A debut fantasy novel traverses the modern day and a strange ancient time.
A graduate student named Nikki Ricks finds herself at a paleontological dig deep in the jungles of South America. When a blue metal sword that seemingly exhibits vast power is unearthed at the dig, Nikki and her colleagues become perplexed. While they never expected to stumble on a mysterious sword in the jungle, they certainly aren’t prepared for the events that follow its discovery. After Nikki’s world is upended, the story shifts to a young man named Rogaan. Rogaan lives in a bygone era where dangerous animals lurk, and it is only with immense bravery that men dare to stalk them. Rogaan and his friend Pax are excited to go on an organized hunt, although the activity is much more severe than a casual turkey shoot. Rogaan and Pax must obey militarylike commands and endure grueling conditions just to get to their prey, let alone kill anything. As the two return from their mission, they learn of great unrest in their homeland. Not only are people being arrested, but the authorities happen to be looking specifically for Rogaan as well. Should the two surrender or try to find out what is happening? Choosing the latter, they take the reader on a journey that echoes classic buddy escapades like The Lord of the Rings series, with dashes of fantastical beasts. Although details, such as preparations for Rogaan and Pax’s epic hunt, can be overly explained (“A sense of foreboding taunted Rogaan”), the book’s true excitement builds once they have returned from the wilderness. Packed with action and the lingering question of Nikki’s fate and how it relates to Rogaan, Vonsik’s series opener offers an engaging plot to keep the fantasy fan reading. Although Pax’s manner of speaking recalls an unpopular character from a galaxy far, far away (as when he questions Rogaan with “Ya be honestly wantin’ ta go there?” or expresses discontent: “This not be right!”), the heart of the story is the various secrets it has to reveal. Avoiding many clichés of the genre, the narrative provides a bevy of tantalizing threads to savor.
Complete with otherworldly surprises, this tale delivers an inventive adventure.