I have a gut instinct for picking books… NOT that all books are a 5 or anything like that (it would be so BORING if I was that spot on!) but I know what I like and when I’m feeling it I go all in! This is one of those times when I just instinctively knew to go for a book…
The Road to Kalbakar
Wyrms of Pasandir #1
by Paul E. Horsman
Published September 6th 2016
by Red Rune Books
Since he was a boy, 17 year old Eskandar has never been alone. In his head is the voice of Teodar, friend, mentor and protector. The voice teaches him magic even though Eskandar must hide his skill… until one day the ship Tipred answers a distress call… and he must fight a sea monster who may know more about who he is than he does! This sets him on an adventure with new friends to learn just who he is and where he came from…
Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours and the publisher for providing me with an e-book in exchange for an honest review. This has not influenced my opinion.
This is a rip roaring adventure the likes of isn’t really seen in YA today… AND IT IS EXCELLENT! I don’t suppose I could just close my review on this thought?! …No, I didn’t think so.
I basically consumed this book in big gulping sections because I enjoyed it so much. It isn’t just a fantasy adventure with a male protagonist… and while they traveled from place to place it isn’t your typical traveling story… it really is an adventure and they run into enemies and allies as they go along… its about the group! It’s about camaraderie and dealing with whatever situation you happen to find yourself…
I really liked the world! We start off on a ship and life is rather the pits being on the bottom of the totem pole as Eskandar is… traveling by that ship is Kellani, a broomrider… YES! A broom like a witch but SOO much cooler… She helps Eskandar fight the sea monster while he deals with the spawn. This is how he describes meeting her:
“I saw Kellani stiffen. If you’ve never seen a Kell warrioress do that before, it’s awesome. All those big muscles tensing, hands balling to fists and eyes flashing made a fearful sight. Wow, was I jealous!”
See its not really the writing style that is wowing though its pretty good… its Eskandar’s narrative and the way he sees those around him! It’s Eskandar’s POV… While we get a glimpse into Kellani’s mind and her cousin, Naudin, we stay predominately with Eskandar and I can see why… he is a pretty special fellow (despite being one of the rather common special snowflakes!)
His abilities are TO DIE FOR! (I won’t say too much because their revelation at each juncture is super exciting! I don’t want to ruin it for you!) I know this is a special snowflake sort of chosen one gimmick but I really enjoyed how we got to see these abilities in action… The situations felt very natural, the story flowed quite well. We start with the battle on the ship and then move on to the story behind an abandoned city… then we run into some Jinn! Each time we get a little more and it’s such fun and so compelling!
The thing is I REALLY enjoyed the characters he picks up along the way… Kellani remains a favorite of mine… a ballsy, muscled, broomrider in a man’s industry… she breaks all boundaries! Naudin is a mind mage who wears glasses (so cute!) and is rather a rich boy who doesn’t realize he’s privileged… I won’t say much about Gem but SO COOL how we meet her, she’s a songkill, she can influence people with her voice. There are a couple more but I won’t ruin their revelation for you either!
Really this is all you want to know going into this adventure… the world is explained as you meet the various people who are a part of different areas of the world… the information comes at you as you meet these people and its all rather compelling! The diversity is impressive and I liked how the characters weren’t pigeon holed… and how they each had mini-arcs and roles to play in Eskandar’s larger story.
OKAY, OKAY, ONE MORE THING… A DRAGON!!
“He put the last vole into his pocket and swooped up the little wyrm. ‘It’s small,’ he said in surprise, inspecting the snake-like body, the four legs and the wings. ‘No bigger than a kitten.’ He slipped the wyrmling inside his clothes. ‘Funny how cool it feels,’ he said, as it lay there quietly, its head peeking over the collar of his fur coat. ‘It’s quite docile,’ Kellie said, smiling. ‘Apparently it likes you.’”
GAH! Isn’t it the cutest!? GAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! I have MORE quotes but I won’t ruin it by sharing them all!! This is the BEST DRAGON I’ve read in a LONG TIME!! I’ve really liked the other dragons but THIS ONE… GAHHHHHH!!!! I know I’m just so overcome by the adorable quotient!
Are you convinced… yet?!
The pacing is rip roaring fast, almost too fast… Normally I would point to this as a flaw and a reason I took off a star in my rating system but NO! Actually this story verges on cheesy and if it took itself too seriously (by slowing down the pace) would ruin the entire effect of the story! There is a serial feel to the book… it is obviously a portion of the story and the enjoyment to be found is in the JOURNEY! And the journey is so fun!! I need me my own Lothi-Mo (and I need it NOW!) I look forward to reading the next installment if I’m given the opportunity to!
The title and cover are not my favorite… you know what I want a picture of… (YES, OF COURSE THE DRAGON!) and the title makes the story seem more generic cookie cutter than it is in reality! Don’t take these first impressions at face value and give this series a go… you will NOT be disappointed!
P.S. The mystery of who Eskandar is and why the voice are really neatly tied up in this book… So while it is serial in feel there is also a definite end which I appreciate!
Dragons! Male Protagonist! Diversity! World Building! Group Dynamics! Magic! Broomriders! Monsters!
As a writer you’ve got to jockey with your work until it has a sort of balance… This becomes your writing style and while some authors jump genres all the time, the writing style is something readers will come to expect no matter the premise. In this case the book needed a speedy pace even though this would be the WRONG choice more often than not!
You don’t have to have perfect prose in order to be a dynamite writer, you do have to be able to hook the reader with your creativity and your style!
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Premise & World Building
⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Cover & Title
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Development & Storycraft
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing & Narrative
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing
Umm, Mr. Horsman WHERE IS MY COPY OF THE SEQUEL!?
Do you love books with a group of adventurers?
How do you feel about special snowflakes / the chosen one trope?
Did you read the quotes from the book? Were they intriguing?
Thanks for reading XOXO