I have known Shari Marshall since grade six. We both loved reading and writing from a young age. For that reason, this announcement is a special one. I am honoured to help Shari publish and launch her first novel, hopefully one of many! What I will say about this book, first and foremost, is that I’m amazed at the creativity and imagination produced from Shari’s mind. I know her well, but the world and characters she has created are truly incredible. A reader knows the mark of a good book when they don’t want it to be over.
Luckily, The Ember Stone is just the first book in a series called The Ember Files. I was drawn to several elements in this urban fantasy novel. The characters come to mind first, the depth involved in each one, but also the relationships between them. They seem to have special bonds that make you want to be part of the group. Books with magic always appeal to me and this one has it in abundance. It’s magic that makes logical sense though, it’s believable, almost natural. Finally, there are broader themes of good and evil, of right and wrong, of then and now. These themes help the reader make sense of a world that isn’t entirely familiar, but is intriguing in its own way.
The Ember Stone is an engaging read that sucks you in–don’t be surprised if you are still turning pages at three in the morning. There are plenty of surprises, lots of action, a healthy dose of drama, and much more to come!
Read the advanced reviews below…
“I was privileged to be offered an advanced reading of The Ember Stone, an urban fantasy book featuring shapeshifters with magical abilities and other supernatural characters. Being an avid reader and having read several other authors with books in this, and similar genres, I eagerly accepted Shari’s offer.
The Ember Stone opens with the main character Kori Ember. She is a complex female lead who over the course of the book gradually discovers and embraces her magical abilities and her importance in the supernatural world while she searches for her sister. Shari takes her time to thoroughly develop and bring the characters to life, their unique shapeshifting abilities, and their differing magical powers. The pace of the plot at first appeared to be slower with all the character development, but I quickly found this allowed me to create deeper connections with many of the secondary characters. Some of my favourites became Kori’s witty and sarcastic friend Fin, the mysterious and brooding Alaric who becomes Kori’s mentor in all things magical, Grama Pearle’s comedic, sidekick-friend Birdie, and, lastly, Belamey one of the perceived enemies. Shari had me utterly absorbed in guessing at all the characters’ supernatural abilities and their various roles in the ever-evolving magical world as the plot unfolded and the supernatural political issues begin to reveal themselves.
There is just the right amount of comedic relief set sporadically throughout the book including some penile humour, that does not come off as crass but instead provides a good belly laugh at just the right moments. In addition, Shari does a good job of maintaining the tension and pace of the book, so as a reader you quickly turn pages to uncover the mysteries she threads throughout the plot. I found her subtle development of key relationships between the characters kept me guessing for signs of a heated romance. I was delightfully entertained with the dynamic and spectacularly explosive action scenes, the unravelling plot twists, and the introduction to the various shapeshifters. Shari has created something truly unique. The end of the book foreshadows the possibility of a series with Kori which I look forward to visiting.
Shari captures a magical world interwoven within our own reality, a reality that is deeply imagined and utterly absorbing. I can not wait to return.”
Lianne Bilodeau, Avid Reader, Mother of Four, and Police Officer
“I was fortunate enough to be in the same virtual room when Shari Marshall announced she was looking for people to complete advanced reads of her debut novel, The Ember Stone.
Kori Ember is a conflicted young woman. She’s looking for her place in the world and has moved away as a rejection of a large part of her family heritage and history – the world of urban magic. She knew it to be a potentially dark side of life and preferred to live some undefined but normal existence.
Her path was less than satisfying and she was not finding a place of comfort when she heard that a group back home, active practitioners in both magic and of taking from others what they wanted for themselves, had decided that she, Kori Ember, had something they wanted, something powerful. They wanted it badly enough to take her family hostage and thus drew Kori into a fight she had not asked for but, with her young sibling and parents in danger, was resolved to finish.
For all her strengths, Kori had rejected what should have been her best weapon, her heritage, and innate skills in using magic.
The story unfolds as she worries about who she can trust, what magical tools are at her disposal, who her enemies are, and ultimately, what her comfortable place in life might look like.
Shari employs a unique voice to bring the reader into the room with Kori as she works through the challenge. There are surprises and humor and vivid imagery on every page as Kori learns quickly how to mount a rescue and fight the battle coming her way.
This was one fun read and I applaud Shari for such an engaging first novel.”
Gary A. Wilson, Gary A Wilson Stories https://garyawilsonstories.wordpress.com/