The Rise of Drohlo
Series: Book one in a Trilogy
Author: Taylor Saville
Published: June 10, 2020
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Aurlinia Verana can no longer remember the sensation of sunlight, the sway of the golden aspens, or the crash of ocean waves on the shoreline of her ancient, fallen homeland of Lineastear. From early childhood, she spends her life underground, deep within the labyrinth of caves that become both her curse and her cage. Though when a violent invasion threatens the lives of everyone on the continent of Runahn, her world changes forever. She abandons the safety of the underworld city of Vaulok to find her courage, her purpose, and herself. In a miraculous stroke of fate, she becomes aware of her unprecedented power as the only living healer of the mysterious, sentient creatures known as the tiloque. This power earns her the respect and adulation of the only tiloque strong enough to rekindle the dying hope… and unite an entire world.
I really loved Taylor’s first book, Jagged Mind, so much. I wish I could say the same for this book. While her imagination is crazy good, this book read like a soap opera, trying to be Shakespeare, but actually like a high school creative writing essay that got a C+. Unfortunately, because all of the fantasy came straight from her brain with no existing precedent, I got confused and overwhelmed very quickly. This book would have automatically been better if there had been a character list, with a pronunciation guide, and a map.
The plot, which has a lot of potential, was burdened down with a whole lot of useless middle school romance between children that obviously need to grow up. I hate to say it because I love romance in stories, but the one genuine relationship was ruined by immature pandering. Everything was so “instinctual” and that was nice and comforting for the first half of the quest, but then got annoying and overbearing real quick. I definitely want to know more about Drohlo and his kind. He was the one truly unique element, but he didn’t even show up until the last quarter.
She also had the same writing issue that she did with Jagged Mind. She jumped between characters’ perspectives and thoughts so quickly that it got confusing. I never knew who was talking. In Jagged Mind, I liked it because I wanted to see what was in each person’s head. It didn’t work in The Rise of Drohlo. At this point, I can’t decide if I want to continue reading the next book when it comes out. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, but Jagged Mind set such a high standard and The Rise of Drohlo is not even close to meeting that standard.
Engines of the Broken World
Author: Jason Vanhee
Published: November 5, 2013
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 2 stars
Merciful Truth and her brother, Gospel, have just pulled their dead mother into the kitchen and stowed her under the table. It was a long illness, and they wanted to bury her—they did—but it’s far too cold outside, and they know they won’t be able to dig into the frozen ground. The Minister who lives with them, who preaches through his animal form, doesn’t make them feel any better about what they’ve done. Merciful calms her guilty feelings but only until, from the other room, she hears a voice she thought she’d never hear again. It’s her mother’s voice, and it’s singing a lullaby. . . .
What a weird book. The whole time, I just sat, puzzled. This animal that wasn’t an animal, but looked like an animal, but kept changing its appearance to different animals . . . What?? I thought maybe, once the mother started moving and talking even though she was dead, things were gonna get good. Not really at all. I had such high hopes with the cover and the description. But by the end, I was more confused than when I started!
I’m not even sure how to describe what I read. I think it was supposed to be some kind of post apocalyptic tale, but even then, I’m not sure. Different worlds that can communicate with each other, ministers that look like animals but aren’t, snowstorm that shrinks the world. But then it just ends with no resolution. I just didn’t like it. I don’t get what happened. I don’t understand what the author was trying to say. I just don’t know. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend this book to anybody.
Author: Kate Pentecost
Published: April 14, 2020
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Elysium, Oklahoma, is a town like any other. Respectable. God-fearing. Praying for an end to the Dust Bowl. Until the day the people of Elysium are chosen by two sisters: Life and Death. And the Sisters like to gamble against each other with things like time, and space, and human lives. Elysium is to become the gameboard in a ruthless competition between the goddesses. The Dust Soldiers will return in ten years’ time, and if the people of Elysium have not proved themselves worthy, all will be slain.
Nearly ten years later, seventeen-year-old Sal Wilkinson is called upon to lead Elysium as it prepares for the end of the game. But then an outsider named Asa arrives at Elysium’s gates with nothing more than a sharp smile and a bag of magic tricks, and they trigger a terrible accident that gets both Sal and Asa exiled into the brutal Desert of Dust and Steel. There Sal and Asa stumble upon a gang of girls headed by another exile: a young witch everyone in Elysium believes to be dead. As the apocalypse looms, they must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium’s favor — only by reinventing the rules can they beat Life and Death at their own game in this exciting fantasy debut.
This. Cover. It’s gonna be awfully hard to beat this absolutely amazing cover! I didn’t even read the description until after I had gotten home with it! Then I saw that the description sounded interesting so I moved it to the top of my list. Definitely worth it! The story was pretty unique! It was kinda Grapes of Wrath mixed with Mad Max and a little Harry Potter … if that doesn’t intrigue you, then I’m not sure what will!
My only real issue was the virtue signaling that kept cropping up. The one that really bothered me was small, but to me it was problematic. At one point, Sal and Asa met a couple of the desert girls and one was described as white and the other as Black … one capitalized, one not. I’m not ok with that. Unfortunately, it distracted and bothered me enough to bring my rating down. But thankfully, the characters were likeable, the plot engaging, and the experience uncommon. I think this would be a great book to give to a teen that wants to start reading! I loved the idea of magic within a Dustbowl community and those horses … well I can’t give much else away! I would recommend this to most teens and to anyone who enjoys fantasy.