Series: Verses of Vrelenden 02
Author: Beau Schemery
Genre: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: Super Novel (350pgs)
Publisher: Harmony Ink (Dreamspinner Press) (30th May 2013)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4 ½ Hearts
Blurb: Ren Mallorian is finally a hero. He helped Celestrian, the lost unicorn, complete his quest and he defeated the kingdom’s worst enemy, Grimthorn. Now Ren lives in the capital city doing odd quests for the king and his nobles—but he misses Celestrian.
One day the king summons Ren and the Prince of Toads, a noble who has taken the role of irreverent sidekick, and tasks them with assembling a team to combat an uprising in the Zombie Kingdom. On their journey across Vrelenden, they gather allies: Discimus, an accomplished wizard and a smug bastard (it’s a good thing he’s pretty). Jaron A-Dale, the captain of a city guard and an accomplished knight. Acorn, a tiny and mysterious elf girl. And an unexpected and extremely dangerous traveling companion.
But is there more to the Zombie threat and its newly raised army of the undead than meets the eye? Ren is having a tough time keeping his head straight, and with Ren and Dish distracted—both by their romance of convenience and the absence of the men they love—this may prove Ren’s most dangerous quest yet.
Review: This book is part of a series and is best read in order. Ren is now the Kingdom’s Hero after his adventure with Celestrian. But, he misses Celestrian desperately, not knowing when he will see his True Love again. When the King summons Ren and the Prince of Toads (Ren’s adopted sidekick) to take up a Quest, they discover some truths about zombies. They leave to gather a Party that will help them to quell the uprising in the Zombie Kingdom. But collecting their Party is going to be hard, as they have side Quests to fulfill before their allies can join them.
Ahhh, God. I just love fantasy adventures that are filled with the familiar and the new, and that has just the right amount of humor to make an enjoyable story. Ren is back and he is the Kingdom’s Hero. Celestrian is never far from his thoughts, but not knowing when they will next be together has Ren seeking comfort, and he knows Celestrian would never begrudge him those brief moments. Setting off on a new Quest to save the Kingdom has Ren and the Prince seeking the best of the best to complete their party; Discimus, a great wizard, Jaron A-Dale, a mighty warrior and Acorn a great healer. They also pick up the unexpected and dangerous ally Setsuo. They face danger and sneak attacks, they have to help with side quests to get the aid they need and there is bickering, falling out and finally they have friendships developing.
I loved this story, although I was a bit wary at first because Ren and Celestrian are separated and a new man comes into Ren’s life. But as the story progresses you come to see that although Ren finds Quest love, no one will ever replace his True Love. and you just know that Celestrian isn’t sitting chastely waiting for Ren. The characters in this story are just brilliant. Ren has developed his Hero skills greatly, and the Prince is as incorrigible as ever with his drinking and women chasing ways. The new characters, Discimus, A-Dale, and Acorn all add something in their own way to this story. Discimus is vain, smug, and self-involved, but you get used to his abrasiveness. A-Dale is a mighty warrior who has a good heart and seeks justice for those who can’t protect themselves. and then we have Acorn, a young elf girl who repeatedly save the Party’s lives… she is sweet and gentle and just wants to be loved after being terrified by her own father.
This is an action-filled story where the hero’s risk their lives constantly. they meet fascinating characters and have some interesting twists with characters from the previous book The Unlikely Hero, both good and bad, popping up. The villages we visit are wonderful, along with the colorful characters that live there. And there are strong hints of admiration for other high fantasy stories. There are some great scenes where it is hard to stifle your laughter. When some of the party are pretending to be Zombie, it’s just brilliant. The story is brilliantly woven, taking us on adventures that are exciting and at times that need tact. They face death and danger, and an old foe and just want are they going to do if the baddies succeed in making a dragon into a zombie?
I will recommend this to those who love high fantasy, young adult, fantastic characters, fleeting love, great adventure, danger and an ending that leaves you wondering what Ren will face next.