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"Haven Lost (The Dragon's Brood Cycle, Volume 1)" by Josh de Lioncourt

Author: Josh de Lioncourt

Narrator: Reay Kaplan

Length: 16 hours 26 minutes

Publisher: Draconis Entertainment⎮2015

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Dragon's Brood Cycle, Volume 1

Release date: Oct. 7, 2015

Legends never die; they just go into hiding....

Sixteen-year-old Emily Haven, heroine of the girls' hockey team at Lindsey High, has spent her young life keeping two secrets: her rapidly deteriorating home life and the seemingly supernatural power that makes her a star on the ice. When she begins seeing visions of a lost and ragged boy reflected in mirrors and shop windows, a series of events unfolds that tears her from 21st-century Minneapolis and leaves her stranded in another world with horrors to rival those she has left behind. Lost amidst creatures of fantasy and legend, she's forced to confront the demons of both her past and future to unravel the riddle of the mysterious boy and embark upon a journey to uncover long forgotten histories and the dark, cloaked figure in the shadows behind them all. Caught between opposing forces of a war she doesn't understand, Emily must find new strength within herself and, above all, the will to remember her friends.

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**I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Josh de Lioncourt. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.**

“Haven Lost” was an interesting and pretty focus-intensive listen. And the fact that it was a mashup of genres—fantasy, myth, time-travel (sort of?), and action/adventure—made it far more engaging than I anticipated. I’m unfamiliar with this author, but am quite glad I took the plunge!

Mr. de Lioncourt spun us a beautiful story here, with vivid detail and a startling depth. His scenes and characters were beautifully rendered, life-like in spite of their foreignness, and it was easy to get to know them. He has a gift for world-building, and though at times he withheld information a little too long, the reveals he gave us were well worth the wait in most cases. I’m very much looking forward to seeing where he’ll take us next in this very unique, yet somehow familiar feeling, series.

My heart broke for Emily more than once throughout her journey. This girl, despite her intriguing gift, lived a rough life: drug addict mother, POS stepdad, dead father she doesn’t even have a picture of because mom burned them all. Having to keep her magic (that she doesn’t recognize as such quite yet) a secret is just another burden. But readers don’t get much of a chance to settle into Emily’s life before she’s whisked away to another world that’s even more stressful. Emily handles it really, really well, all things considered, and seems to just take the weirdness and danger in stride. Some of her actions and a few of her motives didn’t make a ton of sense until the end, which was a little frustrating, but the journey was so intriguing that I was willing to put up with the not-knowing. The friends and enemies she makes along the way fill out the character cast quite nicely, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the relationships grow. I also have a suspicion that perhaps a little romance will come along for Emily and Cormack.

I’m SO glad I was introduced to the Dragon’s Brood Cycle in audio format before I discovered it in print! Reay Kaplan is a delightful narrator and she truly brought the characters to life, especially Emily and Selene. Her portrayal of the male characters was excellent and she handled the many conversations between male and female characters without missing a beat or overdramatizing for the sake helping the reader tell them apart. The audio quality was clean and professional, with no awkward pauses, background noise, or other distracting sounds.

Bottom line: If you want a little more fantasy and strangeness with your King Arthur legend, this is the series for you. I can’t recommend it highly enough—but be warned; this book will require your complete focus, so don’t try to listen while doing other things. You’ll find yourself having to back up and re-read if you try it.

Josh de Lioncourt, a proud Ravenclaw, enjoys creative projects in a variety of fields, including fiction, music, software development, blogging, and more. He has written on Apple accessibility for Macworld and Maccessibility, hosts or participates regularly on several podcasts, and writes and records music with Molly, his wife. Josh enjoys the works of Stephen King, the music of George Michael, Masters of the Universe, and Los Angeles Kings hockey. He also happens to be blind.

Reay Kaplan is a professional Actor, Puppeteer and Voice-Over Artist in the Atlanta area. In addition to narrating over 50 audiobook titles, Reay is also the voice of Windy the Lungs in the Emmy Award winning series, The Organ Wise Guys. When not behind the mic, Reay is a Resident Puppeteer and Teaching Artist at the Center For Puppetry Arts in Atlanta.

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