Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review - Progeny - R.T. Kaelin

Review – Progeny - R.T. Kaelin
Published in The West Georgia Living Magazine - Nov/Dec Edition 2012
Book: Progeny (The Children of the White Lions #1)
Author: R.T. Kaelin
Publisher: Terrene Press
Genre: Fantasy

Book Description: 
Publication Date: November 27, 2010

Nikalys and his sister Kenders have grown up living a peaceful life in the small village of Yellow Mud. On a blistering hot day, brother and sister head to the lake for a swim. There, they witness a mysterious stranger send forth a massive, living wave that swallows their village. Believing they are the sole survivors, the two strike out on their own, hoping to discover why their home and family have been destroyed. They must make their way through a countryside where magic is outlawed while struggling with the revelation that one of them can “weave the Strands.”

Through their travels, these siblings discover that their simple life was an illusion. An epic, divine struggle has been underway for ages, and Nikalys and Kenders are at the center of it. Ancient, powerful forces have sought them since before their birth and hunt them to this day. Some wish to eliminate the threat they pose while others want to help the pair fulfill a destiny of which they are unaware. Myths and legends come to life, whisking the pair along a grand journey neither could have imagined possible.

There are many reasons authors write stories.  Sometimes it’s to share a little bit of magic in a practical world.  Sometimes it’s cathartic, a release of pent up emotions and hurts that others can identify and share. Sometimes it’s to take a break from the harsh realities and escape in a bit of fantasy.  Sometimes it’s a vehicle used to spread a message, a moral code, a bit of wisdom or advice to pass down to the next generation.  There are many reasons.  In history, story-telling was very crucial to the development and understanding of humanity’s way of life, passing down traditions, values and knowledge to educate and survive.  Today, with the easy access to self-publishing and lowering of standards of excellence by traditional publishing, bookshelves and eBook readers are being filled most often with sensationalized stories, demoralizing values and re-telling of superficial history.  I’m guilty of a bit of this myself.  But, it has me wondering what future generations will look like because of this practice.  It also caused me to pause and re-evaluate the stories I read.

R.T. Kaelin has reminded me in his Children of the White Lions series of what it was that first had me fall in love with reading as a child.  It’s not full of sensationalism, pushing the boundaries of the moral code, or even re-writing history to fit modern-day ideals.  It’s about coming-of-age magic, destiny and first loves.  It’s about discovering who you are, regardless of what you’re told.  It’s about facing fears and adversity, but finding the strength to overcome them within yourself – not waiting on a superhero to swoop down out of the sky to rescue you – most often from your own messes. It’s about failing and finding the courage to get back up.  All these wonderful elements are brilliantly placed within a beautiful story centered on two brave teenaged boys and their rambunctious sister. 

Surrounding the central heroes are powerful minor characters, full of flaws, beauty, scars and well-developed personalities, along with a refreshing and straight forward magical system, and a battle for dominance from an imperfect and fallible antagonist.  This story isn’t just about the battles, the quest, freedom from oppression or victory of the war, but it’s about the lives that are involved.  This is a character-driven story, my favorite kind.  Kaelin stays true to the youth and inexperience of the main characters, allowing plenty of room for growth and development through the series.  I absolutely love them all – including many of the minor characters. 

I would recommend this book from young adult (10yrs – up) to adult.  It’s a wonderful story of loss, love, and leadership.  It’s a great example of reluctant heroes rising to the greatness that’s been thrust upon them.  It’s clean, it’s magical and it leaves the reader with hope instead of despair.  I can’t wait to read more.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray
Author of the Arcainian Series

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