Book Review: Elysia

Nothing excites young Elysia as much as sculpture; to reveal what lies inside a piece of wood or stone. But as a baker’s daughter, chores and drudgery fill her days. Worse yet, her mother frowns on her frivolous hobby, pushing her to focus on the more mundane skills she’ll need to be a good wife someday. But after she sees marble statues at the temple for the first time, she knows this is a passion that cannot be denied, no matter the cost. This 2500 word short story is set in the city-state of Attarsus, a place much like ancient Athens, but with magic returning to the world. It explores the early years of Elysia, a major character in the Arts Reborn series. The story takes place before Book I: Brush With Darkness. It can be read before or after.

This is a solid addition to Jamie’s Arts Reborn series.  You get to meet Elysia in Brush with Darkness but there is much you do not find out about her.  This book helps explain it, though there is still much to yet to be discovered.

The pace in this one isn’t quite as fast as the full novels in the series, yet it does move right along.  There is a smooth, seamless flow through the two small transitions which occur in Elysia’s life which helps provide a smooth continuity between the first pages and the last, and also where there are questions left begging to be answered.

Since I met Elysia in Brush with Darkness, and have read further on with Blood of the Water, I was intrigued to learn more about her early years.  As an introduction, this would be an excellent book to start with.  After reading the other two books, sadly it comes across as a tad bit shallow.  It honestly feels like it should be a full novel on its own that never fully developed.  Perhaps one day Jamie will either include it in a full novel, or will develop it further.  There is a ton of character development, about what you’d expect when you take someone from a young child into their early teenage years.  And, this growth was fully satisfactory.  Jamie did a wonderful job picking and choosing which elements to leave in and which to leave out.  There is very little of the pre-teen and early teen rebellion that shows up in this short story.

One of the things I really do not like about short stories is there isn’t enough room for world building and character building to both happen in any depth.  If you have one, typically you do not have much of the other.  That is the case here.  If you are new to the series, there is not much you learn about the world or how it functions.  You do learn a little bit about the magic system – or at least the facet that Elysia taps into – but you don’t know if that is the only way.  With the series being the Arts Reborn, this one does leave you wondering about that.  As a prequel, intended to be read with the series, those questions left waving in the wind are fine.  However, as an introduction to the series, the author, and the world, having the questions left begging for answers might be a turn off for some.  (Then again, I may  be over analyzing, since I much prefer my answers and to know “why”.)  All in all, there is very little world building in this installment, as so much of the available space is dedicated to building up and defining the characters.

Though at times this piece feels a little thin due to the lack of room, it is a nicely constructed story.  There is a definite closure included in the work, which blends nicely with Brush with Darkness.  It may look like I did not like the piece, which is entirely wrong.  Overall, I did enjoy what there was of it, I just wish there were more.  As this would be a story I will go back and re-read later, this falls solidly in the four out of five stars.  Ummm… Make that 4.5 out of 5.  The half star knock down is because I wish this were a full length novel.  Well done Jamie, I can’t wait to see your next installment!

If you are interested, you can read my reviews for the other Arts Reborn books here:

Brush with Darkness

Blood of the Water

If you wish to get your own copy of Elysia click here

If you wish to purchase a copy of Brush with Darkness or Blood of the Water click on the links to head over to Amazon.  Happy reading!

 

If you enjoyed this review, and wish for me to review your own work, please stop by my offered services page and send me a submission.  I will gladly consider almost any book.  (Fantasy and Science Fiction preferred however.)

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