It is not a peaceful time in the Four Kingdoms. War is imminent, but all fear the coming of the human child, whose arrival, it is foretold, will aid in the resurrection of the terrible Dark Lord Coriol, a being with the power to destroy them all. Nothing extraordinary has ever happened to Evelyn Leighton. That is, until the day she turns seventeen and is transported through a Monet painting into a fantastical world where humans are thought to be extinct. To stop an ancient prophecy from coming true and save the world she has learned to call home, Evelyn must set out on a quest to find a legendary weapon: The Sign of the Four. Reluctantly, she accepts the aid of Jerris, an enigmatic, irresistibly attractive male descendant of the Water Kingdom with sapphire eyes as dark as his past. With her life on the line, Evelyn finds herself battling more than vicious trolls and mythical lion warriors. She must also battle her own heart;a battle she cannot afford to lose.
Self published books are a huge gamble, and the odds are rarely in your favour that they'll not be a colossal lack of editing nightmare. But I still accept the occasional review request because of gems like The Onyx Bridge.
A complex but intriguing fantasy with well developed plot lines that have officially started to go somewhere but as to where, we'll just have to wait for Malamas's next book in the series to find out. I enjoyed how Malamas had enough faith in her reader to jump right into her world with few to no explanations up front and let us discover how things work along with Evelyn. Pacing of discovery is a hard thing to do, even for accomplished authors, and I was impressed with how Malamas managed it, with nary an info dump to be had.
Jerris and Evelyns developing relationship is especially well written, though I'm still at a loss as to why he thinks he's so bad for her, and can't help wondering why she never questions him on it. I wish as much thought had been put into Evelyn's relationship with either Falco or Ferox, as they seemed like important characters who didn't get enough introspection.
Engrossing and full of action, The Onyx Bridge is a fast paced adventure with several unforeseen twists. Malamas has a lot of set up here that will likely take another book or two to play out and I'm looking forward to seeing what she does with it, for now its a strong first part with lots of intriguing mysteries, some hard core adventure, questing and a great romance.
An enjoyable read, well worth branching out and giving an indie, self published author a try over.
The Onyx Bridge, by Sofia Malamas
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, September 12, 2012
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