Right’s debut follows the familiar tale of a young man on a quest to save his world in this suspenseful, often well-told epic fantasy for young adults.
Two weeks after the mysterious death of his grandparents, Jules Blaze, a young lad of the Elfie race, and his younger siblings embark on a perilous journey to find their mother. She suddenly disappeared after her children were attacked by ravens sent by the dark lord, Gehzurolle. Their mother, Erin, is a Keeper, charged with protecting one of five sacred books written by a great king, her ancestor, in his own blood; the joining of those five books could free their land from a terrible curse and from Gehzurolle. The exact nature of this curse is one of Right’s more unique conceits. After one of the king’s children lost his book years ago, all of the kingdom’s inhabitants—Elfie and otherwise—shrank to a tiny size, leaving them in a world where even dragonflies and the very books the Keepers are meant to guard are vastly larger than they are. Right is generally an excellent writer. Her characters may not be incredibly complex, but they feel full of life and drive. The fight scenes are taut, gripping and beautifully timed, and her novel shines with cleverly phrased prose: “When Jules was absolutely certain he was dead, he opened his eyes underwater.” Unfortunately, the plot twists, such as the revelation of traitors, often feel predictable and undercooked. For the traitors, for example, it’s difficult to believe their motivations. Furthermore, many of her character names—Topee, Bitha, Tst Tst, Rage, Tenacious and, most egregiously, Sparkles—are so awkward and ill-suited that they can pull the reader out of the book’s world, Reign—itself a plodding moniker.
Fairly traditional in structure and content but distinguished by impressive action sequences, likable characters and intelligent prose laced with humor and heart.