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A Lot of Interesting Twists

Evan Oliver
Evan Oliver Author Interview

Karik’s First Battle follows a group of exiles who seek shelter and work in a small northern village, but they learn the village holds a dark and dangerous secret. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve always been fascinated by dragons, from Fafnir to Smaug, and something that I’ve only seen hinted at is the idea that dragons would build a sort of network around themselves. Whether its to collect more treasure, to provide protection, or just to make life easier…why wouldn’t they? They’re always described as super intelligent, so I figured that it only made sense that a dragon would use those around them for their own benefit.

I’ve been playing with the tale of Vranr for a long time, and it has a lot of interesting twists that I’ve enjoyed exploring. I think knowing our history, where we come from, what it says about who we are is something that everyone has to grapple with to some degree,

The characters in the story were all interesting and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

There were two things that drive a lot of my character development, the first being the idea that everyone is looking for security in some way. Everyone wants to feel safe, not just for themselves, but for their loved ones, and when people don’t have that security, it drives them to take risks and make choices they otherwise wouldn’t. The second idea is that people can often have differing opinions and come into conflict without being bad people, and if handled improperly, those conflicts can distract from those who are actually causing harm and creating problems. Those two ideals drive a lot of the developments not just in Karik’s First Battle, but through the whole series.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

There were three themes that I wanted to look at in Karik’s first battle, the first one being the idea that people can have different solutions to the same problem without being villains. It’s easy to argue with someone when you believe they are evil or a fool, its much more difficult when they are presenting a valid solution to the problem you are both facing.

The second thing that I felt was important to explore was the cost of challenging the status quo. There is a price to be paid when we change how we do things, and a lot of times the push back we face is based on this price. But there is also a price to maintaining the status quo, and often that price is even higher.

The final theme, and one that is woven through all the books, is the idea of anticipating consequences. Karik is smart enough to know that there is more than one possible outcome if he challenges the dragon but guessing what all the possible outcomes are and planning for them is something he’s going to have to grapple with as the series continues.

This is book one in The Legends of Karik series. What can readers expect in book two?

More! Ylmi’s Saga is both longer, and deeper, than Karik’s First Battle. Ylmi’s Saga will begin with Ylmi as a young child, tell a bit about her life before Karik’s arrival in her village, and then show her as she grows into a fearsome warrior. We’ll see some of the adventures that turned her into the young woman we’ve met, how she deals with Unhost now that the dragon is dead, and we’ll follow her and Karik as they continue to try to find a way through the Black Isles. We’ll meet the other rulers in Vrania and learn a little bit more about the mythical figure of Vranr. Ylmi has a number of challenges and battles that she’ll have to face, and together with Karik she’s got more than a few adventures in front of her.

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His friends and family are dying. Now the only way to help them is to brave the cold and dangers of the north…
Karik is sick of the hunger slowly killing his village. And after watching his brother die of starvation, he fears the icy winter will claim them all. So when the jarl declares they need to reduce the number of mouths to feed, the tormented young man bravely volunteers to leave.
With his small group of fellow exiles stumbling onto a tiny settlement, Karik gladly accepts an invitation to stay and work. But he isn’t there long before sensing the jarl is keeping deadly secrets… including dark dealings with a dragon.
Behind it all lurks the legends of Vranr, their mythical forefather
Can the desperate hero survive his formidable quest and live to see the spring?
Karik’s First Battle is the action-packed Book 1 in The Legends of Karik fantasy series. If you like courageous characters, treacherous journeys, and epic battles, then you’ll love Evan Oliver’s perilous adventure.

Karik’s First Battle

Karik's First Battle (The Legends of Karik Book 1) by [Evan Oliver]

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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