Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Realms Thereunder by Ross Lawhead

A homeless man is stalked by a pale, wraithlike creature with a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth. Maimed animals and a host of suicides cluster around a mountain in Scotland. And deep beneath the cobbled streets of Oxford, a malicious hoard besieges a hidden city.
Freya Reynolds is a university student with a touch of OCD and an obsession with myth and folklore. Daniel Tully is living rough on the streets of Oxford, waging a secret war against an enemy only he can identify. Years ago, they found themselves in a world few know is real. They have since gone their separate ways and tried to put that adventure behind them.
But the mythical world is now bleeding into our reality-a dark spiritual evil that is manifesting itself in forgotten corners of the British Isles. Alex Simpson is a Scottish police officer who specializes in hunting mythical creatures. Together, they must confront the past, the present, and points beyond to defeat the ultimate threat to humanity.
Nothing they've seen so far prepares them for what awaits . . . in The Realms Thereunder.
(Taken from the back of the book.)

This book is very well written with only a couple typos found. The chapters were also a little confusing at first. Due to the fact that the story is set in two times and then multiple point of views (POVs) in these times, the author has the book set up with chapters and then sections within these chapters. At first I found it confusing but after the first two chapters I thought that the chapter/section layout was very smart and easy to follow.

The beginning of “The Realms Thereunder” was wonderful on both parts, past and present. I quickly learned important things about the settings and people that attached me to the world and characters. Sadly I felt that the “past” part got repetitive, predictable, and overall boring near the end. To make up for this the “present” sections always had me guessing and wondering what is going on and about to happen. All in all the plot was an excellent start to the series, giving us the first steps of the next adventure and the history in one entertaining story.

I thought that the world was very well created with both old and new creatures to keep you interested. The mix of dragons, trolls, elves and other classics of fantasy blended in seamlessly with yfelgóp, Tuatha Dé, changelings, and more.
Britain served as an excellent springboard for this book. Giving us a rich history, you can tell Ross Lawhead did quite a bit of research for this book. He expanded Britain’s history and added a wonderful variety to what we already know making me feel pulled in and wondering if his tale could have real happened.

Daniel and Freya were properly formed and well rounded. They had different depths of character between their younger and older selves in a realistic way.
Something I truly enjoyed watching through the book is their friendship. They are polar opposites of social classes, forced to work together. They had disagreements on what they thought they should do, but worked it out and focused on the main goal, get home. Other times they didn’t agree and handled it in another very human style, avoided each other, but once again they saw the need and worked it out. I liked the author having them mix like this, it gave a very interesting view about life styles and working together.
Ecgbryt and Swi∂gar added a wonderful flare to the story with riddles, wonderful accents, and tales from the history. Many of the characters had accents, Ross Lawhead did a great job with these. I could almost tell who was talking from their accent; few authors can do such a great job with this.

I liked this book, it was a nice fantasy book that had me interested throughout. I am waiting a little less then patiently for the next book in the series to come out.


Thank you Thomas Nelson and Book Sneeze for providing me with a copy of The Realms Thereunder.