Caveat, the author very kindly sent me a free advance copy of her book for me to review. I loved it so much I have since purchased my own copy to support the author and I'll probably also buy the printed version when it hit stores and read that as well because I have found there is a vast difference between electronic and paper reading.
Love of Greek myth was my very first love, thanks to a wonderful English teacher in grade 4 that made the stories come alive, I have always been fascinated by mythology, be it Greek, Roman, Norse of whatever. But to me the tales of the Ancient Greeks was always first and foremost. I can still recall, as a boy watching the handful of Ancient mythology movies in the 1960s and 70s on the subject , with their admittedly craptasic special effects because, hey it was all we had. These days we are spoiled for choice with countless really good movies set in the days of the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome, as well as Ancient Egypt, Minoa, Atlantis, you name it.
The Golden Serpent by Luciana Cavallaro has somehow taken me back to my early days and has not so much simply weaved a fantastic story around the Gods, people and places I am familiar with through books films and my love of Ancient history, but she has somehow immersed me within the very tale she has written. I found myself almost a spectator of the story, watching the scenes unfold as I read, with indescribable joy. Yes it is THAT good a book, and I am by no means overstating how very much I loved it. This is the best thing I have read in a very long time, and as The Search for the Golden Serpent is book 1 of the Servant of the Gods series, I cannot wait for each and every future release.
But on this book, Search for the Golden Serpent is less a book but an adventure you may just find yourself in if you are not careful. More than simply another fantasy quest novel, The Search for the Golden Serpent crosses time itself, from the present day to the past and back again, and back again. All your favourite (and maybe not so favourite) Greek Gods, demigods etc are here, with their very human traits of honour, jealousy, anger, revenge, you name it. But there are also sub plots, some courageously constructed. This book has elements I have never seen before.
The dust jacket blurb of The Search for the Golden Serpent introduces the protagonist of the novel right away, Evan Chronis, architect, who has a chronic sleeping problem. Unlike most of us Evan's problem isn't that he can't sleep, or constant electronic distractions of the modern day that keep him awake, but that his dreams are so vivid they feel real. It is through his dreams that Evan finds a connection to the distant past. So, what if there is an element of reality in his very dreams. Yeah, what if?
Evan finds himself (and you the reader will as well) transported back to a time of Gods and mortals, familiar Ancient places and cultures. The Gods have a mission for Evan and he and some new found friends must complete it if he is ever going to make it back to the only home he has ever known. In fact, if they fail, EVERYTHING changes.
So well constructed is this novel I often found myself experiencing every event along with the main characters. It felt to me as if I heard and saw every ocean wave upon the bow of ships, the sound of every sea bird, every strain of taught ropes against wind filled sails, every clash of sword upon sword, the sights and sounds of delicious banquets, and the majesty of palaces and temples as the scenes flowed through them. Luciana's descriptions of the events and times is simply majestic, the action flows constantly from one event to the next and her very likeable characters almost leap of the page. Many times as I read I was almost seeing the action with my mind's eye as if it were an amazing film adaptation of the book, and if that ever does happen I can only hope she writes the screenplay. I was riveted to the story as if I was hearing Homer himself recount it.
My only thought upon finishing this book (apart from the NEED to re-read it immediately because I had to hold myself back from reading so quickly that I was worried I would miss something) is wondering what fascinating events happen next, and whether Evan's friends are able to complete their almost impossible mission.
In my opinion Search for the Golden Serpent is definitely a five star novel, unless a rating system of six stars is possible. A truly wonderful read, very highly recommended
The book is available of course on Smashbooks, and as well for more information I encourage you to see what it's all about from the author's website http://luccav.com/books/the-legacy-book-one
(reviewed the day of purchase)