- Title: Na Cearcaill
- Series: Far Forest Scrolls #1
- Author: Alpha Four (A4)
- Publisher & Release: Far Forest Scrolls – August, 2018
- Length: 292 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ for fantasy fans
Thank you so much to We Read Fantasy giveaways, Presstinely, and Far Forest Scrolls for my copy of Na Cearcaill! I have been spamming these books all over Instagram and it’s way, way past overdue to make it to the blog!
Here is the description from Amazon:
Decades after invaders led by the White Wizard stormed across the Dark Sea and ravaged Verngaurd, the world is once again on the brink of war. Yet, this time, something is different. An evil is leaching its way across the land precisely as magic is waning and time-honored alliances are fracturing.
A dusty prophecy whispers a glimmer of hope, a soft rustle against an avalanche of darkness. With the world engulfed in war and chaos, a small group of friends set off on a quest to discover the source of all magic, the key to stopping the advancing evil. The voyage proves much tougher than they could have ever imagined.
The overwhelmed band of heroes find themselves spiraling down an insane quest as the world around them crumbles. If the terrifying trials meant to protect the ancient scrolls don’t kill them, the eccentric and unimaginable guardians just might.
This is an interesting take on the Chosen One theme with a heroic young girl that can talk to animals. The full description confused me a bit because I didn’t really see much by way of a search for any source of magic, but there was a solid introduction to the Knights and their squares and the political machinations in play in the empire. Once a quest does take off it is absolutely action packed…..with an abrupt ending that made me glad I had book 2 on standby!
There are all the proper fantasy elements like elves, knights, dwarves, dragons, and all sorts of other monsters, ghosts, and wights, all with the author’s twist. The book has funny bits like an insane fat guy eating belly button treasure and a corpse falling down stairs, managing to carry a lighter tone throughout despite heavier subject content and a ton of sage wisdom. There are some darker themes too like orphans, splitting alliances, deaths and devastation, with the overwhelming evil threatening to start another cycle. I think older readers will enjoy the philosophical parts. There is really a little bit of something for every fantasy fan too.
One of my favorite parts are the illustrations – there are so many hand drawn pictures by the author, plus tons of the more traditional kind. The printed images are absolutely stunning too, I spent so much time staring at them! One can tell how much love and thought was put into the visual presentation of the book.
There are quite a few characters that once again, hold a little bit of something for everyone. The young chosen one is (probably) Bellae, a seven year old with the ability to communicate with animals. Her brother is a bit of a jealous twit, and her best friend is a bullied oaf that everyone in the group loves. There are a lot of characters with some funny, some stern, some wise, and it was a little hard for me to keep them all apart but the pictures helped a lot. The teamwork is awesome.
Battles, intrigue, friendship and one epic quest are found in this book and it ended way too soon. The book is pretty entirely appropriate for middle grade and young adult as well – there is one scene where a brain was sucked out Starship Trooper style but otherwise the entire book was extremely benign. Would highly recommend for fantasy fans!