My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When you read the blurb about ‘Queens’ by Patrick Hodges, it tells you the book is a “cosmic game of chess” — which is a perfect one-liner about the second book in this fantasy / sci-fi series, Wielders of Arantha, published by Creativia. Although this isn’t my typical genre, I took a chance on the first book and enjoyed it so much, I took on the second this month. I didn’t want to forget anything about the characters, plot, or imaginary world Hodges has created, so it was necessary!
The series focuses on 5 or 6 different groups of people some 700 years in the future on a planet, Elystra, that is most definitely not Earth. Earth, as we know it, really doesn’t exist anymore due to an alien species, the Jegg. Each of the groups has their own culture, and they’re battling one another to secure their own safety and to stay true to their god, Arantha, who goes by a few different names. The key storyline that connects everyone besides the quest for freedom or protection is how a tribe of women keep any female children born to them but return male children to the father who helped created them. The women go on a sojourn from time to time to ensure the future of their race, but this time, there’s a lot more at stake.
After I finished the first book, I new I was a fan of Hodges writing style and storytelling abilities. Although it’s definitely a fantasy novel ripe with primary characters ranging in age from 13 to 50, there are major components leaning toward the mysterious, romance, and young adult realms. At the same time, although there are a few somewhat intimate scenes (minor in my opinion), the love is seen through character interactions, voice, and dialog. Women bond to protect their race and a few trustworthy newcomers. Men bond because they know they need to stick together to fight a common enemy. Children rely on strangers to play parental roles when their own have been killed in battle. Friendship crosses species lines. There’s a lot at play in this novel, and in the series as a whole, which make it intense, captivating, and tragic. It has everything I expect in the normal genres I read which makes it a complete surprise and welcome addition to my reading list.
Between the quest to locate all the stones, learning the history of how wielding (ability to cast lightning from your hands — okay, it’s more than that, but you have to read to understand it all) developed in different cultures, and genealogical research to discover all the connections between the different tribes or lands, it’s a very well-crafted plot full of secrets, surprises, and scary drama. I usually take a week to read books like this, but I devoured it in two days this time. For the most part, it doesn’t get technical or very sci-fi, which was probably good for me; however, there are definitely those moments which will appeal to mega fans of the genre. I see it as a cross between Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek, The Hunger Games, and any contemporary fiction / modern family drama novel. It should appeal to a wide variety, and if you’re not a fantasy fan, I wouldn’t say no just because this is in that genre. You might be surprised by how quickly the series draws you in.
I will definitely read the third and final installment in the trilogy, probably in January, as I don’t want to go too long and forget some of the details in the relationships and alliances. Although it wraps up a big piece of the storyline, a clever cliffhanger closes out this second book… hence why I must read the next one soon. The chess board has changed, and the game is now being played in a different way. I can’t wait to find out who is behind the scenes… I’m thinking it’s gonna go down like it did in Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. There’s more to this chess board than we know, I’m quite confident. Bring it on, Hodges, where’s the next installment!? Oh, that’s right… available on Amazon right now: Endgame.
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.