***Note: I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.***The Key of Alanar by Rory B. Mackay
Genres: fantasy, science fiction
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On his seventeenth birthday, David is given a crystal amulet, but it’s a gift that comes with a price. Targeted by a brutal military force, his home is attacked and destroyed and he finds himself on the run and embroiled in a dangerous quest. A dark force that first penetrated his realm in ancient times has returned. In possession of a remarkable latent power, David discovers that he alone can safeguard his world from a full-scale invasion. However, the enemy isn’t just pursuing him—it’s now within him.
Battling both hostile terrain and his own demons, an impossible choice lies ahead, the echoes of which will ripple throughout time, leading David to the very limits of the human experience, and beyond...
From the explosive opening to a truly cosmic finale, this visionary fantasy/sci-fi epic is a tale of loss, courage, betrayal, and redemption, unravelling the very meaning of existence. You have the Key. Are you ready to use it?
Lasandria was doomed to fall. With visions plaguing the high priest of Lasandria, foretelling the collapse of an entire civilization, Ardonis stood unable to change anything. With his visions coming true, so begins the chain of events that set David on his path, years in the future.
From a young age, David knew he didn’t fit in. However, it wasn’t until his 19th birthday that he began to discover why. When he was gifted a crystal amulet, his entire world fell apart. Dark forces came and destroyed his home and forced him on a journey he was ill-equipped to handle. With grief and guilt as his main companions, he set out to do what he was destined for. Aided by his mentor, Janir, and accompanied by the few remaining survivors from his village, he began an epic journey.
I personally believe the prologue is an integral part to this book. However, it was a bit odd to have the vision happen first only to be told again in a few pages the same thing. This particular vision actually pops up several times in this book, so the reader is not likely to forget.
When David first made his appearance, I was entranced with the level and skill of writing. I was swept away by David’s feelings that he did not belong. The descriptions of the land and island were incredibly well done. I was happy to settle in for a good read and enjoy the book. I *almost* put the book down when 9-year-old David hopped in a boat to head to the mainland. I only kept reading to see if the author did what I considered the right thing. Since I finished it, you can assume I agreed with how Rory Mackay handled it. That level of writing lasted for about one-third of the book. Once David was faced with the actual journey, things began to slip a bit.
I’m of the firm belief that it takes a special kind of skill to move a character from one part of the world to another while keeping the reader engaged in the journey. The actual journeying seemed to give Rory Mackay a difficult time. However, when the characters stopped for any length of time, the same skill and imagery first seen at the beginning of the book would return. Only it would slip away again as the characters began moving.
David was completely filled with guilt over the attack on his village. It was something he agonized over for a good chunk of the book. I’ll admit I got fed up with it long before it was put to rest. There were also several characters that tagged along with David. I honestly have no idea why they were there. I didn’t feel very invested in them. They felt like two-dimensional puppets following him around. I know this series continues on, so I hope they become important at some point.
There isn’t a true magic system explored in this book. There are hints of it, but it wasn’t explained much beyond someone’s ability to access the Infinity. My guess is someone who has more knowledge of ancient Eastern wisdom and way of thinking might understand it better than I did. In this case, my Christian leanings could very well have gotten in the way. There were also high levels of technology in the book giving it an interesting blend of fantasy and science fiction.
I hit a fairly solid wall near the end of the book. I’m talking the last 90% of it. For some reason, my mind didn’t want to make the mental connection to the solution of the problem. I had to force myself to read that last 10%. Again, it is most likely my own personal thoughts and beliefs getting in the way. I can normally suspend them while reading fantasy, but I apparently couldn’t this time. The very end of the book set it up nicely for the continuation of the series, but I believe my journey across Alanar will stop here.