I read this book a lot faster than I thought I would because the world and adventure drew me in. There’s a good bit of action to balance out a lot of explanation and dialogue – which was needed in a book that spans both our world and a fantasy one. There’s a good range of characters, and the main heroes’ journeys make you want to follow them along and figure out what’s up.
The world of Fallhollow is your basic fantasy realm with kings and queens, mages, knights, and of course dragons. The history to the world was pretty well-explained and sets the story in motion. David is a very unlikely hero, his love Charlotte gets pulled along for the ride, and when they enter this realm we get to see everything through their eyes.
The author added an interesting element by making Charlotte very, very anti-war. What David is asked to do conflicts with this so that they both have to reevaluate what fighting for justice really means and costs. This was a bit infuriating at times because Charlotte is so set in this mindset that she doesn’t seem to understand the reality of their situation. It also kind of stunts David’s growth into the “savior” character he is supposed to be, so it left them a little weak for me.
Then there’s the alternating viewpoint of Eric. Through his eyes, we see the insider’s view of Fallhollow. He knows the knights and king and queen, he knows the publically known story of their history with the dragon. And by eavesdropping (there’s a lot of eavesdropping!), he picks up clues about what’s really going on. This worked for me because it added mystery and tension to the story, while David’s viewpoint was more about getting from point A to point B.
As a character, Eric is conflicted in many different ways – with the death of his friend, with feeling overlooked, with wanting fame, with not being trusted, etc. I’m never a fan of whiney teenage drama, and I mostly wanted to slap Eric. BUT, I think you’re supposed to. He clearly has a lot of growing up to do, but by the time the truth is revealed I still wasn’t sure he was worth the trouble of liking him.
Overall, this book is a fun adventure. It has many elements of a typical fantasy world, and the use of magic is pretty cool. All the intrigue adds to the plot, and although some people might not like all the dialogue I thought it helped flesh out the characters.
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