Farris’ debut is an epic tale of strange powers and political maneuvering set amid the backdrop of 10 fractious kingdoms, each with its own agenda and defining traits.
Sixteen-year-old Bryson is scarred both physically and emotionally. A student at the elite Light Realm–affiliated school Phesaw, Bryson struggles with the memory of his father. This year might finally be his chance to escape his father’s shadow, though: Bryson and his friend Olivia will join the Jesitvan, a legendary group of heroes. The Jestivan are called only in times of great danger, however, and as much as Bryson is enjoying the new experience of having friends and a team, the Jestivan were called for a reason. Dark forces are moving, using subterfuge and deceit, to pit the Light-aligned Kingdoms against one another. Complicating matters further is Lita Lilu, fellow Jestivan, princess, and just maybe the girl of Bryson’s dreams. Lives—and kingdoms—are at stake, and to save them, Bryson and his new friends will have to overcome not just powerful enemies, but their own flaws and weaknesses. The narrative, like its protagonists, is full of fun strengths and a few flaws it needs to overcome. The action scenes are snappy and well-written, and the characters are as colorful as their hair—violet, green, purple, etc. The anime influence is very strong. While that definitely contributes to the fun, it also has a few drawbacks. The bombastic speaking style can sound stilted, and exposition often unfolds via robotic monologues. However, the cast is a hoot, successfully riding the line between amusingly over-the-top and outright unbelievable (see Meow Meow the sentient hat that looks like a kitten).
A fun, energetic fantasy sure to appeal to anime aficionados.