Demon Stones by Michael Drakich

Published: 21st July 2014
Goodreads badgePublisher: Smashwords
Pages: 582
Format: ebook
Genre: Epic Fantasy
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

It’s been almost a hundred years since warlock meddling freed the demons from their underground domain. Their eventual capture has encased them in large stones across all the lands. They became known as the demon stones.
Over time, the truth of their imprisonment devolved into legend and tales to frighten children.
Now, the seven kingdoms are in upheaval. The demon stones are being opened and the vile creatures once more roam the land. War has broken open between realms as the fingers of accusation are pointed.
Caught in the middle is Gar Murdach, a farm boy who recently passed the age of ascension of sixteen marking him as a man, and his younger sister, Darlee, as they both struggle in their separate ways to escape the horrors wrought by the demons and the war that swarms round them.

Note: I was provided a copy of this book for review.

I liked this story; it was intriguing and nicely complicated without making it too confusing. Drakich doesn’t rush anything narrative wise and there is no perfect ending, instead he provides a conclusion that is real and true to reflect the events and what has happened in the story.

The story is a well developed epic fantasy and does well to bring a gradual but good introduction into the world, story, and events. As a character Gar is likeable, independent if not a little naïve, but as the novel progresses his character gets influenced and warped by those around him and the actions that he takes.

In terms of story, Drakich doesn’t take the easy way out and rush over the details which results in a well thought out and in depth narrative. Admittedly it can be harsh and brutal at time, Gar can be harsh and seemingly without remorse at times too but he is clearly out of his depth and often blindly following poor advice without the means to make his own decisions.

Despite being filled with magic and the fantastic, there is still a realistic approach taken to the events and actions; actions have consequences and the events that unfold are believable for the established world. Drakich also manages to capture the daily life of the characters and shows their reactions to the chaos that is unleashed and the impact it has on their lives. It is through these character actions and reactions that really brings forward who they are, their strength and their compassion is demonstrated in how they face problems that arise.

The conflict, war, and corruption also demonstrate a great reality and Drakich holds nothing back in displaying the brutality that these can bring and the victims of the violence they create. Conscription, torture, and a countless death toll add another layer to this narrative and Drakich does so in a way that brings meaning but also shows that you really can’t have a story like this without believable casualties and harsh circumstances. Having said that, this is still a very compelling read and Drakich rarely delves into the detailed and grotesque with his descriptions and when he does it serves the story well.

Gar’s involvement with the demons, as well as the multitude of sub plots and connecting stories means it appears rather complicated and chaotic, but in fact work together well, connecting to one another and playing off each other with cause and consequence.

The conclusion is ideal and certainly justified based on the events that occur and you finish reading feeling satisfied. I liked the ending because Drakich doesn’t offer an unrealistic and unsatisfactory happily ever after solution and the fact that there has been immense damage and loss of life is not forgotten. There are casualties and consequences to the actions in this book and Drakich makes sure that there is justice of some kind as a result but also leaves room for hope and a future for the characters.

There are a few hidden secrets that remain about the magic and the demons and while there is a conclusion that works well to tie everything up, it also leaves a few things hanging to allow readers to draw their own conclusion and wonder about what could happen next. Overall it is an intriguing story and one that if given the time to get to the heart of the story makes enjoyable and interesting reading.

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