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The Warrior Trainer (Stones of Destiny, Book 1)

The Warrior Trainer (Stones of Destiny, Book 1)

Winner of the American Title contest sponsored by RT BookReviews and Dorchester Publishing!

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3 Responses to “The Warrior Trainer (Stones of Destiny, Book 1)”

  1. EastofOz says:
    12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Original Historical Romance–Finally!, February 23, 2008
    By 

    This review is from: The Warrior Trainer (Stones of Destiny, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)

    If you want to read about a strong heroine with nerves of steel, exceptional composure in trying situations, who lets nothing stand in her way but is not vulgar or crass and still feminine then this book is the next book you should pick up. The heroine, Scotia, has this inner strength that is amazing but she also has a well-hidden vulnerable side that the hero tries to see. She has nothing to prove to anyone but all the warriors who come to her want to prove that they are better than a “mere woman”. The hero, Ian, is a sexy alpha who knows when he’s met his match but he doesn’t come across as wishy washy at all. This story is about a woman in the 1300s who trains warriors–totally unheard of and I haven’t read anything similar. The sex is just a bit past mild but there’s some great tension, lots of emotion (Ian is so beautiful when he speaks to Scotia you just melt!) and you can actually picture what’s happening. There are also some unexpected twists and turns right up to the end that leave you with a big fat smile on your face. The additional characters are lots of fun or really evil! The history of the Stone of Destiny that’s woven into the story is quite interesting and the author provides further historical information in an afterword.

    I’ve read quite a few romance novels and this one stands alone for refreshing originality! I’d definitely recommend this book to the romance reader who’s tired of the same ol’ same ol’.

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  2. Lisa Shea "medieval swordfighting enthusiast" says:
    11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    A Nice First Book, March 8, 2008
    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: The Warrior Trainer (Stones of Destiny, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)

    I adore books about medieval England, and I love having strong female characters who take charge of their own lives. The plot of The Warrior Trainer appealed to me for many reasons, and I deliberately ordered this book vs happening on it by chance in a store.

    You have Scotia, a woman who was “bred to fight”. Her family for many generations has been training Scottish warriors. It is always the women in this family who are known for their skills. Scotia is 25 and she knows it is her duty to breed the next daughter in line to take over the training. However, few men arrive for training now and none appeal to her.

    Along comes Ian, an orphan who has been sent by his foster father to be trained. There is a menace in the land – four horsemen from England who are ravaging the villages – and Ian needs Scotia’s training to be able to defeat them.

    All of this would normally be a just about ideal setup for me. I love the scenes of the characters fighting with words, emotions and blades all intermingled. I love the “rationale” behind why she wields a sword, and why Ian accepts it.

    But there were several issues which for me kept this book from being a five star book, despite the much-mentioned “American Title Contest” win. That is certainly a great contest, but it is not the Pulitzer Prize. To say a book must be perfect because it won a contest does not make a lot of sense.

    First, although Ms. Russell’s background includes editing, there are numerous grammar issues here. They got to be rather jarring after a while. Next, there were numerous “motivation” problems. Scotia says repeatedly how her entire life is about following the rules set by her mother and fulfilling her destiny. She has put all aside for it. But she also says “Oh and I won’t have a child” which is probably her #1 task in life. Sure, she’s afraid of being a mother – but a woman trained with a hard core discipline in her life wouldn’t let that stop her. She would do her task and then go about raising the child in a disciplined manner, just as she has trained so many people who have come to her. It would have made much more sense if her reasons were more “logical” – “No man has come worthy of fathering my child” or so on.

    The actions of many of the other characters are equally suspect. Ian’s foster brother Griffin shows up early on. He sways wildly from anger to calm to fury to puppy-dog hopefulness in the blink of an eye. Characters’ emotions seem to be driven by what the plot needs them to do, rather than having the characters live and breathe as human beings and having their growing and changing feelings pull you along.

    I realize that a core component of many romance novels is the “convenient misunderstandings” where people lie or hide truths which then create dynamic tension. However, there were several situations in this story which just made no sense at all, where someone should have told someone else something and they didn’t, again for plot reasons rather than logical ones.

    Scotia is supposedly a brilliant strategist, expounding on the skills of her mother – but her strategical choices during the last third of the book did not make a lot of sense. She had a long term plan at the beginning, one that began succeeding, but then suddenly it is as if she had forgotten to actually plan the whole sequence of events out. That doesn’t make sense for her character.

    Finally, Scotia has a heritage of being an awesome female warrior. She is infinitely better than the well trained men who repeatedly come after her either to challege or train. Her skill is based on her being trained far better than any man around her ever was, with family secrets taught by her mother. However, Scotia was fourteen when her mother was slain. From age fourteen on, she only received training with the other men of the castle. There is no mention of any other “training assistant” or another person who fulfilled this position. Scotia talks about being the only trainer that worked with her mother on recruits as they came in, and that once her mother was dead that she alone took on this task. So from age 14 she has been training “alone”, perhaps reading manuals and practicing against the other men of her castle system. I really find it hard to believe that on her own she managed to build up the skill necessary to fend off the “best of the best” that keep coming in at her during the story, including taking down seasoned warriors in six passes.

    This was the key problem for me. Again, I really love women-warrior types of stories, but I want them to make sense. I don’t want it to have to be a mystical leap of faith that a woman could hold her own against a taller, stronger male. It’s not just that she’s a woman, it’s that she’s physically at a big disadvantage. If she does win – just as if you were writing about a teen boy doing this – I would want a logical explanation of why. The…

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  3. A. L. Rickard says:
    10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Outstanding!, November 23, 2007
    By 
    A. L. Rickard (Kirkland, WA United States) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: The Warrior Trainer (Stones of Destiny, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)

    It is clear that Warrior Trainer was written after much research! Not only is the history amazing to dive into, but the characters and plot leave you wanting more. My only disappointment came when I turned the last page!

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