3 out of 4 stars
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The Ghosts in the Clouds by Tony Lavelle is a dizzying, full of action fantasy novel. The book starts with an Onsoomer League Navy ship, the Jared Fallor, falling from the sky. A young woman, Junior Flight Leader Maya Sennay, fights for her life on its falling apart deck. Suddenly, help comes from an unexpected source. A winged Nihonjin mercenary named Sarok is there to save the life of the captain of this ship, Alonsa Dannion, who also happens to be the son of the president of the Onsoomer League. Concluding that it's too late for Captain Dannion to be rescued, Sarok saves Maya instead.
Sarok must take Maya to the Kruger fortress, a gloomy outpost on the Onsoomer League countries' border with the neighboring nations of Astrul and Kartoria. The Empire of Garbonna is situated North of both of them. This is the world of Palathanos. The Kruger fortress had been built by enigmatic entities long before humans came there. As Sarok and Maya hurry to the Kruger fortress, its defenders, along with strict and even cruel General Jorder Kitts and Senior Sorcerer Mordilus, face the internal enemies inside it.
On their way to the Kruger fortress, Sarok and Maya experience many risks and dangers, as it seems that the familiar world around them falls into a devastating and senseless war. Trying to help a badly injured in a local clash witch, Maya agrees to save her scallor, a being from the magical world called Gramarye. But something goes wrong, as Maya falls into a coma. While being unconscious, Maya meets a powerful guest from the Gramarye named Absolom. She looks like a beautiful young woman and tells Maya that it's time for them to save both corresponding universes of the Solidus that includes the Palathanos and the Gramarye from the horrifying otherworldly threat.
I liked very many aspects of this book. It depicts the complicated magical world, and the world-building is logical and solid. The book is narrated from different perspectives, allowing us to understand, for example, a tricky political situation better. In my understanding, the book speaks about the importance of inner growth and a sense of responsibility. Sarok lost almost everything because once he disobeyed the order. But he learned from this mistake. Maya is a spoiled girl who can get anything she wants. But Absolom gives her great powers that require even greater responsibility. The author empathizes the conflict within Maya's soul to add the psychological touch to the narrative, which is simply brilliant.
Another important aspect of the book is a fine line that lies between the characters and their lust for power. The only way for a sorcerer or a witch to get magical powers is to bond with a scallor. This bond is unique, and sorcerers should not allow the world of Gramarye to lure them into the beautiful and dangerous illusions.
I would not call it a flaw, but the book has an open ending. Thus, it requires a follow-up. Despite all the thrill of the final scenes of the book, I would prefer a more definitive ending.
Nevertheless, in my opinion, this book deserved the perfect rating, but, unfortunately, I found more than ten errors and typos. They were mostly punctuation errors and unnecessary capitalization. Also, the book had some irregularities from a formatting point of view. In my opinion, the book needs another round of editing. So, I was obliged to take a star away and to give it only 3 out of 4 stars. I cannot give it a lesser rating because of the fascinating plot and a simple writing style with a good pinch of humor.
I recommend this book to all the fans of fantasy and epic fantasy genres. At the same time, even though the main characters are quite young, this book is for the mature audience, as it has some disturbing scenes and strong expressions. Fans of romance novels would enjoy this book thanks to its masterfully crafted love storyline. It would also appeal to those readers interested in the books with battle scenes, political intrigues, suspense, and leading female characters.
The Ghosts in the Clouds
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