Review by Andrew Baker
Fantasy lovers and dreamers: We know the feeling of plodding through weak second books in a series. We live in a world where, at their best, a fantasy series can be only almost as good as the first. The idea may have been great to begin with, but its continuation often suffers from a lack of ideas or drowns in a subtle, anticlimactic wave. With that in mind, I started book two of the Hunters of Reloria series by Kasper Beaumont. Thankfully, I can say Elven Jewel: Hunters' Quest, launched 10-19-2013, gave me no such feeling.
For those of you who didn't catch my review of Elven Jewel, I gave a very middle-ground 3-star review. I can honestly say I enjoyed the book, but I couldn't overlook some of the issues I had while reading. Over time, the first installation planted itself on me though, piqueing my interest in the second book, which came out recently. It was nothing to pick it up, because, like I said, I really did enjoy the first. What I got and what I expected are two totally different things.
Hunters' Quest, the second book in Kasper Beaumont's Elven Jewel series, expeditiously jumped into action. If you read along with me, you know the hunters of Reloria are on a quest to save the Elven Jewel. Of course, this quest goes hand in hand with constant battling, obstacles, and tension between the various characters. You should be familiar with the collection of common high fantasy races of people and should also know the first book ends beyond some epic battle, but the quest is nowhere near complete.
What you don't know is that Hunters' Quest switches gears entirely in the next installation. Suddenly, the fantasy world you learn in the first book collides with a mythological fantasy in the second. Obviously, I can't ruin the story for any readers, but I will say there are appearances of certain types of people that I would expect in a slightly different genre. Perhaps it wouldn't matter to everyone, but for those of you who commonly read my reviews, you know I love a good genre mash.
Beyond the surprises, though, I was fascinated by the story itself. Our little halflings, through battle and hardship, have become men. There have been treaties made between unlikely people, and there have been instances that may or may not break these lightly threaded alliances. Whether allies or enemies, all the different people must come together to save Reloria. Either way, victory seems unlikely against this newly realized foe.
There was no rut in this story, and the book was a fast read. I'm not certain if fast was either bad or good. I will say that I think it caused a lacking in some detailed description I look for in a read, but it also quickened the pace into the next action sequence. The battle action was great fun, and the story is getting even better. I would definitely recommend this book as a gift to 10- to 13-year-olds. It's a fantastic story, and it will definitely hold their attention.