Roots of Rookeri Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Check out Crispina Kemp’s latest masterpiece, Roots of Rookeri, available to purchase on Amazon as of now! Do it!

A Key, a Tree, a Prophecy

The Cast:
Booderas Rookeri-Sharmin – better known as Boody, playwright, poet, dancer and chorusmaster – orphaned nephew of the Elect of Raselstad, disciple of the Forty-First Avatar who brought the Founders to this new world.
“Worth is not measured in gold. To ban a word is not enough. To forbid the metals silver and gold will not lessen their attraction. The Guided Guilds give no protection against the Old-World demons.”
Eshe, daughter of Judge Madir, believes herself tough (she enjoys caving and climbing), unsuccessful in matters of the heart, fears her father will intervene and arrange a marriage.
Kalamite, head of the quasi-religious Runman Order, son of a queen no one has seen, for to ensure her safety he keeps her locked in the mysterious Wood Tower at the heart of Citadel Lecheni. He is her sworn protector.
Sifadis Lafdi, heiress of the wealthiest House in Lecheni. Owns every ship in the Luant; no one eats fish except by her catching. But marriage arrangements threaten, and a ruling husband would separate her from her passion – the study of the ancient documents stored in her library.

The Play:
A violation of Wood Tower has astrologer-priest Kalamite in fear for his mother, his queen. Planetary alignments foretell an invasion from the south. When Eshe arrives in Lecheni from southern Raselstad, Kalamite moves into action. He insists a spy is sent to Eshe’s hometown. Sifadis jumps at the opportunity to be that spy, to pursue a project of her own and to delay further marriage arrangements.
In Raselstad Sifadis meets her antithesis, Boody with his abhorrence of everything northern and Rothi. Yet they share a love for ancient books and Daabian plants. They also share an ancient connection which on meeting neither expects.

I once accused Crispina Kemp of being an Asar. Her being an immortal fallen angel was the only explanation I could find for her complete knowledge of every culture and time in The Spinner’s Game series. These were not works of fantasy, these were her memoirs. But I was wrong. Because if Crispina were an Asar and using such a cheat to create the rich world of her previous novels, she would not have been able to do so again in her latest book, the standalone Roots of Rookeri. Read this book and step through a portal to a totally immersive world, filled with so much fascinating detail you will lose yourself in.

But it’s not just world building. The characters will grip you too. With four POV characters to captivate—scholar on a mission Sifadis, underdog poet Boody, headstrong Eshe and lunatic Kalamite—it’s hard to pick a favourite. 

While not set in the same world as Crispina’s previous novels, this book will definitely appeal to any who loved the Spinner’s Game series, and ensnare plenty of new readers too. If you love fantasy (especially if you love it with a hint of sci-fi), this is a must read.

So again, do yourself a favour, and make a purchase.

Cover design by yours truly. So why not treat yourself to the paperback 😉

Learning to Fly

Learning to Fly: The Spinner’s Game Continues by Crispina Kemp

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I read an early version of Learning to Fly and loved it. I’ve also read all the previous Spinner’s Game books, but this isn’t necessary and first time readers can easily jump in here.

I’ve always considered myself a history nerd, but Cripsina Kemp puts me to shame. Her love of the subject matter is clear in every word she writes and makes the reader care for it just as much. You don’t need to have knowledge of William the Conqueror’s era to get into this book (though it helps), but even those who know that story will be fascinated by all the behind the scenes details weaved into this book.

Main character Neve’s struggle is very relatable as is her difficult relationship with Asar Raesan. He was a character both lovable and hatable at different times in the Spinner’s Game, and he doesn’t disappoint here. Sometimes I wanted to give him a hug, other times I wanted to throw my iPad across the room in the hopes he might feel it!

The story jumps between our time and the 11th Century, with both stories so compelling you’re never bored.

All in all, this is a great continuation to the Spinner’s Game, and definitely worth a read (especially if you love history!)



View all my reviews

Lake of Dreams

And now to show off the cover of the second part in The Spinner’s Game series, Lake of Dreams, written by Crispina Kemp. Like the cover for the first book, The Spinner’s Child, this cover merges what’s real with what isn’t, subtly capturing so many elements from the tale. While the colours work in contrast with the previous book, it establishes the style that will continue through the series.

Picking the spider for The Spinner’s Child was not even a discussion; for some books there was a perfect fit. For others, like this one, we had options. Here we could have gone for the tiger or the fox (those who’ve read it will know the importance of the choice!). Foxes have always been a favourite of mine ever since I read Fantastic Mr Fox as a child, and they were all I drew at uni (check out my Fox Hunt book where the fox gets his own back). But for the Lake of Dreams the tiger stole my heart. It had to be him. There’s so much more I’d love to say about this design. If you ever read my book you’ll know I can’t help but lather on the foreshadowing and symbolism. But in the words of River Song, “Shhh! Spoilers!”

In Lake of Dreams(Book 2 of The Spinner’s Game) the all-encompassing, oracular Spinner, has charged Kerrid with the eradication of the demon-snake that has stalked her since she was a child. To do so, Kerrid believes she must discover the truth of the Asars.

Thus when “big brother” Olun summons Kerrid’s husband to a family meeting with that express purpose, Kerrid jumps at the chance despite Olun never has liked her. Though her task is to discover exactly whatare the Asars, she knows her success depends upon gaining the approval of Olun and his brothers. This would be easier without her husband’s repeated efforts to undermine her, in part motivated by his jealousy of the second-born brother, Jiar. 

Set in the between-time when Ice Age gave way to warmer days, when nomadic hunter-fisher turned to settled agriculture, when spirits and demons morphed to gods, The Spinner’s Gamecrosses continents and weaves through ages fraught with floods and droughts to become the prototype of our most ancient myths.

The Spinner’s Child

As I said in my previous blog, Crispina Kemp is my amazing Critique Partner. Though we’ve completed our critiques on each other’s manuscripts (10k exchanged every Sunday), we keep in touch, with updates on our writing journey and life in general. Crispina will be self-publishing her five part series, The Spinner’s Game, and so talk turned to book covers. This was at the point that I’d decided to transition from greetings cards (transition/the entire company was made redundant…) to book covers. But I had no portfolio, nothing other than my word. So with the understanding that if my covers looked awful, they could be disregarded with no hard feelings, I took on the task! And as proof that I’m a gal of my word, they don’t look half bad. Actually, I love them, and most importantly Crispina does too:

I can praise Lauren for so many things: she’s great as a beta reader and critique partner, and has become a good friend. But words escape me when it comes to her book covers. This first was by way of sample. And she nailed it in one. But I needed five covers, and they needed to show these five books were part of a series. Could she deliver? She did.

Crispina Kemp

There’s so much depth in Crispina’s series, The Spinner’s Child needed a cover that reflected that. I don’t want to say too much in case I give anything away, but read the book (seriously you won’t regret it), and there’ll be so much you can pick out. For my part, I particularly love the spider’s legs, they were great fun to draw and the end result… well, see for yourself!

Born of a fisher-hunter clan, fraudulent seer Kerrid holds two false beliefs. That in her supernatural abilities she is unique, and as Voice of the Lady she’s exempt from Plaited Woman’s fate. The arrival of nine boats from the east shatters both these beliefs. Forced to make an unwise judgement there follows a trail of death. Questions plague her: Why does she dream of babies burning? Why does a voice in her head—Suffer the loss, suffer the pain—taunt her of some dire deed? What has she done? And what is she that no matter how lethal the wound, she does not die?

In The Spinner’s Child(Book 1 of The Spinner’s Game) Kerrid explores and develops her supernatural powers, gains a glimmering of what she might be, discovers the source of the accusatory voice in her head, and sheds her fraudulent status to become a fully trained wise-woman, able to enter the all-encompassing otherworld Web. But this is only the first step on her journey.

Set in the between-time when Ice Age gave way to warmer days, when nomadic hunter-fisher turned to settled agriculture, when spirits and demons morphed to gods, The Spinner’s Gamecrosses continents and weaves through ages fraught with floods and droughts to become the prototype of our most ancient myths.