Every epic fantasy series worthy of a recommendation from me and my friends pays homage to what I call fantasy je ne sais quoi.
I will attempt to describe the indescribable anyway.
As readers, we enjoy books but wallow in the really good ones. My buddies and I chew through fantasy novels like a Rottweiler puppy going through a bone. Here at Rehabilitated Hack Writerville, however, we review books for fellow writers. I target this book review to novelists, not simply readers.
Real fantasy has an intangible quality that makes it distinctive and attractive and this has little to do with world building and more to do with raw, creative talent that one could say is the voice of the book.
On the surface, leave no doubt that Son of Ereubus is creepy as hell. I would not call it a horror book but there are many horror elements on display. Indeed, the level of creep is so persuasive that, like the inhabitants of the human world and their protectors, a reader gets used to it. There is a certain, brutal aesthetic to the plot.
Underneath the surface, however, is a complex tale of which I’m not going to attempt to describe, so let’s just go with the back of the book:
Since time immemorial, Man has lived in fear of losing his soul to the darkness of Saint Ereubus. For generations, the Ereubinians have wielded that power and ruled like gods. Three thousand years ago, Man irresolutely placed his faith in a mythical world. That world, Adoria, now holds Man’s final hope. As the last stronghold of Man is threatened, the fates of three strangers become forever intertwined and everything they once believed will be irrevocably changed as they discover…
Their time has run out.
Chancellor packed Son of Ereubus so full of Epic Plot Goodness, it makes that plot summary akin to saying your favorite vacation spot in the entire world is “nice.”
That, my writing friends, makes the book worthy of study. Seriously. The plotting for this fantasy novel is incredible.
And that’s just getting started, for Son of Ereubus is a rare novel indeed: it’s character driven epic fantasy.
The characters Ariana and Garren are the yin and yang of the novel, and they both compliment and repel each other in a perverted harmony. Ariana is a powerful yet feminine character who seems continually frustrated that she is able to outthink everyone around her, yet they treat her as a “normal” woman, which she is so very not. I love Ariana. So spunky. So sassy. So in need of getting laid.
But I digress.
As much as Ariana is a special treat to read in a fantasy story, Garren, my friends, completely runs away with the novel. I was a quarter of the way into the book when I closed it and looked at the cover and went “Yesssss, this is going to be so awesome!”
Garren is the anti-hero and even before he grasps the ugly horns of self-determination, he strangely becomes a sympathetic figure. How Chancellor made me feel pangs of sympathy for such an evil fuck, I have no idea. Chancellor’s voicing with Garren is as complex at the mythos and plotting of the novel. She tricks the reader into thinking Ariana is a creature of chaos—wherever she goes, she sows the seeds of change. Compared to Garren, however, Ariana is a piker.
This is what pulls Son of Ereubus into brilliant epic fantasy. The creepy Armageddon undercurrents with the intertwining, complex plot and mythos combined with outstanding character voices come together in a wondrous opening novel of a trilogy.
Like I said, earlier, however, Son of Ereubus is fantasy je ne sais quoi and I believe that comes from the intense themes hiding behind the action-infused plot along with all the other hallmarks of an epic fantasy novel. It’s war, in Son of Ereubus. It’s not just a war for man and the souls of the human race, but also a war between good and evil, fate and self-determination and even a war between hot-blooded lovers.