2 out of 4 stars
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Tranquil Fury: The Anti-Matter Chronicles by P.G. Thomas is a fantasy novel following six teenagers from Earth who are mysteriously transported to a strange world when their school bus is involved in a crash. After the crash, the teenagers are rescued by Mirtza, a local traveler with magical abilities. As Mirtza attempts to bring the teenagers to healers who can tend their wounds, the mystery of the strange world deepens. The majority of the lands the party passes through are deserted, and posters warning of a terrible plague abound. However, after consulting with friendly dwarves and elves, it appears there is something much more sinister happening in this world.
There is no doubt that Tranquil Fury is a thoughtfully constructed novel. The narrative, though slow moving, is clearly setting the stage for an epic battle to take place. The author skillfully reveals information about the hierarchy of the strange world, and the purposes of each of the six teenagers are cleverly unveiled throughout the story. However, like many books that are the first in a series, Tranquil Fury does not end with any type of closure. By the final scene, readers are left with more questions than answers about the fate of the six teenagers and the strange events they’ve experienced.
Once I reached the end of the novel, I could appreciate how the author diligently built up the backbone for the next installment of the series. Unfortunately, for the majority of Tranquil Fury, the pacing was incredibly slow. After the initial excitement of the characters being thrown into a strange world wears off, the story seems to meander while many stories about the world and its inhabitants are relayed to the reader. Moreover, the exposition fails to cover the topics readers would most likely be interested in, like the nature of the villains wreaking havoc throughout the land. The narrative does not provide even an inkling of information about the identity of the antagonists or their motives, adding to the lackluster pacing.
Similarly, the character development wasn’t impressive. The teenagers transported to the new world are diverse, but most were little more than stereotypes. Some of the protagonists are John, the incredibly smart but wimpy kid; Eric, the well-built athlete; Zack, the misunderstood loner; and Lauren, the emotional female. Unfortunately, these stereotypes never went beyond the expected, resulting in rather disappointing characters. Further, the teenagers tended to act much more mature than one would expect, and all six were a little too accepting of their outlandish circumstances.
Pacing and characterization aside, the writing was the most disappointing aspect of Tranquil Fury. The book begins with a lengthy note from the author discussing various nuances in the writing, specifically regarding the elf and dwarf dialogues and the decision to highlight certain coordinators with bold font throughout the novel. These initial comments should stand as a warning for readers: If a book requires abundant explanation of the writing style, what does that say about the storytelling? Additionally, there were grammatical errors in the text, mostly regarding punctuation; however, these errors weren’t nearly as distracting as the author’s decision to use bold font to call out various coordinators. Overall, the backbone of an epic journey lies in Tranquil Fury, but the negative aspects regarding pacing, characterization and writing make this a difficult book to tackle. These factors lead me to rate the novel 2 out of 4 stars. Fantasy fans who enjoy complex plotting may like reading this book, but readers should be ready to take on the full series if they are hoping for any closure.
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