I have to admit that I really was not in the mood for a fantasy novel when my husband, John, told me he wanted me to review a book called The Son of Ereubus by J.S. Chancellor. I had after all just read a very disappointing fantasy novel called The Naming by Alison Croggon. The Naming could have been a ground breaking young adult novel. It could have been so many things, yet the author chose to do a cop-out and turned this very promising world into a Tolkien carbon copy. I was disenchanted with the whole genre, and I am by nature a fantasy and adventure reader.
One can certainly imagine my dread when presented with this book. I really could not have chosen for myself a book that I wanted to read less. The Son of Ereubus begins by introducing a young woman named Ariana. She is bold, strongwilled, she knows her own mind and she will not be easily decieved. I found her throughout to be a wonderful role model for young women everywhere because of the above listed traits as well as her apparent self worth. When she and the other protagonist Garren finally are together and can express their love for each other, she does not give her affection lightly. After kissing Garren she tells him “ You have saved my life, you will have to do something akin to that to get more of my favors” . To me, that is a great example to young women, many of whom are not taught proper respect for themselves and their bodies ( can we all say teenage pregnancy and std statistics???)
The male lead is Garren and he is an equally good role model for young men, he is shown to be the connsumate “bad guy in the black hat”, at least initially but as the story progresses he questions himself, and what he has been taught all his life. His journey to the light is enough to show any young man that just because his circumstances are one thing does not mean that he has to be he can bring himself to any level that he wishes to work for.
There are more male characters than female characters, but the development of the overall story is like nothing I’ve ever read. I told John over and over again, “It’s really good, I’m just really not in the mood for this. I think I’ll give it one more chapter, then I’ll probably read something else.” Yet chapter after chapter I kept asking myself “ What in blazes is this leading up to?”, and I just could not bring myself to stop. Could not bring myself to put it down and read something else. I see angels in the Andorians who are Ariana’s people. I see fallen angels in the Ereubians. In the entire story I could see the story of the battle of heaven between Adonai and Lucifer, but fought on Earth though there is no confirmation of this within the novel.
This the first volume of a trilogy and even though there is no real resolution at then end, I did not find myself saying that I wish the second volume were published so that I could go on with the story, per se, but I am definitely intrigued by this world, this war that is to take place. Now I may be the only one who sees angels, fallen and not, but the imagery is beautiful, and curious. I look forward to rereading the story when I am looking for a good fantasy novel .
This book is like nothing I’ve ever read. I can see influences within the tale of some of the greatest fantasy writers of all time, but unlike Tolkien, Bradbury, Huff, and Brooks, this particular yarn kept me guessing, kept me wondering, and unsure, kept me reading. This is something that no story has done for me in ages. I read a whodunnit, and by about the halfway point, I could tell you more times than not who the killer is. I read a romance and I know who is going to fall for whom in very short order. Very rarely is there a book that I don’t know where it is going or how everything is going to turn out. That is rare in a writer. Most copy after older writers ( I too am guilty of this), but not Chancellor. The entire story is so fresh that even though there are hints of Romeo and Juliet, it is not, even though one can see elements of other fantasy stories, the tale of King Arthur, the Lord of the Rings, the Shanara books, The Son of Ereubus sets itself apart. The highest praise I can give to any work of fiction is this : it is totally original. Completely new. I recommend this book to any one who is a fan of fantasy, or has a child who is a fantasy reader. I would recommend this title for anyone teens or older, but of course, defer to your sense and knowledge of your child’s knowledge and maturity.
I rate every book I read out of five stars. In the last 3 years I have give 5 stars to only 2 books. I am proud to list this book as the third of these to receive a full 5 stars. And thank you to the author for being no one but yourself, as this book by itself, in being so original shows all of us that being different is not bad, but often rewarded. The Son of Ereubus will be remembered among classics as I feel it is ushering in a whole new era of fantasy writing.
With all due respect
Na’avah Vesper Ana’at Yehudit bat Avram v’Sarai
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