Rich and intense

‘The Avatar of Calderia: Awakenings’ – David M. Echeandia 

3-star-rating

The Avatar of Calderia Book One: Awakenings - David M. Echeandia

The Avatar of Calderia Book One: Awakenings – David M. Echeandia

A Dark sorcerer is Awakened from eight hundred years of ensorcelled slumber, unleashing an ancient and terrible scourge upon the land as he uses his malevolent powers to enslave a continent and create an empire built on blood magic and death.

Across the Luminous Sea in Calderia, a crown prince grows to manhood, unaware that he carries within him a seed of divine power that must now be Awakened, if his people have any hope of surviving the evil sorcerer’s coming invasion of his homeland.

But to do so, the human prince must help forge an alliance with other warring nations, including his blood enemies, the Elves, and their warrior princess who wants him dead. Somehow, these sworn foes must join forces, gathering other companions as they undertake a perilous journey to find a hidden talisman, solve an age-old mystery, and save their world from oblivion.

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About the author:

David M. Echeandia

David M. Echeandia

“I was raised on the East Coast, enduring the freezing winters and loving New York pizza by the slice, the kind you fold in half and start eating with the hot melted cheese dripping down into your mouth. Now a psychologist, I live here in the California sun with my wife and daughter, and assorted pets. I don’t regret leaving the cold weather behind, but I do still miss the pizza.

I have been enamoured with science fiction/fantasy since I was (as my southern grandmother used to say) “knee-high to a grasshopper.” Thank the gods for ebooks, because I ran out of room to store my collection many moons ago. I enjoy reading, RPG’s, canning homegrown preserves, old time radio, more reading, and Scottish Highland Games (middle name is McMaster). I actually had a kilt of my clan tartan made, and I’ve been promising myself to learn how to play “Scotland the Brave” on the bagpipes. Perhaps one day…”

Author links:

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Review:

This book is what I would describe as a classic fantasy. It has very dense and lengthy descriptions and the plot felt very Lord of the rings-esque. And whilst the story did feature expected elements of a fantasy novel,  such as magic, sorcerers and elves to name but a few, it was very sexually explicit in places and this made it quite uncomfortable to read.

I initially found this quite a complicated plot to get my head around. As it is so in-depth, there are a lot of characters and with the unusual names, I did find myself getting lost with where loyalties were directed. I think this did lessen my enjoyment of the story and wonder that on reflection it would have been helpful if author had included a character list at the end of the story.  That being said, I enjoyed reading about the quest unravelling and was keen to see the chosen two begin their adventure to save the kingdom. We are given a lot of history about the characters and I felt this made them more interesting to read about. However,  sometimes the histories that were recounted were a little long winded,  but I guess that does fit in with author’s descriptive writing style.

I enjoyed reading about the prince and princess, particularly as they are forced to get to know one another. I think I can guess how their relationship will develop in the next story, but I liked the stubbornness that both showed towards each other. It will be interesting to read what role they play as they continue their quest and I hope the author throws in some surprises along the way. I was glad this book included the start of their journey together and found their initial discoveries enjoyable to read, clearly setting them up for the next stage of their journey.

My rating was really difficult to decide as I felt that in some places it was worthy of more than 3 stars, but at other times I found my mind drifting. Whilst the writing is very vivid,  there were times when I felt sections could be condensed and the pace could have picked up more.  I was also really surprised that author did not choose to close the story on the characters on the quest; readers have no idea about their progress and are instead left with a rather ominous finish. Effective maybe, but I did want to know what was happening to the prince and princess as a final update. I enjoyed the fantastical elements in this story but wished Echeandia had moved further away from Tolkien. Whilst it does work, I don’t think it was quite original enough and this is what gives this book a solid three out of five stars.

This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Give-away:

Author David M. Echeandia is giving away two $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Cards (winner’s choice) to two lucky winners! Enter with Rafflecopter.  The giveaway runs 5/3/14 – 20/3/14 (Midnight Eastern Time).

Excerpt from the novel:

Killian moved forward to the edge of the clearing, then turned and looked at Ellianthia, holding out his hand.  After some hesitation, she inhaled deeply and walked over to his side, raising her hand tentatively to press her palm to his.  The Elfin princess looked up at him, his flame-red hair gleaming in the sun, his blue eyes clear and bright with excitement.  What kind of power did this human possess, that he could so easily enter this sacred place, this Elfin sanctuary where even Mellisandria, an ancient Wise One, trod lightly?  She gripped his hand more tightly, wondering what might happen if she let go.

They walked directly to the mound, hearing no sound save that of their own footsteps, the pounding of their hearts, and the rustle of the grass as they brushed against it in their passing.  When they reached the mass of tangled vines and stood before the Stone, he felt humbled by its megalithic size and grandeur.  The surface visible beneath the branches and the blossoms appeared smooth and flawless, with no sign of weathering, as if time had stood still for ages here in this place of power.

Killian did not know what he was meant to do next, but he felt drawn to walk around the Stone while it waited for him to unlock its mystery.  Still leading Ellianthia by the hand, he had paced perhaps a quarter of the way around its base before he found that same palm-sized circle that he had seen in his vision, positioned partway up the side of the monolith.  Knowing instinctively that this was what he had been seeking, he raised his hand toward the circle and looked at Mellisandria for final confirmation that he should proceed.

“It is your destiny,” she said, nodding once.  With that, he stepped forward and placed his palm flat upon the circle.

At the instant of his touch, a brilliant flash of golden light erupted from the circle, encasing the Calderian prince and the Elfin princess. Then several gasps arose from the observers, Ellianthia’s loudest and nearest of all, for Killian’s eyes were two luminous orbs glowing with divine presence, as if the gods themselves had entered his body and now looked out through their Avatar upon the awestruck mortals gathered there.  In that moment, any lingering doubts that he was indeed the chosen vessel of the deities vanished from the minds of all who had witnessed it.

Almost immediately thereafter came a deep rumbling that shook the ground and rattled the lofty branches of the trees around them.  A strong gale sprang up, whipping hair and clothing about, and making them blink from the force blowing against their faces.  The deep vibration seemed to be emanating from within the Stone itself as, before their wind-stung eyes, a vertical crack appeared in that flawless gray surface.

Soon, the crack became a narrow crevice running down from top to bottom, then widened steadily into a rift that grumbled and creaked with every inch of movement, cleaving the granite and snapping the vines that covered it.  Then two stone doors, each some five feet in width, pivoted as if on hinges and swung outward, revealing a dark, mysterious opening into the monolith.

Killian glanced at Ellianthia, who was staring back at him with the same expression of shock written on the faces of the other Elves and humans waiting behind them on the edge of the clearing.  Though the glow in his eyes had dimmed, he was undeniably the prophecy fulfilled, for all could see that the “One who will come to split the stone” stood before them.  She tried to pull her hand away, but he shook his head slightly and pointed toward the opened doors, knowing that their presence was required there.  Gathering his courage, he led her inside.

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