Monday, February 7, 2011

Review: The Keepers of Elenath

Evil is stirring in Elenath. A rapid chain of events: a righteous king's murder, a dark queen's seizure of the throne, and the stirring of ancient peoples opens a new chapter in Elenath's history. Dark powers seek to control all and a bare few stand against the sinister forces. At the center of the tempest lies Gwaeron, princess of Anirum. Secrets surround her true identity, and the strange gifts she is capable of are sought after by both sides of the silent war. Another evil haunting the land of Elenath; sweeping from the northwestern wasteland to Anirum's eastern coast is the dreaded eves fornost. Hearts of human, elf, etel, and gnome will turn for good or evil. And the worst is yet to come.

The Keepers of Elenath is Amanda Bradburn's debut novel, and though all debut novels have their faults, this was a particularly good one.

The beginning, though it kept me interested, led to a small bout of confusion as to who these people were and what was happening.  After that first bump, however, the ride smoothed out and the brick of the road was laid.  The description, especially, held my attention.  Bradburn did a great job in describing the essential aspects of each scene and yet added a unique flavor that I savored.

The characters of this novel were well done and fleshed out, as best could be done in a 300+ page novel.  I wished for a little bit more development in some cases, but I expect that it will be found in the next book (which I am looking forward to).  The characters stayed consistent, and I enjoyed watching them.  The villains were well done and never cheesy, which is always a challenge with debut authors.

Allegorically, this was also a good novel.  It wasn't an obvious right-in-front-of-your-nose allegory--though some aspects were clearly representing Biblical things such as sin, Jesus' sacrifice, etc.--and was very well done.

The plot was unique.  Though there was some cliches along the way (most notably the character of Lord Nordik--there were some strong similarities there to King Eliam in The Door Within Trilogy) it generally stayed unique and fresh.

The worldbuilding was where this book broke away from other debut novels, however.  It was the fantastic shining moment.  For the number of pages this book had, Bradburn fit an incredible amount of worldbuilding into The Keepers of Elenath; races (among which are the elves, the etels, the gnomes, and the lost shadowglyphs), kingdoms (ancient and new alike), and a generous summary of names, places, and races at the beginning of the book, which helped immensely.  I especially like the concept of the Keepers of Elenath.  Not the book, but the Keepers themselves.

All things considered, I greatly enjoyed this book, especially the description and worldbuilding.  While it had several flaws, the story--and the message behind the story--shone through.

Rated 8.7 out of 10.  Good stuff. :)


Nolan said...

I've been wondering about this book for a while--I'm not so sure I want to read it, but I must admit that I love books with good description and flow. I'll stick it on my booklist and read it if I get some time.

Good review =)

Jake said...

Thanks. :) Tis a good read, if you can read past the rather confusing beginning.

The Director said...

Hey, thanks for the review! I'm reading it right now, I think I'm in chapter three or four :)

Great review :D

Pathfinder said...

The Keepers of Elenath sounds like a really good book! I've checked all of my local libraries,but, to my extreme exasperation, none of them have it!

Jake said...

@The Director
Good, good. Hope ye enjoy it!

It seems that the pathfinder of the unexplored has shown her face at last... ;) This is terrible news, my friend. At all costs, we must find you this book!

Elizabeth Dresdow said...

I just ordered this book from Barnes and Noble! I can't wait until it comes!!

Jake said...

Excellent! I hope you enjoy it! The worldbuilding is epic. :) Some of the best I've ever read from a new writer.

Millardthemk said...

Wonderful review Jake! Thanks!

Amanda Bradburn said...

Thanks so much, Jake! Your review came at a really pivotal point in my writing of book two and this was a HUGE encouragement. I've heard a few people mention the "confusing" beginning part... send me an email ( if you have time. I'd love to find that problem area and analyze what's so confusing to everyone!
....*sneaks away before someone asks about The Phantom Assassin, book two*

Jake said...

You are very, very welcome! Thanks for stopping by, Ms. Bradburn! I shall send you an email as soon as I have the time. :)

Book two? O_o *cannot wait to get it* May the High Lord guide your hands in the writing process! :)