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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
Pushing Madness is the sixth book in the Lisen of Solsta series by D. Hart St. Martin, an epic fantasy series with a strong appeal to fans of young adult fantasy. The reader is introduced to the imaginary world of Garla and Thristas, which shares similarities to ours. A world on the brink of destruction by war, monumental conflict, and the treaty of the one-day war instituted by Lisen about to be sacrificed to the whims of her own daughter who craves revenge. Lisen’s daughter can’t forgive Lisen for sacrificing her to get the “one-day war” treaty, and now Rinli is out for revenge and her own mother is her target. Only a twelve-year-old girl can save their world, but will she?
This is a well-crafted story and even though it’s part of a series, I never had difficulties getting into the story. It begins with a powerful stream of consciousness, featuring the idle thoughts of Lisen which fill the reader in with information about what happened in the previous installments in the series. D. Hart St. Martin’s prose is beautiful, exciting, and permeated with a magic of its own. I enjoyed the descriptive nature of the prose and the author’s ability to plunge readers into the mental landscapes of the characters. D. Hart St. Martin also demonstrates a gift for character and I enjoyed the place of female characters in her world, the dynamics of conflict, and the awesome pacing.
There's a great setting in a world of equality and magic — even if the magic is not given validity — a world where women rule and men pay homage, where alliances are formed and where peace is threatened on all sides. The plot is cunning and the conflict is well designed to make it move forward. The premise is powerful enough to get the reader’s attention — a daughter bent on revenge against her mother and who will not negotiate — but it is the author’s storytelling craft and handling of conflict that makes it an engrossing read. Pushing Madness is a great read, filled with drama, exquisite world building, and characters that are as compelling as they are real. A great piece of entertainment for fans of epic fantasy!