I received a free ARC (advanced reading copy) of this book from the writer in exchange for an honest review.
Fire, water, earth and air. Key elements that represent four schools in this interesting and intricately planned story. The first instalment in a series, The Legends of Eve: A Warrior’s Past brings us into the world of Gaia, where three schools—Groundstone, Fujita and Sereni—prosper and see students who master the elements of earth, air and water. Harahm’be—the school of fire, or the ‘forbidden school’—has existed with no new students roaming within its halls… until now.
This book is a combination of young adult and fantasy. It has depth in its lore and combines the conflict between war and teenage angst to build a fun and engaging story. There are two plot lines running in parallel, which allows there to be extra insight into what is happening and keeps the reader guessing. Before they know it, they are thrown into the face of an ongoing conflict, one that continues to repeat itself in the circle of time. Do generations repeat themselves? Is there anyway for these teenagers to change this circle of time? Who is this ‘boy who never lived’? There is only one way to find out, and that is to strap yourselves in for this story and get ready for what’s to come.
As some of you may know, I love the fantasy genre, so to be asked to read this ARC and to experience a fantasy world that hasn’t been touched by many others was very exciting for me. As you may remember from my genre series where I wrote about fantasy, this genre relies on the creator to build a new world and its history. There is a lot of planning that gets put into these stories to ensure there are no plot holes and to make sure the audience can believe what is going on, and this is evident in this story.
It follows the story of S’rae, Vayp and Destrou. S’rae and Vayp are two students from Fujita and Groundstone, and Destrou is a boy from way back whose story is being told from a legendary book: The Book of Eve. This is where the parallel plot line begins to unfold, and soon we’re jumping between stories as more and more lore gets thrown our way.
S'rae is an excellent student. Actually, scrap that, she’s the best in her class. Her drive to master the element of air and to become an Elemential builds her skill. However, this isn’t exactly what she wanted. Deep within her soul when she was a child was the want to go to Groundstone. It wasn’t meant to be, but she still pushed herself to be the best wherever she went. The story starts with her finishing and excelling in her final test, but instead of becoming an Elemential, she has the opportunity to go to the ‘forbidden school’, where she suddenly is caught up in The Book of Eve and makes some very interesting discoveries.
Vayp is a little more complicated. The reader doesn’t learn much about what happened in his life until a little further into the story, where we suddenly discover how shrouded he is with a traumatic darkness. He is mysterious and has an uncanny ability when it comes to wielding the element of earth. However, he lacks one crucial part of being a Groundstone student. He doesn’t have a sol—an animal bound to their owner. He lost his when he was younger. How? Well, like I said, Vayp is a little bit more complicated, and he and S’rae have an interesting history. As we discover more about him, we suddenly realise just how influential this darkness is that sits within him.
Then, there’s Destrou. He and his brother, Ranmau, live in a hostile, icy cold world. Destrou is lonely and lacks a lot of his brother’s strength. When the going gets tough, Ranmau is always there for Destrou. However, as his story progresses, their relationship begins to change. And, when Destrou meets another young boy, his world suddenly flips and soon new conflicts arise.
This story is filled with conflict between and within characters, interesting concepts around elemental strength, hints of betrayal and an underlying evil, and a lot of action. By including all these layers, it opens up a range of different potential audiences who like to be kept guessing, are into delving into the depths of a story’s lore and coming up with theories, or just wanting to sit back and enjoy a good read.
Honestly, I think this story is quite a good one. I know I like a book when I find it hard to put it down, which is what happened with this one. However, it’s not perfect. Most stories aren’t, but there were times I felt a little bit annoyed by the choices made by the characters or some of the cliched, stereotypical moments expected in a young adult novel.
Let me write about what I liked. I loved the originality. It was noticeable in the characters, the events and the setting. I liked how I was kept guessing about how the other plot line connected with what was happening in real time. Each character brought their own depth to the story, making it all the more tantalising to see what happens to them. The whole concept around how our pasts can impact our future if we don’t take control is also very interesting and I think most people can connect with it.
Ultimately, what I loved most was the authenticity. As I have mentioned in a previous post, I think it’s so important for authors to stay true to themselves and not fall into the trap of trying to write like someone else. If a storyteller uses their own voice, then most of the time the story will be engaging. This is how I felt when I read through this whole story, so although some parts of it could be improved, I was still undeniably engaged with the story and I really liked it.
In summary, if you’re a fan of fantasy and young adult combos, then you’re probably going to really like this story. It’s fun to read and the plot line is intriguing. The complex relationships bring a lot of depth into the story, and I think the cliched teenage angst, although a bit too stereotypical at times, provides an extra edge to the conflict.
This new world has a solid foundation for how it can grow as the series continues. With how this instalment finished, I am very much interested and excited for what is in store in the second book, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in it!
That’s it from me. Remember to ignite the story and I’ll see you again soon!
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Charlotte is a reading and writing lover who has completed a creative writing intensive course at the University of Oxford and is a current university student studying a double degree in journalism and creative writing. If you are curious to learn more, check out the 'About' page.