The Destroyer of Worlds is a riveting science fiction epic that keeps the reader on edge throughout the reading. Steven Seril has a creative mind, coupled with writing skills that are out of this world. The narration of events alone will get you hooked on the story from the beginning.
One of the most notable elements in Steven Seril’s writing is the detailed background provided for each character and scenarios before introducing the reader to the happenings. The reader will be given a short story about a particular character, which helps provide enough backstory for readers to get invested, or at least understand, each character. I found this fashion of writing to be uniquely intriguing as one gets to to become familiar with the characters before getting into the action. All characters, whether major or minor had a feature that made them distinct. Every character had a unique role and I was excited to see them in action.
The Destroyer of Worlds follows a story of warring sides, dragons, and dinosaurs. Both dragons and dinosaurs want to be in charge. It was exciting and thrilling to follow the conflict as the tension was high but the drama was subtle. One scene would have you support the dinosaurs only for the author to hit the reader with a plot twist that would have you change sides. Reading this book is a great experience especially for readers that enjoy mythological creatures and stories about cosmic life.
Some of my favorite characters in the book included Athena, Ain, Laurel, Loki, and Azure. I enjoyed these characters because of their well developed and layered personality; some were cunning, strong, wise, intentionally careless to bait others, or just funny. One other thing that stands out is how the author creates new tales while narrating old tales without confusing the reader. There are several instances where one can see the inclusion of a story within a story. This, along with the depth of the lore in this book, amazes me with its creativity and deft writing skill.
The Destroyer of Worlds is a rip-roaring science fiction adventure novel that is consistently entertaining, fun, and intriguing in surprising ways.
Pages: 578 | ASIN: B08NHGCV8B
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The Penitent – Part 1 begins an epic fantasy series spanning three novels. Did you know how deep the story would go when you first started?
I wanted to write a series like this one for a long time now. When I first started planning The Immortality Wars I knew it would be at least one trilogy. It very quickly morphed into the idea of creating a trilogy of trilogies. I wanted to create a series of realities, in part, that the characters in the story would experience. So the tale is built around a thought experiment that is configured like a Russian doll. I later learned that a work containing nine related books is called an ennealogy. I felt I needed such an expansive framework to house the full length of this saga on a comfortable basis.
I enjoyed the relationship between Pall and John. What were some sources that informed the development of their relationship?
One of the sources informing the development of their relationship with one another is the story of Robin Hood and Little John. However, I wanted to develop their relationship in a different way than it is cast with Robin and Little John, especially in their being more independent of one another. Each has a unique set of skills, background, and way of life. Yet, they are fierce warriors in their own right. When I originally introduced them in the story, one was going to kill the other. Curiously, they both immediately rebelled at this thought.
Was there anything personal, or taken from your own life, and placed in the story?
There is a sense of loss and of tragedy that imbues the story, as well as a love of nature and a deep sense of love of family that are all taken from my own life. Equally so, is my experience of and commitment to God that permeates Pall’s story. For example, there is a miraculous healing of Captain Joseph Martains. It is taken from a real-life experience I had in 1973. A professor was brought back to life as a result of a terrible fall he had from a roughly made staging placed against his house. He fell headfirst onto his cement driveway. No one expected him to live. However, God had other plans than death for the professor at that point in his life.
What has been the most surprising feedback you’ve received from readers about your series?
I am surprised at the reaction some readers have experienced from the intensity of the story, particularly the paranormal and combat scenes. These points in the story are not meant to be moments of gratuitous violence or unspeakable horror alone. They are set within the plot for a variety of reasons some of which would become spoilers if I explained why they are occurring there. Hopefully, I’ve written a tale that makes readers intrigued, on edge, and looking forward to what happens on every page that they read.
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The Penitent: Part I by Keith Carreiro is a sprawling sci-fi fantasy novel. It also has a healthy dash of horror, war, and tragedy. Needless to say, it is a little bit intense but it is a satisfying and well-told story. It is about Pall Warren, an ostracized young man who does not know why he is doomed to live on the outskirts of life. Yet he makes peace with this and continues his difficult existence. Slowly, his background is revealed to us, and Pall finds meaning in his journey to find the truth. He pairs up with a mysterious archer, John Savage and the two form an uneasy but loyal partnership.
Pall lives a tough life and it was difficult to read about his daily pain and struggle, almost as terrible as his past. He has a lot of grit and moral strength, and manages to navigate life with his head held high. John is, as they say, a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. I found his parts very entertaining as he was a droll and captivating character- probably my favorite. Towards the end, Evangel is also briefly mentioned- I’m very interested to know what part she plays in Pall’s life.
The story starts off slow and doesn’t shy away from laying out the atrocities and horror of Pall’s life. Some parts are gruesome, violent, and downright depressing but I think those parts were important in forming Pall. They may seem gratuitous, but as the story developed, I could see that this is what made Pall a consistent and strong character. The author brilliantly displays the psychology of people amidst war. The ruthlessness, and ultimately, pointlessness of political struggles seemed to be the root of evil to me.
The Penitent: Part I is an emotional rollercoaster of a story that looks at both sides of life. It shows how hope and despair can easily be a part of one’s fate when one has little control. Ultimately, it is about digging to find the truth and to have an unflinching moral code against one’s enemies. That’s what makes the characters and this story so likable. The nail-biting ending was superb and I nearly wanted to scream at the suspense. A thrilling beginning to a riveting epic fantasy series.
Pages: 293 | ASIN: B07W9F44LK
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Temple of Ice by Christian Cura is a thrilling fantasy novel set in a frozen land with ruthless monsters roaming about. It centers around Tama and her two friends, Kachina and Masou, as they complete their training as winter mages. To do that though, they must face numerous trials, including an evil goddess sending out minions to break her out of her prison.
Temple of Ice is set in the intriguing world of Perimar and on the continent Khione. The setting seems dire, but is the beautiful descriptions really bring the backdrop to life, Khione is a frozen continent with marvelous landscapes covered in snow and ice but little else. The setting is somewhat of a canvas that author Christian Cura fills with all sorts of creative beings and characters to create a truly vibrant world. So much so, that the mere descriptions of snowy fields, or ice molded homes, or beautiful star laden skies against majestic mountains were a delight to read. Khione was also littered with a variety of fantasy beasts roaming the world, all of them wildly different to each other, my favourite the avak – was giant four-winged bird. These didn’t stay on page long as new creatures were introduced, ensuring readers never get bored of them. The culture of those living here was just as well-crafted as the physical world with new traditions, customs, and an ice-based magic system that felt unique and fit in well in this world.
The protagonist, Tama, starts out mischievous and grows into a stronger, more mentally resilient, individual. This fantasy character archetype was executed well but I wanted to see something more to make it really stand out. The side characters in the main cast helped with this though, as their pasts and motivations were strong and just as interesting.
Fight scenes were common throughout and the best aspect of them was their coherency. The magic was used solidly without any deus ex machinas but the main positive for me was how well they flowed together. It was never a jumble of fists and ice spears but each action had a reaction that kept it engaging throughout. Overall, the setting was great, the actions and characters were well-written but perhaps due to the small page count, the pacing felt rushed which left me wanting more of the characters and their relationships.
Temple of Ice is an action-filled sword and sorcery novel. With a well crafted magic system, an interesting setting and fascinating characters, fantasy fans will find plenty to love in Christian Cura’s suspenseful novel.
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The Chronicles of AzzaNation: Dawn of a New Age by Matt Mihilewicz is a mesmerizing and expansive science fiction fantasy story following an unlikely battle between the tyrannical leader of AzzaNation and a young man, Leo Exe. The Brotherhood of Light, a powerful resistance group recruits Leo to attack the King and his Royal Army for the terror they have created. Alongside is Diandra, a woman with strange powers that allows her to control the energy surrounding her. Leo and his unlikely friends come together to take down the evil leader and bring back the light to AzzaNation.
Leo Exe is a compelling and likable protagonist- he’s a bit Aladdin-esque. He’s poor, struggling, and with an odd but strong moral compass. He is the definition of a reluctant, unlikely hero as he gathers his limited resources to fight against the despot. Diandra is also a strong, compassionate, and rebellious character. She uses her powers and training in capturing natural energies to help Leo out of difficult situations. I would have loved to read this story from her point-of-view– she has the coolest powers and is unintimidated in the face of danger.
The novel opens with an intricate map of AzzaNation that I would frequently flip back to while reading about the various places and interesting terrains. I’m always a fan of maps and illustrations of any kind in fantasy books– they provide a depth to world-building that wouldn’t be there otherwise. The author also provides a sort of preamble in the beginning, giving a short history of AzzaNation and setting the stage for its characters later on.
This is not by any means a light read but it is extremely engaging. The author dwells on all the characters and sceneries, creating vivid and realistic visions even out of simple meditation scenes. The pace is slow but it makes the build-up even more intense. There are a lot of side plots happening and many hoops that Leo has to jump through to get to achieve his final goal. This is not a cut-to-the-chase action thriller. This was a very rewarding read because of the slow-burn nature. I am invested in seeing the fate of AzzaNation, the Brotherhood, and of course, Leo. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in escaping to a different and a much more fantastical world.
Pages: 248 | ASIN: B08XPDZSQF
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Perseverance: How It All Began follows a woman caught between two men that challenge her in more ways than one. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
I enjoyed the challenge of laying out a story where love was not an easy process for the main character. The thing that inspired me the most in setting up this story was using Cadence’s circumstances to help peal back the layers of her character. That inspiration really came from my own experiences in getting to know other individuals. There is so much depth to be found in other people and I wanted to write a character that I could explore that process with.
Cadence is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
I wanted Cadence to be exceptionally honest, loyal, and display a deep rooted concern for others. I wanted her to be a character that had a natural inclination toward living with integrity, but I didn’t want to make any of these attributes easy for Cadence to choose consistently. One of the beautiful things about Cadence is the depth of her care for others, but it is also one of the things about her that makes her run into some of her greatest difficulties.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I really wanted to explore the consequences of pain and how it manifests in life in ways that are not always easy to identify. I also wanted to highlight how significant a single choice can be. While both of those concepts were important for me to explore, I wanted to lay out the intricacies of love and what it looks like to overcome the things that can hold a person back from taking their next step forward.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
After publishing Perseverance: How It All Began, I then published Perseverance: Rise Of The Trials. I am now putting the final touches on Perseverance: Descension To Hell, which will be released September 3rd, 2021.
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The Roar of a Dragon follows a soldier who discovers a far future ruled by an ancient evil and grapples with the choice to save the past that exiled him. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
From conception to completion, this book took ten years to formulate and write. The movie Dragonheart was a major inspiration. I loved the idea of exploring the friendship between man and dragon. What I mainly struggled with in coming up with a story for the book was the antagonist. Once I came up with Sirak and the Ther-lor, the story really started to come together. As far as Aidan goes, I love a dark, brooding protagonist–a character that begins with a more happy, conventional backstory, and then something major and traumatizing happens and then they’re a completely different, darker character. I love things like that.
Aidan is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?
Aidan always dreamed of being a knight. In the first half of the book, he believes strongly in the ideas of honor and sacrifice, and all the other things you would expect a knight to believe in. In the second half of the book, Aidan is much more bitter and believes he’s been betrayed. Deep down, he still believes in all the ideals of a knight, but now all these other emotions are pulling him in different directions. As with most main characters, I think most authors put a lot of themselves into them, and that’s certainly true here.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Friendship was first and foremost. As I said earlier, Dragonheart was a major inspiration for this book–I loved the relationship between Bowen and Draco in that movie. I really wanted Aidan and Iskandor to have that same kind of relationship. The friendship theme is also explored in the relationship between Aidan and Derrick. They have a very different dynamic, but the same type of bond. Betrayal is another theme, of course. I think it’s fascinating how different people can deal with things like that. Closer to the end of the book, the theme is love is explored, and it goes more in depth in The Treachery of a Weasel and The Cry of a Raven.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
With The Roar of a Dragon series done (and there will be more in that world to come, so stay tuned!), my main goal is to finish the zombie apocalypse book that I’m currently working on. I made characters for my two boys in it, so it’s very important for me to finish it. The tentative title of the book is All We Have Left, though that’s likely to change since there’s already a well-known book by that name. As to when it will be available, I’m shooting for the end of 2021, maybe early 2022.
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After being exiled from a village unable to sustain him and his friends during the long and harsh winter, Karik embarks on a treacherous journey to find a place to stay. After multiple discussions, Karik convinces his stubborn friends to head north, where they might find shelter in one of the less populated villages. When they stumble upon a small settlement up north and are invited to stay, they reluctantly accept. However, they notice strange details around the village including its saggy construction and utter lack of population. They soon discover that many important events actually occur underground in an elaborate series of tunnels, including a strange pact with a dangerous dragon and dark secrets involving a mythological character. Karik must find a way to defeat this threat lurking in the shadows and keep his friends, and himself, alive until spring.
Kariks First Battle by Evan Oliver is a thrilling high-fantasy novella and is the first installment in the “Legends of Karik” series. However short, this first following an intriguing hero through an imaginative fantasy world that still feels grounded but deep. This reminds me of The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien in that it feels like an adventure that’s playing out in a world with a very deep backstory.
The characters are all compelling in their own way, barely riding the line of fantasy trope but bring enough unique characterization to make them feel fresh and alive on the page. The story feels like a reinvigoration of the type of fantasy story telling prevalent in the 80’s, but with a contemporary infusion of action and sense of adventure.
Kariks First Battle has a creative plot that is propelled by fascinating characters. I really feel like we’re just scratching the surface of something much grander in the Legends of Karik series. If you’re looking for an epic fantasy story where a host of striking characters set out on a dangerous adventure then you will find plenty to enjoy in this book.
Pages: 91 | ASIN: B08W73Q5D2
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