2 out of 4 stars
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Aluria is the first book in The Aluria Adventures series. The action-packed fantasy novel follows Jason Conner who is the heir to Conner Incorporated, a billion-dollar company in the city of Canton. As a teenager, Jason vanished suddenly without explanation. His high school sweetheart, Tessa, was left behind with the horrifying memory of Jason risking his life to save her from a mysterious cloaked sorcerer named Raiz. Having no other choice, Jason allowed an ancient extra-terrestrial spirit to inhabit his body that night and fight Raiz back. That ancient spirit was Aluria. Morphed together, the two souls gained abilities beyond what Jason had ever thought possible. The rich heir flew away with the wings of Aluria, letting everyone he’d known assume he was killed.
Ten years later, Jason Conner finally returned to inherit his father’s struggling company. The reunion brought him together again with friends, faithful personnel, and Tessa, but restoring his family business was not the only reason Jason returned. Aluria had sensed a dark presence in Canton, a city now steeped in violence and secrets. A returning evil has an agenda that will begin in a matter of weeks. It is up to Jason and Aluria to stop it by becoming the hero of Canton and the world.
I began reading Aluria with optimistic expectations. The plot was suspenseful, and it peaked my curiosity enough to keep me turning the pages. Although I do believe this book needs a lot of fine-tuning, I enjoyed the unique idea of the spirit Aluria. At different times in the story, Jason can give into the spirit and go through a transformation into Aluria, who is a dragon-like creature. The idea felt original to me and the spirit quickly became my favorite character at first, but unfortunately, his appeal was lost as the story went on. Aluria is centred mainly around a plot which is admittedly entertaining. However, my enjoyment of it was tainted by the lack of engaging characters.
Many characters in Aluria lack development, including Aluria himself. The spirit is one of the most intriguing characters, yet he barely appears in the story. Aluria’s absence becomes especially apparent when Jason is caught up in action scenes. The ancient spirit offers no strategic support, even though he likely has a lot of experience to share. I was very disappointed that there wasn’t more input from Aluria, not only in action scenes but also during Jason’s re-entry into his life in Canton. Likewise, Jason and Raiz have appropriate motivations, but they lack character-arcs which are important for the main protagonist and antagonist. Tessa is the one character that I felt had more development than any of the others. She was interesting to read about and a few twists in her storyline also caught my attention.
While Aluria has great potential, I give it 2 out of 4 stars. The writing is jarring as character movements jump unexpectedly. Some of the character’s actions are overexplained, while other times they don’t make logical sense. Inconsistences, grammar and spelling mistakes are numerous throughout the book. Because of all this, the story begins to feel unrealistic and cliché. Additionally, I’d like to warn younger readers since there is one scene with mild sexual activity, which is not overtly described but still is suggestive. If you enjoy quality writing and relatable characters, I suggest you don’t read this book. However, if you’re willing to look past that, Aluria does have a thrilling plot of heroism that will keep you guessing and shock you with a few twists along the way.
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