Book Review

Illthdar: Guardians of Las- Book Review

Book Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ (DNF @ Page 114)

Zercey was living a normal, unassuming life. Then one day, she is pulled by mysterious means to Illthdar: the land that logic and reason forgot. Forced into training beneath the Order of Mana, Zercey begins to hone in on her abilities while making friends like Vyxen, Scyanatha, Nyuma, and Abaddon during her training. Together, they fight foes and explore their heritage…all while training to be Illthdar’s Guardians.

I interviewed Rachel Garcia back in June as part of my launch event, and had a ton of fun learning about Illthdar. But, frankly, I wasn’t sure if this book would be for me despite the fun conversation we had. It sounds like a great premise: a bunch of individuals from all sorts of worlds transported into a land with logic or reason. What fun! But the back cover didn’t draw me in at first glance.

I gave it the benefit of the doubt though, especially after talking with Rachel. But as soon as I opened the book, the formatting immediately caught me off guard. Perhaps I just got a badly printed version of the book, so I won’t hold that against the author at all. I decided to push onwards.

The inside of the book has no paragraph indentation. While this might have been done purposely to illustrate the idea of “no logic or reason”, as a reader it was cumbersome. There was no eBook available for download either so I couldn’t compare.

*Words are purposely blurred*

The book starts like any traditional portal fantasy novel: we meet Zercey as she is dealing with her friend’s complaints, and a wish for a greater life than what she had. Sudden, she finds herself transported to Illthdar…and in the course of one chapter she goes through training and adapts to Illthdar without much chance for the reader to understand where she ended up. Woven in with exposition about the world, as a reader I struggled to connect with Zercey’s plight, and as more characters popped up, they blended in one after the other.

I really did try to continue with this book. The premise is fun. In a way, it reminds me of a video: you’re thrown into this chaotic world and have to train quickly, sort of like Legend of Zelda or Skyrim. But, the execution just didn’t work for me, and I knew by the time I crossed 100 pages I had to make a decision: continue the book and possible rate it very low, or be fair to myself and to the author, DNF the book, and not give a star rating.

I chose the latter at page 114.

Illthdar: Guardians of Las just wasn’t for me. While it wasn’t written badly, in fact the grammar was impeccable, the pace bounced from one thing to another way too quickly. For me, pacing is critical to whether or not I finish a book. I personally struggled to keep track of the characters as well as the events; this might be because I read very fast as well. If I had slowed down, I might have absorbed more of the story.

While this book wasn’t for me, don’t let the fact I didn’t finish it prevent you from reading about Illthdar. If you like fast-paced books, multi-faceted casts, diverse casts, and a land without logic or reason…then Illthdar: Guardians of Las might just be for you.

What’s it about?

Welcome to Illthdar, the land that logic and reason forgot. The ways to Illthdar are many, be it through freak weather events, rabbit-holes, mirrors, plant circles or magical wardobes. The way out of Illthdar, as the Half-bloods who unwittingly find themselves there discover, is a horse of a different colour.


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