Honestly speaking, this was one of those books that took me a LONG time to formulate my thoughts with how I was in two minds about nearly every aspect, but I enjoyed it immensely.
A DRUIDS TALE by A.J. Thornton
Publication: 1 March 2021 | Read: 29 January 2021
Series: Rise of Balor #1
Genre(s): Fantasy | Age Group: Young Adult
No. of Pages: 360
Click here to view Trigger WarningsDeath, Killing
Averion is a world full of magic where the battle for peace in a land of fantasy and mystery falls to the ancient Blood-Hunters.
To be a Blood-Hunter it is said, is to live a life of sacrifice in earning the powers that can subdue the sleeping evil that permeates throughout the land.
Aifien is a fiery young Celtic warrior and together with her wise teacher Finral they embark on a journey as proud Blood-Hunters to right a terrible wrong and to put pay to the evil resurrected Fomorian King Balor before he can reclaim what remains of his lost power.
Their quest will see them form an alliance with The Lost Gods. But will the hidden secrets given up by the land and borne through themselves be enough to save Averion from Balor and his rampaging Balorites.
Every battle has its monsters but sometimes the greatest enemy is a friend.
Thank you to the author, A.J. Thornton for providing me a review copy in exchange for a sincere review.
A Druid’s Tale follows Aifien, a Blood-Hunter and her mentor, Finral, who are directed by the Gods, and in this book going on a journey to stop the recently resurrected Formorian Balor King before he can reclaim all his power once again.The pacing was a pity in this book, and yet a delight in the end. The first 50% was slow, with the characters just wandering around in a forest and I had no idea where this book was going. It felt very “on the surface” and admittedly did I got frustrated at times, partially why it took me a while to finish this one. However, halfway the book starts to pick up place, with a series of dramatic events and the sense of mystery coming in which heightened the mystery and suspense so well, and the direction becoming very clear and this made me so so excited to plow through the story. I think one unique aspect of this book would be the relationship between the characters in the plot. I felt that the characters were very steadfast in their personality which was a double edged sword in the sense that they were distinct and together forming such an unlikely yet dynamic team with all the chemistry and banter that I loved, but on the other hand, they were very predictable (Aifien did give me special snowflake vibes for most part of the book) and I could not see growth at all, something that I was hoping for especially with serious themes of morality and duty raised earlier on. A plot driven book that wasn’t really plot driven. In a good way. Taking it deeper, perhaps the “flat” characters wasn’t such a big issue as another intriguing aspect was how plot heavy it was, in the sense though Aifien was technically the main character, the plot instead seemed like the main character. I wouldn’t use the word plot-driven in this case for I though the book achieved quite a gentle balance, but the plot felt like a character in itself with it’s own changing “traits” throughout the book making it extremely unpredictable (me likey!) and achieving that sort of grand atmosphere.
With all fantasy novels that come my way, I’m always on the lookout for world-building for that is one of the most crucial aspects as fantasy does an important thing of escapism for me. A Druid’s Tale is based on Celtic legends, and I thought it did well (based on my limited knowledge of them). After finishing the book, I did a little research on the characters and marvelled. Not only did I learn so much about the different mythologies like those of Ireland, Scotland etc, I was impressed at the rewriting and (sort of) compilation of them into the book which made it so much richer.
Overall, I’m truly happy for this intriguing read and thought that it set up really well for the series, with that dramatically ominous yet gripping ending, as well as themes of morality and forging one’s own path being hinted at! Will definitely be gobbling up the sequel when it comes!