eBook available on Amazon, Kindle Edition, $2.99 US.
Lavonne (L.G.) Craft is a new author in the YA (Young Adult) Fantasy genre. Escape: Legend of Taragondia, the first book in a trilogy, revolves around the central characters of Calla, the daughter of the King of Erbonia, and Kalest, the young King of the neighbouring city kingdom of Opallace. Both Calla and Kalest possess the ability of mind-walking, the ability to read people’s thoughts, remotely control their actions via their minds and invade their dreams. This special race of people are called the Du’etten and are quite rare. The kingdoms of Erbonia and Opallace have been feuding for years and the level of mistrust between the two peoples is very high.
I first encountered Lavonne through a networking exercise on LinkedIn, a professional social network site. I have recently become a big fan of the fantasy book genre and, in my attempt to broaden my reading of these stories, I seek out as many fantasy authors as I can, new and established. The concept behind Lavonne’s work struck me as interesting, so I decided to have a read of the first book in the series, which Lavonne was offering as a free download from Amazon for a short period.
Calla is the main female protagonist. Her upbringing in this combatant world was difficult for a young girl. She is a fearsome warrior, able to use her powers of mind-walking to influence the outcome of her battles. She spent much of her youth in intense training to hone her fighting skills and her mind control abilities. These abilities allow her to read her opponents emotions and thoughts; if they fear her, she will find their weaknesses and exploit them to make them fear her even more; if they desire her, she will seduce them and, in their moment of weakness, she will attack.
Calla is betrothed to her sparring partner, Shardan, from an early age. He is a much older man, a bit of a sleaze and very much an enemy of the people of Opallace. Calla’s people, the Erbonians, are very dull. They shun fancy things and decorations. Even thoughts are discarded unless they have to do with battle or preparation for battle. Calla had suffered abuse at the hands of her father, who would strike her whenever she has pointless thoughts, in an effort to create the ultimate, efficient warrior. As a result of these things, she heads out on a pilgrimage to try to find a legendary golden-eyed priestess, also a Du’etten, said to live in The Old Land.
Could this be her mother, missing from her life since she was a small child? Her father refuses to talk about her, but her mother was said to have come from this race of people who were meant to have survived a great slaughter.
At the same time, Kalest is the ruler of his own kingdom of Opallace, after both his father and mother were killed, possibly by the Erbonians, seven years earlier. He longs for an easier life and seems to be a reluctant ruler. He struggles with feelings of inadequacy as he thinks his skills and powers are not developed well enough to be an effective king. His people have a very shaky treaty with the Erbonians, so when Calla turns up in his kingdom, seeking an alliance to finally bring peace to Taragondia, he immediately imprisons her for over a month.
Kalest is also part Du’etten, but his abilities are not as well developed. Calla has realised that for the last number of years, she has been dream-walking with Kalest in their sleep. They have struck up a kind of ‘mental’ friendship, but Kalest is not aware that his dream-friend is actually the same person who has just turned up in his kingdom -his enemy and current captive.
Calla is kept in relative comfort for a prisoner, and strikes up a bond with Kalest’s carer, a kindly old woman with strong insights into what Kalest is like as a person. A tumultuous relationship develops between Calla and Kalest, stopping just short of romance when Kalest’s impetuous nature and hot temper gets in the way; Calla takes him on a dream-walk against his will to show him how things could have been if they turned out differently. This pushes the tormented boy-king too far. Calla is finally released, banished from the kingdom and moves on to continue her quest to find the golden-eyed priestess.
This book makes for an easy-to-medium read, with probably a few too many adjectives and what I tend to call “flowery” prose. However, the story does tend to flow quite well and it is easy to follow the path that it tries to take you down. Not to say it couldn’t have done with a little tighter editing or proofreading, but the writing style definitely improves towards the end of the book.
I found it quite enjoyable and it made for a decent page turner. I tended to look forward to picking it up again to see if these two youngsters could finally get their acts together and join in their alliance (let alone their promisingly passionate love affair). Alas, it is not to be, but maybe in the second book - Allegiance: Legend of Taragondia?
L.G.Craft can be found on Amazon, LGCraft.wordpress.com and LinkedIn.
**Please note: I am not a professional book reviewer, nor am I paid to do this. The books I may review are not necessarily authorised or approved by the authors. I am simply an avid reader and like to share my opinions of some of the books I read in the hope that I might actually help a new and upcoming author get a tiny bit more exposure through this medium. What I am posting here is no different to the reviews you might read on sites like Amazon or Wordpress from other like-minded readers.