Sunday, August 16, 2015

Review: Coal by Constance Burris

Welcome to "Coal" Blog Tour!

This Mini-Tour features author Constance Burris, and is brought to you by Diverse Book Tours!

Looking for a Diverse new Fantasy? Check out "Coal!" Coal blends a matriarch society of Queens, Dwarves and Elves in a race to save a child from a corrupt Princess.
Here's the Blurb:

Coal has lived most of his life in the fey realm with his elven best friend, but when a human child he promised to protect unintentionally breaks a law in front of the fey elite, he will have to choose between betraying his best friend or saving the child’s life.



Book One of the Everleaf Series


Constance Burris

So for this tour I chose to review the book just because I had got a chance to read the book on Wattpad when I knew little about the author and back then it had went through like 2 covers before this ended up being the final one. The first cover I saw really intrigued me because it had this really cute black kid on the cover and the colors were really bright and eye catching and honestly there were not a whole lot of fantasy-esque stories with black characters at the time I was reading it so I figured what the hell? 

COAL follows the title character Coal in the world of Everleaf, a mystical, magical otherworld filled with Elves, Dwarves and other fey and oh yea giant trees that can communicate. Being one of the only humans and best friends with the next ruler in line, Princess Chalcedony, the story jumpstarts when Coal does the unthinkable and betrays her by doing something he considers to be the right thing.

In terms of plot, I think this was a kind of story I haven't read before. I rarely pick up books about elves and dwarves or any other type of fey. It could be that it's rare when Fey themed books have any type of diversity, or at least in what I've experienced so this one of the first books I've picked up in a while where the fey were the central "mythical" creatures. I think with the plot sometimes the world building was a little light but I think the unpredictability of it all made me keep wanting to read on. It was hard to know what was going to happen and for some reason a lot of the characters I encountered in this book, I wasn't sure who was trustworthy and who was. It definitely left me thinking "Trust No One" until they prove their worths.

So off to character development. Coal was hands down easy to relate to. I instantly connected to him with his dark brown skin and kinky hair down to his insecurities and doubts. Chalcedony however was a different story. She was very manipulative and and scary possessive. Sometimes I felt as though she didn't see Coal as a person but as an object she could control. She often used his feelings for her against him and she even went to the extreme by putting spells on him so he'd never leave her. Talk about crazy ex-girlfriends, homegirl took "BFF" to a whole notha level. The conflict was definitely there and I didn't see a thing coming but Chalcedony, sheesh. She was just one of those characters that are borderline antagonistic. I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up being the true villain but only time will tell.

So now I've come to the diversity portion of my checklist. Was this book diverse? Hmmm...I guess it depends on what you mean by diverse? Coal was the only "Human" outside of Elizabeth that was a main character, and Coal was black and as far as I know Elizabeth was white. I only assume Elizabeth was white because when Chalcedony bent her race(yes elves can race bend! I'm sayin' though, can I borrow that power for a day?) from Darker skinned to lighter skinned, Elizabeth reveled at the fact that Chalcedony looked more like her. Unless I missed something everyone else, seemed to be fey so I couldn't really tell if any of them looked as "Human" as Chalcedony did. Maybe Haline, she was blonde and lighter skinned but I didn't really consider her human so I wasn't sure if it was kosher to count her in terms of a diverse cast. I was a little upset that Chalcedony bent her race from Black to White and didn't change back at any point of the book. It just kind of reminded me of Disney's "The Princess and The Frog" where she was only really a person for like 5 seconds and a frog for most of the movie. Maybe that's a terrible comparison but because I was so invested in Chalcedony being darker skinned, It was really hard for me to envision her white(which is strange since our default is white, lol) so just chose to see her how I initially saw her.

Signing off, I think the title is fitting and I love, love, love the Cover for this book. I've basically seen every cover imaginable for this book lol, but I'm glad this one was the final one chosen. The colors are so forest-y and totally let me know this book is about elves and talking trees. Plus the eyes staring back at me are extremely hypnotic and I fall into a trance every time I look at it! Out of the names for the characters, I think I liked Chalcedony's the best and while there were a lot of characters, I loved how the names weren't too complicated like in most fantasies. I wasn't lost and was able to picture every character when their names were brought up(proof that I wasn't confused). I also had a clear idea of how to envision the characters. Especially Coal and Chalcedony. Which below is my dream cast for how I saw them.

"El Dominicano" Tristan Wilds was my Coal 

The beautiful Quiana Grant was my Chalcedony before she bent her race. She'll always be a black girl to me, Mwah-hahaha.
Overall I gave Coal a 3.75 but because our rating system doesn't have .25 points, I bumped it up to 4 instead of the 3.5 because I really thought it was a strong enough story leaning closer to a four anyways! If you love your urban fantasies but are looking for something with a splash of diversity, then Coal is the read for you!

Title: Coal: Book One of The Everleaf Series
Author: Constance Burris
Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing Platform
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Publication Date: June 11th 2015
About the Author:

Constance Burris is a nerd, writer, wife and mother. Most of her stories are speculative fiction. She was lost the moment she read her first science fiction story in kindergarten about people living on Venus. 

When she discovered the story was fiction, she was heartbroken, but it didn't affect her love for all things fantastical.

You can follow her bookish movements on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads or her Official Site!



  1. That was review was the bomb dot com. So insightful. I'm like wanting go read the book again because you dropped some points I hadn't even thought about.

    I totally love your cast better, btw. I'm taking these pics.

  2. Great post! Fell in love with this book cover the first time I saw it. Def need to read Coal. Do you know how many bookstore are going to be I need he serie?

  3. So far I have three books and a prequel in the series. The prequel, Black Beauty, will be released September 29th.


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