Here is my review of Book 1 of the Elithius saga by Dominic Sceski.
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS (though I will try my best not to).
Summary (From Amazon)
“His parents abandon him when he’s thirteen. He’s left to care for his little brother and sister. Life is tough. Things can’t seem to get any worse.
But then Evil Itself breaks down the door. It kidnaps his siblings. And It leaves him bleeding out on the floor of his own home.
The Golden Lands, one of the Three Worlds of Elithius, is supposed to be a place of light, peace and happiness. But the Golden Lands hasn’t been such a place for John Hedekira, a jaded, hot-headed sixteen-year-old. Joined by his friends Faith Pinck and Bernard Tanner, John must rescue his brother and sister from their captors…before his siblings can be sacrificed to the ominous God of Death.
With a story that combines the feelings of Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, and Percy Jackson, Dominic Sceski brings to life a riveting tale of light versus darkness, magic, friendship, trust, betrayal, forgiveness, and redemption that will leave you on the edge of your seat and desperately yearning for more.
Don’t wait. Embark on the journey now. Enter Elithius!”
What I Liked
This is a story filled with bad motivations, wrong choices, and a whole lot of forgiveness and redemption. There are grand character arcs for at least three of the many characters, and a good digging into the mindset of other characters to lift them from a two-dimensional fate of oblivion.
What I Didn’t Like
The writing style needs a lot of polishing. While it’s good for a reader to get into the head of the protagonist and go on the adventure with them, there is a lot of over-description. There is a lot of telling and not enough showing. Examples: Often, before protagonist John Hedekira does anything, we get a long description of what he’s feeling, why he’s feeling it, possible reasons he doesn’t agree with is feeling, and reasons why he can’t change what he feels. This could be tightened by showing us his action and through some dialogue. Instead of saying “I feel angry and afraid”, show us with “I grit my teeth and squeeze the hilt of my sword. I swallow to slow my heartbeat. ‘You shouldn’t have done that.’ I hold my breath and charge my enemy…”
Or something like that.
Unfortunately, it distracts from the story. It slows down the action and makes some of the scenes tedious.
On the whole, I like the story. If I force myself to ignore the points about the writing I stated earlier, I can get into it and enjoy the journey. That said, polishing the writing can turn this from a nice story into a genuine epic fantasy adventure. I do disagree with the summary’s thoughts that this combines the feelings of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson. Well, I can’t say much to Percy Jackson. Haven’t read them. But, this is not quite in the same league of LOTR and HP in the game of emotional connection to the characters and thrill of the adventure. It could be, perhaps, but it’s not there right now.
Note: This book is also available in broken volumes on Goodreads, if you would like to take it in smaller doses. There is a Volume 5, not in this book, available that hints at what’s to come. Might be interesting enough to check it out.
Have you read the book? What did you think of it? Am I off base in my observations? Let me know in the comments below.
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