By Joni Parker
Published by Village Green Press LLC
ABOUT THE BOOK
Lady Alexin, Eledon's Keeper of the Keys, must continue to prove her powers when her grandmother, Lady Lestin, and her friend, Lady Opaline of the Gossamer Elves, are kidnapped by rebels and held for ransom. Alex attempts a daring rescue, only to discover that there is far more to this plot that she immediately suspected and the betrayal extends to the highest levels of the High Council of Elders. Threatened by rebel factions, suspected by Council members and under attack by deadly spiders, the young warrior has only her wits, her fighting skills and the powers of the Keys to help her. But will they be enough to save them all?
MY REVIEW - Amy
3 out of 5 stars
The concept of this book was unique and fun. It stands apart from other fantasy series because of the vivid and extensive world of Eledon, which houses dragons, islands with magic entry points, competing groups of elves, and a heroine who’s brave and compassionate. I’m all for strong female characters, and Alex, the Keeper of the Keys, does not disappoint. She fights for gender equality as she fulfills each mission, and that’s something I really liked about this book. At times, though, Alex’s magic keys felt a little too convenient—I wanted to see the keys assist her in her missions but not solve the problems for her, as they often did. She seemed strong enough to solve problems herself. Also, the pacing of the story occasionally felt a bit off to me, and some sections seemed like filler. Overall, though, I think the magic and adventure of “Gossamer” is enough to hold any reader captive for a few enjoyable hours of reading (Or maybe days—this book is long!)
MY REVIEW: - Maddy
3 stars. I picked this up having not read the first two books in the series, and I found that other than some character relations and some mentioning of previous adventures, there’s not much that would leave one utterly lost. The author does a good job explaining everything in the world, even explaining what was worth of note whenever a previous adventure got mentioned. This book is fast paced, with everything that happens being the other link in the chain that pushed the plot along. I couldn’t figure out if this was a MG read or a YA one, as other than some nuances of mature themes and a spattering of curse words throughout, everything held the vagueness and childish characteristics that one would expect was made for a young reader. This is a book you can finish off in a couple of evenings on any count.
This book’s plot is fast, with drama and conflict happening every few chapters or pages. It held the potential for being something great, honestly, but the way the plot was handled was the major let down I felt when reading. Alex is your typical all powerful heroine of a YA novel. She’s this half elf, half mortal, with a bit of an attitude that only really comes up in the beginning or end, but she’s also from a noble lineage on both sides, beautiful to boot, and the only one that can wield these magical keys, know dwarf magic, shoot blue light that can be painful or healing, heal through telepathy, overhear other’s “Elfspeak” and is a kickass swordswoman…and her only major concern is finding true love. Did you get as tired reading that as I did at writing it?
Because of her prowess at…everything, and how everything sort of just so happens to work out for her, problems get worked out or figured out literally within the next few sentences. Anything the author brings up is something that gets touched on later, or only brought up so this protagonist can save the day or direct someone else to help out. She reads in on the enemies “Elfspeak” only at times to push the plot along. And it just happens on a whim, giving the impression that she isn’t activating it, but that it just falls into her lap and she can go ahead to direct someone to bring reinforcements. Even the time that she was truly in peril (though she was in peril more times than that, but since you got no sense of this…it almost doesn’t matter) she still managed to fight off a few assassins and save her grandmother and fight off a mystical giant spider…all the while recovering from a poisonous spider bite. That’s just one of many scenarios where the enemy pops up out of the blue, she fights a little bit and then some ally magically shows up in the nick of time to bring some reinforcements. Or the keys help her out.
The pacing of this story hurts the plot, with everything happening much too quickly. The passage of a month and the passage of a day are paced out the same, you get no sense of how long it takes them to get from point a to point b except when something along the lines of “we’ll leave in 48 hours” or “this will take a month” shows up. The author does like to track the passage of time through meals though, so there is that. Though, I lost track of how many times I read Alex’s breakfast of biscuits, butter, strawberry jam and tea, but it was enough that I ended up memorizing it. There was little filler in the whole story, though, another good point. Though there was one whole chapter just on Alex plowing a field, and that never really…came to amount to anything. It felt like a subplot that never got fully actualized.
The characters themselves are flat, static and cookie cutter. There are multiple characters and character relations to remember, but they come up so frequently, that I had little issues keeping track. The antagonists were all the same, as were the supporting characters, with the exception of Lady Lestin, who plays the “easily flustered noblewoman” to a t. Other than some things, they easily accept anything Alex says or does, even when before she should have gotten more than a slap on the hand for doing it.
The author does do a decent job on dialogue, and a decent job on foreshadowing. I can see this book being something for a younger crowd to really like, with Alex being some sort of Katniss for the younger generations. But other than that there were several parts of this work where it could have been overall better, and easily two or three times as long as it ended up being. The start of the story was good, the first few pages I was really curious of the story, but it felt like the author got overwhelmed by the plot and just wanted to slog it all out on the screen before going back to it. Alex became nothing more than a puppet until the very end and the very beginning, even with the author’s attempts to make her feel emotions. It was just too little too late, the plot overshadowed the characters and their lives. All in all this was an okay read, and if you have the chance to read it, don’t worry if you haven’t read the previous books. This could stand by itself, though with a clear ending toward the fourth installment.
MY REVIEW - Ally
4 out of 5 stars
Joni Parker is a very strong writer. From the first chapter, she engages the reader with the power of her words. She provides just enough immersive description to hook a reader and balances it with a quick pace.
The first couple pages catch up the reader on any information lost by skipping the first two books. While it works as a stand alone novel, reading the other two would certainly strengthen this one in terms of depth of characters and character relations. However, even without the support of its predecessors, this book easily captures the characters and their relationships with one another. Parker also quickly establishes her world, demonstrating some exemplary worldbuilding.
MY REVIEW - Corinthia
I read this book without reading the first two in the series and it was easy to get the swing of things despite appearing in the middle of Alex’s troubles and adventure.
Despite the easy flow that Parker writes her stories the plot moves at a pace that is either too quick in the areas where it needs to be slowed down, or too slow in the areas where it need to be sped up. Time is another issue. Parts of the story jump weeks or even months in a single sentence and because of the writing style, and if the reader isn’t reading close enough, it’s easy to miss those time cues and think that just a day has past.
The characters are another let down. Flat and lacking any depth there’s little to no character growth. Characters maturity is another issue. Those who are supposed to be older than Alex by centuries can act like spoiled four year olds with little thought of surrounding situations despite their eons of an experience. While Alex, a half breed elf, has a seemingly unlimited power at her beck and call that doesn’t seem to drain her or have any negative consequences. She’s able to eavesdrop on other’s Elfspeak without being noticed, she’s a warrior, and she has one of the highest social standings amongst a race she’s only half of. All her problems are easily solved in either a sentence later or a few paragraphs down with little to no effect on her mental psyche.
But the biggest let down for me as a reader was anywhere in the story where it seemed like there was a red herring or a dramatic plot twist the answer would appear in the next few paragraphs in, sadly, a rather anticlimactic reveal.
What this book does have working for it is its dialogue and use of description. I can see this book, despite its length and slight mature content, being enjoyed by bookworms in middle school or early high school.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joni Parker was eight when she and her family left Chicago and moved to Japan. After four years, her family returned and settled in Phoenix, Arizona where Joni attended Camelback High School. After graduation, she attended Arizona State University, only to drop out after one semester to join the Navy. She completed twenty-two years of service in the Navy both as an enlisted member and officer. In addition, she worked for the Department of Homeland Security for another seven years before retiring again to devote her time to writing. Her first series, "The Seaward Isle Saga" was published by Village Green Press LLC beginning in 2012. In July 2015, her book, "Spell Breaker" began her next fantasy series, "The Chronicles of Eledon" and was recently selected as a 2016 Book Excellence Award Finalist. "The Blue Witch" is her second book in the series and "Gossamer" has just been published. Her fourth book will complete the series and will be published in 2017.
I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for writing a review. I was not obligated to give a positive review, and all thoughts are my own.