Faith and Magic ~ Book Review of ‘The Order of Ethyrea: Code of the Brethren’ by Darica Fortaine

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on July 8, 2011 0 Comments

‘The Order of Ethyrea: Code of the Brethren; by Darica Fortaine is not an easy book to review.  Coming in at 214 pages it has a lot on its plate.  For purposes of disclosure, Fortaine graciously sent me a copy so I could critique it.  Although I have written my fair share of book reviews of literature that falls under the supernatural genre, I am not a fan of J. R. R. Tolkien type of tales; ergo, the disadvantage of me offering analysis for this type of story.  To further complicate matters, the back of the book explains that beyond the mind boggling plethora of activities the author is involved in she describes herself as a “strong woman of faith” which tends to send up a red flag for me.  When I read ‘faith’ I tend to think ‘Christian’ and when it is attached to a novel I think of all sorts of things that I personally don’t want to read.  I fully confess my prejudice about Christian fiction.  Heck, I would open the field up to say that I don’t like any fiction that is based on one particular faith or another.  However Fortaine never declares herself one faith or another although her list of accomplishments appear to incorporate a lot of paranormal and science fiction elements.       


                What I enjoyed about the ‘The Order’ was the huge amount of mythical creatures included in the storytelling.  I like the idea of flying gargoyles and the occasional talking griffin along with other worldly adventures.  The book opens up to a tournament that is all pride and participation until the sky erupts with invaders.  For most of the novel I was confused as to which character was which because even with their unique names (one character’s name is VelvetWind) it was hard to keep track of which one could fly compared to others who could do something else – in the world that Fortaine created every person has some sort of special magical talent and in some cases more than one.  Further, they all had some sort of elemental attachment which made it impossible for two of the characters who were in love with one another to hook up, however when they found themselves in another land/dimension they did cross that forbidden line of intimacy to only bring more destruction upon the world. 


                My main issue with this book, as well as others of this variety, is that the actors in the adventures don’t feel like fleshed out people.  It’s as if all of the descriptive elements are used for landscapes and battles, but not for individual characters besides noting if they are either noble or not, strong or weak, beautiful or hideous.  I don’t think the story jelled for me because I was never invested into the plight of the protagonists. 


                My final impression of ‘The Order of Ethyrea: Code of the Brethren’ is that my fear about some sort of Moses/Christ/Buddha/Flying Spagetti Monster was for naught.  I picked up undertones of faith, but the book didn’t try to preach or persuade me in one direction or another.  If you like ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ types of literature then you might like this book.  Referring back to the author summary, ‘The Order of Ethyrea’ is being adapted for film.    


Westerfield © 2011

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