Title: Aether Warriors (Hidden War #1)
Author: Dean Ravenola
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Young Chase’s life is suddenly turned upside-down as he discovers he has been chosen as an Aether Warrior. He is the last member found of a small group of gifted children that will be trained to lead a war that has been ongoing secretly for centuries. Strange creatures, hidden bases, and perhaps even a betrayal lie in store for Chase as he follows his destiny.
So why did I pick this up? Partly because I like magic stories, partly because it generally sounded interesting, and partly because the author is nineteen years old. As a teenage writer myself, I’m always happy to support one brave enough to publish his writing on his own.
I liked Chase. He had a not-so-idyllic childhood, but he still turned out okay – friendly, caring, and loyal, if a little bland. I wish he had more time between arriving at the Golden Scales base and the traitor being a traitor to discover and show off his skills. But overall, I enjoyed reading about him.
I don’t want to say a lot about the other characters, for risk of revealing the traitor. (Unfortunately, I found it really obvious who the traitor was, but it’s hard to say how much of that was just my plot psychicness.) But I liked almost all of Chase’s team. The exceptions were Juno, who wasn’t really social (and whose name always made me think of the Roman goddess of motherhood, even though this Juno is a guy), and sometimes Jasmine, who rubbed me the wrong way.
The story starts off pretty basic. Weird stuff happens, Chase unleashes supernatural abilities and gets taken away to join a secret group of similarly gifted people. Then it gets a little more exciting, with a mythical creature zoo (of sorts), magic and magical weapons, powerful relics, and, of course, a similar group of magic people that are evil. And there’s a traitor. There weren’t a whole lot of layers to it, but I enjoyed the magical action and watching Chase’s team operate.
And I found it interesting and a little amusing to note that the evil magic group in the last urban fantasy I read, Dark Flame Rising, was also called the Dark Flame.
I really don’t like writing this, but I’ve always promised honest reviews, and I feel this deserves a mention. The writing was not as good as it could have been. This is one of those books were the basics of a good story are there. There’s plot, protagonists, antagonists, action, and all the elements of a classic hero’s quest fantasy. But the author really needed another year or two of writing practice under his belt. (I say this as a writer myself – I see a lot of his mistakes in my own older works. Practice can work wonders.)
I did enjoy Aether Warriors, which is why I’d urge Dean Ravenola to take another look at it. It has some awesome potential, but it will need a little help in getting there.
I received a free review copy of Aether Warriors from the author. His generosity in no way influenced, or sought to influence, this review.
The Hidden War series:
- Aether Warriors