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The Summerlark Elf: The Four Kingdoms Saga: Book One Paperback – March 15, 2014
"...Draga likes to mess with traditional stuff like Orcs and wizards and black conspiracies, but he has just enough creativity to make it his own."
- Caleb Hill, Acerbic Writing
"3 out of 4 stars...a light read for anyone who loves fantasy and can't get enough of it."
- Norma Rudolph, Online Book Club
"...Draga does a stellar job of mixing likeable characters with shady scoundrels that become unlikely heroes... I cannot wait for the second book."
- Stephen Fisher, Readers' Favorite
About the Author
Brandon Draga was born in 1986, just outside Toronto, Ontario. His love of all things fantasy began at an early age with games like The Legend of Zelda, Heroquest, and Dungeons and Dragons. This affinity for the arcane and archaic led to his studying history in university from 2005 to 2011. In late 2012, he began writing a D&D campaign setting that would lay the groundwork for the world of the Four Kingdoms. Brandon still lives just outside Toronto, and when he is not writing enjoys skateboarding, playing guitar, and playing tabletop games.
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Top customer reviews
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Elsewhere, Erasmus and O’doc are a morally ambiguous duo who are recruited to track down an Elf woman in Hallowspire – it’s a big job and they’re offered an obscene amount of money to complete it, so they’re not inclined to ask too many questions. Unbeknownst to them, this goes way higher up the chain than they could imagine.
The plot and world are heavily influenced by a number of existing fantasy works, but somehow Draga pulls it together into something very enjoyable and despite a lot of familiar tropes it’s very easy to switch off and drift along with it. There’s enjoyable prose with a nice turn of phrase, distinct characters, a nicely paced plot and some genuinely amusing dialogue. My 12 year old self would have absolutely loved this, and as it happens, my approaching-middle-age self rather liked it too. I was especially tickled by the portrayal of the Halflings as little sneaks rather than the more obvious Tolkien approach where they represent the moral compass of the world.
That’s not to say it didn’t have issues. It does lack originality and for some readers this may be a problem. The name Lannister Ravenclaw was… possibly not the best idea ever. Being a bit of an etymology nerd I wasn’t a fan of the use of “lycanthrope” to describe the were-rats since it literally means “wolf man”. It’s a simple tale and at its heart it is unabashedly YA (although there is no reason it shouldn’t be), which is a turn-off for some readers. However, for young readers this would be an excellent introduction to fantasy, and for adults who just want to switch off and read or listen to something pleasant, I’d definitely recommend it. The audiobook is rather good, with a strong performance by Sandra Cullum – her voices and accents were nicely done, and she’s a very good narrator. It’s rather short at 6 hours long, however the audiobook is heavily discounted when the (inexpensive) eBook has been purchased so I’d recommend going that route rather than spending an audible credit. Overall, I found it to be a lovely distraction on a dreary afternoon – I’ll likely listen to it again if I find myself in need of a pick me up, and I grabbed the eBook for the second entry straight away.
In all honesty, its not the editing issues or page formatting issues. Those are things that are easy to get over. It is clear to me that this book was written by a fan of D and D, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and every other fantasy book and game out there. And there's nothing wrong with that. Names are borrowed as were concepts. No problem. The writing wasn't necessarily spectacular but it was good and didn't make it hard to read. There were moments of very good writing. It was just that i felt like I was reading a DandD adventure. I felt like I was reading a borrowed story. I felt like i was reading a story that might qualify for Forgotten Realms or some other Wizards of the Coast world. Would I read it again. Probably not. Am I going to read the next book. Absolutely. Would I recommend this to someone else. Sure. If youre into pure fantasy adventure here is a fun quick read that is enjoyable. If you're looming for deep plots, intense subplots, genre crossing, and earth shaking statements, probably not here.
The plot and characters are all very light, reading almost like an old-fashioned young adult novel. Everything proceeds along fairly predictable paths towards the warm conclusion, setting the stage for more books to come. If you're looking for Grimdark or weighty discourse, keep looking. It is, however, a relatively harmless way to pass some time in a fantasy setting with solid writing and characters you don't hate.
As a self-confessed grammar nerd, the extremely inconsistent use of punctuation and capitalization when a quote appears inside a longer paragraph that also contains description was annoying. But it rarely prevented comprehension so I'll just note it and move on.
I'd recommend this book for younger audiences, or for parents who want something more challenging for their youngster to read without having to worry about inappropriate content.
Most recent customer reviews
“Why did you take my hand the other day?” Erasmus turned around and looked at the girl.Read more