In this his first novel, Hayden Selfe has created a masterful portrait in the world of fantasy Fiction with his clearly defined characters and well detailed storyline. Well written and constructed Selfe entices us into a world we have perhaps all experienced in our dreams, that of myth and magic and not a little bit of heroism from the main character.
We join the heroine of the story, Alaine, as novice in the Order of the Paladins. She has come from a country village and does not have the privileged background a number of the other novices have, so always feels she has to try harder and be tougher than anyone else to be able to live her dream to become a fully-fledged member of the order of Goddess Minda.
Testing day finally arrives with the novices having to face the final assessment of their skills. They receive an assignment at the end of the single combat section which sees them having to travel into dangerous mountain territory to complete the quest – obtaining the sacred relic to return to the Temple of Minda.
Right from the start things do not go to plan with several of the group becoming injured in their first encounter with the demons which inhabit the dangerous lands through which they must travel.
Alaine becomes separated from the rest of the group when she falls down what appears to be a shaft finding herself in the land of the Almost Dead. There she finds a clutch of mysterious eggs. She is overcome with the desire to take one of the eggs with her on her journey: a decision that will change her life.
Her true journey begins in the land of the Almost Dead, testing her in more ways than she would have ever thought possible.
Alaine is befriended by a wizard name Maldor who has his own raft of issues which need to be solved. The pair combines forces to challenge a greater foe than either had ever imagined and by using magic, mystic and sheer brute force, along with a collection of friends and warriors they meet on the way, they win the day and of course the Battle.
A fantastic read that delivers a fresh take in the world of fantasy and magic, mixed with a thoroughly good battle between the forces of good and evil and sometimes just sheer stupidity, all adding up to a really great story.
Can’t wait for Book Two in the series.
|Publisher||Short Stop Press|