Monday, 10 October 2016


Title: Freed
Series: Phoebe Meadows Series
Author: Amanda Carlson
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 20th September 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
Phoebe Meadows has one thing on her mind: Free her mother.

For the last month, Phoebe has been training in the Valkyrie stronghold readying for battle. But when she stumbles into a secluded valley after a day of grueling practice, she’s given a dire prediction. Phoebe must leave the stronghold immediately with the aid of the giant, Junnal, to rescue her mother from the dark elves. If Phoebe fails, Leela will be transported to a place that can no longer be reached.

Leaving Fen behind threatens to undo her, but Phoebe stays true to the mission. Along the way, she allies with the god Baldur and an old white elf mage. Together, they storm the realm, and with the help of an angry wolf and her Valkyrie sisters, they just might stand a chance to free the valiant shieldmaiden.

But Phoebe soon learns that in order to save her mother, she might lose something too precious to sacrifice…


As I thoroughly enjoyed Struck which is book one in the Phoebe Meadow's series, I freely admit that I do have rather high expectations from Freed. I have read and loved other books by Amanda Carlson. I'm looking forward to catching up with Phoebe and learning how her Valkyrie training is going, as well as catching up with the romantic vibes going on between her and Fen, and her brother Tyr and best friend Sam of course!". Then there is sure to be some more mythology to read and learn about too. Will Phoebe meet either one or both of her birth parents in Freed?

24%   "Oh wow can Phoebe really get her mother back with only Junnal to help her?"
55%     "Can Phoebe break out of her cell using Gram then carry out the mission to rescue Leela successfully? Can she also free Junnal, Callan & Baldur too? Will Phoebe be able to change the course of fate the Skuld had foreseen?"
56%     "Can Phoebe trust Willa? Can she escape and manage to rescue her mother Leela as she set out to do?"

The main colour of this cover is a dark green which I'd say fits well when you read the book and know Phoebe encounters another realm full of dark magic. This cover features Phoebe Meadows who initially seems to be being struck by lightning, though having read book one, I think the lightning is a representation of the pure power she has within her and she does appear to be controlling it too. The large bird is on this cover who we now know is an important character from within the book, called Hugin. 
I still love the font and format of the book title, series title and the Authors name appears in a contrasting colour boldly on the cover but once again as on book one's cover, at the same time compliments the cover rather than dominating it. In the background we can see what looks like a doorway, upon reading the book I'd say it is a cillar . .a portal/doorway to another realm. The byline is changed slightly on this cover saying "Lightening always strikes twice". 
Would the cover make me pick this one up from a bookstore shelf? As I find the cover both eye-catching and colourful I would certainly pick this one up to learn more.

Freed picks Phoebe's story back up as she is still training at the Valkyrie stronghold. Fen and Tyr are being tolerated by those in the stronghold but are not allowed in certain areas, as they are female/Valkyrie only areas. Leela (shieldmaiden and once leader of the Valkyrie), Phoebe's mother is still being held captive by Invaldi and the dark elves. The situation has suddenly become more desperate as there is gossip that Leela is soon going to be moved to another place, somewhere that she cannot be tracked to and will be totally unreachable for those who wish to rescue her. 
As everyone knows there are bullies in every society, and a Valkyrie called Anya seems to be making it her mission to make things as difficult for Phoebe as possible. Rae the leader of the Valkyries continues to push Phoebe to her physical and mental limits as Phoebe must be prepared for anything and everything when she enters Savartalheim, home to Invaldi and the dark elve's.
Phoebe's training is still very much a work in progress and she still has to have a weapon "choose" her. When her weapon finally does choose her it is of no surprise to those around her that her birth father Odin has made sure it found her. The weapon that has chosen Phoebe is a very powerful, dangerous to use and to be the receiving end of. Once she has her weapon Phoebe must learn how to control both the weapons power and her own inner power too.
Extensive plans are made on how to enter Savartalfheim quickly and quietly. They will be entering the realm without the permission of Invaldi and the dark elve's to rescue Leela, but as we all know the best laid plans . . . well Phoebe is visited once again by the large black bird Hugin and is given an impossible choice. Phoebe's difficult choice is, go now with just the mixed blessing of Junnal as a companion in arms, or risk her mother Leela being moved and becoming totally untraceable. Sure Junnal is a large, strong and loyal combatant to have on side in a fight, but that also makes him difficult to hide when you are wanting to slip inplaces unseen!  She is literally given a few seconds to decide, of course Phoebe doesn't want to go into an unknown dangerous realm without the rest of the rescue party but she is left with no other choice really. It is either go now and try to find and rescue your mother or you may never have another chance of rescuing Leela. So now Phoebe is in a strange realm without Fen, Tyr or the Valkyries, she worries if she will be powerful enough to rescue her mother as well as knowing that the rest of the initial rescue party are going to be so annoyed with her going off without them too. Phoebe does manage to pick up  few allies during her search for her mother in Savartalheim. There's a white elf mage, called Callan, whom undergoes an extensive change in appearance and health after drawing energy from Phoebe, though his total transformation occurs a little later in the book, and even Phoebe is stunned by it. Callan proves to be a powerful ally to Phoebe as the dark elves are all afraid of white magic. Phoebe also meets a young mixed elf called Willa that Odin sent to keep an eye on Leela, who is in a cell, and tries to help Phoebe with her mission asking for nothing in return. I admire the way Phoebe stands her ground and doesn't forget this elf as others around her wish to abandon her as not being important enough to fight to rescue.
Another great character we meet in Savartalheim, who is imprisoned there at his mother Frigg's orders for his own protection against his fate, turns out to be the son of Odin. So Phoebe meets more of her family, and this son of Odin, Baldur is so charming too. It seems even those that hold him imprisoned have a respect and awe of him. Phoebe innocently sets Baldur free only for him to fall foul of his prophecy as fate plays out. The Norns take great delight in making sure that Phoebe has now fallen foul of the Gods, especially Frigg. I thought the verbal and physical interaction between Phoebe and the Norn's is so well written, you feel like you are standing there within the scene watching it all unfold. The way the three Norns are verbally arguing with Phoebe yet at the same time have their own little doubts between themselves and disagree with each other too. The fact that fate is always changing, one small action can change everything is a fantastic twist and allows Amanda Carlson to keep us the reader on the edge of our reading seats! I adored the prophecies and the little intricate loopholes there are, to allow things to change course and go off in a different direction than initially suggested.
I really enjoyed reading Freed, even more than Struck. It was great to be going along with Phoebe's journey of learning to fight properly with both Gram and her "special weapon" and the way she accidentally realises that she really does have her very own inner power that she needs to learn how to harness and control. The way Phoebe tries so hard to think like, and do things the Valkyrie way, but no matter how she tries she still has human emotions. Some, like the Valkyrie Anya would call Phoebe's "humanness" a weakness, but during the book you see that that same "humanness" can also be a strength. Phoebe has strong morals and her own thoughts on what is right and wrong as you see when she is trying to free her mother, she does not forget those who have helped her.
I love how the ending of this book has set everything up for what will need to be done in book three yet, the very fact Phoebe, and Fen have only just been called to court in front of the Gods and Goddesses means that fate may yet have other chances to intervene. I enjoyed all the mythology and the whole which Gods and Goddesses are allies and which ones could be counted on as allies depending upon which God or Goddess is going against them.
Although we are yet to meet Odin I feel I have learnt so much about him already and I seriously can't wait to read and visualise what happens within the courtroom setting. Which Gods and Goddesses will side with Odin? and which will be on the side of Frigg? Will the voting Gods and Goddesses be impartial and judge Phoebe on her own actions alone, or will petty arguments between the Odin and the other Gods play a part in the vote.
Another great thing Amanda does is include the remaining human part of Phoebe's life. The way Phoebe checks in with her human parents Frank and Janette Meadows and has to come up with increasingly difficult reasons that she is not going home soon, as well as reasons Frank & Janette cannot visit her! 
So did I enjoy the book? I loved it from beginning to end! Would I recommend the book? Certainly, I should also add you don't need to know everything about mythology as it is all explained as you read the book. Would I want to read another book in this series? Yes! I am already eagerly awaiting book three! Would I want to read other titles by this author? Yeees! I am waiting for the next brilliant installment of the Jessica McClain Series from Amanda!

Brilliant! Looking forward to reading more! Bring on Exiled!!
I want to be totally honest and say I haven't read and loved many books with the Gods and Goddesses in them. I have previously found the mythology parts difficult to remember and even harder to enjoy and understand but the way Amanda Carlson approaches the mythology and explains it as the plot unravels has me thoroughly adoring it and perching right on the edge of my seat as the story unfolds. Amanda has introduced me to a genre I perhaps would have overlooked. I have found myself fascinated with all the mythology.

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