A fantasy yarn with swords, magic and an ancient beast that threatens humanity.
Every century, a giant creature named the Abaddon rises from the ocean and destroys a city before returning to the sea for another 100 years. Most people run from Abaddon, planning their escape in advance of the centennial slaughter called Gehenna. But Ephraim, a young man from a small village, has an intense desire to fight the immortal monster. After his grandmother’s death severs his remaining family ties, Ephraim sets out with Bailey, his childhood friend, for the burning city, Haydenly. His hope is to join the army and someday fight Abaddon. While in the city, Ephraim trains as a soldier, and Bailey studies the secrets of Thaumaturgy, a magical talent that allows its practitioners to manipulate chemical elements at an atomic level. Then, a short mission to find Maiac, a Haydenly historian, turns into an epic journey for Ephraim and Bailey as they search for the secrets to stop Abaddon. Along the way, they encounter pirates and monsters while being chased by an assassin set to end their quest. In between his bouts of purple prose and the formulaic plot, Parham creates some vivid scenes and descriptions: “He used her loneliness as a knife to bleed her to this point.” His writing is at its best when depicting action and creatures, as when the party encounters an ageless being in a decaying fortress. It’s a pity that these scenes are so buried in the story, which is underdeveloped and tends to rely on unlikely happenstance. Diluted by overaffected language (“Oh with such regret did Ephraim watch the only gift of his father’s shatter”) and simple plot developments (“I could give you many reasons….But I guess the why doesn’t really matter”), this debut struggles to deliver a fulfilling story.
Flashes of brilliance don’t save this heroic journey.