Secrets of the Elders (#1) by David Matthew Almond

Published: 5th June 2014
Goodreads badgePublisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 320
Format: ebook
Genre: Fantasy
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

After their peaceful village, Riverbell, is raided by the foul monstrous skex, brothers Logan and Corbin Walker find themselves caught in a race against time, desperate to warn the capitol before the deadly skex arrive to wreak the same havoc upon the unsuspecting people of Fal.

Never could they imagine, that this would only be the very beginning of their unforgettable journey, when Logan is suddenly exiled from the kingdom for a crime he did not commit. On the run, doggedly avoiding his own brother, sent to pursue the wanted criminal, can Logan Walker possibly hope to stay free long enough to unravel the Secrets of the Elders?

And So the Fourth Age of Acadia begins…

The World of Acadia

Ages long past, forced to abandon the surface, mankind descended inside the core of their planet, fleeing an impending xenocide at the hands of the mighty Jotnar invaders and settling a new homeland among the deep forests in the wide caverns of Vanidriell, under the light of the Great Crystal Baetylus.

Note: I was provided a copy for review

This book is a great introduction to the Chronicles of Acadia series and the world in which it is set. There is a gradual development and introduction to the people and environment, increasing slowly through the novel while still being quite intense at times, giving the reader time to adjust to what is happening but without being too slow moving or leaving them without explanation. There is clearly room to grow and develop further in the series allowing new discoveries to be made for the readers to enjoy not only in the story, but also in expanding on the structure of Almond’s world and with his characters,

The main characters are the Walker brothers, Logan and Corbin, but there are numerous others that bring this story to life and give it its intricacies, complexities, and twists and turns and hidden secrets. I liked Logan, he is cheeky, a trickster, and doesn’t take life too seriously. He is skilled and clever, but chooses to look for fun in life rather than work. And while he tries to do what is right, sometimes that does not always go as planned, but he is always willing to help people, even those he has just met.

The best expression of Logan’s character is when he is forced to run after being accused of a crime he didn’t commit. He does his best to understand what has happened, and even though he is helpless, he stays strong and stays determined in his plans. This is where Logan’s character is really shown, away from the jester. He is resourceful and clever, and knows what he wants; something that is evident at other times throughout the novel as well.

Corbin on the other hand is almost the opposite and as a character he is intriguing. As the younger brother he takes things more seriously and it is clear he is easily swayed by those in authority. He is influenced and warped by others with their own agendas, but he is also a caring brother and loves the people around him. He is skilled and trained well, and being a hunter in his village it is these skills he uses to track down his brother and try and bring him back. With his own determination Corbin is driven by loyalty and duty, but there also clear indications of love for his family and friends. I liked that it was the older brother who was immature and played around instead of typically the younger one, and there is also a great dynamic between the Walker brothers that alternates between love, irritation, and jesting.

The world Almond has created is creative and clever, not only with the history and cause for the underworld’s development, but also the intricate society and different towns and cities that make up the world. What was interesting was the culture of the people in Riverbell. They weren’t primitive but they were almost from a combined selection of different eras, somewhat tribal in their culture and society, very proper and formal in their speech and manner, and just clearly a simpler time in their lifestyle, all rolled into one. Each place has a different manner or dialect, but what was curious about Riverbell’s was their somewhat formal nature as well as their naivety to certain things. In a weird way it brought this novel back to reality, seeing these different locations and contrasts reminds you that it is still kind of based in our world, but at the same time it is worlds apart. Being below the surface the people are raised on the culture they are told, with the history of the old world being passed down through generations. I liked that while the world is in the future, and the concept seems advanced and detailed, the people are not always as advanced or futuristic.

There are many moments where you think the story is going in one direction but then it doesn’t. It feels like you are going along a story path only to have it changed suddenly to something else. This means you are never quite sure what will play out, but the world and concept Almond has designed offers a few parallels to the real world, but it also opens up a new place of exploration.

While I enjoyed the start of the book, curious and engaged even with the events, it wasn’t until the end of the book that I really got into it. But that was after getting to know these characters and after new revelations, twists and turns, and a bit more of an understanding is established about the world. I lost a little interest for a bit somewhere around the middle though. I’m not sure why, whether it was pace, the story, or something else, but it soon peaked my interest even stronger towards the end. By the end of the book I wanted to read the next one and I am eager to see where this story is headed. Almond hasn’t given too much away with his first book but what he has revealed shows it is certainly heading towards something captivating and hopefully towards more answers to help unravel the mystery we’ve been introduced to.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amy
    Sep 09, 2014 @ 12:18:11

    You’re welcome!

    Like

    Reply

  2. Sage's Blog Tours (@SagesBlogTours)
    Sep 07, 2014 @ 00:52:32

    I really appreciate your in-depth review 🙂

    Like

    Reply

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