Elegy has it all. Shay Bladen, a master gem smith, is a well-rounded character with strengths and weaknesses. I was especially intrigued by his affinity for the stones he works with. The magic of Gilstrap's alternate world is unique in that magic is an anomaly, with no rhyme nor reason, and it might be useful, or not. Elegy has surprising twists and turns with high action-adventure scenes. Gilstrap's 18 years in Rhu-Te Karate, attaining a 5th level black belt status, allows her to write fight scenes that have believability and realism. Against the action and magic in this story, we have well-drawn characters with compelling stories.

CL Roth
This story was really hard to stop reading, even as my eyes grew blurry, each night, when I put aside the day, and stole away to enter the fantasy world of Shay Bladen. His adventures, his pain, his experiences, were well written, and the reader (me) FELT involved, as if I had become his confidant, as he went on a long journey to discover his destined glory. His enemies became mine, and I could have cheered for the terrible deaths of his tormentors. I felt his grief for the family he lost, his respect to his warrior teacher, and excitement thrilled me when he discovered what lay beyond the doors. The monsters were scary and the whole book ended too soon.

Sharon Hayakawa
Opening the first pages of this novel, it wasn't long until I was ten, then twenty pages in and unaware of the time that had passed. The author is a masterful storyteller. She accomplishes something amazing for a first time novelist. The writing moves along at a fantastic pace; I was never bored. But the story is crafted like the precious gems she writes about into a perfect balance of action and depth. The genre is fantasy but each character evolves believably layered. Five star read! Martha Gilstrap is an author to watch. I am excited to see what she pens next.

Steph Edwards
Caught your interest from the first page to the last, I never once became bored while reading. Contained romance, happiness, sadness, arguments  it basically had everything. The entire book was very descriptive and captivating. I felt like I was really in the book. I would read it again.

The main character, Bladen, went through such heartache and has to work through all that as he's trying to wield the black diamond ax. I loved the deep character development and bittersweet storytelling. A triumph of a debut.

Emily Casey