Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Title: Allon

Series: Allon #1

Author: Shawn Lamb

Genre: Teen (13-16 years) fantasy

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Allon:

The Jor’ellian Fortress at Garwood was two mile from the province’s main town, buried deep in the Southern Forest. It was one of the more secluded of Allon’s religious sect, those who worshiped Jor’el. The construction was simple, weathered yellow stone framed by timbers. The main tower stood in the middle of the rear wall. The upper chamber of the tower was the headmaster’s private retreat for work and study with an assortment of books, maps, and parchments.

Master Ebenezer was near sixty years of age by the look of his thinning hair and relaxed features. He wore the blue and silver robes of his order and sat at the table writing, his brow wrinkled with concentration. After signing his name, he placed the pen aside and reached for the drying dust to sprinkle on the paper. He gently blew off the dust and carefully folded the paper. On the seam he placed his seal in wax. When that was done, he laid hands on the parchment and offered up a silent prayer, lips moving but no words spoken.

The door to the chamber burst open, startling Ebenezer. He saw a man of middle years in the threshold wearing a brown and gold uniform with a feathered cap. “Jasper?”

“Latham’s men have been spotted heading this way. Sir Angus is preparing to flee with Ellis.”

A prophesied king sets out to retake a land controlled by evil.

Craft: While the foundation premise may not sound all that unique, Allon actually creates an imaginative tale where supernatural beings and mortal humans intersect in fascinating ways.

However, Allon is not without its faults. I found the beginning difficult to get into with fragmented action, time jump, long explanations/descriptions, and no ordinary world to establish the story.

Also, while the main characters are fairly fleshed out, there is depth missing, especially in must of the supporting cast, which leads to the feeling that they are all minor variations of the same mold: a person’s hair color, age, build, and even giftings are not memorable enough to make them truly distinct in the reader’s mind.

Nonetheless, despite these flaws, the plot and tension are fairly well built, with some good twists and turns once the ball gets rolling.

Content: Allon is solid in regard to the content. There is the typical fantasy war violence with a few causalities, but as a whole, it is bloodlessly depicted. Magical/supernatural elements are clearly divided into the demonic and the gifting of God, with most power belonging to non-human characters or humans empowered by the demonic.

As for the spiritual and thematic material, it is present, many the event having a “moral of the story” feel. It is not my favorite was to incorporate the spiritual threads, but the plot is well enough constructed to bear up under the strain of this slightly more didactic style.

Some of the themes include the sovereignty of God, even when we err, showing mercy, and standing firm for what is right, even if the outcome does not seem certain.

Summary: I can’t say that Allon enthralled me, but it has many positive points and will probably be enjoyed by many teenaged avid readers of fantasy.

Rating: Craft—2, Content—3, Overall—3.5 out of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for review.


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