- Title: The Story of Evil
- Author: Tony Johnson
- Series: Heroes of the Siege, Volume I
- Genre: Fantasy
- Publishing Date: January 30th, 2013
- Publishing Co.: Indie
- Length: 246
- Format: Kindle, Paperback
- Acquired: Given free paperback copy in exchange for an honest review
- Amazon Link: The Story of Evil
The Story of Evil – Volume I follows Stephen Brightflame, Tyrus Canard, and Kari Quinn during an entertaining jousting tournament when everything turns to chaos. Steve, Ty, and Kari’s city is unexpectedly attacked by a ruthless enemy known only as the Hooded Phantom and his massive army of monsters. The three young adults try to survive as their family and friends are carelessly slaughtered and the city they call home is destroyed.
Steve, Ty, and Kari each decide to stand up and fight back against the insurmountable army of evil, despite knowing their slim chances of survival. Through their bravery and courage they become the inspiration and hope of a fallen city. They become Heroes of the Siege.
Heroes of the Siege is the first volume in an exciting new series called The Story of Evil. For fans of classic fantasy, this book features intense battles, surprising twists, and shocking revelations as heroes battle villains in an epic tale of good vs. evil.
Ages 12 and up.
First Chapter Challenge: 14 pages
In the prologue, we get a nice, succinct lesson on the history of this world and its two Gods, one of whom created humans, and the other (evil) one whom created monsters. At one point, the Gods decided to simply let their creations be, and monsters and humans took to slaughtering each other… That is until a mighty warrior by the name of Zoran defeated the biggest and baddest of the monsters, leading his newfound kingdom into an era of peace. But now it seems as though that peace will be shattered…
In the first chapter, we meet a courageous young jouster by the name of Stephen Brightflame riding his horse, Clyx. He is about to score the final, winning point on his jousting partner to win the city-wide tournament, when flaming boulders and monsters come crashing into the arena. It looks like the city of Celestial’s time of peace has ended. What will Stephen do to protect his city?
Final Judgement: 3.5 Stars out of 5
The famous jouster Stephen Brightflame, his aerial warrior brother Tyrus Canard, and the fierce ranger Kari Quinn all battle the monsters attempting to take control of Celestial. Each has their own obstacles they must face, and all charge forward into the almost certain death. Will any of them survive this ordeal? Will anyone be able to save the city and its inhabitants from monster control? The mighty King Zoran, he who destroyed the infamous dragon, Draviakhan, now faces both his own grandson Prince Silvanus as well as the dragon’s son, Nightstrike. Who will come out on top?
“As long as there is darkness, there will be light to fight it,” (pg. 94).
So, the first thing that struck me about this novel is that it reads almost like a fairy tale. The narration almost recaps the entire story, giving away the endings and hinting at things to come. It was an interesting way to read the novel, however, I think that it took out a bit of the suspense, as I knew what was going to ultimately happen. Consequently, I breezed through many of the parts of the book where there was some sort of struggle, since I knew the end outcome already. It took away a bit of the fun, however it did also add a bit of intrigue to the novel as well, as I tried to figure out how the story could get from one wide perspective and swing all the way to the other side.
Unfortunately, by the end of the day, Celestial would fall. The army of monsters would successfully take over, and all Steve would see was darkness (pg. 28).
Kind of going off of this, deaths within the story were anticlimactic. There was no emotional unpacking of the deaths and how it impacted the other characters, nor was there any pomp or circumstance surrounding the deaths themselves. Characters simply died and the rest moved on immediately. I found it a bit jarring, as I tend to enjoy analyzing things introspectively. I like to get to know my characters, understand their beliefs, desires, and most of all, emotions. I wanted to be slightly more emotionally triggered through my connection with the characters and their plights. But perhaps this is connected to my foreknowledge of what was to come later; I did not forge those connections with some characters, as I knew that they would die sooner rather than later.
It was also interesting how the book was broken up into 4 different sections, one for each of the main characters: Stephen Brightflame, Tyrus Canard, and Kari Quinn, and then the last one for all three: Heroes of the Siege. Each section boasted the unique POV of its star character, and did not quite follow chronologically. As such, some of the events were somewhat redundant as we saw them from multiple characters’ POVs at different times, and here again, suspense was lost as we already knew much of what was to come from a previous POV section. I did like that we were granted glimpses into each individual character’s psyche, however, as it helped me to connect more with each and see events from their unique perspective. It also allowed us to gain insight into each character’s past as there was a scattering of flashback thoughts with each character.
“Marriage connects a husband and wife. Sometimes when one leaves and that connection is broken, the other loses his or herself because, in truth, half of them is gone,” (pg. 159).
Going along with these 4 sections, the writing style of the entire book was a bit choppy. There was a plethora of short sentences loosely connected within paragraphs, and a lot of factual information simply sitting. The jumping of time for each section also contributed to this choppy feeling. I personally would much rather have preferred to have the book follow its events chronologically, intermingling POVs as it went, switching perhaps each chapter or so. This would have eliminated the redundancy, boosted the suspense, and allowed the story to flow much more naturally, all while still integrating different characters’ unique perspectives.
“It’s more important to be a great man than a great warrior. Character always comes first,” (pg. 52).
I feel as though I have been criticizing this novel a bit too harshly, but really, the story itself was amazing. Most of the issues I had were with the writing style, rather than the story itself. The plot was intricate for such a short book, as well as engaging and unpredictable. The worldbuilding was phenomenal, made even more so with the short character bios in the beginning of the book and the chronological history of Element in the back. The story itself ended on a cliffhanger, leaving me wanting for so much more! I will definitely be continuing this saga to see how everything ends up!