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Archive for August 2nd, 2018

Elk Riders Series by Ted Neill

Elk Riders, the epic fantasy series by Ted Neill, has received a Kirkus Star. Reviews have called it: “brilliant, brutal, evocative, visionary, and divine.” All five books are available in print, digital, and audio on Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, and more. – Tenebray Press Website

I was asked if I could review the Elk Riders series and with the above note on Ted Neill’s website how could I even think about saying no? Get ready to be drawn into a breathtaking series.

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In the Darkness (Book 1)

In the Darkness Visible tells the story of two brothers, Sade and Vondales, and their attempt to wrest control of a portal to the world of the dead. A young village girl, Gabriella Carlyle, resists them with the help of her mentor Omanuju and his companion elk. While the brothers’ lust for power corrupts them, Gabriella finds herself on a quest that leads to new friends, exotic lands, and great peril.

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My Review

4 stars

This story has two parts. The first is about two brothers, Sade and Vondales. They are just trying to survive in a world that doesn’t care for them after their mother dies. It’s partially survival yet they make some bad decisions that make their lives darker than they started out to be. Then we have Gabriella, she faints during a festival and starts speaking about a prophecy. Together with her mentor, his elk, and her ostracized brother. Gabriella goes on a quest to help protect her island from the brothers Sade and Vondales.

The story bounces between the brothers and Gabriella. Sade and Vondales story is in the past explaining what happened to the brothers while Gabriella is in the present while she tries to protect the Tower of the Dead. The more I read about Sade and Vondales story I couldn’t help feel a little bad for them. They had a tough break in life and it just seems that things just kept getting worse at every turn.

But then again it’s not like Gabriella had everything given to her. Her brother suffers from autism like behavior which leaves her family as outsiders to their own village. But I did love having him in the story, it made it more realistic and wider.

I think this is a great start to the series. It does end abruptly but that is to be expected in a sense with a series. It was a quick read and I have to say that I’m excited to dive into The Voyage of the Elawn.

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The Voyage of the Elawn (Book 2)

In this second volume of the Elk Riders series, the stories of siblings from In the Darkness Visible continue to interweave, as Gabriella Carlyle and her brother, Dameon, work to stop the plans of Sade and Vondales—bothers who are powerful members of a dark order of sorcerers. Gabriella and Dameon travel far across the ocean on a mysterious craft, the Elawn, accompanied by an elk, Adamantus, who holds many mysteries of his own. All the friends and foes walk paths that explore the bonds of family, the depth of faith, and the ever perilous road to adulthood, one balanced between good and evil; life and death.

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My Review

5 stars

Gabriella just keeps finding trouble on her quest. The captain is dead and the skyship is damaged. Omanuju is injured and a greedy Mortimer causing more problems than providing any kind of help. Then there is Dameon, Gabriella’s brother. His behaviors caused problems at home and those same problems are complicating Gabriella’s quest. She is getting frustrated and wants to send him home but then is guilty because these thoughts are not helping her to be pure.

Gabriella is getting frustrated with the quest, challenges, and those around her that seem to be causing more hindrance than help. She also doubts herself being pure enough to complete her quest. I loved following along with Gabriella. She is stronger than she thinks and is such a great kid even if she gets frustrated with her brother.

Sade and Vondales don’t have as big of a part in this book as opposed to the first book. But you learn how more about their current position and how they come to be where they are. The more I learn about them the more I come to understand how they got where they are. I don’t feel they are the big bad villain’s they seemed when we first met them.

This is a great YA fantasy story that will appeal to many ages. Although you could pick up this book and read it as a standalone I really think you would like it more if you read the series in order.

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The Font of Jasmeen (Book 3)

When a wayward prince, Haille Hillbourne, with his friend, Katlyn Barnes, seek out an enchanted font to cure his seizures they find themselves drawn into a conflict with sorcerers, slave traders, ambitious nobles, and unruly mercenaries; all the disparate players tied together by an elk of unknown origin.

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My Review

5 stars

Prince Haille Hillbourne has not had an easy life. His mother died in child birth, his father hates and blames him for the death of his mother, and he has an epileptic shakes. When Haille learns that his father plans to send him away to an orphanage for the afflicted, he decides to take matters into his own hands. Haille and his friend Katlyn go on the quest for the Font of Jasmeen, essentially the fountain of youth that should heal Haille. But no good adventure comes without trouble and the friends and going to find themselves in trouble.

We have ventured from Gabriella’s story but we are still going to find ourselves meeting back up with familiar characters; Sade, Vondales, and Adamantus. But the real gem of the story is watching Haille grow from the young, naïve kid in to a strong leader. I say this because I admit that I was short with Haille and tired of his attitude in the beginning of the story. But just has he learns about the world around him he matures and become a great character.

This is a great story and addition to this series. I think this is a great series for both kids and adults alike. I really enjoy how the main characters have issues not usually seen in stories and how they rise above them. I’m really excited to see where the story is going to go in The Journey to Karrith.

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The Journey to Karrith (Book 4)

The Journey to Karrith Volume 4 of 5 in the Elk Rider series. The war in Anthor continues. As King Talamar goes south to aid the embattled Karrithians his son, Prince Haille, and his unlikely band of friends brave haunted forests and high seas to try to reach his father before an unknown threat closes in on him. Time is the enemy as much as the past as old grievances come to bear and creatures from darker ages begin to stir.

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My Review

5 stars

Prince Haille has had his hopes at being healed dashed but has willingly given that choice to save a close friend. Now he is traveling with his friends to the war in Karrith. They have been told that the king will need their help but Haille has some serious doubts about his abilities, is he could really help, and if his father would even accept his help.

At the same time we follow along with Gail, Red, and how she is dealing with the attack on Haille’s group. He size makes it easy to hide as a man. She finds her own path as a squire and heading to the same war Haille’s group is going to.

I really enjoy this series. You have a little bit of everything. A great story, action and adventure, trouble around every bend, and realistic characters. I love how Haille is willing to go fight in the war but has so much self-doubt. He worries so much about what could happen that he finds himself in trouble left and right. Thankfully his friends are there to help.

This is an amazing series and one that I strongly recommend checking out. I do suggest reading the story in order otherwise you miss part of it.

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The Magus (Book 5)

Prince Haille’s world is shattered by loss while the realm of Anthor descends into chaos, a single enigmatic mastermind-the Magus-behind it all. Haille’s friends rally to help him put together the pieces of the mystery, the fragmented realm, and his own fractured life, before it is too late.

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My Review

5 stars

We have reached the end of this series and we find Haille in prison ready to be sentenced for the death of his father. Because he rides an elk and takes his counsel he is blamed for the twisted elk that killed his father. He is stripped of his title, banished, and then is sold into slavery. He is all alone but that doesn’t mean that his friends don’t have plans to rescue him. Things are going to go sideways and not as planned, allies and foes are going to switch roles, and the truth about who the Magus is will come out.

This is one of the hardest books in the series. It’s not hard to read, just painful watching everything Haille goes through. But then again, diamonds do not just appear without the pressure that changes the coal to so much more. The same thing happens to Haille as he has pressure added to his life that will help him go front the prince to the true hero king that he is meant to be.

I really liked how the last three books played together and worked out for the most part. There is not a completely HEA ending but things are left just open enough to make you wonder and hope that Mr. Neill is planning on writing another series around a couple of the characters.

I strongly recommend checking out this series. You will not be disappointed.

Author’s Bio

Globetrotter and fiction writer Ted Neill has worked on five continents as an educator, health professional, and journalist. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post and he has published a number of novels exploring issues related to science, religion, class, and social justice. His novel, The Selah Branch, attempts to confront issues of racism and the divided political environment of the US today and the 1950s. His debut novel, City on a Hill, examines the fault lines of religious conflict in the Middle East. His 5 book series, Elk Riders, wrestles with issues of ethics, morality, and belief against an epic fantasy backdrop.

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The Complete Elk Riders Collection: Volumes I-V

The limited-edition Elk Riders Complete Collection is available in ebook version only. It includes the full Elk Riders series, beginning with the adventures of Gabriella and her brother Dameon and following the wanderings of Adamantus as he joins Haille Hillbourne and his band of misfits and outcasts as the burden of saving the realm from resurgent, dark forces falls upon their shoulders.

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My Review

5 stars

The Elk Rider series follows a magical elk as he helps a young girl find her inner strength and a helps a weak prince become the strong king that he is. There are many adventures and challenges that they all will face. I love how the main characters have something challenging them that they have to face. This is a wonderful series that will appeal to all ages. I also love how the series may have ended but there are still somethings that are left open for possible other series.

This is my first book from Ted Neill but it won’t be my last. I can’t wait to read other books and explore his other worlds. This is a series that you need to check out. It appeals to all ages.

I received a complimentary copy of this entire series. I voluntarily chose to read and post honest reviews.

I would like to thank Author Marketing Experts for the opportunity to read and share this series.

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