4 out of 4 stars
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Do the Gods Hear Our Prayers? by Jeff Henrikson is the first book in the epic fantasy series titled A Prayer for Peace.
Set on the continent of Tellus, the last elven kingdom called Armena is close to annihilation. Humans have been cutting down the trees along the border between the human world and the elven domain, so now the elven territory has been rapidly shrinking. However, humans are not the only threat to the elves. They are also threatened by the Machiavellian manipulations of the dangerous Talon Thieves Guild which wants to destabilize the current status quo between the races. Also, the gods themselves have nefarious plans for each other and for the kingdoms below.
The book has several developing story arcs and many characters. While I can’t possibly name them all, three main heroes are worth mentioning because they keep these stories together: Evisar and Jefon, two elven brothers, and Xander, a half-elf thief who joins them on the epic journey. At its basics, the book is a coming-of-age tale of the wrongfully exiled brothers who have countless adventures, make friends, battle enemies, and work their way through the life-altering quest to save their kingdom from peril.
The author fleshed out the main characters very well, and he gave them human traits we could all relate to. During their trials and tribulations, they learned the meaning of true friendship, brotherhood, and sacrifice, and they grew in ways they didn’t expect. They all had very different traits, and the clash of their personalities made for some interesting interactions. For example, Xander, a thief by trade, was also an accomplished liar, and this didn’t sit well with the honorable brothers who were constantly bickering about taking Xander along. Initially, I didn’t like Xander; however, he somehow snuck past my defenses and became one of my favorite characters in the book.
Jeff Henrikson told the story using multiple narrators, which allowed us to see a particular event from several angles through the eyes of various characters. To help avoid confusion due to the many characters involved, the author added to the book not only a map of the world but also a list of protagonists to keep up with. This list helped me stay on track quite a few times while reading the story.
While I can’t compare it to the Game of Thrones, there were elements that slightly reminded me of one of my favorite epic fantasy books. Both have a myriad of characters of different races, many interweaving story arcs, deadly betrayals, dragons, and various kingdoms at war with each other. Still, the story differs greatly from anything else I have read in the genre.
In terms of layout, there were a few typographical errors present such as the missing book cover and many page numbers appearing in wrong places. However, I checked a sample of the book on Amazon, and the formatting there was correct. As for grammar, I haven’t found any significant errors, which is impressive for such a complex book. I was so absorbed in the story that I didn’t look too closely for mistakes. This says something about a book that does what it’s supposed to do: take its readers on an epic journey to another place and make them forget about the real world for a while.
My only minor complaint comes from my slight disappointment with the ending of the book. Not every loose thread is tied up, but I have to keep reminding myself that this is just the first book in a longer series. The brothers’ adventures are not over yet.
As I thoroughly enjoyed the story, I give Do the Gods Hear Our Prayers? 4 out of 4 stars. I am not deducting points for the wrong layout because the Amazon copy has no such issues. I recommend it to readers of epic fantasy stories with intricate world-building and complex characters. Young adults who love this genre can also read it, as I haven’t noticed anything too explicit or gory in it.
Do the Gods Hear Our Prayers?
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