The Dynasty of the Phoenix (A Tale of Shadow and Shroud #1) – B.A. Ellison
The Dynasty of the Phoenix is a highly imaginative fantasy story that brings together thousands of years conflict, fantasy creatures and mystical superpowers, into a world that has long forgotten magic and remembers only the legends and myths.
Gal’gatha is an old curator of a museum, and also what lies hidden beneath. Behind secret doors is the statue of Lord Draxion where his ghost resides and can be called forth using his sword. Gal’gartha, his three daughters, Arlyn, Talia and Helga, as well as his adopted son Christian, are about to bring forth the spirit of Draxion and ignite the path to war.
“Draxion told them. “It’s time for me to go now though. You each have my blessing. Arlyn to take my sword, Talia to charm the world, Helga to help it believe, Christian to wage the war, and you Gal’gatha to guide their way.”
The time is coming when once more the world will know of Dravens and Eedon Rath-ni. There are four races of Eedon Rath-ni, either Eagles, Ravens, Dragons, or Hawks (Lords of the Sky), who each take riders known as Dravens, with special abilities. These Dravens are highly sought after as both regions, Iishrem and Allirehem, are preparing for the war that will eventually come between them.
There are more characters added to the story with different abilities, backgrounds, personalities and motivations for fighting in this global war. Many have their part to play as the scheming, recruitment and training of soldiers increases. There is often extensive detail in a fantasy novel, used to paint the atmosphere, locations and other beings, with their culture and history that draws a new world with depth and believability. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. There were moments in this story when it didn’t hold together well.
It was a little frustrating with some of the jarring language and the repetitive use of phrases bringing attention to the wording rather than focusing on the unfolding story. For example, the old man, other old men, the people, the organisation, all considered themselves to be “… esoteric and reclusive …”.
The book does require significant editing and while that is made clear in the forward from B.A. Ellison, I think the editing required is much more than the line editing expected at this stage. I think it was a little too early for NetGalley where you can overlook typos and formatting issues but not major challenges to the novel itself. The novel feels longer than the 362 pages quoted but I still feel it could be cut dramatically to flow better.
I would rate this book 3.5 stars, accepting that line editing is still required but I would be concerned if some larger issues were not addressed. This is the difficult challenge for the self-publishing authors and my comments are meant to help as this could be a wonderful fantasy novel when this final step is achieved. I would like to thank B.A. Ellison and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC version in return for an honest review.