Welcome to my tour stop for The Empyrean Key by J.L. Tomlinson. This is the first book in Ardentia series. This is a epic fantasy novel. The tour runs July 27- Aug. 7 with reviews only. Check out the tour page for more information.
The first book in a new epic fantasy series…
Jahna Mornglow is a thief, a liar and an unassuming misfit, a half-breed of the loathed and ostracized Narcean race, born with the abilities of prophecy and telepathy.
The dull monotony of her beachside home is eased by nights in the outer villages, scamming unsuspecting fishermen out of their hard earned coin. It is the most fun and profit Jahna and her friends, a brawling barmaid and a bullied bookworm, can expect from their lower class lives.
The land of Ardentia is vast and magical, carved by the Celestial gods and ruled by their mortal descendants. With a once great king now mysteriously ill, a hundred years war raging in the east and whispers of the return of an ancient evil, Ardentia’s fate balances on the tip of a blade.
The ghosts of Jahna’s past will call upon her, revealing hidden enemies, precious secrets and a fragmented artifact that will breath new life into the myths of old.
Can Jahna keep safe a world that has shunned and discarded her?
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The story begins by introducing us to Jahna and her friends, the bookish Silko and the Amazonian Lilac, running a betting scam. Their desire for money and lack of morals was not, for me, the best introduction to a bunch of teenage protagonists, but once past the first chapter, the story moved into their regular home life in a quiet fishing village and their characters and relationships began to develop, making them far more likeable.
Jahna has a chip on her shoulder over her mother’s refusal to discuss Jahna’s burgeoning psychic powers, even though her mother’s bloodline is their source. Silko and Lilac develop nicely as diametrically opposed types, both physically and mentally, yet both are rough diamonds with great loyalty to the trio of friends.
The writing carries you easily forward, despite the niggling annoyance that the story proper takes so long to get going. This is a richly imagined world, with great depth to its culture and religion, and the people who inhabit it are equally well rounded, with clearly individual voices and understandable motives.
About a third of the way in, the plot kicks in with a vengeance, becoming a traditional quest story.
Only the first steps of the quest are completed in this book, and with 3 more of the 5-part key yet to find, there is plenty more to come. The villains are shaping up nicely, with a malicious god manipulating the queen and her daughter, the heir to the kingdom. This particular tome ends on a dark note, which felt right for the story, and I look forward to discovering how it all unfolds.
The version I read was provided for an honest review, and was sorely in need of editing, both in terms of correct word and punctuation usage, and a couple of those odd ‘excuse me?’ moments when the characters made stupid decisions for the sake of the plot. I understand it has been edited since then, so I cannot give opinion on how it now stands in respect of those items – better, I hope, as it deserves to be a fine book, for the scope of the writer’s imagination and her skill with dialogue and character.
Definitely some violence; no sex (as yet); I would class it as a YA/NA, read, and if you don’t mind the slow start in favour of excellent character development, highly recommended.
About the Author:
J.L. Tomlinson was born and bred in the mystical land of New Zealand.
She’s never had problems dreaming up people and their stories. It’s the getting it all down on paper part that was always a downer.
But at long last she has penned her debut novel, The Empyrean Key, which is the first installment of the Ardentia series.
Now the floodgates have been opened and her musings will wash over humanity like a tingly, tidal wave of words and emotion that will make you go, “Ah. Now that’s tingly.”
J.L. Tomlinson lives in bliss in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband, two children and amazing bluehaired sister . She enjoys video games, terrible movies and also eavesdropping on people who argue in malls. She loves to write science fiction and fantasy of all sub genres.