3 out of 4 stars
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After over 1,000 years of peace between the people of the High Plains, Shakarine and Warteen have chosen to unite against and attack the other kingdoms of the land. The kings and lords of the various kingdoms are fighting on numerous fronts to protect their lands and their people. King Timon, High King of the High Plains, is unable to protect his eldest son from the attacking armies, and Prince Purstar is now on his deathbed. King Timon seeks to save his son’s fighting skills to pass down to his youngest son through a magical spell not used for hundreds of year, the Inset Spell. King Timon’s only hope is Grand Master Raajanar (Raaj), a wizard of the Grand Council, and his maggii, Yron. Raaj, Yron, King Timon, and the other defensive armies of the land are to converge at Benflyn Dor, a plateau deemed by King Timon to be the best defensive spot in the High Plains. The Carbynarah Chronicles by Jon Franklyn follows the king, wizard, maggii, a ranger taken captive by the Shakarine army, and various others who give a comprehensive view of the war waging across the High Plains. King Timon does not yet know why Shakarine and Warteen have chosen to break the peace. He does not know if his son’s skills can be preserved by Raaj and Yron’s magic before he dies. The first installment of The Carbynarah Chronicles only scratches the surface of everything there is to learn about Carbynarah and its people, but it will make any reader want to dive as deep as he can into the waters of this exciting fantasy series.
The Carbynarah Chronicles follows many characters spread across the High Plains. This is one of the most enjoyable aspects of this book. The numerous points of view give a broad outlook of everything that is happening as Shakarine and Warteen attack the kingdoms. Yron is one of the characters the reader gets to spend the most time with. Franklyn describes Yron’s attempts to improve his magical abilities as he travels across the High Plains delivering messages for King Timon as Timon coordinates everyone’s safe travels to Benflyn Dor. Yron is a wonderful character, and it is almost sad when Franklyn shifts perspectives to a different character. Yron has a strong desire to learn and grow in his magic, so he can one day be a highly respected wizard. His moral compass is incredibly admirable. It is clear that his attempts to improve his magical abilities are rooted in his desire to help others. His creativity in developing new spells and revising and building on ones he already knows is very clever and pleasurable to follow.
Yron is one of many characters Franklyn introduces who I continuously wanted to return to quickly. Havendar, a ranger scouting for King Timon, is another character of interest. He is taken captive by the Shakarine people and forced to fight in arena battles with Tarrie as his partner. Tarrie claims to be a princess and ambassador of Warteen, but she keeps many secrets from Havender. Havendar is unsure what to believe about Tarrie and how much he can trust her. Yron also encounters a mysterious woman on his journey to Benflyn Dor. Brelyah reveals little of herself too, and Franklyn does a superb job of giving just enough information about these secretive women to spark interest while leaving many unanswered questions on the table. These unanswered questions drive the reader to keep turning the page to discover the next revelation.
The reader also meets various lords defending the High Plains. The lords display their cleverness with their battle strategies, but Franklyn gives the battles a realistic spin by not allowing any of his lords to come out on top with every engagement of the enemy armies. Although my interest in a book easily wanes when battle scenes get too extensive, Franklyn wrote his so well I was enraptured throughout. There was not a single point in this book where I got bored.
This is truly an engaging, exciting, interesting adventure. Although I was not on the edge of my seat every moment, there is so much to learn about the characters, the history of the High Plains, and magic. As I learned more and more about each, I was more deeply drawn into the story. The Carbynarah Chronicles ends with many questions unanswered. This is not a deterrent in Franklyn’s case. He has built his fantasy world with so much description and history that he could never have done it justice with just one book. I will be checking for updates on the release date of the second book because I am so anxious to learn more.
I would gladly give this book 4 out of 4 stars because the story itself is truly worthy of each of those stars. However, this book is in dire need of a good editor. There are many missing words, extra words, verbs in the wrong tense, and instances of subjects and verbs not agreeing. These mistakes are extensive enough that they are quite distracting, and I got hung up a time or two trying to decipher a sentence in which a key word is missing or mistyped. Therefore, The Carbynarah Chronicles has earned 3 out of 4 stars from me. I would label this a “must read” for any lover of fantasy and adventure novels over the age of fifteen. This book is perfectly acceptable for teens and adults. The only content that is even remotely mature results from the fact that this is a story of battle, so there are scenes in which soldiers are killed. The story is also somewhat complex with the multitude of characters, locations, and battles taking place. A pre-teen or young teen may find it difficult to keep up with everything happening in the story.
The Carbynarah Chronicles
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