It’s Book Review Wednesday, and I’ve (finally!) got a book to share that I believe you will enjoy as much as I did. It’s not my usual fare—Sci-Fan—but I loved the first book in the series so much that I had to share this one as well!
A cosmic game of chess is underway, and the planet Elystra is the board.
Earth pilot Maeve and her son Davin have joined the Ixtrayu, hoping to avert the destruction that their leader, Kelia, has foretold. But will Maeve’s burgeoning Wielding powers be enough to thwart the machinations of Elzor and his lightning-wielding sister, Elzaria, before everything the Ixtrayu have ever known is destroyed in Elzor’s quest for ultimate power?
My Review: 5 Stars
I enjoyed the Book 1 (Pawns) immensely, and I was hoping to get a repeat performance with Book 2. Patrick didn’t disappoint!
The book started off a bit too slow, and I struggled through the first few pages. The names of some of the (non-main) characters are unmemorable, so I had a hard time remembering who they were. The book took its time to get to the action.
However, once the ball got rolling, I had a bloody hard time putting the book down. I quickly remembered why I enjoyed the first book so much: beautifully descriptive visuals, fascinating and complex characters, an interesting magic/tech system, and that glorious blend of space travel and medieval life.
The twist at the end of Book 1 caught me totally off guard, and the reveal at the end of this Book 2 hit me just as hard. I never saw it coming!
All in all, an excellent book, one well worth the read!
Here’s a Taste:
Minutes stretched on interminably as the rain soaked the huntresses’ tunics to their very skins. Kelia’s robe became so heavy that she had no choice but to remove it, shivering in the chill wind.
She cast a glance westward, straining her eyes, hoping to see the magnificent outline of the Talon streaking toward them, but saw only the vague shimmer of the sun hiding behind the dense bank of clouds covering the horizon.
A game. The most important game in all of Creation will be decided here, on this remote patch of land. The fate of Elystra, of Earth, of countless others depends on us.
A tiny flame engulfed the palms of her hands, which was quickly extinguished as she clenched them into fists.
To her right, Yarji pointed and screamed, “I see something!”
Through the drizzling rain, a half-mile distant, they came. Twenty men, riding their merychs like every demon in the Fire Realms was giving chase, thundered into view. Their chests and heads were covered in armor, and each man wielded a fearsome-looking longsword.
It had begun.
Arantha protect us.
“Zarina!” Kelia called, drawing the young Wielder’s gaze. “You know what to do.”
The chava-keeper faced the oncoming horde of merychs. She placed her hands against her temples, staring unblinking as she reached out with her mind.
The merychs’ reactions were nearly instantaneous. Several of them stopped dead, causing many of their riders to pitch forward and topple to the ground. Others stood on their hind legs, bucking the soldiers from their backs, while the remainder veered off in different directions, ignoring the riders’ commands and kicks.
Twelve men, momentarily dazed from their fall, recovered both their wits and their swords. Grim-faced and determined, they resumed their advance on the Plateau; a brisk stride at first, then a full-on sprint, screaming battle cries as they brandished their blades above their heads.
“Yarji!” Kelia yelled. “Send our guests a greeting.”
The fair-haired water-Wielder smirked and held her hands out in front of her. Her arms moved with practiced ease, her palms surgical instruments as she manifested her powers.
Kelia mimicked Yarji’s gestures, and together, a large mass of water lifted from the River Ix. With a thrust of their hands, the two women transformed the hovering liquid into superhot steam. In unison, they panned their hands to the right, wrapping the mist like a deadly blanket over the charging soldiers, who were now only fifty yards distant.
The riders’ armor, which covered their chests, torsos and arms, were designed to protect them from conventional things like arrows or even bladed weapons. However, they proved a detriment in the face of the Wielders’ fury; not only did the scalding-hot steam burn the exposed skin of their faces, forearms and shins, but it heated the machinite armor to a temperature that would sear the cloth of their tunics underneath it, as well as the skin beneath that.
Several fell to the ground, their legs thrashing and twitching as they covered their faces with their hands. A few others, strong enough to endure the pain and remain standing, tugged at the clasps that held their armor together. Through sheer force of will, they managed to shed the armor, letting it fall to the muddy earth.
By this time, the steam had dissipated into the atmosphere. Kelia and Yarji were unable to maintain it against the pelting rain and the wind. But it had done its job. Within moments of the soldiers sloughing off their armor, Ebina gave the huntresses the order to fire. Several dozen arrows ripped through the air as they flew en masse toward their targets. The merych-less riders, still reeling from the previous attack, fell to the muddy ground. Within seconds, the only movements displayed were spasmodic twitches from the few still drawing in their final breaths.
The remaining attackers, having regained control of their mounts, rode away to report their comrades’ fates to whomever commanded them. “Shall I stop them, Protectress?” Zarina called.
“Save your energy, Zarina,” Kelia said. “The night is young.”
A great cheer arose from the huntresses below. Yarji, Zarina, and even Nyla sported relieved smiles as well. They’d managed to stop the first wave with zero Ixtrayu casualties. In fact, the enemy hadn’t even come close.
Kelia, however, remained reserved. For the first time in their long history, lives had ended by Ixtrayu hands.
And it was only beginning.
About the Author:
Patrick Hodges currently lives in Arizona with his wife, Vaneza. After years of writing for several different entertainment-related blogs, he found new life and vitality by writing fictional stories about young teens and preteens that are entertaining for ALL ages.
Find Queens on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com//dp/B075FWF6FN
Connect with Patrick on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patrickhodgesauthor/
Tweet at him: https://twitter.com/Shrykespeare
Read his thoughts on his website: patrickhodgesauthor.com