Johuocin by J. Elmer Tesch

Johuocin

Part One: Shade of Liberation
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A debut fantasy tale of revenge, dark sorcery, and sedition in a land oppressed by a tyrannical king.

The 27-year-old Johuocin strikes a deal with a wizard to give up his own body in exchange for a chance at revenge for his father’s death. Now he has all the time in the world to formulate a plan, and all he has to do is “step into” the body of someone who looks useful. But Johuocin gets far more than he bargained for when he possesses and fully controls the body of Capt. Orman Reglawr. He travels with Orman’s brother, Ouben, and Merson Bennidact, a man who hides his dwarvish heritage in a kingdom that isn’t fond of dwarves. Orman is ostensibly collecting taxes for King Eldwa, the man responsible for the death of Johuocin’s father. In reality, he’s been sent by his own father, with men handpicked for their loyalty, to help overthrow the king. As a result, Johuocin finds himself on a strange journey that’s filled with even stranger people—including 10 eternally young children—and more magic than he expected, despite his experience with wizard’s deals. The strongest aspect of this book is its imagination; Johuocin boasts a unique set of circumstances and abilities, and the secondary characters are engaging. Johuocin’s situation effectively drives his character development, as he encounters situations he never would have in his previous life and faces unique challenges as he tries to effect change in the world around him. However, the book has a tendency to communicate back story, summaries of events, and character reactions in large blocks of text that can be clunky to read through. The story makes good use of its nonhuman races, however, such as the colorful Ocre faery-folk.

An imaginative, promising first effort that could have used more polish to really shine.

Publisher: Archway Publishing
Program: Kirkus Indie
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