Kirkus Reviews QR Code
ACROSS THE DARK WATER by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez


From the Riders of the Realm series, volume 1

by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

Pub Date: May 1st, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-06-241539-4
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Following the four-book Guardian Herd series, a new series opener in the same world.

Hundreds of pegasi have been kept in captivity by Nightwing the Destroyer. When their escape plot leaks, 140 rebel pegasi called the Storm Herd flee across the Dark Ocean in hopes of settling in a new land, led by brave Echofrost. Instead of arriving in peaceful valleys where the herd can graze and fly freely, the Storm Herd discovers more perils, including barbaric giants and Landwalkers. The two-legged Landwalkers control a herd of pegasi, riding on their backs, something the Storm Herd has never seen. When the Landwalkers (hair and eye coloration described in detail, skin color unmentioned) capture herd member Shysong, Echofrost leaves the Storm Herd to press on without her—only to be captured herself. While Echofrost plots escape, a young orphaned Landwalker cares for her, all the while trying to decide whether to sell her at auction or free her and Shysong. Alvarez opens the story with a cumbersome summation of the epic battle that provides cover for the Storm Herd’s flight, leaving readers new to the world confused from the start as to who’s who. The story from there is a variant on the common narrative that depicts a group escaping bondage only to find more bondage in the new land. The adventure with the pegasi stalls halfway through as the plot turns to the dull royal politics of their new human masters.

Even committed series fans may find the human storyline slow going.

(Fantasy. 8-12)