A highly readable and compelling fantasy… A total blast.
Ward skillfully blends fantasy with political intrigue and dark humor and conjures an elaborate fantasy world, in this excellent debut, the first in the Heron Prophecies series. In a dragon-ruled world where a tyrannical government rules the folks, Jek – a humble lighthouse steward on the southern coast of Jast-Madiir, along with his wife is living a pretty mundane but stressful life with the government officials constantly at his back to meet the daily expectations set by the administration. Meanwhile, in the neighboring Tophthaera, the civil war is in full swing, to the north, a rebellion is rising steadily, threatening to claim the island of Maenea, and the threat of Onyxadon’s inevitable return is real. It’s in the hands of the Grand Inquisitor to set things right. The only problem is, he has been dormant for seventy-five years now. When Jek is kidnapped along with his wife by Tom, a grumpy old sailor determined to save the world, he has no idea what fate has in store for him. As their half-brained noble quest begins, Jek learns unexpected truths about the world he is living in. Ward offers up a quirky set of memorable characters—including the endearing couple Jek and Audrey, the sole stewards of Brighamok’s Lighthouse; the compassionate Parissah, a dragon female, who is a natural born treasure hunter and assigned government watcher; the strangely peculiar Baegulgog, the Meduselda who live precisely for 140 years and cannot die before that—set against the backdrop of a highly unusual, deeply intriguing fantasy world of a global dragon-Inquisition. Ward’s worldbuilding is lavish, and he credibly conveys a sense of a chaotic world on the verge of destruction. The unfamiliar setting in which flying jellyfish-like creatures churn out new surveys at a dizzying pace, where magic is deadly, and failing inspection can cost you a life may leave some readers cold, but those who like their fantasy dense and original, however, will be on the edge of their seats to witness first-hand the fates of Ward’s quirky characters as well as the unraveling of the dreaded mystery of Proconsul Zedulon’s infamous “Chocolate Prophecy.” With its multiple story lines and unexpected twists and turns combined with Ward’s skill at misleading the reader and feeding out surprising revelations at just the right time will keep readers thoroughly invested. As the action-packed plot unravels, another quest for the crew sets things up for the next installment. This quirky book isn’t for everyone, but it’s also sure to win Ward passionate fans.
The Chocolate Prophecy
By E. L. Ward
Pub date August 29, 2020
Price $2.06 (USD0 Kindle edition, $15.00 Paperback