Welcome to the May 31st stop on the blog tour for She’s the One Who Gets in Fights by S. R. Cronin, organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for 6 more reviews and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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About the Book
She’s the One Who Gets in Fights
War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters Book Three
by S. R. Cronin
Published 14 May 2021
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Page Count: 229
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It’s the 1200’s, and the small realm of Ilari has had peace and prosperity for generations. That doesn’t mean every citizen is happy, however. Sulphur, the third of seven sisters, is glad the older two have been slow to wed. It’s given her the freedom to train as a fighter, in hopes of fulfilling her lifelong dream of joining Ilari’s army. Then, within a matter of days, both sisters announce plans and now Sulphur is expected to find a man to marry.
Is it Sulphur’s good fortune her homeland is gripped by fear of a pending Mongol invasion? And the army is going door to door encouraging recruits? Sulphur thinks it is. But once she’s forced to kill in a small skirmish, she’s ready to rethink her career decision.
Too bad it’s too late. The invasion is coming, and Ilari needs every good soldier it has.
Once Sulphur learns Ilari’s army has made the strategic decision to not defend certain parts of the realm, including the one where her family lives, she has to re-evaluate her loyalty. Is it with the military she’s always admired? Or is it with her sisters, who are hatching a plan to defend their homeland with magic?
Everywhere she turns, someone is counting on her to fight for what’s right. But what is?
Days later, Dad came through. His contact lived at a nearby farm and he invited me to visit the next morning.
Winds from the north blew hard as I rode, reminding me the winter storms hadn’t finished for the year. When I arrived, a tiny elderly man with withered skin met me at the side of the road bundled in blankets. He lead me down the path to his barn.
Though he spoke to me in a high squeaky voice and acted irritated, as the morning went on I decided his grumpiness had less to do with me, and more to do with the aches and pains he grumbled about. Perhaps they grew worse in the winter? I’d heard other old people complain of feeling the cold in their bones.
We spent the early morning in his empty barn, with him squeaking instructions over the sound of the wind and the jangling of a pair of windchimes made from little bits of glass hanging in the sill of a barn window. I followed his directions as best I could, squatting down then jumping up then balancing on one leg as I raised the other high behind me and stretched my arms high over my head. The variety of exercises had no apparent connection to fighting, but the workout he foisted on me was thorough, so I accepted his invitation to come back the next day.
As I prepared to leave, I asked him about his contacts in the Svadlu and he told me he had none. He’d learned his techniques as a young man working as a mercenary in another land.
“Your father says you want to join the army bad,” he said “Some who trained me would see such a strong desire as a weakness.”
Hmm. Not many of those types in the Svadlu.
“Do you think my desire is a fault?” I asked.
He laughed, a high little laugh that sounded eerily like his tiny glass wind chimes
“No one gets anywhere interesting without some wanting. You seem like a nice girl, though. Be sure you’re headed somewhere you want to go.”
My Rating: 5 Stars
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I received a complimentary review copy of She’s the One Who Gets in Fights as part of my participation in a blog tour for this title with Goddess Fish Promotions. Thank you to the author for kindly sending a copy of this book, and to Goddess Fish Promotions for once again affording me the opportunity to be on the review team for the latest book in this series. My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
This is my favourite book yet in this series! Sulphur has absolutely won me over, far better than Coral was able to do in book two, and there’s so much interesting action in this book that takes us to different places and into different meetings than what we saw in book one. My biggest critique of book two was that while I get this is a series of companion novels, (at least to start, I hope the story will progress beyond the cliffhanger these all end on,) Coral’s side of the story is more world-building than plot development. It very much felt like a re-hash of the same snippet of the timeline as Ryalgar’s story. Sulphur’s story? I would almost say this book could be read as a stand-alone. Almost only because I do think we glossed over too much prior world-building lore under the assumption that the books have been read in order, and someone jumping in at this point isn’t going to understand at all who the Velka is or the finer points of what sort of grand scheme Ryalgar has set in motion.
It’s not just Sulphur who won me over, either. This book has the most likeable supporting cast of the series so far if you ask me. Tamara and Rooslin are awesome, Giorgi is entertaining, and I genuinely grew to like the side of Davor Sulphur sees. Don’t get me wrong, the side Coral gets to know is a sleaze bag and that’s still acknowledged here, but once Sulphur earns his respect and he treats her as equal and a fellow man, I like the soldier and mentor Davor presents. I guess that’s a prime example of why Cronin is such a good author. Her characters are realistically complex and flawed, and she can make you love or hate any of them as she chooses. Sometimes she makes you do both.
Let’s also take a moment to celebrate all of the awesome LGBTQIA+ representation in this book in particular. It has been acknowledged throughout the series so far that while non-heteronormative relationships aren’t exactly celebrated and encouraged in this setting, they’re accepted and tolerated or politely ignored. In this book, though, we’re tossed into the military (the Svadlu) where the male to female ratio is 9 to 1. Obviously, there will be less than traditional pairings. What we end up with from the main cast is a confident woman who would probably label herself by modern standards as genderqueer and demisexual, and I’m here for it. 100%! We then have this queer/demi warrior goddess choosing to keep company with a closeted gay man and a fierce woman who occasionally seeks the affection of someone with matching parts, even if she typically prefers the opposite. And fear not, fellow readers who avoid the romance genre because of the bedroom scenes, there are only three that come close in this book and they are not at all descriptive.
I’m looking forward to finding out more about Olivine and Celestine in the next two books, respectively, as their stories have been well teased by now. I’m perhaps more eager to get further into the series, though, and spend time with Gypsum. All the rebellion and free-spiritedness will be interesting to read, and I’m SO curious to know more about the reczavy.
Do I recommend this book? Heck yes! I recommend this series to all lovers of historical fiction and fantasy. Do I think you need to read the books in order? I think you should read the first book first, and after that it probably doesn’t matter as much, but I will say I think you’re meant to see Davor through Coral’s eyes first and I’m not sure his role in her story would land the same way on a first reading if you already respect him the way Sulphur does.
I will be continuing to read and review this series regardless of whether or not I catch future tours, though I sincerely hope I can participate in more tours for this series and I’ll be keeping my eyes wide open for the opportunities. Thank you again to the author for sending a copy for this review! I’m now extremely tempted to order physical copies of the previous two books to keep this one company on my shelf.
About the Author
Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and is now in the process of publishing a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. A quick look at the synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.
She’s made a lot of stops along the way to writing these novels. She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. Now she answers a hot-line. Along the way, she’s lost several cats but acquired a husband who still loves her and three kids who’ve grown up just fine, both despite how odd she is.
All her life she has wanted to either tell these kinds of stories or be Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise. She now lives and writes in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she admits to occasionally checking her phone for a message from Captain Picard, just in case.
S. R. Cronin will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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