The Power of Denial
The Shrine of Arthis Book 1
David A. Gustafson
Genre: High Fantasy
Releas Date: February 2016
Victimized and betrayed, for two hundred years the spirit of King Arthis has been entrapped within the Shrine. From this mountain perch he has looked on in dismay as his daughters abandoned his teachings of symmetry and acceptance. Instead, they have each built a city where only their preferred earth power is nurtured. Helpless to intercede, Arthis has watched the rise of the Sortiri, supernatural creatures who wantonly attack his descendants and steal the soul from those they capture.
Jerrid, a Stone Shaper gifted in the earth power called “Amber,” is tormented by the memory of his mother’s fall to the Sortiri. Exiled with his grandfather to a new city being constructed as a refuge from future attacks, Jerrid longs to escape a life that has grown lonely and mundane. A rare excursion away from the “Hidden City” leads him into a confrontation with his father. Believing that a strategy of isolation cannot succeed, Jerrid resolves to tame Feor, a wild horse with unmatched speed that carries him beyond his father’s control. Emboldened by this new freedom, he meets a young woman named Audain and visits her home in Gladeis, the city where “Emerald” enables the Foedan there to live in close connection to the Forest. Though intrigued by the wonders of Gladeis, when confronted again by unyielding authority, Jerrid finally understands. With renewed purpose he ventures forth, determined to connect with the other two earth powers; Opal for wind and Sapphire for water, and seek a better way to overcome the Sortiri.
Jerrid is a young man who wants to choose his own path in life. He sets out on a journey to find the truth about himself and the world around him.
This is a traditional good vs evil fantasy story. Trouble is brewing, and dark days are ahead. Main character Jerrid is somewhat spoiled and naive, and he seems to learn magic a bit too easily. He is one of a kind, and his destiny is unknown to him until he begins this journey, much to the chagrin of his father. I do see a hard road ahead for this character, given his unique ability. He is likable enough, and I am interested in seeing how his story plays out. ***Spoiler ahead***Especially considering that his father sets out to find him a third of the way through the book and then isn’t mentioned again. What happened to him?***End spoiler***
Audain was my favorite character at first, and I felt like I was right alongside her as she walked through the forest. However, her role diminishes to a sidekick, and I’d hoped she would remain a lead character with as much importance as Jerrid. I also enjoyed Rendel’s character, but I barely got to know him in this installment. I hope there is more about his history and abilities in the next book of the series.
I loved the magic system in the story. People are born with certain elemental abilities, and they develop this skill over time. Some come to be more powerful than others, such as Audain with her Sapphire skills. The evil villains were mostly absent, but I was given a glimpse at how horrible they can be, and a great action scene near the end left me wanting more. Complete with a well-developed world history, this is one of those high fantasy tales you want to read slow and enjoy. I must mention there were a handful of proofread errors that made me cringe, and this book truly deserves the services of a professional proofreader. Definitely a series worth a try for any fan of high fantasy.
I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
4 out of 5 stars
About the Author:
David Gustafson graduated from Purdue University in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. Shortly after he began work on “The Shrine of Arthis,” but life got in the way. After being married for nearly thirty years and raising three kids, he began re-writing the novel and introducing his life experience along with an ever growing love of nature.
When not writing, David is the Energy Resource Manager for the Board of Public Utilities in his home town. His hobbies include hiking, day dreaming and long walks through the woods.
David’s works have been inspired by authors like Frank Herbert, Ursula Le Guin, Steven Donaldson, Robert Silverberg, and, of course, J. R. R. Tolkein.