Review – Matthew Berlin’s Legends of Lustria
The Empire had won the war against Brutanians and Elouan, 17 year old son of the new Emperor, is bored. Wanting to have “an adventure” he plans his escape from the castle at the time of a great feast, only to be spotted climbing over the huge castle wall by his arch enemy, the school bully, Brodick. However, where Brodick was big, Elouan was fast and soon outran his pursuer.
Alone in the forest, Elouan walks on for a while and then makes camp for the night. Awaking the next day, hungry, he tries to find food and narrowly misses getting impaled by an arrow. This was his first meeting with Willow, an orphan girl about the same age as himself, who befriends him, giving him food, armour, weapons and a horse and they continue on together. Coming across a ruined castle, they work out it has been attacked by dragons and, as they explore, they too are attacked, although this dragon has a history with Willow, being the one that killed her parents. Elouan, ever brave, fights and kills the dragon to save Willow, although they are both injured in the process. Seeking medical attention, they travel to a nearby inn , where they meet, and are healed by, Keenan, an 18 year old mage who joins them on their adventure.
Their adventure almost comes to a sudden end however as the Emperor’s men, led by Brodick, track down Elouan to take him back for punishment. A band of Brutanians choose that moment to attack and the Emperor’s men fight them, leaving bully Brodick to argue with Elouan, Willow and Keenan. Then something happens. A vortex of light lifts the four and transports them to a new world of light with bright lush vegetation and five god-like beings in white robes. This is Lustria and this is where the adventure really begins…
The find out their reason for being taken to Lustria is to stop the sixth god, Vortigern, being freed from his eternal imprisonment, sent there because he chose evil over good. In order to help them out they are each given a special superpower, like shape-changing or power over the elements, and are taught how to fly before being sent back and told that they need to find four stones in order to safeguard Vortigern’s imprisonment. However they are not the only ones on the quest. There are three evil ones who also seek to find the stones in order to free Vortigern and it is a battle to see who gets there first. The rest of the book is their quest to travel to the four corners of the land find the stones, battling evil from without and within and making new friends and enemies along the way.
This was an enjoyable but breathless read! The action was relentless, maybe too much so, as several times I had to go back and re-read passages because of missing some vital piece of information in the melee. As a story though, it would easily make into a great kid’s cartoon series, it had that kind of feel about it. The characters were all really likeable, with the evil ones being suitably evil but the insistent need for things to happen all the time meant that the balance of description of the characters and environment was lacking for me and I didn’t get absorbed into the world as much as I think I should have done. All that said, it was still a good fun read and the ending had a marvellous cliff-hanger, so take a deep breath and dive in.
**** 3 1/2 STARS!!!