Monday, September 19, 2016

Book Review + Giveaway: In the Tower of the Wizard King, by Michelle Miles (Bewitching Book Tours)

Welcome to the tour for 
In the Tower of the Wizard King,
sponsored by
Bewitching Book Tours!!

For my stop, I'm featuring a 
book review!
There's also a tour-sponsored giveaway!!

In the Tower of the Wizard King
(Age of Wizards, Book 1)
Michelle Miles
Trade Paperback, 340 pages
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
May 13th, 2016
Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction

In the Age of Wizards, Time is a commodity more valuable than gold. When Aoife (EE-fa) stumbles upon an antique trunk in the attic, it calls to her with an ancient magic. Inside she finds a stairway leading into darkness and cannot resist stepping onto that first step. It leads her to dark truths her mother never wanted her to uncover, and love so powerful she walks through time to save it. 
Her magic is dormant. 
When Aoife Burke rushes home after the unexpected death of her father, she discovers her mother has vanished amidst inexplicable circumstances. She returns to her childhood home to search for clues of her mother's whereabouts but another shock awaits her. Sean O'Connell, the object of her girlhood crush, has purchased the family home. She senses Sean is hiding something from her; he refuses to let her inside, and does everything he can to keep her out. A determined Aoife breaks inside and stumbles upon an antique trunk in the attic. When she opens it, instead of the normal musty clothes and ancient letters, she finds a stairway leading into darkness. It calls to her and she cannot resist stepping into the trunk and onto that first stair where it leads her to magical truths her mother
never wanted her to discover. 
His magic is dangerous. 
Sean O'Connell has been assigned by the Inter-dimensional Portal Protection Agency to keep Aoife and her mother out of Faery. But when she breaks into the house and disappears through the portal in the trunk -- like her mother -- he has no choice but to follow her, even though stepping into Faery will force him to face his past. Keeping her safe and out of the hands of the Wizard King also becomes a fight to save Aoife's life from her own mother, who has discovered a time portal in Faery leading her back in time to alter her past mistakes, putting Aoife's life in peril. Sean is willing to do anything to make sure Aoife is safe. Even if it means he has to tap into his dangerous magic to do it. 

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the author. This has in no way affected the honesty of my review. All opinions are my own.

The title of this novel interested me right away. A wizard king? I had never heard of such a thing in the fantasy genre! Also, I immediately thought of Rapunzel, locked away in a tower. These things led me to sign up for a tour review right away; I LOVE fairy tales!

The plot started off in a rather mundane manner -- with a buzzing alarm clock. Aoife Burke, college student, awakens to some rather unpleasant news: her father, Liam, has died. The news is rather bluntly delivered by her mother, Fiona, who won't say much about it. This sets off the whole adventure, as Aoife hastily throws a few necessities into a duffel bag, and drives non-stop, through the night, to Brookdale, the town she had grown up in.

As mentioned in the synopsis, there are things Aoife had not known, secrets that her mother had been keeping from her. In fact, we get glimpses of her dysfunctional family dynamics. Aoife'a mother had not been very close to her daughter in the past few years, and Sunnie, Aoife's sister, had never gotten along with her, either. To make matters worse, Sunnie had always been Liam's favorite, and seemed to be everything Aoife was not -- stunningly beautiful, popular, and an accomplished actress who toured the world making films.

With this background, it was understandable that Aoife should have been the shy one. She's also the sensitive one. Her parents' emotional neglect has hit her very hard over the years. 

One person seems to have been at least somewhat interested in Aoife: Sean O'Connell, her girlhood crush. But Aoife has no clue that he's been secretely assigned to protect her, and has been doing so for several years.

Aoife also had no idea that the world of Faery really existed, nor that she herself had magic within her. To her shock and dismay, she soon discovers that her own mother is a Fae. She wants to find Fiona, as well as answers to all her questions, chief of which is the reason for her father's mysterious death.

In spite of this rather sad beginning, this is an enchanting, fascinating read! I loved the way the author went back and forth between the human and Faery realms as she laid down the background for her story. That was very skillfully done! I found the mixing of fantasy with science fiction very well done, too. Although the science fiction was not really that 'scientific', the concept of time travel is definitely one that belongs to that genre, and it plays a huge part in this novel. It was accomplished by means of a magical object known as a "Time Sphere", as well as through the opening of portals to other realms and time periods.

I did think that the world-building should have  included more detail; I really did not find out much about the Fae kingdoms of Illyria and Anatolia. In other words, they didn't feel quite real to me. In my honest opinion, the author's writing should have been more descriptive here. Authors are frequently advised to "show, not tell", but I don't agree with this advice at all. There has to be some description in fiction; we can't be "shown" things all the time. This advice can apply to characters' personalities, but it's not useful when it comes to information about such things as countries or kingdoms the characters might live in.

As for the characters themselves, the two main ones, Aoife and Sean, were wonderful, and I loved how their romance developed and finally blossomed. They were just perfect together! I loved the whole idea of their magic being stronger once they had bonded. They were thus able to work together much more effectively than if they had worked alone. I really enjoyed the banter between them, too, and how Sean gently coaxed Aoife out of her shyness. 

As for Fiona and Niall, the Wizard King, I didn't quite like their relationship. I don't think it was handled as realistically as Aoife and Sean's relationship. Niall is rumored to be cruel and despotic, but turns out not to be. Yet, his hired mercenaries destroyed Fiona's family. Even though he apologized to Fiona for this, and had the mercenaries punished, I still thought that Fiona accepted him much too quickly. She really should have taken much longer to do so, or, even better, she should never have accepted him.

I had mixed feelings about Fiona and Niall even when they were separated. 

Fiona lied to Liam about her relationship with Niall, and entered into an adulterous one with Liam. On the other hand, I can understand that she was very distraught at everything she had gone through so far, and wanted to just run as far away from Faery as she could. Still, her actions did not sit well with me. 

For his part, Niall should have been more careful in using his father's magic in order to create a powerful spell. He was only concerned about finding Fiona, and brushed off the possible consequences of using this dangerous spell.

Speaking of Niall's father, I must say that he's actually one of my favorite characters in this novel, right up there with Aoife and Sean! Deaglan is just wonderful! He's a great combination of Dumbledore, from the Harry Potter Series, and Gandalf, from The Lord of the Rings. I think I have a special fondness for grandfathers, since I was never close to my own. Deaglan was not only wise, but also very loving toward Fiona, and, of course toward Aoife, especially when he found out the nature of the special bond between the two of them. In fact, I would LOVE to see Miles write a book entirely about him! 

With all of the unexpected twists and turns, this novel sure had me feverishly turning pages! The constant time travel was exhilarating! Miles made it all so real, even though it was all really mind-boggling. As the characters went back and forth in time, events changed, and there were unforseen consequences. The narrative flowed very smoothly in spite of these constant "time jumps", which shows the skill of this writer in making these transitions believable, and avoiding confusion, at the same time.

The novel does end on a cliffhanger, which I didn't quite like, but well, I'll definitely be on the lookout for the sequel, to see how the situation in the ending is resolved! 

In the Tower of the Wizard King is a fast-paced, fun read that will surely delight all lovers of fantasy, science fiction, and romance!       


Purchase Links

Print Edition
Digital Edition

Michelle Miles grew up in North Central Texas, in a rodeo town, but was far more interested in nerdy things like Star Trek and Star Wars. She started writing fan fiction in high school. When being Indiana Jones or a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader didn't work out, she decided writing was her gig and has wanted to write her own stories ever since.

Her love of romance started when she picked up Victoria Holt and Daphne du Maurier and was immediately smitten with the genre. But she also found another love in the fantasies of Patricia A. McKillip and Anne McCaffrey. Since she couldn’t decide which genre to pick—and because she’s a true Gemini—she decided it would be super fun to write contemporary and fantasy romance. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and has served on the board of several chapters as president and treasurer.

In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, reading and watching movies. A native Texan, she loves castles, dragons, fairies and elves, and is an avid Game of Thrones fan. She can be found online at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads.

To access the complete tour schedule, just click on the button below!


  1. Thank you for hosting and for the review! A novel about Deaglan? That has me intrigued! I'm adding this to my list of projects. :)

    1. Hi, Michelle!

      You're very welcome! It was a great pleasure to both host and review your book!

      I'm so glad you're intrigued by the idea of writing a book about Deaglan!! YESSS!! I will be looking forward to that!!

      Thanks so much for the lovely comment!! :)

  2. I just wanted to say Thank You and to let you know how happy I am that I found you!!!!

    1. Hi, Patty!

      You're very welcome, and thanks to YOU for such a nice comment!! :)

  3. Aoife is one awesome name plus her life is so crazy magical awesome! :) Reminding me of The Mortal Instruments series and HP too! :D

    1. Hi, Haniya!

      I agree! It's not a common name, and it has a fairy tale quality about it.

      What I found most similar to the Harry Potter series was the character, Deaglan. However, the rest of the book is not that much like the series. The time travel aspect of the book is really fascinating, and I know you'd love it!

      Thanks for the great comment!! :)


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