This is book three in Elson’s ‘Frank Penny’ series – and very enjoyable it was, at that.
I’d recommend reading them in order, as there were several references to previous events, places and people that could have done with expanding upon, rather than being hinted at or alluded to on the assumption that readers would already be aware; however, for me these just added to the mystery and served to draw me into the story.
The copy I received was an advance reader copy, so I shan’t go into my usual proofreading detail. Suffice to say, that the writing itself was of good standard, the characterisation pretty solid and engaging.
I am, however, unsure of the world that Elson has built. Though I am by no means a ‘High Fantasy’ puritan, modern day foodstuffs and language will often throw me out of a quasi-mediaeval fantasy story, and the less I hear ‘like’ in its modern usage, the better; I understand that this is imparting the age of the protagonist and his companions, but its overuse grates on me in real life – and it grated on me here. There was also a lack of nuance and subtlety that I would suggest Elson has more confidence his readership will appreciate; some of the situations are too contrived and too easily surmounted, and there is little shading in between the black and white.
That said, I am not the age that this series is aimed at – I am pretty certain that the young adult audience won’t be so cantankerous and critical as me about such things! They’ll just really enjoy the adventure, which is nicely thought out, and the (let’s face it) pretty cool characters.
For the intended audience, I’d give it 4*.
Power is not for the weak or faint-hearted.
If Frank, Cas, Gabby and Anya want to find the next two guardians of the Simbrian and keep them safe, they need to journey across the dangerous borderlands and into the dark and shadowy world of Kzarlac, sworn enemy of Byeland.
Ruled by the fearsome Etamin Dahke, Kzarlac is no place for four naïve teenagers. Keen wits and a large helping of luck are no guarantee they will succeed and return safely.
Driven by their desire to protect the delicate peace that has existed since the time of Kester, their quest is about to take a deadly turn, and the exposure of an unconceivable secret may make Frank regret ever having started.
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I do not get paid for blog tours or giving my opinion, and this is my honest review.