story compilation! MARTYN IN THIS BOOK THOUGH!!!!!!!!! Y’all I love Martyn he is just amazing and beautiful and a savage gem. His back story though LITERALLY BREAKS MY HEART!! I just want to wrap little 12 year old Martyn in a warm blanket and give him all the foods! Martyn grows so much in this book and it is beautiful to watch! Martyn struggles because he is very bitter and hard, he likes to rely on himself because of all the hurt he has had, but he is also VERY loyal. His conversion story is so amazing and beautiful it made me cry so hard! In this book we see him struggling to trust God and create a life outside of the blades, and love Kayleigh (she is so awesome)! Watching Martyn grow in this book is so cool! OKAY DEEP BREATH OH MY GOSH OK I CAN’T I CAN’T Y’ALL,…….. LEITH!!!!! LEiTh MY BEATIFUL CHILD AHHHHH! Okay, okay I’m good now, for the most part. Seriously though Leith is so amazing! Again talking about this book IS SO HARD because I don’t want to spoil anything but I want y’all to UNDERSTAND the gravity of joy and sorrow that is intertwined in this book!! In this book we see Leith try to make a life for himself after the Blades and reconcile with King Keevan (I’m still not sure what to think of Keevan TBH). He tries to create a life with Renna while still struggling with the fear of his past. He grows in his faith and learns to balance his job as Captain of the Blade Marshals and being a husband *cough* *cough* to Renna. It is so beautiful! The only “trouble” I have with this book is it it is kinda strange to read about all this stuff that happens to the characters after Leith and Renna get married and everyone moves in with them (which happened at the end of the book prior). Usually the “happily ever after” is left to the imagination of the reader. It is cool but also really strange, I’m not 100% sure how I feel about it. It’s just weird yet maybe satisfying to see these characters whom you’ve watched grow up now LITERALLY grow up. OKAY BUT YOU KNOW WHO I NEED MORE OF………….JAMIE AND BRANDI!!!!! Please I need more of these two they are just so cute!!! I loved the subtle hints left in this book that indicate their story is not finished!?!?!?!?!! PLEASE LET THEIR STORY NOT BE FINISHED I LOVE THEM SOOOOOO MUCH!! The story about Ranson was cool and sweet, it was nice to get to know him more! Just as with the Ilyon Chronicles I love learning more about God and seeing how he is portrayed and works in these characters lives. The characters are so cool because they are not perfect and they struggle in their own very specific ways with their faith but in the end they trust and love God. I learn so much from these books!! Again I could go on and on but I think that this review is good for now!
This Book Gets Four and A Half Stars!!!
Available now on Amazon!
Haven’t discovered the The Blades of Acktar yet? Find out more at on the official Blades of Acktar page.About the Author blog Facebook Twitter Instagram
Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a full signed set of the Ilyon Chronicles and The Blades of Acktar! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.) Click on this link to enter.Be sure to stop by each of the character chats (links in the blog tour schedule) for additional giveaways throughout the tour!
Also here is the link to the blog tour schedule if you would like to see more!!
Thank you guys so much for reading I hope you enjoyed it and decide to read these books hahaha (but seriously read them)!