4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Soaleste is the only city on a remote planet called Padaeya, ruled by the Daejic, a political and moral order. To become a Daejic, a pupil must pursue one of two possible titles: "warrior," for those with strong physical aptitudes, or “mystik,” for those who favor sensitive, intellectual abilities. Daejic elders form a “Circle of Advizars” – a legislative and judiciary body presided by the vile and corrupt Elon Gould. Different races (such as Aquosians, Aerodians, Ornithians, and Pyronians) and social castes inhabit the planet.
The plot of Song of Nümenstar, the first book of the Daejic Saga, written by A.J. Feagin, revolves around the quest to save Myla, a princess from another planet (Sentauros), from the conniving Elon. The villain seeks to mind-wipe Myla and usurp her powers and noble heritage. Two warriors – Commander Karawn Kross and Commander Malik Rodan – are Myla’s loyal guardians, and they face arduous battles to save her from Elon’s evil plan. The fate of two teenage Daejic pupils, Torag and Elaya, also hangs in the balance.
The novel's best aspects, in my opinion, are its remarkably well-developed plotlines and characters. Some backstories run in parallel, but all threads are somewhat interconnected and, ultimately, intersect. For instance, Elaya is Elon’s niece, and Malik gets captured by the leader of a terrorist organization that also threatens Torag. I also enjoyed the characterization of Myla’s doctor and mentor, Chaum Laah, a dubious creature made of crystal and energy. The author skillfully develops him throughout the book, but no spoilers are allowed!
Feagin’s writing style is polished and engaging, and she masterfully blends science fiction and fantasy. There are mythological gods, royals, commoners, swords, amulets, a walled city, and ancient catacombs. On the other hand, there are advanced sci-fi features such as interplanetary travel and augmented reality devices. Each individual has an all-knowing AI assistant* at their disposal – a Sonarum. This device* even boosts its owner’s physical aspects.
I admired how the author coined imaginative words; she subtlety created an interesting pseudo-language that one gets used to as the plot progresses. A dah is a dad; lumestiks are flashlights; chronobands are watches. Even profanities get reinvented: f**k becomes jalk, and an a**hole becomes an arsfooh. I thought these creative linguistic elements bring an extra dash of fantasy that adds to the story.
In closing, there is nothing I disliked about Song of Nümenstar. It is an epic sci-fi fantasy book comparable to bestsellers of the genre. This version had a few minor editing mishaps which do not necessitate a deduction of stars. Therefore, I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. Fans of fantasy sagas will surely enjoy this book.
*Important Correction: After discussing the matter with the author, the reviewer would like to clarify that the Sonarum is not an AI and it not a device, but rather it is an innate source of magic-like power that vibrates/resonates with energy.
Song of Nümenstar
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon