Hidden Realm (Legends of Lightning) Paperback – April 14, 2020
"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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- Item Weight : 14.6 ounces
- Paperback : 279 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1734917709
- ISBN-13 : 978-1734917703
- Product Dimensions : 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Bowker Identifier Services (April 14, 2020)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #462,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Esther is a resident of modern day Earth who finds herself literally torn between two realms. After performing a ritual to enter the Hidden Realm, which is a mashup of dark fairy tales based off of the brothers Grimm, she must unite the kingdom against the elusive (but actually pretty tragic and complicated) enemy called the Crimson Shadow.
I really enjoyed the story itself, and reading all the gritty details found in a proper dark fantasy. Evil wolves, humans talking to animals, the stereotypical man of all men character, bandits, magic, dragons that hoard books, and the fairy tale queens like you've never seen them before...Hidden Realm has something for every lover of stories. The second half and especially last quarter also moved significantly faster than the first half, which was a nice treat that made the book hard to put down.
All in all this book had me rapt, and I fully recommend it but not for the easily offended or faint of heart. This is a dark fairy tale/dark fantasy gem and does have some pretty strong content.
Something I especially loved was the inclusion of the original Grimm’s tales in worldbuilding. I never would have thought to do something like that, and Slauf does it so well! I’ll be honest in that I’ve never actually read the original tales.. but my interest has been piqued by this and I may soon add them to my never-ending TBR!
This book is for you if you enjoy dark fantasy, twisted fairytale retellings, and gritty, realistic, tales. The book definitely has more than a few adult situations and is not for the faint of heart! Over all, I loved it and cannot wait for the next installment.
Most of the novel takes place in this other realm, where Esther must journey in order to save it from evil forces. As to why Esther is the one to do so was not explained entirely to my liking, though a premise is given.
The novel’s strengths are its dark, gritty, and unapologetically sordid and evocative imagery. It moves at a quick pace with interesting side characters and a villain with a tragic backstory, though she remains on the periphery for most of the story.
As the novel progresses, it’s revealed to be a fairy-tale adaptation. The take on the Brothers Grimm stories (and Beauty and the Beast) were quite interesting and rather innovative (especially given the deluge of fairy-tale reimaginings at present). In retrospect, the warriors being called The Huntsmen should have tipped me off earlier that this was a case, but it isn’t until halfway through the novel that the world expands to include adaptations of these classic tales. This did allow for the novel to develop its own story before being tied into the existing mythos, which was well-crafted.
Unfortunately, while the novel is quite enthralling, there are some issues that took away from the story. There is a decent attempt to give the characters depth, but Esther fell very flat to me. I loved that she wasn’t a stereotype or a trope, but we aren’t given insight into her deepest thoughts. She doesn’t ruminate on her past life in the slightest once in the new realm, which I found rather unrealistic, and while she is brave and rather stubborn, there is nothing much else to say about her. I cared more about a few characters than I did Esther. This could be because the novel commits the common “show don’t tell” narrative issue quite often, as well as drifting into a passive voice. Oisin, the other main character, was intriguing, but I’m still unsure why he kept Esther in the dark so often. It seemed like a way to keep the reader surprised rather than a personality flaw.
There are also quite a few minor questions/inconsistencies that are not resolved (but perhaps they will be in later novels).
Overall, this is an interesting read that will please those who enjoy a dark and “adult” re-telling of classic tales and those who enjoy fantasy with heavy themes.
Book Reviewed on Whispering Stories Book Blog
*I received a free copy of this book, which I voluntarily reviewed