Book Review: ‘The Realm Beyond the Storm’

The Realm Beyond the Storm (Wind Rider Chronicles Book 6) - Kindle edition  by Reid, Allison D.. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @

We know Allison D. Reid as “Weavingword,” a long-time member of our blog community, and this is Book 6 of her “Wind Rider Chronicles,” The Realm Beyond the Storm. I’m going to review it for Chalcedon, but I wanted to do it here first–warming up to the task, as it were. And Christian fantasy writers need our support!

This is her best book so far. It features a very strong climax, laden with suspense, and is infused with the wisdom of the Scriptures: the alert Christian reader will find many echoes of the Bible. Another plus is her intimate study of medieval life and culture, which serves to make her fantasy world convincing.

The continuing story in the series is a war launched ultimately from Hell, with plenty of human servants who think they’ll profit by it (sound familiar?), and the travels, toils, and perils experienced by God’s servants. The chief protagonists are three sisters: Morganne, a scholar and a seamstress; Elowyn, an eccentric middle child who may turn out to be a prophet; and Adelin, who was still a baby when the series started and has yet to grow into any definite role. But I have a feeling that she will.

These are believable and sympathetic characters, each with her own voice and her own part to play, with none of the usual and mostly unbearable fantasy cliches attached. Allison has a gift for making her characters come alive. As I read, I can see and hear them as if they were characters in a movie playing in my mind. I do love it when that happens.

Don’t ask me to summarize a plot that has taken six books to present, so far. Suffice it to say that the war’s stakes are the survival of the human race and maybe even Creation itself. There are supernatural forces at work throughout, some for good, some for evil. And let me say there’s at least one major and unexpected plot twist that has me eager to find out what happens next.

Allison’s Wind Rider books are available on They’re self-published, but don’t let that put you off. I root for the day that sees them professionally published for a bigger market. Which they deserve.


Inspiration Sunday!

We know Allison as “Weaveningword.”

I John 3:1-3 (“Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us..”) is one of my favorite passages in the New Testament.    –LD

Inspiration Sunday!

Psalm 46 is one of my favorites. I like it even better in the King James Version.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.   Selah.”

Thank you, Allison. We are not alone.       –LD

Book Review: ‘Visions of Light and Shadow’ by Allison D. Reid

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(Copyright 2018 by Allison D. Reid)

This is the third book in The Wind Rider Chronicles by Allison D. Reid, best known to this blog as our friend “Weavingword.”

Two things make this series stand out from all the others. First, it has a fully Trinitarian theology: no one else I have read in fantasy has been bold enough to try this.

Second, although many–one might even say “most”–fantasy novels are set in an imaginary world similar to our world’s Middle Ages, this series boasts a unique feeling of authenticity. When it comes to the way life was lived by most people in the Middle Ages, Ms. Reid really knows her onions. Her wealth of authentic detail persuades the reader to believe in the story. Food and drink, technology, weapons, architecture, dress, the means of producing everyday goods and services–it’s all here.

And one other thing–tiresome fantasy cliches, like the Invincible Female Warrior, the Crusty But Benign Old Wizard, and Know-It-All Elves, are refreshingly absent from these books. I stand up and cheer for that!

These books are written as a continuous story, which means I had to go back and re-read the first two.

Elowyn and Morganne are two sisters who, having fled their increasingly disturbed home city and a mother who, for reasons we don’t yet know, hates them, have to find a place where they can live normal, peaceful lives. This is hard to do, because their world is under attack by supernatural forces. Morganne, the elder, is a weaver by trade and a scholar by avocation. Elowyn, the younger, has an affinity for the woodlands. These are engaging and believable protagonists.

At the root of their world’s problems is an evil wizard, Braeden, who controls their country’s weak and foolish king and is using necromancy to open, it seems, the gates of Hell and let out all sorts of evil and monstrous beings to prey upon the people. There is a Kinship of warriors who try to fight the evil, but are hard-pressed to keep it from devouring their towns and villages. They’re warriors, but they aren’t supermen. There’s a very real possibility that they won’t be able to hold the line.

There are still some important things that we, the readers, don’t know. Who, exactly, is Braeden, where did he come from, is he even fully human, and why is he doing this? Much of the answer, we expect, lies in the world’s ancient history, which must be painstakingly recovered if there is to be any hope of countering the evil. Why does the sisters’ mother hate her daughters, and who was their father? I strongly suspect the answer to that last question will come as a surprise, if not a shock.

Some readers will wish the story were carried forward at a faster pace–with more reminders, along the way, of what has gone before. But Ms. Reid is improving as a story-teller as she goes along, and I think we must be patient. Meanwhile, there is a well-crafted sense of growing menace that makes me eager for the next book in the series.

These are available both as e-books and paperbacks, and can be ordered through

“Weavingword” is weaving something good here, and I look forward to seeing how it all turns out.

Inspiration Sunday!

While I set up this morning’s posts, here’s a nice one from our friend Allison, aka “weavingword.”   We are not alone.      –LD

Book Review: ‘Journey to Aviad’ by Allison D. Reid

I’ve been looking high and low for fantasy fiction that’s suitable for Christians and their children–stories that edify, rather than wallow in the mire of a dying culture.

Well, how about that! I’ve found one.

Alison D. Reid’s Journey to Aviad first won me over with its near-total absence of fantasy cliches. No Invincible Female Warrior doing jumpin’, spinnin’ kicks. No know-it-all Elves. No little 11-year-old girls wiping up the floor with grown men.

Even better: no writing “ya” for “you,” and no insertion of annoying Americanisms like “you guys,” “okay,” and “yeah.”

You may counter that it’s a fantasy set in a medieval-type world, which is in itself a cliche. I grant the point. But given that one of the main purposes of any fantasy is to aid and abet the reader in a temporary escape from the world of here and now, it’s not surprising to see so much of it set in something like the Middle Ages.

But best of all, Allison Reid’s story honors God and seeks to serve Him. Here, His name is “Aviad”: but we can recognize Him as the God who reveals Himself to us in the Bible.

Indeed, Ms. Reid boldly goes so far as to identify the God of her imaginary world as a Holy Trinity. Who else has dared to tackle this concept? She discusses it coherently, too.

I’ll try to steer clear of spoilers, but I do want to mention a couple of highlights.

*The heart-cry of a brave young warrior, a servant of God, who is losing his faith: “The fingers of evil reach far, and deep. I can see their workings all too readily. The dark minions call out, and they are answered and aided. Every day they grow in number and strength. Those of us who can see through the darkness, those of us who are willing to stand against it–who answers when we call out in desperation? The most righteous people I have known… where are they now? What help has come to them?”

Which of us has not felt this very thing?

*An attack on a nearly defenseless little town by monstrous Trolls–very nicely done, and quite exciting.

*An interesting exploration of the concept of “the right kind of prayer.”

Because Journey to Aviad is so clearly the first book of a series, the ending of the story is not really an ending. It leaves you hanging. I wanted to keep on reading, but Ms. Reid has not yet finished writing the sequel.

The book has a few flaws, which I mention only in a spirit of constructive criticism. Actually, there’s nothing wrong with it that ordinary editing couldn’t fix. But Journey is self-published, which also means self-edited: and we are none of us the best editors of our own work.

So the pace could stand some picking-up, and characters ought not to waste time telling each other about things the reader already knows. (Don’t go into “Here’s what happened to me…” when the reader has already seen what happened.) And if the writer is trying to describe a complicated situation, there has to be a better way of doing it than allowing a princess to discourse about it to some common folk whom she’s only just met. Don’t turn any of your characters into talking heads.

But the flaws could all be fixed without major rewriting. And again, as a committed booster of plain English, I would not let my characters say “nay” when a simple “no” would do.

Journey to Aviad is available from in both paperback and Kindle formats. I am glad I read it, and I look forward to the sequel.