Bowling’s debut is a fast-paced, accessible fantasy epic.
The sorcerer Dale steals a mysterious dagger from “the Coven,” disrupting the ascent of head demon Apollyon—but not before the demon kills the parents of Corin Starcross, just a baby at the time. Dale and his new associate, the mercenary Wren, rescue Corin, wrongfully assuming the boy’s older brother Cade is dead. Years later, the land of Ellynrie faces strange changes, signaling the imprisoned demon’s impending return. Cade, with the dagger and Corin’s blood, intends to raise Apollyon to duke it out over his crappy childhood. Of course, that endangers the entire world. Cade’s assassins retrieve the dagger and start a bloody game of cat-and-mouse with Wren, his spirited daughter Kayla, Dale’s teenage protégé Adriel, Corin and their other companions. The teens are the most convincing inhabitants of Ellynrie, proving their courage time and again, ultimately standing against Cade at the dark tower.
Covers familiar ground, but Bowling’s authorial sincerity manages to keep the journey interesting.