Monday, January 25, 2016

Blog Tour: Andy Smithson Vision of the Griffin's Heart by L.R.W. Lee

28260101 Andy Smithson Vision of the Giffin's Heart
 by L.R.W. Lee
Published: January 13th 2016 by Woodgate Publishing

Genres: MG Fantasy 
Pages: 218 pages
Format: Ebook
Source:  In exchange for an honest review, an ebook was provided by the author for free. 


Andy has once again returned to Texas, but things have not been quiet since he left Oomaldee.  King Abbadon has been relentless in sending his minions to attack Andy and his family in Texas, and they've barely been able to escape.  Things have been very stressful at home, and being away for over a year has been very difficult on Andy.  He is very eager for news from his friends Alden and Yara, but especially from Yara since they've been growing closer.  And the end of book 4, Imogenia hinted that there is a chance that Andy's sword, Methuselah, may not be able to kill Abbadon as he once thought.  Andy is anxious to receive his next clue, return to Oomaldee and get himself one step closer to defeating Abbadon,  But, since he has been gone, more and more of the citizens of Oomaldee have been turned into Zolt's, making it more difficult to determine the good guys from the bad.  Plus, his next task is to collect the claw of a griffin which will be more challenging then he even knows. Griffin's have not historically trusted humans and getting one of them to give up his claw might be more than Andy bargained for.  

My Thoughts-

Each time I read one of L.R.W. Lee's Andy Smithson books, I keep thinking to myself this is the best one yet, and Vision of the Griffin's Heart is one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. As I've said in previous reviews, I like the way that Andy is aging and maturing across the series. He is slowly learning that he can't control everything in the way that he wishes and that growing up is difficult, but necessary for him to be a good king. I've always enjoyed how the Andy Smithson series also incorporates "life values" or principles in a way that doesn't feel heavy handed, while telling a wonderful adventure/fantasy story.  Lee is quite a creative writer, tying in other famous literary texts into her stories.  In the Griffin's heart she uses the theme of courage in the form of Andy's next clue, with a special nod to The Wizard of Oz.  

“The start of the story let me remind, Each one had need and sought to find, The scarecrow a brain, the tinman a heart, But the lion, what did he seek for his part? Level thinking is yours, when removed from your fear. Compassion and love fill you plenty, be clear. But the tempest of doubt doth toss you about, When you set your eyes on the terror without. Shift now your gaze to the power you hold. Look not to your sword for deliverance, but be bold. Resolve in your mind, trust in your heart, And find courage within, already a part. Ne’er alone in the fight, with your fellows unite, To bring low the enemy, his might to smite.” 

 Andy faces many challenges in the Griffin's Heart, in previous stories he usually relies on his friends Alden, Yara and Hannah, this time his mother comes along on their quest providing assistance as only a mother and Queen can.  I enjoyed how she was there to provide guidance, but at the same time she gives Andy some space to make his own decisions.  She helps him understand that learning isn't easy and that he needs to determine what is necessary. Yet, Andy is also helping her come to terms with him growing up and that once the curse keeping her immortal is broken, she may loose him forever.   A very tough position for Andy to be in, which is why I like the presence of his inneru, which for some reason he is now taking to calling "MiniMe." Andy's inneru is his conscience offering advice while also helping him to see that he isn't playing a game with Abbadon, the stakes are high and that he must have courage. While the story ends on a cliff hanger, I will still be eagerly awaiting the release of Book Six.  In the mean time feel free to check out my thoughts on her other books here:  Book 1: Andy Smithson Blast of the Dragons Fury, Book 2: Venom of the Serpent's Cunning Book 3: Disgrace of the Unicorn's Horn and  Resurrection of the Phoneix's Grace .  

Favorite line: “If I know I’m afraid, I have the choice to either let it rule me or I can face it. I may still be scared, but I can fight it.” 

                       L.R.W. Lee On THE DEPTH OF THE ANDY SMITHSON SERIES

 If you’re an adult looking for a clean series you can sink your teeth into, Andy Smithson is definitely it! In it I develop four layers simultaneously: 1) Andy Smithson in Lakehills, TX 2) Andy in Oomaldee 3) the Afterlife 4) a meaning layer. 

A few examples to demonstrate the depth… Symbolism is used extensively (a couple examples):

*   The fog of the curse symbolizes blindness and oppression. 
*   The magic key unlocks doors, brings stone statues to life, as well as revives. Put another way, it symbolizes bringing forth, opening up, and revealing (aka taking responsibility).
*   Methuselah is not only a weapon and helper, but also represents justice as it divides good and evil. Consistent with life, justice requires diligence to uphold.

 Names are also important in this series (a few examples):

*   Andy means brave or courageous. 
*   Alden means helper.
*   Hannah means favor or grace. 
*   Imogenia means blameless. 

Alchemy used throughout the series (a few examples): 

*  Alchemy played a significant role in the development of modern science. Alchemists sought to transform base metals into the gold or silver and/or develop an elixir of life which would confer youth and longevity and even immortality. 
*   In the series, the first instance of alchemy begins with the gold weavers, Max, Oscar, and Henry, spinning straw into gold to manufacture the wealth of the kingdom.
*  The four elementals: air, earth, fire, and water are then seen on Methuselah’s hilt. 

The titles of the books manifest yet another layer of meaning and reveal Imogenia’s evolution.

*  Beginning with Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, Imogenia is furious at what has happened to her and she fuels her emotional hurt.
*  In Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Imogenia turns venomous (or spiteful) and cunning in seeking ways to continually punish her brother. 
*  Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor has Imogenia act in a manner disgraceful to the honor of royalty.
*  In Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace we see Imogenia’s grace reborn as she begins to reflect.
*  In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Imogenia realizes she is gripped by hatred and distrust she has harbored for so long. Unlike griffins who choose to trust others, Imogenia cannot yet make that leap when it comes to her brother.


 L. R. W. Lee credits her love of fantasy with her introduction to C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. Later on, she enjoyed the complex world of Middle Earth brought to life by J. R. R. Tolkien in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The multiple dimensions of the worlds mixed with a layer of meaning, captivated her and made her desire to invent Young Adult Fantasy and Epic Fantasy worlds others could get lost in, but also take meaning away from. More recently, L. R. W. Lee has found inspiration from J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series as well as Brandon Mull and his best selling Fablehaven, Beyonders and Five Kingdoms series. L. R. W. Lee writes to teach her readers principles that can transform their lives – overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and more. She also shows why responsibility, diligence and dignity are the keys to true success in life. She lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband. Their daughter is a Computer Engineer for Microsoft and their son serves in the Air Force.

1 comment: