into the wildbarrens

We know him well. Ever-flowing wisdom. Concealed power. A white beard and a proclivity for mentoring chosen ones. In so many stories, we find ourselves enamored with a kindly wizard guiding our protagonist, curious to his roots, source of power, and hidden knowledge. This is that wizard’s story.

Falin is only twenty years of age, and with nine-hundred eighty years left to explore the world, he is eager to begin his quest for the Gems of Elsana. As one of ten wizard’s acting as peacekeepers to their land, Falin must first embark on a journey to gather the Gems, four jewels that provide wizards with their full power. Once a century, a wizard sets out on their quest, accompanied by four Champions from each kingdom within the The Crown of Elsana. Falin considers himself lucky, joined by a sage healer, elven assassin, drakkish warrior, and madorian prince. All seems well until the elder wizards reveal they expect Falin’s quest will take them into the Wildbarrens, a desolate and horrid land teeming with creatures of the Dark. Given the circumstances—and to the chagrin of Falin’s honorable Champions—the group is accompanied by an unscrupulous pair of outlaws claimed to have traveled through the Wildbarrens. In their expedition, they come across friends and foes, countless landscapes, all while uncovering a sinister plot threatening the balance of Elsana.

In this feel-good fiction, we are cast into a world brimming with our favorite elements of fantasy with new twists unlike anything we’ve read before. Within The Gems of Elsana: Into the Wildbarrens, Christian Sterling has cultivated the start of a series with unparalleled charm, action, humor, romance, and thrills. All ages will be sure to enjoy this story from its first magical pages, to its last.

I recieved a free copy of this book via booksirens in exchange for an honest review.

I wasn’t sure what to expect of this book, but I was pleasantly surprised. There was lots to like and only a few things to dislike. I really enjoyed the setting, it was well described and since there was lots of travelling there was lots of variations in setting.

The characters were good but I did feel a few of them weren’t really showing any personality. Bossodor was a bland Borromir for me. Everything about him screamed Borromir. There were a few other similarities to Lord of the Rings, not a plagarism way, just a tone and feeling way. I felt it was hard ot get a read on the two female champions, they meshed into one for me, there wasn’t enough to seperate them.

The quest was good, there was lots of history and it was well thought out. I did feel there was a lot of stuff happening though, they could never catch a break. I know I normally say there isn’t enough action, now I am saying there may have been too much. It was well done and well explained.

There was no long gaps, the story would skip days if needed, I liked this, it made it realistic, so the quest happened over a long period of time but we only read the exciting parts.

I am looking forward to the second book in the series and hopefully it will be out soon. I am assuming from the pace set in the first book that this will be a duology.

4 out of 5 stars