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Jessica E. Subject
on June 27, 2010 :
Refusing to conform to the standard in the fantasy genre, Lorna Suzuki created a species of Elves divided by religion and separated into the fair Elves from the West and the dark Elves of Eastern Imago. Living amongst Mortals, the two races of Elves must unite and join forces with the humans of Imago to defeat the Dark Lord Beyilzon and other evil forces threatening their need for peace.
Imago Book One: Tales from the West involves the journey of a group of men known as The Order led by Prince Markus of Carcross. He is accompanied by three noble knights from the surrounding regions of Western Imago - Darius, Faria, and Lando - and Prince Arerys representing the Kingdom of the Elves. An old wizard, Lindras Weatherstone and Prince Markus' young squire Ewan join them as they must first reach Mount Isa to obtain the Stone of Salvation from the Three Sisters - watchers of the past, present and future who were chosen to guard the precious stone over 1,000 years ago.
On their quest beginning on the Western edge of Imago, they will cross the Plains of Fire to Mount Hope where they must unite the Stone of Salvation with the only weapon with enough power to destroy the Dark Lord as he attempts to gain power and rule over all of Imago. Four emissaries of the Dark Lord are in pursuit, leading the soldiers of the Dark Army. The six men must battle against these soldiers, guarding young Ewan for his crucial role in the quest, as they cross the treacherous landscape, gaining an unexpected ally and loosing members of the Order along the way. When all seems lost, soldiers surround them from all sides, they must decide whether or not to accept help from a race of Elves once banished and thought long extinct.
From the very beginning of this book, Lorna pulled me in to experience the trials and tribulations of the members of the Order as they journeyed across Imago to Mount Hope in the Iron Mountains to destroy Beyilzon forever. Unlike other novels in the fantasy genre with epic battle scenes, Lorna provides much more emotion in these scenes and includes fighting techniques influenced by her expertise as a 4th Dan practitioner and instructor of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu.
Having read the prequel Imago Book Three: A Warrior's Tale previous to this one, I was a little disappointed to find Nayla not included in the first few chapters, but Lorna did an amazing job foreshadowing her future appearance. She also included other great characters to make up for the lack of the feisty little half-Elf I enjoyed reading about in Book Three.
Although many lessons regarding religious and racial tolerance are interspersed throughout this book, the primary theme of this novel tells us size and age are not determining factors in the impact one can make in their own life and the lives of others.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Feb. 13, 2010 :
Reviewed by Nicole Hicks for Howling Good Books
Tales from the West by L. T. Suzuki
Paw Prints: 5
Nayla Treeborn is on a mission. She must enlist the aid of the Elves of Wyndwood to help save her people. After an arduous trek across the Iron Mountains she runs across a band of travelers. While they can use her help and skills should she really help them in their mission? Is it worth the time it would take away from her own mission, to help people that obviously do not welcome her?
Ewen has taken on a role that may be too big for the small boy that he is. He offers to help carry the Stone of Salvation to help the prince that he adores. Can he carry through with his end of the quest? Will he manage to stay innocent as a war rages around him? Will he be able to right a wrong made so many years ago?
As the Second age of Peace draws to an end the fate of all the people of Imago rest in the hands of a small mixed band of heroes. But will they be enough to stop the upcoming war? Can a human prince, an elfin prince, human knights, and a child with a heart filled with love stop the terror that wants to claim the land?
Tales from the West is Book 1 of The Imago series, but is chronologically the second book. I suggest that they be read in this same order; 3, 1, 2. I was not sure exactly how much I would like this tale after it started and Nayla had not made an appearance. However Ms. Suzuki surprised me yet again with a cast of characters that I came to enjoy as the story progressed, even before she reintroduced the character I came to love, Nayla. I was thrilled with the action, and the stories within the story. This fantasy novel flew me through a continent ravaged by war, with heroes struggling with their quest and their own demons. I laughed, cried, shuddered in disgust, and put off eating so that I could read a bit more. I will foreworn, there is a scene of a delicate nature within these pages. If you have an issue with a scene of forced intercourse then you may want to skip that couple of pages. However, in my opinion, it is handled well with enough vagueness to not be extensively disturbing and I believe that it is an integral part of the story itself. I truly cannot wait to get my hands on Book 2, and see where Ms. Suzuki takes us on the next adventure in Imago!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)