on April 17, 2015 :
Search for the Golden Serpent is an historical, mythological, fantasy quest on an epic scale.
Evan Chronis is a present day architect with a fascination for ancient buildings, civilisations and cultures. When his life unexpectedly involves him with the ancient Greek gods the reader is taken with Evan (or Evandros as he is known in ancient times) on a quest to rescue crucial artefacts that are needed by the gods to save their mythological civilisation.
The plot is completely plausible. Fantasy and reality meld seamlessly with mythology until the reader is immersed in a world of times long past urging Evandros to step up, take command and do whatever is necessary to save the day.
I was confident that Search for the Golden Serpent would be well written. Luciana Cavallaro has already demonstrated in Accursed Women her ability to tell a tale, sustain the reader's engagement from start to finish and keep the pages turning. However I did wonder how she would get on with a full length novel after writing shorts. The answer is she gets on really well and she's brought all her talent as a writer of short stories into this her first full length novel. The complex plotting, the fully developed characterisation and the beautiful descriptions of places, people and cultures are a delight to read.
Evan / Evandros is an intriguing main character who provides a commentary on the narrative as the story unfolds which helps the reader to know him better but also contributes to the evolving acceptance of this fantastical tale. There is also a Greek chorus of commentary from the lesser gods as the relationship between Evan / Evandros and top god Zeus plays out.
The cast of supporting characters are drawn from the present day, from ancient history and from mythology. Right from the start the reader is drawn to the characters and wants to know them better. The author has the ability to make the reader care what happens to the characters and the epic scale of this novel means that there's plenty of scope for the development of relationships and for those relationships to be put to the test.
Search for the Golden Serpent is a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy quest novel which really works but the novel is made extra special by the wonderful background detail that the author has woven throughout the story. As the reader accompanies Evan / Evandros and the other characters from one ancient place to another their world comes alive. Luciana Cavallaro's passion for Ancient History and Mythology permeates every page of this book and she paints verbal pictures of the changing scenes that are vivid and detailed.
If you've already read and enjoyed any of the stories in Accursed Women you're sure to love this new book from Luciana Cavallaro. I really enjoyed reading Search for the Golden Serpent and recommend it highly.
[Full disclosure: The author provided me with a download of Search for the Golden Serpent in exchange for an honest review however I enjoyed reading it so much I bought my own copy in order to support this talented writer.]
(reviewed 14 days after purchase)
on March 28, 2015 :
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)
on March 27, 2015 :
Search for the Golden Serpent by Luciana Cavallaro
One day architect Evan Chronis goes into his back yard and finds himself back in time. Way back in time. He is not in the 21st century anymore he is in a time when the Gods ruled the earth.
Soon he learns if he wants to go back home (to modern time), he must risk his life in search of treasured relics for the Gods. What he finds is much more than he expected. Will Evan find the relics and return home? Or will he be stuck in ancient times forever?
A well written fascinating story. I really Liked Evan. I also liked the Gods incorporated into the story. I am a huge fan of mythology, so adding legendary Gods added so much pizzazz to this already compelling story.
There is adventure, action, danger, drama, secrets revealed, everything that makes a great story. Learning more about Zeus and the other Gods added more excitement. I loved watching Evan on his mission, making friends, trying to fit into a different time. And of course the suspense and waiting to find out how it all turns out in the end.
I strongly recommend Search for the Golden Serpent to those who love action/adventure/mythology/time-travel. A true five star read, I was hooked from the first page.....
(reviewed the day of purchase)