20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2010
I purchased the first book in this series after seeing several positive reviews. I also purchased the second, as I'm always willing to believe an author can improve after a first book. However, I found the books excessively expository in nature, the conversation in them awkward and annoyingly religious. Christian fiction should have been the first tag on these books. Also, the author could benefit from a better editor. Far too many words are used to express thoughts and ideas; and young, runaway circus animal tenders have advanced vocabularies and formal language skills that are not believable.
I also found character development to be unbelievable. Too many serendipitous happenings because "God has a plan" really made this difficult to read. And finally, some egregious grammar and anachronistic words (rookie, throttle, guys) made this painful to read. I give two stars because the story line itself is well constructed and I wondered what happened to a couple of characters all the way to the end of the first book. Also the magic system is interesting. But after reading the first two books, I can't keep going. I'm not that curious about what happens next.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2008
"A fascinating story of fiction and fantasy that continues to build momentum with each page taking unexpected plot twists and turns. One part believable love story, one part magical fantasy, one part electrifying adventure and, as a whole, moralistic, but not deafening, in its overall tone.
A young orphan boy, Alex, starts out as a stable hand in a circus caravan in the sophisticated yet ancient mythological Dominion lands and ends up as a powerful healer and possessor of great powers. The reader never knows where the story is going next, but is not dissatisfied with where he finds himself.
The authors knits together many different characters, themes and subplots into a wonderful story. It was a great break from my normal reading list and left me wanting to know what happens next. Book Two?"
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2008
Once I started I couldn't put this book down. Wonderful characters, exciting story and interesting plot made it a great read. It is a story for all ages - after I finished, my 17 year old son read the book and can't wait for the second one (the excerpt at the end of the book said it will be out this fall). If you like fantasy/adventure novels you will like this one - a lot happens in one book.
Young boy discovers he has magical powers and while using them for good, makes influential friends who help guide him through the intrigue of his world. He learns to fight using his magical powers and becomes a great swordsman.
I highly recommend this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2012
I started reading this myself and ended up getting into a bedtime routine with my kids by reading this to them. The book is pretty good for kids except for the fact that there are plenty of times where even I had a hard time understanding what was meant by a particular part of the prose. Many times large words are used and makes it a bit hard for the kids to understand those things as well there were just times where the sentence itself was just hard to understand... then again they would ask questions and learned more due to it.
Personally I found the book a bit too long for what actually happened. I found that the introduction to the 'mythical' beasts at the start of the book was way overdone for what we got to learn through the story. I think... more rumors and less impending doom at the start would have helped that, although that change also may have made the beginning a bit boring as well. I found it odd that every moment at the start they ran for their lives, then suddenly they were able to just stop and start living in a town without much care in the world. I thought at any moment they would be attacked, but no.. that did not occur. Maybe there is a very good explanation that I missed, or that will become apparent in later books (it is an extensive series) that explains the apparent stopping of the attacks.
I certainly like the spiritual implications in the story. A world that looks at prayer as a recreational thing and someone that gets the wild hair to really start effectively using it in healing and such. Very cool story of a rekindling in faith for all those around Alec as he called for things that were effective yet scoffed at from the start.
Alec's rise to power was interesting... parts slow that I thought could have been quicker and as well vice versa for others. One thing in particular that I was tired of reading (keep in mind I read most all this book aloud to my children) was the very detailed accounts of healing others. Very hard words and as well very repetitive things in each instance. A few were certainly important for the story at hand, but others either just created unanswered questions or just did not matter enough to be as detailed as they were.
The first section of the book really pulled me in, when they got to Goldenfields I began to get very bored of the story, until the last few chapters as Alec began to deal with political (these seemed to come from no where, but in the end all made sense even in the fact that Alec was surprised by them as well, truly I liked it this way even if all of it annoyed me due to the trouble it caused Alec) and extreme growth in power creating totally other political problems as well. Without those chapters I may not be as interested in future books, and as will I must admit when I finished and mentioned to by daughter that I was done with the first and that there was just an excerpt from the second book left; she immediately said "Ok, get the second then".
So, even though there were times I just wanted to quit reading and then rushed through just to finish... I can certainly see myself getting the other books and reading them to my kids as well.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2011
I really enjoyed this series up until book 6 (Saving the Ingenairii).
This particular book was quite good.
World setting and political posturing is well detailed and orchestrated.
Religious themes are in place and serve to move the plot but don't disproportionately dominate the story.
In book 6, this series takes a turn for the worse... to the point that I've stopped reading it mid-book.
I will probably post a review of that book with spoiler alerts in it.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2012
I read the first couple of reviews on this page and though that this would be a great fantasy novel. Unfortunately, I was mistaken. It's a none-too-subtle Christianity-driven young teen story that preaches the New Testament influence of John Mark. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's wildly mislabeled as fantasy when it really is more closely aligned to Christian fiction. If that's your thing, you'll probably enjoy it. The characters are simple and things tend to be fairly black/white.
If you are looking for a less moralistic coming-of-age story, I suggest you pass on this.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2008
I rarely read fiction, let alone fantasy but I needed some poolside reading for a recent vacation in Tortola, BVI and a friend had recommended it. It is an amazing story and kept me turning the pages rapidly. I ended up reading it in two sittings. The author creates rich settings and characters in a fantasy world that at times seems it may have existed long ago and at others in the future. It is a complex story that is a little thought provoking...there are elements of religion, the politics of power and even circuitous attempts to weave some complicated social issues that are present in all of our lives in the real world today. I haven't been able to find anything else by this author and so I am assuming this is his freshman effort. The cover promises futher "volumes" following the orphan Alec and many others through futher adventures. I for one will be watching for the story to continue...
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2012
After having finished the eighth book in the series and possibly the last.. I decided I should write a review to help spread the word on this series.
If you are looking for a series that you feel emotionally attached to and want to find that you are unable to stop reading until you have read all there is to read in the series, then this is the series for you. I have only cried one other time while reading a book and that was by Robin Hobb and that is saying something because I have read many books. At one point I had to set the book down and just cry for a few minutes until I could get myself under control again.
This series full of action, romance, mystery, and magic. Not to mention a large amount of religion, but it's not in your face and preaching to you kind of thing, it's not even something that most of Alec's friends believe in. If you enjoy a good series that fills you in on all of the things you need to know to get a good picture of what is going on without giving away the mystery while not going into so many minute details that you feel like the author is just filling up space, then I recommend this series to you!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2013
These books are a wonderful epic. I loved them and faithfully read onward until my eyes were falling out of my head. Alec, the main character grew enormously throughout the books. He is chosen by God for an over-the-top destiny. His willingness to say, "yes," no matter what he was asked to do led him to many adventures and gave him the opportunity to grow in his gifts and skills and be an important instrument in the fate of his world. He also fell from Grace, so to speak, and had to redeem himself, which led an interesting depth to his character.
There is definitely a belief in God in the books, which I, personally, related to and thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated; but for someone who is not on my same wavelength, I would say the books are not overdone or oversaturated with religious overtones.
The novel is well thought out, gives good descriptions of each of the countries/inhabitants that Alec interacts with, and takes the time to develop Alec's character so that the reader knows him very well and roots for him more and more. For me, the author is definitely world building, even though the separate worlds co-exist on the same planet; and I was fascinated by the subtle way in which he compared the fantasy world of his books to our own planet in some ways--especially the part with the reptiles.
One excellent point the novels make is that humans have enormous, unlimited potential when linked to the Divine and are serving the Divine. Alec represented a Divine Human, with enormous potential that he was favored to use because he stayed committed to whatever was needed of him.
Thought provoking, entertaining, engaging, interesting, I very much recommend these books to anyone. They are fine reads, each one of them.
The only 2 improvements I could suggest is not to have so much unconsciousness or passing out after Alec over used his powers, which became a little tedious and overly predictable. Secondly, most all the female characters with whom Alec became seriously involved had the same personality. I found their actions immature, so those characters did not appeal to me. However, these are slight criticisms compared to the overall value of the books.
I hope that more people read them and support Jeffrey Quyle to continue to write and make some money for all his efforts. He has great heroes in his books who are inspiring and lovable, along with very interesting plot lines.
Have a happy day!
14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2012
This is not fantasy... it is religious Christian fiction, and should be appropriately tagged. I would never have bought it or wasted my time beginning to read it had I known what it really was.
Fine for those who are so inclined, but not for those of us who are looking for great fantasy reading.
This would also benefit from thorough editing. The writing itself is stilted and the dialogue stiff and unconvincing.
I may have continued to read it had there not been so many glaring errors and if it had not been one dimensional and preachy.
Unfortunate all the way around. Definitely not everyone's cup of tea.