Book Review

Dark Irregular – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 / 5 stars)

Kanna never thought of herself as important. An orphan, often teased as a child, and forced to hide her emotions. After her guardian, Morgana, gives her approval, she is escorted to the Palace by Kenneth and Neel to become a knight. But there is a lot hidden in Kanna’s past that she doesn’t know about, and as she forms a friendship with Kenneth as her friend and mentor, she soon learns their paths are more entwined that she realized.

A fast paced adventure, Dark Irregular introduces us to a world where shadows run rampant and the people look to the knights for defense. Kanna is strong, talented, and fearless; slowly, she opens up to the reader…and to her friends as well. Kaitlyn Legaspi does a fantastic job in defining the main characters: between Kanna’s blunt timidness, Kenneth’s focused callousness, and Neel’s joyful playfulness. In such a short novel, you get a feel for who they are and their emotions.

The concept of an Irregular is a unique take on a “demon” type of creature as well. Born out of intense emotion, they haunt the landscape, leaving a void of emptiness that the reader not only feels in Kanna but in the world as a whole. Even as emotions run high, the feeling remains, making the reader wonder themselves if they’ll become a host for an irregular as well.

While I enjoyed the overall plot of Dark Irregular, and at times couldn’t put it down, the story moved a little too fast. I would have liked to spend more time watching the friendships between characters develop, as well as see Kanna face struggles in her training, and not just her ability to master it. The plot itself moves almost too fast, with world building elements mentioned only when they become relevant, rather than leaving clues along the way. Kanna is often thrown into the plot, moved about like a pawn rather than influencing most of the decisions. While this is understandable for a 14-year-old girl without much authority, I hope in future books that she will be able to guide the plot rather than be moved through it like a game piece.

Despite it’s flaws, Dark Irregular is a unique, fast paced fantasy that I think many people would enjoy. I full intend to pick up the sequel, White Blossom, in the near future.

Because with an ending like THAT…who wouldn’t want to read the next book?

What’s it about?

A world consists of two planes of existence. There is the world of the living, where humans, elves, and every whole-spirited creature breathe. Then there is the Void, where demons and beings made of pure darkness, shadows, live.

Almost fifteen years ago, these shadows brought the deaths of the Kingdom of Sylenia’s beloved king and queen and the disappearance of their newborn baby. In the present day, the kingdom remains in the capable hands of a young queen, her major generals, and their knights but is constantly threatened by the growing number of shadows that enter the living world.

A secluded young orphan named Kanna is one of the new apprentices that have been chosen to be trained for the purpose of defeating these shadows. Suddenly called upon to become a knight’s understudy, she is escorted to the palace by two older apprentices. Along the way, she is attacked by the shadows, much to the apprentices’, knights’, and even the major generals’ confusion.

While Kanna is figuring out why the shadows are targeting her, something else occupies her mind. Every time she is knocked unconscious by a shadow, she has familiar visions about a little boy she vaguely recognizes. Kanna eventually finds the boy that keeps appearing in her dreams. However, she meets him at a price due to the presence of a darker, more powerful entity: the Dark Irregular.

Insights

Indie Authors: A Community of Support

As a part of my launch event this past weekend, I interviewed and featured a handful of authors, all of whom represent different factions of the indie author community. One thing is universal among everyone I spoke with: we are a community. It is our job as indie authors to support one and other, because authors are not just authors…they’re readers too.

Indie authors get flack for not publishing traditionally. We all had our reasons though, and very rarely does it come down to our idea was rejected by agents. That’s not the case. We wanted to independently publish for a reason. Whether it was to get the story out there, having control of the process, or something else entirely.

I had the honor to meet a group of wonderful independent authors over the last week. You can meet them all below:

Eme’ Savage

Eme’ is the author of Echoes of the Gidat and Tetarul Parallel. We had a wonderful discussion about her novel and process, as well as self doubt and how that comes into play while writing.

Cody Blake Wilson

Cody is the author of The Awakening, the first in his series. We discussed his first novel as well as LGBTQ+ representation in media.

Rachel Garcia

Rachel is the author of Illthdar: The Guardians of Las, the first book in an anticipated 10 book series! We talked about how she handles her wide array of cast, as well as diversity in writing.

Rachel Shaw

Rachel Shaw is the author of Last Memoria. We spent time discussing her duology, as well as how biology and memory comes into play in her novel. In addition, we also discussed how to produce an audio book.

Lane Northcutt

Lane is the author of the upcoming novel, The Delivery Co. We had a fantastic conversation about his experience as both an actor and writer, as well as his process. Unfortunately, technology got the best of us, crashing post interview and deleting the video.

That being said, you can still read about our discussion HERE.

Lori Yerxa

Lori is the author of the non-fiction book, Pushing Through, which is about Rex Patrick, Paralympic Medalist. We discussed the differences in writing a non-fiction novel, and what she learned about herself along the way.

Sterling Blue

Sterling is the author of This Isn’t the Zombie Apocalypse. We discussed her novel, her creative process, and her current work on a graphic novel.

Kaitlyn Legaspi

Kaitlyn is the author of The Dark Irregular Trilogy. We spent time discuss her trilogy as well as her countless number of projects that she can handle all while in college!

Yet, with all these interviews, I didn’t just stop there. I featured a few other authors throughout my launch.

All of these authors combined gave away 10 books in total, reaching readers whom they might not have due to indie authors supporting one and other. And I am so glad to have spoken with all of them, since each of their stories sound unique and have made it to my “to-read” list.

Speaking with each of these authors has helped me find a new sense of community among indie authors. It’s why I am trying to start up a book club, and will continue to read and review books written by my peers.

So I implore you, please check out all these authors! They’re amazing!

And I will continue featuring and supporting them, and I hope you will as well!

E.S. Barrison

Featured Author

Feature Friday: Author Kaitlyn Legaspi


For my first ever Feature Friday, I have the opportunity to feature a student at my Alma Mater, Kaitlyn Legaspi, a student at the University of Florida. Today she is launching the final book in her Dark Irregular Trilogy, so why don’t you find out more about her and her path to publication below!

Kaitlyn Legaspi is the author of the young adult fantasy trilogy Dark Irregular. Writing passionately on a daily basis, she is publishing the third book in the series…today, May 1st! She plans to add more to her repertoire in the near future. Kaitlyn is entering her junior year as a business undergraduate student at the University of Florida, in addition to writing. Kaitlyn enjoys singing, studying in the nearby boba tea shop, and reading whatever has catches her interest.

Why did you choose to Indie Publish?

I chose to indie publish because compared to when I had traditionally published with a small publishing company, I have a lot more freedom when it comes to how much I can spend on certain services such as editing and getting a book cover, and I can keep track of everything and how much time and money is spent on certain things. I like the control I have over it. It’s a lot of work, but I definitely believe it’s worth it.

What are some of your current projects?

Currently, I am working with a really close friend of mine, editing the first book of a new series I’m hoping to put out within a year. In addition to that, I am also writing my first YA romance novel featuring two different first-person perspectives. It’s not something I have done before, and it is difficult to do, but I’m having a lot of fun with it.

Why did you start writing?

At first, I started writing because I thought it was a super fun thing to do, and it really is. When I was in middle school, I was in an online writing community where we’d post a chapter on our own threads as often as we wanted. We’d read each other’s stuff and comment how much we liked it, and it was such a supportive community.

Who do you hope to inspire with your writing?

I’d hope to inspire the young adult readers with my writing because they are in the age group my main characters usually tend to be in. In the first book of the trilogy, Kanna is 14 to 15 years old. If you strip away the fantasy and adventure aspects, she goes through the same things that a 14- to 15-year-old teenager goes through in the real world. She’s insecure, unsure of herself, has trust issues, is self-conscious, and a whole lot more. Long story short, she’s not perfect. It’s okay to have flaws and be vulnerable, because realistically there is not a person out there who doesn’t have them, and I think it’s an important thing to see.

Who is your favorite author and/or book?

My favorite author is Eoin Colfer, and the Artemis Fowl series is my favorite. I love his writing because he’s able to insert humor into his books seamlessly, even in the most serious of situations. He has the humor I wish I had, because I can’t make a good joke to save my life.

If you could apologize to one of your characters, what would you say?

Hey, Kanna, my beloved first main character, I want to apologize to you for a lot of mean things I’ve done. I’ve nearly killed you maybe ten times, probably more, throughout the entire trilogy. You basically lose your memories twice, and I almost have you lose them a third time. You were bullied a lot as a child, which led you to have plenty of trust issues that most likely played a part in preventing some good friendships before you met Kenneth and Neel. I’m sorry for all of that, and I hope the ending of Gray Heart is enough to make it up to you.

If you could give one piece of advise to your past-self about writing, what would it be?

Always be open to criticism. It’s what helps the stories we want to put out to the world become better. It’s what makes our work ready to be published. There’s a reason why people go through multiple edits before they even think about publishing their book. Now, with that being said, there is a difference between constructive criticism and an attack. If someone has read your book in the early stages and their negative comments aren’t the least bit objective and have no solid base for why they’re being made, ignore them. That’s not necessarily going to help you. That’s going to hurt you.

Kaitlyn also wanted to give the following shout out…

Shout out to @primo_paints for his amazing character art and helping me out with the last two book covers of the trilogy! I love your work, and it’s been a joy working with you!

Follow Kaitlyn Legaspi

Books

A world consists of two planes of existence. There is the world of the living, where humans, elves, and every whole-spirited creature breathe. Then there is the Void, where demons and beings made of pure darkness, shadows, live.

Almost fifteen years ago, these shadows brought the deaths of the Kingdom of Sylenia’s beloved king and queen and the disappearance of their newborn baby. In the present day, the kingdom remains in the capable hands of a young queen, her major generals, and their knights but is constantly threatened by the growing number of shadows that enter the living world.

A secluded young orphan named Kanna is one of the new apprentices that have been chosen to be trained for the purpose of defeating these shadows. Suddenly called upon to become a knight’s understudy, she is escorted to the palace by two older apprentices. Along the way, she is attacked by the shadows, much to the apprentices’, knights’, and even the major generals’ confusion.

While Kanna is figuring out why the shadows are targeting her, something else occupies her mind. Every time she is knocked unconscious by a shadow, she has familiar visions about a little boy she vaguely recognizes. Kanna eventually finds the boy that keeps appearing in her dreams. However, she meets him as a price due to the presence of a darker, more powerful entity: the Dark Irregular.


Currently, I am not accepting any more applications for Feature Friday. Follow me for updates regarding when I will be reopening the application. Until then, signing off.

E.S. Barrison