Friday, June 26, 2015

Book Review: The Red Sea by Edward W. Robertson


Dante and Blays are once again off on adventures in Edward W. Robertson's new trilogy, The Cycle of Galand. I'll be honest: I am a huge fan of Robertson's Breakers series and would probably rate it at the top of my favorites list. When I saw he had a new book, I figured I'd give it a shot, but it wasn't until I was finished with The Red Sea that I realized this is a sequel to his other series I never read, The Cycle of Arawn. If you haven't read the prior series, do not be deterred. I thoroughly enjoyed The Red Sea and now that I'm starting The White Tree, the first of the prior trilogy, I am even more interested in the backstory of the characters of The Red Sea.

While busy creating a new trading route for his nearby ally, Dante receives a message from his long lost father: he's sick and needs Dante's help to recover. The only problem is that he resides on a forbidden island to the south that no man desires to visit due to a plague affecting its residents. Although initially determined to avoid the letter and the feelings is brings related to his father, his best friend and sidekick Blays helps convince him to make the long journey. After many troubles and close calls, they finally make it to the island and come face to face with Dante's father. They also discover that treating him is not as easy to is appears, sending them on a dangerous adventure through the island's jungles to find the only cure. But is everything as it seems? Lies are afoot, and it's only after he puts his life on the line that Dante finds out the truth about his father's intentions and the island itself.

The Red Sea takes readers on an adventure full of magic and deceit, forging friendships and uncovering long lost truths. Set on an island shrouded in mystery, the culture of its people and the history of its possession builds the story into a puzzle where you never quite know what will come next. Robertson does a masterful job of creating a unique world not too far fetched yet beautiful like the tropical islands of reality. At times it feels like a couple of the characters fall flat, but the author finds a way to give us new insight that rounds them back out and gives some explanation of their actions.

An interesting part of the book are the concepts of ether and nether, first introduced in the previous trilogy. Using one of these two substances, skilled sorcerers can alter the forces of the world, yet their magic isn't unlimited. There are times in the novel where the fear of loss of nether power heightens the fear for our favorite characters and others where, as a reader, you are silently shouting at Dante to learn to harness the power of both substances. The use of ether was a sticking point in this novel, in my opinion, because at times Dante seemed a little too clueless about using the complementary nature of the two substances. Despite this complication with the plot, the idea of the two substances was refreshing and increased my anticipation for the next novel in the trilogy as it appears there will be a clash. In that regard, Robertson cleverly left the reader hanging, wanting for more.

Sail the seas, adventure through the jungles, and see the power of the force of nether in action yourself in The Red Sea, the first novel in bestselling author Edward W. Robertson's newest trilogy. If magic isn't quite your thing, but you love a good apocalypse with a unique twist, go right now and begin his Breaker's series (the first book's free on kindle). Either way, you won't be disappointed.

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