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The Eight Islands: Summons of the Majestic (The Eight Island Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 572 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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I have read many of Tim Reed’s short stories in the past and when asked to read this first book in a new series, was more than pleased to take up the offer. Let me first say that Reed’s style of writing flows beautifully, with more than a hint of the poetic and this work keeps true to that style.
The story itself is from the point of View of Teepo, an orphan who has magical ability and known to his people as a ‘Gromancer’, or at least, a potential Gromancer. Taken in and trained by an older Gromancer, the people of their village become anxious as there is only meant to be one in each generation. When an ill omen is noticed by the elders, both are exiled from their home and sent out into the Eight Islands. This exile happens just as Teepo’s shadow becomes cursed by his master’s magical flute, a dark side of him that nobody can trust, including Teepo.
The descriptions of The Eight Islands is where Reed comes into his own as a literary magician. He has created an intricate and genuine world of monsters and personalities within a blanket of a fantastical realm. Each Gromancer has the ability to Summon, or call and bind certain creatures to them to do their will. They somehow need a certain number in order to make a wish come true, and each Gromancer has a different desire. Teepo must abide with his master’s wish and battles a darkness within himself and grows into his magical ability on the journey.
The story isn’t the usual arc the reader might expect, but rather a series of small arcs within each chapter when a new Summons is captured (or not captured), each taking us a step further into the unknown to the destination Teepo is convinced will be a place called ‘Calamity’ while struggling forward as the evil Darkness hunts them down. It is a very long novel and to be honest, I am not certain it needs to be so long, but if the reader is one to enjoy the journey, it is an enjoyable one.
I gave the book four stars instead of five because the story arc could have flowed better in my opinion. The language in the book and the creation of a new fantasy world where Reed sticks to the rule of his own creation though, is well deserved of five stars.
The cover art is superb and captures the dream-like feel of the book. When Teepo and Dragma, the books two primary characters are expelled from their home they embark upon a quest to capture 50 Summons (spirit creatures of varying size, strength and ability). Teepo is a young Gromancer (a sort of summoning wizard), still learning the tricks of the trade. He is very naive initially, though he certainly grows as the book progresses. Dragma, his older, wiser companion and master is a bit of an odd sort. His relationship is quite strained with his young student and you often get the feeling that there is a certain jealousy from the fact that he suspects Teepo will probably grow to become an even greater Gromancer than Dragma himself. Dragma also seems to have other ideas and opinions whilst on their travels, often resulting in conflict and indifference between the two. Their argumentative relationship isn’t the only worry. The Murk is the evil that threatens all, relentlessly pursuing them across the Eight Islands. The Murk itself kind of reminds me of The Nothing from the Neverending Story, which is cool.
The most impressive thing about Reed’s book is the world in which they travel. It is filled with wonders and horrors both real and unreal. There are a host of other-worldly creatures that join them on their quest, sometimes willingly and sometimes not. I actually felt similarities with Pokemon in the way that Teepo collects the summons on his travels and uses them as an aide on his quest.
Some fantasy books can get bogged down with political waffle and endless description. Fortunately, Reed’s book doesn’t, instead moving the story along at an enjoyable pace from very early on, never staying in one location for too long a time and filling it with terrific beasts. I enjoyed ‘Summons of the Majestic’ a great deal.