Hey guys, I’m going to try and do something slightly different with the way I do reviews now – at least in the way I lay them out. Don’t worry, I’m still going to do them as concise and critical as I can, but I just wanted to try a different layout.
Anyway, my last Pandragon review of 2013 is a Young Adult Fantasy novel called Ennara and the Fallen Druid, written by Angela Myron. It’s a story that, whilst not entirely original, is definitely worth the read for all ages – as opposed to some of the more “adult” Fantasies out there. So let’s get to it.
About The Author
Angela is the author of the YA fantasy series Ennara and the keeper of a secret manuscript dungeon populated by science fiction and paranormal mysteries that long to see the light of day. Before fiction, she earned her living massacring prose in software manuals. She holds a degree in professional writing and lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and twins.
Here we see our heroes – Ennara and friends – surrounded by hideous shadow demons ready to pull them apart. But they stand strong, weapons in hand and ready to kick ass! Not much else to say. It’s a pretty good cover – and has some nice colours to it. It was a bit hard for me to see the shadow demons at first – but then they are shadow demons (duh!). Not sure how eye catching it is, but it definitely does the trick.
When a mysterious curse threatens to transform everyone into shadowy demons, a magical eleven year-old girl must travel to a sunken city ruin—fighting pirates, monsters, and an undead sorcerer along the way—to find a weapon that can save her world.
What I liked
The plot might not be one of the most original – and one that, if you’ve read Fantasy, will know is standard for the stories. But as the old saying goes “If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it.” I personally love these kind of stories – the idea of going on a quest to stop a great evil is always good to flame the imagination and bring out the hero in us all. And this time, that task falls to Ennard, a young girl that is seeking to learn magic and be a hero. Move aside, Potter!
Joining her is a master wizard, a giant sea cat, a cabin boy and an old friend. Most of them around the same age as Ennara (with the exception of the wizard), so it should come as no surprise that the kids are the ones that come to the rescue in this one! It was a pretty good team and I liked the fact that all of them did their part in the story and Ennara wasn’t the main problem solver. Nothing irritates me more than having that one team member that solves EVERYTHING and the others are there just to either look pretty or be a foil, so it was nice that they all did their part in this quest.
The world that Ennara is set in is nicely done and one that I could believe. It didn’t have any overly fantastic set up or a vastly complex magic system that made it too good to be true. I always think that the best way to create a fantasy world is to make it as believable as possible as opposed to fantastical – and this does a good job. The monsters and creatures that are encountered are nicely done as well. All in all, the book did a good job of setting up the world and magic system.
Whilst there are some fighting and minor bloody moments, the content is pretty tame for the most part – so younger readers would be able to enjoy this story. The fact that the main characters are children themselves will also appeal to them – making this a fun read for all ages.
What I didn’t like
My biggest problem with this novel was the length – in that it was too short. I do believe that a book is as long as it needs to be, but I do feel that this novel could have been a little bit longer (but not too long). I easily could have read through another 100 pages or so.
The problem that I had with the length mainly is that I didn’t feel the story had enough space to really expand or breathe properly. The main bad guy is the titular “Fallen Druid” – but I didn’t really feel like the threat of him was really built up enough. I am of the opinion that if you introduce a high powered monster or dark lord, you need to build him/her/it up enough so that the reader knows he is a real threat that must be defeated.
For example, take Sauron from Lord of the Rings. He never really appears in the whole trilogy – but his threat is ever present. He has a vast army at his disposal and his presence is always felt by the heroes as they traverse towards Mount Doom. Because of what we’ve been told of his backstory, and the fact that his influence pretty much covers Middle-Earth, we know that he is a really powerful enemy and one that must be stopped if the world of Men is to survive. The same goes for the Others (White Walkers) in A Song of Ice and Fire. They’ve yet to make a move against Westeros, but their threat is ever present and very real, even if the rest of the world doesn’t know it yet. So even though they haven't made a move yet, the reader knows that they are building up to something - and no doubt the whole world will suffer when it happens.
Here though, it felt more like “This is the bad guy – go get him!” It didn’t affect my enjoyment of the piece, but I do feel that more needed to be made of the villain. Also, the book ended a little too abruptly for my liking – though it does set it up nicely for the next book.
- Good characters and each of them has a part to play in the story.
- Nicely thought out world and magic system.
- Content would be suitable for younger readers.
- Maybe too short, which means the story doesn’t really have a chance to breathe.
- Main villain and overall threat never really built up as much as it could be.
If you’re looking for a good Fantasy story to introduce to your children, or if you just want a nice, safe Fantasy tale to read, then this one I recommend. If you prefer your Fantasy a bit more “adult”, then you probably won’t enjoy this as much. But if you just want to read a good Fantasy, regardless of content, check this one out. It’s a fun read for all the family.
FINAL SCORE: 4/5