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Princes and Fools by A.H. de Carrasco - Expert and Review



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Book: Princes and Fools

Series: Teller of Destiny #2

Author: A.H. de Carrasco
Genre: Young / New Adult Fantasy
Tour Organized by: Indie Sage, LLC
Purchase Link:
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“My journey didn’t end with my entering this palace. I must own who I am, even if I must suffer through Lunule’s games… I cannot run away.”
Safe within Paz Etur’s palace, Raphere feels her luck about to change. After the hard-earned approval of the King’s Counselor, Raphere hopes the worst is over. Then she meets Prince Lunule. Opinionated, chauvinistic and more than a touch malicious,  Prince Lunule seems to enjoy making her life a constant hell.
Her missing mercenary, Rant Pae, cannot help her. She must find a way out of this situation on her own, before it becomes dangerous. Raphere is more than desperate to find the Jivan Tome now. She fears her life, her sanity, and her heart might depend on it.
Two mortals hang in the balance. One covets the crown. The other left his family behind after a tragedy for which he is to blame. Both are irresistibly drawn to the Pikestan girl, Raphere, whose fierce heart imprisons them as they lay claim to her. Whether incited by love or power, the princes may find their reward at the sharp end of a sword.

About the Author:

A. H. De Carrasco embarked upon the writer’s journey at a young age, writing illustrated fan fiction for her grade school classmates’ favorite shows. Several decades later, she is publishing her collection of fantasy novels for teenagers and adults. Lately, she writes beside a waterfall as her husband tests his goggles and flippers. Her cats look on in displeasure from the screen door, but purr happily when she writes at her desk.

Website: http://tellerofdestiny.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AHDeCarrasco?ref=br_tf
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6925921.A_H_De_Carrasco
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AHDeCarrasco

My Review:

Some background - "From Continue" starts when  Raphere is a little girl, but "Princes and Fools" Continue when she is about sixteen. Raphere live in a world that split to white and black souls, but none of its residents are a complete being.  Once upon a time it was perfect and balanced - and every body was grey. In a world of greys the magic was strong and balanced. Every body leave in harmony and there weren't any war, jealousy or evil. People were immortals, happy and live together in harmony.
During the split we got another race the mortals (humans). Unlike the immortals the human didn't remember their previous lives and therefor they couldn't learn from their mistakes. The immortals called them the forgetful or mutants, The blacks immortals, called the "Dark Lords", were evil, despise them and burn many of them in magic green fire turning them to ash. The white immortals ("White Wanderers") thought that they are their responsibility and tries to save them.
Both sides had them same goal - to bring back what was was - Grey. The problem that each of them had a different interpretation how to do it. The difference between the two cause suspicion and lead to war. Many white wanderers died while protecting the humans and only few left in the time of Raphere
The nature of the dark lords cause them to fight between themselves. One of them Jor Hale (the rebel) felt that the all thing is wrong and went against their leader Herisma (the destroier). He burnd him in the green fire and then commits suicide.
Raphere has spent her life trying to prove she is not like her mother (Verisma the dark sorcerer), the dark sorceress. And though she yearns to be, she is not a white wanderer either. Raphere is the Jivasivar, the first grey soul born into the land since sin and the Changing. Some call her savior; others, assassin. One thing is clear: everyone has a plan for Raphere. Few seem to care about what is best for her--only what she might gain or cost them.
She grew in a hut in Pikestan, where many come to warship her mother who neglected her in the best time and treat her harshly in other. told them her version of the Change in the "Telling". Raphere was also, the target of the  visitors  cruelty (most were evil themselves), but she learned to fend to herself in part and in other she were evade them and run to the forest. In the forest she had invisible friends who talk to her play and have taught her about her heritage. In the continue she found he identity and shelter.
Around age 16 she meet Rant Pae a mercenary, who looked so different from all the regular visitors. When things started to get worse, her invisible friends tell her she must go and find the white wanderer Tranquia and the Jivan Tome and be her student. Raphere convinced Rant Pae to accompany her to Tranquia in Paz ethur. On the way she discover that he is the prince of tween kingdom Paz ori, who decline his right to the crown from some reason that he didn't want to tell her. 
On the way she discover that she has feelings for Rant Pae. that she can communicate with wolvesand that  Rant Pae is a married man and his wife Tully is living in Heather pike. After a short stop in Heather pike, they had to cross the swamps which cover in thick veil. During the crossing she fell from the horse and lost Rant Pae and his company. Bravely Raphere cross it by herself.
In the second book she finally made it to the palace to train with the white wanderer. The plot pretty much focused on the royal court and all of the lords and ladies involved in it.
The king and most of the kingdom loved Raphere, but the oldest Prince has his reservations. He treats her very poorly in the beginning, but then he becomes almost obsessed with her even though he is betrothed to another. 
On one hand Prince Lunnule is spoiled brat, that used to get all what he wants. As such he used to look on his people down his nose. He is capricious, patientless, arrogant, but he also very intelligent, clever and handsome (young version of Rant Pae). Raphere has no romantic feelings towards him but he does confuse her.
His little brother Pappen is such a sweet person. 
Rant Pae. Even though he's mysteriously absent for the a good portion of the book, but  I still enjoyed his character, and in all honesty it'd be hard to pick out which one I like more. We also meet his sister Cymelya, another spoiled brat, who happen to be Lunnule's betrothed. She can't except Raphere and treat her as a filthy peasant. Lunnule obsession with Raphere, just doesn't help.
Raphere, is more daring and hot-headed and I was just so proud of her.  She's not selfish, she stands up for others, and doesn't back down. She succeed to put Lunnule more then one time, in his place, and teach him some compassion for others. She gain the trust and love of Tranquia  and learned from her as much as she can. In her effort to prove her difference from Verissa  she solve things with love and empathy. The relationship between her and Rant are sweet and full of respect.
I'm still trying to figure out why Raphere can't tell the white wanderer who she really is since it was the spirits from some other white wanderers who sent Raphere to the palace in the first place.And.....the 2nd book also, leave us with one heck of a cliffhanger! Good job DeCarrasco! because I am hooked! 

Excerpt One from Teller of Destiny, 

Book Two:Prince and Fools


…Knowing she was safe, Rant had moved on with his life. It was as Raphere had expected. And dreaded.
“I—” Her voice caught in her throat as a deep melancholy gripped her. “I wish to be alone now.”
“Of course.” The wanderer bowed slightly. The wax pebble disappeared beyond her sleeve.
“Thank you for such good news.” Raphere’s voice sounded dead, even to her.
Tranquia went to her bedside and lifted Raphere’s arm. The wanderer studied the slightly raised pink blemishes, the fading remnants of her trip through the Veil.
“Let’s start your lessons tomorrow.” She lowered Raphere’s arm to the bedcovers then kindly touch her cheek. “You are ready to begin your life here as my student.”
Raphere nodded, her cheek pressed against the cool skin of the wanderer’s palm. Tranquia’s hand felt so soft, as if the woman had not known toil or hardship, in this lifetime at least.
After the wanderer had left, Raphere exhaled not realizing until then how tense she’d been. She bent her knees and pressed her thighs to her torso. An oppressive heaviness filled her stomach and pulled her downward. She had felt so when Mune’s limbs reverted to lifeless branches. She pressed the curve of her palms into the hollow of her eyes to keep them from springing tears.
What had she expected? A goodbye? He had never promised more than this journey. Mission completed, the mercenary carried on with his life, expecting her to do the same—without him.
A sob formed like an egg in her throat, but she stubbornly resisted releasing it. It hovered low, cutting off her air, leaving her voiceless like the night they had first met.
Truly, it had meant little to him. Spring and their summer journey together played over in her mind. He had toyed with her affection when Verisa tired of him, he had distanced himself when Tully was near, he had spurned her outside the swamps, and he had even laughed when talking of their kisses. How could she have been so stupid?
Too powerful, the sob broke free and Raphere gasped. Rolling onto her stomach, she wiped her wet nose with the sleeve of her nightgown. No tears!
Resting her chin on her folded arms, she remembered when Rant had killed Hopf to protect her. Why? Maybe she would never know.
Such torments plagued her head. Raphere burrowed her nose into her pillow and growled in frustration, pressing her fists to her temples so tightly, she barely heard the scratching noises coming from the balcony outside. She tried to ignore the sound, but after a few moments it reoccurred, this time louder, and continued. Belatedly, she realized someone was climbing over her balcony.
Lifting onto her elbows she covered her mouth with her hands, stifling a happy squeak. Rant! He had come to see her!
She hopped out of bed. How could she have doubted him? Grinning she rushed to the doors and swung them open, only to find a boy with one foot over the railing. They both screamed. For a moment she saw his terrified expression before the boy toppled off the balcony. Tree branches broke his fall, and he landed on his rump in the leafy foliage below. He quickly jumped back to his feet and brushed himself off, twigs sticking every which way in his sandy-brown hair.
“Truly, I didn’t mean to alarm you,” he explained from the ground. “I just didn’t know you’d look so horrible.”
Raphere sucked in her breath as disappointment changed to outrage. Her brow furrowed deeply, dimpling her swollen face. “What did you say?” she demanded. And the brat repeated his words precisely.
“You—you nasty wretch!”
His jaw dropped open nearly to his knees. His hands lifted to his slight hips.
“I am not a wretch! I’m Papen, the king’s son.”
Raphere inched closer to the railing. He didn’t look like a prince. His clothes resembled a stable hand’s rags.
“And that gives you the right to joke about a woman’s misfortune?”
“No, but you’re not a woman. You’re too young, too lanky.” He smiled impishly. “You have lumps in the wrong places.”
Raphere slammed the balcony doors and sought her bed. She covered her head with a pillow to block out his protests outside. Desperately, she wished it had been Rant on her balcony. Such a foolish hope! She suffered alone; completely alone but for a silly, obnoxious stable boy caterwauling under her balcony.
His howling stopped only to be replaced by the sharp tap of stones thrown at the window. She jumped out of bed and yelled, “Enough! Go away!”
Finally, silence answered her. With a miserable sigh, she fell back upon her bed and stared at the canopy.
Rant wasn’t coming. He had left her to a new life. Was her purpose now to live in this palace and learn from a woman she didn’t trust? What had been a firm certitude a week ago, a force that resisted a powerful Dark Lord and pulled Raphere through the swamps to stand bitter and ragged before the court, suddenly crumbled like burnt bread.
She worried herself to sleep, pining for her mercenary prince who, she was most certain, didn’t give a damn about her anymore.

Excerpt Two from Teller of Destiny, Book Two: Princes and Fools

…Finally, Raphere met the Princes of Paz Etur. Here the family resemblance continued through Prince Lunule Faten Lau, the oldest son. He resembled a young Rant Pae.
Prince Lunule bestowed a curt nod. His cool hazel eyes lifted upward and away; he impatiently dismissed her as if she were some nuisance for which he had no time. His gaze rested upon his father, and a subtle scowl settled over his features. Raphere wondered if the tendency to brood ran thick within the veins of all Faxwood men.
The younger prince, however, smiled broadly. Recognizing him, Raphere winced. The very same boy who had fallen from her balcony stood proudly at the table!
“This is Prince Papen Esten Lau Faxwood,” Tranquia introduced.
“We’ve already met!” He winked a blue eye at her. She could only stare back.
“Oh, really?” exclaimed Queen Elesa.
“In passing, after her lesson,” Papen lied, his mischievous grin growing ever more amused.
If he hadn’t called her a lumpy girl earlier, she might have thanked him for avoiding an uncomfortable explanation. Fortunately, the conversation quieted and they began to eat.
Raphere stared at her plate. The food consisted of spinach salad with a creamy cold sauce; halibut soup with half mushrooms and carrots; and delicate, small rolls of bread topped with liver paste. Raphere had never seen such elegant food, which she openly admitted to them.
“This is just the first course, Raphere,” Papen teased.
“Counselor Tranquia tells me you hail from Heathers Point,” the King prompted the conversation.
“Yes, King. Near Heathers Point and Ables Way.”
“‘A long journey,” he mused.
“Yes. A long and dangerous one, through Sunder Veil.”
“Indeed!” Queen Elesa quickly hit her stepson’s hand away from his father’s plate. “Papen, mind yourself,” she scolded, then shifted her attention back to Raphere. “You traveled on foot, by yourself?”
“Barefoot, I’d imagine.” Prince Lunule’s tone was deceptively casual. He continued to speak, though he didn’t deign to look at her again. “Tell me, is it true you entered our palace on your naked feet?”
Raphere inwardly bristled. “Yes, Prince Lunule. The swamp ruined my shoes.”
He snorted. “I heard the servants had quite a time cleaning the rugs afterward.”
“I’m certain they did,” she responded sweetly, her lips twisting despite the barb. It was a funny joke, she conceded though she suspected he didn’t intend a kind jest.
Belatedly, Cymela laughed out loud and her copper curls bobbed about her head. Queen Tera gave her daughter a stern look. Hunching her shoulders, Cymela lowered her head over her plate as servants brought the second course. Plate after plate of fish lined the long table.
“Have you ever eaten salmon before, Raphere?” Papen asked.
She shook her head. “Never, Prince Papen. We have few lakes or large rivers nearby, you know.”
From the corner of her vision, she saw the princess straighten. Cymela’s dull gaze sparked to life before her eyes narrowed.
Raphere bit her lip. She had been talking about the Pikestan! Frantically, her mind reviewed their journey. She had seen no signs of lakes or rivers until they were upon the swamps. However, she never traveled north of Heathers Point. Cymela continued to study her, but it appeared no one else had found her remark odd.
“Salmon come from the sea into the River Gonne. The long voyage is worth the journey. Try some. They are delicious.” Papen encouraged.
The fish melted on Raphere’s tongue. Unfortunately, the young princess’s scrutiny and the older prince’s quips had stolen Raphere’s appetite. She took a few, quick tastes just to please Prince Papen. He grinned and nodded, hopefully satisfied she liked the stuff.
“So you went all the way without a horse?” Queen Elesa asked. “It seems impossible, and all by yourself. Weren’t you frightened?”
“Yes and no, Queen Elesa,” Raphere explained. “Yes, I was frightened and no, we didn’t go all the way on foot. We travelled most of the way on horseback. I had friends with me, but I lost them—and my shoes—in the Veil.” She gave Prince Lunule a pointed stare. His knife paused midway to his mouth.
“Ah, yes, my nephew was in your group.” The king’s voice was gentle, perhaps for the benefit of the Orian queen, but the corners of his mouth revealed a hint of displeasure. “Otti said he found your friend Jake bearing Papin Rantir’s emblem—quite a surprise to hear of his close proximity after all these years. I believe Rantir is fond of you, my dear.”
“My brother,” Princess Cymela interjected, “has a thing for strays.”
“As does his father,” Papen added.
At his words, Cymela fixed Papen a nasty glare.
The silence that followed grew long and awkward. Finally, the princess lifted her chin. Her dissecting gaze stabbed into Raphere as if to fix her in place—and quarter her.
She’s going to call me out. Inwardly, Raphere panicked as a predatory smile sliced Cymela’s hollow cheeks.
The princess leaned forward. “Let’s ask the stray—”
“I’m afraid my son,” Queen Tera smoothly interrupted, “would rather be an adventurer than a king.” Her countenance held nothing but tenderness as she spoke of Rant. “I am glad you met him. Please, tell me how he is. It has been so long since I saw him. I worry often about him.”
“Oh, he is fine! I am sure of it, Queen Tera.” Raphere leaned forward eagerly. “He was my protector.”
“Not a very good one.”
At Prince Lunule’s comment, a shadow passed over the Orian queen’s features. Raphere’s dislike for the prince grew.
“It’s my understanding he’s returned to Heathers Point. A pressing matter…”
“Thank you, dear child.” Queen Tera smiled even more warmly.
Prince Lunule cleared his throat. “How nice.” He turned to the King. “So tell me, Father, is this a special occasion, or will it become a common occurrence to have peasants sup with us?”
His question brought gasps from the Queens and a titter from Princess Cymela.
The King glared at his son. “Perhaps I would like to have peasants replace my court. They are more gracious and polite and have better manners than my own sons.”
Prince Papen sat up straight. “What did I do?”
“It’s all right, your Majesty. I am not offended,” Raphere said.
Prince Lunule finally acknowledged her with his full attention, but the look he cast her twisted her insides into a tight knot. “It is not your place to say what does or doesn’t offend you. And I hardly need a swamp girl apologizing for my behavior.”
His withering stare ate at her composure. Raphere’s hands began to shake. She kept them in her lap, away from sight.
“So, Lady Raphere,” he spoke the title lightly. “Are you, as my father has said, honored and grateful to be eating with royalty?”
“Of course, Prince. You’ve been indulgent, accepting my presence. I am amazed at how easily you’ve humbled yourself to talk with me, if only to remind all of my common birth.”
Lunule smiled smugly at Tranquia. “An ant.”
Raphere didn’t understand his meaning, but the wanderer visibly bristled.
“However,” Raphere continued, “I have eaten with princes before…” Her voice quavered. She lost her nerve to finish.
“Oh, have you?” Prince Lunule snorted. “And a little roll in the hay, too?”
Queen Elesa coughed upon her food. Tranquia spoke his name like a warning.
Anger flared in Raphere’s veins. Her blood boiled, but she tried to appear calm, as any white wanderer would act. “Are you questioning my virtue?”
“Virtue?” He laughed. “I didn’t know a peasant girl was allowed such a thing.”
“Perhaps because you know very little,” she whispered, then heard Princess Cymela’s sharp intake of breath.
But Prince Lunule seized the challenge. His eyes began to sparkle from her reaction.
“Enlighten me.”
Tranquia shook her head slightly at Raphere, warning her not to let this progress any further, but pride begged Raphere to proceed.
“If I may?”
“Go on, go on.” The King waved an approving hand.
She cleared her throat and focused unwaveringly on King Esten’s eldest. “I have met another prince in my lifetime, who acted as a common man, but one of great dignity, humility and kindness.”
Prince Lunule sucked his teeth as his eyes slinked away from hers.
“Yet, at this table, I see before me another prince who shames his father, the King, and his father’s guests. Indeed, I may be unworthy to dine at this fine table, but such a foolish prince should switch places with the jester below.” She pointed emphatically to the King of Fools who lounged upon the steps near the table.
As if called, the fool hopped up and began to strut about on his short legs, nose in the air, hand grasping and rubbing his codpiece, making a wonderful mimicry of the eldest prince.
The king’s shoulders shook as he watched the jester’s display. The fool suddenly leapt onto the table. Cymela shrieked.
He ran down the middle, kicking plates and tipping wine glasses over while he jabbed his finger at the nobles.
“Unworthy, unworthy! You too, unworthy!”
After he passed Tranquia, he jumped into the king’s lap.
“Father!” The fool opened his arms for a hug.
The King rose to his feet and cried, “Unworthy!”
The fool tumbled to the floor. The nobles on the dining hall’s upper level burst into laughter and applause.
“Well done, young maiden!” King Esten’s laughter boomed against the walls as several nearby guests lifted their glasses, their faces bright and red with mirth.
The jester left the King but tarried by Prince Lunule’s chair. With hands on hips and foot tapping, he waited to take the prince’s seat. Snickers flowed down various tables on the lower levels and more lords maneuvered their chairs to watch.
The prince glared at the jester until he fled. The light applause faded. “For a girl of the swamp, she has the tongue of a witch.” Prince Lunule turned toward Raphere. “And by your words spoken within my home, you’ve proven your ignorance concerning princes and honor.”
What did he mean by that? she wondered, stung and bewildered at the same time.
“But what she says is true, Lunule,” Prince Papen howled with glee.
The catastrophe left behind by the jester’s fast heels vanished as a flurry of servants cleared the table, preparing it for the next course. Queen Tera consoled her daughter who seemed near faint with upset. Raphere noted Tranquia’s steady regard. Her teacher was not amused either.
“Go back to your pastoral parents,” Lunule mumbled under his breath. Suddenly, his face lit up and he eyed her once more, his regard more malicious than before. “Tell me, Lady Raphere, do you have parents?”
Unprepared, Raphere winced, and his expression subtly changed to triumph. He had caught her. He knew it. Worse, she couldn’t lie. Raphere swallowed hard, sensing the defeat her words would seal. “I have a mother.”
Prince Lunule dropped his knife loudly upon his plate. He thrust his hand out toward King Esten. “My dear king and father,” his voice rose above the tables, “I do believe you have invited a bastard to dine with us.”
“That is enough!” Tranquia shouted. Cymela burst into tears.
His last arrow had found its mark, its sting, unexpectedly sharp. His intent all evening had been to shame Raphere, and he had ultimately succeeded.
Despite Raphere’s best effort to control it, her chin visibly trembled. True animosity quickly replaced her shame. She glared, but then noted the plate of steak being set down before him. Her lips twisted into a wicked smile as a terrible urge came over her.
“Make it green,” she whispered.
Prince Lunule stuck his knife into the most putrid steak imaginable. He cursed out loud in horror. Raphere quickly dispersed the illusion, but not before Prince Papen had seen the transformation.
“Great Fate! How on earth did you do that?” His expression became excited. “Please change something else, a saucer or a cup or—or Cymela’s hair!”
Through her tears, Princess Cymela whimpered in protest.
“Please, Raphere!” Prince Papen begged.
Raphere jumped to her feet, her chair clattering loudly to the floor. “I am not a performing monkey or—or jester to do tricks for your amusement!”
She suddenly realized she was shouting at the king’s table—at his very son! Her breath closed in her throat.
As her voice echoed above the shock-stricken court, Raphere knew Tranquia had been right. They may forget this night someday, but she would never forget—not even in a hundred lifetimes.
She fled the banquet hall.



From Continue

"I saw the dead king...burn," Raphere whispered to the voices. She lifted her chin. "Why would I see such a thing, if not to prevent it?"

"There are many kings in the land, and all kings die eventually. You are more important than any."

Did they think to keep her here, forever? In the Pikestan? But she was not safe. And she could do nothing for anyone. But as a wanderer... 
Ever since spilling her blood before the Teller of Destiny, Raphere has tried to prove she is not like her mother, a dark sorceress. Some call her Jivasivar--savior; others, assassin. One thing is clear: everyone has a plan for Raphere. Few seem to care about what is best for her, only what she might gain or cost them.

Even the handsome mercenary, who fascinates and frustrates her, has secret plans he doesn't wish to share. Ever watchful in the shadows, Rant Pae spies on her--probably for her mother, Verisa. Does Rant Pae wish to draw Raphere closer with his distance? If so, he is succeeding.

Searching for her purpose Raphere embarks upon a journey to find the white wanderer Tranquia and the Jivan Tome--the Divine Poem which promised Raphere's emergence, centuries ago. She must discern friend from foe as all strive to manipulate her for their own designs. Does she have the conviction to be the Jivasivar or is she merely a pawn in a fight for the survival of both ancients and kings?

Source: http://sarityahalomi.blogspot.com/2014/02/princes-and-fools-by-ah-de-carrasco_11.html